Benson Hedges, Private Eye!

It was half past midnight when I rolled up to the seediest dive on the wharf.  The ocean air sent a prickly feeling up my back—the kind you get when danger lurks behind every door.

My Bentley's in the shop.  No, really.

Inside, I grilled a barfly for information, but she just turned her back and gave me the cold shoulder.  That dame was no lady—and it bugged me.

Just for that, doll, you don't get any hovertext.

Suddenly, I heard a noise in the back room.  I burst through the door just in time to put the bite on some yellow coward trying to escape.

GOTCHA!  Now ... start squeaking, pipsqueak!

For the next chapter in the thrilling adventures of Benson Hedges, Private Eye, visit sender-inner Heather’s Flickr photoset!



  1. bookmonstercats says:

    Just got back from two very serious days in court with a gazillion legal teams spouting hot air (me included). Boy, did I need this. Thanks, NOMTOM.

  2. SillyGirl says:

    eeeeek! Ok, ok! I’ll tell you everything I know!!!

  3. SillyGirl says:

    Just don’t bite my ducktocks again!

  4. SillyGirl says:

    or is it tailtocks?

  5. scooterpants says:

    “Inside, I grilled a barfly for information, but she just turned her back and gave me the cold shoulder. That dame was no lady—and it bugged me.”
    Bah ha ha!
    OMG best-est caption-in ever! what great imagination! *insert Golf-clap here for NTMTOM*

  6. Benson Hedges? bwahahahahaha

  7. I love the way PI BH’s nose crinkles up when he’s putting the bite on that golden miscreant. It really shows **he means business**!

  8. NTMTOM, your brillance never ceases to amaze me!

    I guess its safe to assume what kind of cigs Mr.Hedges smokes (being a private eye and all, it goes with the image.)

  9. muttluver says:

    The duck even looks scared!I know he was made that way, but still.

  10. Bahahahahahahahaaaa! *gaaaasp* HA!! *passes out*

  11. this dame was no lady…and it bugged me-

    nothing short of brilliant

  12. Well, the ducky was clearly asking for it by lurking around the hedgie’s food.

  13. It’s got him by the ‘tocks. Precious!

  14. Too cute. Bet the McSmartbuttDuck doesnt try it again !!!!!!!

  15. This ball is a cruelty to animals!
    I think you shouldn’t show such pictures at your website.

  16. Xenobiologista says:

    Benson & Hedges is a brand of cigarette – just FYI, for those people who aren’t in countries where they’re sold. =D

  17. @Jeannie … are you serious??? Those balls are great for the animals — it gives them a chance to stretch their legs beyond the confines of the cage while still keeping them safe from other critters or from getting into something that will hurt them! What’s cruel about that???

  18. KittehMamax3 says:

    NTMTOM, you are awesome. I aspire to get to your level of creativity some day…Cute hedgie, too.

  19. Mary (the first) says:

    Finally, a new post. I was going through withdrawal. I have obviously become much too addicted to constant c.o.!! And now I want a hedgie too!

  20. He wouldn’t happen to be a silly millimeter longer, would he now?

  21. @jmuhj: If that was the case, I would have named our hero “Chesterfield.” 😉

  22. I never cease to ponder the wonders of NOMTOM’s inner life. It must be quite a landscape.

  23. Dyannamika says:

    You have no idea how much I needed this today. How sweet!

  24. Awesome hard-boiled narration!

  25. @MEGarde: It looks something like this:


  26. @ Kari: Do you really belive what you are saying?
    The cruelty is that these balls are prisons. There is no escape for the animal, and the only choice it has is to run, run, run.
    If you want to protect your pet from potential dangers, you just have to supervise its excursion. By the way, the bend of most of these balls is much too small (like most of the pet wheels are, too) which leads inevitably to back damages. Even for small animals as for instance hamsters or octodons, the minimum is 30 cm.
    P.S. I’m sorry for all grammar mistakes, I’m German 😉

    [They don’t *live* in the exercise balls, you know… – Ed.]

  27. Awesome NTMTOM! I could live there! Was your mama scared by a pawnbroker’s sign also? 😉

  28. A. BEST CAPTIONING EVAR, NTMTOM! Big pats on the back.
    B. Wow, we have a hamster ball nuffer!
    C. What’s an octodon, Jeannie?

  29. Martha in Washington says:

    Is Benny going undercover as a punker or something? What’s with the red spikes? I can just picture him in a little raincoat with a fedora.

  30. momof2kitties says:




    Breelliant NOMTOM! Simplee Breeelliant!!

    Methinks Jeannie needs a pudding flavored pasickie. A big one. Where’s Bill Cosby when you need him?

  31. Nevertheless, it’ s a cruelty. In countrys with modern animal protection laws, such things are illegal. Do you think this is without reason?
    Really, so much ignorance makes me sad. People who shut their pets in such things are no animal lovers but simply egoists who don’t give a damn on their animals’ species-apprpriate needs.

  32. @nakey:

    They’re cute!

  33. ScoutsMom says:

    Finally! I have been checking all day for a new photo (yes, it is an addiction) but it was definitely worth the wait!!! The caption for the lady bug being “no lady” was hysterical. It reminded me of the cartoon lady bug with the voice of Dennis Leary. He kept getting mad cause everyone thought he was so pretty. Excellent captions for this little guy’s big adventure. Thanks!

  34. I hardly think putting the little critter in an exercise ball for 10 minutes is cruelty to him.

    What about cages? Most of the models made for animals of this size aren’t incredibly spacious. I had a heck of a time finding one with good security and room to stretch for the hamster I used to have.

  35. Hahahahahahaha! *dies*

    After a day of 1) trouble with the ex 2) a flat tyre 3) NOT getting the keys to my new house 4) Finding out they’re developing the conservation area next door 5) Unmentionable Trouble(tm) involving many painkillers, I really needed that!

  36. Michael Vick = animal cruelty

    Well cared-for hedgies in balls? Not so much.

  37. I think jeannie was hampster in a previous life. That’s why she knows exactly how these animals feel. *nods wisely*

  38. scooterpants says:

    hmm. when i put my 22 lb cat ‘steve’ in one of them hamster-balls, it didnt seem to work right.
    don’t know, i guess it was broke.


  39. Stephanie C. says:


    Are there really places where exercise balls are illegal? I can’t seem to find any.

  40. I really hope Jeannie is having a big joke on us all. Europe does have more stringent pet welfare laws than the US, but I know of no ban on small mammal exercise balls.

    I have to reiterate Theo’s question: You do know they don’t LIVE in the balls, just run around for brief exercise periods? The balls are way safer than letting a hamster or hedge out on the floor, where it could scamper under the furniture and chew cords, etc. Also, in my experience, an animal in a ball is being closely watched by its owner, because it’s super-cute.

    Adorable playful hedge.

  41. Stephanie C. says:

    Btw, the human-sized balls are awesome to roll around in/roll into things in.

  42. Hilarious NOMTOM, love it! Li’l hedgie is too, too adorabuhls!

  43. scooterpants says:

    Stephanie C. !
    now, you go straight to your room and think about what you said…

  44. Jeannie:

    While it is wonderful that you are so militant about animal welfare, my guess is that you have known very few pygmy hedgehogs (the species is an important distinction from the igel with which you are probably familiar).

    The little girl pictured here (yes folks, she’s a girl – but who says a girl pig can’t be a PI?) is six weeks old and just over 200g. She is still in her “training-size” ball, which she will probably outgrow in the next few weeks. At that point, she will step up to an 11.5-inch ball (close enough to your 30cm standard as to make no difference), but my guess is she won’t be able to really move it around well until she puts on a little more weight.

    As to the question of cruelty, again I am guessing you’ve known very few pygmy hedgehogs. Of four hedgehogs that we have had live with us, three have been fervent fans of their exercise balls, including one girl that would wake up promptly at 6:30 every evening demanding treats and ball time. The girl in question even managed to knock the lid off her ball once and spent the next 10 minutes trying to ball in circles without the lid when she could have easily have gotten out, if it had been such a terrible experience.

    So, Jeannie, while I thank you for your concern, but Miss PI Pig here is fine. Your comments about the necessary size of a ball for an adult hedgehog are accurate, but the claims of EEEEEEVIL are a bit overblown. And for everyone else here. sorry for the rant about a rant, and glad you think the new baby is as cute as we think she is.

  45. catloveschanel says:

    um, hello, the ball is his car! It is not a prison…. [he gets out when he rolls up to the bar.] It does not produce poison emissions, either.

    So he’s a green Dick!

  46. Speaking of human-sized hamster balls:


  47. Boomer's Babysitter says:

    Yes, this one is great! Teh comments – NTMTOM, your interior life is a little scawy. I would like to try a human sized hamster ball – on water. Looks near impossible, but fun!

  48. Jennie Mello says:

    lurved it. lurve lurve lurve.

  49. Chopper, she is a cutie. Reminds me of our hedgie 😦
    Loved “ball time” and would even tell us when she was finished by going back to her cage and sitting there until we put her in.

    Particularly love the shot of her biting the ducky butt, lol.

  50. Mary (the first) says:

    @scooterpants! BWWAAAHHHHAAAA !!!

  51. I love these little glimpses into NTMTOM’s brain. A nice place to visit but you wouldn’t wanna live there.


    Look over on the side, clicky on the Winston! link or search YouTube for “Winston, kicker”.


    (Not to diss this way cute hedgie girl in any way, with her baby moist nosicle for trouble and all.)

  52. “Moist Nosicle For Trouble: A Benson Hedges Novel”.

  53. Stephanie C. says:

    *thinks* I ended a sentence in a preposition, didn’t I?

    Shame on me – I should know better (English major).

  54. How many times has a scenario like that in the third pic played through my downy yellow head?
    So many times.
    So, so many times.

    [DINSDAAAALE… – Ed.]

  55. NTMTOM – “Porky in Wackyland” – that was very scary but cute and if that is the way that your mind really works – OH BOY – have to say life would never be boring!!!

  56. Chopper – what a great post, I hope that sets Jeannie’s concerns to rest.

    As for the post — well I don’t want to talk out of school, but I saw Ms. Hedges running pell mell down Pall Mall, looking for some way to sneak her Viceroy into the Kool Klub. Instead, she found Virginia Slim and the Camel trying to sneak some Old Gold out of the clutches of Phillip Morris. Talk about a Lucky Strike!!

  57. B-Serv is sssssssmokin’.

  58. Chopper, My kids and I loved watching the flickr slideshow of your little Missy Hedgie. We were curious, however, as to the red (paint?) on her back. Can you enlighten us? We’re kitteh people, so hedgies are a mystery. Thanks.

  59. Yes, Teho, but what?

    […mirrors, maybe? – Ed.]

  60. CUTENESS!!! Squeal!

  61. Not That McCoy The Other McCoy says:

    @b-serv: Very good!

  62. That is such a new idea! Try to deepen your post by adding adjectives that can make people relate to it more. Great idea, though. Keep on adding!

  63. It’s Spiny Norma!

  64. @petrie: I’m Mrs. Chopper, and Paisley the PI’s mom. The red paint on her back was used by the breeder to mark her in her litter. Her siblings have different color. It’s non-toxic (child-safe) paint, and will come off in time.
    Thanks for all the lovely comments – we think she’s a sweet, hilarious little girl, too. 😉

  65. NTMTOM–Congrats on another great story-LOL!
    Wish I had your brilliantine…

  66. You said it, Chopper. Nicely done.

  67. scooterpants says:

    hmmm ok, one issue at a time-

    YES! Stephanie C. – your ending a sentence in a preposition was certainly exactly what i was refering to, shame on you , bad girl… what a rebel you are! you rock most rockably. 🙂 God LOVES an english major!

    Mary(da ferst)
    we are of the same mind. gotta luf ya. tanks,(oh, please, no applause…)
    bah ha ha ha ha!

    you seem to be in rare form this eve, hopefully meaning you are feeling better? and in a better place? fabulous!
    now, we just gotta get ya layed. (within limits of course)

  68. Looks like an octadon is a rodent genus, which includes the adorable degu. Probably a term more commonly used in German?

  69. I totally imagined Guy Noire’s voice (in reality Garrison Kealor) with that! Great job with the story telling and hovertext NOM TOM. :3

  70. Oh, so precious. These super cute baby hedgehogs are adorable too…

  71. Outside, I barfed a grillfly…

    (OK fine I’ll go to bed)

  72. Raemie L. says:

    – Zee story, I liked eet!
    – “Porky in Wackyland” is full of win.

  73. @Vicki: “A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But on the 12th floor of the Acme building, one hedge is trying to find the answers to life’s persistent questions…”

  74. Thanks for the compliments, peeps (as to what I’m smoking, I will say that it is fully legal in the state of California where I live). I’m just building off NTMTOM’s brilliance.

    And LURVING the Guy Noir references. Can Rusty and Lefty’s opinions on hedgies be far behind?

    Powdermilk Biscuits for everyone!!!

  75. God, that last pic where she’s picking up or nibbling the rubber ducky is massive swoons for me. Must have Hedgie.

  76. Stephanie C. says:


    Are you sure? In the last week I’ve had three mid-terms, a major paper and (let’s count, shall we) 47 separate poems/stories to read. I’m feeling some karmic hate right now from someone.

    Now, if only I had a human exercise ball to help relieve the stress. : )

  77. Benson and Hedgehogs.

  78. Haha, I love how the duck’s expression works perfectly for being bitten on the butt by a hedgehog.

  79. Soooo … peeps in the US keep ‘edg’ogs as pets? That’s a novel thing for me, here you just find them in the wild.

  80. Starling — On the other hand, I am so in love with the idea that hedgehogs live in the wild and you can just see them wandering around like squirrels or birds.

    I want to see that almost as much as I want to see wild guinea pig colonies (I picture them thundering across the pampas like bison).

  81. Little Sarah R says:

    Wait! That hedgehog had better not be named Benson! My hedgehogs are named Benson (like the cigarette) and Peanutbutter! I thought we were being original.

  82. scooterpants you’re hilarious!

    This was one of the funniest post I’ve seen. I love it!

    Pasikie, to you nuffers!

  83. The red paint on the hedgie’s back can be easily removed with a little rubbing alchohol. My last hedgehog, Pumpkin, had green paint on her back as applied by her breeder. By accident, I discovered rubbing alchohol removed the green paint. I was so glad to get Pumpkin’s ivory quills pristine after looking at the green paint for a year.

  84. You all are so creative! Benson Hedges!!
    Pell mell down Pall Mall was excellent. I used to work in a 7-11 when I was teenager and sold meeeeeelions of cigarettes. My grandfather smoked Viceroys.
    On a related note, I was waiting in line to pay for my gas, and the guy in front of me paid the same price for a carton of cigarettes that I paid to fill my tank up!!!!????

  85. Kris — make sure you don’t get the two mixed up in your mind.

  86. Ohhh… nuffers. Make my brain hurt.

  87. Ain’t she just adorable?! Give her hugs and kisses from her ‘secret admirer’. Pixie

  88. @starling: Out of curiosity, where *are* you? When we found the first of several adorable families of hedgehogs living under our flat in Bristol, every single person I told wanted to swap his/her “cute hedgehog as childhood pet” story. I was jealous! Growing up in the US, I had only ever seen them in Beatrix Potter stories! Thank god for C.O.!

  89. spikedcolor says:

    You all just made me laugh so hard I nearly peed! I really needed that today (the laughter, not the pee) thanks!

  90. that was just too cute.

    this blew ‘classic detective movie’ dialogues out of the water hehe…

    more Benson Hedges to come?…

  91. I’m in Britain, Anise. People don’t have hedgehogs as pets. They feed them in their gardens and then consider them as “pets”, perhaps, but nobody owns hedgehogs.

  92. @starling: Actually, in England, there are a few people who keep hedgehogs as pets- african pygmy hedgehogs (Like Benson/Paisley here) though, not your native hedgies seen under porches late at night.

    African Pygmies (and algerian) are usually the only types of hedgehogs allowed to be kept as pets, as they’ve been bred to be pets.

    I have to say I’m so happy I conned her into sending in these photos- duckbutt biting is a rare but wondrous thing!

  93. need more adventures from Benson Hedges, private eye!

  94. Tegwyn John says:


  95. agree with meggy…

  96. @Joy – Great idea about the rubbing alcohol. I’ll see if that does the trick.

  97. I heard Humphrey Bogart speaking NOMTOM’s words- maybe it is a generational thing. NOMTOM and Berthaservant, my humble congratulations on jobs very well done.