Christmas Mutterings

Morris is sat in his living room looking through an old copy of autotrader, there is a roaring fire in the hearth. A Johnson in a Rudolf suit is sat in an adjacent arm chair. Yolanda comes in with two mugs of tea “Just set them down there my treacle terror” “Morris, one of them is mine, and get Johnson out of my chair!” Morris looks around comedically “what Johnson? I don’t see any Johnson, maybe you mean…” “No Morris I mean that fucking bird thing in the Rudolf suit, move him this tea is scalding my hands” “Indeed it is my love, a nasty burn that could easily turn septic, especially with bacterial infection Johnson hiding in the bathroom at the moment. Johnson the ruse is up, you’ll have to move!” Johnson huffs and gets up, Yolanda puts the teas down and sits in the vacated seat. Johnson stands around kicking is feet, looking at Morris then back to the floor. “Morris, this isn’t very relaxing, make him go away!” “Let us not be so hasty, Johnson here is adding so much needed festivity to our abode.” “He looks about as interested as I am Morris, can’t he at least sit in the kitchen?” “I will not hear of it my love, you stay where you are, Johnson will sit in the kitchen” Morris gets up with his tea and magazine. “Morris where are you going?” “I am going to the kitchen with Johnson my love, are you coming with us?” “No Morris, just him go, we can sit here and have nice time, maybe put the TV on?” “I do not think it will suit you my love, besides which it is both heavy and contains dangerous electrical components.” Johnson sniggers. Now another Johnson comes with a tool kit. Begins to unpack the tools and work on the nearby sofa. “Morris what the fuck is going on?” It’s just handyman Johnson dear, he’s doing those adjustments to the sofa you asked for.” “What adjustments? I didn’t ask for any adjustments?” “maybe you mean the alleged adjustments?” “No fuck off, I wasn’t going to say that stupid line. “ “No worries my sweet, he has nearly finished anyway.” Sure enough, Johnson has worked fast and quickly converted the sofa into a passable looking sleigh. “What the very fuck Morris?! My sofa?” “What sofa…?” “Oh fuck off, you’ve turned it into a sleigh!” “I believe as discussed, you requested this.” “No no, no I did not.” “Let’s not bicker my sweet apple baked cracker! Just enjoy the festive spirit! So look, now we have Rudolf!” “Mwaaerk!” “and a sleigh!” “Mwaaaerk!” handyman Johnson gestures to his work. “but hmm what is missing from this scene, why of course it’s father Christmas himself!!” Enter Father Christmas Johnson, who in truth is Les Dawson Johnson dressed up in a Santa suit. “Mwaaerk!”  “Ho Ho Ho eh Johnson?” “Mwaaerk!” Johnson climbs onto the sofa, on which somehow a dustbin bag full of presents has appeared, whilst dressed as Rudolf Johnson has somehow attached himself to the front of the sofa and is now huffingly dragging it along the carpet. “hmm it is a little, heavy for him, let me just call Ithaqua for a little assistance” Morris mutters some awful names and chill fierce wind blasts through the house, lifting the Johnson ensemble into the air and crashing them all through the French windows and out into the sky “Ho ho smash away smash away smash away all!”

Published in: on December 22, 2016 at 6:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Christmas Turkey

In a grand cosy cottage at the end of the road, lived Clancy the Turkey in his fine abode,

Now the Turkey had a large collection of trouser that he had obtained from a variety of houses,

The policeman, the postman and more had felt the breeze, that comes when there is suddenly naught round the knees,

And one day he stared at his wonderous collection, but noted that he missed a certain selection,

And so the year turned and the cold it drew near and before anyone knew it, Christmas eve was here.

Silence has fallen, with the snow, all through the land, but a terrible deed our Clancy has planned.

While all the good people lay snug, fast asleep, around in his chamber that turkey doth creep.

“Blplplp!” He chuckles, “A pleasant surprise!” As he sets out some cheap sherry and Lidl mince pies…

But this is no treat for that merry old elf, it’s a trick and a ruse for that Turkey’s own self

The glint in his eye is quite clearly psychotic, as he adds to the glass a pernicious narcotic.

He gobbles and giggles and sniggers with glee, “Soon Santa’s red trousers will belong just to me!

When he leaves this cottage, Blplplp, his legs will be bare!” Says this sinister turkey with a lunatic stare.

He cocks his head over, cups a wing to his ear, “Blblblp! Sleigh bells! Then Santa grows near!”

He leers at the thought of those leggings of red, then conceals himself quickly under the bed.

I’ll soon have those trousers, egad and forsooth!” As the sound of a sleigh landing sounds from the roof.

Then comes a rustling, a bustling, a rumbling, and out of the chimney Santa comes tumbling!

This magical figure is quick to his feet, as he glances around for his classic treat,

And there on the table the mince pies and tumbler of liquid that soon will him render a slumber,

With a ‘Ho ho ho’ he makes for the table then scarfs all the offerings fast as he’s able,

Then in fine style but almost no noise, he fills the Turkeys stocking with good things and toys,

Beady eyed Clancy looks on bated breath for Santa to plunge to a sleep close to death,

But no such thing happens and the Santa is gone, back up the chimney from whence he has come.

The Turkey emerges he has quite the hump, then from up on the roof he suddenly hears a loud  ‘thump’.

His eyes how they light up, his heart how it races, He grabs scarf and coat and to the front door he paces,

There on the roof in the Christmas lights glow, is Santa keeled over face down in the snow,

The reindeer by sleigh look mournful and sadder, but that Turkey blighter is off for a ladder!

He runs to the shed, but there’s no ladder there, looks in the garage, but that cupboard is bare.

The roof is so high and without a ladder that reaches, how will the villain purloin those red breeches?

He searches on high and down on the ground, but nowhere it seems, can a ladder be found.

He huffs and he puffs and he gets madder and madder, but still he can’t find even one blessed ladder!

Then on a corner enjoying a Lambert and Butler, he espies an old friend, that spiv Mr Cutler.

“Blplplp! Need a ladder. Tall as the houses! Then I can finally steal Santa’s trousers!”

“Oo ee, a ladder you say? I think I can find one, how much will you pay?”

“Blplplp, not a rich man! Can stretch to a guinea!” “Well then Santa’s keeping them innee?”

At the thought of the trousers his mouth fills with saliva, “Blblblp, very well, I’ll give you a fiver!”

“Five quid for a ladder? I’m not impressed, a measly five quid to get Santa undressed?”

“Forgot wallet! Not being tight!” “No use to me then, I’ll bid you goodnight!”

As good as his word, down the street Cutler ambles, whilst up the drainpipe the Turkey he scrambles.

He gets a few feet, then tumbles back down, sits rubbing his bottom and wearing a frown.

“My beautiful plan has gone quite astray, soon Santa will revive, and then he’ll get away!”

Despondent, he eyes the sad scene, then his gaze falls upon a child’s trampoline.

“Blbplplblp! There it is! The solution by strewth! I’ll simply bounce once or twice and then spring straight to the roof!”

So onto the spring device up he climbs, he wobbles a second as his footing he finds,

And then gingerly tries a fluttering bounce, a first practice try for the roof landing pounce,

It’s quite a success and the Turkey he fancies, that for a bounce to the roof high are his chances,

Now up and now down, each bounce a touch higher, he nearly can reach the telephone wire,

The reindeer look on at the bobbing up head, then sadly back to the still unmoved sled,

With a fluttering bounce of considerable force, the Turkey now seems to be heading on course,

Though his landing lacks dignity quite through and through, the aim of the sproing was certainly true,

For sprawling across the snowy rooftop, the Turkey now lies all over the shop,

With a brisk “blblbp” and brush, he’s up in with a rush,

And now carefully he pads across snowy slate tiles, to where Santa lies to fulfil his wiles,

He makes it to sleigh with reindeer around, santa still sleeps, in his hear joy abounds,

He peers and he leers, thinks he cuts quite a dash, as with a magical *whssk* the trousers are off in a flash,

Holding the garment he stood there and smiled, but the event that just happened makes the reindeer quite riled,

Espying to their master some wrong has been done, they turn on the Turkey with no sense of fun,

“blblp good Rudolph, don’t be like that,  he’ll still be warm, he’s still got his hat!”

A clattering of antlers and a harsh stamping hoof send poor Clancy flying right off his own roof,

“Reallllly….!” He cries as he flies through the air, the trampoline below rushes up to his stare,

Hanging onto those trousers he’s bounced once again, and soars through the air like a Turkey fowl plane

The Turkey he hurtles like a befeathered bolt, then he suddenly comes to a bone shaking halt.

“Blplplp! Curses! Blast and Gehenna! Caught like a trout on a pesky antenna!”

The protruding aerial the Turkey’s tweed trousers entangles, and there in the moonlight Santa’s despoiler he dangles.

This simple receiver of TV transmissions, has got our Turkey in a painful position!

The Butterball blighter is feeling unwell, as the trouser suspension causes a “wedgie” from Hell.

He twists and he writhes, he squirms and he wriggles, but the only effect is guffaws and giggles.

“Blplplp Blplplp! What’s this? Oh god no!” For a small crowd has collected on the street down below.

His attempts to get free are now met with cheers, hoots, barbs and some quite ribald jeers.

“Blbplplblp! Don’t just stand there, all taking the mick, go! Fetch a ladder, and get me down quick!”

But the Turkey’s speech may as well have been Greek, for the idlers just leer and keep giving him cheek.

“Ah look at zat Alphonso, ze Turkey’s suspended! And by ze look on ‘is face, ah’d say ‘e’s offended!”

“Ooo eee I wonder how he got right up there? ‘E don’t ‘arf look a charlie stuck up in the air!

I looked and saw ‘im and I says to meself Gorblimey Dennis, he’s fat for an elf!”

In fact these onlookers carry on something fearful, and poor dangling Clancy begins to grow tearful.

“Oh friends I beg you, don’t just mock me and tease me, there’s a big fat reward for the fellow who frees me!

Don’t pillory, bait and otherwise deride me! The seam of my drawers may neatly divide me!

I’m dizzy from swinging in this wintry old breeze, and my beak and my ears are starting to freeze!”

“Oo you said you’d no money you old trouser snatcher, and now you say you’ll reward the person who’ll catch yer?

You’re just a cheapskate,  come on now gang, it’s nearly last orders, let’s leave him to hang!”

“Zat’s raht mes amis, let’s leave ‘im to blub, it’s chilly out ‘ere, but it’s warm in the pub!”

“Ja Ja, ze hour grows late, leave zis bird to its terrible fate!”

And so off they go, ignoring his pleading, away down the street, their footsteps receding.

And as he still dangles, the snows starts a falling, the situation, thinks Clancy, is frankly appalling.

Instead of enjoying his I’ll gotten pants, he’s  marooned in mid air on the side of a manse.

There’s a certain justice here, although and albeit, it’s not unsurprising that Clancy can’t see it.

He cries and he curses from his agonised perch, the people who left him there in the lurch.

And now it seems, as he rightly suspected, if not rescued soon, he’ll be frankly bisected.

“Alas and alack, and woe unto me! Is this the end for poor CBT?

But just when he thought that his fate was quite sealed, he suddenly recalled a thing he might wield,

To help him out of this water so hot, his trusty old scissors will hit just the spot,

He manages to retrieve them from inside his jacket, the cranes to the problem to see how to attack it,

If he can just free himself with this handy cutter, on his vestigial wings he may manage a flutter,

To slow his descent to ground far below, though he notes there is also the padding of snow,

So he twists and he strains and reaches and snips, then slowly but surely something loud rips,

And quite unprepared he falls through the air, his own trousers ruined, his behind quite bare,

His landing mercifully lucky and painless, but the state of this trousers leaves him far from shameless,

Fearing the cold, derision and laughter, there seems just one course that now can come after,

With a heavy heart, for he dislikes despoiling his prize, He looks at the red trousers to check for their size,

And noting the waist looks just about right, he squeezes his legs in, they’re just a touch tight,

But now feeling safe in his seasonal ware, he next must ensure he returns home with care,

These trousers have already caused him much trauma, though at least his rear end is now once again warmer,

So he walks round the corner back to his house, he peers and he creeps he is quiet as a mouse,

He reaches his door, into which he would go, when behind him he hears a loud ‘Ho Ho ho…”

Standing behind him looking far from merry, is an angry Saint Nick with a bottle of sherry,

“Ho ho you Turkey blighter!  You come back here! Give back those trousers in the season of cheer!”

But Clancy is quick and he scuttles inside, that scoundrelous fowl is determined to hide,

He may well be nimble but Santa is tough, his trouserless leg knocks the door down like fluff,

Clancy now flees up stairs with all speed, badly ruing this ill thought out deed,

He runs to his room and hides under the bed, trembling as he listens to Santa’s near tread,

The Turkey with fear doth shake and doth quiver, as Santa roars “I have gifts to deliver!

Now give me those trousers, and give me them gladly, then, just perhaps I won’t beat you too badly!”

Twixt avarice and self preservation the Turkey debates, he just can’t decide, and now it’s too late.

In Santa’s furious figure storms into the room, sees the Turkey neath the bed in despite of the gloom.

“Ah there you are you robber of breeches! I think that now I’ll damage your features!”

The terrified Turkey gives voice to a shriek and in a excess of fear he clutches his beak.

Santa continues as he slowly advances, “You Miserable Turkey, I don’t fancy your chances!

Now you must pay for your nefarious deeds, you devious skulking rascal in tweeds!

Bad enough to drug me with some vile soporific, but on Christmas Eve? That’s frankly horrific!”

The Turkey is sweating his pulse it is racin’, as, Santa, quite clearly, means to smash his fat face in.

“Oh please St Nick, for mercy I’m begging, I regret now most deeply my theft of your leggings!

I’m covered with shame, and filled with deep sorrow, and remember dear Santa, it’s Christmas tomorrow!”

“Yes and while the good people enjoy festive lunches, your ribs will be fractured by old Santa’s punches!

Now, I’ve heard enough of your cowardly chattering, the time has arrived for your merciless battering!”

Now for our younger readers the next bit’s not suitable, suffice it to say that the Turkey proves bootable!

And when it is done, and the fowl is a pulp, Santa swigs off his sherry with one mighty gulp.

“Ah! That’s better, and with my trousers restored, Clancy has been given his fitting reward.

Now on with my mission of spreading good cheer, and to you all, merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!”

Published in: on December 22, 2016 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Demolition Man: Addendum.

The scene is a festive looking small office room. Morris is writing something at a desk.  Yolanda comes in “What are you doing Morris? I’ve been shouting you for ages, your tea is ready” “One moment my sweet lichen filled parakeet, I am just putting the finishing touches to this Christmas card to the late David Attenborough.” “What the fuck are you talking about Morris? David Attenborough isn’t dead?” “Ho ho not yet my sweet, merely a little precognitive jape at his expense.” “What are you up to Morris?” “It seems the terminal roasting that Nutkins received has caused some offence in the broadcasting naturalist circles, Attenborough in particular has cited it as vicious and cruel. Hence in the spirit of good will I am sending him this seasonal epistle.” “Well that’s nice of you, are you saying sorry then? are you going to bring him back, I mean bring him back properly not just some zombie or disguised as Terry Nutkins Johnson?”  “Not a bad idea my sweet, maybe later. But no this is no friendly greeting, this card has special warming properties, allow me to demonstrate. Johnson!” ,Johnson comes in with disguised as David Attenborough Thompson at gun point. Morris gets up and Thompson is seated at the desk. Johnson then puts a postman’s hat on before handing Thompson a card like envelope. Thompson nervously fiddles with the envelope before getting out the card. Nothing happens. “No Johnson he has to read it!” A clout with the butt of his gun and a poke makes Thompson open the card. Still nothing. Thompson looks terrified and soils himself. “Morris my carpet!” “Johnson he can’t read! My sweet the real Attenborough would read the card, hang on my perilous napkin holder.” Morris peers over Thompson’s shoulder. “Merry Christmas you turkey bastard from Morris.” He reads, after which the card ignites with a terrible heat instantly setting fire to the seated Thompson. Thompson utters a hideous “wakark!” Johnson delivers a swift well placed cranial blow to prevent Thompson from flailing around the room. He thuds onto the desk, as the  flames lick round him. “See my love, a reading activated incendiary device. Johnson! The fire extinguisher. That will teach him eh?”

Published in: on December 2, 2016 at 1:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Demolition Man

Our hero can be found sat in his squalid flat with towel wrapped around his lower region and an old ‘sisters of mercy’ t-shirt on his top half. He perches on the edge of his currently unreclined, reclining chair eating a bowl of beans. “Ho, god, beads agaid, dever bind do, dot log til giro day, eh Buckle?” “What’s dat Bikle?” “It’s dot log til giro day Buckle!” “Ho Barvellous, what does dat bean? Is it like halloweed, whed all de Ghoulies ad ghosties and log leggedy beasties cobe out? Actually Bikle you’re a bit like a log legged beasty aren’t you?” “Ho by god, Buckle what de fuck are you talkig about? Do halloweed isn’t like giro day, well baybe a little, but dot in de way you think” he is toying with some kind of joke about a day on which the ‘dead  come back to life’ but thinks rightly it will be wasted so doesn’t bother. “Aren’t you goig to eat you beads Buckle?” “Well I would but sobethig seebs to be bissig, I can’t quite put by finger od it, dere’s sobe dagging suspicion I keep havig everytibe I look at de bead bowl” “Suit yourself, but dere’s dothig else til de day after toborrow” “why what happeds ded? Is it cheese day?” “Do giro day, I just bentioned it.” “will dere be cheese?” “ho by god, I don’t have tibe for dis, I’ve got to get down to subway, de autumb benu comes out dis afterdood and I want get by bits od de binx pronto!” “Dat’s de place wid de log sandwiches frisn’t it?” “Yes…” he’s taken aback by the amount of comprehension “by dat’s right Buckle, how did you dow dat?” “I went dere wid Buncle Bockle de oder week” “Bockle, dat frinter dibensiondel freak, I don’t deed hib hagig around, I haven’t seed hib for years, what did he want?” “he wanted a large salabi baguette wid cheese, and I said dat’s fuddy because I thought there’d be cheese, and den he laughed and I had cheese baguette and de ban gave be a sombrero because it was bexican week but den it was windy outside and it blew away.” “Do you fridiot, Bockle, what did Bockle want?” “I just told you Bikle, he had salabi and…” “Dot de sandwich you confounded ditwit, why did he cobe to see you, what was he doig?” “Ho I don’t do Bikle, I thought he was you at first because he was riflig through your thigs.” “Riflig through by thigs?!! When?” “last week sobetibe, you’d got sobe dew flyers for your craft project and were workig od dem in de other roob but I forgot dat you were dere, so whed you walked id through de wall I wasn’t surprised and thought it was you.” “But I don’t walk through walls! Why would you think dat was be?” “You don’d walk through walls?” “Do of course dot, why would I be able to walk through walls?” “Ho I’b confused dow Bikle, adyway I thought it was you and den you got your box of papers out and had a look through  and den we went for a sandwich” “But you said you dew it was Bockle took you for a sandwich, but you thought it was be lookig through de papers!” “Who was lookig through de papers?” “Bockle was, you were telling be!” “do dat was you Bikle, you bust be codfused.” “Do do, stop dis you frimpossible bimbecile, you said Bockle was looking at de papers and den you went for a sandwich!” “Dat’s right Bikle! Were you dere? What sandwich did you have?” “Bary bercy! Great Cthulhu! Save be frob dis!” And uncannily at this very moment the flat starts to tremble. “Ho god! I didn’t bean it!” “Bean what!?” shouts Buckle amidst a terrifying destructive roar that begins to encompass the place and books, smeared pint glasses tumble to the floor “de thig about great cthulh….” But now the noise drowns all voices, the ceiling crumbles, the floor gives way, plasterboard and brick tumble in from all sides and the flat literally collapses around them.

From outside one can see, as one would expect, a large pile of rubble and dust. Small exterior low sections of wall are still standing but other than that the whole block has been demolished. Morris is standing nearby smoking a role up and looking on with some pleasure at the proceedings. Various Johnsons mill about, some driving machines clearly responsible for the recent demolition. “Right Johnson, better check if any of the residents are still alive, I suppose” So lifts-large-pieces-of-rubble-with-little-difficulty Johnson wanders amongst the dust picking up slabs and wall sections here and there. After a moment a feeble “Over here! I’b here!” can be heard. “Oh dear, Johnson better leave that one it’s SB, I assumed he was crushed in the wreckage, if we leave him overnight he might die of his injuries” Johnson is about to move away when Yolanda pipes up at his ear “Morris, I heard that, you can’t leave SB in there, you told me you’d told everyone about this anyway!” “A minor oversight my welksome fowl, Johnson forgot to put the stamps on the letters so they were not delivered, well, at all.” “So you have to get him out, Johnson! Get SB out of there!” “Very well my sweet, but I really think it would be better if we leave him in there!” “No Morris, well, I see what you mean, but no!” So Johnson hauls a few bits of masonry out the way and in a few moments a gangly arm emerges out of the debris. “Ho by fuckig god!” he says as he drags his bloodied dust covered but otherwise unhurt form out, managing to somehow keep hold of the bathroom towel that he was wearing before the disaster. “Where’s the smart one?” Morris shouts “Mwaaerk!” answers Johnson indicating he can see him “Bohhh, help be!” “Ho god! He’s alive, by luck!” Johnson hauls him out and he sits down next to Bikle. “Ho what happened dere Bikle, by leg hurts, do you think it was dat grey coolio?”

 

Bikle does not reply. He is staring, horrified at the wreckage of his former home, jaw hanging slackly. “B, b, b, by flat, by lovely flat! Ruined!” “Yeah well them’s the breaks droopy. Now get off my land. This upscale residential and leisure complex isn’t going to build itself. Although of course if I wanted it to, then it would. However I do not. That would do my very good friend Handyman Johnson out of a job, never mind his workmate, now why are you still here again?” Bikle ignores him, still in a state of near catatonic shock. “By flat. Gode. Gode forever. All by thigs. Gode.” Morris leans over and nods in an avuncular fashion. “That’s right. How dreadful. Would you like me to burn you to death? Would that help to ease the pain? Well of course it would not, rather it would magnify it a thousand fold, well it would wouldn’t it? First your epidermis would be scorched away exposing the raw nerve endings beneath…” But Bikle is not listening. “But I’ve always lived I’d dat flat. Do batter what biserable dodsedse happened to be, do batter what bodstrous hubiliatiod tradspired, at least dere was always de flat. I was safe dere. Ad dow it’s gode.” “…As your carbonised remains crumple inwards, gouts of flame issuing from the cracks…” Ad all by thigs! By Abiga! I’ll Dever afford adother of dose! By cloaks! By Pixie boots! Buried beneath a hudred tods of rubble!” A thought seems to strike him, and his eyes open even wider in horror! “De girls! Oh god do! Dot de girls!” Sobbing, he begins to desperately claw at the smashed concrete and breezeblock, “Dod’t worry girls, daddy’s cobig!” Puny as he is, he manages to excavate a cavity of about the size of an immature pumpkin, before collapsing, weeping, onto the rubble. “Oh girls, girls!” He quavers, “So youg ad iddocedt! Poor Voucherella! Poor Pabela Pabphlet, Poor Kathy Kebab Bedu! All of deb, gode!” There is a sound off to the side of him, of a few bricks falling, then Vwuuuck. “Barvellous! Bikle, you’ll dever guess what I just found! Although to be it’s dot dat buch of a surprise you see, because berlier today I was thinkig…” “Leaving nothing but smouldering ashes, which are whisked away to oblivion by a sudden gust of wind. Your adventure ends here. Johnson! What is this wretch still doing here? No don’t bother, I’ll ask him myself.” He pokes the recumbent, stricken figure with the toe of one ornate cowboy boot. “You there, ringworm boy, I thought I told you to leave? You are occupying the site of Vieux Oncle Johnson’s nouveaux Pomme de Terrerie, and I’ll thank you to make yourself scarce, pronto.” Bikle lifts a dusty, tear stained face from the debris of his former home. “But I’ve got nowhere to go! I’ve hobeless!” Another thought strikes him. “By beads! Dow I’be  hobeless ad hudgry!” “Hardly my concern that is it shitwad? All I know is, you can’t lie around here grizzling all day, wearing nothing more than the remnants of an old t shirt and a soiled towel, which, might I just add, is on fire?” “By towel!” “Ho ho, not your lucky day is it crapsocket? Now seeing as you’ve had fair warning, Johnson! Dispose of this will you?” Johnson trots over and lifts the unresisting Bikle into a wheelbarrow and trundles him over the rubble to the gate. With a satisfied “Mwaeerk!” He upends the Barrow and deposits him unceremoniously into a puddle of filthy water. Broken and desolate he lays there for some hours, wallowing in both misery and mud. A bitter east wind springs up, driving before it squalls of stinging cold rain. Being as how Johnson decanted him into the gutter with his head pointing west, and taking into account his lamentable lack of raiment around his hindquarters, eventually, even in the depths of his misery, the icy assault upon his rear end drives him to crawl along the roadway in search of shelter. At length he espies a dark recess beneath a bridge, and drags himself thence. In his desolation, even this slimy, piss smelling hole, feels like a refuge of some note, and he begins to feel a little better. When, in groping about to find the most sheltered spot, he finds a tattered scrap of rotten old sacking with which he is able to fashion for himself a sort of rude loincloth, he feels that this is a victory indeed, so much so that he begins to feel almost at home in his dank little hole. Suddenly however, his newfound sanctuary is invaded by a cone of bright light, and a stern voice. “Nar then, nar then, nar then, and what do we ‘ave ‘ere, some destitute vagrant oi shouldn’t wonder. Let’s be a having you out of there quick sharp!” “Ho Codstable! Thank heaveds! I’b so glad to see a friendly face!” “Oh is that so? Well I’ll warn you that you won’t be a foindin’ me that friendly if you don’t come along out of there roight quickly now.” “But it’s be Codstable! Bister Bikle!” “Mister is it ‘e a calls ‘itself? Looks like a right Mister to me oi don’t think! More loike a bloody tramp I should say! Now you listen up good chummy, are you a coming out of there nice like, or do I ‘ave to get rough?” “But it’s be! Be! Bister Bikle!” “Roight, that’ll do.” *THWACK!* “Frouch!” “Now then chummy, out you get and fuck off moi beat sheepish see? Unless you want another taste of “Mister Truncheon” see?” “But you cad’t talk like dat to be! You’re just a bidor character id by joke!” *THWACK!* *WHOP!* *CRACK!*Yelping in pain, Bikle dives out of his violated haven and takes to his heels down the road. How long he runs for, and where he goes, he is not aware, but at length, panting and gasping, he finds himself leaning against the wall of a building in an area of the village which he does not recognise. Gradually his eyes get used to the gloom and he makes out a sign. “Homeless Shelter. All Welcome.” Cold, desperate and frightened, he needs no further encouragement, and hurries inside. The place is dimly lit, but he can make out a long row of beds stretching away into the darkness. The other thing that strikes him is the noise, a babel like cacophony of whispering and muttering. Slowly he begins to hear snatches of individual voices. “Having a bad day, having a bad day.” “Mow the grass, quickly now, must mow the grass, mow the grass.” “Bethany! Oh Bethany!” “I’m the unluckiest man in the world! I am I am I am!” “I’d love to join the Bird Show Committee, such an honour, such an honour.” It dawns upon him that he is among the damned, the victims and stooges of Morris’s little games past. Somehow the thought is comforting, it makes him feel less alone. Again, as nascent peace of a kind begins to settle upon him, he is disturbed by a loud noise. An electric bell suddenly sounds shrilly, and the shadowy figures leap from their beds and begin to shuffle towards a lighted hatchway at the far end of the room. The nature of the muttering changes too, in ragged unison the shambling wretches intone the word over and over, “Soooup. Soooup.” Reminded of how hungry he is, he joins the throng of the forsaken, standing in the queue until he reaches the hatchway. Behind the counter is a familiar tweed clad figure sporting an outsize chef’s hat and standing next to a bubbling cauldron of broth. Nervously he edges forward, hands outstretched in supplication. “Please sir, cad I have sobethig to eat?” Clancy looks at him disdainfully before giving him a crack across the knuckles with the scalding ladle. “Blbplplblp! Certainly not! Don’t want your kind of person in here! Lowers tone! No soup for you! Out you go!” There is a whisking noise, and again Bikle finds himself alone in the wind and the rain.

“Ho god, h’what dow?” he says out loud to himself. It is dark and cold and he is quite aware of his wretched state and also aware he must move on lest others come across him, like the constable again or worse. He’s heard tales from others of various Johnsons not to be encountered on a dark night, like not-to-be-encountered-on-a-dark-night Johnson, and buggers-and-murders-vagrants Johnson with whom at least you know what’s coming. He walks and walks, disoriented he’s unsure where he is, then slowly the surroundings become more familiar. This is good he thinks, that’s, that’s a newsagent. ‘Sibod’, he thinks, ‘good old Sibod’ the visage uttering the phrase ‘anything for a h’chum’ suddenly don’t seem hideously annoying, but rather warm and welcoming, a promise of lasting friendship. He hurries towards the door. But of course it is late at night and the newsagent is long closed. Does he live above it? Bikle isn’t sure, but he must try something. There is a bin outside the newsagent, crammed with empty goose boost and coke cans. He starts to pull some out and in doing so loads clatter to the floor. The noise startles him and he looks round, fearful that he will attract the wrong attention. Not a sound, nothing stirs. He moves again towards the scattered cans, picks one up and hurls it with his feeble limb upwards towards the window. Sadly so pitiful are his arms that the can doesn’t even reach the bottom of the window sill before dropping back to the concrete below. He tries again, and again, all in vain. He is just about to give it one last shot when he has the misfortune of treading on a large piece of glass that is lying around. The devilish shard pierces the bottom of his foot very badly and he screams loudly “owwww!”. He collapses, clutching his foot, dark blood dripping down into the wet dismal floor below him. The glass is still embedded but having no first aid knowledge he pulls it out as fast as he can and more blood pours out “Ho god! Dat hurts! Help be! Help sobe ode!” But lights are already on above the newsagent and a bald head is peeping down, now opening the window, looking at the wretch below “Ho h’who’s h’there? H’what’s happening?” “It’s be Bikle! I’b id trouble Sibod, bi deed help!” Bikle fears that this hideous world will round upon him again and this stalwart idiot will too reject him, it seems however this fear is unfounded “Ho, h’wait there, h’I’ll be h’right down!” And in a short space of time Simon is out there in his dressing gown looking down at the sad case before him. “Ho h’what happened to you Bikle?” “Ho Sibod, Borris docked by flat dowd, and I’ve beed walkig de streets since, I tried de hobeless shelter but de Turkey kicked be out. Cad you help be?” “Ho of course, h’anythig for a chum, cobe od id!” and these words are like a sweet nectar to Bikle’s wounded consciousness. He feels he may become a Christian when all this is over, help people as they helped him, never be nasty to Simon or Buckle again, be a good big brother and look after him. Go to the council, get somewhere new, get a job, a proper Job. All these worthy thoughts flurry through his mind as Simon leads him inside. Once inside Simon’s door he feels a sense of relief possibly even greater than when he got back from the mental unit after that voucher business. To get to the actual residence they have to go through the newsagent section, it strikes Bikle as a little uncanny as he hobbles past the scarcely lit periodicals and sweets. They go behind the counter and Simon unlocks a second door. This leads into a kind of living room/stock room. Boxes of the various items needed for shop line one side whereas on the other side is a an old light green two seater sofa, a coffee table, single armchair, some kind of console and a TV. In the gloom he also notices there is a sleeping figure hunched up asleep on the sofa. “The h’kitchen is through there.” He gestures to a door, “h’and upstairs, h’first on the h’right is the bathroom. Go and make yourself more h’comfortable and less stinky and I’ll h’make you something to eat.” Filled with gratitude, Bikle carefully creeps up the stairs and enters the slightly less grimy than his own erstwhile bathroom. There he washes himself, tends to his bleeding foot and puts on a dressing gown he hopes Simon won’t mind him using and with some sadness puts the hopelessly torn and stained Sisters of Mercy T-shirt in the bin. Then he trots downstairs to the promise of food. Back in the room there is now a dim light on. He can now see that the sleeping figure is in fact Buckle. It’s hard to see how he can be asleep he fits so badly into the small seating, yet sleep he does. On the table in front of the single chair is two slices of cheese on toast and a mug of steaming cocoa. “Ho, there you go h’Bikle.” In other circumstances this dish would be roundly rejected but now it seems like mana from heaven itself “Ho by god, thagks Sibod, dis is Barvellous!” and he eats the cheese on toast and looks at sleeping Buckle and  hears the line, in his head but doesn’t care, indeed it’s almost comforting. He takes a sip of cocoa and is warmed and livened by its chocolatey sweetness. “Hope you don’t bind about de dressig gown and de blood Sibod” “Ho not at all, h’Bikle, h’anything for a chub. H’I can’t give you the h‘spare room I’m h’afraid as h’I’ve a guest, you’re welcome to the h’armchair. There are h’throws h’over there” and he gestures to a couple of fleecey throws in a pile. So Bikle eats the foot, drinks the cocoa ‘like a good boy’ he thinks to himself and then gets a throw, wraps it round himself and makes himself as comfortable as he can in the armchair. The trauma of the day is so much that soon he is fast asleep. But sleep passes quick and a newsagent must arise early. In truth Simon does not try to wake them, but by 6 in the morning he is moving around in the room, getting his own breakfast. Bikle is hardly properly rested, but cannot help but be awoken. Buckle too now comes to awakeness. “Ho  Bikle! You’re hobe! I was wondering where you were.” Bikle in his bleary state can feel the bile rising quickly, but then something calms it “It’s dot hobe Buckle, I’b afraid we’re at Sibod’s” “Ho, barvellous, who’s Sibod?” “Dat ban dere, dat kind ban whose letting us stay here at de bobent” Simon smiles benevolently over. “Ho dat’s dice of him, is dere a fridge? Because I have a thought about what will be id it” “Dere is cheese actually Buckle, I had sobe last dight, I bet Sibson will let you have a sandwich or toastie if you ask dicely.” “Ho dat’s dice of hib, I thought dere’d be cheese” “Yes I dow, Buckle and you were right, clever boy! Hey cad I have a go wid de console Sibod?” “Hof course h’anything for a chum!” comes the reply. It turns out it’s an old Sega mega drive, soon Bikle has Sonic the hedgehog powered up and is playing away happily. Buckle has a go but finds it very difficult. Simon pops in and out from the front of the shop for a quick game  and the three of them have a generally pleasant time. At one point still in the morning Simon comes back again from the shop front with an announcement “Ho a h’couple of the boys have popped h’round for a gabe! Frole!” Pete and Paul bustle in and Bikle finds himself curiously pleased to see them. “Uhuhuhuh we’ll play the mega drive, with our tools” “Ho boys, I wouldn’t try it, I think your hands bight be better dis tibe!” “uhuhuh maybe you’re right” and they all settle down for some more gaming. By ten o clock the room is in considerable disarray but Simon doesn’t seem to mind, he even brings sweets through and makes more toast. Tea is drunken and some of his other old games are played. All in all a jovial time is had. In the midst of the conviviality they do not hear the footsteps descending the steps. The door opens and there stands a tall figure in black, indeed it looks very much like Bikle in his heyday except it is shinier and sleeker and slightly other worldly, he shimmers slightly as he moves. The eyes are the most notable difference having no white and just a shiny black buttons semblance. “Ho ho!” says the figure “Who’s all dis in herrrrreee??” the voice is slightly higher than Bikle’s but some syllables are distorted in bizarre way. “Ho buncle Bockle! Hello dere!” enthuses Buckle “Uuhuhuh, hello there with our tools!” Even Bikle cannot see the point in being rude “Hello dere Bockle, log tibe dow see!” “Yeessss, ehhh Bikllle, fancy seeig youuu here! Anyway if you’ll excuuuse be, I’ll get somme fooood!” Suddenly Pete and Paul get up “uuhuhuh we’ll help you get some food, with our tools!” and they follow Bockle into the kitchen  “Ho are we gettig food!” says Buckle “let be help, I dow what we can get!” and he lurches forwards after them. Bikle too, still wearing Simon’s light green bathrobe and hobbling, starts to get up “Ho Bockle if your gettig food baybe I should help, dis lot won’t be buch frasistance.” So they all get into the kitchen after him, babbling and getting things out, Buckle inevitably falls over clutching a Bockle’s cloak “Hoooo by goddd! Get out of herrre youu lot!” But Bikle feels defensive of their efforts “Ho don’t be like dat Bockle we’re odly tryig to help!”

 

“Heeeelp woooould be to get these gits out off by wayyy yoooouu fooool. I bead looook at what dat oooonee has done dowww! Jeeesus.” Bikle looks round, and indeed things are a bit of a mess. Paul has put two cork table mats into the toaster under the impression that they are slices of brown bread, and the room is rapidly filling with thick smoke. Pete goes to throw a pan of chip fat over the toaster, under the impression that it is water, and Bikle only just manages to stop him in time. Ignoring the “Uh huh huh don’t worry, we’ll fix it, uh huh huh, with our tools,” he ushers them into a corner of the small room, then goes and ejects the charred mats GT from the toaster, running them under the tap before placing them on the draining board. “Dere we go, do probleb dere, freasy bistake to bake, dow I’ll just switch od de bextractor fad, dere! Dat’ll sood get rid of de sboke.” He turns to see Pete grating a bar of soap over the burnt table mats. “Uh huh huh cheese on toast anybody.” “Seeeeee? What a baaaaand of cloowns.” “Dod’t eat dat boys, it’s soap, dot cheese.” He pauses, waiting for the inevitable, but the expected remark does not come. He peers round, struggling to see through the smoke. “Dat’s odd, de bextractor fad doesn’t seem to be doig buch of a job.” He can make out a muffled noise coming from near the window. Moving closer he can see Buckle, who has his head stuck in the extractor hood. “Bikle, Bikle, it’s dark I’d here, ad it sbells of dose fishcakes dat Sibod likes!” “Oh give be stredth! Hag od a bobedt dere Buckle, I’ll have you out I’d a trice.” Grabbing his brother by the waist, he pulls and pulls to no avail.. “Cobe od you two! Give be a hand to get by brother out of dat bextractor!” “Uh huh huh, we’ll get him out, with…” “Do do, just grab hold of be ad help pull!” The three give a tremendous yank, and Buckle, his head having been by now quite thoroughly lubricated with melting grease, pops out with unexpected ease, sending the whole quartet tumbling to the floor in a heap. “Bohhh!” “Mine Schnitzels!” Comes a strange voice, looking up from the floor Bikle sees a skeletal figure in an old fashioned frock coat and cravat, with a dusty white goatee and half-moon since next holding an empty frying pan, with a dismayed look upon its cadaverous face. “And zey were chust like zer ones zat mutter used to make!” “Dat dooees ittt. I really dod’t dow hoooow you opeeerate under dese conditions Bikle. Iiii’b offfff.” Somehow, in all the chaos, Bockle has managed to assemble a very passable Greek style chicken salad, with feta and olives, and orange segments, with which he vanishes irritably through the kitchen wall “Dow dat’s just typical of hib. Dever bind eh boys? Dow I wonder if you two would bind awfully getting off of be?” Although the culinary chaos stretched his new found positive attitude, Bikle is pleased to find that he is still feeling quite good, although the pain in his foot acts as a reminder of his travails, he is still envisioning a rosy future. He manages to shoo Buckle, Pete, Paul and Zombie Freud into the other room, and without their interference soon manages to knock together a big pan of hot porridge, which he spoons into chipped bowls and distributes among them amongst the gits. Zombie Freud grumbles a bit about his lost Schnitzels, but eventually tucks in like the others. Bikle observes them with some pride, “Ho, dod’t dey look cute, I almost wish dat I could keep deb.” In fact, so paternal does he feel, that he decides that he will put off his visit the housing office and give them all a bit of a treat. “Cobe od everybody, fidish your porridge quigly, I’b takig you all to de zoo!” There is a hubbub of excitement, “Ho de zoo! Barvellous!” “Uh huh huh huh, we love the zoo, with our tools!” “Ja ja, der zoo, das ist sehr gut!” “Cobe od den, get your coats of everybody, off to de zoo we go!” The gits bustle around, and soon they are all nicely wrapped up and ready to go, when Simon pops his head round the door. “Ho dere you are h’Bikle, H’I wondered if you could do be a bit of a h’favour and keep an eye on the newsagents for a bit, h’i’ve got to h’pop out.” Bikle is crestfallen, but then realises that this will in some small way help pay Simon back for his kindness. “Ho of course! H’anythig for a chub! De boys will be a bit disappoidted do, I was goig to take deb to de zoo.” “Ho h’what a coincidence, that’s where I’m going. Come on h’boys, come to the h’zoo with h’Uncle Simon!” The gits, even ZF, give a cheer, and troop out boisterously behind him. “Ho wait a bobedt, I have do idea how to rud a dewsagent!” But it is too late, the door slams and through the shop window he can see them skipping gaily down the street. “Ho well, dever bind, I bean how hard cad dis retail busidess be? I’b sure freverythig will be just fide! I’d fact dis looks like by first custober!”

The customer is a short stocky man wearing a pair of old brown trousers and a t-shirt with the curious slogan ‘Them’s the breaks droopy’. Bikle eyes him suspiciously but tries to be a welcoming host “Hello dere sir, what cad I do for you, dewspaper perhaps?” The man twitches and looks at the floor before answering “Harming a hamster mean twice as many for Doris next Wednesday.” Bikle looks on confused “Yes, berr dat sounds about right, let be dow if you deed sobe help.” So Bernard Brown shuffles round the shop, now here now there, eventually he gets a can of goose boost ultra out of the fridge and a packet of space raiders from the crisp box, these he places in front of Bikle “right sir, so crisbs and de drink, dat’ll be berr…” Bikle looks at the crisps and drink and realises he has no idea whatsoever what to do with the till. People scan things he thinks, maybe that’s it, he looks for a barcode reader and actually sees one. So he picks up the crisps and tries to scan the barcode, after several failed attempts there is a satisfying beep and the price 20p appears on the register, he repeats the procedure for the goose boost and discovers the price for this is £1.20. The till calculates the total for him, £1.40. “Dere dat’ll be £1.40 please” Bernard Brown looks at him quizzically “Ooh well if you turn left at Slough roundabout there’s a surprise at the third breakfast”. Despite this curious pronouncement he does seem to be reaching in his pocket so Bikle presumes understanding has occurred. The struggle with his pocket continues for some seconds before Bernard finally produces a small circular piece of carpet which he the passes to Bikle “Do do dat’s dot bodey, I deed £1.40” Bernard looks back him “Well bananas were flying, and the duke said ‘Let him go! Let him go!’” Bernard shouts ‘let him go’ so forcefully Bikle is quite alarmed. At this moment the door opening bell rings and Johnson comes in.  Bikle begins to sweat. Bernard Brown stops talking and begins to shuffle his feet about. “Berr £1.40 please?” Bikle asks again feebly, Bernard Brown picks up the goose boost and space raiders and begins to walk out. Bikle finds he is hopelessly psychologically inadequate to deal with this and just manages “Cobe agaid sood sir!” in an attempt to give the façade of a happy village newsagent. Johnson now approaches the counter, also with a goose-boost. This Johnson is some kind of workman like creature, replete with tool belt and hi vis waistcoat “Mwaaerk!” He shouts gesturing to the cigarettes behind Bikle “De cigarettes, yes of course sir, which brand?” “Mwaaerk!” Johnson indicates again, Bikle does not understand “De rothbans?” “Mwaaerk!” comes the angry retort, and violent gesture. Desperately trying to follow the direction of the pointing flipper, Bikle looks hard, is it the roll ups? He reaches for a packet of ‘Johnson’s Smooth Rolling  Tobacco’ and shows it to Johnson. Johnson takes the tobacco with an irritated look, Bikle is still unsure if that’s actually what he wanted, Johnson stands patiently for a moment before barking out another angry “Mwaaerk!” Bikle looks on “berr, rizla?” “Mwaaerk!” “A lighter?” “Mwaaerk!” “Dere you are sir!” he says as politely as he can, handing the things over, “dat’ll be £8.69” but Johnson’s ire has now turned to a smirk as he makes an obscene gesture with his flipper and utters a loud derogatory sounding “Mwaaerk!” which we may interpret as “up yours twatface!” before walking out of the shop. Bikle is somewhat crestfallen “Oh do, two custobers and do bodey frob eider of dem, Sibod will be bad wid be”. But there are no more customers soon after. The silence of the newsagency is oppressive to him, he wants to back to the mega-drive but knows he shouldn’t. A couple of times he starts to pick up small items and animate them, but then quickly pulls himself up, so to speak, to not become involved in that nonsense, especially after how his last job ended. Bored and restless his eyes fall on a row of pairs of scissors packaged up for sale.  A curious series of thoughts begin to strike him, Simon’s baldness, his new found sense of self, monks, uncle bikle, monkle bikle! The path of action seems clear; enthusiastically he unpackages the scissors, noting the price and promising mentally that he will pay it back later. They are kitchen scissors in truth, with bright orange handles, but still he thinks, certainly fit for purpose. His course assured he begins to chop away at his lank black hair. In fact it’s harder work than he thought it would be, but soon he has made good headway and a vast amount of erstwhile dark mane lies around on the floor behind the counter. Of course these are not clippers so he in fact cannot make himself bald at all and realistically all that is being achieved is one of the worst haircuts in history. Still Bikle is undeterred and enthusiastically snips and snips until he feels he can snip no more. The light green dressing gown which he is still wearing is now covered with dark hairs of different sizes and his neck and back are now very itchy from all the loose hairs inside the garment. The look of the haircut, indeed the figure as a whole could now happily stand next to Bernard Brown and one would be hard pressed to tell which was the mental patient, though one might point out that this was also true before the haircut. Nevertheless the haircut has not improved the matter no matter how fitting it might be to Bikle’s current surge of bonhomie. “Dere buch better!” he says out loud with glee “Like a weight is of by shoulders!” and then laughs because of course a small amount of weight is off his shoulders.  The newsagent bell rings again. It’s Mrs Braddenpipe in for her copy of the telegraph. Bikle is pleased to see her “bordig boddob, frow cad I help you?” he enthuses. Mrs Braddenpipe takes one look at the shabby, hairy, lanky, dressing gown garbed figure and decides the telegraph can wait. “Boddob cobe back!” he shouts as she about turns “I cad help…” but his word fall away empty.

 

Back in Morris’ house he has seated himself on  kitchen chair in the middle of the living room carpet with another chair opposite him. Yolanda is seated on the sofa watching on. “Wait for this Yolanda, this is hilarious!” “Fucking hell Morris, will you get on with it! I’ve got to change the dishwasher salt.” “No fear my little braised cockchafer, Johnson will be out in a mo.” They sit there for a moment longer, Yolanda looking surly, Morris beaming cheerfully. At length Les Dawson Johnson appears (somehow restored from his accident with the trombone) in a waiters outfit. He walks up to Morris and mwaaerks inquisitively. “Yes that would be lovely, please bring it to me.” Says Morris in something of a wooden manner. Les Dawson Johnson returns with a pair of chattering joke teeth on a platter and serves them to Morris. Morris looks up at him in faux irritation “No Johnson I do not want that, I believed you were offering me an aperitif.” Then he starts laughing, as does LDJ. Then he looks at Yolanda who has her head in her hands. “What do you think my sweet? Johnson and I have been working on it for some time.”

Yolanda takes a deep breath. “It’s magnificent Morris. The best thing I’ve seen in ages. My sides hurt.” Can I go now?” “A moment longer my little careworn optometrist, if you like that, you’ll love this… Johnson!” LDJ reappears, dressed as a pantomime style genie, with an old fashioned ear trumpet held to his head. “Maybe later Morris. That last one was so funny, I don’t think I could handle another jape of a similar magnitude. As it is I think that I might need a bit of a lie down.” “Ho ho, very wise my little index linked pension scheme, we’ll save it for later then. Stand down Johnson, you too shorty.” This last is addressed to a manikin of around a foot in height, dressed in evening clothes and sitting at a miniature grand piano. “Don’t wander off mind, we’ll need you in a bit. Care for a thimbleful of Skol while you wait?” Meanwhile, back at the Newsagents…Bikle is somewhat dismayed. The last half a dozen customers have behaved just like Mrs Braddenpipe, cheerfully entering the shop, only to turn and take to their heels. “Dis is bost stradge,” he muses, “Nobody seebs to wadt to buy dese dice dewspapers. I wonder why dat cad be?” He pulls this over for a while without coming up with any particular answer, let alone the answer which to anybody else would be glaringly obvious, that he, looking as he does is frightening the customers away. “Whatever cad be de batter? Baybe it’s like dat article dat I read od de idterdet said, ad frelectrodic bedia has replaced de pridted word. Poor Sibod! I dod’t dow how I’b goig to break it to hib. Dat lovely kind ban! Frobsolete!”

His eyes are misting up as he thinks about it further, imagining all manner of tragedies to come. “If dobody buys his dewspapers he’ll be bagkrupd! Do bore dewsagents! He’ll be hobeless ad hudgry like be! I bust do sobethig!” But what to do?   Indeed, the more he tries to come up with a brilliant plan, the more insistently images of Simon’s downfall impinge. Simon sitting at the counter late into the night trying to balance his books, worrying over unpaid bills, the stock growing sparser, customers rarer, until the fateful day when the bailiffs come to throw him out onto the streets, a last rally, as he sees him, in his mind’s eye, gamely stood on the street corner, “Ho, Help the Homeless h’sir, h’madam, buy the big h’issue!”, failure, and the downwards spiral into drink and drugs. Bikle is weeping uncontrollably now. He visualises Simon’s descent into prostitution, and his final Dickensian demise from a combination of tuberculosis and laudanum, which as everybody knows, is a very bad combination indeed. In this final miserable daydream, which for some reason is now playing in the sepia tones of faded old photographs, as Simon’s wasted corpse is being loaded onto a horse drawn ambulance, Bikle, once again utterly immersed in his own fantasy world, rears up and shrieks: “DOOOOOO! DOOOOOO! I won’t let it happen!” “Won’t you now? Oo, eeh, that’s a smidgen inconvenient then isn’t it? Any particular reason for that is there? The bald cove never seemed to mind me buying a bag of bullseyes and an Exchange and Mart. You new are you? Bit excitable if you ask me, not that you did, but he speaks as he finds does old Dennis, and frankly I find you peculiar, no not peculiar, what’s the word again, repellent? No not quite, repugnant, that’s the one. Repugnant. In a loathsome kind of way that is if you catch my meaning. Now, what about me paper and sweeties then, any discount seeing as how I’m forced to acknowledge your actual existence? Call it 25%, no? 35, tell you what, 50, 60 and that’s me final offer. How about 75% and you throw in 10 Hamlet to keep me interested, not that I am of course, far from it, but that’s the form see? All part of the game innit? Which reminds me, who did your hair? Very avant garde. In that you “avant” much hair. Good that wasn’t it, must remember to tell Morris that one, have a little chuckle about it we will, you know, later on, behind your back, laughing about you. Anyway this isn’t getting the pony flayed now is it? Best be off, I’ll just take these shall I? You can pay me the rest tomorrow from your giro, don’t forget me Panatellas will you, there’s a good freak.” “Ho do, please Bister Cutler! Cad’t you please pay sobethig for deb? Dobody pays for adythig ad dat’s why Sibod is going to die of tuberculosis!” “Ooo is he indeed? Tuberculosis you say?  Now there’s a pickle. And he always looked the picture of health. He must have inconspicuous consumption, see what I did there? No, don’t suppose you did, should I draw you a diagram?” “Ho please stop it Bister Cutler, please. Poor Sibod has beed so kind to be and Buckle, and Freud and Pete and Paul, ad dow he’s taked  deb to de zoo…” “Has he by God? Well I hope he gets a good price for them.” “Do, Do, he’s taked deb dere for a treat, ad dobody will by his dewspapers! Ad do you dow why?” Cutler rolls his eyes and stuffs a handful of Double Deckers into his coat pocket. “Can’t say as I care, but go on, unburden yourself further whilst I cram a few of these packets of batteries into me waistcoat.” “De idterdet! Dat’s de probleb! De idterdet! Dobody wadts to buy a dewspaper whed dey cad get it all od dere bobiles.” “Ah now there you do engage my sympathies to a degree, a very small degree granted, but probably measurable. Being in the retail trade myself I understand. Can’t abide people who think they should be able to get something for nothing, by the by just hold this sack open for me, that’s the ticket, bit wider, bit wider, lovely.” “Dat’s right Bister Cutler, frof course, you’re de salesbad bextraordidaire! Ho please wod’t you help be to frelp Sibod?” “Oo eeh well now, when you put it like that, how can I refuse? I’ll tell you, like this: not a fucking hope shitlord, I wouldn’t piss on you or that slapheaded little runt if you were blazing merrily away on my front lawn. You haven’t got a hand truck or some kind of trolley there have you? Much obliged, if you could just get the door, there. Wonderful.” Tears welling, Bikle makes one more plea, “Ho dod’t be a piker! I’ll do adythig!” “Well you can start by helping me get these crates in the van. Hmmm, anything eeeeh? Well when you put it like that, the answer is still no.” Cutler slams the doors of his van, which now appears to contain the largest part of the stock of Simon’s shop, and climbs into the driver’s seat. Waving cheerfully, he reverses over Bikle’s previously uninjured foot, toots the horn and drives off.

“Frouch! By toes!” shouts our protagonist, before waving his arms wildly at the receding van in desperation “Bister Cutler stop! In god dame have bercy ban! How can you leave such huban sufferig to happed whed you cad stop it!?” The van stops just yards down the road, Bikle’s eyes wet with tears rushes towards it, shouting-rambling as he goes “I dew you’d stop, I dew you’d stop, oh bister Cutler thagkew!” Cutler opens the door, steps out of the van and over to a nearby cat. “Ooh ee mustn’t pass that up must I?” “What are you doig Bister Cutler? Aren’t you goig to help be?” “Still here are we? I’m just popping puss here in this bag, claim the reward later see, or sell her on, make a bob see?” “But de dewsagent!” “What newsagent? I don’t see any newsagent! See what I did? Subverted the form, took the imprint switched it around, took the cat, popped it in the bag, didn’t poop in the bag did I? That’s a vulgar Americanism and you can’t sell poo in a bag anyway, well not mostly. Unless you fancy poo in a bag? Look there’s one here!” he picks up a discarded dog poo tied neatly in a bag “got your name on it I reckon, suits you down to the ground, top left pocket of the gown, suit you a treat, take the shit out when you’re ready like, smear it on your face, stick grass to it, jobs a good’un wouldn’t you say?” “But bister Cutler dis is serious!” “It is serious chummy but I reckon with this magic poo in your pocket the customers will come flooding back, especially if you do the grass trick. Then baldy will be saved, don’t say I don’t help you now ee?” “Really bister Cutler?” “True as your standing over there sonny.” At this Cutler points across the road “Thagkew bister Cutler.” And he reaches for the excerement filled bag “Not so fast dicky, what does uncle Dennis need first?” “Oh yes bodey! How buch for de bagic poo?” “Ooh well, seein’ as it’s you, call it a tenner, maybe twenty is best, or safest just the large notes from the till, just the notes from the till, and the coins, don’t bother with the copper you’ll need it for change.” “Righto bister cutler, oh Sibod will be so pleased!” and with this he rushes back into the newsagent, is gone for a moment whilst he struggles to open the till, then returns clutching a small wadge of notes and a handful of pound coins, fifty ps and twenty ps. “Dere you are bister Cutler” he says happily handing over the cash “There’s your poo squire, that’ll sort you out no question!” “”Thanks agaid Deddis, cad I call you Deddis?” “Well seen as you’re the kind of disgusting scum I’d have rounded up in a camp, no you bloody may well not! Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve cats to find!” And he gets back in the van and speeds away. “Ho well at least I’ve got dis bagick excrebent to get de custobers back!” and with this he jaunts back in the shop. In just a second though he’s back out again. “Ho, bister Cutler said I deeded to sbear grass into it, ho has luck would have it dere’s sobe old grass cuttigs od de verge dere!” So over he goes and scoops up a good double handful. “I’d better do dis inside de dewsagent  or people will thig frit’s weird!” So he takes it back inside to the counter. Once back in the shop he takes the magic faeces bag from the instructed pocket and begins to untie it “By god dat sbells awful! De bagic bust be really strog!” So with a kind of superhuman resistance that only the disturbed are possessed of, he dips his hands into the bag and begins to smear the moist excrement all around his mouth, upper and lower lip, and cheeks, rather as it was a shaving cream. With stoic resistance to the disgusting smell he then dutifully sticks the grass to the foul smelling muck as best as he is able. He takes a small for sale shaving mirror down to check the effect and is most pleased, in fact he double takes at the effect as he fancies the shit bearded effect gives him more than a passing resemblance to Morris. “Ho Barvellous, see to it Johndsod!” he play acts “Clead up dis bess SB or I will burd you to death!” Another thought, SB shit beard? Shit beard the wizard? Is that what he is? There was something else useful outside he remembers and hastens back through the door. There he greets an old lady by with small terrier dog just passing by shop. “Frall right dere! Boddob!” he says imbued with magic powers “aaaagh!” screams the woman and hurries away, the dog snarling furiously at him “ho baybe de bagic works only in de shop!” but before he can go back in he must get what he came for, thus he trots over to some nearby unattended roadworks, retrieves a traffic cone and hastens back into the shop. “Dis should do de job, just like Yolanda did at de bird show!” he thusly places the cone on his head and now fancies himself the mighty wizard shit beard. “Dow to wait for de custobers to flock in!” But no customers come. Some word must have got around, or the magic must be defective because there is nothing all day. “Oh do,” he begins to lament “I’ve gived all de bodey away for fodey bagic shit and half de stock is bissig! Dis is a fristaster!” Slumped on the counter half propped up by a stool he eventually falls asleep.  It’s dark when he is awoken by the ‘ding’ of the door, this noise is followed by a “Bohhhhh!” *crash!* and he is aware Buckle is back.

“Bikle! Bikle where are you?” “I’b over here Buckle! Where’s de rest of you?” “I’b all here Bikle!” he announces coming out of the shadows. “Do do, where’s de others?” “Ho what others do you bean?” “You went to de Zoo wid Simon and de boys. Where are dey?” “Ho de Zoo, dat sounds exciting! Cad we go?” “Do Buckle, you’ve just beed to the zoo!” “Do Bikle, you bust be mistaked, I’ve beed to de firework display!” “Firework display?” “Yes wid de big bodfire and de happy shouting people and adibals!” “Adibals you see, dat was de zoo, what was de fire doig dere?” “Well Borris turned up wid de flabethrower and dere was a show, and Sibod was eated by de escaped tiger, and de boys disappeared sobewhere id de sboke so be and Ziggy cabe hobe, we got you sobe rock! What’s dat od your face? What’s dat awful sbell?”

“Do dot bedtiod de sbells Buckle, or you will ruid de bagic! I’ve beed thigkig about dis bost of de day, at first I thought dat de bagic did dot work, but ded I frealised dat of course it wod’t work od de save day as you do de bagic!” Buckle takes this at face value, and appears interested. “Why’s dat den Bikle?” “Because of de bood you ditwit! De bood bust go up ad den go dowd! Frobviously!” “Oh de bood, of course, silly be! What are we havig for tea den Bikle? Will Sibod bake us sobe cheese od toast agaid?” “Do, do, poor Sibod was eated by dat tiger rebebber?” Buckle looks horrified. “A tiger? Whed did dat happed?” “While you were at de zoo!” “Dod’t be silly Bikle, Sibod was at de zoo wid be, it bust of beed sobebody else who got eated.” “Do! Do! It happeded at de zoo!” “What did Bikle?” “Sibod gettig eated by de tiger!” “Sibod got eated by a tiger? Whed did dat happed?” “Fro gib be stregdth, you told be about it rebebber? Told be about Sibod!” “Ho yes Sibod, will he be hobe sood? I’b starving!” “Ho Jesus Christ! Dever bide Buckle, have sobe of dis out of date treacle toffee udtil teatibe.” There is a strange, faint shimmering noise, and Bockle walks in through the closed door. “Whaaat, yoou twoo still hereeee? Jesus, whatt’s daaat fuckig hoooorible smeeeeelll?” Bikle looks up irritably, “Will everybody just stop goig od about de sbell! It’s bagic all right? Bagic! Dow adyway, what are you doing hangig about all de tibe? We hadn’t seed you I’d ages, ad dow you’re practically obdipresedt.” Bockle looks quite uncomfortable, “Hoooh doo reaaal reaaassod, just visiiiting, aanyyway, do tibeee to chat, busssst be goig.” And disappears through the floor. Buckle turns and looks out of the window “Look Bikle! De bood is up!” “Dat’s right Buckle, ad whed it goes dowd agaid, de bagic will bring all de custobers flocking to de shop. Dow Sibod has beed eated by dat tiger, de shop is bide! All bide! Dow I ab de dewsagent! Borris will have to Cobe crawlig to be for his dewspapers! Ho ye, de boot is od de other foot dow! Shit Beard de wizard dewsagent bad, dat’s be!” With this tirade, he laughs heartily and bursts into a strange and ungainly dance, twirling and pirouetting around the shop, the hairy, shitty green bathrobe billowing around him. “Shit Beard the Wizard, Shit Beard is by dabe! Sell-ing dews-papers dat’s by little Gabe!” He capers and frolics, gambols and cackles wildly as he goes. Buckle, never averse to a chance for a leap about, joins in the dancing in his own energetic but clumsy way, singing along with Bikle. The two caper and cavort around the shop to the tune, if it can be called, of “Shit Beard the Dewsagent”, with Buckle careening into what remains of the inventory. Passersby shudder at the odd sounds of wailing and shouting, banging and crashing, and hurry past the once popular newsagency, now already a place shunned, and talked of only in whispers.
At length the bacchanal stops and Buckle looks enquiringly, slightly peeved at Bikle “But Bikle, I’d like to be shit beard de wizard too, and bake de bagic custobers cobe!” “Do Buckle! I’b shit beard, dat’s whey dey call be SB.” “But dat’s dot fair, why can’t I be shit beard de wizard too!” but then Bikle’s new self takes hold of his petulance and he stops and ponders “Okay Buckle, let be thigk, you cad be de wizards helper frif you like.” “Ho do I get de shit beard like you!” He is about to say ‘dot likely’ but then considers the matter “Hmmmb yes Buckle we cad do you a shit beard too, but your dot de proper wizard fralright? Just de helper!” “Ho alright Bikle, dat’s sounds good cad we get de bagic poo dow!” “Dot dow Buckle its dark, besides its dot ady poo, its bagic poo frob bister Cutler. Id de bordig we cad find hib and get you sobe!” “Right you are Bikle, I ab tired adyway cad we go to bed dow?” “Ja Ja wir muss bald schlafen. Morgen ist eine grosse Tag!” says a lich like figure that seems to have kept out of the way until now. “I suppose should check what tibe de shop is supposed to be oped fruntil” says Shit beard, but then looks at the empty knocked over shelves, strewn newspapers and general mess and decides enough is enough. So with no sense of locking up he ushers Freud and Buckle back into the rear rooms, taking with him some of the remaining loose crisp packets and a loaf of happy shopper white bread. Back in the living room he distributes these goods to the remainder of his tribe who gratefully consume them. They then play a few rounds of sonic the hedgehog (at which Freud is surprisingly adept) before bed. “I’b havig Sibod’s room” announces Bikle, “it’s what he would habe wanted as I’b ruddig de dewsagent dow, you ad Freud cad sleep dowd here, wait a bidute what’s dat doig here?” Bikle is gesturing to a barrel shaped object that seems to be lumbering about the place. Closer inspection in the gloom reveals it is a wooden barrel, yet where the lid should be is a large toad amphibian head, a toad’s to be precise. The creature utters a loud croaking ribbet which causes Bikle to jump. “Fuck! What is dat?” “Es ist ein Toad Barrel Kombination nichtwar?” “Ho god what’s it doig id here?” “Ho de bagic bust have brought it Bikle! It bust be starting to work!” “Ho dear, I don’d dow frif dat’s de kind of custobers I was after. Get it out of here!” “Ho I think it’s cute, cadn’t we keep it?” Bikle eyes the situation and his own tiredness and the trouble he is likely to have wrestling this creature out of the building “Ho god, go od ded, but your id charge of it Buckle, you too Ziggy! I’b goig to bed dow, we have to be up early for de custobers!” “Barvellous, thagks Bikle, dight dight!” So Bikle goes up the  stairs. There he sees the three doors: the bathroom, Simon’s room and the spare room, in which Bockle currently resides “what’s dat freak doig here?” he ponders “I bet by bisfortudes have sobethig to do wid hib.” He listens at the door but can hear nothing but the mumbled noise of what sounds like a tv program and a strange clicking sound. Not daring to stand there any longer he goes into Simon’s room. Its shabby and sparse, it has a single bed with a light green duvet, very similar in fact to his filthy dressing gown. He takes the hat off places it in the corner of the room and moves to get into bed. On the pillow is a grimy copy of National Geographic with a picture of a fierce tiger on the front. The irony of this not being lost on Bikle he smirks somewhat to himself. He then disrobes and gets into the bed where despite having a face still partially covered in dog excrement and grass he falls into a deep sleep. He dreams a vivid dream, where he seems to move around invisibly. He sees Bockle in this vision world, he sees him as a strange kind of father Christmas figure. Except rather than presents it seems Bockle has pieces of cheese in a large sack. He sees a flurry of images in which Bockle places these various sized pieces of cheese in strange places, warping in and out of reality as he does do. The image disturbs him in some incomprehensible way and he wakes up in the bed, sweat pouring off him aware of a terrible smell in his nose. He goes to wipe the smell away and smears the remainder of the faecal matter into his nostrils. Somehow cured or forgetful of the previous day’s events the smells intensification cannot be withstood and he is violently sick over himself and the bed. The vomit comes out of his nose too which mercifully clears the dog shit from his nostrils “Ho god! What’s goig od?” he mumbles to himself. But being only half awake he reaches for the filthy dressing gown, mops the sick off himself and then lies the wet side on the remaining sick on the bed (so the dry side is face up). This he lies back onto and soon is asleep once more.

 

Back in Morris’ house, things at least for Morris are much jollier. Yolanda is back on the couch, bleary eyed, clutching the vodka bottle whilst Morris launches the next sketch. “Right my sweet architectonic of thought, brace yourself.” And he sits down at a table and chairs in the middle of the room. LD Johnson returns in his waiters fig. “Yes that would be most agreeable!” says Morris. LDJ disappears from the room before reappearing with a mountainous pile of ruined cushions that he somehow manages to carry. Upon reaching Morris they topple upon him and he faux falls beneath them. A moments comedic timing later he can be heard to utter “no Johnson when you suggested I ‘ave a lunch’ this is not what I had in mind!” at which the midget plays a comedy finishing piece on the piano. Yolanda groans and takes another swig. “Can I go now Morris? I’ve really loads to do!” “What do you need to do my little onerous wasteland? Johnson will do it if you but ask, put your feet up and enjoy the show why don’t you. Look you’ll love this.” And he gestures from centre of the room, standing in the cushion pile to the kitchen. This time a Thompson comes on, looking terrified. Behind him comes some kind of armed Johnson clutching a bottle of still spring water and box of painkillers. “Now my sweet, tell me why does no one have a head ache in the jungle?” “Oh god Morris, I don’t know I don’t care…” “Because, Johnson!” And Johnson mwaaerks loudly at the poor Thompson, roughly handing him the painkillers and water. Everyone watches on as Thompson is forced at gun point to consume the box of pain killers. Once he has finished, Morris smiles points and gives the line “because the parrots eat em all!” Thompson looks ill already “Morris that’s horrible, make that poor creature sick them up!” “And ruin your carpet my love, never!” “Send him to hospital quick then, he needs to have his stomach pumped.” “I do not think that will help my love, indeed given his metabolism I doubt he will ‘liver’ long enough! Do you see what I did there? Given the action paracetamol exerts on the system that is?” “Morris what the fuck do you know about a Thompson’s metabolism, get it to a doctor now!” “Very well my treacly uncle I shall send for Dr VS Johnson, he will no doubt know what to do in this instance.”

 

At this, the Thompson utters an agonised “Wakaaaaark!” And drops with a thud. Dr VS Johnson appears from behind his favourite curtain, applies his stethoscope and looks grave. He raises Thompson’s wing, and letting it fall limply, shakes his head. “Never mind eh Johnson? Plenty more where that came from. “So saying he gestures out of the living room window, where there are indeed a large number of forlorn looking Thompsons crammed into a barbed wire enclosure and guarded by burly Johnsons with attack dogs. Yolanda thinks about protesting, but cannot summon the energy. Morris continues, “Glad you popped in Johnson, just in time to give us a hand with this next number. Grab a washboard…” Dr VSJ does as he is bidden, LDJ and the 12″ Pianist start pounding the keys of their pianos, joined by 50’s Hepcat Johnson, in a neat black turtleneck on stand-up bass, and by Swing It Daddy-O Johnson on guitar, as they launch into an up tempo version of the old Vipers hit “10,000 Years Ago” with Morris on vocals. Morris vocal stylings are him just rambling on in his usual gruff monotone. The song is built around the refrain “I was born 10,000 years ago, and there’s nothing in the world I don’t know,” this is then followed by some claim to have witnessed some nonsensical historical event, such as “I saw dear old Kaiser Bill, chase a goose through Muswell Hill,” followed by the phrase, “And I’ll whip the man who says it isn’t so…” Despite Morris’s pedestrian delivery, the Johnsons prove themselves to be a tight, switched on combo, and despite herself Yolanda finds herself tapping her foot in time to the music. “…and I saw Samuel Longhorns Clements, juggle half a dozen lemons…” Hepcat Johnson keeps one flipper on the top of the bass, and uses the other to spin it round, before picking up the beat once more. Yolanda, who is by now pretty hammered on various meds on top of numerous VGB’s, thinks that this is pretty cool and hoots with approval. Spurred on by this, Swing It Daddy-O Johnson does the Chuck Berry Duck Walk across the stage, for stage it now is, rather than the living room carpet. Yolanda applauds with enthusiasm. “Woooo!” “Why is nobody dancing?” Morris suddenly enquires, “Johnson! I require dancers, and moreover, I require them toot sweet.” The French windows fly open and a crowd of distraught Thomson’s are herded in by guards. Mexican Bandit Johnson appears and begins firing his pistols into the floor at the terrified creatures feet causing them to leap about, Halfway through the next verse however, Morris suddenly seems to lose interest and wanders off the stage. The band carry on for a few bars, then kind of tail off. The Johnsons look at each other and shrug, and amble off into the dressing room / kitchen where a potato buffet has been laid out. Morris paces up and down distractedly with his hands behind his back. For some reason he is now wearing a grubby, oil stained white jumper and a naval captain’s . “Morris! I was enjoying that!” Chides Yolanda, who is quite put out at the sudden cessation of the music. “Were you? Well I wasn’t. And neither were you.” He looks around surlily, “What are all these landlubbers doing aboard? See to it Johnson!” MBJ this time aims at the heads of the Thompson’s, and as they run around flapping and wakarking in desperate fear, picks them off one by one. As he drags the bodies out, leaving blood and feathers everywhere, Morris chuckles to himself. “Get it ‘Landa? “Sea” to it Johnson? Ho ho ho, must remember to tell Dennis about that one.” Abruptly he looks pensive again and resumes his pacing. The theatrical lighting which had appeared during the skiffle interlude is replaced by a dim and sombre red glow, from the engine room/hallway comes the sound of chugging diesel motors. A klaxon suddenly sounds, causing Yolanda to jump. “Jesus Morris, what the fuck was that? And what have you done to the living room now?” Preoccupied, he doesn’t respond, instead picking up a speaking tube, “Full steam ahead Johnson, keep her steady.” He turns his cap backwards and peers into a periscope, “Hmmm, I’m not sure that I like the look of this Yolanda…” The view through the periscope is of a grubby and disordered bedroom, which we recognise as that formerly belonging to Simon. Bikle is lying on the bed snoring lightly. The picture blurs, then sharpens, and then switches to another view. The scene is a huge newsagency, the size of an aircraft hangar. Everything is gleaming and opulent, hundreds of customers queue up at dozens of tills, clamouring to purchase newspapers, magazines, confectionery and tobacco products. In the midst of all this activity Bikle strides through the throng, a look of extreme smugness upon his face. As he pauses each till, which are all staffed by ravishing young women, he nods regally. His pixie boots are of the finest crocodile hide, burnished to a high sheen. His trousers of deepest black are impeccably tailored, his frilled shirt the rarest silk, and his cloak is midnight velvet and billowing around him majestically. He approaches a raised platform, something reminiscent of a Mayan pyramid, and slowly climbs the many steps to the apex. As he reaches the top, a bell tolls thrice, and the bustling commercial activity ceases instantly. The lights dim, save for one beam of brilliant light which illuminates Bikle. “Ho dere by loyal custobers! It is tibe for by daily adoidtbedt!” An awed hush falls upon the multitude as he reaches into a golden casket with both hands, then draws them forth and begins to smear a dubious looking substance over his face. The picture goes out of focus for a moment, and then returns, only now a huge cartoon cow is galloping through the shop floor, followed by Buckle, who is shouting “Cobe back Brs Cheesejuice badibal! Buckle wants to play podies! “Morris takes his eye from the periscope and shakes his head. “What’s the matter dear?” Asks Yolanda. “It’s most vexing my little previously unclassified arthropod, I am peering into the diseased dreams of old Shit Boy, for reasons which concern you not a whit, but I appear to be picking up interference on the old dreamscope from his wretched brother. “Returning to the dreamscope, it appears that Bikle’s dreaming has moved on, now he is laying luxuriantly upon a chaise lounges of golden silk, whilst a small orchestra play the “Shit Beard the Wizard” theme quietly in the background. A veiled figure, swathed in white robes and carrying a golden dish of grapes enters, bows deeply, and shuffles towards where Bikle reclines. “Ah, by grapes! Ad about tibe too! Cobe here you little binx!” As the veiled figure shuffles closer, he runs his bony fingers through his glossy black hair, and an unpleasant, wheedling, coaxing tone enters his voice. “Dat’s it darlig, Cobe to ugkle Shit Beard, dat’s de way. Ad how would you like to sit od by dee? Or sobethig, o.o.o.” The veiled servitor drops their head shyly, but moves a bit closer. “Ho, dat’s by girl, dat veil doesd’t really suit you, you dow, but it does give you a certaid air of bystery dat I fide quite frattractive. So buch so, dat I suspect dat I night just give you ode of Br Shit Beard’s kisses, what do you say to dat den bissy?” So saying, he lunges forward and rips off the figures veil. The picture blurs and sharpens again as Morris focuses the dreamscope. Bikle shrieks and falls backwards from his silken divan. A dead white face, marred with gory scarlet claw marks leers out from the folds of the shroud like white cloth. A voice, unmistakably familiar, yet horridly changed issues from the bloodless lips, “Ho h’go on h’then, pucker up! H’anything for a h’chum!”

 

He leaps back in a strange dreamlike comedic fear proclaiming “Zoinks a Sibod zombie like rud for it scoob!” At which point a kind of half Buckle half Scooby doo creature not previously present is now on the scene. Shaggy-Bikle and Scooby-Buckle then run left and right around the place evading the smooch seeking Simon phantom before finally landing slapstick style in a pile of barrels. The protagonists now find that each one of them is embedded in a barrel with their heads poking out the top and their legs out the bottom. The chase continues, only now the toad-barrel combination of earlier is also on the scene and bounds either after or with them also pursued by the undead Simon. At some length they stop, Bikle-Shaggy turns round to Buckle-Scooby to say “I thigk we lost hib Scoob!” only to be greeted by a smiling toad-barrel head which gives him a comedy slurp, licking some of the excrement off his face in the process “dooo, dot de bagic poo!” he screams and wakes up with a start! At first he thinks he must be in his flat, but in a second the memory of the past couple of day reasserts itself and he feels a crashing sadness. This emotional sequence happens in a twinkling though as his bleary face receives another less dreamlike lick. He peers glassesless at the cause and can just make out the toad-barrel combination right at the bed side delivering another lick to his cheek. The reaction is the same as the dreamworld “ Doooo! Dot de bagic poo!” but too late, whilst in slumberland the toad-barrel has practically entirely cleaned Bikle’s face from its faecal facemask. He rolls out of bed in a morass of vomit soaked bed and dressing gown hearing in the process a familiar ‘vwukk!’ “Barvellous!” Glancing around from his place on the floor he can now see that somehow the fridge is in the room with Buckle opening and closing it, the door to the top of the stairs is open, Zombie Freud is leafing through a copy of ‘newsagency today’ whilst sitting on a chair next to Simon’s chest of draws. “Ho by god!” utters in his old self “what are you bastards doig id here, dis by roob!” “Oh hello dere Bikle, be and Freud brought de fridge up to bake it bore like de old flat!” “What de fuck? Get dis thig out of here!” “Oh sorry about bodzo, good boy bodzo, cobe here!” but the toad-barrel either does not know its knew name or does not care and is far more interested in removing every last tasty lick from Bikle’s face. With a well-timed bounce it lands right in front of him again. “Holy fuck! Get dis thig away frob be!” “it likes de bagic poo Bikle!” “I cad see dat Buckle, but dow by face is clead, dere will be do custobers agaid.” “what custobers are dose Bikle?” “For de dewsagent Buckle!” “What dewsagent Bikle?” “Christ od a bike! De ode we’re livig above. Ho god!” he suddenly exclaims looking at the time “its god 8 o clock and we haven’d opend de shop!” Some vague sense of order grips him and he rises from the floor, fending Bonzo off in the process. Goes over to the chest of draws finds some ill-fitting clothes til he is dressed in a tight fitting t-shirt bearing the slogan ‘Frole baby!’ and a pair of light green trousers that more resemble tight calf length shorts on him. He ambles down the stair and is greeted by the living room. But it’s a state. No one has tidied since Simon died, the kitchen mess spills into it. The stock boxes piled once neatly round the edge and all open and scattered round the room (having clearly been investigated). The coffee table has dirty plates and mugs all over it, the tv is still on with the mega drive plugged in running the sonic start screen on and endless loop. He looks in horror at it all and decides he’d better check the shop out. So he goes to ‘front of house’ and here it’s even worse. Cutler cleared 80% of the stock. Many of the shelves got knocked over in the dancing. There is bad shit stain on the counter where he fell asleep leaning on it. “Ho god! I can’t open de shop like dis!” And feeling entirely incapable of dealing with any of it he checks the door is locked and the sign reads closed and goes back inside. There he opens a packet of crisps, puts a pan of water on the hob and settles down to play sonic the hedgehog. He hears a crash and a “Bohhh!” and realises Buckle has come down. This loud noise is followed by a soft creaking pad which only gets five steps down before there is another crash and the plaintive cry “Ach Bonzo, nicht so schnell!” But Bikle doesn’t care, clearly there is some repression going on here. It seems a bit like the flat, what newsagent? He doesn’t see any newsagent? His mouth turns up at the corners as he imagines the phrase ‘perhaps you mean the alleged newsagent?’ This reminds him that he could do with a roll up. So having given up on any hope of running this enterprise he pops back through to the shop and retrieves himself some tobacco, rizla and lighter (one of the few remaining things) and returns to the console.

 

 

 

Somehow however, Bikle can’t settle down at the console, something that he can’t quite put his finger on is bothering him. It doesn’t help that Buckle is reprising his socks on the ears dog impersonating game and crashing about the room barking and alternately chasing and being chased by the Toad/Barrel in a way which disturbingly echoes the latter passage of Bikle’s dream. With a sigh he rises and paces moodily around. Deciding that he needs to urinate, he wanders into the squalid bathroom. Whilst there he spies Simon’s clippers lying on the side. Catching sight of his reflection with its awful haircut he decides that he might as well finish the job. Emerging from the bathroom with his head freshly shaved he casts around for something to do. Buckle has now found two long thin bits of wood from an old pallet, and having taped them to his boots is now clomping around with a furled umbrella in each hand. “Look at be Bikle, I’b skiig! “Ho dat’s h’dice Buckle. Good for you! “Somehow he feels more positive now, he runs his hand over his newly shaven head and likes the way it feels, he even feels more hopeful about the newsagency venture, and resolves to put things straight in there and try opening up again later, after just one more game of Sonic… Back at Morris Towers meanwhile, Yolanda is drowsing on the settee, her face nestling on the arm in a small pool of drool. Morris has resumed his pacing, accompanied now by the sound of Tudor Johnson and his associates on sackbut, lute and spinnet. Impatiently he gestures for the beruffed birdmen to cease. “What is that gangly pillocks fucking about at now? On the console again? We’ll see about that. Johnson!” There is a bit of a scramble among various historical Johnsons to respond, but Sir Francis Drake Johnson gets there first. “Ah, there you are Johnson, get yourself over to the newsagency and keep Shorty’s mind on the job, and don’t circumnavigate the bloody globe to get there, I need everything ready by Thursday teatime.” “Mwaeerk!” SFD Johnson bustles off purposefully, flipper on the hilt of his rapier, and Morris resumes his pacing. Shortly thereafter, Bikle, who has succumbed to the lure of just one more “one more game”, is startled by a loud hammering at the front door of the shop. Crossly he pauses the game. “Go ad get dat will you Buckle?” There is no reply. He looks round, Buckle, no doubt tired from his ski adventure, is asleep in the corner, curled round Bonzo, who is also a-slumber, emitting unpleasant sounding batrachian snores. “Ho I suppose Hi better get it ded, frodestly, hi have to do h’everything aroud dis place!” Stamping bad temperedly through the shop he opens the door and peers out. Outside is a Johnson with a pomaded black goatee, dressed in the high style of the first Elizabeth. “Ho it’s you is it Johdsod? What do you wadt?” SFD Johnson mimes reading a newspaper, then mimes lighting a cigarette, opening and then eating a packet of crisps, he then launches into a detailed and lengthy performance, which while quite opaque as far as Bikle is concerned, is actually meant to represent replacing the small lithium batteries in a novelty miniature electronic keyboard. Bikle shakes his head. “Do, do, sorry, de dewsagent is dot open at de bobedt, due to a recent bereavebedt, dow if you will h’excuse be, I deed to get back to by busidess.” With which he attempts to close the door. Johnson however has other ideas, roughly shoving Bikle backwards, he tanks open the door and pushes into the shop. “Ho, h’excuse be!” He cries, but Johnson ignores him and strides purposefully into the living area, followed by Bikle making ineffectual ushering gestures and muffled protests. The buccaneering birdman glances around the squalid room, then his glittering, beady eye falls on the games console. With a sweep of his flipper he brushes it to the floor, then crushes it into fragments beneath the heels of his seaboots. “By begadrive!” cries Bikle, “Dow what will I do all day? I dow, I’ll watch de televisiod!” Sneering, SFD Johnson mwaeerks in a way which clearly signifies “Oh will you now?” before drawing a small flintlock pistol and sending a musket ball through the screen. He then grabs Bikle by the scruff of the neck, drags him through into the shop and hurls him behind the counter. Leaving him bruised and quivering on the floor Johnson strides to the door and using the point of his rapier flips the sign on the door, so instead of reading “H’sorry, we’re h’closed.” it now reads “Frole, we’re h’open!” He leers menacingly at Bikle, pointing to the sign, then drawing his sword across throat in an unmistakable gesture. With a final threatening “Mwaeerk!” he storms out, slamming the door behind him.
“Ho god, back to standing here agaid, it’s albost like its beed like dis forever!” he grumbles, quite unreasonably really as this is only his second day and the first was largely spent asleep with dogshit on his face. He looks round the bare and knocked over shelves and considers not really many people are going to want to come in. What’s left? Behind the shelf are some packets of tobacco and rizla, a few packs of cigars, some lighters, on the ends of some shelves are some of those weird non-comestibles you get, scissors, nail clippers, the periodicals is still largely untouched, garish children’s magazines nestle alongside women’s magazines which leak into fishing and agriculture. Bikle smiles at the irony that yesterday’s newspapers now line the paper stands, the looks apathetically on at it all. What’s to be done? How will this all resolve itself? It seems clear that seeing as his demise will entail a gruelling life of work as a newsagent, staying at Simon’s isn’t really an option now, he must leave this place. Failing to even be bothered to retrieve his newly opened pouch of tobacco he just gets another down and starts to make a roll up. Then after a bit of searching amongst the debris he finds a can of coke. The day looks visibly brighter already. A smoke, a coke, barvellous, he thinks. Three puffs in, a white van pulls up outside the front of the shop. Bikle eyes it lightheadedly and disinterestedly. He notes now that a Johnson has emerged from the driver’s side. This Johnson is quite smart looking, sports a pair of quite thick spectacles and a tabard which reads ‘area manager Johnson’. Bikle’s eyes follow the beaked official as he inexorably makes his way towards the shop door. He reaches the front, pauses, looks around and makes disapproving head movements. Then produces a clipboard which he proceeds to scribble upon. Beadily followed all the time the birdman now enters the shop. Upon entry his bespectacled eyes grow wide as he assays the ruined empty shelves and strewn produce. No time for the clipboard now he strides over to the smoking bald newsagent. “Mwaaerk!” He demands to know. Little or no grasp of avian would contextually tell the recipient what the problem was. Bikle too understands but is quite unsure as to what to about it. A sharp whack of the flipper sends the roll up to the floor in front of the counter where it is duly stamped on. “By roll up!” Comes the plaintive cry, and frankly you’d think he’d know better. With a look that says ‘your bloody roll up is the least of it sonny’ Johnson launches into a fierce tirade pointing now here now there, raising his flippers in anger, rolling his eyes. Finally finishing he looks stonily at Bikle with expectancy. “Berr you want be to tidy up a bit?” And yes Johnson does want him to tidy up a bit, indeed he wants the whole bloody place shipshape pronto and we wants to know where the stock is. Bikle ventures “it’s dot by dewsagent.” But gets short shrift. His mimed description of someone being eaten by a tiger is met with some disgust. Worse still Johnson doesn’t go to let him get on with it, oh know, he insists he should stay and help I a supervisory capacity. So now our poor hero lifts shelves, puts what little stock there is back, is made to lift boxes from the living room back through. He then has to sweep, thoroughly and wipe the shit off the counter.  Towards the end of the rigmarole Johnson goes on his mobile and has a conversation with someone. Soon after another van arrives with another Johnson. Bikle is now forced to take fresh deliveries of stock into the shop. As he lugs the heavy boxes around he fancies this is what it must have been like in a concentration camp. At last the shop is fit for purpose. Area manager Johnson now sits him down with fatherly sternness and shows him, the invoices, the companies to call for the different products, where the broom is and times the shop is open. Bikle all the time wants to point out that there’s been some misunderstanding, that he isn’t really the newsagent but all attempts are quiet ended with a raised flipper. Finally it’s late in the day, the sun is setting, area manager Johnson is retreating to his van. Bikle dutifully follows him out to the front. The light is beautiful in this late evening. He looks back at Bikle and the shop is the stretching shadows and extends a much warmer mwaaerk of well wishing. Bikle too feels something of a job well done and waves to the retreating area manager kindly. The van departs in the fading light and Bikle turns to go back into his shop. He is just at the door when he can hear a clattering from the counter area. ‘Oh fuck!’ He thinks, ‘Buckle!’. Sure enough Buckle, now awake for who knows how long has opened the door to the shop and shouts “fetch!” At the top of his voice. As he does this a p ice of cheese hurtles through the doorway over the counter and into the tinned foods shelf. Following it with some alacrity is Bonzo who proceeds to crash bounce over the counter, knocking the till over. The second bounce dispatches the sweeties shelf and lands him in the aforementioned tins, sending them and many other foods flying in all manner of directions. Bonzo capers and sniffs, hideous tongue lolling as he does until he finds the cheese, scoops it up and bounces back the way he came, causing more chaos in the process. “By lovely shop ruined!” He calls in despair before looking across to the door where once more stands the glowering figure of area manger Johnson who seemingly forgot his tabard.

“Berrrr, look I’b sorry about dat, dod’t you worry about it, I’ll have dis tidied up id just a bobedt, quicker dad a bobedt id fact, Id a trice! Yes dat’s right, I’d a trice, de whole place will be shipshape, good as dew.” Despite his exhaustion he tries to smile appealingly at Area Manager Johnson. AMJ however, is not best pleased, and will not be so easily placated. Shaking his head disgustedly he takes out his phone and makes a call. “Mwaeerk? Mwaeerk. Mwaaaerk! Mwaeerk.” Hardly has he replaced the phone in his pocket than another van pulls up alongside his, and disgorges a huge, muscular, scar faced Johnson wearing a similar tabard to AMJ, except on his somebody has written the letters “SC” in front of where it says “AREA”, this has then been crossed out and the word “SCARIER” written above it. Bikle can practically hear Morris’s voice, “Ho ho SCARIER Manager! Brilliant Johnson, very amusing. “Amusing tabard or no, this newly arrived Johnson is, as Bikle soon discovers, not kidding around. Through a combination of pantomime and pugilism, he has the reluctant newsagent running back and forth setting the shop to rights, installing a child safety gate between the counter area and the living quarters, artfully arranging point of sale merchandise and an array of sundry other tasks. Finally the shop is Buckle proofed and ready for business. Poor Bikle is absolutely drained, and can barely stand up, even leaning on the counter. “Cad I go to bed dow please Bister Johdsod?” “Mwaeerk!” Comes the predictable response, with a hefty flipper menacingly pointing at the clock, which reads 19:57, and then at the sign on the door which shows that Monday to Saturday, the shop is open until 20:00hrs. “But dobody is likely to Cobe I’d dow! 3 beasly bidutes wod’t hurt surely?” A sharp clout with SMJ’s flipper proves this suggestion to be unfounded however. “Frouch! H’ok ded, I’b sorry!” Before SMJ can reply, the little bell above the door tinkles as a last minute customer bustles in. “Blbplplblp! Open today are we? Blplp! Closed yesterday. Most inconvenient. Blplplpl! Pull finger out! Especially these days! Challenging times for small retailers. Online purchases, blplplp! Skyrocketing overheads!” “Yes yes you’re dot wrog dere! Challedgig tibes? Tell be about it!” SMJ growls menacingly, and Bikle takes the hint. “But adyway, edough of dat, and what cad I do for you today sir?” “Blbplplblp! My magazines! Come to collect them! Enjoy good read! Comfortable armchair, cheroot and tawny port, magazine. Blbplplblp most agreeable.” Where Bikle would once have been flummoxed by this, after rearranging the whole shop twice in one day, and receiving thorough training from AMJ, not to mention a thorough beating from SMJ, he finds himself, for once, master of the situation. “Do probleb sir, just give be a bobedt, dow ded, let’s see, will it be under “C” for Cladcy, or “T” for Turkey?” “Ho ho, try under “B” for Butterball Bastard.” This time Bikle definitely hears Morris’s voice, however he shrugs and does as the disembodied wizard’s voice suggests, and draws out a small selection of magazines. “Here we go ded sir, “Country Gedtlebad’s bagazide”, “Tweed Dews, for de discerdig Tweedsbad”, “Amateur Dairy Bodthly”, dat ode has ad abusig frost cover, look, “Ode good churd deserves adother!” “Blbplplblp! Yes yes, that’s fine. Hand over! No need to enumerate individual journals!” “Dod’t worry sir, do rush! Dod’t wadt ady bistakes do we? Just dese two left, let’s see, “Oily Boys Budcovered” ad “Good’n’Greasy”, dat’s de lot.” Clancy reddens , hastily grabs the bundle of magazines, and flounces out of the shop in high dudgeon. Bikle chuckles, “You dow, it’s dot so bad being a dewsadgedt sometimes!” SMJ nods approvingly and hands him a package. “For be? Oh barvellous! Cad I oped it?” On receiving an affirmative Mwaeerk he tears open the wrapping paper. Inside the package is a t shirt of good quality cloth, upon which is printed the slogan “Newsagents do it 364 days a year!” and a name badge reading “Hi dere! By dabe’s Bikle, How cad I help?” For a moment, Bikle forgets that he doesn’t really want to be a newsagent, and is really touched by this unexpected gift. Tired, still damaged by the ups and downs of the last few days, and to be wholly truthful, in quite a lot of pain from his injured feet and the numerous punches he has received, his emotions are quite fragile, and his eyes begin to well up with tears. Before however he can stutter out his thanks, SMJ points to the clock which now reads 20:01, punches him viciously in the kidneys and walks off whistling. Painfully he locks up the shop, lowers the shutters, and turns the sign to read “H’sorry we’re h’closed.” Wearily he trudges back into the living quarters, which are now more wrecked and squalid than ever. Zombie Freud has removed the back of the shattered television, knocked out the remnants of glass and is entertaining Buckle and Bonzo with sock puppets, pretending to be a television programme. Not caring, Bikle collapses into an armchair and is asleep in seconds. It only seems like minutes later when he is awoken by the sound of the telephone. Groggily he fumbles for the receiver. “Frello? Who’s dat?” “Never you mind who sunshine, this is your alarm call innit? Now get up and shake a leg string bean or I will burn you to death.” Bikle puts down the phone. “Ho dat was bore ad alarbig call dad ad alarb call! Eh boys?” There is no answer, as Buckle and Bonzo are once again fast asleep, and ZF is deeply involved in his sock puppets, one of whom is now psychoanalysing a second. Sighing, he looks at the clock. Half past 5, and according to the sign out front the newsagency must be open by six! He shies away from the idea, no, he wasn’t put on this world to be a newsagent! He must flee while there is still time. Looking around for a rucksack, holdall, suitcase, anything, the best he can come up with is an old linen bag for life from a defunct health food shop. Into this he crams a few things that he thinks might come in handy, the rusty clippers, some cheese, which he didn’t remember having been there the night before, but no matter, some of Simon’s old socks, a tin opener. As he crosses to the door he wonders for a moment as to whether he should wake Buckle, but seeing the ludicrous fiasco which would surely ensue, he creeps quietly across the room to the door. He rationalises that Buckle will doubtless turn up sooner rather than later whether he wants him to or not. Spying his new T-shirt and name badge on the sideboard, he feels a momentary pang, but shrugs it off. Stepping out into the chill morning air he is about to scurry away down the street when a menacing sixteenth century clad apparition looms out of the mist and he finds a rapier point pressing gently against his throat. “Mwaaaerk?” “Goig sobewhere? Be? Do, do do, dot likely. Just er, er, er puttig out de rubbish, dat’s right.” He holds up the bag for SFD Johnson’s inspection. “See? Just sobe old rubbish! Dow if you’ll frexcuse be, sobe of us have dewsadgedts to oped!” So saying he retreats back inside, and resigned to his fate sets about opening the shop. At 6 sharp, clad in his new t shirt and name badge, he is there behind the counter. Somewhat surprisingly, after the hairy shit face, grass beard business, the shop is fairly busy, although he notices that many of the customers are quite ill at ease and hurry through their purchases, often not really seeming to care what they buy, or how much it costs, and casting nervous glances over their shoulders. The sporadic appearance of such characters as Martin Frobisher Johnson, Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham Johnson and so forth intimates to him that Morris has neither given up his interest in the newsagency, or indeed his temporary fascination with things Elizabethan. So Thursday passes steadily enough, until growing feelings of hunger make Bikle start to think about the half can of beans which he had left in the fridge that morning. “Ho it bust be dearly teatibe!” As he says this to himself the door opens and a middle aged, quiet looking man enters. “Ho good evedig sir, ad what cad I get you?” The man smiles engagingly, “Actually, I was just wondering if you could help me? I’m a stranger around here, and I was hoping that you could give me directions to Orpington Avenue?” “Certaidly sir, left out of here, secod right, straight od udtil you see de three feathers pub, den left agaid ad dere you are.” “Oh, that sounds simple then. Thanks awfully.” “By pleasure sir.”  “Cheerio.” “Bye bye ded sir.” The man leaves the shop, turns left and disappears down the road. Bikle goes back to straightening his displays and pottering around. Suddenly Area Manager Johnson, Scarier Manager Johnson (again he hears Morris’s disembodied laughter.) and a number of other tabard sporting Johnsons enter the shop. AMJ flips the sign to display the “Closed” notice and begins to direct the various Johnsons, who begin carting away the stock and dismantling the displays. “Ho, what’s goig od? By dewsagency!” The Johnsons ignore him. A second crew appear, and as the first trundle things out, begin to trundle things in, potato ovens, large catering cans of beans, tuna and so forth. “Hey, wait a bobedt, what’s happedig?” SMJ grabs him by the scruff of the neck, in clips his name badge, and propels him towards the door. All enquiries and entreaties are met with blank looks or menacing gestures, as the newsagency is rapidly transformed into a baked potato outlet. Eventually SMJ pushes him outside and locks the door behind him, and he is reduced to peering in through the windows. In an impossibly short time, the door is reopened and the aroma of baking potatoes assails his hungry nostrils. He pops his head around the door. “Er, dose sbell quite dice, I dod’t suppose dat dere’s ady chadce of a free sample?” An uncooked, and partially rotten potato bounces off his forehead, accompanied by a raucous burst of mocking avian laughter. Mystified, cold, and more than a little hurt, Bikle decides not to push his luck any further. Remembering that refuse collection happens on Fridays, he retrieves his “Beany McBeansprouts” carrier bag with its cargo of negligible detritus belonging to a dead newsagent, and morosely sets off, shivering down the street. “Ho well, at least dey let be keep by dew t shirt.”

 

Some strange xylophone music strikes up and the world goes dark around Bikle in some muffling, engulfing paralysing sense. Morris looks up from his armchair, at the darkness, the rolling credits and the xylophone tune “Ho ho that was marvellous! Who knew the adaptation of Gerald Durell Johnson’s ‘My Newsagency and Other Animals’ would be so entertaining!” “Morris what are you talking about?” “The TV show ‘Landa, keep up!” “Morris, the Durrell Johnson program was on the other channel and it was nothing to do with a newsagency!” “I beg to differ Yolanda, a newsagency was central to the plot all the way up until the other animals removed the wicked newsagent and replaced him with a collectively run cooperative potato bakery under the ‘Vieux Oncle Johnson’ brand’. No doubt that too will end in tears as hierarchy reasserts itself, for now however they are living the communist dream. Everyone with an identical sized potato.” “No Morris, look at the TV guide, it was on the other fucking channel, we’ll been watching SB after you changed the channel to scrying” “Who’s been crying? Are you sad my dear? Do you weep for poor SB’s demolished house and his lonely wandering? Or maybe you weep in fear that Dr VS Johnson will grab you and inject you with his latest potion” at this LD Johnson feigns a menacing mwwaaerk and brandishes a fountain pen at her “No Morris, not crying, scrying! Watching things from a distance!” “what would you like to watch from a distance my love? Televisions are good for that indeed that is where the name comes from. If that is unsatisfactory to you I can fetch Galileo Johnson to design you a new telescope. This might aid you. Or of course you could simple tell me the thing and I might manifest it with a hoard of golden demons as I have been waiting to use that gold paint and acme box of demon costumes for some time. Johnson! Prepare the hoard of demons!” LD Johnson goes off as told “No Morris, you fucking looney, the Telly it was just SB on the telly, oh for fucks sake what is the point…” and she slumps with her head in her hands. “can of Skol my dear?” she grabs the can and takes a hefty swig. Anyway my sweet, let us see what else is on. I do believe another program is starting on the other channel. Now the xylophone music is playing again and showing Bikle in different scenes, though this time a voice sings a tune over the top. “He’s a hopeless case, sometimes with shit on his face, He says he’s rather large but looks like Nigel Farage! He’s always game for a laugh and he’s a brother who’s daft! And it’s a crying shame but look he’s here again… SB it’s you!” And a scene appears of Bikle, slumped between two bins, half asleep with his new-t-shirt on, whilst some italic lettering floats over the screen saying ‘The Picnic’. Evidently he has tried to find some shelter from the elements behind these refuse containers. “Bikle! Bikle! Wake up!” “What de Christ!” he shouts, knocking one of the bins over, to considerable canned laughter. Buckle evidently is here too. The scene can now be seen to be a small alley way in which the bins were placed; Bikle and the bins were only a little way down and the early morning bustle of the larger nearby street is clearly visible. Buckle, zombie Freud and Bonzo are all standing nearby, ZF looks on a little concernedly as Bikle picks himself up from the spilled detritus “Ach you were always such a clumsy boy, Kannst du nicht take more care!” “Ho yes Bikle, you’re so clubsey, get up dow, did you forget its bicdic day!” “H’what! What bicdic I don’t see ady picdic!” this draws a considerable canned laugh “Nein es is nicht das alleged picnic!” *laughter* and now Bikle can in fact see that zf is standing next to a fine looking hamper “ho look boys a bicdic!” “Yes we dow Bikle, we brought it here!” says Buckle with more authority than usual “banyway, buncle Bockle said to take de bicdic to de park and he beet us dere for gabes ad fud!” “Ja ja aber wir  can’t carry zis picnic schnell enough to get zer so ve came to find you!” “ho well dat’s dice I bust say! What do think I ab, sobe kind of donkey!” *laughter* “are you a kind of donkey Bikle?” says Buckle excitedly “I’ve beed hopig to have a donkey ride for ages!” “Do do I’b dot a donkey, I just beant dat donkey’s carry thigs!” “Ho so you’ll carry de basket! Barvellous!” *laughter* Suddenly there is an angry “Mwaaerk!” as binman Johnson peers round the corner and looks at the motley gang of characters and the knocked over bin “ho look Bikle, dat Johdsod’s angry wid you as you docked his bid over!” Waving a broom at them, Johnson starts to approach menacingly. “Ho dear I think we’d better rud!” “Ja Ja let’s get out von here! You brings the ze basket!” Shouts zf as they move as fast as they can. Clearly the running strategy is not going to work as Bikle is huffing heavily with the basket. Thankfully help come in the form of Bonzo, who with a crashing leap lands squarely on Johnson’s head knocking him brutally out cold. Bonzo stays still for moment before buckle calls to him and the four of them head off down the street. The next scene shows them walking in the park, Bonzo leaping around ruining flower beds and sundry bushes alike. “Ho god where is ids blasted bicdic going to happed  den?” “Vielleicht near ein flowerbeds?” “Dot likely I’b allergic to polled as you jolly well dow!” *laughter* suddenly Buckle shouts “Ho it looks like Bockle has already found de perfect spot! Cobe do gag!” And he and Bonzo pelt across the grass towards a dark clad figure near some picnic tables adjacent to a play park. “Ach us oldies must bring up ze rear eh Bikle!?” *laughter* “you brig up your owd rear Ziggy ad leave bine frout of it!” *laughter*

“Ach ze youth of today, keine respect!” “Bake your bind up grandad, I can’t be both!” *weak laughter* at length, Bikle and Freud huff their way over to the seats. “Fuck dat thing weighs a tod! What have I beed carryig.” He exclaims as he puts it down heavily.

Bockle looks up from smoking a thin cigarette at the encircling gits “ho, h’what are yooou lot doing here? I came forr some peace frand quiieeet?” huffing  heavily Bikle answers “we cabe for de bicdic and de fud and gabes, you frinvited dis lot rebember!” “Ii don’t knoow what yourr talking aboutt Bikle, I just went for a walk and sittt down.” “oh den where did de basket cobe frobe? Buckle! When Bockle gave you dis basket earlier did he have a beak?” *mild laugh* “What basket is dat Bikle?” *laughter* “dis basket you dibwit! De ode right here!” “Oh a basket! Where did dat cobe frob and what’s id it?” “Give be stregth!? Freud did Bockle have a beak frerlier when he gave you dis basket?” “Entschuldigung meine child, ‘did Bockle haff ein beak frerlier’ was does it mean?”*laughter*  “whed Bockle gave you de basket, did he have a beak?!” “ach, Ich verstehe, but I know not, wie could I, I vas not dere, de silly one calls me and says we haff a picnic from Boncle Bockle and I am saying ‘was is das?’ and then I see the size of der basket und say ach, this we cannot carry…” “yes yes, edough of dat grandat” *laughter* “you didn’t see hib, I get de picture!” Bockle gets up “hoo III’m not staying heeere it was ssoooo peaceful before.” and moves in a certain way characteristic of his disappearing, only he doesn’t disappear, he stays put “whaats happened? Why ab I still here?” “Ho god I’ve beed asking byself dat for years Bockle!” *laughter* “ho lets oped de Basket Bikle, all dis talk is baking be hungry!” and before anyone can stop him Buckle has wrenched open the wicker container. His face lights up immediately as he exclaims with gusto “Ho, I thought there’d be cheese!” to be greeted by the biggest canned laughter yet.

Bockle shakes his head sadly, and looks at Bikle. “Doooot likleeeey.” He attempts his disappearance manoeuvre again a couple of times, again to no avail. “Hoooo botherrr. It’ssss dot workiiiig. I’m stuck I’d dis fridiiiiiculouuus dibedsiod!” “You ad be both Batey!” (Laughter) “Ad dod’t look dow, but dere’s a fabiliar figure, I bet he’s got sobethig to do wid dis!” Sitting in the dappled shade of a lofty sycamore nearby is indeed a familiar figure, immaculate in his tweeds, a substantial yet epicurean repast spread before him on a tartan blanket, is Clancy, who leers at the ill-assorted group gathered around the basket. “Blplplp! Nice day for a picnic in the park eh Bikle? See you’ve got quite the party there. Enjoying self no doubt.” “What are you up to Cladcy?” “Me? Nothing at all. Enjoying unseasonably pleasant weather. Well maintained park. Quail’s eggs and stilton blbplplblp. No harm in that surely? Ordinarily on holidays this time of year. Planning on Iceland, but decided on “staycation” as they call it. No place like home, eh Bikle? Blplplp, sorry, forgot your current housing status! Blplplp.” Bikle, peeved at this retorts, “Iceland eh? Bet you were attracted to all de hot geysers O.O.O.O.” (Laughter) “Blplplp. Most amusing. I don’t think!” “Dow after seeing your taste I’d bagazides dat you would be bore at hobe sobewhere a bit bore beditteradead? Perhaps watchig de young men swibbig id Greece?” (Laughter) “Really! Blplplp! You must have a filthy mind! Should see Psychiatrist!” Bikle glances meaningfully at ZF, “I’ve seed bore dad edough of dis ode thagks all de sabe!” (Laughter) ZF shakes his head, “Nein nein nein Bikle, ich bin einer psychoanalyst, zer is zer grosser difference nein? Now zat you mention it Herr Turkey,  I haf been making zer observations of you, undt I haf come to zer conclusion zat your constant scheming against zer others arises from a deep sense of shame undt ze self loathing caused by zer conflict betveen your strict upbringing undt your unnatural undt oily desires. You had sublimated zis sense zat you had failed your father, undt are disgusting, into zis obsession mit humiliating people, vich you sink makes you feel better about yourself but in zer reality it merely ensures zat nobody likes you, zereby reinforcing your subconscious belief zat you are inherently unlikeable, Iz zis not zer case?” (Laughter)”Blplplplbp! Not true! Not true! Many dear friends! Eminently likeable fellow!” “Dabe ode!” “Blplplp! Why should I?” “Go od Cladce, if you’re so fropular, dabe ode person Id dis joke dat fractually likes you!” “Blplplp, well there’s… I mean… you know, that chap… Blplplp! Stoutish gentleman, name escapes me for a moment…” “Cobe od, I’b waitig!” “Blplplp! Had enough of this! Came for pleasant alfresco dining, not to be abused by my uncle. I mean abused by the likes of you! Forget uncle! Day ruined, very disappointed, not standing for this any father. Further! Further! Blbplplblp!”Abandoning his picnic, he turns to flee, but catches his foot in the corner of the rug and goes flying. “Ho, it looks like you are taking a trip after all Cladcy!” (Laughter) Back at Morris’s he is still sat watching all this on his television. “Ho ho Yolanda, that’s what I call a Freudian slip!” “Morris, he quite clearly tripped over the rug, there was no slipping involved.” “Perhaps it is as you say my little beaded pencil case, perhaps it is, however we can soon find out by watching the slow motion replay.” Morris plies the remote control and the image of the turkey flies backwards from the ground and then stops with a jerk. Morris presses another button and Clancy again attempts to storm off in a huff, before slipping on a large cartoonish bright yellow banana skin and once again sprawling headlong. “Ho ho Yolanda, now that is what I call a Freudian slip!” Back in the park Bikle and the others watch. The turkey stumbles, slips, trips, and falls over and over again. Rather than an actual replay, it is as if some eldritch force is picking him up from the ground each time, and then hurling him, increasingly battered, bruised and muddy, to the ground. At first both Bikle and Bockle laugh at his discomfiture, but then grow quite disturbed as he is relentlessly scooped up, and thrown down again. Clancy is terrified and pleading for help, but to no avail, as he is slammed down again and again. “Blplplp! Please!” *THUNK* “Aaaaagh! Blplplp! No more! Begging now!” *THWACK* blood is trickling from his beak and from his ears, “Ho, I don’t like de look of dis at all, Cobe od you lot, let’s get out of here!” Leading by example, Bikle heads off across the park, but is brought to a halt by a familiar but strange voice. “Hhhooooow nnnooow Biiiiiikkkklllleeeee, doooooonnnn’tt foooooooorrrrrggggggeeeettttt tthheeee Baaaaassskkkkeeetttt!” Looking round he sees Bikle attempting to follow him, but moving excruciatingly slowly. Yolanda watches Clancy smash limply face first into the grass again, and slaps Morris on the wrist. “Morris! Stop that, poor Clancy, look he’s unconscious now. And while you are at it, take Buckle of slow motion, it’s giving me the creeps!”

 

He is as they say, my little erroneous homburg, out cold turkey!” this time the canned laughter appears in Morris’ living room. Yolanda looks at him coldly “Out cold turkey? That’s shit Morris, and stop that fucking laughter!” “Out cold turkey! Leave this darkened barrow, harken not upon this step lest I banish thee with mine flamethrower which will surely cook thee and thy flesh shall be mine Sunday roast!” “What the fuck are you talking about now?” “It’s a quote my petrified dumpling, from Hoffmann’s ‘the coldest turkey’ or something of that ilk I forget” “I think you’re making it up, its sounds nonsensical” “Maybe I am my sweet Pepsi-challenge or maybe it is a classic text being read even now Professor Johnson, expert in fin de siècle literature, the era from which Hoffman hails, of course the title is a translation is it not Johnson?” Professor Johnson is of course sat in a nearby chair, leafing through a copy of Hoffman’s ‘The Coldest Turkey’, it is an original and the title of course reads  ‘Der Kalteste Truthahn’. “I believe it was translated as late ’69, is that not true Johnson?” “Mwaaerk!” comes the learned reply “You see my sweet, nothing fictional about it” “If that’s true Morris, how come the book features a flamethrower? I’m sure there were no flamethrowers in fin de siècle Germany” “Hoffman was Austrian, my sweet, a very different fish indeed!” “Fucking hell Morris, there were no flamethrowers in fin de siècle Austria!” “No my love the flamethrower or flammenwerfer was invented in 1901 in Germany by Fiedler, I have here an edifying texts on the topic if you would care to brush up on its genesis.” “No Morris, but you said…” her words trail away in futility “what did I say my love? Do not trouble yourself with every word that exists, that way lies madness indeed as loony dictionary Johnson will testify, now how about a nice bath, or maybe Johnson could rub your feet for a while?” You know Morris that would be really nice, I think that might really relax me. “No sooner said than done my hapless oyster, Johnson!” Johnson arrives with a sheet of paper and charcoal, and quickly gets to work pressing Yolanda’s feet to the paper and moving the thick charcoal over the other side to get the impression of them on the paper “what the very fuck!” she shouts, as she realizes what’s happening “you wanted your feet rubbed my sweet? Johnson here an expert in taking rubbings of all kinds of things! See even the partial impression he has gained before so rudely made him desist is quite a masterpiece, let us hang it above the tv in a frame! Look my love, your original issue has been resolved and that Turkey Bastard is up and about again. The screen shows Clancy limping home as the credits roll “Bah, blbllblblp last time I go for a picnic. Ruined blblblbp! Reallly!” *laughter*

“Do not go anywhere my sweet terrapin monitor, I have a vivid presentiment the next episode will start in just a moment.” Sure enough, in no time at all a new title sequence begins, this time bearing the heading ‘The Storm!’. The scene in truth is the same park where they all were a moment ago, the sky is clear and the sun still shining. Bikle just reaches the slowed down Buckle and is about to try to help him when he is released back to normal speed. This of course catches Bikle off guard and Buckle crashes straight into him “Bohhhh!” “Frikes! You fridiot” such is the force of the calamity that they both career into Bockle, who fails to nimbly evade them “hooooo! Get of be youuuuu twooooo!” The pair of them cling to Bockle for stability sending the threesome into a well-placed duck pond. “Ach und now you are wirklich in der soup nichtwar?” *laughter* There is something terrifying Bikle now, something in the way in which Bockle said ‘get of me you two’ to him and his brother, as if they were… no no, that couldn’t be right could it” His heart races and he begins to hyperventilate “ho are you alright dere Bikle! You look pale like a ghost!” “Do I’b dot Buckle, I’ve cobe over a little queer!” *laughter* “Und I am telling you about zees repressive things zo many times!” *Laughter* Bockle stands up to get out the pond. “Hoooo at least the weeatherrs still niiiiiice, we’lll dry offff quiiiickkk eh boys???” No sooner have these words escaped his mouth than the sky darkens as fierce ominous clouds roll in from all directions simultaneously. “Hooooo dooo, mee and by biiiigg bouth!!” “Und das ist nicht all das ist big, eh Herr Bockle?” *laughter* “Itssss noooott toooool time now ziiiigggggyyyyyeeee! Ruuuun for covverrr!” “ja ja mit your…” *loud thunder clap* “uhuhuh did someone say tool? Uhuhuh with their tools!” “ohh noooo two morree foooollls!” In the meanwhile Bikle has steadied himself. “Dow wait od a bidute, I’b dot just sobe hobeless dibwit following  Bockle around id soaking wet trousers!” “Ho dats right Bikle, you’ve got do trousers od at all!” There is a familiar *whisk* just moments before, that clearly went unnoticed and our bald pseudo protagonist is relieved of Simons old trousers and is now stood there in soaking green underpants “By Trousers!” A reinvigorated turkey, holding a tartan umbrella in one hand and Bikle’s old trousers in the other is looking disdainfully at the trousers then at Bikle then back to the trousers. “Blbllblbp hard to tell what’s more offensive!” *laughter* “You wait dere you till I get by bits od you!” “blblblblp unlikely. Toodle oo!” and off he goes as the rain begins to pound the umbrella with increasing ferocity. Bikle stumbles soaking out of the pond, shaking his fist vainly and the retreating feathery gentleman. Bockle and Buckle too have extracted themselves from the duck pond. Buckle as usual though is quite cheery about the whole affair “Look at dat, its like your id your swibbig trunks, cad I take by trousers off too Bikle! Cobe od buncle Bockle why don’t you take your trousers off!” and he tugs at the soaking trouser “Hooo get off be you!” But as Bockle gives Buckle a shove to displace him, Bonzo perceives with some displeasure this act of aggression towards his sort of master, or at least playmate. With this in mind Bonzo launches himself at Bockle, barrelling (literally) Bockle back into the duck pond “Boooooo! Help beeee!” Lighting strikes around them, the darkening sky is now sinister and the wind is beginning to make it difficult to move. Bockle, tries to get up but is blown back into the pond, Bikle shouts something incomprehensible to Buckle know nods and smiles with no idea what’s going on, Sigmund looks to the camera and shrugs to *laughter* and Pete and Paul are blown away over the grass, with their tools no doubt. “Ho ho ho ‘landa, this Christmas special is better than last years!”

 

Bockle is floundering about in the filthy pond, cursing for all he’s worth, “Gettt mee ouuut of dis sodding pond you budch of uuuuseless gits!” Bikle sighs and leans across to help him, but the muddy ground at the edge of the pool is treacherous, and before you can say Jack Robidsod, he too is plunged back into the murky waters. “Ho for fuck’s sake…” he begins, but there is a flash of green, and a faint ribbit noise, and he feels himself choking on something cold and slimy. “Gak, khoff, khoff, help be, I’b h’chokig! Ziggy, do de Heiblich badouver!” But Ziggy is too busy chasing an agitated Bonzo to be of assistance. “Ho let be Bikle! We learned about dat at by rebedial first aid class!” With no further ado, Buckle plunges into the pond and gets Bikle in a headlock from behind and starts thrusting against him in an attempt to remove the obstruction. Ziggy pauses in his pursuit of Bonzo to eye the spectacle with a professional, if long dead eye, as the now trousers Buckle thrashes about in the water against the equally trousers Bikle. “Each day lieiber Gott! Undt to sink zat I said zat he was repressed!” *Laughter* The Turkey, drawn back by the laws of the joke, raises a supercilious eyebrow, “Really!” and bustles on. Eventually Buckle pushes Bikle over onto a protruding root, which jabs him in the solar plexus. Bikle coughs hugely and something green and glistening is expectorated violently. The three of them manage to finally clamber ashore and lay there gasping. “Yooou Ok dereee Bikle?” “ach he vill be fine! He chust had zer frog in zer throat!” *Laughter* “Ho dat’s dot very h’funny h’Ziggy!” He pauses, “Ho dere’s h’sobethig h’wrog wid by h’voice!” Bockle looks at him quickly, a secretive look of pleasure flitting across his face. “Hoooo I’b surrrre it’s dothiiig, just a teeeemporaaaary deradgebeeeedt of de vocal chords due to de rouuugh treatbedt dat dey suffered.” Buckle looks preoccupied, “You dow Bikle, your dew voice, it rebides be of sobeode, but I cad’t rebebber who.””Ho, h’what do you bead h’Buckle?” “Your voice, it rebides be of sobeode we used to dow, but I cad’t rebebber who. All dis playig I’d de swibbig pool has bade be hudgry, cad we eat de cheese dow?” Bikle having lost the picnic basket, decides to make a joke, “H’what h’cheese? Hi dod’t h’see h’ady h’cheese! Perhaps you mead de h’allegeged h’cheese!” Bockle, despite his soaking, is sniggering rudely to himself, Buckle brightens up. “Oh dat’s it! Dow I dow who you rebide be of!” “Ohhhh reeeeeeallyy? Aand whhho could thaaat bee, heh Bikle?” “Ho, go od den h’Buckle, who do I h’remind you h’of?”  “Ho dat’s ad easy ode! You rebebber dat bad wid de shop? Dow what was his dabe?” Bockle leans closer, sneering. “Hoooo Cobe od Buuuucklee, we’re waitig!” Buckle scratches his head then beams, “Of course! Silly be! Dat’s, de bad wid de shop! Bister Cutler!” Bockle scowls, “Hoo you’re ad idiot Buckle, coobe od yoouu looott, I’b freezig, we deed to fiiiinnd shelllter sobewhere.”

 

Back at Morris’s, we find him having a quick forty winks with an old copy of the Auto Trader folded over his face. Yolanda senses an opportunity to escape, at least to the kitchen and see if there is any vodka left. As she tiptoes from the room however, Thinks He’s A Cuckoo Clock Johnson sounds the quarter hour as only he can, “Mwaerkooo! Mwaerkooo!” and the wizard awakes from his slumber. “Is this cobblers still on Yolanda? I have never been so bored in my life. It’s worse than that wildlife documentary about turkeys you made us watch earlier.” “That wasn’t a wildlife documentary Morris, that was…” “You mean it was staged my little Etruscan poniard? Well of all the cheek, I will have Terry Nutkins burned to death immediately.” “No Morris, I meant…” “Not one more word Yolanda, your pleas for mercy fall upon deaf ears, I am resolute. My heart is of adamantine, the fell Nutkins must die! Well he has hasn’t he? Look!” Yolanda averts her eyes from the screen, whereon a much loved balding naturalist writhes amidst tongues of flame. “Anyway that’ll teach him to foist these fowl based theatrics upon a gullible viewing public Yolanda. Now where is my pipe? And where is my bowl? And where are my fiddlers three? More importantly, where are my galoshes? The forecast is for rain, and I must thatch the rick in the Seven Mile Bottom. Bring me my best thatching shears Yolanda, and my matching ears, the glass is falling fast.” “What are you going on about now Morris? Honestly, today has been a nightmare. I think I’m going to go and have a little lie down, I’ve got a miserable headache.” Indeed you have my dear and here he comes.” Enter Dressed As A Haddock Johnson, theatrically moaning and dabbing at his eyes with a handkerchief. Yolanda rolls her eyes, “No Morris, not a fucking Haddock, a headache, a nervous bloody headache.” DAAH Johnson backs out, and re-enters the room a moment later drenched in fake blood and affecting a timorous mien. “Oh fuck off Johnson! My head hurts, I need some pain killers.” Morris looks grave. “There is no chance of that I’m afraid my little cumulonimbus…” He tries to maintain his serious expression, but is clearly trying not to snigger, “Remember, the parrots ate ’em all! Ho ho, dearie me this is jolly. Fancy a toasted sandwich Yolanda? The available choices are cheese, cheese and ham, tuna, coronation chicken or Cajun vegetable? Johnson there had one of each earlier, but mind you, looking at him now they don’t seem to have done him much good.” Disguised As A Rabbit Johnson is staggering around in the corner, his eyes are crusted shut with mucous, unsightly lumps disfigure his cranium, as Yolanda watches in horror, he crashes headfirst into the piano and subsides to the floor with a groan. “Oh god Morris, poor Johnson, help him!” Morris snaps his fingers and Dr VS Johnson appears and checks over the recumbent form, before again rising and shaking his head. “Mwaeerk!” “Oh dear, it is as I thought Yolanda.” “What is it Morris? What’s wrong with him?” “I’m afraid it’s mixing his toasties!”Morris and the Johnsons, including DAAR Johnson collapse in hysterical laughter. “Morris! You total shithead! I’ve had enough of this bollocks, I’m going to bed. You and your comedy Johnsons can play silly bastards to your heart’s content, just try and keep the noise down.””Righty ho my little activated charcoal tablet, I shall make good use of this opportunity to finally install those bookshelves which you have been remorselessly harping on about since late August 2009, I’ll just get Handyman Johnson and his workmate over…” “Don’t you dare! Hammering and drilling, sawing, you’ll make a godawful noise, can’t you just finish your 8,000 piece jigsaw of the scenic Loire Valley or something quiet?” “I incinerated it as soon as your back was turned my little roasted chestnut. I am far from being lord of all jigsaws. I could review the massed pipe and drum corps of the Highland Johnson Regiments if that would satisfy your bourgeois cravings for the picturesque? Or alternatively, Steel Drum Johnson has been pestering me to listen to his new musical interpretation of the battle of Kursk?” “No no no no! Morris! No fucking pipe bands, no calypso flavoured evocations of armoured warfare, no testing your new foghorn, no encouraging Steel Claw Johnson to scrape his nails down a fucking blackboard! Do something fucking quiet! I’m poorly and I need a bit of a lie down.” “Ah, why didn’t you say so my little shameful entanglement? I know all about that, very well, we shall be as quiet as mice, not fried mice however, as they make a fairly loud and appetising sizzle as you may remember, to say nothing of the agonised squeaking, speaking of which, I am quite peckish, do you fancy an omelette?” “Jesus bloody wept Morris! No I do not fancy an omelette, or a nice bowl of swan tartare, or a potato snack pot, I just want to be able to sleep peacefully in a darkened room for a few hours, without any of your fucking madness! I had loads of things to do today, and I’ve got fuck all done except get drunk and take loads of prescription drugs to try and cope with the fucking circus that my life with you has become!” “Circus you say Yolanda? Hmmm, that gives me an idea. It just so happens that the next episode is about to start my peppered beefheart, why don’t you pull up a pew!” Yolanda collapses back into an armchair as the awful tune rolls on and the italics ‘The Circus’ appear floating above the cut together of various scenes from Bikle’s past.

 

“Ho h’what shall we do now?” says the gangly bald man. The park is now dry and the various characters are sitting round a bench with the remains of picnic strewn thereon. “Ho god! Hi don’t dow, hopefully I cad get away frob you lot!” says Bockle. “Ho!” pipes up Buckle “Dow you sound like someode else Bockle!” Bockle seems horribly aware of his vocal distortion “Ho by god you’re right, fropefully just a little temporary distortion” “What do you bean?” “De distortion of de vocal chords, I don’t think it will last!” “What distortion is dat Bockle?” “A second frago you said I sounded different!” “Oh yes I said you sounded like bister Cutler!” “Do do dat was before you fridiot” Bikle has another anxiety attack and needs to interject “Ho excuse be!” he musters “what is it?” snaps Bockle sharply “I just feel h’this is a bit h’strange, like you h’sound like, sound like…” “Bister Cutler! Yes dat’s what I was sayig to hib, who are you?” “H’its be, H’Bikle!” “Oh Bikle, yes dat’s who he sounds like!” “Do I’b h’Bikle” “But you sound like bister Cutler!” “Ho h’I don’t think so!” “What do you think Bikle?” and Buckle turns to Bockle “Do you dibwit! I’b dot Bikle, I’b Bockle!” “Who’s Bockle?” says Buckle with genuine confusion on his face. Yolanda can bear it no, whilst Morris is sniggering loudly. Head still in her hands she can clearly hear what’s going on. “Morris, can’t you leave them all alone” “All is nearly complete my lovestruck periwinkle, do you know Yolanda I thought, they might go to an actual circus but now I rather fancy the show title refers to the debacle in which they are engaged, ho ho!” “H’do I’b Bikle!” it continues in the background “huhuhuh we’ll be Bikle and Buckle with our tools!” “Ho h’get off me you h’two!!” “Oh who are they? Is cousid Lawrence goig to be here sood?” “Nein cousin Lawrence kommt nicht, er war by ein large Omnivore gegessen!” *boing* Ribbet.

Suddenly there is the clattering of hooves and from the other side of the park they can see a number of ragged looking ponies approaching. The beasts have wild eyes of fear and even as they run a gunshot rings out and one goes crashing to the ground. “Oh look donkey’s Bikle!” cad I have a ride, he says directing all his attention at Bockle whilst doig so “Oh god, dot likely, dere dot donkeys Buckle! Dere wild bad podies and I do who’s wid dem! Rud for it!” “Ho and h‘who might that h’be?” says the baffled bald newsagent t-shirted figure. But Bockle does not stay around to answer this, and begins to run towards the arboreal edge of the park where he knows the gate lies. “Bitte warten fur uns!” comes the plaintive undead cry. “Ho are we playing ruddig races! Let be play!” and off sets Buckle as fast as his gangliness can take him with the others in some kind of pursuit. By his effusive stupidity Buckle gains on the Bockle/Bikle and catches his cloak with his boot, this of course brings both characters to an abrupt halt, ending up in a tangled heap on the park lawn. “Buckle!!” comes the familiar cry from the mess of cloaks and bodies “oh dis is fud isn’t it Bikle! I do like a trip to de park! Ho and look de donkeys are dearly here!” Looking up Bickle (lets call him that for a synthesis name) can see the ponies are now around the other gits. Cries of “Ho get off be h’you two!”  “Ach! Get away pesky beasts!” and “uhuhuh!” abound from the pony ridden scene. Bonzo bounds amongst the fray, seeming having a whale of a time. Now bringing up the rear the driving terror of the phenomenon appears. A huge, blond hideous pasty faced, smock wearing man uttering a dreadful guttural cry and coughing up great goblets of phlegm comes into view. He carries a kind of antique rifle, presumably the same weapon that felled the pony just moments ago. Before anything more can be done the ponies have caught up to where Bickle and Buckle are and all the characters are sucked into the vicious imbroglio of consumptive maniac, gits and equine terror. “ho god! Wake be up I bust be dreebig!” cries Bickle “Ho I dodn’t like dese donkies buch Bikle! Cad we leave de park dow!” “Ho yes h’lets get h’out of here!” says the bald newsagent before being crashed to the ground by a pony with a startled “h’Bohhh!” “Ja ja wir muss schnell escapen” The noise and chaos is unbearable, Pete and Paul lie felled on the grass (with their tools).

Suddenly next to Bickle’s head a patch of turf lifts up like a manhole cover. “What de?” A scratty, gallic head pokes out of the hole and assays the disorder “Ah m’sieur, I sink you ad better come down ‘ere or you will surely die!” “Ho you’re dot wrog dere!” So quickly Bickle climbs down into the darkness, followed by Buckle who falls on him and they both plunge down the chute. Freud and the others try to follow but are stayed “No mes amis, a think it’s better if you stay an keep Chonsoix company a bit eh?” Bikle/Simon is almost weeping as the grassy cover closes “Ho let be h’in! Don’t be such a h’piker!” But close it does and there for now at least, we leave the gits, Chonsoix and the ponies. “Frouch!” crash. “Ho its quite dark dowd here Bikle, I cad’t see adythig!” “Wait on one moment msieur…” says French voice, and there is the click of a clipper lighter and a small flame appears, “down ‘ere in ze onion tunnels it iz dark! Ah sheet!” the light flickers and dies ruining the melodrama in counts tone “ang on a minute let me tra zis thing agan!” click click, no light is forth coming. Suddenly another voice and a brilliant light from nowhere “Eh cunty bersiernose! Is zat you? Do you ‘ave zem!?” “ah oui Leonard, zere over ‘ere!” “Well come on zen lets get zis shit over with” Leonard clearly has a flashlight of some power and through its rapidly moving beam can be seen a vaulted corridor. “Ho god where do have to go dow?” “Ho it’s exciting isn’t it, do you dow what I think Bikle?” “Do, and I don’t want to freither!” “well I have a suspiciode derely be a certaid dairy produce before log you dow.” “Save be your dodsedse, let’s get od of wid it” and they follow the Frenchmen through the dark tunnels, to the accompaniment of  a barrage of swearing (at Alfonso), drinking and occasional violence. At one point, Leonard grinds Alfonso’s head into the gloomy brick wall just for laughs exclaiming “ah your such a fucker Alfonso, ah don’t know why a ‘elp you sometimes!” but this is about the height of it. Bickle and Buckle follow on through endless winding alium stinking corridors, through rooms, up and down interminable staircases “do sigd of de cheese yet Bikle?” enthuses Buckle hopefully to Bickle’s chagrin. After a long length the stairs climb again, this stair clearly has a locked door at the top. The door strikes Buckle as somehow familiar, “Look Bikle! De cheese is id dere!” he says with a prescience. “Ah gentlemen our job ees done, in you go!” and at the top of the stairs Alfonso fumbles with a key for a long time before Leonard tires of it, snatches the key from him, hits him over the head with flashlight and kicks him down the staircase with a “Comte de Bersierneaux ehh! Fucker!!” After this rapidly opens the door and snarls “Well get fucking een zere zen!” to the bemused pair before taking a hefty swig of something nasty.

The gangly characters gingerly enter the new space. This is some kind of apartment. It’s clean, with TV sofa, kitchenette, reclining chair… “Oh look Bikle! We’re hobe!” “Ho god what do you bead?” says the worn down erstwhile Bockle “Look dere’s your chair! And dere’s de bathroob and, and hag od…” and he rushes over to the fridge to check “Oh look barvellous! And it disappears” vwwukk “barvellous!” “Ho god do! Dot dis!” Bickle looks appalled. A Johnson who was not visible before steps forward with as clip board. He takes Bickle round the brand new flat, pointing out all the amenities, the pans, the freshly stocked cupboard of beans, the brand new amiga. When he has finished, he gestures that Bickle should sign a piece of paper on a clip board, which he does. Then, with a polite but officious “mwaaerk!” Johnson gives him the keys and lets himself out. With a resigned look, Bickle settles into the reclining chair and turns on the TV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on December 2, 2016 at 9:56 am  Leave a Comment