A Clance Encounter

Mr Ledley got the dog lead and put it on the excited Wuffles (a cocker spaniel). “I’m off to take the dog round the park dear!” he shouted up to his wife “Ok dear, see you in a bit” came the reply and with that he and Wuffles left the house. They turned left down the road then left again down the footpath that lead to the large park. There was a natural circuit that lead round the expanse. Left again curiously enough (Mr Ledley noted this detail), follow the path round past the bench, carry on up to the duck pond, round the pond, over the little bridge, past the bandstand, through the wooded path and back down past the children’s play things to where you started.

This circuit, Mr Ledley often repeated to himself as some kind of soothing mantra that guided his way. And so off he set. As he did so he noted with mild interest a figure sitting down on the bench. The figure was a large set gentleman, or possibly a lady. They sported a rather nice panama hat (so he fancied) and a set of tweeds. All in all he thought, a dignified looking person and he fancied he might give them a polite hello (as a fellow dignified person). As he approached however he realised something more disturbing about the figure. ‘Could it be?’ He said to himself. ‘Can it be?’ He pondered ‘That this figure bears a startling resemblance to a Turkey?’ His mind flipped the perception of  the ‘person’ from having a strange long beard, and a very pointy nose back to it just being a very large Turkey in a set of high quality tweeds and a panama hat. As he got still closer, his ability to make the figure into a human was completely lost and he found himself in something of a cold sweat. There had been rumours in village, and there was that hooha at the bird show. Strange things were around.

He put his head down and hurried on. As he passed the figure he could unmistakeably hear the words “Blblblblbp fine morning!” Seeing rudeness was not called for he managed a “Yes quite”. He then had nearly cleared the bench by a meter or so when he heard an enquiring “Cocker-poo?” Mr Ledley was forced to stop and turn “I beg your pardon?” he said, for he did not process the implication “Blblblp is it a cocker-poo?” He could see the Turkey gentleman was looking at the dog “Umm no, no it’s a cocker spaniel” The feathery man looked on with piqued interest and uttered a distinctive “Really” “Yes, she’s err 5 years old” “Blblblp really!” The turkey continued to peer with full attention at dog and owner. “Blblblp what’s her name?” “Err Wuffles.” “Blblblp, entertaining name but inappropriate, blblblblp, call her Shirley instead.” Mr Ledley was taken aback by this instruction and could not fathom the correct response “Mmm maybe, yes err Shirley that’s a nice name” and strangely the dog seems to agree, it wagged its tail looks enthusiastic “Blblblbp good girl Shirley, come here!”

Shirley didn’t need asking twice, she made towards the friendly avian gentleman. Mr Ledley was surprised because he was sure she was on a short lead but now it seems Shirley or Wuffles is on a long extending lead and has wandered up to the Turkey person and is now receiving a stroke from him. “Blblblblbp, dog lover myself, blblblbp terrible tragedy, all eaten, blblblbp walk with you a while” and then the figure got up from the bench with Shirley beside him and walked to where Mr Ledley is. “Blblblblp let’s carry on up to the duck pond, round the pond, over the little bridge, past the bandstand, through the wooded path and back down past the children’s play things to where you started.” Mr Ledley is about to nod in agreement when he realises his own park mantra has been spat back at him verbatim. He looks at the route, he looks back to the Turkey alarmed “Something the matter blblblbp?” “Err no, nothing, that just my usual route” “Blblblp common route, nothing unusual, haven’t been watching you, can’t read your thoughts” “Oh err that’s alright then” but it isn’t alright and Mr Ledley knows it. He doesn’t know what he’s become embroiled in here but it doesn’t fill him with comfort. “Come along Shirley, blblbp good girl!” and now things take an odder turn as now the Turkey has Shirley on the extendable lead and Mr Ledley is without dog.

Without another word he bustles off at a surprising pace leaving Ledley struggling to catch up. “Blblbp, dog walk, good exercise, beautiful park.” “Yes, yes it is rather” says the non-plussed Ledley. At the duck pond the Turkey stops, “Blblbp, stupid creatures, ducks, blblbp” and without further ado he gets out a shotgun “Blblblblp, hold Shirley would you?” to which the paralysed Ledley obliges. He then watches on in horror as the Turkey fires twice into the pond. Two mallards and a diving duck are rendered dead and various others are wounded. “Good girl Shirley, blblblp fetch!” And before Ledley has a further clue, Shirley is off her lead, in the water and dragging the dead ducks out to the Turkey’s feet. “Blblblbp good girl” He picks them up and puts two of them into a Marks and Spencer’s bag for life and the other into a Lidl bag. This he offers to Mr Ledley “Blblblbp here you are, fresh duck for tea!” Ledley though, is shocked but rather cross about this senseless slaughter, finding a voice he reprimands his new colleague “Now look here, you can’t just come round here shooting birds in the park” “Blblblp, didn’t shoot any birds, your shot gun, dead duck in a bag blblblbp picture to prove it” Now Ledley suddenly finds he is holding the shotgun and has a dead duck in the Lidl bag, the Turkey’s M&S bag is nowhere to be seen and he has taken a couple of snaps of Ledley with his smartphone. “Blblblp know your sort, abusing privileges, park is for all, for shame!” And with this the Turkey bustles off again, at the same pace “Come along Shirley, blblblbp over the little bridge, past the bandstand, through the wooded path and back down past the children’s play things to where you started.” Ledley gives chase, irrationally holding onto the duck bag and gun “Now wait on a minute here, you can’t do this!” he shouts, now irate. Calm as you like the Turkey turns to face him “Blblblblbp, yes, can I help you? Morning stroll, cocker-poo, home for tea and crumpets now.” Ledley is distraught and his anger turns to pleading “Please can I have my dog back?” “Blblblbp don’t know what you mean. Mother said to keep away from strange men with no trousers!” “What do you mean no trousers?!” But now Ledley can feel the breeze on his bare legs. He looks down with horror to find he is indeed bereft of his trousers. “My trousers!” he shouts with alarmed surprise. He looks back up and the Turkey has the trousers. “Give those back! Give me my dog!” “Blblblp not likely! Toodle-oo!” and the Turkey is off. Ledley gives chase again but somehow now the Turkey is now looking up at the German Band at the bandstand with the trousers attached to some kind of stick, blowing in the wind, though there is no wind. Some other people who have come to feed the ducks with their children look with disgust and anxiety at him, especially after they note the blood/feather bath that is still one part of the pond. As he is still clutching the bloody bag and shotgun he sees explanation is futile and runs for all he is worth, not knowing what’s for the best he drops the items and runs towards the bandstand where the Turkey is leisurely taking in the scenery. Not unaware of the spectacle he is presenting, he nonetheless carries on pounding along towards where his tormentor stands, now caressing his dog, listening intently to the oompah noise. Somehow he doesn’t seem to be making much progress, his feet seem enormously heavy. He hears somebody mention something about “ridiculous boots”. Glancing down he sees that he is indeed wearing huge lead soled deep sea diver’s boots. “What the? Where did these come from?” Suddenly the Turkey is back close again “Blplplp! Sad case! Doesn’t know where own shoes came from! No trousers! Blplplp!” He looks round to see the Turkey shaking his head sadly at him, standing next to a figure he recognises with some relief as his next door neighbour Beaufort. “Beaufort! Thank heavens! Grab that turkey! He’s stolen Wuffles and snatched my trousers!” The other looks at him in confusion and with some disdain. “Ledley? For god’s sake man, what on earth are you talking about? Turkey? What turkey?” Next to him Clancy looks theatrically around, before shaking his head to signify that he can see no turkey either. “Him there! In the tweeds! That gobbling monster!” “Goblin monster? Are you drunk man? And where the devil are your trousers?” “Not goblin you fool! That turkey bastard next to you, he grabbed my cocker and won’t let go! That’s where my trousers went!” Beaufort looks at him disgustedly. “Your sort make me sick, parading about drunk and half naked in the park talking about Turkish men grabbing your, well never mind. I always knew that there was something off about you Ledley, but this!” With a disgusted “Hmmph!” He turns on his heel and stalks off. Ledley starts to call after his departing neighbour, but thinks better of it. Looking round wildly he sees the turkey toddling away over the little wooden bridge, Shirley/Wuffles trotting contentedly by his side. Seized with a sudden fury he clomps off after him as fast as his sub aquatic footwear will allow. Somehow, this time he appears to be gaining on his tormentor, buoyed up by this he begins to shout and gesticulate. To his surprise the retreating figure halts, and turning looks quizzically back at him through his monocle. Ledley redoubles his pace, “Give me my Wuffles! And hand over my trousers!” Such is the row he makes that the German Oompah band on the bandstand Tootles to a halt and the mainly elderly and eminently respectable audience turn in their deckchairs to see what is causing the disturbance. Ignoring them he clumps up to what he perceives is Clancy panting and sweating. “There you are you devil! Hand over Wuffles!” Clancy looks at him blankly and makes as if to leave. Enraged beyond measure he is surprised to find the shotgun back with him, but now with a mad glee he brandishes it in the air. “You want me to give you some of this! Rip off my trousers and put these giant boots on me! I’ll rip your trousers off and make you walk funny, see how you like that!” As he finishes yelling, he becomes aware of a hubbub of outraged voices, looking round he sees that the audience are staring at him in shock and horror. “Isn’t that Bryan Ledley? From Lawnswood Crescent?” “Has he lost his mind?” “Good god, what’s that in his hand?” “Did you hear what he threatened to do to the poor vicar?”  Involuntarily, he looks down at the shotgun, or what he thought was a shotgun, now it would appear to be a substantial purple adult toy studded along its length with rubber spikes. Horrified he tries to throw it away, but it somehow it adheres to his hand, and the more he tries to shake it loose, the more it appears to the audience that he is shaking the vile thing aggressively at them. In a fury he whirls to confront the turkey, only to discover that he is brandishing a menacing plastic member at a terrified elderly clergyman, who with a shock he recognises as his own vicar. The fact that he is to all intents and purposes, threatening a venerable and much respected man of god with a lurid purple sex aid, whilst trouserless, and in front of an outraged crowd of local notables, after the bizarre events of the morning, unhinges poor Ledley completely, and he falls to his knees, clawing feebly at the vicar. “Help me reverend! It’s the devil! I can feel him inside me! You must get it out, lay your hands on me!” He continues in this vein, growing louder and more desperate. “Get it out! Get it out! I need you to put your hands on me!” Two of the younger men from the crowd rush over to where the visibly distressed clergyman cowers away from the apparent madman and bustle him away, casting looks of unutterable scorn at the kneeling, pleading figure as they do so. In the depth of his misery, he hears again that awful voice. “Blplplp! Ignore him ladies and gentlemen! Escaped pervert! Police have been summoned. Enjoy band!” With these words the Oompah band strike up a particularly jaunty Black Forest waltz. Peering round, he sees through his tears that the turkey, now clad in a very fetching red military jacket trimmed with gold braid, is actually conducting the Teutonic orchestra. Realising that he can expect no help from the church, or sympathy from the crowd, he staggers to his feet, pulls himself somehow free of those restraining him and stares derangedly about. The tootling, parping music of the Black Forest waltz further distresses his addled brain, but something about it awakens something in him. Black Forest. Forest. Woods. The wooded path! Past the bench, up to the duck pond, around the pond, over the little wooden bridge, past the bandstand, and then along the wooded path, past the children’s play things and BACK TO WHERE YOU STARTED! That was it, if he could only get back to where he started, then he would be safe, and none of this hideous nightmare would ever have happened. Arms and legs flailing, he set off at a run down the gravel path towards where it snaked between tall graceful elms and sturdy horse chestnuts. Behind him he could hear, over the honking music, the sound of approaching sirens.”…over the little wooden bridge, down the wooded path, past the children’s play things…” He gasped out his mantra over and over as he ran. As he careered into the dappled shade of the wooded path he almost collided with a tall grizzled figure in a faded denim jacket and a tall pointy hat. Wild eyed he clutched at him. “Round the pond, over the little wooden bridge, past the bandstand!” The tall figure patted him on the head. “Yes I know, but it won’t be any good I’m afraid.” He smiled at the broken jabbering figure almost sadly, “You see Johnson has already bought the olive oil.” So saying, he patted Ledley again and strolled off with his hands in his pockets.

Published in: on June 20, 2016 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment