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  

Deleted Scenes.

Here at Bikle central we sometimes have excess that we just don’t need. Some of it I think is worth shovelling out there, if only to keep something coming until the latest madness is released (and it is in the pipeline).

This little section never made to the recently released blind date sketch.

“I do not like clam chowder! Look buckle there’s cheese on the menu, don’t you like that?” “do borris dats dot be dats by fridiot brother!” “what are you saying? I am rather partial to cheese. This is a restaurant. Did you or did you not think there would be cheese here, now answer carefully!” “berr well by suppose I thought there would be here, but dats different!” “in what wise is it different?” “well dere’s bound to be cheese here, frits a restaurant!” “but is it not also true that your so called idiot brother does in fact find cheese in these other place.” “yes but but by don’t dow how dat happeds.” “the fact remains it would seem, that he is correct on these many occasions and you are mistaken, is that right?”   “berr well, yes but its always, sub kind of stupid place, dat bakes do sedse!” “so he is able to perceive this truth better than yourself whereas you struggle with the assertion that there will be cheese even in a restaurant!” “I didn’ struggle”  “silence shitty! It seems to me you are the idiot and the smarter part of the act has been left at home, I give my apologies to yolandas work colleague who has been lumbered with your deadbeatness” meekly workmate “I like cheese too.”  “see even she knows!”
A brief toying with the Turkey in a Mr Tickle suit:

“Ho loog Biggle! (For some reason I really like toffee chewing Buckle voice) H’it’s Bister Tiggle! You cad tiggle be Buster Toggle!” “Blplplplp! Very well! Come here! There you go! What about you sir? Fancy a tickle?” “Dot likely! You keep deb hads to yourself dere!” “Come along all good clean fun!”

Morris’ Beans Advert:
Morris employing sb for his advert for a brand of beans entitled ‘some beans’ and using his internet celebrity status for this. Bikle started reading the script probably at gun point. “I like sobe beads more dan the dext ban, and dis week we’ve got a voucher offer on de underside of the label. I’b dot reading dis, people will rebemeber dat voucher dodsedse.”

And another from Blind Date:
“Ho ho it’s not the only thing that’s a bit dim in here SB, by which I am referring to you by the way. Sit yourself down or I will burn you to death.” “But I, I, berrr, *snatches glasses from face* I forgot by sbectacles! Back I’d a bobedt!” “Park it right there piss bag. No sneaking off for a little jig a jig with the bill of fare, I know what you’re like. One minute it’s all nicey nice, next minute you’ll be rolling about panting on the cold damp tiles of the gents, sans culottes as it were, frantically stimulating yourself as if there was no tomorrow, which incidentally, for you there may well not be at this rate, and next thing you know an outraged headwaiter has taken away our bread sticks and shown us the door, whilst meanwhile the CCTV footage of you wrestling with yourself has become #1 hit on YouTube.”

And another:
“May I recommend the h’seafood h’platter?” “I am not a fan of seafood. What else have you got?” “Ho, I’ll just h’reccommend the h’prawns again! Frole!” *whooosh!* “H’aaaaaieee!” “Ho ho ho, that’s him burnt to death eh ‘Landa?” ” Morris! You promised!” “So I did my little prismatic compass, so I did. However to make it up to him, I have given him a starring role in this years pantomime.” “What on earth are you talking about Morris? How can he be in a pantomime? You have reduced him to ash!” “Ho ho exactly! He can play Cinders! Ho ho most amusing.”
Voucher related short:

One day to Bikle, Buckle did say, “Ho! Let’s go for a stroll, it’s a h’lovely day!” “You bust be jokig!” came Bikle’s response, “I’b sick of deb shoutig ‘Oi! Voucher dodce!” “Ho dod’t be like dat!” Buckle enthused,  but once and again Bikle refused. “I don’t wadt to ramble, to stray or to roab, I’d rather just boil sobe water at hobe!” But from a nice stroll Buckle won’t be dissuaded, and by constant repetition, soon Bikle’s persuaded. “Ball right, ball right! But wid just ode proviso, first I bust fide sobe kide of disguise o!” “Ho! I love dressig up!” Comes Buckle’s glad cry, “At the Cat Charity Gala, fadcy dress I did buy!” He scoots to the wardrobe and undoes the locks, then puffing and panting he drags out a box. He draws out a duck suit that smells strongly of piss, guilelessly asks “Ho what about dis?” Bikle groans “By god you’re retarded!” and for obvious reasons the duck suit’s discarded.

And another:

“Bikle! Cad I cobe idto de bedroob?” “Do! Do! Dod’t cobe id! Dere’s.. A tiger. Dat’s it, dere’s a tiger id here. Go ad play wid your gabes while I get rid of it.” “But dat’s de probleb Bikle, I wadted to play botor car, but I cad’t fide by toy autobobile adywhere. Have you seed it?” “Do I have bost certaidly dot. Dow leave be id peace to deal wid dis ferocious tiger!” *makes unconvincing growling noise.* (quietly, to himself.) “Dow ded, where was I? Ho yes. Broob broob! Screech. Hello dere youg lady, wadt a lift? (falsetto) Ho yes please bister, I’ve dever beed id a sborts car before. (normal voice) Ho you’d better hop id ded, but I bust ward you, I like to go hard ad fast, so you bight be id for a bumpy ride, O.O.O. (falsetto) I like de soud of dat! (normal) You dow, a youg girl like you should’t be hitch hikig out here od dis deserted lodely road od your owd. Dere’s a lot of dasty perverts out dere ad adythig could happed to you ad your defedceless firb youg body…” *knock knock* “Ho Bikle has de tiger gode? I wadt by barbles frob de toy cupboard.” “Ho for god’s sake Buckle’ cad’t you give be a bobedt’s peace? I was just about to cripple de bitch, I bead, de tiger. Grapple de tiger. Id order to rebove it frob de bedroob.”

 

More still:
“Cad we go to de buseub to see de didosaurs Bikle? We haved’t left de flat in bodths!” “Dot likely! I’b dot goig out dere to be abused ad hubiliated agaid!” “Dod’t be like dat Bikle! Cobe od, get your togs od! I wad’t to see de big brodtosaurus!” “Ho I suppose dat we should go out evedtually, baybe by idterdet dotoriety has beed eclipsed by sobe dew sedsatiod, ad I suppose de buseub is dot a bad place to sdart, at least people dere will be educated types dat have better thigs to do dad watch sdupid youtube videos dat were faked adyway.” “Dat’s de spirit Bikle! Cobe od!” By sticking to the back streets they manage to reach the museum with only a few shouts of abuse and a muffled snigger from the lady at the front desk. Buckle skips about the dinosaur exhibit delightedly whilst Bikle lurks glumly behind a skeletal triceratops, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible.
Although a few people nudge each other and point, there is no real hostility and Bikle slowly gains confidence, believing that the whole business has more or less blown over, allowing himself an indulgent smile as Buckle gambols  over on all fours. “Bikle! Bikle! Look at be! I’b a diplodocus!” “Dat’s dice Buckle, you dow I’b begiddig to thigk dat dis wasd’t a bad Idea of yours for odce. You get a better class of people here.” “What do you bead Bikle?” “De people here, dey are id a better class.” “Dot dose boys over dere dey’re dot Bikle, dey are id de daughty boys class at by school. Dey are always bisbehavig. Hello dere boys, dis is by brother, he’s od de idterdet you dow!” Bikle cringes, and sure enough he is assailed by a chorus of catcalls, duck noises and a hail of fruit, yogourts and sandwiches from a score of lunchboxes. “Wooo! Duck wank boy! Wooo!” “Ho god dot agaid! Look what you’ve dode dow you ditwit! Cobe od, we’re gettig out of dis!” The baying mob of delinquents are between Bikle and the exit, so, spying a door marked “Special Exhibits” he bolts through it, Buckle, still in diplodocus mode, lumbering after him. Panicky after his recent ill treatment at the hands of a similarly inclined mob, he doesn’t even wait for Buckle to catch up, but slams the door shut and hurriedly proceeds to barricade it with a bench and a large display case. This done, he sinks into another chair to catch his breath. As he calms down, he looks up and notices the poster in front of him. “Welcome to our special exhibition exploring advertising literature through the ages. Literally thousands of leaflets, brochures, vouchers, handbills, coupons, prospectuses, pamphlets, inserts, catalogues and business cards on display!” Some time later Morris is reading the local paper when he bursts into laughter and tosses it to Yolanda. “Ho ho, cast your mince pies over this my little travel iron. “LOCAL ODDBALL ARRESTED AFTER MUSEUM SIEGE” reads the headline above a picture of a bedraggled Bikle being led away to a police van by PC Johnson.
 

C’est tout for now Johnsons.

Mwaaerk!

Published in: on September 4, 2016 at 8:50 pm  Comments (1)  

Blind Date.

The scene is Morris’s house, Yolanda, in a nice green frock, is putting on some earrings in the hall mirror. “Morris, are you nearly ready? The taxi’s going to be here any minute.” Morris is in the living room staring at a pile of timber. “Ready for what my little porous weed suppressant membrane? I thought you wanted me to put these shelves up?” “Oh for god’s sake Morris, I asked you to do that in late August 2009. We’re going out for a meal remember? With Bethany from my work, and SB?” “That does not sound very much like the sort of thing I would agree to Yolanda, I wish to register an objection. Besides, Handy Man Johnson has brought his Black and Decker workmate round specially. Who is this Bethany you speak of anyway? Does she need burning to death?” “Morris! No! No burning anybody to death! She’s my colleague that I told you about, her husband ran off with another woman, and ever since she’s been really unhappy. She’s lovely, but she’s got no self-esteem whatsoever. I’ve been trying to find her someone nice, but at short notice, all I could come up with was Oily Sex Mad Johnson or SB.” “I can give OSM Johnson a call if you like?” “I’ve texted him, he’s on standby. To be honest I flipped a coin.” “Very well my little trimaran, I shall accompany you on this I’ll omened gustatory jaunt, but I doubt whether aught good will eventuate.” Yolanda is about to reply, when there is the sound of a car horn outside. Morris and she exit. Having picked up Bethany, who is a pleasant looking, extremely shy mousy haired woman in her early thirties, they proceed to the centre of town. Having paid off the taxi, they walk up to the restaurant. Morris has been really quite civil, and Yolanda is chatting away, clearly somewhat apprehensive as to what Bethany will say when she lays eyes on her blind date for the evening. Outside the appointed establishment, there is no sign of Bikle. Yolanda looks around irritably. “Where can he be? I told him 7 sharp.” Bethany looks nervous and slightly guilty, as if it is somehow her fault. “Oh I would not be overly concerned my little amateur herpetologist, he has probably just missed his bus, or been burned to death or something.” Morris lights a roll up, “can you hear something Yolanda?” From behind an adjacent advertising hoarding comes a “Pssst! Pssst!” sound. Yolanda peers into the shadows, “who’s there?” “It’s be Bikle! Is de coast clear?”
Yolanda is already beginning to regret embarking upon this whole affair, but she plunges on anyway. “What are you doing hiding behind a sign?” “Ho I dod’t like cobig out of de house buch, with everybody strarig at be, and whisperig.” Bethany nods quietly to herself, his words obviously having struck a chord with her. Yolanda however has no time for him. “Just get yourself out here pronto will you? “Somewhat embarrassedly he emerges from his hiding place. He has, it appears, made something of an effort, having put on his best black jeans and cloak combo and run a damp cloth over his pixie boots, but still, it must be conceded, looks far from being quite the catch. Bethany however does not appear to be actively repulsed, going so far as to smile shyly at him. Encouraged, Yolanda ushers the party into the restaurant. A bald headed, stooping waiter appears, “Ho, h’good h’evening ladies and h’gentlemen, h’welcome to the h’Gilded Clam. “h’table for four h’is it, or perhaps you have a reservation” Yolanda interjects “Yes we do have a reservation, Yolanda, 7 o clock” “Ho yes h’miss, h’follow h’me” The bald waiter shows them through a slightly shabbily decorated restaurant to a four seated table with one side adjacent to the wall. Above the table is the picture of a large angry looking tiger which gives the impression of being a curious left over from an Indian restaurant even though elsewhere it is clear it is a sea for speciality eatery. “Ho h’take a h’seat please” the waiter pulls their seats out for them to sit down on with medium competence, but nothing embarrassing and then addresses them again “Ho ‘now, can I h’get you h’anything dewspaper perhaps?” Morris shoots him an evil look “H’I bean drinks, h’anyone for drinks h’eeeh?” Yolanda can see a potential problem arising concerning early evening incineration and tries to save the situation “I think we’re all right for a moment Simon, can you just let us get comfortable for moment.” “Ho h’well if you wanted to be h’more comfortable h’I might have a suggestion” Bethany looks on half confused, half intrigued, seeing this interest Simon addresses her directly “You for h’instance miss, h’if you take your top h’off you might be 20% more h’comfortable!” “I am not finding this amusing Yolanda!” “Look Simon give us the menus and fuck off eh?” “Ho h’of course miss, h’anything for a chum!” Yolanda, who once again has somehow repressed the nature of this world in the into the delusion that she might actually have a night out and in the process help a work colleague, looks at him witheringly before he finally hands out the menus and leaves. No sooner has he gone though than a couple of other curly haired waiters turn up to the table. “Uhuhuh can we get you a drink uhuhuh with our tools?” Bikle looks aghast “Ho god, dis is awful, can’t you burd dem to death or something Borris?” “Nothing would give me greater please SB, however I am under strict instructions to incinerate no one until past 23:00, hence until that time I will remain an implacably pleasant dinner guest, at least up to a point” Bethany is really confused now “err maybe we should just get drinks from them?” “Dot likely, I dow how dat will end!” “Err Morris, maybe you could get maître d’Johnson out here instead?” “No sooner said than done my sweet” “uhuhuh don’t worry we’ll fetch him with our tools!” and now the idiots begin to shuffle about, now to the left now the right “uhuhuh he’s not over here, Uhuhuhuh he’s not over there” Yolanda already looks ready to cry and indeed its Bethany who now is looking the more composed female of the group. “So Sb how’s it been going?” pipes up Morris in a cheery pally kind of way that quite takes Bikle by surprise “Berr its alright, I haven’t beed out buch, I got a playstation 4 but I don’t have ady gabes for it yet so it sits dere in de box.” Morris is clearly tried by this statement “and why would you do that?” “Berr I saved by bedefits up for it, but de gabes are too expensive” Bethany looks a little surprised “Oh SB are you on benefits? I thought Yolanda said you worked in IT?” Yolanda tries to look at Bikle in a way that he should play along but he has no clue “IT, dot likely, I stay at hobe bost days watching videos and boiling water!” he enthuses. Bethany looks at Yolanda in a ‘what the fuck?’ type way. Morris, bless him actually tries to help “Ho ho SB you are a kidder, boiling water and benefits indeed, no SB works for me heading up my new IT department don’t you SB, he’s very fond of animating characters for social media consumption?” Bikle looks horrified and goes bright red but then sort of sees Bethany is just confused and partially impressed “Oh so what do you do with characters? Is that like flash animation?” “Ho ho I should say it is!” “Berr I badimate dem into stories, for Borris, you dow.” he continues trying to go with the deception “Oh really, what kind of stories?” “Berr stories about, you dow…” everyone looks expectantly on at him “berr pridcesses and berr boilig water” clearly he’s floundering, Bethany is very confused, she looks back to Morris “and you sell his ‘stories’ online, are they good?” Morris is about to cheerfully answer when Maître D Johnson comes over to take the drinks order. Yolanda breaths a sigh of relief. “Thank heavens for that, I could murder a drink. Large vodka and GB please Johnson.” Morris orders a Skol, Bikle a small bersierneaux and diet coke. After some protests, Bethany is persuaded to have a glass of white wine. Johnson returns with the drinks almost immediately, and Yolanda swigs hers down in one. “Same again please Johnson,” she looks around her at the seedy restaurant with its oddly mismatched brick a brac, the three idiot waiters gitting about in the corner, then at her dining companions. “In fact Johnson, perhaps you should just leave the bottle and keep the Goose Boosts coming.” Pouring herself another, she resumes her hostessing. “I have to say I’m looking forward to this, the food is supposed to be very good here. Has everyone had a look at the menu?” “Hi bost certaidly have!” “Did you see anything you fancy?” “You bet I did! I bead, would you look at de fodt odd dat!” Bethany looks at him quizzically, and Yolanda shoots him a warning glance. “I bead, berr, it’s a very dice looking bedu, dicely laid out, you dow, us creative types appreciate a bit of quality desigd. Berrr, I think dat I’ll try de, de, de, oh de whatever dat is dere, I’b sure dat it will be delicious.” “OK SB, and you Beth? Anything leaping out at you?” “Sorry? Oh, I see ha ha, erm, I’ll just have an omelette I think.” “Omelette eh?” interjects Morris, “Didn’t you use to have an omelette related job SB?” “Obelette related? Ho you bust bead whed I used to work id fradvertisig.” Bethany looks impressed, “Ooh, advertising, that sounds glamorous, I’ve seen programmes about it. They all call each other by their initials don’t they? Is that why they call you SB? What does it stand for?” He squirms a bit, and looks to Yolanda for assistance, but again it is Morris who comes to the rescue. “Smart Boy. Good old Smart Boy. That’s what we often find ourselves saying at work, oh yes. Will those You Tube clips be ready for the new sales drive Morris? They say, do not worry about it I reply, Good old Smart Boy has got it in hand.” Yolanda and Bikle both look at him gratefully, and with no small surprise. “What do you want Morris? What about a nice surf and turf?” He frowns, leafing through the menu, “Frankly nothing really inspired me my little carved walnut wainscot, I had been hoping for an All Day…” “All Danish menu? Sorry darling, the Danish place is closed on Tuesdays.” “No Yolanda, an All Day Br…” “An old hay bream? A bream cooked in old hay? Like they do on masterchef? I don’t think they do that here. Why don’t you ask the waiter if they do any specials?” As soon as the words are spoken, she realises that in preventing one disaster, she has in all probability down the seeds of another, as Simon appears once again. “You again is it slaphead? What do you suggest?” “Ho, h’I’d recommend the Prawns h’sir!” “No. I am not particularly fond of seafood, what else have you got?” Simon draws himself up to his full height, a smug expression across his face. “Ho, h’I’d recommend the Prawns again! Frole!” One of his shoes begins to smoulder, and Morris looks longingly at the clock, which sadly only reads half past 7. With an effort he controls himself and orders Steak and chips. Yolanda is touched and gives him an affectionate peck on the cheek. Things are going a great deal better than she had dared hope. “Well that just leaves me then. I think that I’ll have the jugged hare.” “H’very h’good madam, one steak and chips, one omelette, jugged hare and haricots braised in jus d’pomidor. Coming h’right up. Would anyone care to order a starter?” “Ho ho not unless it’s a fire starter!” Yolanda shoots him a look. Bethany looks up “oh do you like the prodigy?” The others look confused, then Bikle chimes cheerfully in “berr I don’t bind the prod bit eh Bethany?!” Yolanda changes the direction of the stare quickly. Bethany looks like she hasn’t understood properly and then cheerily says “So has anyone been watching the new series of Astro-Bikle?” Bikle nearly spits out his out newly delivered coke. Yolanda doesn’t know what to do with it “Err no, but did you see the new series of ‘Wiry Castles’, the characters are so realistic!” “I don’t like ‘wiry castles’ it’s too unbelievable, for you know a period soap. But that Astro-Bikle show, it’s so funny and he’s such a strange character!” “But he’s quide cool too wouldn’t you say Bethady?” “Hmm I don’t know about cool, he’s daring obviously, but a bit freakish in appearance” “Yes but dot dat freakish really!” “Well quite freakish! But intriguing too, wait on a minute what the???!” Bethany’s eyes are wide they seem to be starting at Bikle in sudden amazement “Ho doticing something dere Bethady?” Bikle sounds smug and looks a little preening “Look, omg!” says and involuntarily places her hand on his, he now can see she isn’t in fact looking at him but looking straight beyond him “Isn’t that, Astro Bikle over there??” Bikle cranes his head round to see. On a table just a little way further into the restaurant is a figure with long black hair and glasses with an astronaut’s helmet resting nearby. The figure is eating some kind of wildfowl and washing it down with a nice red wine. In truth this is the end of the similarity and unless some kind glamorous effect is happening Bethany must be particularly short sighted for the figure also sports a tweed jacket and has a beak. As Bikle turns round to see this, the figure gives him a wink. “He winked at us!” Bethany gushes “this is so exciting, we were just talking about his show and there he is! I’m going to say hi!” “Berr don’t do dat, dat’s dot Astro-Bikle, it’s dat Turkey bastard!” Bethany looks at him, and back to ‘Astro-Bikle’ “What do you mean ‘that turkey bastard’? What ‘turkey bastard’? Come on Yolanda, look at him, it is Astro-Bikle right?” “Umm I’m not sure Beth, maybe” she cringes “but you were telling us why you don’t like Wiry castles!” “I do not like Wiry Castles, it is a pointless program, all those wizards and dragons and blizzards and flagons, and gizzards and wagon wheels, I have not had a wagon wheel for a while Yolanda I feel now may be the time for this is a restaurant is it not and as such should be fit to fill my desire for a wagon wheel. Waiter! Waiter!” Yolanda doesn’t know what fire to put out “Now dear, you were going to have the steak and chips remember!” “Steaking chips my perianal idiopathy? That does not seem like the kind of thing I would enjoy, are they vampire chips? Chips from beyond the grave? You might frighten our guest with such undead solanaceae. But Bethany is not sat down any more, she is up and over to see ‘Astro-Bikle’ with a napkin for an autograph.  “Excuse me, I couldn’t help noticing you from over where I’m out with some friends, but aren’t you… aren’t you the Astro Bikle actor??” the Turkey looks up in feigned shock “Blblbp oh dear, blblblblp rumbled, no hiding things from you is there young lady?  Blblblp, out for the evening, dish of game, braised parsnips, vintage merlot, how can I help you?” “Oh gosh, I’m so surprised you don’t have security or something around you, how have people not spotted you?” “Blblbllp, low key figure, only perceptive people recognise me, blblblp you must be special, care to pull up a pew?” “Oh I’d love to, but I’m with these people over here” “BLblblblp, look like losers, sit with me” “hmm they are a bit weird” she whispers and he chuckles endearingly “ok hang on I’ll make my excuses” and she hurries back to the table, where Morris can be seen wildly gesticulating with his hands.

Red faced with excitement, Bethany almost scampers back to the table, ignoring Morris, who is expostulating about the inadvisability of snakes on ships, she grabs Yolanda’s hand, “I know it’s really really rude of me Yolanda, after you’ve gone to so much trouble, but he’s asked me to join him! A famous actor! I’m so giddy, you don’t mind do you?” Yolanda is about to attempt to warn her, but again, has one of her almost prophetic flashes of how her evening would pan out. At least if Clancy is occupied, perhaps she can keep Morris occupied and prevent an outbreak of the usual feuding and the mayhem it brings in its wake. Sighing, she decides that the best and easiest course is for her to sacrifice her friend, especially as she doesn’t really see how she is going to explain the glamour, the Turkey and all the rest of it. “No, no, not at all, how exciting! Astro Bikle eh? Lucky you. Now run along and have a lovely time, and you can tell me all about it tomorrow.” “Oh, thank you Yolanda, I knew you’d understand, Sorry SB, I guess it wasn’t meant to be.” So saying, she scurries back to Clancy’s table, where he stands and seats her with old world courtesy. Yolanda drains her Vodka and GB and puts herself another. Morris has by this time run through any number of homophones and arrived back where he started. “Actually that sounds quite tasty, do you know Yolanda, I quite fancy steak and chips, where’s that dreadful waiter?” “You’ve already ordered that Morris, it should be here in a minute. Would you like another Skol?” Bikle, who has been sat there fuming, bursts out, “Dever bind dat, you said dat your bate dere was desperate, ad dere was a rebote chadce of be getting sobe sdatch! Dow she’s rud off wid dat turkey ad I’b stuck here wid you!” Yolanda shrugs. “Tough luck Romeo, you had your chance. I should have opted for OSM Johnson, he’d be doing her in the bin yard by now. You can make yourself scarce as far as I’m concerned.” He looks chastened and hurt. “Dod’t I at least get by free beal? It’s a week till giro day ad Buckle bade a sdowbad out of all by bakig potatoes.” Yolanda relents. “Oh go on then, seeing as how I promised. But you’d better behave yourself.” Bikle assures her, “Ho dod’t you worry, I’ll be od by best behaviour, de perfect gedtlebad.” It should be noted however, that he is constantly glaring across at the table near the window, where Bethany, who has clearly had more than one glass of wine, is flirting blatantly with Astro Clancy, and muttering under his breath. “Dat turkey bastard, it’s beed ages, de bitch was putty I’d by hands, ad dow she’s ball over hib,” Yolanda is about to remonstrate with him, when Maître D Johnson arrives with the food. Morris, who had been showing dangerous signs of impatience, and who had also been glaring at his foe, is quite placated by the arrival of his large and toothsome looking steak, served with a mound of crispy golden chips and all the traditional garnishes, and is soon chomping happily away. “Not quite Albert Jackson my dear, but most acceptable. How is your jugged hare?” “It’s actually really nice. How’s yours SB? You’re not eating?” “How’s it’s just sobe baked beads. Do frills baked beads at dat. Just like I bake at hobe!” Simon appears, “H’everything h’in h’order h’sir?” “By didder! It’s just beads! Baked beads!” “Ho yes h’sir, I thought you’d be pleased!” “But I’b dot pleased! I could have had dese at hobe!” Morris chuckles, “Ho ho. That’s what you ordered shit stuff, now pipe down and eat yer shit beans.” Simon reappears and tips the contents of a small bowl onto Bikle’s plate. “H’there you h’good sir.” “What’s dis buck?” “Ho, h’traditiodal h’accompliment to beans h’sir: turnips and salt!” Bikle angrily tries a forkful. “Bohhh! Dat’s disgustig! It just tastes of salt, bi cad’t eat dat!” “Nobody cares SB,” interjects Yolanda, just have another drink.” “I bloody well will den, get be a bersierneaux od de rocks! Ad bake it a large ode!” When his drink appears, he knocks it back in one, and orders another. Morris and Yolanda are happily eating and chatting almost like a normal couple, and are ignoring him completely. He looks across to where Astro Clancy is holding forth about something or other, while Bethany gazes raptly at him. He resumes his muttering. “Dot gettig laid, dot getting dice posh beal, dis is rubbish. What a dight out dis has turned out to be!” He catches sight of his empty glass. “Dow dere’s ad idea, bat least I can get sobethig out of dis fiasco!” He gestures to Simon, “Get be adother couple of dese bad boys, ad keep deb cobig!,” Simon obliges, and before long, Bikle, unused to anything stronger than Shandy Bass, and not having eaten, is more than a little pissed. His muttering has grown louder, his resentful glares more obvious. Catching sight of one such barbed look, Clancy pauses from feeding Bethany strawberries and champagne, and jauntily struts over to where Simon is standing, near to Bikle’s chair, ready with the dangerously depleted beursineaux bottle. “Blplplpl! Excuse me waiter,” he begins in a stage whisper, clearly intended for Bikle, “Wonder if can help. Only carrying large notes. Hot date as can see. Guaranteed to put out. No need to be embarrassed eh? All men of world. Need pound coin. Certain vending machine. Gentlemen’s conveniences. blbplplblp! Catch drift?” Simon promptly produces the requisite coin, “H’there you h’good h’sir! H’anything for a chum! Give her one for me!” “blblblp, disgusting insinuation, trying to scrub that from mind.” “Ho h’and I’m trying to think about it harder sir!” the Turkey looks at him without absolute disdain but takes the pound and walks back to Bethany. Back at the table Morris suddenly waves cheerily at the entrance of a figure. “Who is it Morris? Who are you waving to?” “Why it’s our old friend Harrison Ford Yolanda” “Harrison Ford? What the fuck are you talking about?” “What are YOU talking about Yolanda? Harrison Ford is a longstanding friend of ours. Do you not remember he starred in the poorly performing movie ‘Comte de Bersierneaux’ as his old friend Leonard, why I can still recall the trailer line now ‘Ah Alfonso could you possibly lend me a couple of pounds until giro day?’  I must regret I never saw the rest of the film as it looked utter tripe, indeed I shouldn’t really have invested the funds in it but hindsight is a wonderful thing is it not?” “Harrison Ford? Are you sure?” “Seeing is believing my sweet, behold” And the gestures to the figure standing nearby. Yolanda, now quite pissed, looks on. It looks like Harrison Ford, Morris says hello and it sounds like Harrison Ford.  He even says hello to her and she finds herself a little giddy. “Hello Harrison, are you having a nice evening??” “Yes Yolanda I am, how’s book club?” “Oh you know, err bookish, hahaha” Morris looks at her askance “that is a poor quality comment my little Hampstead heath pervert, I’m sorry Harrison, perhaps you would like to join us.” “Ah yes that would be nice? And who’s the gangly fellow there?” “Oh SB don’t worry about him, he’s upset because he didn’t get that girl over there!” and Yolanda gestures to the Turkey and Bethany. “Hi SB nice meet you, hey you look kind of familiar to me, are you in movies?” “Ho ho SB is a bit of viral hit aren’t you SB?” Bikle looks round drunkenly from his staring at Bethany and Clancy “Oh don’t start with dat agaid, dere’s worst thigs in de world dan wanking over a potato coupon you dow, speaking of which where is dat bedu de bitch!” “ho ho SB has a thing for flyers, menus and the like don’t you SB, look here’s the wine list, is that any good” Bikle snatches the wine list from him and stares avidly at it, clearly embarking on a kind of quality control. After a moment he seems satisdfied, “I’b off to the bathroob with Bethady Widehouse here” he says with a gleeful look and without shame wanders across the room clutching the laminated sheet.  At this moment the Turkey can also be seen to be making his excuses to Bethany to go to the bathroom. Harrison occupies Bikle’s old seat and orders a drink and a baked potato. “Why the empty seat?” he enquires “oh” Yolanda begins “we had a double date but she abandoned SB for that Turkey over there” “That gangly pissed man for a Turkey eh? Tough call for him” “I’ll say” “she looks nice enough though, too nice for a Turkey” and he looks over at her. At that moment Bethany looks over too and catches Harrison’s eye. Suddenly her eyes are even wider. She looks at Yolanda quizzically, Yolanda nods and she gets up. “Oh my gods, you can’t be, you really can’t be?” “Have you met Harrison before?” says Morris, looking genuinely confused “Harrison Ford, it is you! What are you doing here?” “I was just in town and visiting my old friend Morris, why don’t you join us there seems to be a spare seat” “That would be rude, I mean I was just sat  with the actor who plays Astro Bikle and he’s soo charming, but you, you’re Harrison Ford” “Your choice sweetie” “I’ll get my plate, he’ll understand, can we move SBs things over there? I mean that’s better isn’t it?” So quickly they pile his cloak, beans and leftover drink at the turkeys table and all sit down together. “Yolanda, how do you know all these exciting people? This is like the most amazing night, let’s have some more drinks!” and they order another round. In the bathroom the Turkey has just entered and is looking round for the prophylactic machine. There seems to be noises coming from one of the cubicles, he pauses to listen and can make out a whispered falsetto “Oh its super Bikle, so dats why they call you SB” and then Bikle’s own voice “dats right girlie Biss Widehouse, dow I’ve got subthig dat will really bake you wide!” “Oh SB, dis is buch better dan being stuck at dat table wid de boorish Turkey.” The Turkey bridles at this and raps on the cubicle door before loudly interjecting “Not true! Blblblblp preferred date, all things fair in love and war, what are you doing in there blblblblblbp?” “Holy fuck! Dothing dothing. Just berr listedig to de radio, whilst havig a dump.” “Unlikely, blblblbp, heard about you, blblbp anyway must retrieve prize prophylactic for hot date blblblblbp toodle oo!” And outside the cubicle Bikle can hear the clinking and whirring of the coin and condom machine. “Bah!” he exclaims with futility looking down his wilting member and Bethany Winehouse. Something within him cannot help but speak again in the falsetto “Super Bikle what’s happened?” “It was dat Turkey bastard, but don’d worry, I’ll be good agaid id a bidute…”

Back at the table, Yolanda is quite curious about Harrison Ford’s behaviour as he’s now ordered 3 bottles of extra virgin olive oil and seems very pleased about this though Morris doesn’t bat an eyelid and chats cordially “Nice to see you, as always Johns…, er Harrison. Lovely little restaurant this, very popular with the celebrities an’ all that. Same again is it everyone?” Yolanda peers at him closely, then shrugs. “Fuck it, why not? What are we doing after this? Not much open on a Tuesday, late on. There’s always Johnson’s Karaoke Palace I suppose.” Bethany, who is now clinging to Harrison’s arm, squeals with delight. “Ooooh can we go there? I love Karaoke, I bet you have a lovely singing voice Mr Ford.” Morris smiles a vaguely malicious smile “Ho ho, what is everybody’s hurry? We have not yet had our sweet course, and I particularly wish to ensure that everyone gets their desserts, ho ho ho.” Yolanda glances at Morris uneasily, if a bit blearily, then once again shrugs and downs another vgb. Clancy emerges from the gents, with a bit of a strut in his walk, straightening his cravat somewhat smugly, until he sees Bethany’s empty chair, and whirling, sees her back at Morris and Yolanda’s table. His eyes pop comedically as he takes in the scene. “Blbplplblp! What’s going on? Outrageous business! Blbplplblp! Return at once! Ready to pitch woo!” Bethany giggles at him drunkenly. “Oh poor Astro Bockle, poor poor poor old Ashtray Bottle. Has naughty Bethany run off with somebody more famoush than you? Never mind, I’m sure you’ll find shomebody nice.” Clancy is livid. “Blplplpl! More famous! Just Oily Sex Mad Johnson! Morris put a glamour on him!” Bethany giggles again “You are funny Ostrich Battle! Funny little man!’ before slumping tipsily against Harrison/Johnson’s chest. “Blblblp! Warning you! Johnson pervert! Wait till you too drunk to resist, then it’s out with the oil and off with tweeds! Wake up with terrible headache, sense of self loathing! Weeks before feathers feel clean again! Blplplpl!” Yolanda sprays the table with vodka and goose boost. Clancy realises that he has said too much. “Blbplplblp! So I hear! Allegedly!” “Ho ho ho! Sounds like our Butterball bastard is just another notch on Johnson’s well-greased bedpost!” “Ha ha ha ha! Oh Clancy, you must of been pretty “well lubricated” to fall for that one!” “Ho ho, most amusing my little tortoiseshell hairbrush, give us another one!” “Hee Hee, that’s what Clancy said! Oily to bed oily to rise eh Clance?” “Blbplplblp! Stop this! Most undignified! Anyone can make a mistake!” “Well you certainly slipped up there didn’t you?” “Ho ho, now that’s what Clancy said Yolanda!” “Really!” Morris and Yolanda continue to guffaw and toss barbed comment at the flustered red faced turkey, who grows increasingly distressed. “Blbplplb! Slut shaming! Poor Clancy! Blblblp!” “Never mind Clance, oil’s well that ends well eh?” “Ho ho Yolanda, do not be so crude! Off to the Mediterranean for you holidays are you, you turkey bastard? Heard you like a bit of Greece!” “Blplp! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Nothing to be ashamed of! Young and starved of affection. My body, and will do with it as I please!” Yolanda hoots and cheers, “You go girl!”

 

Seeing there is little to be gained from pursuing the discussion Clancy returns huffily to his seat. At this moment Bikle returns from the bathroom, clutching Bethany Winehouse and looking pleased with himself. Upon seeing the now full table he is arrested. “H’what’s goig od? Who’s id by seat? Who is dis?” “Ah SB…” says Morris, “You have been relocated to Clancy’s table, you’re things are already there” “But I was sittig here, and Bethady’s back, who is dis?” Oily Sex Mad Harrison looks round at Bikle “Ah SB, yes sorry about that, hope you don’t mind?” “Oh bi god?! Harrisod Ford! What are you doig here?” “I popped in to see my old friend Morris and met this delightful young lady, I’ve been trying to butter her up ever since!” Bikle looks at him quizzically, it seems an odd choice of phrase, but it is Harrison Ford he decides, he was in Blade Runner so he can say pretty much what he wants. Frankly further cognitive processes reveal it is futile to compete for Bethany’s affections with Harrison Ford, so he decides to leave, then pauses a moment “Berr Harrisod, cad you do be ode favour!” “If I can SB?” “Cad you do de lide from de Comte de Bersierneaux filb trailer?” “Of course ok, so I’m dressed as Leonard and I walk up to Alfonso and say ‘Ah Alfonso can you possibly lend me a tenner until next Tuesday?’ to which Alfonso replies:” and he looks at Bikle to do the line “Berr oui b’sieur take twenty!, ho dat was Barvellous!” “Thanks don’t mind if I do!” says Harrison, who now has a twenty pound note in his hand “By last £20, give dat back!” “Oh thanks SB!” says Yolanda taking the money “that’ll pay for your drinks” “But you said you’d pay for de drinks and de dasty beads!” “I’ll pay for the beans ok, now can you go over there where your cloak is, your kind of in the way” A waiter appears behind him “H’o h’yes sir, your blocking the h’thoroughfair, h’move h’please!”  Morris gestures for him to move and Bethany waves a cutesy bye bye, Harrison looks on mockingly, stroking a bottle of olive oil. “Do bodey, do beal, do sdatch, sittig wid de Turkey, dis is frawful!” and he shuffles over to where is cloak is and the two of them sit there muttering together. “So Bethany…” says OSM Harrison “What you say we take a walk to that Karaoke bar and let me butter you up some more there!” Bethany is almost questioning the situation, “Harrison you don’t need to butter me up, I’m yours (if you want me)” she whispers the last part. But frankly Harrison seems more interested in the butter “I like buttering you up Bethany, it makes me feel good” “ooh you’re such a charmer!” “Are we going Morris?” Yolanda intones, you mentioned son of Dracula Johnson was having a go at Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, I’d like to see that if we can get there in time.” “Very well my little agricultural cybernetic inevitability, let us flee this plaice, ho ho see what I did there?” They get up, toss some notes, including Bikle’s £20 on the table. Harrison Ford incongruously rummages in his jacket pocket and produces a string bag, into which he places the bottles of olive oil. The couples leave but Morris insists he must use the bathroom himself. Yolanda says she’ll wait for him whilst Harrison suggests he and Bethany wait outside. A few minutes pass and Morris re-emerges, he and Yolanda step out onto the pavement at the front of the restaurant. There’s a curious spectacle frankly. A man roughly is running hell for leather along the pavement to where they stand. Except they don’t all stand there. Bethany and Harrison in fact are just disappearing into a cab. Harrison winks at Morris who smiles drily back. Bethany shoots a giggly glance at the Yolanda before disappearing into the back seat. The running man seems upset by their disappearance or something about it anything, as he draws closer he can be heard “Bethany! Bethany Ledley! Bethany! It’s me Bryan!” but she didn’t hear him or see him. As his legs thunder him with futility towards the departing cab, Yolanda and Morris can see the man is in a considerable state, he sports no trousers, he’s dirty and dishevelled from head to foot and his body is quite emaciated “Fuck! Fuck! Bethanyyyyy!” he screams at the distant vehicle. “Morris,” Yolanda starts, quite alarmed “I think that’s Bethany’s husband, he disappeared months ago, she told me he’d run away with another woman, what’s going on?” “I couldn’t say with certainty my chiropractic pedometer, though the gentleman is vaguely familiar to me, I do believe I issued some advice to him at some earlier juncture…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on August 8, 2016 at 9:54 am  Leave a Comment  

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  

Astro Bikle and the Missing Benefits

Relatively early one morning Bikle makes his way into the kitchenette area of his flat, to the sound of Vwuuuk, “Barvellous!” Slam! and the sight of his brother kneeling in front of the fridge.

Buckle: “Bordig Bikle, you’re up early today. Do you dow what, whed you oped dis thig here, you’ll dever guess what you find! Dat’s right! And dat’s abazig, because earlier today, I had ad idea dat dere would be…”

Bikle: “Ho god spare be dis agaid, it’s too early. I deed by custobary glass of Do Frills cola drigk before I cad listed to dis rigbarole, dow get out of by way so dat I cad get idto de fridge.”

Buckle: “You dow best big brother, but it’s very chilly id dere, ad if you could avoid squashig by cheese dat would be dice.”

Bikle: “You ducklehead! I dod’t bead get idto de fridge, I beadt, oh dever bind.”

He retrieves his pop and pours some out into a smeared pint glass.

Buckle: “Adyway, what’s beed goig od while I was asleep?”

Buckle: (thinks hard) “Dow let be see, Í got up ad brushed by teeth like a good boy, ded I had a gabe of pig pog id de bathroob, ad sobe of your thigs got broked, but I wod! Den I got scared because I thought dat dere was a ghost id de washig bachide, but de Postbad looked ad said dat it was just ode of your dice shirts, ad den…”

Bikle: “Wait a bobedt, de Postbad? What was he doig here, it’s dot by giro day.”

Buckle: “Oh he had sobethig to deliver for you.”

Bikle: “Ho really? Did he have a bill?”

Buckle: “As a batter of fact he did, it was Postbad Johdsod!”

Bikle: “Give be stredth, I cad’t take buch bore of dis, what did he deliver?”

Buckle: “What did who deliver Bikle?”

Bikle: “De Postbad you dubskull! What did de Postbad brig be?”

Buckle: “Oh dat. I thought dat you were talkig about de bad frob de coudcil.”

Bikle: “What bad frob de coudcil? Please Buckle, do bore of dis, I shall go badadas.”

Buckle: “De bad frob de coudcil dat helped be get by leg out of de toilet.”

Bikle: “Your leg out of de toilet?”

Buckle: “Whed I was playig pig pog silly. Ad he brought you a letter too, just like de Postbad.”

Bikle: “Ad where are dese letters den you awful bastard?”

Buckle: “Oh I hid deb id de cupboard where you keep de beads,” he looks frightened and continues in a whisper, “I didn’t wadt de ghost to get dem.”

Sighing deeply Bikle retrieves the letters and opens the envelopes, Buckle returns to Vwuuuk “Barvellous!” etc, until he is alarmed by a pitiful shriek. Bikle has staggered back against the filthy microwave, a look of shock and horror etched upon features that are even more pallid than usual.

Bikle: “I bissed ad appoidtbedt at de dole office, dey’ve stopped by idcobe support ad de coudcil have cut off by housig bedefit! Ad dere’s do appeal!” He clutches his head in his hands and a low moan escapes him. “Ho god, I’b goig to have to get a job!”

The next thing he can hear is.“Bikle?! Bikle! Are you alright? Wake up Bikle!” Blearily he begins to open his eyes.

Bikle: “Oh by god, Buckle I just had de bost frawful dreab! I’d bissed ad appointbent at de dole office and by bedifits had all beed cut off!”

Buckle: “Ho, dat sounds terrible Bikle, I bean twice id ode day bust be awful.”

Bikle: “Yes it bust, waid od a binute, what do you bead twice id ode day?”

Buckle: “Well you were sayig subthig like dat before you collapsed! First you waived dis letter around, den you said de thig, den plop dowd you went!”

Bikle: “H’what?!” sure enough, it is not the sofa nor the grimy bed he that he finds himself upon, but the cold dirty floor of the kitchen-living room. “Ho god! It wasn’t a dreab!”

Buckle: “Look Bikle I’ve drawd a picture on de letter page, dis is bister cheese and dis is his friend de eyeball bonster ‘fri’m cobig to eat you bister cheese!’ ‘oh do please don’t eat be, I’b your friend bister cheese’ ‘yes but I’b hungry for cheese’ Actually Bikle, I’b hungry for cheese, I’b off to de fridge to check”

Moments later the same ol ‘vwukk, barvellous’ duet can be heard. Bikle picks himself up and looks at the scratty letter with Mr Cheese and the eyeball monster scrawled over it and sighs.

Bikle: “Right den, odly ode way to deal wid dis crisis, ged de job and cuddigly be reboved so dey have to give be de boney back. Hmmb but what could bi do?”

At this moment a leaflet appears through the letterbox. Bikle picks it up and reads ‘Gardners wanted for country estate, no previous experience necessary but must be handy with tools’

Bikle: “Ho by ho by fris dis serendipity of h’what? Dis job has by dame all over it, country estate, tools, Barvellous, baybe I won’t even want to leave, baybe I’ll becobe head gardeder o o o, dow let’s see. ‘Applicants bust dial dis number and wait outside de squalid flat to be picked up’, ho dis gets easier by de bobent!”

Bikle dials the number and waits. The phone rings at the other end for what seems an interminable time, after a while a gruff familiar voice picks says “are you stupid? Get outside the flat now!” Unperturbed and still excited about his easy entrance into the world employment, Bikle pops on his cloak and heads down the dingy staircase to wait outside in the sullen morning air. The scene is somewhat reminiscent of Albert Jackson’s wait for a lift in a tale gone by.
Bikle hangs about on the street corner for quite some time awaiting developments. A van full of workmen drives past and they all jeer and hoot in derision. “Wheeeey! How much for a short time then bumboy?” one yells, bouncing an empty can of red bull off Bikle’s forehead. More time passes, and children start passing on their way to school. The younger ones are hurried quickly past by their parents, many of them crossing the busy road to avoid him, but the older children hurl stones at him chanting “Shit man, shit man, has his christmas dinner from a baked bean can!” Eventually a battered ford transit pickup arrives, and Johnson motions for him to get in. He goes to open the door, but Johnson indicates that he should get in the back. Bikle is clambering aboard with some difficulty when Johnson starts off with a lurch, sending him onto his hands and knees among a number of overflowing bags containingparticularly pungent fertiliser. As he scrambles into a sitting position, Johnson brakes violently, sending the odourous, oozing sacks cascading over him. Finally the van arrives at Morris’ house and Johnson indicates that Bikle should get out. Gingerly letting himself from the tailgate he tries to question Johnson, but receives only a derisory Mwaeerk! as the van speeds off. Attempting to brush off the worst of the filth, he only succeeds in rubbing it into his clothes. Not really knowing what else to do, he trudges up the path and knocks on Morris’ door, which swings open with a menacing creak. Inside, Morris is playing “Hungry hungry hippos” with Johnson. Turning, he looks at Bikle with irritation.

Morris: “You is it cocksnot? What brings you here? And make it quick, this is the deciding game.”

Bikle: “Berr, bi cabe about dat gardedig job?”

Morris: “Gardening job? Gardening job? You’ve got some cheek! Think I’d let a deadbeat like you participate in the horticultural maintenance of my prize orchids? Not bloody likely sunshine! Besides the job’s gone. Johnson got it.”

Bikle: “Gode? Oh do! Please Borris! I’b desperate fos a job, de bastards dowd de dole office have stopped by bodey!”

Morris: “Hard cheese nobsocket, that’s hardly my problem is it?”

Bikle: “Ho cobe od Borris? Dod’t be a piker!”

Morris: (pauses and rubs his chin thoughtfully)“Well, seeing as how Johnson got the gardening job I suppose you could have his old job. Dependant upon a successful interview of course.”

Bikle: “Brilliadt! Ad what job is dat boss?”

Morris: “Ho ho, why Johnson of course. Now lets do the interview.” Johnson grabs a pad and pencil and perches a pair of pince nez precariously upon his beak. Morris looks stern. “Now then Mr Shit. I mean Shit boy. Shit bag. Sorry, I meant to say Mr shit puff, you don’t mind if I just call you Shitty do you? We’re all very informal here. Well then Shitty, and you do in fact stink like shit, just thought I’d draw your attention to that, not that it will prejudice your interview in any way of course, what qualities do you think that you would be bringing to the team, assuming that a) you get the job, b) that I do not burn you to death in the next few minutes, and c) bearing in mind that I do not consider smelling like shit a desirable attribute.”

Bikle: “Err well, I’b a botivated ad flexible worker, ad I work well either as part of a teab or usig by owd iditiative…”

Morris:”And of course you smell of shit. I think I’ve heard enough. Johnson? Any input?”

Johnson: “Mwaerk!”

Morris: (nods) “Johnson here raises a valid point,”

Bikle: “Let be guess, is it about be sbellig of shit?”

Morris: “In fact my associate was querying whether you would be willing to opt out of the European Working Hours Directive, but now you mention it Johnson, I did detect a faecal miasma emanating from your loathsome and, may I add, tedious personage, still we are a broad church here at Morris inc, and I’d hate to let a little thing like that stand in the way of a young man like yourself making his way in the world, standing up on his own two flippers and so forth. In a nutshell, the job’s yours, I assume that you can start at once, in fact, well you have started at once haven’t you? Look!”

Bikle looks into the mirror that Morris indicates, and sees that he is decked out in a tatty and stained white feathery bird suit, which is complemented by a strap on beak and a pair of large scuba flippers.

Morris: “Johnson will now commence the induction program and do not forget you are on probabtion, one false move and it will be back to the squalid flat and no bananas. Johnson, health and safety and training, now!” Unfortunately for Bikle, Johnson has wandered off to do the gardening job leaving on himself. “I said Johnson, commence training shit boy! Hang on a minute where has he gone?” Bikle looks confused. “What you waiting for Johnson, get looking for him this instant, sloping off like this on his first day, it’s outrageous!”

Bikle: “Berr but Borris, it’s be in de Johnsod outfit!”

Morris: “Who said that?”

Bikle: “Bi did Borris, I’b right here!”

Morris:“SB, what are you doing dressed up like Johnson?”

Bikle: “Berr you dressed be up as Johnsod, for de job rebember?”

Morris: “Why would I do that exactly?”

Bikle: “Berr you said the job was Johnson.”

Morris: (looks at him quizzically) “’The job was Johnson’ is it a Johnson, one of those abstract ones? A Johnson who emanates the past tense of state of particular employment? Or possibly a statement, a new catchphrase to indicate something positive or possibly negative about a job that happened. That would be a sticky wicket, as of course Johnson by himself has no particular bias, thus the statement would need to be ‘the job was a bad old johnson’ to render it at least partially intelligible.  Ah and here comes ‘a bad old Johnson’ now to administer the training and induction.”

A bad old Johnson is a nasty looking piece of work. Slightly crooked and worn by his long years, his eyes gleam with an uncanny malevolence. His feathery personage is housed in a crumpled black suit and he helps himself along  with thing cane that bends upon each compression. He looks Bikle up and down with some disgust before barking out a series of loud “Mwaaerks!” Bikle looks non-plussed and horrified and is rewarded by his lack of action with a sharp ‘thwack’ to his person from the long thing cane

Bikle: “Frouch, dere’s do deed for dat!” It seems Bikles voice only infuriates him further as another series of blows reign down upon him “Frouch! Frow! Stop dis baniac Borris!” Morris’ attention has largely wandered but slightly smirking he looks back round

Morris: “Yes well, he is one of the more draconian Johnson’s here, notwithstanding Rhadamanthine Johnson whom I fear you would fair even less well with. I should try and get with the lingo, it might quieten him down a bit.”

Clearly frightened of  ABO Johnson Bikle sees nothing to do but give it a go “err bwaaerk!” he proffers. Abo Johnson’s onslaught is stayed at this and shooting him a scowl he gestures that Bikle should follow him.

Apprehensively Bikle follows Bad Old Johnson down Morris’s hallway. Imperceptibly the suburban hall segues into a gray painted industrial corridor with signs pointing the way to such locations as “Prop Room #9” and “Level 2 Armoury”. Eventually, after walking for some time they take a narrow passageway past a cheerless canteen where several hundred Johnsons sit drinking tea and munching baked potatoes, before descending a steep spiral staircase made of clanging perforated steel, and Bikle finds himself propelled with a shove through a door marked “Training Annexe.” Once through the door, he is stunned by the enormous size of the room, which stretches away seemingly endlessly. Around this vast cavern are dotted myriad Johnsons, who are being coached in a multiplicity of tasks, some, close at hand are spot welding the frame of what looks like a robot scorpion, near to them, a squad in Dutch national dress is executing a nifty clog dance. A short distance off they are butchering swans, abseiling, churning butter, glueing seashells to trinket boxes, repairing the gearbox on a Vauxhall Viva, sumo wrestling, rigging a top sail, sharpening punji spikes and a thousand other random tasks. Bad Old Johnson prods him with his cane towards a suite of rooms running off the side of the main room. He hustles him straight past the first room, labelled “Advanced Training”, hesitates for a moment outside “Basic Training”, before propelling him through the third, marked “Remedial Training.” Once inside, Bad Old Johnson pushes him roughly into an uncomfortable plastic chair and points at a projector screen on the wall. Pushing a few buttons Johnson retires into a side room, settling himself into the chair as best he can, Bikle hears the unmistakeable noise of a cork being pulled from a bottle. Bikle sits in the darkness for several minutes, then jumps as the screen bursts noisily into life. Set to a pumping dance music soundtrack, the video shows various bright eyed Johnsons engaged in a number of activities such as water skiing, judo, motocross and mountaineering. Clearly this is a recruitment video, and halfway through, Johnson stamps angrily back into the room and fiddles with the controls. The picture switches to a grainy, jumpy faded instructional film, obviously shot in Morris’s living room. The man himself is standing looking bored and smoking a roll up.

Morris: “Is this fucking thing on? Do I have to do this Johnson? Oh very well, let us get it over with then, I have a game of hungry hungry hippo’s with Johnson pencilled in for this morning.” Turning to face the camera he  stands there for a moment smoking. After a moment Johnson comes back into shot and mwaaerks at him. “Eh? I thought the training film followed on?”

Johnson: “Mwaaerk!”

Morris: “This is the training film? What are we training? Oh SB right. The first part of the film is entitled how not to do your job. Roll the film Johnson.” The screen changes and now Bikle can see a kind of kitchen living room. Further inspection reveals it to be his kitchen living room. Suddenly a gangly figure leaps across shot and then starts to gambol around on the floor. At first it seems it might be a kind of humanoid dog, but closer inspection from Bikle reveals it is in fact Buckle with socks on his ears. Clearly he is involved in some kind of game. Irritated Bikle watches as he crashes around the room knocking various things over, including the remote control which once again ends up behind the back of the radiator.

Bikle: “By rebote!” he cannot help but shout, only to rouse the ire of abo Johnson who rewards him with a rap to the hand. “I bean Bwaaerk!”. The scene continues with more of the strange game until a moment which Buckle on all fours attempts to leap on the kitchenette work surface. Sadly there is a tea towel covering part of it which is pinned to the surface by a pile of dirty dishes. Upon Buckle’s leaping up he attempts to gain purchase by grabbing at the tea towel covered portion. Inevitably this has the unfortunate consequence of bringing all of the dirty dishes down on top of him as he tips backwards. The last scene is of him rolling around, socks on his ears in a pile of filthy broken crockery. Morris reappears on the screen in his living room laughing

Morris: “Oh my Christ did you see that! Ho ho, oh my grief Johnson, socks on his ears, marvellous. Hmm that gives me an idea, get shit boy to put socks on his ears, he looks about the same as that un.” Bikle bristles at this but has little choice but to continue watching. “What’s next? Oh yes, how to do the job properly. Good at his job Johnson will now demonstrate. Johnson set up the Hippos!” The scene is then, Morris sitting in an armchair near by the central coffee table whilst Johnson can  be seen retrieving a box from some kind of shelving to one side of the room. He the carefully displays the hungry hungry hippos box to the screen before carefully unpacking the contents onto said coffee table. All actions are executed with competence and precision until finally a perfect and ready to play Hungry hungry hippos for two is set up. Morris looks at it quizzically for a moment before shouting “Are you playing ‘landa?” to which the muffled reply “No I’m not playing that fucking hippos game again Morris!” can be heard. “Ok Johnson you were right, just us two, I’ll go first!” Johnson looks minorly aggrieved at this as clearly Morris always goes first but doesn’t risk a comment. The rest of the ‘training video’ is just the two of them playing. Bikle sits there in the dark staring at the strange spectacle of Morris playing Johnson. First Morris wins a game, then Johnson, then Johnson again! Bikle finds himself egging Johnson on. Morris looks displeased and says “alright Johnson best of 5”. He then wins the 4th game. “Right Johnson, this is the decider!” he says before being disturbed by a knock at the door. Off shot Bikle can now hear his own voice saying “berr Bi cabe about de gardedig job…” and the whole scene is played out as earlier up to the point at which his interview starts then the screen goes black. Bikle has been sat there for an  age it seems and now Abo Johnson can  be heard snoring in the control room. Fully aware of how deeply he is lost in Morris’ cavernous dwelling, he now has no idea what to do.

He considers waking Johnson to ask for further instructions, but decides against it, rightly concluding that a bottle of Croatian cabernet sauvignon is unlikely to have improved his mood. He sits idly for another half hour, growing ever more bored, then thinks he will have a roll up. He feels in his pockets for his tobacco tin, only to realise that he is not wearing his own clothes of course, but the Johnson outfit, and all he finds are a discount coupon for a baked potato outlet and a tatty keyring with a small rubber Astro Bikle toy attached. He lays these scanty gleanings on the desk and continues to be bored. Eventually, out of sheer boredom he begins to play with the key charm.

Bikle: “Ho look at be, I’b de fabous Astro Bikle! I’b a big rubbish phodey! Real Bikle is buch better dad be!” He keeps this up for a while, then, growing more involved begins acting out a series of adventures starring Astro Bikleand his arch nemesis Captain Coupon, who it appears has a bad Scottish accent.

Captain Coupon: “Ho, och aye Astro Bikle, yous are too late! Fidally by defarious plad has cobe to fruitiod ad dow you are doobed, I shall disidtegrate you wid by bidvisible death ray the doo!”

Astro Bikle: “Dot likely Captaid Coupod! By sbace cloak will degate de perdicious effects of your bagdetic weapod, ad we’ll settle dis like bed! Wid our fists!”

He then proceeds to bang the toy and coupon together reapeatedly, adding dialogue and what he feels are appropriate sound effects. “Take dat you tyradt!” *Pow!* “Och do, you take dis idstead!” *Zap!* “Ha you bissed be, dow I’ll cripple you!” and so on, Bikle gets so enthused that he keeps forgetting who is who, and doing Astro Bikle in a bad Scottish accent. Eventually AB gets the upper hand, and with a flurry of thwacks, zaps, oofs and och ayes, defeats Captain Coupon, who makes a moving death bed oration.

Captain Coupon: “You have defeated be Astro Bikle, on this braw bricht moonlicht nicht, ad dow all by plads for de dobidatiod of de cosbos lay id ruids, ye ken. De better bad wod, You are de baster of de udiverse dow! But I ask ode last request of you, dot as a dotorious sbace villaid, but as a father, wod’t you take care of by daughter whed I’b gode? *koff koff choke*”

Morris and Johnson, who are watching this all on the monitor, are in absolute hysterics,

Morris: “Ho ho ‘Landa, this is priceless, come and watch Shit Boy playing with himself!”

Yolanda: “Morris! That’s disgusting! And I’m trying to get ready for my Modern Dance Class.”

Morris: “Not in that sense Yolanda, rather in the sense of him making a juggins of himself live on the internet. And I wouldn’t get your leg warmers in a twist, apparently the community centre has burned down with considerable loss of life, so your class will have to be cancelled.”

Back in the Remedial Training Room meanwhile, things are starting to heat up. Faithful to his oath to the dying Captain Coupon, AB has sought out his ravishing teenage daughter, the lovely Princess Voucherella.

Voucherella: (falsetto) “Ho Astro Bikle, eved do you burdered by father, I ab udable to resist your basculide charbs!”

Astro Bikle: “Well dat’s dot surprisig bodob, you are odly hubad after all. Do wobad cad resist de fabous Astro Bikle.”

Voucherella: (falsetto) “I cad see why, you big space hugk, kiss be!”

Astro Bikle: “O.O.O.O. You dow Pridcess Voudcherella, dat space suit doesd’t really suit you, but it does bake you look ebidedtly fuckable.”

Voucherella: (falsetto)”Oh you are so bad, I cad’t keep by hads off you! Take be dow!”

Astro Bikle: “By pleasure you binx! Cobe here!”

He then starts once more to bang the toy and the voucher together, this time adding a 70’s jazz funk soundtrack to the appropriate sound effects. Morris and Johnson are literally helpless with laughter. Even Yolanda, initially furious about the incineration of her dance class, is giggling.

Yolanda: “Actually Morris, this is pretty funny, poor old SB, he’d be mortified if he knew we were watching.”

Morris: “Not just us my little floating bookshelf, but the whole world is watching, or at least the portion of it with internet access, ho ho, old shitty has gone viral.” from the speakers comes Bikle’s voice, clearly excited now.

Astro Bikle: “Take dat you bitch! Ad dat, ad dat, ad dat! Say by dabe!”

Voucherella: (falsetto) “Ho yes Astro Bikle! You are bagdificedt, do it harder!”

Yolanda:”Jesus Morris this is awful, but I can’t stop watching. He’ll never be able to leave the house again after this. Oh god what’s he doing with his other wing? Is he…?”

Morris: “Touching himself? Indeed he is, vigorously. And on work’s time too. I take a dim view of this sort of thing. This is clearly a disciplinary matter Yolanda, this could cause irreparable damage to the good name of Morris inc. However it is most amusing, so we will let it continue a little longer.”

Yolanda: (pulls a face) “Euww, this is getting out of hand now.”

Morris: “Judging from what I’m seeing my dear, I should say exactly the opposite was the case”

Yolanda: “No Morris, I mean I’ve had enough.”

Morris: “and so has Princess Voucherella by the sound of it! Ho ho. Never mind my little Teatime Assortment, I shall put an end to this debacle. Johnson!”

Johnson: “Mwaaerk!”

Morris: “Go and wake up Bad Old Johnson and the pair of you fetch Bizarre Onanist Johnson back here sharpish, in one piece ideally, but don’t worry if he gets a bit damaged en route if you catch my drift…”

Johnson: “Mwaeerk!” nods Johnson eagerly and hurries off.

Back in the remedial training room things get yet more complicated. Astro Bikle is enmeshed in a passionate embrace with princess Voucherella when suddenly

Buckle: “But den here comes de eyeball bonster, oh doh! Princess Voucherella you’re cobig wid be!”

Bikle is taken aback as an eyeball floating in a liquid encased in a plastic ball (weighted so it always looks upwards) smashes into the lovers, knocking astro Bikle flying and the princess heading for the abyss beneath his seat.

Voucherella: (falsetto) “Astro Bikle save be!” he hollers instinctively before emerging enough to observe how the eyeball monster can be intervening in the situation. Horrified he sees Buckle animating said eyeball monster from the adjacent seat

Eyeball Monster: “Dow frastro Bikle Bi’m goig to eat you up!” Buckle is deeply involved in the narrative and the horrified Bikle can only hope he can hide his erstwhile activity from Buckle, not least to avoid all the questions that will likely follow. Simultaneous to this endeavour is the sense of

Bikle: “What de fuck are you doig here Buckle?”

Buckle: “Ho don’t stop playing Bikle, dis is good, de Eyeball Bonster grabbed Astro Bikle by de cloak, he was powerless against it!”

But something in Bikle doesn’t really like this, grabbing the Astro Bikle figure he begins to animate it once more

Bikle: “But den Astro Bikle, beat de eyeball bonster easily and rad off wid de princess!”

Buckle: “Do Bikle de princess has falled idto de chasm of doob and the eyeball bonster is too strog for hib!”

Bikle: “Do he isn’t Buckle, Astro Bikle would be buch stronger and larger dan ady eyeball bonster!” but dow to Bikle’s horror, Buckle has fished princess Voucherella out of the chasm of doom and foisted her into the clutches of the eyeball monster

Eyeball Monster: “Cub wid be princess, you cad rule the eyeball kigdob wid be!”

Bikle: “Do Buckle, she wouldn’t want to rule de eyeball kigdob, dere’s odly wod eye ball kigdob de pridcess wants! O o o!”

Buckle: “What do you bean Bikle? Bikle?” Buckle suddenly peers at him quizzically “why are you wearing a Johnson outfit wid de flies undone?”

Bikle: (Perceiving the best means of defence is attack quickly retorts) “Dever Bind about dat? I’b deep id de biddle of Borris’ caverdous dwelling, how de fuck did you get here?”

Buckle: “Ho I don’t do, I had a bit of ad accident wid de crockery so den I went out for a walk, I opened a door id de park and it lead id here, den I saw you playing wid yourself so I decided to joid id!”

Bikle runs cold at the choice of words but it seems Buckle has clocked nothing of it “cad we keep playig dow?”

Bikle: “Dot likely, I’ve got work to do!”

Buckle: “Ho what work is dat?”

Bikle: “Its berr, frimportant work for Borris, where’s dat door, you go back to de park, I’ll see you at hobe for tea!”

Buckle: “Right you are den Bikle, cad I take de Astro Bikle toy ad princess voucherella?”

Bikle: “Berr dot at de bobent Buckle, i’ve got to give dem back to Borris later! Yes dat’s it!”

Buckle: “Ho, righto Bikle see you id a bit!” and with that Buckle disappears as bizarrely as he appeared.  Bikle rapidly fumbles for the characters and tries to get the mood back.

Voucherella: (falsetto)“Och aye Astro Bikle ye have saved be frob de eyeball bonster, you are such a hero, I biss your embrace”

Astro Bikle: “Cobe to be Voucherella, lets resube de bobent !”

Voucherella: (falsetto)“Oh yes Frastro Bikle, take be dow!” and the same rigmarole ensues with gusto. Suddenly though, from out of nowhere there is an intrusion. 

Buckle: “Den bister cheese popped round for a cup of tea and a slice of kedgeree!”From out of nowhere Mr Cheese interrupts Astro Bikle and Princess Voucherella inflagrante. Bikle does look not pleased.

Bikle: “Ho fuck off bister cheese! Said astro Bikle and de pridcess!”

Buckle: “Ho dat wasn’t very kind of dem, Astro Bikle is always kind id de prograb!”

Bikle: “Buckle what de fuck dow!? Can’t  you leave dem alode for a bobent?”

Buckle: “What for Bikle? Bister cheese is thirsty for a cup of tea and wants a slice of dat kedgeree cake, he won’t stay for long”

Bikle: “Gib be strength, ball right den”

So mister cheese pops in and has a slice of kedgeree cake and a cup of tea whilst Astro Bikle and Voucherella make sullen small talk with him so as not to prolong his presence. Eventually mister cheese takes the hint and leaves and Buckle once more disappears.

Bikle then picks up the tiny figure and the coupon once more.

Voucherella: (falsetto)“Astro Bikle we’re alode at last de noo.”

Astro Bikle: “Aye dat we are by sweet, dow down to busidess agaid!”

Voucherella: (falsetto)“You’re such a brute, but I like it!”

Astro Bikle: “Frov course you do froo fritcha, dow where were we?” The scene resumes once more in all its seedy detail when suddenly the door is flung wide open and light from the corridor outside shows Bikle in all his avian, wretched pathos. Temporarily dazzled by the brightness after the gloom, Bikle shades his eyes against the glare with one wing, attempting to cover his wilting tumescence with the other. The brightness increases if anything, and he can only vaguely make out a number of bulky, indistinct shapes.

Bikle: “Err, Buckle? Is dat you ad Bister Cheese agaid?”

The only reply is a tinny amplified “Mwaerk!” as half a dozen Riot Squad Johnsons rush in and subdue him with blows from their clubs. “Frouch! Get off be you six! Ow dat hurt! Dere was dothig about dis id de recruitbedt video!” The only reply is another flurry of truncheoning, there comes a final cry of “By testicles!” and then silence, broken only by the sound of whimpering and something being dragged across the floor.

The next scene is Morris’ living room, which now features a massive shiny executive style desk, behind which Morris himself slouches in a leather swivel chair,flanked by several sleekly efficient looking corporate Johnsons, smoking a roll up and trying to look angry. The Riot Johnsons drag the bedraggled and battered Bikle in, and dump him on the floor, before saluting smartly and marching out. Morris nods at one of his aides, who judging from his name badge is Security Manager Johnson, who proceeds to prod the recumbent wretch with a stick. “Mwaerk!” Bikle flinches.

Bikle: “Dot id de balls agaid I beg you. Can’t you kick be id de head for a chadge?”

Johnson is about to oblige when Morris gestures for him to refrain.

Morris: “Not yet Johnson, I want a word with him first. Get up off the floor then Shitty, or at least struggle to an awkward semi kneeling crouch, that’s the ticket. Welcome to your disciplinary hearing by the way. Incidentally would you like a coffee or anything? Not that I’m offering mind, just curious. According to the employee handbook you havethe option of being represented by a colleague, looking at the rota, the available people are Staunch Presbytarian Johnson, Red Hot Poker Johnson, Hates That Bikle With A Passion Johnson, Ghengis Johnson, and Brilliant Advocate Johnson.” Bikle looks up hopefully, but Morris continues, “Sorry, bit of a misprint there, that should be Brilliant Advocaat Johnson, he’s in our liqueur manufacturing division, Hates That Bikle With A Passion Johnson’s brother in law, thick as thieves them two, wouldn’t advise it to be honest, so we’ll just crack on shall we? Says here Gross Misconduct, gross being the operative word frankly Shit Stuff. So before you have even finished training you decided to have a bit of “me time” did you? Treat yourself? Indulge in a marathon orgy of autoeroticism on company premises? What have you got to say for yourself? Not that we’ll pay any heed to it, or indeed listen, but go on anyway,let’s have it.”

Bikle attempts to frame a dignified response, but understandably under the circumstances, finds it difficult.

Bikle: “Berr, erb? It wasd’t be! It bust have beed sobebody else, berr, Johdsod, dat’s it, it bust have beed Johdsod!”

Morris: (frowns.) “Trying to pass the buck eh? Not exactly a team player are we Shitty? Make a note of that Johnson. Now here’s the thing bumface, you turn up at my door, smelling like shit, interrupt a very promising game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, and beg me for a job. Against my better instincts, and certainly against the advice of Johnson, I give you a chance, and how do you repay me?” Bikle opens his mouth, but Morris continues, “Zip it Mr Spanky, rhetorical question, and one I shall answer myself, as indeed is largely the point in deploying such a technique, you repay me by seizing the first opportunity to, well, sieze yourself, and engage in a frantic bout of pocket billiards in the Remedial Training room. Hardly professional that is it? Rhetorical again I should point out. No it is not professional, and it gives rise to concerns as to your future with the firm, indeed your future in a wider sense, inasmuch as you have such a thing. Now how can I trust an employee who is liable to enthusiastic, no holds barred sessions of self love at the drop of a hat? Who, when I particularly want him to run an important errand for me, is all too likely to have succumbed to his unclean lusts, and to have, as it were, caught the train to Wankytown? When I said that the job would provide you with “hands on experience”, this was not what I was implied, far from it in fact. Now we have a nice quiet family business here, me, Johnson, Coco and the Morlocks, and then we have you. The thing is Shitlord, and let me see now, how can I put it nicely? I won’t bother. You’re sacked. Fuck off.”

Bikle: (horrified) “Sacked! Oh do! Dow I’ll dever get by bedefits back! I’b ruined!”

Morris: “Should of thought of that before you decided to get jiggy on the job shouldn’t you then stringbean? Clear your desk, you’ve got 5 minutes before I set the bees on you.”

Bikle: “But I dod’t have a desk.”

Morris: “Is that so? Then what the fuck are you doing still here?”

Bikle: (looks pathetic) “Dod’t I get ady wages?”

Morris: (spluttering) “Wages? Say you managed half an hour before deciding to tickle your pickle, now after deductions for cleaning, no make that incinerating, the uniform, you actually owe me eight quid, but I’ll waive that just to see the back of you, now do one pissbag you sicken me.”

Bikle: “By clothes ded?”

Morris: “What clothes? I don’t see any clothes etc etc.”

Bikle: “Berr, cad I keep de udiforb ded? As a bobedto?”

Morris: “As a prop for your pervo fetish you mean. Not a hope.”

The Johnson suit vanishes much as it appeared, leaving SB clad in grubby off gray underpants and a “Ready Steady Mwaerk!” t shirt stamped LOSER.

Bikle: “But I cad’t go hobe dressed like dis!”

Morris: “Bit late to worry about your dignity now I would of thought Shitty, but you can take this piece of waste insulating material if you want. Now fuck off and don’t come back. Johnson!”

Human Resources Johnson grabs SB by the scruff of the neck and neatly externalises him. Tying the shiny silver insulating material round his neck to try and keep off the icy rain, he glumly tramps down the garden path.

Bikle: “Ho what ad appallig day. Still at least thigs cad’t get ady worse I suppose! I wonder what Borris beadt by dose cryptic partig words of his? Why would I wadt to google de words “duck suit retard self abuse? It’s a bystery! Still I dod’t suppose dat it’s dat ibportadt. Dow I just have to walk dowd half a dozed busy streets ad past baybe ted or twelve rowdy pubs ad I’ll be hobe. Barvellous!”

Bikle sets off down the street wrapped in the pitiful attire. It is not long before a car drives past honking its horn loudly whilst the driver hollers some kind of remark in his direction. Not being entirely unfamiliar with this kind of behaviour he shrugs it off. But then it happens again, and again. The fourth time he can hear something like ‘oi duck wank retard!’ Alarmed he presses on. But as anticipated, as he approaches the more central region of the town he begins to enter a busier district. People milling round immediately observe him and snigger. This too he can reconcile with familiarity and the impoverished get up but when a gobby hipster shouts ‘eyyyy it’s bird wank boy! did de pridcess like dat?’ he flinches in incomprehension and embarrassment. What’s going on? What does he know? How does he know? At this moment he goes past a bench with some young people on it crowding round a phone, in horror he hears his own voice tinnily emanating from the speaker ‘take dat and dat and dat!’. The young people laugh uproariously at this and the horrifying realisation begins to dawn on him that, some horrible how, this morning’s job experience at Morris inc have somehow gotten out and about. Now as he enters more of the throng, the looks, the comments, the obscene hand gestures and the shrieks of princes voucherella come thick and fast. ‘Ho by god’ he thinks, head down, ‘just ged hobe den lock de door’. It doesn’t stop, it gets worse. Shouting and calling turns to pushing from unknown hands. Some people are displeased. His head reels, his legs feel like jelly, he’s perspiring badly. Another push and down he goes head in his hands. “Leave be alode, I’vd god do bedefits!” comes a plaintive cry from some part of his mind. People stand around,  some are taking selfies, some are laughing, some are feeling slightly guilty at pushing this wretched man to this level of distress but hanging around anyway as there is something of a party like atmosphere to it all. “Eww look! He’s weeing himself!” says some onlooker. Sure enough from the heap of industrial material, undwear and wretch comes a steady flow of liquid oozing from the sodden grey pants. The crowd part slightly to avoid it in a curious inversion of Moses crossing the red sea. The wee trickles off the pavement and down into a gutter. At this moment a vehicle pulls exactly on the edge of the road where said gutter meets urine. The crowd’s attention turn and it turns out to be an ambulance; clearly someone has taken pity of the figure and done the decent thing. Two white coated Johnson’s quickly get out of the back and rather roughly shove the cowering figure onto a stretcher before quickly carrying him into the back of the ambulance. As for Bikle he can scarcely tell what’s going on, his self righteous indignation is all but disintegrated and all he can feel is a terrifying anxiety that now his denuded of all its particular contents. This unpleasant sensation persists, he can do nothing but feel and be it, there are a series of loud ‘Mwaaerks!’ that seem directed at him in some way but he is utterly unable to answer or acknowledge them in any form. At length he can feel a small jab in his arm and then there is nothing.

The soothing blackness persists, beautiful nothingness is all he knows. After a while though, neural circuits begin to reemerge. Images begin to float about, incomprehensible symbols as yet unconnected to full consciousness. Look here’s some cheese, here’s a Johnson, a filthy toilet, a coconut, a reclining chair. Single images merge, a kind of vista appears, a road, he’s walking down the street what could be more normal. Bikle is walking down the high street, suddenly out of the bustling throng he is accosted by a couple of garishly dressed American tourists.

Mr American: “Hey, sir, hey yeah you with the cloak!”

Bikle: “H’what? Be? H’what do you want?”

Mr American: “Hey excuse me, but gee aren’t you the guy that plays astro bikle?”

Bikle: “Ho well bi’m dot sure about dat!”

Mrs American: “Hey he even does the voice, oh honey the kids will be so jealous.”

Bikle: “Do Do I’b dot Astro Bikle, by dames Bikle”

Mrs American: “You brits are so coy, sure you’re Astro Bikle, I mean there can’t be more than one freak like you around can ‘dere’’

Bikle: “Dow look here boddob, I’b dot standing around here to be frinsulted!”

Mr American: “Oh you brits are so sensitive, listen if you’re in town for a while maybe you could come to our hotel and say hi, I could pay you well just to turn up for an hour or so”

Bikle: “Pay be?”

Mr American: “Sure, the kid’s would be stoked for ‘Astro Bikle’ to pop round, how does five hundred of your funny English pounds sound?”

Bikle wants to decline, but ‘five hundred pounds to turn up at a childrens party and pretend to be Astro Bikle?’

Bikle: “Well Bi suppose Bi could, I’ve lost be bedefits you dow!” They look at him quizzically “bedefits! You dow bedefits!”

Mrs American: “I don’t understand him honey, you deal with it from here!”  

Mr American: “Ok so here’s the deal, Mr Astro Bikle, we’re at this hotel near the gas station, you know it?”

Bikle: “Yes I dow de petrol station, sobe tibe I buy by rizla from dere!”

Mr American: “Okay so good, pop round to reception in an hours time and come up to room 67, 2nd floor, we’ll be waiting”

Everything has changed, but sort of it hasn’t. Now Bikle is near the petrol station. He goes in and it’s a hotel reception run by an indian man selling tobacco and sundry confectionaries.

Bikle: “Berr I’b goig to roob 67 okay!” he says to the receptionist who replies with a polite “Very good sir!” in an indian accent, he then gestures to the lift. In a trice Bikle is on the second floor corridor and there is room 67. He knocks on the door and Mr American answers. “Hey buddy come in, right on time!”Bikle walks into the plush apartment “they’re in there!” says the American in hushed tones “Go and do a bit of Astro Bikle at them! They’ll be thrilled”

Bikle goes opens the door that is indicated and enters the room. Inside he is confused and disturbed to see a large piece of card or paper lying back on a sofa. Further inspection reveals the card has a kind of crown on one end of it. Suddenly it speaks in strange high pitched voice.

Voucherella: “Ged out Astro Bikle it’s a trap!”

Bikle re perceives the card to see in fact it is a giant potato coupon which exerts a curious allure over him, his loins stirring in some obscure manner he goes over to the coupon.

Bikle: “Pridcess Voucherella? What are you doig here?”

Bikle: “Ged out Astro Bikle! He’s dot dead, he’s behind you!”

Bikle turns round to see another similar potato coupon that this time gives off a much more menacing effect. This he recognises to be captain Coupon

Captain Coupon: “Aye, you thought I was a deid, Astro Bikle but Necromancer Johnson has a brought me back!” a quick glance round the room reveals necromancer Johnson is also there, he seems to be playing scrabble with Mrs American and winning easily.

Astro Bikle: “But I’b dot Astro Bikle!”

Captain Coupon: “Aye well you would be sayin’ that wouldn’t you no, when ye have no sbace cloak to protect ye, now taste death ray ye sassedach!”

Voucherella: (screaming) “Astro Bikle run!” . Captain Coupon fires the death ray and Bikle is incinerated. He feels the incineration intensely and screams! He feels himself continue to scream and scream and now he can feel arms on him holding him down. He opens his eyes. Johnsons,  a tall white coated angular faced man with long hair tied back is lookin at him intensely

Dr Bikle:“Br Bikle, Br Bikle, Calb Dowd!” Bikle stops screaming and looks around him. He is in a hospital bed with a clean white robe on. Either side of him is a kind of Johnson nurse but most curiously is the doctor who appears to be yet another Bikle.  “Dat’s better. Dow what seebs to be de probleb youg bad?”

Bikle: “Oh Doctor Be! I’b so glad dat it’s you! I bead be. I’b havig a bonstrous day. First dey took by bedefits, den I got covered id shit ad Buckle lost de rebote, den I got poked with a stick by a bad ‘un, ad ded I got sacked ad beated by pedestriads! Ad ded Captaid Coupod fridciderated be wid his death ray ad dow here I ab! You’ve got to help be!”

Dr Bikle:”Calb dowd, dod’t get yourself idto a tizzy dere, we just deed to bake a few tests, just routide. Dow by associate, Doctor VS Johdsod here is just goig to take your tebperature.” Dr VSJ holds up an enormous rectal thermometer.

Bikle: “Hwhat! Get hib away frob be! Dat’s dot a therbobeter, dat’s a rollig pid!”*wunch!* “Yaroo! By bottob!”

Dr Bikle: “Hbbb, dat seebs dadgerously high. Ho dow youg fellow be lad, do deed to get excited, hbbb, you seeb quite agitated, baybe you deed sobethig to help you sleep?”

Bikle is about to agree enthusiastically when he notices DVSJ is now hefting a large cartoon style mallet.

Bikle: “Errr baybe dot, you dow doctor I’b feelig a lot bettter dow, barvellous job, dod’t wadt to waste your tibe, bust be gettig alog dow.”

Dr Bikle: “Ho if you fridsist, although I really could’t advise it. But id dat case, I bust idsist od givig you sobe bedicatiod. Take ode of dese every two hours.” so saying, he holds up a tablet the size of a cricket ball.

Bikle:”But I’ll dever swallow dat!”

Dr Bikle: “Do probleb suddy jib, it’s a suppository, dow oped wide, O.O.O.”

Bikle: “H’what? Do! Get away frob be wid dat!”

Morris/Dr Bikle:”Ho ho this is brilliant, give ‘im the needle Johnson!” DVSJ obliges, pumping a dose of luminous green toxins into Bikle’s already addled system. Bikle shrieks and bolts for the door, green hospital robe flapping about his scrawny pale buttocks. Dr Bikle / Morris wipes a tear from his eye. “Marvellous work there Johnson. I am thoroughly enjoying myself today. Fancy a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos?”

Bikle meanwhile is racing headlong through corridor after corridor, desperately seeking an exit. It seems to him that the faster he runs, the further away the end of the passage gets, as if he were on some kind of infernal treadmill. His breath comes in hoarse rasping gasps, the walls seem to move, rippling and billowing in upon him in time to his stertorous breathing. At first he thinks it is just the wheezing and whistling of his lungs, but then he hears it with more clarity, a familiar falsetto.

Voucherella: “Help be Astro Bikle, save be frob de eyeball bodster!”

Despite himself, he finds himself shouting.

Bikle: “I’b cobig Pridcess! Astro Bikle to de rescue!”His spindly legs pumping, he races down the pulsing corridor, whose walls have taken on a pinky reddish tinge, “Hag id dere Pridcess! Your hero is od his way!”

Voucherella: “Hurry, oh hurry Astro Bikle! De eyeball bodster has tord off by sbacesuit leavig be daked ad vulderable!”

Bikle redoubles his pace, haring frantically along, bouncing from the walls, which are strangely yielding and moist.

Voucherella: “Oh bercy! Bercy! Dow it’s probig be wid it’s proboscis!”

Bikle: “Dot od by watch it isd’t!” he snarls, “Dobody probes by Pridcess but be!” The tunnel seems to be narrowing, the walls red and laced with purple veins. Bikle is struggling now to make any headway.

Voucherella: “Oh where are you by beloved? Why dod’t you save be frob beig ravished by dis edorbous bodocular edtity?”

Bikle, crawling through the fleshy mucous covered walls which pulse and throb and seem to close in on him, weeps with frustration.

Bikle: “Oh by darlig Voucherella, be brave! I’b cobig! I’b cobig!”

He can hardly breathe now, but with a supreme effort, he wriggles and twists and squirms, and finally emerges into the light. Standing there gasping for breath, he looks desperately around, seeking Voucherella. The landscape is at once familiar and somehow alien. There is no sign of the princess, or indeed the eyeball monster, but a seemingly endless vista of yellow sand lit by a blazing white sun. Dotted around are huge stone images, reminiscent of Easter Island, only instead of enigmatic faces of solemn majesty, upon these are graven the unmistakeable goofy features of his brother, Buckle.

Bikle: “Pridcess! By darlig! Where are you?” Her voice is distant and seems to come from all around him,

Voucherella: “Save be! Save be! De bonster is tryig to ravish be wid it’s tedtacles!”

Bikle: “Doooo! I’ll cripple dat bodster!”

Desperately he looks around, but save for the Buckle heads the desert is empty. Then he somehow senses that he is no longer alone. He whirls round and there beckoning silently to him, is Mister Cheese. He pads over the blistering sand towards Mr Cheese who is as his name suggests a large archetypal comedy triangular segment of cheese complete with holes. As Bikle approaches he becomes confused as to how he can have gained the impression that Mr Cheese beckoned him. Still the unpleasant spatial phenomenon no longer drags his foot steps and he reaches the aforementioned cheese character easily.

Bikle: “What is it, where’s de pridcess?” he implores.

The cheese is silent for a moment before looking him up and down.

Mr Cheese:P “All I wanted was de fuckig Kedgeree cake ad a cup of tea, you and de pridcess were, very rude you dow!”

Bikle is alarmed then gathers himself.

Bikle: “Berr yes I’b sorry about dat, but you dow how it is, I just wanted sub alode tibe wid her”

Mr Cheese ignores him and then asks: “Did you think I’d be here?”

Bikle: (non-plussed) “Do, why would I? I didn’think there’d be cheese here, wherever de fuck I ab!” At this statement the Buckle heads erupt in a  stoney kind of ironic laughter.

Buckle heads: “Did you hear dat?”  “yes he didn’t think dere’d be cheese!” “Dat’s a laugh!” “I thought’d there’d be cheese!” “Yes Be too, earlier today I was thinking and I thought dere’d be…” and on goes an awful golem babble about the presupposition of cheese which rapidly is entirely dissociated from Bikle’s original comment and is just a garrulous noise on the topic, the sum total of which is an extended agreement on the proposition.

At length Bikle looks back at Mr Cheese, who returns his gaze unsympathetically.

Mr Cheese: “How de fuck do you think I feel it’s dot you dere talkig about! De pridcess is id de chasm of doob, she is lost!”

Bikle: “Lost, by Voucherella! But it can’t be!”

Mr Cheese: “Deal wid it suddy jib! She’s dot cobig back!”

Bikle: “Den I’ll die here in de desert!” and he lies down on the blazing sand to face his fate. The heads who have ceased there babble stay silent for a while. After a while though one starts up.

Buckle Heads: “Bikle, Bikle!” trying to die with dignity he stays lying down ignoring it, but they will not stay quiet “Bikle! Bikle! I can see de bood frob here!” “Ho be too!” “I’b goig to fly to de bood, look at be I’b astro Bikle!” Seeing this isn’t a peaceful place for to die, he raises his head.

Bikle:L “One, you fridiots, dat’s dot de bood! Dats de Sud, and two you’re dot Astrobikle, I’b Astrobikle!” The Buckle heads are quiet for a moment before suddenly starting again .

Buckle Heads: “Barvellous, look it’s Astro Bikle, fly to de bood Astro bikle!” “Do sub bagic Astro bikle!” and other such calls. Bikle looks on, lost and sad.

Bikle: “But I can’t, Captaid Coupod has taked by sbace cloak and suit.”

Buckle Heads: “Ho don’t worry Bikle! Dere’s a sbare over dere!” says a nearby head. And sure enough lying in the sand is an Astrobikle outfit, complete with rocket boots and space cloak.

Bikle: “Barvellous!” says Bikle, racing to put the fresh outfit on “Dow to rescue de Pridcess and get de fuck out of here!”

Buckle Heads. “Ball right Bikle, see you id de flat later!” (in various ways). Feeling buoyed by the powerful feel of the suit, Bikle activates the rocket powered boots and takes to the sky. But then slowly realises he has no idea where he is going. Flying on aimlessly over the desert he sees suddenly sees a terrible dark abyss in the sandy scape below.

Bikle: (excitedly) “De chasm of doob!” he flies down down into the darkness. He uses his space torch to see where he is going and after much descent finds himself on the cold rocky floor of the chasm. “Pridcess!” he calls but no reply. Then he fancies he can hear a shriek and moves towards it. There it is again, louder now “hold od voucherella Astro Bikle is cobig!” The space torch shines far into the distance and in the direction of the noise he can make out a strange dome like house with a veranda and solid looking front door. Feeling sure his quarry lies within he flies up over the rocks to the door and bangs loudly on it. He can hear a shriek and then nothing. “Let be id you brute or I’ll blast de door down wid by sbace ray!” silence for a moment, Bikle is fumbling with the controls on what looks like might be a space ray when footsteps approach the door and it creaks open. In front of him is princess Voucherella with a dressing gown on, not done up properly revealing a skimpy negligee underneath.

Voucherella: “Astro Bikle, oh it’s you…” she says a little flatly. Immediately disarmed by this cold greeting he simply asks.

Bikle: “Berr cad I cobe id?” She thinks about it for a moment before saying.

Voucherella: “If you want, just for a bit.”

She follows him through to a comfortable looking plush living room, with mood lighting a rich velvets as décor. Sitting on the large settee is the eyeball monster who’s eye follows Bikle with cold distaste.

Voucherella: “Cad I get you adythig AB?”

Bikle: “Berr pridcess, baren’t you overjoyed to see be? I’b Astrobikle, your hero!”

Voucherella: (turning her head away) “I’b sorry AB, but I  caddot be wid you, I’b wid de eyeball bonster dow. But please take a seat!”

There is only one seat left, a cheap looking plastic chair in between the large armchair and the settee. A double take by Bikle on the scene reveals the Turkey is sitting in the large armchair with a camcorder. Princess Voucherella sits back on the couch close to the eyeball monster whilst Bikle perches uncomfortably.

Clancy: “BLblbllblbp! Don’t stay long! Making a film blblblbp, what do you want?”

Bikle: (with seemingly no control to his voice)“I just wanted a cub of tea and a piece of dat Kedgeree cake.”

Accommodatingly  the Turkey serves the tea and cake. Everyone sits around making sullen small talk whilst Bikle noisily eats the cake and eschews the tea which he didn’t want anyway. After a while the Turkey eyes him balefully.

Clancy: “Blblbllblblp! Bad gooseberry, time to leave!”

Bikle:“Dow wait od a binute, I’ve had dow chadce to win her back!”

Clancy: “Blblblbp, had your cake, blbllp off you go!”

Voucherella: “Yes AB it’s really best you go dow!”

The eyeball monster gurgles his agreement and Bikle says good bye and shuffles off through the house and out the front door. Outside in the chasm of doom its dark, and now the space torch has run out of batteries. The lights of the house from behind him have mysteriously gone, everything is black, black black, arms flailing, the floor has gone, nothing around him, his self elides with the void and there is stillness once more. The next thing he hears in dim awareness is a loud “Mwaaerk!” and then can feel himself being bodily lifted by arms and legs .

Bikle: “Help be! Help be!”

Opening his eyes he can see his is being carried out of the back of a van by two burley Johnsons. Emerging into the light he can see in fact he is just outside the front of his flat. The Johnsons then unceremoniously hurl him towards the front door and head off back to the van. It’s clearly early in the morning and no people are around. Luckily the door is open to the block, he scrambles in and up the stairs. The flat door to is open and he collapses inside gasping.

Buckle: “Ho Bikle! Dere you are!” says a familiar voice.

Bikle: “Buckle, ho by god ab I dearly pleased to see you, I’ve had such ad awful tibe!”

Buckle:“I’ve had a barvellous tibe Bikle!  Oh and dere’s a letter for you dere!”

Bikle: “God give be a bobent Buckle, I’ve just got to get a cloak and froutfit od!” So in a moment our old friend is back, a little worse for wear maybe but essentially looking the same. He opens the letter and a smile comes across his face “Dis is Barvellous, it’s a letter from the hospital, dey say I’b bental and bunfit for work, dat beans I’b gettig by bedefits back!”

Buckle: “Oh dat’s dice Bikle, I dow you like your bedefits! Baybe you’d like to watch dis episode of Astro Bikle and de eyeball bonster dat’s od youtube!”

Bikle: “Berr dot likely! I’ve had edough of Astro bikle for a life tibe I think!” and then leafing through the circulars in the post a potato coupon drops out and falls floorwards.  A folorn longing is cast across his being, followed, after a moments thought, by a sudden upbeatness. He reaches down and picks the coupon up. “You carry od though Buckle, I’b just off to de bath roob to, berr… freshed up, yes dats right!” and with that he and the potato voucher lock the bathroom door behind them.

 

 

 

Published in: on April 13, 2016 at 3:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Classic Canaries 7: Setting up the Show

It was very early on the Saturday morning that Irene Hobson received a knock on the door. It was however too early for poor old Irene and her husband Frank who were not used to such an early rise, especially at the weekend, consequently they did not rouse from their dingy bungalowed room but stayed therein, ignoring the rattling pvc door and pulled the bedclothes over their heads. Sadly this tactic did not persuade the mystery caller to leave them at their peace, rather again and again the rapping sound came. So ultimately sighing and huffing his mind filled with reprimand for the unwanted caller, old Frank Hobson raised himself from his bed and began to shuffle his way to the front door. One more rap even before he reached it brought an “alright alright goddamn you! I’m coming!” Slowly he unlocked the door and creaked it open. Before him in the bright summer morning light stood a smartly dressed figure, what was curious about said figure was that the head was that of a bird, a kind of duck, goose, penguin kind of mix, and where there should be hands, instead out of the sleeves extend strange feathery flipper like appendages. Mr Hobson scowled “oh one of you is it?” for he had seen these creatures come and go across the road, in that house, the house that he and his wife tried to avoid, the house where the fires burned brightly at many different hours, the house that smelled of many kinds of charred remains, the house where creatures far stranger than this birdman before him now had been seen to come and go “Well what do you want?” The creature elegantly stepped to one side and with a vocal cry of “Mwaaerk!” gestured to the previously obscured gleaming new lawnmower evidently for Mr Hobson’s delectation. Mr Hobson was taken aback and a lot of his previous ire was suddenly diminished as the machine was indeed a beauty. He stepped out of the house to inspect the machine yet no sooner had he passed the threshold than he felt a strong grip take hold of either of his arms. The smart birdman adopted a less cheery air and seemed to signalling to his captors some instruction. Frank Hobson was then duly bundled into a nearby transit van that waited just round the corner whilst the smartly dressed birdman wheeled the lawnmower after him and also into the van. Of course Frank shouted and of course Irene heard, yet so quick and efficient were his avian captors that the kidnap was achieved with minimal fuss. The van drove off, hurtling round the village streets, Frank sat in the back of the vehicle partially still staring at the lovely lawnmower, partially frightened by the dim light in the van and hate two burly birdman that sat, one either side of him. One lit a cigarette and offered him one too, he declined and nearly wretched at cheap cigarette smell in the close confines of the van. After a short length of time the van pulled to a stop and the doors were flung open. Hobson could see that in fact he had not been taken to some strange  basement, rather he now found himself at the village green. Around the green various other birdman milled around whilst another figure seemed to direct them. Hobson knew this man, the man from across the road. Upon seeing Hobson, the man came over “Ah Hobson, got your mower fixed as you can see, though thing is thought maybe you could give it a test run, see the green here is a little tufty and really needs the once over, so quid pro quo thought you were the  man, needs doing by nine or I will burn you  to death” he broke into a smile such that you really  couldn’t tell if it was a joke or not. Hobson made to protest but seeing the nearby burly birdman with a cattle prod, he thought better of it. So it was that at around half past 5 in the morning dressed only in his pyjamas and slippers poor old Frank Hobson made to mow the village green and it was not until the church clock chimed nine that an exhausted Hobson was staggered home to his terrified wife, leaving the village green smooth, even and neat.

The birdmen had not been idle, bunting was strung cheerfully from tree to tree, the potato oven was heating up nicely. The mingled smell of omelettes and fresh crackers filled the air from their respective push carts, balloons danced gently in the warm summer breeze and the day seemed set fair for a lovely time for one and all. Now, the other inhabitants of the village began to arrive too, and cake stalls, tombolas and other attractions began to appear, although in retrospect perhaps it was insensitive of Mr Potter to set up his Hook a Duck stand next to Quick To Perceive Anything As APersonal Slight And Overreact Violently Johnson’s cup cake stall. In any event, it was certainly unwise.

That notwithstanding however, by 10:45, with a quarter of an hour to go until the start of the festivities, all the elements of a very good village bird show are coming together nicely. Perhaps then, we should wonder who are these few nervous and agitated people standing as close as possible to the first aid and fire prevention tent? Let us move closer and see if we can overhear their conversation. “…ouldn’t find enough of the last Chairman to fill an ashtray…” “…One of those bird things handed me a note… Looked like a nasty piece of work.” “…ot a wife and kids, what could I do?”

It appears in fact that this is the new Committee, replacing previously incinerated incumbents, and they are trying to agree who will be this year’s Judges.

“So, so far we have got the Constable, Mr Stringently Impartial, Honestly, Johnson, that Mr Cutler from the new pet shop, er who’s the other one again?” “Oh, er you mean Piers Johnson? I’m afraid he won’t be here, he had a nasty accident last night at the Cat Charity Talent Show.” The others exchange knowing yet apprehensive glances. There is only one kind of “accident” in the village these days, and they all know it. “But at least one of the judges must be of noble blood! The Bird Show Charter is very stringent on that point! Where are we going to find an aristocrat at this notice?” “I don’t know! It’s not as if blue blooded individuals just drop out of the trees is it?” There is a rushing sound and then a resounding fleshy “thump” accompanied by a strangled cry of pain. Looking round they see a strangely dressed figure lying on the floor clutching his knee. Before any of them can say anything, another fellow in a rumpled lounge suit, is shinning down the trunk of the adjacent Horse chestnut.

Duke of Croy: “Ah bonjour mes amis! Ah couldn’t elp but over’ear your convairsation eh? And eef you weel pairmeet me to introduce maself an’ ma associate ‘ere, ah theenk that ah can asseest you weeth votre predicament n’est pas? Ma name ees Leonard, Duke of Croy, an thees theeng ‘ere, is ze famous Alphonso, Comte de Bersineaux!”

There is some confused muttering among the committee.

Hornby : “But why were you up a tree?” one asks.

Duke of Croy: “We were ‘iding from ze pig, er pidgeons. So as to obsairve zem bettair. You see we are keen ‘ow you say, orneethologeests. Now you need judges for your bird show n’est pas? Judges weeth an aristocrateec lineage? Well ‘ere we are mah friends! Just slip me £50 as an advance on my expenses, an’ we are at votre serveece!”

The committee whisper dubiously among themselves.

Hornby: “Er, I’m not sure about that Mr Croy, there’s nothing in the budget for judge’s expenses, and after all, we have to consider whether you are fit and proper persons to officiate at such an important event.”

Duke of Croy: “Oh ees zat so? Well all ah now ees zat you fuckairs need a judge toot sweet an’ ere we are. An’ where you expect to fahnd anuzzair pair of bird loveeng noblemen at zis hour ah cannot imagine, an’ ah hate to drav an’ ‘ard bargeen, but ‘ere comes zat mad bastard Morreess now, ah suggest you mek a queek decision before ‘e burns you all to death.”

There is a hurried conclave, and the committee make the only decision possible in the circumstances.

Duke of Croy: “Vairy wise m’sieurs, now eef you need us, we’ll be een ze beer tent.” He turns to Alphonso who is still clutching his leg and weeping, and waves a handful of notes at him. “Come on Alphonso you fuckeeng sheethead, ah’ve got ze cash, tahm for a leetle petit dejeuner eh?”

And so the delinquent aristocracy staggered off to persuade (by fair means or foul) the not even yet open bar tat they should release some of their supplies to their waiting maws.

The committee looked at each other with some trepidation. No doubt various thoughts went through their minds, some of which would involve fleeing this damned bird show, for they were in no doubt that they would be lucky if they all reached the end of the day without any of them suffering from a fiery demise. Well gentle reader you may imagine the horrified consternation which the committee found themselves in upon receiving the next events. One of them glanced over to the car park as they noticed a very posh car, indeed a bently pull into the car park. The committee member recognised the vehicle as belonging to one Piers Johnson; the same Piers Johnson that they had been lead to believe had suffered a terrible accident. So what was this, the chauffer taking liberties with his master’s car? A visiting relative making use of the facilities? He tugged at the sleeve of Mrs Braddenpipe (the secretary) and alerted her to the curious arrival and soon all the committee were glued to car, waiting to see who would emerge. After a couple of moments the chauffer got out to open the door for a passenger, yet here too was a curiosity for instead of faithful old Johnson was an altogether different driver. This driver did not have such a flat bill, indeed it was more  of curved kind of nature and the feathers too were quite wrong being of bright colours. However as the passenger was revealed to be Piers Johnson, the onlookers began to reconcile the dissonance with other various internal narratives. But the strangeness did not stay stayed for Piers Johnson, as he left the car park, looked most unsteady in this movements and trod in a curious almost robot like manner. Not knowing what this was about the committee shuffled between the various stalls towards the green entrance where they greeted Piers. Piers Johnson did not look well at all. His eyes looked glazed over, his feathers ruffled, his suit blood stained, his beak cracked yet incongruously atop this shabby figure was a pristine top hat which seemed rammed onto his head with particular firmness.

Brinson: “Hello Piers, we err, weren’t expecting you, we heard you had a bad accident at the cat show last night.” Piers stared blankly through them “Still it’s good to see you, though if you don’t feel up to it we do have a replacement lined up so you could just put your feet up. At this Piers’ head moves in the same awful mechanical manner and his bill opens. Simultaneous to the opening of the bill is a rather tinny “mwaaerk” like noise and again the committee are forced to repress the obvious sense that the noise did not come from the bill in favour of a more comfortable reality in which he did actually speak. At the same time as this his arm goes up equally rigidly and his flipper (still torn from its encounter with coco earlier) points to his judging badge also smartly attached to his messy attire. “Err yes, you are one of the Judges yes” Brinson tentatively interprets and, this seemingly established, Piers Johnson walked woodenly through the committee and into the midst of the various stalls. They looked at each other worriedly and then began to debate who (if indeed Piers was to be Judging today) should tell the other aristocracy that  they were no longer required. It was Hornby who eventually made the decision,

Hornby: “Look, I don’t fancy tangling with that French fellow now, he seems happy enough in the beer tent. We can deal with him later.” The others nodded their approval. Unspoken in their minds was the impression that there was something very very wrong about Piers Johnson, and having a spare judge up one’s sleeve, even one who had fallen out of a horse chestnut tree and was even now breakfasting upon calvados and barley wine, might not be a bad idea. The committee dispersed to their various tasks, just as a panting and becloaked figure pulled up to the green on his antiquated velocipedal conveyance.

Published in: on January 15, 2016 at 3:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

David Bowie Tribute Skit

Morris: “Why are you moping around my little moustache holder?”

Yolanda: “Oh Morris, I just feel a bit sad, David Bowie just died.”

Morris: “Dave and Zoe are coming round? Who are they? Are they bringing swan tartare?”

Yolanda: “No Morris, David Bowie died, you know the singer?!”

Morris: “Dave and Zoe are bringing a pie in a singer vogue? What are you talking about Yolanda?”

Yolanda: “No Morris, for fuck’s sake, the singer and icon David Bowie just died, I just feel a bit jaded that’s all.”

Morris: “Did someone burn him to death?”

Yolanda: “Errm I don’t think so.”

Morris: “Anyway I know something that will cheer you up my little highland heather, apparently Dave and Zoe are coming round with a swan tartare pie. Listen, I can hear their singer vogue in the drive now.”

Sure enough the sound of a vehicle can be heard pulling up. Shortly after the door knocks.

Yolanda: “What the fuck are you up to now Morris?”

Morris: “Ho ho well my dear, seeing how sad you are I’ve arranged for a little surprise for you, not only are Dave and Zoe here with the swan tartare pie, but also I have arranged for you to meet no one other than…”

Pauses for effect and opens the door to a garishly wigged Johnson in a tight colourful suit clutching a guitar, behind them can be seen a confused looking couple with a pie dish.

Morris: “…David Bowie Johnson!”

DB Johnson: “Mwaaerk!”

Morris: “Pleasure to have you here Johnson! Baked potato?”

DB Johnson: “Mwaaerk!” He comes in the house followed by Dave and Zoe and hungrily begins to eat a supplied baked potato.

Yolanda: “What the fuck is that Morris?! or rather I know what it is, one of those things with a, err sort of Ziggy Stardust outfit on?!”

Morris: “Do not be so ungrateful Yolanda, now see Dave and Zoe to their seats, cut me a slice of that pie  and Johnson will be begin the entertainment!”

Yolanda: “He’s not just going to go ‘Mwaaerk!’ is he Morris,?” (serving the pie)

Morris: “Not at all my little mononuclear hyacinth, he will now perform one his most celebrated songs!”

Yolanda looks across at DB Johnson polishing off the remains of the baked potato when there is a sudden a familiar roaring hissing noise and a sheet of flame engulfs him, within few moments DB Johnson is a nothing more than his smouldering carbonised remains.

Morris “It was ‘Ashes to Ashes’! Ho ho eh Yolanda!”

Published in: on January 11, 2016 at 12:30 pm  Comments (2)  

Clancy (doctored image)

clancy

Published in: on January 4, 2016 at 11:44 am  Comments (1)  

Poorly Show.

Bikle is sat in his squalid flat, absorbed by some sci fi film from the 90s. Suddenly Buckle rushes in clutching an old bin bag.

Buckle:“Bikle Bikle!”

Bikle:“Dot dow, can’t you see bi’m busy!”

Buckle:“Do Bikle dis is important!”

Bikle: “Ho god…” he pauses the show with an antique remote “What is it den?”

Buckle:“Look!” Buckle starts to rummage in the bag

Bikle:“Listen Buckle it better dot be cheese, because if it is I’b dot goig to be impressed!”

Buckle:“Why did you think there’d be cheese! Dat’s fuddy Bikle I had de exact sabe thought.”

Bikle:“Shut up you dibwit, what’s id de bag? As long as it’s dot cheese!”

Buckle:“Dow den Bikle if you’re goig to get so excited about cheese, you’ll be disappointed, but don’d worry  dere’s sobe in de fridge, I cad fetch it id a bobent and den you can say your classig lide!”

Bikle:“H’what!?”

Buckle: “You dow de cheese lide you’re fabous for sayig!”

Bikle: “I’d dot fabous for sayig it Buckle! It’s you you fridiot! You’re always sayig ‘I thought dere’d be cheese!”

Buckle: “Ho Bikle look , you’re at it agaid, adyway if you cad forget about cheese for just a bobent and look at dis!”

Nearly shaking with frustration Bikle manages to centre himself

Bikle: “Yes Buckle, what’s id de bag?!”Buckle tips the contents onto the low coffee table,

Buckle:“Look!” out drops half a dozen packets of lemsip and an old travel ticket

Bikle:“What’s dis shit Buckle?!”

Buckle:“Aren’t dey Barvellous! It’s packets of powder, you can shake dem…” he shakes one “and dey make a shakey sound “you tip dem around for a snow like freffect!” he starts to rip ode open,

Bikle:“Dat won’t be decessary!” interjects Bikle forcefully

Buckle:“And with dis old ticket and de lebsip packets we cad go anywhere!”

Bikle:“What do you bean? How will several packets of lebsip get us adywhere?”

Buckle:“Silly Bikle, you have to use de ticket too!” Suddenly there is a knock at the door.

Bikle: “Ho god who could dat be dow!?” Bikle strides over to the door, two curly haired fools bustle their way in

P&P: “Uhuhuhuh we’ve popped round for a lemsip, uhuhuh with our tools uuhuhuh!”

Bikle:“Dow wait od a binute!”

Buckle:“Ho I’ll put de kettle od!”

P&P: “uuhuhuhuh it won’t suit you with our tools”

Bikle:“By god I  daresay it won’d, dow get out of here!” but before he can remove them another figure appears

Simon: “Hello dere h’Bikle, h’just thought h’id pop round for h’a quick lebsip heyyy?”

Bikle: “Fuck dis is gettig out of control, leave ibbetiatly!”

Buckle: “Ho Bikle dere’s do deed to be like dat, dese poor people obviously have a bad headcold, we should let dem id!”

Turkey: “BLblblblblp! Too true, feeling under the weather, popped round for a lemsip, blblblbp is the kettle on?”

Buckle: “Why yes it is bister Turkey, cobe od id!”

Turkey: “BLblbllp thankyou kindly, in I come blblblblblp!” and the Turkey joins the other idiots milling around near the kettle worksurface area.

Bikle: “By lovely frafterdood, by filb ruid!”

Buckle: “Ho do you have a head ache dere Bikle? Baybe a lebsip?”

Bikle: “Fuck off bi don’t want a lebsip!”

Turkey: “blblblblbp packed with vitamin C!, good for you!” Now more voices can be heard on the stairs,

Morris:“This is the place Yolanda, I hear they do the best lempsip in town!”

Yolanda:“Morris I don’t want a lemsip, I said I tripped over the hem of my skirt!”

Morris: “which resulted in your bad headcold, I quite understand my dear…”

Bikle:”Ho god, dot bore of deb!” He slams the door and leans his back against it only to see Morris reclining in his favourite armchair and flipping through the channels before settling on a rerun of “Johnson, She wrote.” Albert Jackson PI, looking most woebegone, is sat at the table with Bikle’s tablecloth over his head, noisily inhaling menthol vapours from a washing up bowl. Furious, he storms off heading for his bedroom.

Bikle: “Buckle you didcobpoop! Get dese blessed idvalids out of by house! I’b goig for a lie dowd!” Upon throwing open the bedroom door however, he finds no respite. Occupying the bed is a loathsome semi humanoid toad creature, shivering uncontrollably and clutching a steaming mug of lemsip. Rivulets of mucous pour ceaselessly from its rudimentary nostrils to add to the noisome pool of slime slowly solidifying on the mattress. Cyrano de Johnson is sitting in the corner working his way through the scanty contents of Bikle’s wardrobe, utilising them as makeshift handkerchiefs. Bikle is just in time to witness him honking loudly into his best frilly shirt before adding it to the pile of soiled discards. “Right! Dat’s de last straw!” Fuming, he turns on his heel and heads back into the living room,only to sprawl headlong over the unexpected broad back of a sheep. Raising himself to his hands and knees, he finds himself staring into the interested eyes of another ovine quadroped. “Ho H’what de fuck?” “Baaaa!” Looking round desperately, he sees that the flat is teeming with sheep. In the middle of the flock stands a harassed looking man in a dentist’s smock.

Carl: “Behave you woolly bastards! Stop it! You fleecy fuckers! As if I haven’t got enough on my plate with this terrible cold, you muttony motherfuckers won’t follow the simplest instructions!”

Buckle:”Ho poor old Carl, let be get you a dice hot lebsip!”  as the sheep leap and gambol about, “Bind you, I dod’t dow how you badaged to catch a cold with all dese woolly jumpers!”

Morris: “Ho ho did you hear that my dear, he said woolly bumpers!”

Yolanda:“Morris, no he didn’t he said jumpers not bumpers, that’s why it was funny!”

Morris: “Bumpers! Yolanda, you’re beginning to sound like the buckle brothers here, it must be that bad head cold of your blocking your nose, maybe you could try this acme Bikle dress up kit on and join them as a kind of third wheel!”

Yolanda “Morris, I sound nothing like these idiots!”

Bikle: “Bexcuse be boddob, who are you callig ad idiot?!”

Yolanda: “Oh SB I’m sorry, but you know…” she sighs and looks at Morris, “can we go now?”

Morris:“or maybe you mean ‘cad we go dow?’” and she is alarmed to suddenly feel a cheap pair of plastic glasses on her face and a long black wig draping down either side of her face

Yolanda: “Morris fuck off with this tat!” she shouts as she tries to free herself from it, only to struggle against its seeming magical adherence

Morris: “Ho ho! Dot Likely Yuckle!”

Yolanda: “Yuckle? Really fuck right off!”

Morris:“Then how about Yokle? That works on two levels!”

Yolanda “Morris really!”

Morris:“No Yolanda that is the wrong character!”

Yolanda:“Morris, I’m not going to play at Yuckles or Yokles, get this shitty idiotic outfit off me!” then glancing to one side “no offence SB.”

Bikle:“Stop calling be dat, it’s Bikle rebember!”

Buckle:“Bikle Bikle! Don’t’ you think it’s about tibe we used dis travel ticket!?”

Bikle:“What do you bean?!”

Buckle:“Ho baybe a trip would do everywod sobe good?”

Bikle:“Ho god, but it’s just sobe old ticket, we can’t do adywhere with dat!”

Morris: “Do not be so sure! that looks like a ticket for a very special ride, come on everyone all aboard!” and before you know it Bikle’s flat has somehow become an airport terminal and the gang of various characters are queuing to board “Come on you turkey bastards! Get on that plane!”

Sheep:“Baaa!”

Carl:“on the plane! On the plane you woolly bastards!”

Bikle:“What the dickeds!”

Yolanda:“Morris get this glasses and wig off be, I mean me!”

Buckle:“Ho hello dere Yokle, pleased to beet you, I’m Buckle!”

Yolanda:“Morris!”

Johnson: “Mwaaaerk!”

Morris: “No Johnson you may not take your air rifle on board”

Turkey: “Blblblblbblp fresh and sun, blblblbp just the thing for a cold!”

P&P“uhuhuh allow us to board the plane, with…”

Sigmund Freud: “Ja ja ein schnupfen ist naturlich besser im urlaub”

Simon: “Ho dewspaper for the flight h’anyone?!”

And so milling and jabbering they all board the plane. The plane takes off and they fly around for a bit, after a while it lands outside Bikle’s flat.

Morris: “That will do Johnson, kick them all off.” And some burley Johnsons ensure the characters vacate the plane. So coughing and spluttering they make their way back into his flat looking more decrepid than ever

Bikle: “Ho god dis is frunbearable! Look at dem all!”

Buckle: “Ho maybe you deed a dice lebsip dow Bikle!”

Bikle: “Borris! Your plade idea didn’t work at all! Look at dem dere eved worse dan before!”

Morris: “You might be right beansy, looks like they were misdiagnosed.”

Bikle: “H’what?!”

Morris: “everyone perceived it was a bad headcold, when in fact it was something more serious!”

Bikle: “And what was dat Borris?”

Morris: “Ho Ho I think they were all suffering from ‘flew’!”

Published in: on December 15, 2015 at 8:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Morris

Gentle reader, you may of course have your own idea of Morris, here we present to you a serving suggestion (Look! Well it is isn’t it etc etc)

morris

Published in: on December 9, 2015 at 4:55 pm  Comments (3)