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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on December 2, 2016 at 9:56 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  

Hobson’s Choice- Finale (Please note this is the final sequence to Trevor’s Breakfast Quest).

Everyone sits around looking glum, when suddenly a band of festively attired Thompsons burst into the room, bearing sundry home made instruments, drums, gourd maracas and conch shells, and burst into an upbeat calypso style version of the Treasure Quest theme. From Clancy’s renewed howling, and cries of “Not now Thompson!” it is apparent that this triumphant musical extravaganza was prearranged prior to his recent reversal of fortune.

The Nolans are delighted and begin an appallingly uncoordinated dance routine. Morris grabs two femurs and joins in, playing an accomplished ragtime xylophone solo on Jackson’s denuded ribcage.

Morris:          “Ho ho, this is more like it shipmates! One more time for the cheap seats!”

With a tearing and rending sound the prow of an old fashioned galleon smashes through the wall of the room. Sat behind the wheel is our old friend Cap’n Flint. The decks and yards are manned by a crew of Johnsons in immaculate sailor suits. Morris breaks once more into his raucous sea shanty;

Morris:         “Oh a long way from my parlour we surely have sailed, where with the Turkey’s sad story we all were regaled, and my schemes for pepper mill acquisition they sadly have failed, O, and the narrative thread it has been oft deraiiiilleeeed!” He waves a femur as if it were a conductor’s baton! “CHORUS! Sing you turkey bastards!”

An awful cacophony of Mwaerks! Wakarks! Nolan Sisters songs, gallic cursing and avian weeping ensues, all accompanied by the Thompsons Calypso combo, before he resumes

Morris:           “O, o’er the oceans together we’ve come, to a land where parrot men beat on the drum, I’ve consumed the roast carcass of an old canine chum, and Johnson got lucky with the Turkey’s old mum!”

The assemblage do not need to be told again, and the godawful discordant cacophony swells once more, augmented by the squall of Morris’ Northumbrian pipes. Fireworks explode, Coconut brassiered Thompsonettes cancan past, interspersed with Buckle and Pasta Chef Johnson, Leonard glasses Alfonso viciously in the left temple, Cap’n Flint’s vessel fires a broadside of glitter which cascades over all concerned. All turn to Morris, awaiting a final verse, only to find him quietly slumped in a chair, leafing idly through the dog eared pages of an old Exchange and Mart  and sipping a shandy bass. There is a knock at the door, and at the same time, it is clear that they are all somehow back in Morris’ living room. He gets up with an irritated grunt and walks across and opens the door. Outside stands the hooded figure of Executioner Johnson, clutching a paperback copy of “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.”

Morris:          “Oh, evenin’ Johnson. ‘Landa! Yer book club’s here.”

He looks round and a mildly surprised expression briefly crosses his grim visage, “Coo, lot of ’em turned up this time haven’t they? Good read is it? Anyway, I’m off to fix that Lawnmower for the Hobsons, I’ll be in the shed if you need anything,”

Published in: on August 27, 2015 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Trevor’s Breakfast Quest.

Yolanda:               “Morris are you just going to sit there all day? I’m trying to do the hoovering.”

Morris:                 “Indeed I am my dear, I am taking the day off. At least I am taking the day off yet also however also hard at work. In another time and another place I ensuring the painful fiery demise of a dozen Veronese harlequins. In the meantime , cease that awful hoovering my robust little centrifuge and bring me a wagon wheel and a carton of Old Farmer Johnson’s Traditional Ham and Piccalilli  Potato Style snacklets. I am keen to see what daytime television has to offer.”

Yolanda:               “You’re not going to mess around with all the programmes again just because you’re bored are you Morris?”

Morris:                 “What was that my little Crimean Tartar? I was just incinerating a brace itinerant Portugese clam handlers. No, no nothing could be further from my mind. I am merely dipping my toe into the choppy waters of popular culture. You have previously in an unguarded moment suggested that I spend too much time with monsters, entities and birdmen, so my poorly maintained veloicipede, I am going to immerse myself in the world of human affairs and what better barometer of a society could you suggest than daytime television?”

Yolanda:               “Er well actually dear, perhaps it would be better if…”

Morris:                 “No no my little anomalous phenomenon, there is no need to thank me, now hand me the remote control and my decanter of Olde Englsih and the odyssey begin. Although while you are up I think Coco would be all the better for another of those Spanish onions, he seems a little skittish.”

Yolanda:               “That bloody coconut creature, I wish you’d get rid of it. It’s nasty Morris, it bit a hole in my tights the other day.”

Morris:                 “Did he indeed, hmm hoom, no onions for you today then Coco. Now then my little chargrilled husk, how many gymnosophists does it take to change a light bulb?”

Yolands:               “I don’t know Morris, I don’t really care, I just want to do the housework and you’re in my way.”

Morris:                 “One to change the lightbulb, one to hold the chair, one ring to bring them all in and in the darkness bind them, one for sorrow, one unus mundus, one long lonely existence through which you must tread, despairing event following despairing event, fearful happening upon fearful happening, tenebrous foulness gripping every step, longing long for a cessation that never comes…”

Yolanda:               “Morris! Stop it! You said you were going to watch day time TV!”

Morris:                 “Eh?”

Yolanda:               “Daytime television! That’s why you said you’re still here today!”

Morris:                 “Of course I am still here today, where else would I be? Though I am also on a distant planet in the crab nebula mastering new and awful kinds of incineration as taught to me by the dread denizens therein –their names I shall not even whisper. Hmm coco does seem a little skittish, would you mind passing him an onion from the onion bowl?”

Yolanda:                 “Just watch the television Morris and be quiet for a bit!”

Morris:                    “as you desire my pendulous appendage, I shall commence my social research. Now what shall we have? Granny loves cataracts? Let’s give it a whirl.”

The TV reveals a scene with a youngish reporter asking an elderly woman questions.

Reporter:            “so when was the first time you went in a cataract granny?”

Granny:                                “Eh?”

Reporter:            “The boat, when did you first discover you love of boating?”

Granny:                                “oh sonny that was a long time before  the war…”

She talks at some length, Morris begins to lose interest.

Morris:                 “This isn’t quite what I had in mind. Is this really what people are watching?”

Reporter:            “and when did you first discover you had cataracts in your eyes?”

Granny:                “well sonny that was after the war after I crashed my boat just off the shore of Orfordness, a terrible time that was…”

Morris continues to stare but clearly is displeased.

Reporter:            “So granny in your opinion is a cataract cataract a good or a bad combination?”

Granny:                “It’s a bad combination sonny make no mist…”

Morris can watch no longer.

Morris:                 “This is not my idea of fun! I would be better off in the abyss of Gehenna watching devilish Johnson toasting marshmallows. Come Yolanda let’s leave this dreadful abode, with its rancorous odour and loathsome crocodiles, its poisonous snakes! Yes beware my sack of effluent! Behind that curtain even as we speak is Dr VS Johnson who still seeks to fill you will deadly narcotic! Flee my sweet or you will surely die!”

Yolanda:               “Morris Stop it! It’s frightening!”

Morris:                 “It is indeed frightening! Nay terrifying! Grab your coat Debbie, we’re off out for brunch!”

They leave the house

Morris:                 “Fire inspector Johnson was kind enough to leave his vehicle here so we do not have to walk. Now where shall we go? Kooky’s Cookie hole? All day breakfast, all day breakfast, all day breakfast…”

Yolanda:               “Morris! It’s only twenty five to nine in the morning. We’ve just had breakfast. You had a bottle of port and something that looked like raw chicken but smelled awful like old fish.”

Morris:                 “Ah yes the swan tartar, I remember it well, and you had the all day breakfast.”

Yolanda:               “I had some toast and half a grapefruit. I don’t want to go out Morris. I’ve got the house to see to. I’ve been over that living room carpet half a dozen times with the vax and I still haven’t got all the amphibian out if it and  it’s my Thursday to host book club.”

Morris:                 “Thirsty ghost duck club? What on earth are you going on about Yolanda? This is no time for Chinese vampire wildfowl conundrums. Now why are you standing around out here? Don’t you have housework to do?”

Yolanda:               “Jesus! You made me come out here Morris! You wanted an all day breakfast remember?”

Morris:                 “At this hour? You need to watch the calories my little limescale deposit. You don’t want the boys to start calling you Porkohontas do you? Ho ho ho.”

Yolanda:               “For gods sake! Are we going out or are we going back inside? I’ve ironing to do as well.”

Morris:                 “That is a poorly worded query my little drought stricken archipelago, for if we have the option of ‘going out’ surely we are in a state where by definition we are ‘in’. How then do you propose to go about going ‘back in’ should that be my desired outcome?”

Yolanda:               “Oh do piss off Morris. I’m going to get on with the chores, you can do what you like.”

With that Yolanda storms back into the house in high dudgeon, slamming the door behind her. Seizing her vacuum cleaner, she lugs it into the living room, only to be confronted by Morris, with his feet up on the sofa seeming engrossed in television programme about antiques.

Morris:                 (potato style snacklet halfway to his mouth) “Alright ‘landa? Where’ve you been? Out for breakfast no doubt? You’re missing a fascinating programme here you know. Apparently two gits are given a certain amount of money and then have to scour second hand shops and car boot sales for bargains. Whichever team makes the least money is burned to death or something.” He frowns at the screen. “Hmm a couple of these clowns look familiar now you mention it.”

On the screen a man in late middle age sporting a wilfully aggressive set of tweeds is saying something about meeting our next set of contestants.

Tweedy:              “And on this edition of Treasure quest, we have Michael from Lincoln and his partner today, Leonard from France. So Michael, do you know a lot about antiques?”

Bikle:                     “Dow but I’ve got an Aunt Bavis! And we dow all about her eh boys?”

 

Tweed man nods and smiles

Tweedy:              “And Leonard you’re from France, do you think you’ll be able to *chuckle* cut the mustard today?”

Leonard:              looking at him blankly “What!?”

Tweedy:              “Bit of a language barriers eh? I was just saying, being French doubtless you’ll know your onions!”

Leonard:              “Yes. Of course I am familiar wiz ze onions. What the *the word is drowned out by the tooting of a passing vintage car horn* ‘as zat got to do wiz ze antiques?”

Tweedy:              Laughing nervously and handing over £100 to each of them “Er yes well, there you go, I’ll leave you to scour the stalls for real steals! Ah ha ha, and we’ll see you back here in 15 minutes with your treasures!”

Leonard is off like a whippet. Bikle stalks the off amongst the tables piled high with ornaments, paintings etc.  and starts poking about amongst the things. As the camera pans back, Leonard can clearly be seen scaling the perimeter fence and heading for an adjacent public house.

Inside a gloomy bar, a gaudily dressed man is knocking the white ball badly round the pool table. His attempts to pot this singular sphere fail with unnerving regularity. At each failure he attempts to retain his composure whilst clearly internally becoming more and more frustrated, swearing under his breath in secretive French. Around the near empty pub seating, the odd Johnson is scattered nursing some kind of murky drink. A mentally ill looking man with a stained t-shirt and a pair of somehow striking old brown trousers sits twitching clutching a j20. Barman Johnson is drying a pint glass with a stained rag. Suddenly the door is flung open.

Leonard:              “Alfonso! Alfonso! I ‘ave ze cash!” The frippery attired man looks up

Alfonso:               “Ah marvellous! Let’s ave a drink then!”

Leonard:              “No mon amis you misunderstand, listen ag’an! ‘I ‘ave ze cash!’, you Comte de Bersierneaux ‘ave nosseeng! Eh Wanker!” He heads for the bar, “Two pants of snak bite, two double vodkas please Johnson.”

Barman Johnson sets about the task

Alfonso:               “but Leonard, you still owe me 20 quid from last Wednesday!”

Leonard:              “Eh?” Leonards snarling visage turns to face the count “what?! A’ll give you 20 quid you fuckair!” And he knocks him down with a sharp elbow to the forehead. The drinks appear and Leonard starts to quickly drink them “And a soda wata an’ slops for fuckface down there!”

Johnson nods and tips so some trayed up liquid into a glass, tops it up with the soda tap

Leonard:              “Come on Alfonso, get up you fuckair! Ah got you a drink anyway! Drink up quick, ah’ve got to be back at that show in 5 minutes, Johnson give me the Vodka bottle!”

He hurls some notes at Johnson who hands him the optic. Leonard finishes most of the snake bite, throws the last quarter of a pint over Alfonso, knocks back the vodkas and lurches off with the optic bottle

Leonard:              “Ah’ll see you later Comte de Bersierneaux!”

Back on set the tweedy gentle man is talking to Bikle and looking perturbed

Tweedy:              “Hmm what’s this you’ve found it certainly is err unusual. On the table in front of them is a strange ebony black enormous rolling pin esque object.

Bikle:                     “It is rader large isn’t it Tweedy!”

Tweedy:              “Err quite, didn’t you get anything else?”

Bikle:                     “Just dese old dvds, they look barvellous!”

Leornard staggers into camera view, clearly horribly drunk, clutching the nearly empty bottle

Tweedy:              “Ah Leonard, back from your bon voyage, what do you have for us? Oh a pub optic, that looks quite recent? Hmm and it’s still got drink left in it.”

Leonard:              “Hehe not for much longer fuckairs.” And he lifts the bottle up but has to keep releasing it by the dispenser as he hasn’t figure out how to remove it. Vodka goes partially in his mouth and partially all over his beard, dripping down his front, he looks a fucking state. Out of nowhere he cries “fuckeeeng ‘ell zere is Napoleon!”

Bikle and Tweedy look round and Leonard smashes the vodka bottle into the back of Tweedy’s head. He crumples on the floor amid showers of glass and vodka.

Leonard:              “And what are you looking at fuckair!”He shouts at Bikle before, rifling through the felled presenter’s pockets, finding in the process the rest of the money for other contestants. Then the screen goes blank.

Morris:                 “Why did that program stop?! That was marvellous! No wonder people like daytime tv if it’s like that eh Bernard?”

Bernard brown is now in Morris’ living room clutching a can of 7up and looking no less mental

Bernard Brown:                “Eh ooh, well if it sits still for long enough, then the poorly cow can post a right packet.”

Yolanda:              Wanders in and looks despairingly on “Morris what is he doing here?”

Morris:                 “Are you the poorly cow my little horsechestnut?”

Yolanda:               “Morris! You could at least have sat him on some newspapers or something. He’s absolutely filthy. I’ve had just about enough of this today, I’m going to do my ironing in the utility, and I want that, whatever he is, gone when I come back.”

Morris:                 “Very well my little tattered silken parasol, I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime I shall try another of the programmes, to see if it is as amusing as the previous one. Now what have we here ‘one burned every minute’, what’s that about  ‘a frank, behind the scenes look at the countries busy crematorium’.  Hmm not quite what I had hoped for, what about this? ‘Ready, Steady, Mwaaerk!’  don’t like the sound of that much to be honest . ‘CSI Johnson’?”

Yolanda:               calling from the utility room “Remember dear, you got the box set of that from Johnson last Christmas?”

Morris:                 “Oh yes, most scintillating… What about ‘hardcore prawns’ Cornish fishermen brave the stormy waters of the North Atlantic to find and catch the eponymous crustaceans. I do not care about that. NEXT! ‘The spud the bad and the ugly’ a candid look at a rehabilitation project for young offenders in a baked potato outlet.  I DO NOT LIKE THE SOUND OF THAT EITHER. It all appears to be pointless behind the scenes documentaries or repeats. This TV guide needs to raise its game Yolanda or I’m getting the boys round for a game of cards.”

Yolanda:               Looking visibly distressed. “No no dear, no need to do that, I’m sure that there is something nice on the television! Let’s see, what about this? Er ‘the Egg Files’ in this week’s episode  of the award winning look at life in a late night omelette shack…”

Morris’ face darkens, she hurriedly continues the search.

Yolanda:               “Oh, here’s another episode of ‘Treasure Quest’, you quite liked that didn’t you Morris”

Morris:                 “I have no idea what on earth you are talking about woman. Trevor’s quest? Who is this Trevor anyway? What’s he after? Is he in your book club? Give me one good reason not to burn him to death!”

Yolanda:               “No Morris, ‘Treasure Quest’! The programme about antiques. You liked it.”

Morris:                 “Did I? That sounds most unlikely Yolanda. Nevertheless, wheel it on my little mildewed garden swing, it can’t be worse than that terrible program about antiques you made me watch earlier.”

Yolanda sighs and selects the programme. The man in tweeds has been replaced by a man in an equally disagreeable faux eccentric linen suit which he has augmented with a risible moustache. He is addressing familiar gangly becloaked figure.

Julian:                   “So Michael, you are our reigning champion, how do you feel about that?”

Bikle:                     “Rather sbug actually Juliad!”

Julian:                   Laughing, then looking round nervously. “and you have a new team mate I understand?”

Bikle:                     “Ho yes Juliad, this is Sibod. Dot up to buch but de best I could do at such shord dotice. It was either dat or brig Buckle!”

Curiously Julian and the rest of the contestants guffaw loudly at this, as if they know all about Buckle and can envisage the chaos which have ensued had he been brought along. After a little more grim bandinage, into which Simon repeatedly tries to interject himself, only to be ignored, the cash is once more handed over and the pair head off to seek bargains. As they trot along the tables set out in a field, stopping to admire an old steamer trunk or ivory shoe horn, the camera pans out revealing in the middle distance, a catering caravan emblazoned with the legend ‘All Day Breakfast’. Sat in front of this on a lawn chair busily plying his knife and fork is Morris.

It zooms in closer. There he sits cutlery in hand. A kind of caravan kitchen set up can be seen at the rear with Expert All Day Breakfast Johnson plying his trade with panache.

Morris:                 “Hmm *chomp* oh oh hello there boys and  girls and welcome to ‘all day breakfast’ all day breakfast, all day…’”

Another Johnson from off screen can see he has stalled and hurls a baked potato at him. It lands comedically on the end of his fork

Morris:                 “Ho ho, now I didn’t see that one coming, but who eats baked potatoes for breakfast? I don’t think we need to answer that one, eh Johnson?”

Johnson:              Cheerily and from off camera “Mwaaerk!”

Morris:                 “Anyway today on ‘all day break fast…” clearly he is trying not to get stuck but after pausing it is too much “all day breakfast, all day break.. What the fuck! Who turned out the lights?”

In a panic and resisting the urge to throw something hard at Morris, Johnson has launched a dirty tea towel through the air, initially in a scrunched up ball, it unfolds itself mid-flight and lands squarely over the top of his conical hats before sliding down over his face

Morris:                 “Eternal darkness, the demise of the world of vision, cursed cursed woe, the lot of the wizard faces a terrible end” he bemoans his situation before the cloth slides off his face and right into the remains of said ‘all day breakfast’. Morris looks down at the dirty cloth in his esteemed morning comestible “Johnson, you have ruined, the breakfast and the show and in doing so you have undone yourself and brought about your fiery demise!”

With a flick of his wrist the cloth and plate ignite, hurtle fiercely through the air, off visible  camera scene and clearly –from the scream and explosion- straight into Johnson, who now blunders inferno like back into shot, crashing into the temporary breakfast kitchen, causing it to also quickly catch alight, EADB Johnson just manages to escape the blaze by leaping out the serving hatch. With smoke billowing around, a serious fire raging, and the incinerated remains of Johnson still just visible on the floor, Morris turns to the camera.

Morris:                 “Join us next week for another episode of All day breakfast, all day…” a strange bagpipe tune starts and the repeat breakfast mantra can be heard fading slowly away, the credits roll with every name being  Johnson.

Morris:                 “Ho ho ho! That was marvellous Yolanda! I especially liked the burning bit”

Yolanda:               “Morris! You’ve been fucking around with the programs again, that was supposed to be Trevor’s quest!”

Morris:                 “Trevor’s quest my dear? I can assure you it was in fact Treasure quest! You must have been out in the sun for too long, well you have been out in the sun for too long haven’t you, what is more you have not read the packaging on the sun cream correctly and as such have applied only cheap shoddy suncream which does not protect you from the full ultraviolet spectrum, burnt, sunstruck and tired your body gives up its feeble defences against cancerous growth look” He signals with his head to the utility room out of which flies what seems to be the remains of an omelette, it lands on Yolanda’s forearm, Morris looks on unimpressed “Hmm I know you are fresh out of your old breakfast job Johnson but I still expected the faux cancer to be a little more convincing.”

Johnson:              “Mwaaerk!” comes the apologetic cry.

Yolanda:               “MORRIS! I have had enough of this fucking madness, you can do the housework or whatever the fuck you want to do, I’m going out for the day!”

Morris:                 “Calm yourself my little aperitif, if you insist on going on a quest for Trevor, please take a packed lunch, this omelette cancer could forge its foundation. Maybe also something light and refreshing such as swan tartare perhaps, washed down with a bumper of eggnog, then I’d recommend a more robust course, perhaps some kind of smoked fish with new potatoes and a dill sauce accompanied by a bottle of Spanish wine.”

Yolanda has in the interim gone and got changed. As she walks towards the door Coco launches an onion at her head. Ducking she raises two fingers at him and slams the door behind her. The onion bounces off the doorframe and slams into the skybox. As we hear the whine of fire inspector Johnson’s milk float accelerate away up the street, once again the cheery jaunty them of Treasure quest burst forth from the TV as it returns from an advert break. Bikle is holding some kind of outsize monkey wrench as an elderly stall hold attempts to expound upon its provenance.”

Stallholder:         “Yes I suppose it is rather large too…”

Bikle:                     “Ho, we dow all about does eh viewers? O o o dow what’s dat under dat sheet den old lady?”

Stallholder:         becoming cagey “Oh nothing nothing. What sheet? I don’t see any sheet.”

Bikle:                     “Done of dat dow! Come od Sibod help be get dis sheet off.”

Simon:                  “Ho h’yes h’sir! H’anything for a h’chum!”

Stallholder:         “No no gentlemen, please not that! Have a look at this interesting old fishing rod…”

Bikle:                     “Dot likely! Let’s see what we have here, why it’s just ad old bangle!”

Stallholder:         “Yes yes, just a silly old mangle gentlemen, nothing mystical about it at all. Probably doesn’t even work, now about this fishing rod…”

Simon:                  “Ho h’doesn’t h’work, heeey? H’I’ll soon h’see h’about h’that!”

And with that Simon gives the handle and experimental turn. The rollers spin slowly at first, then seemingly with a life of their own. The old woman tries to halt them, but instead is drawn between the spinning  drums with an awful shriek.

Yolanda enters a familiar looking pub and weaves through a handful of lunchtime drinkers to the bar.

Yolanda:               “Give me a large Cointreau and lemonade Johnson, he’s really doing my head in today!”

Johnson puts his appendage in front of his beak in a warning gesture before pointing to a corner booth where a figure is seated applying himself to a plate of sausage, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, hash  browns and fried bread.

Yolanda:               “Oh for gods sake!”

Downing her drink, she turns and storms out again. Across the road the spies a banner advertising an ‘Antiques Fayre’. Hesitating, she notices ‘Beer tent’ listed as one of the manifold attractions of said event and plunges into the crowds. Twitching slightly as she passes the still smouldering wreckage of a catering tent, she pauses to throw the milk float keys to FI Johnson, who is standing nearby looking solemnly at his clip board before heading into the beer tent. After some seeking she finds the place and enters. The musty tent greets her with a familiar voice sounds from a table nearby.

Leonard:              “So ah said to ‘eem Comte de Bersierneaux eh?! Wankerr!” Followed by various raucous ‘Mwaaerks!’ and other assorted laughs.

She looks over to see a table with Leonard, son of Dracula Johnson (looking much the worse for wear), captain flint, rough whisky Johnson (dangerously attempting flipper tricks with a 45), the Comte de Bersierneaux himself (looking huffily on as Leonard continues with with unpleasant tales about him), Frosty’s Badger slurping on a pint of stout and the Judge Bikle action doll (drinking vodka out of a thimble). She tries to hurry back out but it’s too late

Leonard:              “Eh Yolanda! Eh Cherie! Come over ‘ere and see your Uncle Leonard!”

Johnson:              “Mwaaerk! Mwaaerk! Mwaaerk!!” says Rough whisky Johnson excitedly.

JB:                          “Ball right dere Yolanda! De court is in session! Eh Boys?!” and they all fall about laughing.

She looks disgustedly on at the bawdy crowd before noticing a screen set up above the bar. The same strained bagpipe jingle emits from it yet now a new presenter conducts the show.

Clancy:                  “Bllblblbp so Bikle three rounds and your still in the lead, blblblbp let’s review your winning purchases.” Clancy leers over a table sporting the strange ebony long object and the giant monkey wrench “really! Blblblbp! Rather large objects, ehh Bikle?”

Bikle:                     “Ho yes dat’s right, you could berr call it by speciality!”

Clancy:                  “Blblblbp, I understand you’ve lost your last partner too in a mangle incident now blblblbp”

Bikle:                     “Berr yes ballegedly, poor old Sibod, still perhaps for de best eh Clancy?”

Clancy:                  “Blblblblbp yes, there is something to be said for having your essence squeezed out, eh Bikle??!  Bblblblblblbp!”

Bikle:                     “Berr, yes by suppose so…” Looks uncomfortably on at the Turkey’s interested stare

Clancy:                  “Anyway blbllblp last round! New partner”

Buckle:                 “Ho hello dere Bikle fancy beeting you here!”

Bikle:                     “Ho by God! What are you doig here! By thought you said you were staying at hobe?”

Buckle:                 “Bohh silly old SB! B’im not at hobe, I’b right here! Look!”

Bikle:                     “Do do! I can see you’re right here, I thought you were goig to stay at hobe!”

Buckle:                 “H’what are you goig hobe Bikle! I thought you were doig well, ho well I can always take over!”

Bikle:                     Looks very fucked off with proceedings “I’b dot goig hobe Buckle, I’b widdig here! You deed to go hobe! I don’t want you spoiling by day!”

Buckle:                 “Silly old Bikle, he geds quide confused bister Butterball! Why don’t you have a bug of cocoa and settle down for a bit.”

Bikle:                     “Fuck off fuck off! Stop dis! I’b de widdig constestant and I reject dis partner choice!”

Buckle:                 “Blblblblblp really!? Well viewers it’s all kicked off here. We’ll be back after this short commercial break!”

The bagpipes start up again. Yolanda looks down, then turns around to be greeted by son of Dracula Johnson who has sneaked up behind her “Mwaaaaaerk!” He shouts as fiercely and vampirically as he can muster.

Yolanda:               Screaming “Holy Fuck!”

The table of of uncouth joke characters erupt into raucous cachinnation once more. Leaving the tent huffily she walks –though coming out the same way- not back to the tent exterior but into a sleek coffee bar looking saloon, plush booths line the sides and elegantly curved table dot the space. Various Johnsons litter the seating. Unperturbed by the spatial shift she relaxes into these pleasant surrounds. Until that is, she spots the mentally disturbed figure of Bernard Brown perched on a shiny swish breakfast bar set up. The plate in front of him is large and filled with a certain collection of early morning foods. J20 in one hand fork in the other, he peers at the dish with anxiety pushing bits of it around. The next thing she spots is the sign above a payment serving area which reads , in an elegant font:  ‘all day breakfast saloon’. Another glance in this region reveals there is what appears to be a dead swan lying on the serving bar top with a Johnson bending over it with a knife.  All the relaxation drained out of her she seeks to escape the eaterie but is sudden accosted by a familiar voice.

Morris:                 Wearing a ten gallon hat “Howdy partner glad you could pop by what do you think of my all day breakfast saloon?”

Before Yolanda can do more than sigh heavily, there is an almighty crash, and two figures hurtle into the saloon through the batwing doors, knocking Bernard Brown from his lofty perch in the process.

Bikle:               “Give dat here! Dat’s by bloody bargid!”

Buckle:                        ” Do, I wod’t! I found it! It’s bide!”

Bikle:               “Dot bloody likely! It’s bide! Get your fridiotic hads off it!”

Buckle:                        “I’b goig to wid de prize!”

Bikle:               “I’ll cripple you id a bidit you ditwit, leggo!”

The two fools appear to be engaged in a tug of war over a cylindrical object of some dark yet lustrous wood, wrought with intricate carvings, and sporting a crooked handle at its head. Bikle makes a supreme effort and wrenches free from Buckle’s grasp.

Bikle:               Victoriously “Ho ho! Who’s goig to wid de prize dow?”

He turns to flee with his trophy, only to plant his pixie boot squarely on a J20 soaked round of black pudding, sending him flying. “Boohh!” He cries as he slides unstoppably across the parquet floor, arms windmilling, until he crashes into one of the wooden walls with a hollow thud. The impact jars a stuffed moose head from its mountings and of course, following all the laws of comedy, said relic of moose falls squarely atop Bikle’s head, wedging itself securely. Buckle takes this opportunity to renew the tussle, and soon he and Moose head Bikle are falling about the place on a floor made treacherous with hash browns, tomatoes and J20. Morris is initially amused by their antics, pointing and jeering with a coterie of Johnsons, until, as they sprawl past him he gets a closer look at the object of their struggle. His eyes narrow and gleam with a malevolent avarice. Motioning to his entourage he shouts.

Morris:                        “The fabled Pepper Mill of Quetzapocatl! Grab it boys!”

Johnson:          “Mwaeerk!”

Yolanda shakes her head as the Johnsons wade violently into the melee, sighs again and pushes her way out of the saloon. Again, instead of the humdrum reality of the antique fayre she finds herself in a strange dreamlike environment. She walks along a path of rich, dark peat which weaves in and out of a forest of weird, outre trees with bulbous bases, slender, ridged trunks and glossy, palm like fronds. Around the trees grow a profusion of luxuriant ferns, iridescent butterflies of topaz and emerald flit daintily, spiralling around the shafts of golden sunlight which pierce the canopy. Yolanda relaxes. A deep unspoilt peace seems to hang in the warm, scented air. She continues to stroll through the primeval forest, pausing to pick a strange…orchidlike bloom, which she fixes in her hair. Eventually the trees and ferns begin to thin out, being replaced by broad leaved shrubs and flowers. More and more the azure sky can be glimpsed through the leaves overhead. A faint rythmic sound gradually impinges upon her consciousness. Curious, she follows the sound, which gradually becomes clearer. A primitive drumming, four beats, pause, and repeat. Soon enough a suggestion of chanting is heard. Heart sinking, she recognises the cadence as it grows louder and nearer. “All. Day. Break. Fast. All. Day. Break. Fast.” Emerging from the verdure onto a rocky plain she spies Piltdown Johnson, clad in a bearskin loincloth, trying to keep Sabre Toothed Johnson away from his baked potato. They pause and wave at her cheerily. Involuntarily she returns the wave and the resume their standoff. From out of nowhere there is suddenly an electronically tinged horrific roaring noise accompanied by the sound of small wheels squeaking very quickly. Turning to espy the cause of said noise she is greeted by the rapidly hastening towards her of Tyrannosaurus Johnson. This consists of Johnson in a shopping trolley, with a faux (but still very large tyrannosaurus head on, with a laptop hooked up to a large speak out of which he plays the ‘roaring’ sample on repeat. The confusion of not knowing whether to laugh or scream stalls her for long enough for the beast to be on her. That is of course to say she tries to leap to one side but the trolley catches her viciously on the ankle and she bangs her head on a rock. Tyrannosaurus Johnson comes of worse as the trolley bounces onto a small rock catapulting the whole affair over with considerable force. The trolley flips over encaging Johnson before then slamming him into another nearby boulder, whilst the Tyrannosaur head flies through the air.

It is at the moment that a shoddy fibre glass part of the scenery gives way and Moose headed Bikle, Buckle and various Johnsons come piling into the scene once more. Through idiotic chance Buckle has wrested the prize peppermill and is just raising himself above scuffle when the inevitable happens and the Tyrannosaur head lands squarely onto his.

Buckle:                        “Boohhhh!” comes the muffled cry and he half collapses under its weight.

Seconds later, Buckle come Tyrannosaur is butted to the ground by the Moose and the whole madness continues.

Morris:                        booming from the all day breakfast saloon“Get that peppermill this instant!”

Clutching her wounded leg and nursing a bleeding temple, Yolanda watches on in stupefaction before spying another familiar figure. A strange bipedal dog is niftily making its way across the rocky ground towards the commotion. With exquisite timing it leaps through the legs of the Moose, rolls, nips a Johnson on the flipper, who lashes out knocking the peppermill out of the dust cloud and to the edge. Quick as a flash the dog has the mill in its mouth and is capering through the rent scenery and back to the A D B saloon. Moose at least has some sense that the mill has gone and attempts to lumber back through to the saloon after it. Tyrannosaurus however is much less clueless and barges into his back as he tries to leave. They both fall over in a heap and the Johnsons –who have by now stopped as the mission is over- stop and laugh.

Yolanda’s head swims. Looking on at the trying to right itself moose her vision goes and it seems the moose has now not one but three heads. Pincered arms hanging limply aside of the heads look sinister and tentacular. The body of the creature seems to elongate and morph until she now fancies she can see a three headed grinning moose with a gigantic scorpion’s body and hideous venomous tail sting looming over her. Loosely aware that this is a product of dislodged toxins from a previous encounter she is still unable to rationalise everything and screams for all she is worth. Pulse pounding, poison blood coursing through her veins, Yolanda bravely tries to regain control of her spud addled mind. “It’s perfectly ok, it’s ok, it’s not a monster, it’s just Shit Bikle in a moose head, nothing unusual.” The tragic truth of what she has said hits her, ludicrous as the situation is, it is, for her, nothing out of the common. Johnsons, Dinosaur Head Buckle, carbonised newsagents, all of it part of the familiar daily round. She looks again at the tentacled scorpion creature, which now seems to pulse and sway, leaving trails and traces as it undulates menacingly, and her eyes fill with tears. “I just want to go home!” Looking down, she sees that her comfortable own brand trainers have been replaced by shoes of a carmine crystal. Bowing to the inevitable, she bangs them together, “Just take me fucking home you stupid shoes!” There is a “parp parp!” noise, and a small yellow taxi pulls up beside her, driven by half a dozen rodents in flat leather caps.

Yolanda:          “SHOES MORRIS! Not shrews! I want the shoes to take me home!”

Even as she says it, she realises that it sounds absurd. Morris peers at her with concern. “Are you all right dear? You appear to be somewhat agitated. It must be all the excitement on an empty stomach. As you will recall, I did suggest that you took a pack up with you.”

His image seems to advance and recede, his voice distorted and tinny, as if coming from an old transistor radio with the volume up too high.

Yolanda:          “AAAGH! For fuck’s sake Morris! It’s the bloody toxins again! This is the worst Sunday ever! I’m going home!”

She sets off, striding angrily through the wreckage and the delusions, treating both with equal contempt. The hideous octoscorpion briefly bars her way. A ruby slipper lashes out, and it crumples to the floor. “Bouch! By godads!” stepping over… the recumbent idiot she walks quickly back through the ruins of the All Day Breakfast Saloon, through the beer tent, through the crowds at the Antiques Fayre, past the smouldering catering tent, past the pub, and on through the streets. Impossibly soon it seems she is walking back through her front door. Morris is sat in front of the television with a can of skol, gnawing a swan leg. Coco, looking furious, is wearing a cute little apron of red and white gingham, and is plying a feather duster among the ornaments on the mantelpiece. The room, except for a few feathers and gobbets of swan flesh around Morris’ feet, is spotless and orderly.

Morris:                        “Oh hey ‘Landa. Had a nice walk? Did you find Trevor?”

On the television screen a florid complexioned chubby man of late middle age, sporting a red velvet smoking jacket is speaking enthusiastically about the rarity value and remarkable state of preservation of an antique moose head. Yolanda does not trust herself to speak. Shaking, she enters the kitchen, which, the inevitable swan carcass notwithstanding, is sparkling clean. She is just about to attempt to brew herself a calming cup of peppermint tea, when the door opens and in bustles Clancy, accompanied by a film crew consisting of two curly haired idiots.

Clancy:            “Blblplp! Don’t mind me! Documentary! Blplblp! Behind the scenes look at typical suburban home!”

So saying, he and his crew surge past her and into the living room. Yolanda turns off the kettle and seeks solace in the drinks cabinet. As Clancy appears in the living room, Morris is watching events unfold on the television.

Morris:                        “Here Yolanda, there is a woman on the tv who looks just like you.”

Clancy stalks up to Morris and thrusts a microphone under his nose.

Clancy:            “Blblblp! Lance Battenburg. Ace reporter. Blplp! Few words for the folks back home?”

Morris:            “You is it you turkey bastard? What are you doing here?”

Clancy:            “Blplplbl! Mind your language Morris! Day time television!”

P&P:                “Uh huh huh. We’re making a documentary.” The second idiot holds up two reels of videotape. “Uh huh hu hu. With our spools.”

Morris:            “Documentary is it? I don’t quite like the sound of that. I prefer a nice romantic comedy, or perhaps a good documentary.”

Clancy has sidled up ever closer to Morris’ coffee table, now, with a swoop he snatches the pepper mill with which Morris has been seasoning his swan.

Clancy:            “Blblblp! I’ll take that! Blplplb! Got it! Leaving!”

The Turkey leaps across the room with a nimbleness which belies his corpulent stature, and rips aside the curtain preparatory to making his triumphant getaway through the window. In doing so he wakes Dr V.S Johnson, who has been stood there waiting for Yolanda for hours, and has consequently nodded off. With a startled “Mwaaeerk!”  he instinctively plunges his syringe full of distilled potato venom into the plump form of an equally taken aback Clancy.

Clancy:                        “Blblblp! V.S Johnson! Poor Clancy is done for!”

Morris:            “Ho ho. Nice one Johnson!”

Clancy:                 “blblbblblp poison coursing through veins!  Feel dizzy…” he flounders theatrically around the room crashing into sundry ornaments. Blbllblblbp who would have thought an injection of a liquid would be my undoing blblblblblp! Really….”

And with the faltering word he crashes to the ground, foaming at the beak with his eyes bulging. Yolanda is visibly distressed.

Yolanda:          “Clancy!” she screams cradling his head “Clancy! Stay with us! Morris quick do something!”

Morris:            “Very well my dear what would you like me to do? I have some Northumbrian pipes I’ve been practicing, possibly you would like a tune from them!”

Yolanda:          “Morris!!”

Morris:            “My dear, I am not a stupid man. If you are insinuating that I should save that evil Turkey bastard from his due then the answer is assuredly in the negative. The Northumbrian pipes offer however remains open. Indeed I might know a fitting number, the music is said to describe a man who accidentally poisoned his favourite pig after he poisoned his wife and fed her body to the pig. His woe was terrible as you can imagine and the dirge like notes reflect this state. I can also play the tune to Treasure quest, which as you may noticed is also played on a  traditional piped instrument, not the Northumbrian pipes though, however this aside there is enough similarity between the two instruments to effect a decent translation. Listen!”

Yolanda:          “Morris just fucking stop it. Johnson help me get him up on the sofa!”

Johnson makes to move but Morris casts a malevolent eye upon him

Morris:            “Venture not upon your life, for he is my near deaded strife!”

Johnson stops in his tracks and Yolanda heaves Clancy onto the sofa foaming and twitching.

Morris:            “Sofa so good! Ho ho this is better than Trevor’s quest eh my dear. Now then I’ll be having that.”

He picks up the pepper mill and suddenly eyes it suspiciously.

Morris:            “Do you know what Yolanda, this is not the real pepper mill of quetzacoatl, it is a cheap copy probably made by counterfeit Johnson. He’s always up to tricks like that, as befits his monicker I suppose. This faces me with something of a conundrum for I was fairly sure earlier that it was in fact not a copy and hence the possibility arises that the mills were switched somewhere along the way. Hmm so let me think.  Who do I know with sufficient magical dexterity to switch a mystical peppermill for a fake in the twinkling of any eye?”

Morris’ gaze falls upon the venom stricken fowl with sudden frustration and disgust.

Morris:            “Hmm I had rather set my heart on a tortellini lunch with a grinding of the finest south American black  pepper inspired by the twist of the gods own mill.”

Yolanda:          “Yes Morris and it is your favourite waitrose tortellini” Yolanda implores to the sudden ray of hope.

Morris:            “Very well my sweet. Johnson chain up the Turkey bastard! Now where is poison antidote Johnson when you need him? Possibly he has sloped off to the Northumbrian pipes folk festival just a milk floats drive from here my dear if you fancy it? They’re doing the one about the poisoned pig later on.” “

Yolanda:          Morris!”

Morris:            “Oh look here he is replete with the antidote. Johnson, it is truthfully said that often antidotes are quickest absorbed through the eye, so we had better save our colleague in the most expedient manner possible.”

A Johnson:       “Mwaaerk!” says antidote Johnson before planting the needle firmly into the bulging eyeball.

There is rank popping sound as sickly vitreous humour oozes out of the stricken globe. The contents though is still injected. Within moments the Turkey’s breathing regulates somewhat yet he still presents a sorry figure shuddering and sweating with his one turgid and one rent eye oozing slowly. Yolanda views the leaking humour with disgust as it begins to trickle onto the upholstery.

Yolanda:          “Johnson get a cloth quickly!”

Morris:            “Yes Johnson get a cloth quickly!” joins in Morris, but then begins to drift “A cleft sickly, a pile of hefty pickles, two dozen oysters piped into the mainframe. Hoist the mainsail Pirate Crewmember Johnson! Me old shipmate Captain Flint is languishing becalmed in the doldrums, set a course for the Sargasso Sea at once and bring me a panikin of rum and lime juice, I am fully cognisant of the dangers of scurvy in the course of such a marathon voyage.”

Pirate Johnson appears with the requisite beverage, and then, stymied by the lack of a mainsail, fucks about a bit with the curtains in an affectedly nautical manner. Yolanda and Antidote Johnson in the meantime have been bustling about making Clancy more comfortable. Soon he is sat shakily sipping peppermint tea, with a tartan travelling rug thrown over his shoulders. Pirate Johnson has thoughtfully donated his eyepatch to cover his outraged eyeball. Morris takes a large swig of the grog, smacks his lips and looks across suspiciously at the Turkey.

Morris:            “Oh aye. You is it? What are you doing here? Get lost on your way to the Northumbrian Pipes Festival did you? Well it’s simple, left out of the front door, straight on for half a mile, take a sharp right at the omelette shack, stay in the left hand lane for 200 yards, then burn to death you dreadful Turkey bastard.”

Yolanda:          Mopping Clancy’s brow with a tea towel. “Morris! Poor Clancy is very poorly. Can’t you put aside your petty feud just for once? We must be gentle with him, he’s had a dose of toxins.”

Morris:            “Toxins is it my little fridge magnet? A very serious business. Perhaps he would benefit from a sea voyage to aid his convalescence? I am about to sail for the derelict strewn reaches of the fabled Sargasso Sea, and could do with a handy lad who knows a spinnaker from a top’sl.”

Yolanda:          “Morris! Ignore him Clancy, you just drink your infusion and ignore him. How do you feel?”The Turkey’s voice is shaky and strained,

Clancy:            “Blplblbl! Oh Yolanda, Johnsons, it was terrible! Hideous agony! Blblblblp! Hideous I say!” His voice drops, “But that wasn’t the worst of it! Terrible nightmare! Blblplblb! Don’t know if I can bring myself to tell.” Yolanda leans forward and takes his wing consolingly.

Yolanda:          “You poor dear. Don’t excite yourself, but perhaps if you were to tell us about it, it might make you feel better. Let me just refresh your tisane, and you take your time.” Clancy pats her hand with his free wing.

Clancy:            “Thank you Yolanda, yes, perhaps it would do me good to blplblblp, get it off my chest after all these years.” Hesitantly at first, then in a rush, he begins. “Blplblblp! It took me back years. Back to when I was just a little gobbler.” He pauses and dabs at his eye. “I had a… a difficult childhood. Blplplp. Mater died when I was very young…Dreadful conflagration. Rangoon’s largest newsagency. Blplplblp! Lost everything!” He recruits himself with a sip of his tea before continuing. “Pater was a very distant man. Blplplbl, strict disciplinarian. Never showed affection. Disappointing child. No good at games. Awful bookworm. So very lonely.” Yolanda is hanging onto every word, even the Johnsons are listening intently. Morris, after an initial flicker of interest, has grown bored and is now contentedly puffing on a roll up whilst watching “Britain’s Deadliest Chimneys” with the sound on low. Clancy pays him no heed and continues to pour out his story. ” We had a half holiday from school. Fresh spring day. Sky clear. Scent of newly sprung greenery in air. Blplblp! Me, best shorts, neatly pressed shirt. Fair held. Neighbouring village. Excited. Intending to watch tug of war. Ride swing boats. Nibble sugar plums.”

Morris:            Snorting derisively…at this, “Ho ho, nibbling sugar plums indeed!”

Yolanda:          Shooting him an angry look. “Don’t mind him Clancy, go on. That sounds like a lovely day out.”

Clancy:            “Blpblblp! So I thought. Coconut shy. Ladies in aprons. Boyish larks. Picture it now. Off I set. Whistling. Country lanes. School cap. Jaunty angle. Soon be there! Blplplblb! Skipping along, merry as a cricket! Here we are!” Clancy is clearly lost in his tale now, he continues, a faraway look in his remaining eye. “So charming! Maypole! Fresh faced lasses! Bunting! Blblplp! Anyway, there I am, enjoying the gay scene enormously…”

Morris:            Chokes on his grog. “Ho Ho, you hear that Johnson? He said…”

Yolanda:          “MORRIS!”

Clancy:            Heedless of the interruption, the Turkey rambles on, “Pater didn’t believe in pocket money, but good at maths! I’d been helping the fellows at school with their equations for a few coins. Sometimes the older boys would give me sixpence… if I’d tackle an exceptionally hard one that they had…”

Morris sprays rum and lime juice out of his nose. Yolanda doesn’t even bother remonstrating with him, just pats Clancy’s hand soothingly.

Clancy:            “So, blplplblb! I’d saved and saved and had 3 whole shillings to lay out! Thought best plan, walk round, see what’s what, before spending hard earned. Careful child. Blplplblp! Off I go. Look here! Home made cakes! Hook a duck! Sixpence for a ride on a horsey! What’s this? Bony cove, burlap sack, something wriggling! A puppy! Oh such a puppy! Little wet nose. Pink tongue lolling. Eyes full of mischief. Fell for little chap. Boy’s best friend. No more loneliness. No more weeping in scullery. Blplplp! How much mister? Everything in pockets? Good bye sugar plums. Of no account, hand over hoarded coins. Puppy is mine! Such happiness!…Called him Pepé. Couldn’t wait to romp with him. Blplblplp! So very happy! A friend at last! Unpopular you know. Bit of a swot. Pepé didn’t care! Off we gambol. Fair old news now. Off we trot! Pepé sniffing the spring air, frolicking at my side. Through the sunny lanes and green fields, throwing sticks, not a care! Blplplblp!” Clancy’s face is radiant with joy, but then a shadow seems to fall over his visage. Yolanda waits with bated breath for him to go on. Morris is snoring softly in front of the afternoon movie: “Bad Combination 2” Clancy shivers and pulls the rug closer about his shoulders. “Blplblplb. Cold now. Growing dark. Had not noticed passage of time. Going to be late. Beaten. No supper. Where are we anyway? Don’t recognise place. Muddy lane. Stunted trees, warty, gnarled trunks. Twisted branches meeting overhead. No sunshine. Chilly wind blowing. Blplplblblp! Pepé cowering. Senses something…dark here in shadows, Poor Clancy’s scared. Heavy footsteps. Blplplblblp! Trying to run! Footsteps growing closer. Gaining. Hand over mouth! Blow over head! Everything going black!” Clancy is shaking now, and as he continues a racking sob comes into his voice, and he breaks into a desolate wail. “And when I woke up, Pepé waaaas goooone!” He breaks down into helpless, hopeless weeping. Yolanda too is crying softly. Tears are also coursing down Morris’ cheeks, his shoulders heaving.

Morris:            “Oh ho ho ho ho. Oh marvellous. That brings back some memories that does. Me and Dennis used to work that dodge at all the village fairs.” Yolanda looks over at him, red eyed from weeping.

Yolanda:          “What?”

Morris:            “The old puppy selling dodge. Spot some lonely little kid with no mates… give the little mug an eyeful of the cute little pooch, sure as eggs is eggs, he can’t fork over the boodle fast enough. Give ’em 5 minutes head start, and then send Loutish Ne’erdowell Johnson after them with a stout stick and the sack. Quick whack on the back of the coconut, and we’re off to fleece the next sucker, with chummy’s shillings jingling in our pockets. Ho ho that was the life. In fact…” He rummages around behind his armchair and produces a sack. Reaching in, he pulls out an adorable snowy white puppy. “Look familiar you Turkey bastard? Now ante up with my sodding pepper mill, or Nile Crocodile Johnson’ll make short work of Pepé here, eh Nile Crocodile Johnson?” There is a lengthy pause. “Eh Nile crocodile Johnson?” he repeats with a more agitated edge.

This time in from through the adjacent door –to the kitchen- comes what is in fact Nile crocodile Johnson but yet where the crocodile head should be is now a stuffed tyrannosaurus head. He crashes through the room clearly blind as to where he is going. Following cautiously though now comes Buckle with a Nile crocodile head on. He too can barely see where he is going and pokes the crocodile head into the room

Buckle:            “Bohh has anywod seed by brother Bikle anywhere? Oh hello dere Borris, fancy beeting you here.” The voice is mumbled but comprehensible

Morris:            “What have you got Nile crocodile Johnson’s head on? You are ruining my set up here. No wait a moment this can still work. Hand over the mill or tyrannosaurus Johnson will make short work of Pepe here!”

In truth Tyranonsaurus Johnson doesn’t look like he’ll be making short work of anyone anytime soon as he haphazardly veers around the room, the weight of the massive reptile’s head is clearly excessive to him. Still Clancy looks suitably disturbed.

Clancy:            “Blblblblbp no give Pepe back! Anything Blblblp!” he whisk’s his hands and the mill reappears

Morris:            “very well you Turkey bastard, here is your beloved puppy.”

Morris hands the puppy to the one eyed turkey who in turn passes the pepper mill over.

Clancy:                        “Blbllblblp thank you Morris”

Morris:            “No problem you Turkey bastard.” Clancy sets the beloved Pepé down in his lap and is about to administer a loving stroke when Pepé is suddenly and once more (remember Koth Hotep from our last escapade dear reader) somewhat implausibly found to in fact be disguised as Pepé the puppy Johnson.

Clancy:                   “Blblbllblblp! Tricked! Johnson instead! Blblblblllblblp! Better check the pepper mill Morris Blblblblblbp!”

Morris looks down at the mill in his hand to discover in fact he is holding a bowl of trifle.

Morris:                        “You Turkey Bastard! Give me that pepper mill!”

Clancy:            “Blbllbllblblbpp! Not likely! Toodle oo!! Off to the Northumbrian pipes festival for the afternoon!” and he leaves by the patio doors quick as flash, wary of the presence of VS Johnson

Morris:            “Quickly first mate Johnson we’ll cut him off in the south atlantic! Set sail immediately! Some other Johnsons who have been busy in the background leaving the kitchen tap on see their work come to fruition as a widening puddle begins to seep into the living room

Yolanda:            “Morris my carpet!!” She startles him out of his rambling he and lets loose with the trifle which flies through the air and lands perfectly on her head, the bowl crowning the custardy jelly cream combination which lies atop her noggin.

Yolanda:          “Morris you twat!”

Morris:            “Ho ho ho my dear! Trifle on your head! Mouse in your…!”

Yolanda:          “Don’t you fucking dare!”

Morris:            “Calm down my little long play record, just getting into the swing of things there. Now what’s next? Ah yes! The Sargasso, land of the eels we come!”

The patio doors swing open wide to reveal a maritime vista of awe. Endless deep indigo blue sea, swelling and waving in terrible mass stretches as far as the eye can see. Gulls cry their piercing shrieks and a Johnson attached to few lengths of hose pipe can be seen waving around therein occasionally. The sodden carpet somehow melds with this in an ineffable manner and everyone is forced to leap onto the sofa which now resembles a curious cross between a cataract and a sofa

Morris:            “I wish you hadn’t spilt that trifle Yolanda! It’s a long way to the Sargasso you know and that was our only supplies!”

Johnson:          “Mwaaerk?”

Morris:            “Good idea Johnson! A rousing sea shanty will raise our spirits, I’ll begin, you turkey bastards can join in on the chorus.” Morris plays a few introductory notes on a penny whistle, then launches into a raucous unmelodic shout, “Oh the anchor we’ve weighed, and the ropes off we have cast, and we’ve said our farewells to the all day breakfast! We’re heading due west to the Sargasso Seeeea! To get my revenge on that fucking Turkeeeee!” He wheels and fixes Yolanda, Buckle and the various assembled Johnsons with a maniacal glare, “CHORUS! O ho yo ho, let the wind blow high and never low, over the sea on my couch we go, to catch that gobbling so and so!”

Johnsons join in rather self consciously, Buckland with gusto.

Buckle:            “Mwaerk mwaaaerk, Ho a sailig we a go, row row row your boat eh Borris?”

Morris:            “That’s the spirit shipmates! We’ll soon be at Devil’s Reef, and there’ll be a very nasty surprise for you all.”

Johnson:          “Mwaaerk!?”

Morris:            “I mean ice cream. Ice cream for you all. Who wants rum and raisin?”

Johnson:          “Mwaaerk!”

Morris:            “There you go then Johnson.”

Buckle:            “Cad I have badada flavour please Borris?”

Morris:            “Certainly you may, there ye go shipmate. And for you my little gyroscope?”

Yolanda:          “I don’t want any sodding ice cream Morris, I just want to go home.”

Morris:            “That is hardly the spirit Yolanda, besides, the sea is our home now, the tang of briny air, the endless shriek of gulls, the spume flecked bowsprit, the protesting creak of seasoned timber, these are your reality now and forever. Or at least until I get bored of it.”

Yolanda:          “But Morris, I hate the sea, and I’ve got book club later.”

Morris:            “No no my little gravel strewn bridlepath, the sea is your book club now. Who wants this cone? For some reason it has chunks of uncooked biscuit in it, which renders an otherwise plain but perfectly edible ice cream slightly unpleasant and chewy, which in my opinion is not what you want from an ice cream. What do you think Pirate Crew Member Johnson?”

Johnson:          “Mwaaerk!”

Morris:            “Exactly! Over the side with it, I shall indulge myself with this traditional mint choc chip in an artisanal biscotti cone.”

As Morris eats his ice cream with obvious relish, the skies begin to darken. A cold wind springs up and the waves begin to crash against the sides of the bizarre craft with increasing force. The other occupants. with the exception of Buckle, who is messily eating his banana cone whilst singing “Row row row your boat”, look at each other concerned. A particularly large wave slams into the hull of the couch, sending all but Morris and Pirate Johnson sprawling in a heap. Pasta Chef Johnson, who is aboard for some unknown reason, is looking very green about the gills. “Mwaeerk-A!” He groans. The rain begins to lash down in ferocious torrents, the wind howls and the strange craft is in danger of being swamped.

Yolanda:          “Morris! Can’t you do something about the weather? We’re all soaking, and poor Johnson looks as though he is going to lose his tagliatelle.”

A woebegone looking Johnson nods his head vigorously.

Morris:            “Never fear my little unauthorised overdraft facility…We should be reaching our destination any moment now.”

Yolanda:          “What bloody destination? The Sargasso Sea? The Northumbrian Pipe Festival? None of this shit makes any sense at all. It’s as if we were just being shunted about the place by madmen.”

Morris:            “No my little calciferous deposit, no time for that now, your destiny awaits! Well it does doesn’t it? Look!” With a dramatic sweep of his arm he indicates a nearby tropical isle which has just sprung into being. “Behold! Trevor’s Island! All ashore me hearties.”

The boat/couch craft grounds gently on a beach of white sand which slopes gradually upwards to a fringe of jungly growth. Brightly coloured parakeets swoop and whirl through the air, chattering gaily as they go. From within the jungle comes the ominous beat…of drums, and also, a strange wailing, droning sound. Yolanda and the others look around. Some way along the beach are a number of rude huts and tents. The noise grows louder and louder. The undergrowth at the edge of the beach is suddenly parted, and a strange procession emerges. In the vanguard are a troop of creatures reminiscent of Johnsons, but with the goose element replaced with parrot, and accordingly, much more garish. They are wearing grass skirts and carrying spears. Behind them come more of the same, beating large gourdlike drums and in several notable instances, attempting to play the Northumbrian pipes, an enterprise in which, hampered by their hooked bills, they are not frankly, overly successful. A further phalanx of these avian…personages brings up the rear, bearing upon their shoulders a palanquin upon which perches a familiar figure in a lightweight khaki suit and pith helmet.

Clancy:            “Blblplp! Welcome to Trevor’s Island! Glad you made it! Blplpblblp! Hook, line and sinker! I am master here! Blplplblp!” Clancy turns to his henchmen. “Blblplplb! Thompsons! Seize them!”

Yolanda:          “Morris!” begins Yolanda, but turning, she sees that Morris and Pirate Johnson etc. are nowhere to be seen. Looking behind her, she sees the good ship sofa being paddled rapidly away from the shore.Buckle however is still very present.

Buckle:            “Ho look at all of dis, Barvellous!”

Yolanda:          Distressed “Morris don’t leave me here!!”

But it falls on deaf ears as Morris is now involved in some kind of strange boat race in which he is cox. He sits with his back to her on the receding couch shouting orders to pirate, pasta chef and Dr VS Johnson through a megaphone whilst they try to row as brisk a stroke as possible in competition with another identical sofa manned by a few overweight Thompsons with Simon as Cox. “ho h’come on you two!” he shouts ineffectually through a rolled up copy of a certain periodical. But they cannot sustain the pace and Morris’ craft soon leaves them behind. She stares in stupefaction at the spectacle, half seeing who won, half utterly confused and horrified at her desertion. Buckle meanwhile is arranging shells into patterns and making sandcastles with his hands. She can feel another presence now close by

Clancy:            “Blblllblblblp! Come with me my dear! No harm will come to you here! No more madness on this isle, Morris’ influence ends 100 meters form the shore line!”

Yolanda:          “Really?” she says quizzically

Clancy:           “Blblblblp! My line! Watch it lady! Hospitality could sour!”

Clancy:            “I’m sorry Clancy, I didn’t mean anything…” “Blbbllblbp! Just watch self! Really! Come along Thompsons, back to the settlement!”

And off they trot, Yolanda and Clancy ride in the palanquin whilst Buckle ambles alongside. Passing deep into the island through dense jungle, the Thompsons carry them on for at least an hour, clearly the huts of the beach having been just a peripheral outpost. Breaking clear of the thick foliage they emerge into a clearing just into which a thick wooden fence rises in front of them with massive gates. But towering above the gates in the dwelling behind is an ancient teocalli.

Clancy:            “Open! Blblblp!” and the gates swing open.

In side is a massive settlement of huts and primitive houses of various kinds, crude streets creep between them and Thompsons unearthly chatter fills the air. True to the joke world, the marketplace is lined with stalls selling all manner of crackers, which the Thompson haggle over and consume voraciously throughout the scene. Many plastic cracker packets are strewn all over the floor and the incongruous looking parish council bins are filled to over flowing with them as indeed is the even more incongruous dog poo bin.

Clancy:            “Come along! Thompsons decent servants, blbllblblblp, but messy creatures! Trying to source biodegradable cracker packets! But for one blblblblblbp they’re hard to get hold of and two they don’t like the packets when I can get them, blblblblbp say they’re sacreligious! Blblblblp! Stupid creatures really! Blblblblblp! Tried them with baked potato but they’ll have none of it!”

The transport is set down near an impressive stone house, near the pyramid.  He ushers her out and into the residence.

Clancy:            “Blblblblblp! Make yourself at home! Blblblbllbp! Not you Buckle, mud hut for you, cheese in there somewhere off you go!”

Buckle:            “Cheese, ho Barvellous!” and the idiot capers off towards the hut Clancy indicates towards.

Clancy turns a large ornate key in the stone house’s door and they go inside. The interior is somewhat  unlike the culture outside, indeed it is just a house like back on the various estates and villages of home except with maybe a slightly grandmotherly feel. Floral wallpaper, antiques and other trinkets line the various book cases.

Clancy:            “Blblbllblbp! I’m home mummy!” Clancy calls “Blbllbllblblp and I brought a friend!” An even higher pitched voice returns from somewhere within

Mummy B:      “Blblblblblblblp! That’s nice dear! Cooking soup! Blblblblp! Bring some through to the living room! Makes yourselves comfy on the sofa!”

Removing a number of crocheted cushions, Clancy ushers Yolanda to a seat on the old fashioned velvet sofa.

Clancy:            “Blpblplp! Soup soon! Must be famished! Ocean voyage! Blplblblp! All that sea air! Mother makes splendid soup! All homemade!”

Indeed the soup does smell delicious, and Yolanda realises that she is indeed hungry, having had a long and emotional day.

Yolanda:          “That sounds lovely Clancy. I hope it hasn’t got too much pepper in it!”

Clancy:            “Blplblp! Amusing! Referring to masterful acquisition of mystic condiment dispenser! Blplplblp! See what you’ve done there!”

They both laugh, and Old Mother Butterball bustles in bearing a steaming tureen. Clad in a cardigan and a neat print dress, she has a very strong family resemblance to Clancy, more wrinkled of course, and with a kindly expression and a twinkle in her eye.

Mummy B:      “Blplblbl! Delighted to meet you! Chat later. Blplplblp! Soup first!”

Just as Yolanda and Clancy are about to sit down at the polished mahogany dinner table, there comes an urgent hammering at the door. Removing his napkin with a “Tsk Tsk,” Clancy crosses the room and opens the door. Outside is a deputation of worried looking Thompsons, led by the most brightly plumaged of them all, clearly their chief. At the back stand a number of slightly smaller Thompsons, their female status denoted by their half coconut shell brassieres. Clustered around their feet are a clutch of juvenile Thompsons of various sizes.

Clancy:            “Blplplblp! What is it Thompson? Better be important! Soup rapidly cooling!”

Chief Thompson steps nervously forward.

Thompson:      “Wakark! Wakark! Wakaaaark!”

Clancy’s face takes on a serious expression.

Clancy:            “Blplblblp! What’s that? Monster loose in the jungle? Mrs Thompson terrified? Little Thompsons off their crackers? Prize orchids trampled? Knocked over oil lamp? Bamboo newsagency burned to the ground? Blplplblp! Most grave! I’ll deal with this! Keep soup hot mother! Blplplp! Monster at large!”

Mrs Butterball wrings her hands concernedly.

Mummy B:      “Blplblplp! Be careful! Monsters dangerous. Cousin Lawrence! Large Omnivore! Tragic end!”

Clancy:            “Blplblp! Don’t worry! Duty calls!” Settling his pith helmet firmly on his head, he picks up a stout cane and heads purposefully out of the door.

Yolanda sighs mournfully and traipses after him.Followed at a distance by a whispering, jumpy crowd of Thompsons, the two make their way through the village. Passing the still smouldering ruins of the newsagency and the carbonised remains of its former h’occupant, they reach the edge of the jungle, where in fact, a trail of broken and crushed vegetation can be descried leading into the forest’s dark interior. Brandishing his cane, Clancy issues determinedly down the trail, Yolanda trailing despondently behind. After several hundred yards the Turkey pauses and cups a wing to his ear.

Clancy:                        “Closing in! Blplplblp! Listen!”

Sure enough Yolanda can discern a distant bellowing and crashing. As they press on the noise grows louder and louder. The bellowing has a strange echoing, muffled quality and is almost reminiscent of speech. Indeed as our intrepid pursuers and their attendant flock of petrified parrotmen approach the source of the commotion, Yolanda begins to think that she can actually make out words.

Bikle:               “GED BE OUD OF DIS FUCKIG THIG!”

Yolanda:          “Oh. No need to worry Clance. It’s just Shit Moose Head Bikle. I wonder how he got here?”

Clancy:            “Blplplblp! Moose Head Bikle? Not a monster? Reeeaally!”

Bikle:               “DAT’S BE ALL RIGHT, WHY IS DOBODY HELPIG BE? IT’S BOILIG ID HERE AD I CAD’T SEE A THIG AD IT SBELLS OF BOOSE!”

Clancy and Yolanda laugh uproariously, as do the now contemptuous Thompsons.

Clancy:                        “Blblblplp! Imagine being frightened of that! Amusing!”

Still laughing they turn on their heels to return to the village, leaving Bikle still blundering about in the forestbanging into trees, tripping over roots, being winded by protruding stumps and clouted by low hanging branches, his pitiful cries growing fainter.

Bikle:               “Why are you laughig at be? Dod’t leave be! I’b geduidely fucked off with dis dow!”

Arriving back at his residence, Clancy hangs up his solar topee and cane in the hall.

Clancy:            “Blplplp! Home again mummy! No monster! Ready for tea!”

There is no answer.

Clancy:            “Blplblplp! Mummy? Where are you?”

Morris:            “Last time I saw ‘er she was sharing a bottle of scotch with Drunken Anally Fixated Gerontophile Johnson.” intones a familiar voice from the corner of the living room, “I’m sure she’ll turn up sooner or later. Most of his victims do. Anyway. Nice place you’ve got here you Turkey Bastard. Can’t say I think much to these Thompsons mind you, a bit derivative don’t you think? Then again, imitation, sincerest form of flattery innit?” he settles himself deeper into Clancy’s favourite armchair and takes a drag of his roll up. “I wonder if there’s anything nice on the television. Pass us the remote ‘Landa there’s a doll.”

Clancy:            Flabbergasted. “Blplblplp! Morris! Here! Impossible! Blplblplp!”

Morris:            “Au Contraire beakface, not impossible, in fact, inevitable.”

Clancy:            “Blplplblp! But how? Inviolate sanctuary! Ruined!”

Morris gestures at where the tureen sits forlornly on the table.

Morris:            “As soon as dear old Mrs B opened that catering tin of No Frills mulligatawny your doom was sealed. Your goose was, if you’ll pardon the phrase Johnson, cooked.”

Clancy:            “Blplplplp! Don’t understand!”

Morris draws himself up to his full height and his countenance takes on an imperious look.

Morris:            “Haven’t been paying attention have you then you feathery fucker? Or you would be aware that I AM LORD OF SOUP! WHEREVER THERE IS SOUP, THERE MY POWER SHALL BE UNTRAMMELLED! LORD OF ALL SOUP! MONARCH OF BROTHS, CONSOMMÉS AND CERTAIN POTAGES! Anyway, cheers for the pepper mill pissbag, now pipe down, it’s the grand final of Treasure Quest. Anybody fancy a skol and a bit of swan tartare?”

Morris is about to put on the telly, when a gobbling and bustling can be heard from the adjacent room. Startled he looks round.

Mummy B:      “Bllblblblblp! Oh you are a one Johnson, blbllblblbp naughty boy!”

Mummy Butterball peers into the living room, tipsey but in good fettle (owing to her terrible alcoholism) whilst the obviously inebriated gerontophile Johnson holds sheepishly onto her pinny with a big smile on his beak

Mummny B:    “Blblbllblblbp! More guests!”

At this moment there is a loud crash and a “Boooohh!” as Bikle sans moose head flies backwards into the house, whilst from outside can be heard

Buckle:                        “Is dat better Bikle?”

Mummey B:    “Blblblbp! Party time! Soup won’t feed everyone!”

Son of Dracula Johnson sidles in to make up the numbers and a few assorted Thompsons wander in, some of which place bottles of Bersierneaux and packets of crackers on the dining room table.

Leonard:          “Zis is the ze place Alfonso you puff!”

Leonard wanders in and starts to open a bottle whilst Alfonso glances nervously round the door.

Clancy:            “Blblblbllbp! Serve the special food Mummy!”

Mummy B:      “Blblblblblblp! Right you are Clancy! Blblblblp! You get the napkins!”

Soon a rare old family style house party is in full swing. Various characters sit around chatting to each other holding a polite glass of some of something whilst eating the occasional crisp. Morris and Bikle in a moment of rare harmony sit on the sofa together watching the Treasure Quest grand final, which can be seen to be featuring Uncle Bikle and antiques expert Johnson. They are neck and neck at the break.  Both the onlookers want Johnson to win.

Bikle:               “By can’t stand dat sbug bastard!”

Morris:                        “Do not worry SB, Johnson’ll do ‘im you’ll see.”

Bikle:               “By don’t dow, did you see how he recogdised Geoff Baxter Ashtreagh’s old flying goggles in dat pile of socks!  Pretty difty!”

Elsewhere Leonard is urinating in the corner of the living room, Buckle is marvelling at the cheese and pineapple on sticks, pasta chef Johnson is in the kitchen doing a spaghetti making workshop and Yolanda has fallen asleep in the armchair.

Clancy:                        “Blblblblblblblp! Special food time! come and get a plate everyone!!”

Mummy Butterball Turkey comes bustling through with an enormous platter on which is some kind of roast animal, possibly a goat. Its skin a crisp golden brown is littered with rosemary. The edge of the dish is lined with various other sumptuous if strange looking foods: olives, fried mice, boiled eggs, sliced coconut and crackers. Morris nose, twitches and he raises himself from his seat.

Morris:            “Hmm you know what Butterbastard, that does smell good, I think I can forgo the old swana-tata for a plate of it.”

Clancy:            “Bllblblbllp! Certainly Morris! Mummy, carve Morris a helping!” “I’ll have the head if it’s all the same to you, unless SB would like it, it is after all a great head, eh SB?!”

Bikle shoots a scowl back at him and goes back to staring at treasure quest.

Clancy:            “Bblblllblp head it is Morris, with a little extra meat and two boiled eggs there you go!”

Soon everyone is tucking into the mystery feast and its strange garnishes. Pasta chef Johnson has made a mound of spaghetti but it is largely eschewed in favour of the meaty dish, except for Buckle who has put a pile of spaghetti on his head and his saying he’s one of the Nolan sisters. Some of the younger Thompsons think Buckle is marvellous and also want to be Nolan sisters, joining in similarly with the spaghetti but nobody minds and the merriment is enjoyed all round. Gnawing at the skull of the beast  with vigour Morris is clearly taken with the meal.

Morris:            “This is fantastic, your mother can’t half cook, what am I eating? I’ll give ‘Landa the recipe.”

Clancy:            “Blblllblblblbp! Dog meat! Delicacy!”

Morris:            “Dog meat eh? serve with rosemary and boiled eggs” he scrawls down on a piece of paper “I didn’t see any dogs on the island, is it a local meat?”

Clancy:            “Blblblblblbp! No, only dog on the island, found it earlier, sniffing around the house, looking for the pepper mill!!! Blblbllblblblbp!”

Morris looks startled, almost disturbed

Morris:            “You don’t mean??”

Clancy:            “Blblblblblp yes Albert Jackson PI! Blblblbp gnawing on his skull! Blblblbllblbp! Eaten prize dog, proper juggins!”

Morris looks at the skull and does look a bit, not exactly sad, just a bit quizzical

Morris:            “Oh dear, you Turkey bastard, I have indeed it would seem consumed my prize Jackson, not just a dog, let’s get it right! I am quite distressed by that as it happens” he takes another bite “but it does seem a shame to waste *chew* I see you’re enjoying it too”

The turkey has been nibbling on a leg section.

Clancy:                        “Blblblblp mother prize cook! Blbllblp delicious!”

Morris:            “Yes exactly how I feel, though after that performance earlier I don’t know how you can!” The Turkey looks on suspiciously

Clancy:            “Blblblblblp! What do you mean?”

Morris:            ”Well I knew him as Albert Jackson, but I believe you knew him by another monicker.”

The Turkey begins to choke

Clancy:            “Blblbllblbp surely you don’t…”

Morris:            “That’s right you Turkey bastard, what was his name again pepper? Or summats?”

He grinds a helping of pepper on the nearly gnawed bare skull from the fabled pepper mill.

Clancy:            “Blblbllblbp! Pepé! Blblbllbp!” The Turkey looks absolutely aghast, horrified and bursts into tears and runs off to the kitchen “Blbllblbp Mummy! Morris made me eat Pepé!” can be heard as he sobs off.

Morris:            “Now then maybe  I can see the last of Treasure quest , it must be nearly finished.”

Bikle:               “It is Borris! Buncle Bikle will deed to pull subthig special out of de hat to beat dat twelfth cendury Bersierneux vase.”

Uncle Bikle:     “Dow let be see!” says the smart gothic gentleman as he rummages in a pile of wooded objects in the dying moments “aha! Goddit!”

The scene cuts to a table, the two contestants and tweedy (who is now back again with a bandage on his head)

Tweedy:           “Well what a contest it’s been, these have been two outstanding antiques collectors but the winner of this year’s Treasure quest is…” Morris and Bikle look on from the edge of the seat “Uncle Bikle with his last minute find of this astonishing ancient south American pepper mill!”

Uncle Bikle:     chipping in “Yes and it’s rader large too!”.

Morris looks down to see the pepper mill is indeed no longer in his grasp but is on the TV in uncle Bikle’s pincers. Bikle starts swearing and the screen, Morris throws Albert Jackson’s skull at the TV causing it to combust. The Turkey can still be heard sobbing in the kitchen whilst his mother fails to console him.

Only the Nolan sisters remain happy in their ignorance…

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on August 26, 2015 at 10:33 am  Comments (1)  

Ready Steady ‘Mwaaerk!’

 

The scene is a gaily decorated marquee set up in the grounds of a large country house. Inside are laid out rows of well equipped kitchens, standing behind which are a number of figures. Holding microphones and smiling broadly at the cameras are the Judge Bikle Action Figure and Yolanda, clad in a nice summery cotton frock. Only upon closer inspection can it be deduced from her staring eyes and slightly rictus like grin that she has not wholly recovered from her recent snake toxin based ordeal.

Yolanda:          Hello everybody!” she says cheerfully enough, “and welcome to this brand new edition of ‘Ready, Steady Mwaaeerk’! We’ll be putting our challengers through their paces, losing one every round, until the final two will face each other in a culinary showdown to see who emerges as tonight’s winner! Now, let’s see which of our cooks rises like a well made sponge, and who collapses like a soggy soufflé!” (she chuckles.)

Judge Bikle:     “Siledce id court!” shouts JB. “Lets beet the defendants!”

Yolanda:          Chuckling again. “Certainly, our first cook is Alphonso from the Loire Valley. It says here that Alphonso will be showcasing his own very individual take on classic French cookery.”

Judge Bikle:     “Guilty! Dext!”

Yolanda           “Ha ha. Next up is Johnson, who is currently head chef of the Michelin starred Steamed Hotel in Northumberland.”

Judge Bikle:     “Case disbissed! Dext!”

Yolanda           “Our third hopeful is Michael from Lincoln, who likes to create food that is ‘fun to eat.'”

Judge Bikle:     “I bust say I dod’nt like de look of dat one buch!” (canned laughter.)

Yolanda:          “Now now, let’s meet our next kitchen botherer, Simon. Simon is also from Lincoln. It’s written here that he likes vegetarian food and thinks that the body is a temple.”

Judge Bikle      “Dot guilty by reasod of idsadity!” (canned laughter.)

Yolanda:          “Ha ha ha. And our final contenders are actually a duo, a big hello to Pete and Paul. From what it says on my card, these two will be utilising a wide range of kitchen implements and utensils to create their dishes tonight.”

JB laughingly pops a black napkin on top of his wig,

Judge Bikle:     “Hag deb! By dere decks! Until dey are dead!” (canned laughter.) “Siledce in court! B’im dot jokig. Look at de bastards. Hagig’s too good for deb!”

Yolanda:          Stepping forward, “Anyway, it’s time for our first round, the round known as ‘Too Many Cooks’, in which each of our contenders has to create their own signature dish. So without further ado lets get er… mwaaerking!” reading it off a card uncomfortably

Judge Bikle:     “Bwaaerk!, Whose in de dock first den? Rebember contestants bad taste will be punishable by death, forget about a boo(u)se I’ve got by doose” JB waves a hangmans noose with a flourish “And dose two are top of by list!”

Yolanda:          Stepping in attempting to distract him, “So let’s see what Alphonso is cooking up in his cuisine?”

They walk over to Alphonso’s cooking station. Alfonso looks stressed, he is wearing a stripey pinny with the ready steady mwaaerk logo on and trying to chop some onions. This is giving him trouble

Alfonso:           “’old still you leetle fuckairs, oh chrast why is thees so treecky!”

Yolanda:          “Ho Alfonso a bit less colourful language there, we are on telly you know!”

Yolanda:          “Eh? Quoi? Who are you? And Fuckeeg Chrast what is that theeng!?” Pointing to the Judge Bikle doll which rides on Yolanda’s shoulders

Judge Bikle:     “Siledge id court! We’ll do de talking or b’its de iso units for you creep! Dow what’s de dish fish features and rebember stick to de point!”

Alfonso:           Looking perturbed “Err tonight ah will be cooking ma great grandfather’s old recipe…”

Judge Bikle:     “Birrelevant!”

Alfonso:           “er onion soup with a crusty bunion ah meen onion roll!”

Yolanda:          “Well that sounds lovely and how are you getting on?”

Alfonso:           “Zeese fucking onions won’t chop, and ze knife is blunt, and ah only came on eer because ah lost a bet with the fuckair Leonard!”

Judge Bikle:     “Berd Alors! Lock him up quig! Br Bersierdeaux, you are found guilty of being a prize juggids!”

Yolanda:          “Err shall we move along and leave Alfonso to his cooking, so who have we got here at the dext, I mean next stall?”

Judge Bikle:     “Ho God it’s Johnsod! Leave hib he’ll odly say bwaaerk!”

Johnson:          “Mwaaaerk?” Johnson looks expectantly for them

Yolanda:          “We’ll have to go over JB it’s the show.”

Judge Bikle:     “But by don’t want to!” he shouts in her ear, then pulls her hair

Yolanda:          “Owww! Stop it you monster” She pushes him off her shoulder

Judge Bikle:     “Boohhh!” thump.

Yolanda:          “Now let’s go and see Johnson!”

Judge Bikle:     “Dot likely!” he bawls from the floor “I’b staying here!”

Yolanda:          “So Mr Johnson what will you be cooking for us?”

Johnson:          “Mwwaaaerk!” says Johnson, gesturing to a potato and a potato oven.

Yolanda:          “I see” she says

Judge Bikle:     “Told you!” comes the shout from off camera “a waste of tibe! Dats all those things ever bake!”

Johnson wants to expand but even Yolanda can see it’s pointless

Yolanda:          “That’s nice! Now folks at home we’ll be right back with you after this short commercial break!”

Judge Bikle:     “Don’t go away or I’ll have you barrested!!”

The programme resumes after a perfectly normal advert break. The presenters don’t seem to realise that the cameras are back on them and are bickering in the corner. Snatches of their argument can be overheard.

JB& Yolanda:   “…of my best friends are Johnsons…” “…been part of dis joke as log as bi have oug lady…” “…think we don’t know what goes on with those barbie dolls…” “…beddlig id by private affairs…”

Suddenly Yolanda notices the cameras and switches seamlessly back into onscreen mode.

Yolanda:          “And welcome back to Ready, Steady, Mwaeerk! Let’s move on to our next cook, Michael. What are you going to be cooking for us today?”

Bikle:               “Ho dothig too fancy, Hi thought perhaps a salad?” Spotting the look of pain that crosses Yolanda’s face, he hurriedly backpedals. “Do dot a salad. Did Hi say salad? Silly be! Do do, it’s kedgeree.” (aside, to camera, “Ballegedly. O.O.O.”)

Judge Bikle:     Perking up. “Kedgeree?” He rubs his hands together enthusiastically and smacks his lips. “Dow dat’s by kide of thig! De prosecutiod rests by lord!”

Bikle:               “Well it looks like you’ve impressed one of the judges Michael.” From the slight over emphasis on the word ‘one’, it is clear that Yolanda is not best pleased, “Now lets move on to our next cook, Simon. So Simon, what delicious feast are you preparing?”

Simon:             “Ho, h’im baking a h’goats h’cheese h’tart. H’but hi can’t h’open the package. I don’t h’suppose you could take the h’top off?”

Judge Bikle:     “We should take his tob of! Fetch de guillotede Johnson!”

Yolanda:          “Hahahaha oh JB you are a card!” The action figure looks disgruntled “but Simon I’m not sure you’ve quite understood, you are supposed to make something, not just open a packet”

Simon:             “Ho hI’m h’sorry miss, hI’ guess I’ll cook prawn again! Frole!”

Yolanda:          Looking pained “I don’t see any prawns here for you to cook?”

Simon:             “Hi must have beant the h’alleged prawns ehhhhh?”

Judge Bikle:     “Don’t ged legal wid be soddy jib! Dere’s do prawns, by find you in contempd of court! Off wid his head!”

Yolanda:          “Umm maybe we could just disqualify him?”

Judge Bikle:     “Dere’s do point havig a bore lenient punishbent! Where’s execudioder Johnsod wed you need hib?”

EJ:                    “Mwaaeerk!” from a hooded figure in the audience.

Yolanda:          “Oh, hi EJ! Book club Thursday? I mean, I’m sorry Simon, but I’m afraid you are disqualified. Goodbye!”

Simon:             “Ho this is an h’outrage! H’you’ll be reading h’about this in toborrow’s dewspaper!”

Strongarm Johnson appears and leads him offstage.

Judge Bikle:     “Dod’t worry viewers, dere’s one bore edcoudter wid ad oved waitig for hib!” (offstage there is a whoosh and a despairing scream of “H’aaaieeegh!”

Yolanda:          With a more fixed smile “Anyway, let’s move quickly on to our last two contestants JB. JB?” She looks round, Judge Bikle is theatrically warming his hands in the direction of the scream. As she watches he produces a marshmallow on a stick.

Yolanda:          “JB! Come along. Now, let’s meet Pete and Paul. What are you two going to knock up for us?”

Pete and Paul: “Uhuhuh allow us to knock you up with our tools!”

Yolanda:          “Ew! That’s horrible”

Pete and Paul: “Uhuhuhuh we mean allow us to knock a goose up, uhuhuh ‘youse’ ‘goose’ get It uhuhuhuh?”

Judge Bikle:     “Bi tried to tell you!”

Johnson is also not impressed with the ‘knock a goose’  comment, he comes over to the stall and kicks it over with a loud mwaaerk!

Pete and Paul: “Uhuhuhuh oh no, we have to pick up our tools with our tools uhuhuh”

Yolanda watches  the idiots in stupefaction.

Judge Bikle:     “Pop dem on de fire! Dere impure!”

Yolanda:          “You know JB, I think you might have a point! EJ!”

Executioner Johnson clambers over audience members and grips Pete and Paul, dragging them furnacewards.

Pete and Paul: “Uh huh huh, get off us, with your tool, huh huh huh.”

Again the offstage incinerator consumes its prey.

Yolanda:          Turning back to the camera. “Well, time’s up contestants. It’s time for the judging. Alphonso, please bring up your dish.”

The Comte weaves unsteadily up to the judge’s table and clunks down a bowl of brownish liquid, with roughly quartered onions still with the skin on floating in it. The mess gives off an overpowering aroma of alcohol and is accompanied by a burnt onion haphazardly covered in raw breadcrumbs.

Judge Bikle:     Taking a spoonful of the concoction and immediately spitting it out “Ho god dat’s dasty! Dothig but raw odiods id cheap sherry. Dothig out of ted for you fredchy!”

Alfonso:           “Ah for fuck’s sak! Zat was ma grandpapa’s recipe! ‘an ‘e was ze original Comte d’Bersierneaux!” (audience laughter.) “What’s so funny about zat you fuckairs?”

Yolanda:          “Now now Alphonso, I’m sure you did the best you could. Johnson?”

Johnson places his plate on the table with elan. A perfectly baked potato nestles amongst a wild leaf garnish, its skin golden and crisp, butter oozing yellowly down its sides.

Yolanda:          “Ooh that’s lovely Johnson. Definately dish of the day so far.”

Judge Bikle:     “Hmmph!” Judge Bikle looks less impressed. “It’s jusd a baked potato, banyone cad do dat! Led be try it!” He rudely scoops some out the middle ruining the presentation, he chew thoughtfully for a moment  “beeurgh!” then spits it out over Johnson “Bo dear, Bi ab sorry, Dot! Who’s dat will teach you frob last tibe Johnsod! Bit’s over cooked and dere’s too buch butter, 2 out of ted, eh Ted?” He quips to one his pals, a teddy bear who has sidled up interestedly , he smiles his teddy bear smile “Ted’s a bit simble, but he’s harbless edough, baren’t  you Ted!?” he shouts patronisingly “care in de cobbunity you dow!”

Ted looks on. Yolanda is startled at first but then warms to Ted

Yolanda:          “Oh he’s cute can’t we keep him?”

Judge Bikle:     “Dot likely, or you cad, well you are doig aren’t you look! Ted relentlessly follows you through all daily activities done (none) are too short or too…” he pause “dirdy!” he gives her an evil filthy grin look.

Yolanda:          “JB! Stop it! Anyway I think Johnson’s potato was very good so I’m awarding it 8 out of ted, I mean ten.”

Judge Bikle:     “Boverruled!”

Yolanda:          “You can’t do that!”

Judge Bikle:     “Yes I cad lady, Boverruled ! Dext case please!” And pulling her ear he somehow guides her over to Bikle’s stand, Ted follows, getting under her feet nearly tripping her up “Dow dis is bore like it! What have you got here Bikle!”

Bikle:               “Fri’ts Kedgeree! Ballegedly!” They both join in for the legal term.

Sure enough an unappealing plate of rice with mashed up fish and a somewhat unpleasant smelling white claggy sauce slopped on the top sits on Bikle’s table

Yolanda:          “Good lord! Choke…” Yolanda gags at the sight

Judge Bikle:     “Barvellous! Look at dat! Dis wods through to de dext round!”

Yolanda:          “They’re all going through to the next round you little freak.” she snaps, “Even that French idiot. We’re supposed to lose one contestant per round, and we’ve already burned 3 of them to death.”

NOTE: This scene has had to be heavily edited owing to the unsuitability of its original nature for, well, anyone really.

Yolanda:            “But first, we have a special treat for our contestants, especially for you Alphonso, a mystery chef, all the way from la belle Francaise! Head chef at La Île Dans La Morasse, never heard of it myself, but our researcher Mr Croy says that there is simply nothing like it anywhere. Johnson, draw back the curtains and let’s meet our mystery chef!”

The curtain is drawn back to reveal a kitchen identical to the others. Standing behind it is an outlandish figure, a huge man, clad in a filthy smock and mudstained gaiters, with a doughy, brutal face topped by a shock of matted straw coloured hair, incongruously perched on which is a chef’s hat. The man utters a few uncouth grunts and swings his arms around wildly, sweeping a spice rack and large bottle of olive oil crashing to the floor. Johnson appears, leading a Shetland pony. As they approach, the man throws himself upon the animal with a gutteral cry, and begins making lunches on it. Grabbing it by the mane with one arm, he repeatedly strokes the hand of the other into the hapless creature’s forehead, his knee flashing pillow-soft rubs into its kidneys. Wrestling the stunned creature to the floor, he continues to caress its head with ham and brisket, screaming inarticulately all the while. Blindly grabbing at the utensils on the worktop, he clutches a dishcloth which he proceeds to use as a mopper, sponging it again and again around the eyes of the shrieking pony. Food sprays from the horse’s violated saddlebags and the brute slips and falls on top of his equine victim. A grisly wrestling match ensues as the two slide around the food and oil soaked linoleum, the frantic quadraped desperately seeking to escape the madman’s murderous, greasy embrace. Chonsoix caroms into the oven, causing the door to spring open. Moaning excitedly he tries to force the head of the tired animal into the roaring forties.   The hideous stench of burning armchair and scorched oil fills the marquee. Johnson and Johnson rush in and try to subdue the maniac, but slipping on the foody oil slick floor they end up rolling round in the filthy, glistening mess, only adding to the confusion and horror. The brute’s chemise is torn and he appears to have lost his breeches in the melee. Knocking the Johnsons aside with a blow from his powerful arms, he jumps onto the hindquarters of the stricken animal. His shoulders hunched and legs scrabbling for purchase on the slippery linoleum, he starts repeatedly slamming himself against the back of the horse, uttering incoherent groans of triumph.

Yolanda           horrified. “Stop him somebody! He’s trying to make jam and the put whole of that course into the oven!”

Judge Bikle:     “Berr, do Yolanda, b’im afraid dat’s dot quite what he’s tryig to do.”

Yolanda:          “Then what do you mean?”

Judge Bikle:     “Berr, well he’s, berr, tryig to “bake friends” wid it.”

Yolanda           confused. “What? Make friends?” Slowly the hideous truth that Chonsoix is actually trying to perambulate the smouldering pony’s carcass, dawns on her. “Oh my god no!”

The Johnsons, having recovered from the blow, return to the fray armed with a rolling pin and a sturdy wooden pepper mill. Even the enthusiastic bludgeoning with these fails to dampen Chonsoix’s hideous neck line jumper however, and it is not until Strongarm Johnson arrives with an industrial tazer that the brute finally slumps to the ground. SJ hurriedly replaces the curtain, from behind which the sound of the Johnson’s cudgel blows continue. Eventually there is a sharp crack and the sound of the impacts becomes softer, wetter. There is the sound of something heavy being dragged across the floor, followed by the familiar ‘whoosh’ of the incinerator.

Yolanda:          Imploring desperately “Turn the camera off!!”

There is a noticeable crackling jump in the image. Jerkily and suddenly it returns to Yolanda in the seemingly same kitchen except now there is no mess anywhere. A large figure is presenting a dish towards Yolanda and JB, a similar size to the contestant in the previous clip but strikingly different. The chef’s hat is still there –though it seems cleaner now- the hair seems the same except for a matted brownish/blackish lower edge which covers a rather avian head. He wears a similar chemise and some rubber wellington boots.  The close attending viewer is able to make out that it is in fact Strong-Arm Johnson and not Chonsoix, nothing however is made of this.

Yolanda:          “Hmm so Chonsoix this is all the rage in the Ile dans La Morasse n’est pas?”

The putative Chonsoix looks uncomfortable and gives a kind of weird cough, before saying a muted “Mwaaerk!”

Yolanda:            “Well it looks lovely, braised liver with what’s that sauce?”

SAJohnson:     “Mwaerkoff koff!”

Yolanda:          “Horseradish you say?, Ho Ho”

Judge Bikle:     “By dodn’t dow who you think you foolig?” comes the cry from lower down.

The scene cuts immediately. It reappears with Yolanda, outside on the sunny country house law, evidently she has now drained the Comte’s bowl of adulterated sherry, turns to the camera with a crazed grin, right eye twitching like billy-o.

Yolanda:          “And now it’s time for the dessert round!”

Judge Bikle:     “Hola! Guilty as charged, by love dessert? Don’t you Yolanda?” He sits on a kind of stool that is wheeled around by a Johnson with a barristers wig on “Tell be, what’s your favourite puddig?”

Yolanda:          “Umm well JB, mm I do like a really good trifle!”

Judge Bikle:     “Hmmm bi would dever have guessed dat, by would have had you bore for a fruit salad girl” He sniggers and she goes visibly pale. There is an awkward pause before she recovers herself and shoots him an icy if unsteady glare.

Yolanda:          “Ha ha ha. Yes. And it says here you are fond of a torte!” (silence.) “Oh for heaven’s sake, torte, tort? It’s a legal term!”

Judge Bikle:     “Ho yes. Dat’s right! B’it’s also a glazed tart, eh Yolanda? O,O,O.”

Smiling sweetly at the camera, she bends down out of sight for a moment, there is a slight pop, then another one. JB shrieks. Yolanda throws a couple of pale plastic looking sticks over her shoulder.

Yolanda:          “Very funny M’lud, but I think you’ll find if it came to court, you wouldn’t have a leg to stand on!” (Laughter.)

Judge Bikle:     (from out of sight)“bany way benough banter, talking of trifle its tibe to beet our celebrity judge who joids us for this round, ladies ad gendlben bister Lance Battenburg from Turkey!”

On he trots.

Clancy:            “Blblblbllbp very blbllp pleased to be here today, enjoyable show, always a fan blblllblp! Where are the contestants?”

Yolanda:          “Well Lance, let’s go and see how they’re getting on right now “Anyway, Alphonso, what dessert are you whipping up for us?” The Comte squints at the autocue,

Alfonso:           “Er, a Gooseberry Mousse?”

Johnson           Terrified “Mwaaeeerk!”

Johnson disappears under the bench with a mixing bowl clamped to his head as an improvised helmet.

Yolanda:          “What’s wrong with him?” says Yolanda looking all a bit confused. JB Hoist’s himself onto Ted’s shoulders by his arms and looks at her despairingly

Judge Bikle:     “dearie be lady! Don’d you dow dis joke at all? Johnsod is frightened because he thoughd he said Gooseberry Goose dot boose!” Johnson shudders under the table at the mentioned. The Comte looks alarmed

Alfonso:           “sheet! Gooseberry Goose?! Where is ze fuckair, am not staying round here for zat! Au revoir!”

He starts to run away but strong arm Johnson only lets him go so far before letting loose the newly charged industrial tazer on him “aaaargh!” he screams as he lies there twitching. Yolanda looks displeased “Johnson you could have just stopped him!”

SAJohnson:     “Mwaaerk?” he says pointing off screen to a certain incinerator inquiringly

Yolanda:          “No no! No more in the incinerator!” she screams. “Wait till he comes round then stick back at the cookery station.

Lance Battenburg casts an eye over the proceedings.

Clancy:              “Really! Blblblblblblp! Come along! Different contestant!! Haven’t got all day!” Yolanda:            “Yes Quite!” says whirling round to another station “who have we got over here?”

Bikle is mixing something in a bowl

Yolanda:          “Mmm what’s in the bowl Bikle? Smells delicious!”

Bikle:                 “Bit’s chocolate cake bix! Ballegedly!” She looks confused “Berr dat is, it looks a bit like shit, but its dot, bit’s just chocolate cake bix!”

Yolanda:          Looking at him disgustedly. “Oh well done. Against all the odds, you produce something which potentially might not turn the stomach of a goat, and now, before it’s even baked, it is irrevocably linked in the minds of the audience and myself, with faecal matter. Well you are certainly going all out to win this competition aren’t you?”

Clancy:            “Blplblblp! Has a point though! Resembles dung. Expected nothing more. Man’s a failure. Blplplblp! Next contestant!”

Bikle:               “Ho dow, wait a bobent!”

Clancy:            “Not likely! No time for losers! Blplblblblp! Improperly dressed more’s the point!”

There is a sudden double ‘whissk’ sound

Bikle:               “By trousers! And by aprod! Give deb here!”

Clancy:            “Fat chance. Toodle oo. Moving on.”

Yolanda:          “Er yes, let’s. Now Johnson, what is your dessert?”

Johnson is still a little jumpy, but displays a baked sweet potato with brandy butter. JB snorts derisively.

Judge Bikle:     “Ho I did’t see dat cobig at all. Do good at all. Dext!”

As they approach the final bench however, it is more than apparent that Alphonso is in no fit state to continue the competition, as he lays twitching and drooling in a pool of his own urine. SJ inclines his head furnacewards with a quizzical look.

Yolanda           shaking her head “God’s sake SJ, no. At least not yet.”

Clancy:              “Blplblblp! Next contestant! Next contestant! Time’s money! Blplb!”

Bikle:               “Dat’s right!” chimes in JB. “Deed a dew codtestadt! Oderwise de whole dodsense would be illegal!”

Yolanda:          Sighing “Leonard!”

The Duke of Croy appears clutching a bottle of Special Red and a clipboard.

Leonard:          “Ah don’t worry ma cherie, ah ‘ave a leest of ze available characters raht ‘ere. Now let nous see, ‘ow about Pete, wiz ze peppairs? ‘e’s food related? Or zere’s old Mr Frost? ‘e’s always good for a laugh no? Zen zere’s zat dentist wiz ze sheep?  Zombie Freud? Captain Fleeent? Or zere’s always zat nice Constable?We aven’t seen ‘im since ze village bird show. Failing zat zere’s Jeff Baxter Ashtreagh US Navy (ret’d) Bernard Brown, wiz ‘is old brown trousairs, Ze commercially disastrous ‘Astro Beekle’ Action Figaire…”

Judge Bikle:     “Dot dat flash bastard!”

Leonard:          “Well ‘ow about ze Turkey Vulture?”

Clancy:            “Blplplblp! Certainly not! Blplblplp! Most uncivilised!”

Leonard:          “Fucking ‘ell, geev us a break mes amis, ah’m runneeng out of deadbeats ‘ere. Ow about Old King Cobblair? ‘E was a merry old troll? Aunty Mavis?”

Bikle:               “Do thadk you very buch! Dot dat bitch!”

Leonard:          “Alphonserno de Sponsored Swimming Pool? For fuck’s sake, zat fellow in ze “Unluckiest Man in ze World” sketch? ‘urry up for chrast’s sake, we are approaching ze bottom of ze barrel ‘ere. Zere’s zat fucking mystic onion, Bathsheba? Pat Castor? Mr Cutlair? Zat’s ze lot. Fuck you. Ah’m going for a dreenk. Fuck your steenkeeng cookery show, wankairs!”

Leonard wanders away a few paces before slouching against the tree and taking a heavy slug from the special red bottle. Still the day looks beautiful and the camera chooses the hiatus to meander around the scenery. As the camera panoramas the garden, a tall figure can be seen emerging through a peripheral gate, after him gaily scurry three young fellows. The man has long black hair which sweeps about him gracefully, on his top a neatly fitting short sleeved shirt with a daisy button hole whilst his hosiery is a pair of smart fitting black trousers. The three boys jump around him happily, obviously engaged in some kind of game of imagination, they each wear an identical outfit of smart short sleeved shirts and khaki shorts.

Judge Bikle:     Enthusiastically “He looks like a good sort! brig hib over!”

Yolanda agrees and they send strong arm Johnson over with the caveat that he is to politely invite and not coerce the newcomer over. Strongarm and the figure (who it would seem remarkably resembles Bikle –the original of which has now wrapped an old table cloth round his lower regions and is looking the worse for it). Eventually SJ returns with the figure, whom upon closer inspection is in fact a much nicer, more presentable looking version of our onetime hero. He strides up to Yolanda, the boys crowding behind him

Uncle Bikle:     “A cookery show, bin by very owd local country park? What a treat eh boys?”

Yolanda:          Chipping in, trying to bring a TV feel back to it “and what delightful boys they are too, welcome to the show and what’s your dame, I mean name?”

Judge Bikle:     “It’s Bikle bobviously! Look at him!”

Uncle Bikle:     “Chuckling, O O O dat’s be, though I do prefer buncle Bikle”

Yolanda:          “Well buncle Bikle let’s get on with the show!”

Uncle Bikle:     “It’s dot buncle it Bikle, bit’s just buncle Bikle!”

Yolanda:          “Err that’s what I said buncle Bikle?”

Yolanda:          “Do it’s dot Buncle just buncle!” Yolanda looks confused but can see the risk of losing the new contestant

Yolanda:          “Err yes, so if you go into this work station, we’re making dessert, do you like pudding boys?”

Boys:                “Yaaaay!” scream the boys

Uncle Bikle:     “Frov course they do! Boys will be boys eh boys?”

Boys:                “Yes bun… we mean uncle Bikle”

Judge Bikle:     “I hobe he’s dot goig to keep up wid de ‘boys will be…’ Bi’ll have hib arrested” JB speaks aside to Yolanda but still audible

Uncle Bikle:     “Pipe down dow shorty!” says Buncle Bikle patronisingly “Look boys a partially broken Judge Bikle doll, we’ve got of dose at hobe”

Boys:                “Yeah but this one says more that ‘siledce id court’ it’s cool, can we have it buncle?”

Uncle Bikle:     “Bit’s buncle boys, dow don’t you start! Ho ho band bi’m do sure we deed an anibated evil doll like DAT one!”

Judge Bikle:     Contemplates saying  ‘who are you calling an evil animated doll?’ but thinks better of it and chooses “fuck off pondce!” instead

Uncle Bikle:     “By by he is dasty isn’t he astro Bikle would sood despatch hib don’t you think! Why don’t you play wid dis teddy instead”

UB scoops up Ted and hands him to the boys, Ted looks distressed

Judge Bikle:     “Ted Ted! Yolanda bake hib take Ted off dose bonsters! Strog arb Johnson zap dem wid de taser! Put dem in de oven!”

Yolanda:          “JB we can’t just zap and burn everyone besides we’ve got a cookery program to run.”

Clancy:            “Blblblblblbblp! Certainly have, wasting time, come along! What will you be making sonny? Bllblblbllblblp? Hot ring donut? Swiss roll? Chocolate starfish?! Blblblblblbp!”

Uncle Bikle:     “O ho ho! do do Bister Turkey!”

Clancy:            “Blblblblp Lance Batternburg here!”

Uncle Bikle:     “Berrr yes, Bister Batternburg, Bi’m going to bake by boys favourite apple pie wid custart O O O.”

So saying, the dapper gent slips into an apron and begins work. He appears to be no novice to the culinary arts, his movements swift and assured. As he deftly prepares the apples and rolls out the pastry, he keeps up a constant stream of good humoured, wholesome badinage with Yolanda, who it appears is genuinely enjoying his company. Johnson QC has retrieved JB’s legs from the manure pile and popped them back on as best as he could. As a result JB is now charging awkwardly after Uncle’s boys, who are amusing themselves by throwing Ted from one to another as he approaches. The easy flow of the chat is punctuated by shouts of “Stop id de dabe of de law!” In an astonishingly short time the appetising scent of baking rises from Uncle Bikle’s oven, and a pot of tempting yellow sauce cooks merrily away on the stove.

Yolanda:          “So Uncle Bikle, what’s that you have there?” asks Yolanda.

Buncle Bikle:   “Dat? Ho dat’s just a bit of by hobebade custard.”

Yolanda:          “Not alleged custard?”

Uncle Bikle:     “Dot at all. Dothing balleged about dat!”

Yolanda:          “Well I’m glad to hear it! It all smells very good. I’ll leave you to finish off here and let’s go across to Shit Bikle and see how he’s doing.”

Bikle:               “H’what? H’what did you call be?”

Yolanda:          “Oh come off it luv. Look at the state of you. No trousers, wrapped in an old tablecloth, greasy lank hair covered in flour, smoke billowing from your oven…”

Bikle:               “Bi cake!”

Clancy:            “Blplblblp! Cake burnt! Wasting my time! Also, mouse in your ear. Sad spectacle on all counts.”

Bikle:               “Boh! Get out of by ear you pesky rodedt!” Shaking his head to dislodge the mouse, he opens the oven, only to disappear in a cloud of thick black smoke. “By lovely cake! Ruided!” The smoke clears, leaving him with a black sooty face, clutching a charred disc of carbon. “Bah! Some biscreadt bust have beddled with de therbostat!”

Clancy:            “Blplplblp! Bad workman. Blames tools!”

Bikle:               “By tool had dothig to do wid dis debacle! Dis was sabotage!”

Clancy:            “Bad loser! Blplblblp! Poor sport eh Uncle Bikle?”

Uncle Bikle:     “Dow dow Br Battedburg, I’b sure dat he did’t bean it, did you Shit Bikle?”

Bikle:               “Stop callig be dat!”

Clancy:            “Blplblblplp! New name!”

Bikle:               “Dat’s dot by dabe!”

Clancy:            “All the stranger then that you are sporting that T shirt!”

A ‘whisk!’ sound and Bikle’s shirt disappears leaving his torso clad in a t shirt emblazoned with the logo: ‘Hey there! I’m SHIT BIKLE.’

Bikle:               “H’what? Ho for fuck’s sake! Get dis thig off of be!”

Yolanda:          “Calm down SB! Now if we can just get our other judge back, we can award you all marks.”

Bikle:               “Ho, well at least dis fiasco will have a silver lidig, dis will do doubt get be docked out ad I cad avoid ady bore hubiliatiod!”

Strongarm Johnson has retrieved JB, who is still furious and more than a little redolent of the dungheap.

Yolanda:          “Now then fellow judges, I think we can all agree that Uncle Bikle goes through to the next round?”

Clancy:            “Blplblblp! Certainly do! Fine pie!” Wiping a crumb from his moustache with a starched handkerchief.

Judge Bikle:     “Dot udless bi get by Ted back frob deb hooligads!”

Uncle Bikle:     “Ho cobe dow JB. Boys will be boys you dow!”

Judge Bikle looks daggers at him, but Uncle Bikle claps his hands.

Uncle Bikle:     “Cobe od boys, leave dat dasty old bear alode and have sobe pie!”

Clancy:            “Blplblb! Johnson too?”

Judge Bikle:     “Frobjectiod! Disqualified for repetitiod! Sabe dab thig!”

Yolanda:          quickly checking in a pamphlet “Sorry Johnson, he’s right. We’re going to have to let you go.”

Johnson shrugs and wanders off for a cig.

Yolanda:          “Join us after the break for the grand final: Shit Bikle versus B.. Uncle Bikle”

A muffled angry shout can be made out and the adverts roll. The break again is perfectly reasonable except for the rather synchronistic appearance of a new advert for ‘Astro Bikle’ Star avenger action figure and his brother ‘Astro Buckle’ who comes complete with a set of plastic cheeses.

Yolanda:          “Welcome back to Johnson Manor where the weather is still on our side, next up we’ve got the final round of today’s show, the err breakfast round…?” she looks round quizzically “Who’s idea was that?”

Judge Bikle:     “It was bine, you were in de loo. We’ve had dinner and dessert, b’its all a bit wrog really, we should have started wid starters, den didder, den dessert, but desserds finished dow, so we deed subthig different, bi could oddly thig of breakfast as a legal beal, Ted suggested bicnic but Bi said dot likely!”

Yolanda:          “Umm ok breakfast round it is! Let’s see what our hopeless friend is up to?!” Yolanda goes over to Bikle’s workstation. The poor man labours in a messy disorganised kitchen, nothing has been cleaned up since he burnt the cake. The utensils are all dirty and all does not seem well. His gas cooker burns one bright hob with a sauce pan on it, the contents bubbling furiously, whilst something seems to be burning in the grill. There is no space to lay anything out, so a plate is balanced atop a pile of various detritus on the side

Bikle:               “Bohh! ho fuckig hell!” he shouts.

Yolanda:          Poking her head in “So SB, how’s it goig?, as you might say, what delicious breakfast will you be preparing us?”

He scowls, but cannot be bothered to perpetually argue at the new monicker and thus settles into it.

Bikle:               “Bi’m, ouch! Tryig by hand at beads od toasd but its dot goig too well!”

Yolanda:          “Hmm so I see! Maybe you should have cleared up a little first!”

Judge Bikle:     “Dis place is a disgrace! It should be condembed! By deed a court order!”

Yolanda:          “Hmm well it certainly is a shit tip! But no worse than your crap flat eh SB!”

Bikle:               “Ho god dis is awful!” “Blblblblbp! Man struggling with beans on toast, difficult to imagine but true! Sad sight! Did you spot blblblblp Yolanda, that SB is nearly the same as SOB, Sad Old Ban as Bikle would say, blblblblbp! Like that Mr Frost! Similar kind of character!”

Judge Bikle:     “Band Sod of a Bitch!”

Yolanda:          “Sad bastard!”

Uncle Bikle:     “Sorry bender?”

SAJohnson:      “Mwaaerk!

Clancy:            “Is it Bikle or Buckle? Blplplblp!”

Bikle:               “Ho dow dis is too buch! What have bi dod to deserve dis?”

Clancy:            “Blblblp! Beans on fire now.”

Bikle:               “H’what? Ho for fuck’s sake! By beads!”

Uncle Bikle’s boys have now joined the taunting group and stand there hooting and jeering at the desperate, floundering figure. Their faces have taken on a malign goblinlike cast, and strange to say, there seem to be many more of them than previously, although when anybody tries to count them any attempt to go higher than three makes the enumerator grow dizzy and forget what they were doing.

Bikle:               “Ho at least dothig else cad go wrog dow.”

At this, there is a burbling popping sound and the beans erupt in a mini vesuvius, coating our hapless chef in scalding malodourous leguminous goo. At the same point one of the “boys” hurls a cricket ball which catches him straight in the groin. With a cry he folds up and collapses to the ground.

Bikle:               “Froouuch! By godads!”

Yolanda, having switched back to presenter mode:

Yolanda:          “So on that note, we can declare Uncle Bikle the winner, and Shit Bikle the obvious loser. And so all that remains for me…” Unnoticed, Ted has clambered up onto the worktop. With an imperious gesture he motions for silence, before speaking in an awful hollow basso.

Ted:                 “ALL THAT REMAINS FOR YOU IS TO BE SILENT, WOMAN. THE HOUR HAS `                                  ARRIVED. THE GREAT ONE COMETH!”

Everyone stops, startled, except Bikle who continues to roll around in the beans and flour, clutching his wounded genitals. Ted points with an adorable paw,

Ted:                 “LO! HIS ADVENT IS UPON US!”

Expectantly, everyone scans the horizon. Ceremonial Johnson rushes up out of breath and tootles a wheezy fanfare. Yolanda, who has clearly given up, takes a long swig from a bottle of Special Red she has purloined from Leonard’s trailer. Nothing. Then in the far distance a faint “peep peep” noise is just discernable. A tiny dot appears on the horizon, and slowly grows larger and larger until it can be seen to be a small golf cart being driven in erratic zigzags towards them. As it grows closer a familiar figure can be discerned in the passenger seat. The cart eventually slews to an untidy halt beside the set. Morris jumps nimbly out and high fives the driver, a sleek looking Johnson in an expensively cut lounge suit. He wanders across to the waiting crowd, seemingly a bit cheerier than is usual.

Morris:            “Afternoon. Sorry I’m late. Popped into the 19th hole for a sharpener, bumped into old Rat Pack Johnson here, and you know how it is. One martini leads to another. Like the frock ‘Landa. How’s the dog and pony show?”

Judge Bikle:     “Dot a dog and pody show. Cookery show.”

Judge Bikle:     “Shut it wigface, I’m bored of you now. I was talking in the vernacular. One more peep out of you and I’ll have Astro Bikle down here to give you a raygunning you won’t forget in a hurry.” JB retreats under a table muttering. “So anyway sugar plum, how was it?”

Yolanda:          “Oh, the usual horror and madness.”

Morris:            “Anybody burn to death?”

Yolanda:          “Four I think, not counting the pony.”

Morris:            Patting her approvingly on the arm. “Ho ho that’s my girl.”

Bikle is attempting to shuffle off into a nearby copse when Morris spots him.

Morris:            “Not so fast Captain Beansy. Haven’t finished with you yet.” He raises his arms to the sky, and purple and black clouds roll in to block out the sun.”Tonight is the banquet of the dread Necromantic League! Every twelvemonth, when the stars are alignment, from all points in space and time, the members of this macabre brotherhood gather to feast and revel amongst the charnel splendours of Koth Hotep’s Rolling Hall! From the primeval Swamp Warlocks of ancient Lemuria to the hyper evolved telepathic Mages of Earth’s last dying moments, we gather to glory in past evils and those which have yet to come to pass! Anyway, here is a list of dietary requirements. You can ignore Hermes Tristagenus’ seafood allergy. Slipping that old fool a few prawns in his starter and watching him do the old bloat and gasp is an annual highlight. Oh and it’s Dr Dee’s birthday so he’ll expect a cake.”

Bikle:               “But why be? I’b dot de widder. Why cad’t bister dicey dicey do it?”

Morris:            “Because he’s on the committee innee?”

Uncle Bikle:     “Dat’s right Borris! Just ad old fashioded kide of wizard. Eh Freud?”

Freud:              “Ja Ja mein onkle meister!”

Morris:            “So get a wriggle on gaylord, we’re bleedin’ famished I can tell you.”

Bikle goes pale and starts to tremble. The notion of acting caterer to Koth Hotep’s rolling hall is more than he can take, he collapses to the floor in a pale sweat, clutch a table leg he gibbers and mutters.

Bikle:               “Wake up I bust be dreabig, wake up I bust be dreabig…”

The word ‘famished’resonates through his sickly mind, it’s almost as if he can hear it still, there it is again “fabished fabished fabished!”

Bikle:               “Stob it stob it, by can’t do it!” Screaming, arms flailing hither and thither. Something in the slow machinery of his mind vaguely recognises that the word he hears is ‘fabished’ and not ‘famished’

Buckle:                        “Wake up Bikle, Bi’m fabished!” comes the call again.

Slowly from the hideous terror of wherever he has been, he emerges, into his reclining armchair in his flat, the credits of an old film are rolling before him.

Buckle:            “Cub od Bikle I’b starving! You said you’d bake dinner bages ago and thed fell asleep id front of de telly! De filb was too scary for be so I hid id de cubbard, but its fidished dow.”

Bikle:               “Ho by god Buckle, I’b id by flat, dot on some horrible zombie’s couch, or locked in idsade cookery show, I’b so relieved.”

Buckle:            “Ho, I thought you’d be relieved, banyway where’s by dinner?”

Bikle:               “Ho god go od den, what are you after, bas if I didn’t dow…”

Buckle:            “Berr cad we have bead’s od toast Bikle?!”

Bikle:               Shuddering and twitching “Berr we… berr we could umm…”

Buckle:            “I thought there’d be beads you dow, bearlier today I was thinking.”

His mind whirls and stabs, every mention of the evil haricot dish feels like a tentacular spike in his consciousness. Sweating again, he seeks to distract and looking into the fridge he espies the weapon, brings it forth. Simultaneous to his speech he hears and fears the resonance of the turkeys words ‘is it Bikle or Buckle?’ but too late the phrase escapes his lips:

Bikle:               “Oh I thought there’d be cheese!”

 

 

Published in: on February 19, 2015 at 2:48 pm  Comments (2)  

Hospitality.

Gentle reader, whilst it is true to say that we previously left our hero feverishly awaking to the analysis of the animated corpse of Sigmund Freud, we now retain

the world in which the pantomime closed (or was closed by the furnace) and the characters dispersed. Following her encounter with Venomous Snake Johnson, Yolanda of course required medical attention and thus was briskly driven (by paramedic Johnson) to the nearby hospital…

 

 

Hospitality.

Scene: A hospital ward. White coated staff are milling about, 75 percent are human, the remainder are Johnsons.

Morris, arrayed in his shabby wizardly finery, wanders jauntily into the High Dependancy Ward. Yolanda lies strapped into a bed, twitching and muttering to herself in unknown tongues, her eyes are like two cranberries floating in strawberry milk. Breezily Morris plants himself in an orange plastic chair by her bed. Somewhere downstairs a bell is clanging stridently. With a flourish he produces a bouquet from within his robes.

Morris:                        “Here you go my little wagon wheel, flowers!”

Upon closer inspection, the floral offering seems to be somewhat scorched, blistered and blackened cellophane curling away from charred, wilting petals. Unperturbed by Yolanda’s lack of reaction, he places a bottle of Lucozade on her bedside table, its exterior coated with a sweet smelling greasy soot. He raises his eyebrows and begins to speak in a dry tone.

Morris:                        “Do you know ladies and gentlemen a funny thing happened to me on the way to the hospital today. I popped into the garage for some flowers, chocolates, wagon wheels and lucozade and who should be there but our my old friend captain Johnson. ‘Evening captain’ says I. But he’s having none of it, something about fish and ships. Very well I say.  I will burn you to death, and do you know that’s just what I did. Sadly it has somewhat ruined the quality of the goods I acquired as you can see” Mysterious canned laughter emits from nowhere “you’ll like this my sweet” produces a cauliflower “vegetable dear? Oh I see you already are one!” The same strange laughter. Other officials begin to notice and glance across.”And don’t you worry about that Venomous Snake Johnson, I’ve had him completely retrained. Anyway dear, it must be time for your medication.” Enter Dr Venomous Snake Johnson, mugging comedically with an enormous prop syringe. Phantom audience howl with merriment. “Now my little fruit pastille, don’t be alarmed, he’s only going to change your dressing.” Dr VS Johnson hoses the recumbent Yolanda with the contents of the syringe. Morris wipes a finger across her brow, then tastes it. “You idiot Johnson, this is Thousand Island, I prescribed Vinaigrette!”

VS Johnson:     “Mwaaerk?!” Looks non-plussed.

Morris:               “I said, describe ‘vinagrette’ in under 10 seconds”

VS Johnson:     “Mwaaaerk?”

Morris:            “Sorry I can’t accept that which means I can hand it over for bonus points, Miss can you describe a ‘winning bet’ in the remaining time” holds a curious half cauliflower half microphone to her lips, she rasps some guttural noise “No can’t make head nor tail of that my petal, judge Bikle can you do better?

The evil action figure sits at the end of the bed

Judge Bikle:     “Ballow be of course, it’s a widding bet dat by tool…”

Morris:            “And we’re out of time congratulations Yolanda you have won a trip to France, now where is the rest of that salad?”

It changes to Yolanda’s mind where she sees herself as a giant cucumber covered in vinagrette, Morris towers above with a knife and other Johnsons gather around her dressed as other salad vegetables.Dreamily she lets her hands be taken by Spring Onion Johnson and Peppered Beetroot Johnson, who lead her gently from the shadow of giant Morris. Together they wander through peaceful fields of cress and wild rocket. Eventually they all sit down on sun warmed flat rocks by a deep, dark pool fed by crystal freshets. Spring Onion Johnson produces a small flute upon which he tootles simple pastoral melodies. Peppered Beetroot Johnson is busy folding a sheet of newspaper. Eventually he produces a small origami boat which he hands to Yolanda with a quiet smile. Leaning forward she launches it onto the glassy surface of the pool, and watches as it scuds merrily about at the behest of the warm breeze.

Yolanda:          “I like it here.”

Both Johnsons nod, waving at Balsmamic Johnson as he runs past with his kite.Back in the exterior world, Morris is growing impatient.

Morris:                        “I SAID WHERE IS THE REST OF MY SALAD?”

VS Johnson looks round nervously.

VS Johnson:            “Mwaaerk?”

Morris:                        “SALAD SALAD SALAD SALAD SALAD.” Chants Morris, jumping up and down and punching the air. “SALAD SALAD SALAD SALAD.”

No sooner has he said this than a strange wheeled cart appears pushed by two familiar gangly figures.

Bikle:               “Sombwod say salad?, well we if we don’t have de best salad bar in de business by dame isn’t hupla Johnson!”

Buckle:            “Ber but Bikle your dame is Buckle!”

Bikle:               “Do you ditwit bi’m Bikle you’re Buckle!

Buckle:            “Barvellous am I? Ho I thought there’s be cheese!”

Bikle:               “Well do you Dow what Buckle? There is! Frole!” A rare moment happens in which Bikle produces cheese with a flourish “like bi said you can get it all in a salad bar atatatata!, dow sir what will it be?” They comedically wrap a napkjn round Morris’ neck and pull him up on a stool at the salad bar “large salad bap sir o o o! Pickle with dat? Ho ho its Bikle bactually!”

Buckle             (chiming in)”don’t forget de cheese Borris?”

Morris looks confused, then somewhat excited.

Morris:            “Hmm maybe a salad roll is just what the doctor ordered, eh judge Bikle?”

Judge Bikle:     “Side be up for two!” replies the manikin.

Morris:              “So with that in mind, Dr VS Johnson will have a large salad roll with extra cheese!”

BBB                    “Ho we thought there’d be cheese!” pipe up Judge Bikle, Bikle and Buckle in a chorus. Buckle hands the roll over but DR VS Johnson is not pleased.

Johnson:        “Mwaaaerk!”

Morris:             “No Johnson it is not a baked potato!” He takes a beaky bite, before spitting it out over Judge Bikle.

Judge Bikle:    “Hey bind dat bor bi’ll have you arrested!”

Bikle:                “Dapkin sir?” interrupting helpfully, “just a little wipe around de beak, dere we are all clean!”

Judge Bikle:     “What about be?!” shouts the judicial doll,

Bikle:                “Berr yes a little wipe for you too sir” Bikle looks somewhat perturbed at wiping the figure but does so anyway.

Morris:            “Johnson that’s disgusting and ungrateful, I’m demoting you to veggie sausage Johnson, now grab a costume and beat it!”

Johnson does not comprehend properly and grabs a nearby doctor inside his ‘costume’ (doctor’s coat) and begins beating him with a bedpan. Buckle looks excited

Buckle:            “Ho look Bikle, drubbing, let be do drubbing, ho can I?”

Bikle:               “Hov course Buckle, let de drubbing cobbence!”

Buckle starts to beat an incomprehensible irrhythmia  on various pots and pans, “

Morris:              What is going on here?” says Morris between mouthfuls of tuna salad roll, spitting bits out as he does

Judge Bikle:    “Bi don’t dow, but bi think bi like it! Let’s rock!” and the evil action doll begins to cavort on Yolanda’s bed in an unseemly manner.

Morris:               “Bit too fucking beatnik for my tastes your honour, but if it keeps ’em happy… Not you Johnson, you’re in me bad books as it is. Is this what I pay your celery for?” He looks round waiting for the laugh track to kick in. “Celery? Pun innit? Play on words like. There was a salad thing going on a minute ago. Remember? Salad?”

Nobody responds, the impromptu jam session is in full swing. One of the other medical Johnsons has improvised a tuba from a funnel and a length of surgical tubing. Judge Bikle has located a patient in an adjacent bed whose leg is in traction, and is enthusiastically plucking the wires in a string bass fashion.

Judge Bikle:     “Ho! I cobband you to dadce, id de dame of de law!”

A dangerous gleam can be seen in Morris’ eyes as he rolls himself a cigarette.The lights begin to dim and more Johnsons and patients can be seen milling around and dancing variously. Drug dealing Johnson moves in on the scene peddling different wares. The two Bikle’s and Buckle continue to create strange powerfully beating music with the aid of others.

Inside Yolanda’s mind she stares peacefully across the lake, filled with inner calm. The lake seems somehow wider than before now such the edge stretches on in both directions. The other side cannot be seen as if it were a wide sea. Still the weather is nice and all still seems well. Or does it? A curious mist starts to form on the erstwhile pools now enormous horizon, swelling rapidly. Its gossamer being masses and approaches the meadow with seeming alacrity. Within a rhythm can be heard and a curious chant? Words can definitely be heard. The Johnson’s look perturbed and suggest they should leave but the dream restrains her and she must watch on. At length the mist reaches near the bank and now repeating phrases can be heard at intervals over drumming

Judge Bikle:     “Whed I feel de busic take by feet I say dance Johnson dance” interspersed with the mc like sound bites like  “siledce id court, dot on de dance floor,” “ged funky or you’re going down, froo fritcha, froo fritcha,who’s de fritcha ? You de fritcha!”

Horrified she stares on as what looks like a bed shaped boat begins to land….Looking round, she seeks comfort from the Salad Johnsons. To her horror she sees that Spring Onion Johnson has slumped back against his rock, his flute fallen from his nerveless appendages. As she watches, all expression fades from his face as the radiant sunlight begins to turn to gloom. Dark crimson trickles from his eyes as he vainly attempts to take her hand to reassure her, the rivulets of blood turning his feathers a hideous carmine in the sun’s dying rays. From her left comes a despairing gutteral rattle. Swinging round she sees that Peppered Beetroot Johnson is already little more than a carcass, his skin stretched drum tight over his recumbent bones, a last few feathers clinging to cartilage fluttering in the sudden icy wind. The oncoming disco bed/barge crushes his delicate paper yacht beneath its iniquitous prow. As her consciousness fades with the last gleams of the sun, she sees Balsamic Johnson drift past hanging limply from the string of his gaily coloured kite, his lifeless form silhouetted against the rude garish beams of the strobe lights. Her last impression is one of the pulsing bass.

Yet somehow in the mysterious fading the bass persists. She becomes dimly aware that the sense of fading is an emerging. A certain corporeality seems upon her, yet the hideous din persists. Her eyes flutter slowly open to reveal a ghastly twilight world around her. Images flicker and begin to assert themselves. The ghastly twilight is a nightclub like infrared world through which the noise resonates. Figures move around, some walking, some dancing. Johnsons? Sickly looking folk? What is this place? She realizes she is lying in a bed, to the left of which is a curtain attached to some sort of frame, it runs to the end of the bed after which the spectacle is laid bare. Looking to her right she can make out a seated figure, crooked pointed hat balanced on his head, his left hand drums with the rhythm on the small table top that is attached over the bed.

Yolanda:          “Morris?” she says feebly, then realising he can hear nothing above the cacophony, she tugs at his hand. Instantly he turns to her and is just audible. He leans closely over her and shouts unpleasantly.

Morris:            “Hello my little isotope, glad to see you’re awake and just in time, the party’s in full swing!” he swigs from a pint of something.

Yolanda:          “What is going on Morris?”

Morris:            “You’re in hospital dear, that’s MC Judge Bikle over in the nurses station on the tannoy and some of the other nuisances are making the racket, I rather like it.”

Yolanda:          “Morris this is horrible, get me out of here, I want to go home!”

Morris:            “Do not be such a piker Yolanda, snuggle up and settle down, why don’t you have a drink, look I got you one from mobile bar Johnson!”

He presents her with a cloudy looking pint. She sits up.

Yolanda:          “I don’t feel well Morris, oh and I was having such a lovely dream, what drink is it anyway?”

Morris:            “Ho ho ho, can’t you guess my dear? We’ve all been waiting to get to this moment…”

A pause in the music in anticipatory silence, Morris coughs to clear his throat.

Morris:            “It’s snakebite of course!”

The music stops, the Johnsons, the patients , the various Biklesque creatures all fall about laughing and everything goes pitch black…

Published in: on January 27, 2015 at 12:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cleopatra and the Beanstalk

A Pantomime.

Morris: “Bikle, you’re Jack, that turkey bastard is widow Clancy, Yolanda you’re Cleopatra and here comes venomous snake Johnson to bite your head off! Ho ho just my little joke, put the cleavers down Johnson. Johnson you can be the cow… I will be William Blake…And Buckle can be Swedenborg!”
Cast look at each other uncomprehendingly with the exception of Buckle who looks excited.
Yolanda: snaps at him, “Not now Buckle. Anyway, you are thinking of Emmenthal.” she shakes her head. “For god’s sake Morris, what are you talking about now? Nobody is going to come and see this nonsense!”
Morris: “That is where you are wrong my little chinchilla, it will be a capacity crowd! In fact it already is. Look! And every one of them an orphan, expecting a festive treat! One false move and I will burn them to death. I mean it will ruin their little Christmases. The scene is set by Swedenbourg’s vision; I had better help out here, mime the words goofy!”
Buckle opens and closes his mouth out of sync with Morris voice.
Swedenborg: “In the season of Christ and dread Mithras I beheld a vision of terrifying splendour. A queen dark of wondrous beauty reigned in a kingdom high near the firmament. A chorus of angels and devils wept to gain but a glimpse and Apollo himself would grant her any boon. I saw this queen fall and die, destroyed by a venomous beast or at least something in
the guise of one. Man’s interference brought this about and you shall witness this woe tonight, Look!”
Morris, now clad in some kind of hokey cod aegyptian get up strikes a dramatic pose, then suddenly bored rolls a cigarette and stares at the assemblage.
Morris: “Well get on with it then.”
Bikle looks around, clearly distressed. The rest of the cast stare at Morris. Bikle starts sidling towards the wings.
Morris (Booming) :”LET THE SHOW COMMENCE!”
There is a rumble as of thunder, stage lightning flashes, and a phalanx of Johnsons march onstage from stage left to the accompaniment of a bank of booming tympani drums and the brazen blaring of trumpets, magnificently arrayed as ancient aegyptian soldiers. Simultaneously, enter Simon stage right, dressed as comedic widow with ostensibly hilarious bloomers, which he displays as he peers around the auditorium.
Simon: “Ho h’excuse be boys and h’girls! Has adybody seen my h’daughty h’son h’Jack?”
The spotlight mercilessly picks out Bikle as he edges towards the curtains, and the cry surges from a thousand urchin throats:
Audience: “HE’S BEHIND YOU!”
Morris peers disapprovingly and launches the charred skull of a newsagent across towards Simon. A well-aimed blow cracks him on the side of the head and his ear begins to bleed profusely as he is knocked to the floor.
Audience: “Huzzah!”
Morris: “Where is that Turkey bastard, that was his line?”
The Turkey can be seen in the front row, with popcorn and a drink peering interestedly on at the proceedings
Clancy: “Really!? Blblblbp! Disgraceful act! Boo!”
Morris views this with a scowl
Morris: “Get up here this instant you Turkey bastard!”
And with a click of his fingers Clancy is standing in the bloody pool from Simon’s ear, as he lies there groaning.
Morris: “Remove the trousers and put them on now!” Morris booms.
With a much reluctant whisk, the cheerful trousers are in Clancy’s hands, they have a large bloody stain down one side.
Clancy: With disgust “Really, blblblbp, not my colour, where’s the wig” soon apart from the stain the Turkey looks quite the part. “blblblblp now who has seen my naughty son Jack?”
Bikle in the meantime would have escaped were it not for strong armed Johnson who having arrested his escape, upon this utterance flings him back onto the stage
Bikle: “Bohhhhh!” He lies in a heap for moment
Clancy: “Blblblblp I can’t hear you boys and girls!”
Morris: “What the devil do you mean you can’t hear them? There are hundreds of them yelling at the top of their voices. This pantomime will never get anywhere if we have to repeat everything all the time. They clearly stated that he is behind you. Are you bloody deaf woman?”
Clancy: “Blblplplp! No way to speak to a poor h’widow. I mean widow. If only my naughty son Jack was here to defend be. Blplpbp!”
Morris forcefully hand gestures that Clancy should perceive ‘Jack’. Bikle is sat down looking hard done by
Clancy: “Blblblblp, there you are Jack, woe is us blblblbllp, we have no money, and we’ve nothing to eat blblblblp, its ages since mummy had a hot sausage blblblblp! Really!”
A bowling ball strikes Clancy in the ankle
Morris: “Keep it clean you turkey bastard!”
Clancy: “Ow! Blblblblp we’ll have to sell Emmenthal the cow, Emmenthal where are you?”
Swedenborg’s ears prick up…
Enter a pantomime cow from both sides
P&P: “Uhuhuhuh allow us to be Emmenthal, Uhuhuhuh We mean moooo”
Says one whilst the other emits a noise more like “mwooaaaerk!”
Clancy: “Blpblblp! Two cows? Maybe we’ll get double cream eh Jack?”
The audience roars. Morris scowls, and ushers Friesian Johnson back to the wings.
Clancy: “Blpblp! Come on dow Jack, look lively. That cow is not going to sell itself. Off we go. Quickly now. Mummy needs her housekeeping!”
Strongarm Johnson propels Bikle across the stage and Emmenthal dutifully trots along behind him. The pyramid scenery is hoisted away and replaced by that of a rural marketplace. Bikle trudges forlornly onwards.
Bikle: “Ho God. Go on then. Does h’anyone want to buy dis cow?”
A man, who looks suspiciously like a shorter, stouter Morris, clad in a grey suit and a sheepskin coat approaches him with an ingratiating air.
Mr Cutler: “Ooh ee. Cow for sale is it? Bit shabby eh? Want to get shot of it sharpish eh? Quick sale? Tell you what, you’ve come to the right place, Dennis Cutler’s yer man.”
P&P: “Uhuhuhuh allow us to sell you this cow”
Says the cow. The audience laugh but Morris doesn’t find it funny. He sends strongarm Johnson to nonchalantly walk behind the characters as if a peasant; as he passes the cow he delivers a sharp blow to the head, half the cow collapses but the cow continues to speak.
P: “Uhuhuhuh get up Pete what’s going on?”
Strong arm walks back the way he came and the job is complete.
Mr Cutler: “Ooh eee errr… Bit of a lazy cow isn’t she?”
Bikle: with a sudden enthusiastic air “Dat’s do way to talk about by bother”.
Friesian Johnson: Sticking his head into the stage “Mwooaerk?” Not sure if he’s needed.
Morris: shouting “No Johnson, its ok ”
But Johnson doesn’t understand and trots over to Morris across the stage which infuriates him immensely. Morris has himself spotlighted and makes a brief speech
Morris: “Allow me to interrupt this transaction by interjecting an historical note. The Aegyptian climate was notoriously hard upon quadrupeds of the bovine variety, hence the lovely Cleopatra being forced to perform her ablutions in asses milk. The voracious Nile Crocodile was another hazard that lay in wait for unwary cattle that strayed into places they were not meant to go.”
He nods, the scenery lighting returns, and Hastily Disguised as a Nile Crocodile Johnson erupts from a clump of reeds and drops Friesian Johnson with a vicious right hook before dragging him offstage.
Mr Cutler: “Ooh weeeh. As I was saying, not much of a cow that is it? Appears to be bleeding quite a lot too. Not much of a market for them in this neck of the woods. It’s the crocodiles see? Tell you what, I’ll take it off your hands for whatever you’ve got on you.”
Bikle: “Be pay you? But this is by last fiver! And I’b supposed to take Clancy, I bean bother some beads!”
Mr Cutler: “Beans is it? Tell you what, I’ll throw in a few of these beans for the sake of narrative continuity, call it 5 quid, your cow and your shoes.”
Bikle: “By shoes?! By don’t think so.”
Mr Cutler: “Ooh haggling is it, right you are I’ll throw in your cloak and your Mam’s bloomers” whisk
Clancy: “Blblblblp by bloomers!”
Mr Cutler: Audience laugh “Ohh, worried about your bloomers are you missis? Tell you what, got a nice pair here. Only a tenner.”
Clancy: “Reeeaally! Blpblblp! Very well, just to protect by h’digdity! Take the money!”
Snatching the garment Clancy struggles into them hurriedly, managing at one point to get both drumsticks stuck in the same hole. Fuming, he hops away towards the wings,
Clancy: “Blpblblp! Hurry up with the money Jack! Mummy’s going to have a little lie down.”
Cutler casts an appraising eye over Bikle, who, now sans cloak is revealed to be wearing knee breeches and a stained t shirt bearing the logo of a long defunct software manufacturer.
Mr Cutler: “Yes? Can I help you there sonny?”
Bikle: “H’what? By beans!”
Mr Cutler: “Oh, want beans do you? That’ll cost you.”
Bikle: “But I’ve gived you by cow, by boney, by shoes and by cloak! I want by beads!”
Mr Cutler: “Well you’re not getting them are yer? Not unless you do us a sand dance.”
The music begins and Cutler starts the jaunty number ‘dance monkey dance'”
Mr Cutler: Singing “I may be a ruthless tinker, I may sometimes look askance, but when I see a fella with a stain bright yella, I say dance monkey dance,’ half talking half singing
‘I may be a dashing salesman, I may be as sharp as a lance, but when I see a juggins I don’t call him muggins, I say dance monkey dance.
What do reckon boys and girls do you want to see Jack dance?”
Audience: “Yaaaaay!”
Bikle: “Oh by god I’ dot dancing and dats dat!”
Mr Cutler: “Is that right sonny? Do you think he’ll dance for this boys and girls?” Produces a large whip
Bikle: “Ho by god” CRACK! ” Christ you’re bental oww!” Leaps around CRACK! CRACK!
Mr Cutler: “I may be a friendly merchant, I may take a trip to France, but if he gives me the pip I’ll get out my whip and what will I say boys and girls?!”
Audience: “Dance monkey dance!”
Mr Cutler: “I can’t hear you?!” CRACK CRACK
Audience: “Dance monkey dance!”
Mr Cutler: “That’s right! I’ll say dance monkeeyyy daaaaaaance!” stretches the last note out to a big finish Cracks the whip one Las time as Bikle leaps once more
Mr Cutler: “Now there’s y beans sonny! Bye boys and girls!”
Hurls the beans and fucks off hands in pockets. With clear whip marks Bikle picks up the beans.
Bikle: “Mummy I got de beads” he exits stage left and the scene is rearranged to Jack s house with the Turkey doing the dishes
Clancy: “Blblblbllp tum te tum I do like working up a lather with a rubber glove on blblblblp! Oh hello there boys and girls! Why here’s by son Jack everybody! He’s been to sell our cow and bring home some money so we can buy some food and get off the h’emergency h’credit! Blplblp! How much did you get?” Bikle extends his hand.
Bikle: “Look! Magic beads!”
All at once Widow Clancy seems to shrink in on herself, she looks haggard and worn down by care and drudgery.
Clancy: “Magic beans? Magic beans?”
Hanging her head over the sink she begins to sob brokenheartedly.
Clancy: “Magic beans! And I did SO want to taste real tea once more before I died. When I was young, we used to have SUCH nice things…” Overcome she continues to weep. “God knows I try
so hard. And, and you bring me magic beans!” She straightens and wipes her eyes on her apron. “I just don’t know what ever shall become of us. It’ll be the workhouse for me, and a cold pauper’s grave. I’m just so glad that your poor dear father didn’t live to see what a failure you’ve become. Now there was a real man! Blplblblp! So vigorous, virile…”
Clancy’s eyes have a fond, misty faraway look; he leans back against the stove and stretches luxuriantly, smoothing down her petticoats with a rhythmic, caressing motion.
Clancy: “Oh yes, when that man kissed you, you stayed kissed. And when he would grab you, with those strong, rough hands, and pull you in close… You knew that you were a woman, oh yes.”
Bikle: Looking nauseated and breaks in on the Turkey’s erotic reverie. “Berrr, yes well dat’s very dice of course, but what about these beads?”
With a contemptuous toss of her artificial curls Clancy dashes them from his hands, sending them flying out of the cottage window.
Clancy: “Oh as if I gave a fig for your damned beans! Now off to bed with you! Blpblplp!”
Flourishing her broom, she chases him offstage and the curtain descends for the interval. Enter Simon with a bandage on his ear
Simon: “Ho h’intermission, h’ice creams h’anyone? How about you sir?”
To Morris in a chair near the edge of the stage, staring into space.
Morris: “What eh? Hmm any funny feet? Oh ho ho I see you have!” changes Simons feet to ice cream feet
Simon: “Hohhhh!” Slips over “Any lucky children want to come down for ice cream?”
Two urchins approach the area
Morris: “Tuck in kiddies!”
They eat Simon’s ice cream feet.
Simon: “Ho get off me h’you two!”
But they don’t, and Simon drags himself away feet oozing strawberry sauce.
Morris Claps his hands “Enough! Get on with this drivel!”
The stage relights with a rather phallic looking beanstalk in the set. Jack is just waking.
Bikle: “Oh by god, look at de size of dat?! Bother! Bother! Wake up, see what’s happened!”
But mummy is snoring asleep
Bikle: “Huh worthless failure eh? Bi’ll show her, I’ll climb dis beanstalk and see where it goes. Dow I dod’t dow where dis beadstalk goes, so I better be prepared eh boys and girls? Here’s by spare cloak in case it gets chilly, band I’ll pop a bit of kedgeree id dis pot id case I’b dot back id tibe for lunch. Dow, let’s get od with dis badventure!”
He creeps quietly out of the house past where Widow Clancy is sprawled snoring like a carthorse amongst a litter of empty bottles of Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon. Staring up at the mysterious growth Bikle is impressed and pauses for reverie.
Bikle: “By by children, dat is rather large isd’t it? Id fact bit albost rebinds be of something…”
He is interrupted by something that looks like a coconut bouncing off the back of his head.
Morris: offstage: “Ram a sock in it Gaylord, and get up that tree before I lose me temper.”
The coconut appears to sprout legs, and skitters away chittering. Bikle shrugs and begins to awkwardly climb the beanstalk. Fortunately for him, the giant plant has grown in such a fashion that it can be climbed in much the same manner as one would ascend a common ladder. Even so the sight of him huffing and puffing his way up the stem, his scrawny limbs wrapped around it brings a wave of laughter from the audience. One particularly witty urchin shouts
Urchin: “I’m only a poor old orphan, what ain’t no good at rhyme, but when I sees a sight like that, I shouts…” “CLIMB, MONKEY CLIMB!”
The audience laugh and squeal, but Morris is not happy.
Morris: “Stop!” Shouts “Who said that?” Silence “I said who said that?”
The urchin raises his hand.
Morris: “Johnson!”
Johnson retrieves the child and brings him to the stage
Morris: “Do you know what you have done sonny?”
Urchin: “Errr no mister, what?”
Morris: “What has he done ladies and gents?” Silence “You have transgressed the unwritten law!!!”
The stage looks dark and menacing Bikle clings on above
Morris: “You have two options, will you a) sign a three year contract with IBM? Or b) roll the wagon wheel of fate or c) open the box?”
Yolanda looks on from the wings horrified and despairing, gesturing that he should take a tablet, he pays no heed.
Morris: “What will it be sonny?”
The child has no idea what is going on but understands the words ‘wagon wheel’
Urchin: “Wagon wheel mista!”
To everyone’s relief Morris produces a wagon wheel.
Morris: “Ho ho there you go sonny, now be of with you before I burn you to death! Johnson one more peep out of this ‘un and activate the under seat incinerator!”
The audience clap as the urchin returns to his seat.
Bikle: From above “Can I ged on with it Dow Borris?”
Morris: “But of course Climb! Monkey! Climb!”
The audience laugh but there is a burst of flame from somewhere in the stalls and some screaming. Bikle ascends the beanstalk and the set changes again. A sinister grey misty region is unnervingly portrayed on the set. Strange shapes flit behind Bikle
Bikle: “Yikes! Dis place gives be de willies! Eh boys and girls? Ho what’s dat over dere, it looks like a castle?”
The mist swirls and twists, reflecting the cold moonlight. Away in the distance an eerie howl echoes back from the crags. Bikle pulls his cloak closer around his bony shoulders and sets off towards the castle. A bitterly cold rain begins to fall, the wind driving the drops into his face like icy needles. After what seems like an age he approaches the looming keep across a dilapidated wooden bridge. With hands chilled to the bone, he raises the curiously wrought knocker and lets it fall against the weathered nail studded door. A mournful thud echoes through the night. After an age the door swings open with a sepulchral groan. A grand hall, dimly lit by guttering candles lies in front of him. Smashed bottles lie everywhere. Tattered tapestry hangings flutter in the icy breeze. The air is heavy with dust and a pervasive scent of onions. Shivering, Bikle steps hesitantly forward. Instantly the door slams shut behind him with a note of finality. The gust of air causes the candles to
flare up briefly, revealing a central passageway leading off the hall, flanked by two cobwebbed staircases.
Bikle: “Berrr, hello? Adybody hobe?”
The only answer is a mocking echo… “Body hobe, hobe, hobe, hobe…” He walks into the centre of the great hall, staring into the gloom, searching for any sign of life. He feels something brush his shoulder. Whirling, he comes face to face with Ancient Retainer Johnson, who motions him to silence. Johnson opens his beak, but instead of the expected feeble”Mwaeerk”, Morris’ unmistakeable voice booms forth.
Johnson(Morris): “Welcome traveller, to the gaudy palace of Mark Anthony, greatest of Caesar’s generals! Now, will you take A, the left hand staircase, B, the central passage, or C, the right hand staircase?”
Bikle: “Beer Bi’ll take de central passage eh boys and girls! Owww!”
The same coconut projectile strikes him on the side of the
Morris: “This is a fucking kiddies show Mickey Mouse, less of the filth, last warning savvy?”
Bikle: “Yes yes balright, so what’s up dis passage den?”
As we walks up the passage Morris begins to drone
Morris: ” As you begin to step up your chosen path a feeling of terror grips you, the paintings on the walls come alive and seem to grab you, ”
Pauses as disguised as an old painting Johnson grapples with Bikle, some others in jump suits join in.
Morris: “The ancestors of this ancient abode take you down below to the cells in where your fate will be decided.”
The curtain goes down, then comes up to the scene of a ridiculously dressed man with a knee length gaudy toga.
Comte de B.: “Eh eh what’s zat?”
He says seems to be saying to someone off the side of the stage, then seems to acknowledge what’s going on
Comte de B.: “Ah good evening ladies an gennlmen allow me to introduce ma self. I am Mark Anthony de Bersierneaux and zis is ma castle. Now boys and girls I’ve just ‘erd zat mon guards ‘ave caught someone trying to break in, ‘owever I ave another problem to attend to at the moment, apparently there is a ghost around ere and I am quite sheeting ma owwww!”
Morris: “Fucks sake can’t you monkeys keep it clean!”
Coco has bitten Alphonso’s leg badly
Comte de B.: “Ah Jesus Christ! Ow! So if anyone sees a ghost will you let me know boys and girls?”
On cue, a sinister white figure appears from a tall cupboard and gestures in a threatening manner. Delighted, the audience roar as one:
Audience: “HE’S BEHIND YOU!”
As Marcus Alphonso whirls round, the spectre nimbly jumps back into the cupboard, only to reappear just as promptly when he turns back to face Bikle, who has inexplicably appeared.
Comte de B: “Ah, no ‘e eeesn’t!”
Audience: “OH YES HE IS!”
The cupboard business is repeated,
Comte de B.: “Ah no, no ‘e eeesn’t!”
The urchins bellow back that assuredly he is. Rattled, the Comte shouts back.
Comte: “No ‘e fucking eeesn’t! Zere’s nossing zere you leetle fuckairs!”
This time Coco goes for the throat. In the ensuing confusion the ghost picks up an empty Bersierneaux bottle, weighs it thoughtfully, then brings it down on Alphonso’s head. With Coco still worrying at his throat, the Comte goes down like a polled ox. At this moment Bikle is hurled (by Johnson no doubt) into the stage from the wings. The ghost immediately grabs Bikle’s arm and rushes him down a passageway.
Bikle: “Ho dow! Wait a bobent!”
Ghost: “Zere ees no time to wait M’sieur! Zat fuckair Alphonso ‘as gone, ow you say?”
The ghost, who in the brighter light of the corridor is clearly a man dressed in a tattered bed sheet, pauses to listen to the shrill screams coming from the room behind the door and continues carefully,
Ghost: “Fleepeeeng batsh… errr, batpoo? Crackairs. Mental. Anyway ‘opefully ‘is adventure ends ‘ere. Now quickly M’sieur! In ‘ere!”
Like lightning he whisks the bewildered Bikle through another doorway into a dank, low ceilinged structure, redolent of bruised allia. Despite still being clad in his ragged sheet, and smoking a very thin rolled up cigarette, his manner is strangely impressive as he announces in a tone laden with awe,
Ghost (Leonard): “Ze Onion Press Room!”
The orchestra strikes up once more
Leonard: “So you see m’sieur, what is right ere, is a place of ancient fable, and in this this gloom you will meet your doom, Yes! Down in the onion press room!”
Reaches for him suddenly and maniacally
Bikle: “Cripes another dutter! Relp ged be out of here!”
Leonard: “Zere is no where to flee, m’sieur can’t you see, you can run as best as you are abl’ but you’ll be just a mess when I ‘ave you in the press, Yes, down in the onion press room!” Catches Bikle by the cloak, ” what you you rackon enfants, shall I press ‘im? ” points to a dark strangely familiar looking pressing device.
Audience “Yaaaay!” Screaming the children.
Bikle looks out and for a second fancies he sees not children but hundreds of screaming demons
Bikle: “Ho by god, wake be up I bust be dreebig!”
Leonard is dragging him to the device.
Leonard : “So you’ll be jus’ fine, as a drink, like wine, but made of an alium root, but I won’t press l’onions, I’ll press your, errr, bunions, Down! Come ere fuckair! down in ze onion press room!”
Is about to push him into the device when there is a female voice from off stage
Cleopatra: “What are you doing down there Leonard? Have you see Marcus? Come up here at once!!!”
Leonard: “bah! You’ll have to wait Jacque! I’ll deal with you later!”
Locks the room and leaves. Bikle is left alone in the onion press room…
Bikle: “Ho god. Dow I’ll dever find any treasure. Left to stew id by owd juice id a dudgeod, waitig to be bangled by a Fredch ghost. Bother was right. I’b a failure!”
Slumped in despair, his despondent gaze falls on a small oubliette.
Bikle: “Do, it’s hopeless. I’d deed to be tiny to fit through dere. Wait a bobent! Bi’ve had an idea!”
Jumping to his feet he rummages in his breeches, pulls out a scrap of paper and a stub of crayon. Quickly scribbling something, he starts shouting.
Bikle: “Bearded Clab! Pissflaps! Bagidal bucous!”
Right on cue a small spherical shape hurtles towards him, but Bikle is ready for him and he deftly catches the familiar.
Bikle: “Wait a binute Coco! Your bunkle Jack deeds a favour. Take dis dote and fetch help, and Bi’ll give you dis h’valuable h’odiod!”
Coco appears to consider the deal, then snatches paper and onion and disappears through the oubliette. Bikle looks smug and settles down to await rescue. Time passes, represented by Symbolic Johnson tearing pages off from a calendar. The door to the Onion Press Room is thrown open and a familiar figure enters.
Buckle: “Ball right dere Bikle! Bi got your dote ad cabe as quiqly as I could.” He walks in slamming the door behind him. “Dow what’s der probleb?”
Bikle: “Buckle! The door! You brass bound ditwit!”
Buckle: Looking downcast. “Ho. I thought you’d be pleased!”
Bikle: “But dow we’re both locked in, and we’ll both end up getting bangled!”
Buckle: “Boh, dod’t worry about dat. Bi’m sure that Leodard will b’unlock the door id a bobent. Bi saw hib headig dis way just dow.”
Bikle: “Ho Jesus fucking Christ!”
There is a growling noise at his feet, Bikle looks down and sees You Know Who, claw outstretched demandingly.
Bikle: “Ho leave it out Coco. I’b dot bade of bloody odiods you dow.”
Buckle: Perking up. “Ho, but you could be!”
Bikle: “H’what?”
Buckle: “Bade of odiods! Hit’s simple, we bake a dubby of der odiods, dress it id your clothes and bescape while der dubby gets bangled! We could use dis large odiod for your head, ad dese striggy dried leaves for der hair!”
Bikle can scarcely believe the idiocy of the plan but has little else to offer.
Bikle: ” Ho god, ballright den, buildig a odiod effigy if byself it is”
Buckle: “And be!” Pipes up Buckle
Bikle: “Do! We don’t deed two, Leonard doesn’t even know you’re here”
Buckle: “What do you been? Dats how I got in here, You told be he’d locked you up so I asked hib where you were.”
Bikle: “Give be strength, so he knows we’re both in here?”
Buckle: “Frov course, said he’s od his way to bangle us in a binute!”
Bikle: “Ho god back to de odiod person, I bean people plan den, dis one can be de head”
Picks up a large very healthy looking onion, suddenly the onion speaks in a high pitched voice
Bath Sheba: “Who is it that disturbs the slumber of I Bath Sheba?”
Bikle: “Holy fuck a talking odiod!”
Hurling Bath Sheba into the air, Buckle catches the animated alium and screams too; comedically Bath Sheba is propelled back into Bikle’s arms. This goes on for some time. At length Bath Sheba is allowed to continue as the two brothers slump in the room
Bath Sheba: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve been hiding in here for years, trying to avoid being pressed into that awful drink that Cleopatra de Bersierneaux loves so much. Now you have found me, I can help you get out of here, as long as you keep me away from that thing!”
Coco is looking hungrily up at Bath Sheba
Bikle: “Why yes frov course Bath Sheba, ged away you little brute” Bikle kicks Coco off the stage, it rolls and skitters back to Morris “Dow what? We don’t have buch tibe?”
Bath Sheba: “Quickly then carry me to the top of the steps, and place me in front of the door, when Leonard opens the door he will trip over me and then you can feed him into the onion press”
Bath Sheba’s tone becomes thin and sinister at the end. Bikle looks disturbed, Bath Sheba: “quickly pretty ones take me to the top stair, he comes now he comes quickly”
Bikle hastens to the top step with the giant onion and places it accordingly. The door opens but a figure steps through
Comte de B: “Ah where are my guests let me tell you ow sorry I aaaaaaagh!” thump! bump! crump! It is of course Marcus Alphonso and not Leonard who crashes to the floor. Bath Sheba seems unperturbed
Bath Sheba: “Quickly into the onion press with him!”
Comte de B: “Ah non mes amis! You would surely not crush poor old Marcus? Ah know all ze secrets of zis chateau, ah can tek you to where zat usurper Leonard kips ‘is treasure!”
Bikle: Looking interested. “Ho, Treasure you say? Dow we’re gettig subwhere! Lead on!”
Bath Sheba displeased “Press him! Press him!”
Bikle: “Dot likely! Bi cabe here for treasure, ad treasure I bean to have!”
Comte de B: “Ah very waz M’sieur! We shall escape through zis secret passage!”
The Comte pushes a candlestick and a section of wall swings open.
Bikle: “Cub od den! Buckle, you brig Bath Sheba, h’what? Ho god.”
Buckle is naked save for a huge pair of undershorts and is proudly displaying an onion based facsimile of himself.
Bikle: “Ho Christ. Leave that bloody thing alode and get a bove od.”
Buckle: “Ho, but I think it’s cute. Can’t we keep it?”
Leonard: “Ere! What eez zees? All of you get in zat Onion Press immediatement!”
Leonard, still for some reason sporting his discredited ghost disguise, appears at the top of the stairs.
Audience: “HE’S BEHIND YOU!” roar the audience, glad of something that they can vaguely comprehend.
Comte de B. “Ah mes amis, queeek!”
cries Alphonso. Leonard charges down the stairs, takes a headlong flyer over Bath Sheba and collides with Onion Buckle.
Leonard: “Ah’ve got you know you fuckair! Into ze press with you!”
He drunkenly wrestles the badly constructed figure onto the conveyor belt and frantically starts winding the handle. A stench of crushed onions fills the room.
Bath Sheba shrieking “My babies! Press him! Press him!”
Alfonso, Bikle and Buckle make for the secret passage, Leonard attempts to give chase, but appears to have gotten his sheet trapped in the mangle.
Leonard: “Aaaah fuckeeeng sheet!” There is a chittering sound and Coco bounces off his head, sending him toppling into the Mangle.
Audience: “Press him! Press him!”
The handle spins, and Leonard is drawn into the rollers and disappears with a final
Leonard: “You fuckair Alphonso! Ah’ll get you for theees!”
As his vital essence is drawn from him by the Mangle of Koth Hotep, Bath Sheba swells and begins to pulse with an unearthly luminescence. As she does so a terrifying scream emits from her.
Bath Sheba: “Aieeeeeeeeee, freeeeee, soooonnn! Press just one more, one mooooooreee!”
Bikle: “Cripers Buckle did you hear dat? Dis odiod is as bental as de rest of dem?”
Bath Sheba: “Take me with you, take me with you, give the queen to the press and I shall be free and then you will have all the treasure you waaaant!”
The screaming onion is so demanding, Bikle obligingly picks it up, as he does so he notices the sheet of Leonards that must have gotten spat out the other side of the mangle relatively unharmed.
Bikle: “Ho Buckle, you can wear this, since your clothes seem to be ruined”
Buckle: “Barvellous!” Buckle puts the sheet on “Woo look at be Bikle I’b a ghost!”
The Comte though is disturbed
Comte de B. “Aaaaah a ghost again look eets behand you!”
Bikle: “Do do Comtey, dat’s just Buckle in a sheet, Don’t worry about hib, I bean dot too buch anyway. Dis is looking better ad better, if we can ged de queen into de press, Bath Sheba will give us treasure and de Comte will lead us to Leonard’s treasure”
Bikle is clearly so pleased with the whole affair now that he has seemingly forgotten he’s in a pantomime.
Bikle: “Imagid what we could do Buckle, we could bove out of bothers squalid flat! Bi could get a dew amiga.”
But the Comte interrupts the reverie
Comte de B: “Quickly m’sieur, zis way or we will surely die!”
The party disappear down the passage and the curtain closes.
It reopens with the new set. Yolanda in full Aegyptian Cleopatra fig is sat on a deckchair with a cocktail in an onion a la classic pineapple. Aegyptian foot soldier Johnsons stand around, the painted backdrop is of the pyramids and a rather strange looking sphinx with a beak, the scene is bizarre not least as they are supposed to be in the Comte’s castle.
Cleopatra: “Leonard!” she calls , acting quite well “ Leonard where are you! I need another large Bersierneaux! Ooh that Leonard I tell you boys and girls, he’s always pissed!”
A jet of flame whooshes in from the side of the stage, Yolanda has to dive to avoid it but the deckchair and one Johnson is ablaze
Cleopatra: “Morris!” she yells
Morris: “You have been warned a million times” comes the booming retort “no more Mr nice guy!”
Johnson comes on with the fire extinguisher. The party of Buckle, Bikle, Marcus Alphonso and Bath Sheba arrive and huddle at the side, to represent they have not yet been noticed by Cleopatra.
Comte de B.: “There she m’sieur, ze queen of ze oignion beanstalk! I will attract her attencion, you sneak up behind her and whilst she is deestracted, push her into ze onion press!”
Bikle: “Berr dat’s ball very well but we left de bangle in press roob!”
Comte de B.: “Ah you are right m’sieur you’ll ave to go and fetch it, or maybe your colleague?”
Bikle looks at the ghostly Buckle.
Bikle: “Berr I’ll go, you hold Bath Sheba, back in a bobent!”
Morris: “That will not be necessary! The mangle is here. Indeed, the mangle is always here. It is both omnipresent in all times and dimensions and omnivorous in its dread hunger for souls! So get on with it, I’ve got a casserole in the oven.”
The mangle is mysteriously suddenly on stage.
Bikle: “Berrr, ok den, Comte, you distract the queen, Buckle, you distract Johnson, and Bi’ll burder de queed!”
Obediently the two clods set off on their mission; Buckle canters past the Johnsons waving his arms.
Buckle: “Wooo! Look at be Johdsod! I’b a ghost!”
Unimpressed, the guards point and jeer. Alphonso creeps up behind Cleopatra as Bikle pushes the Mangle of Koth Hotep towards them. He winks at the Comte to signal that now is the moment, however all is not as it seems.
Comte de B.: “Beware mon flowair of ze Nile!” cries Marcus Alphonso, “Caesar as despatched zese assassins to keel us!” Yolanda strikes an imperious pose. “Guards! Protect your queen! Sieze the intruders!” “Ho Bollocks. Quig Buckle! We’d better scarper! Let’s try ad find dat beadstalk!”
Morris/Anubis: “Not so fast!” booms Morris’ voice emitting from Anubis Johnson who ushers them back onto the centre of the stage
Bath Sheba: “Press them! Press them!” screeches the treacherous onion. Anubis Johnson reaches for them but Bikle hurls Bath Sheba straight at him Anubis: “Mwaaerkoof!” Anubis Johnson is winded and his mask slips down slightly rendering his appearance even more ridiculous. Bikle tries to nip round him but Nile crocodile Johnson is there to bar his way. In blind panic he runs back towards the throne area grabbing Bath Sheba back off the floor. Nearing the epicentre of action –the burnt deckchair, the Mangle, Cleopatra- Bikle poised above the mangle suddenly shouts.
Bikle: “Dobody bove or de odiod gets it!”
Curiously this is remarkably effective; Cleopatra longs to drink Bath Sheba, and immediately stays the guards from approaching closer.
Cleopatra: “Halt, if you give me Bath Sheba I will give you the treasure!”
Bikle: “Berr, balright brig be a bag of treasure and led be leave here unharbed wid…”
Buckle: “Don’t forget about be!”
Bikle: “Yes wid by Brother by suppose…”
Comte de B.: “Err excuse me, ma little petit champignion, let me fetch some treasure for eem, zen we can press Bath Sheba togezzer and drink ‘er essence!”
Bath Sheba: “Noooooooooooo, Nooooooooo!” Bath Sheba screams and pulsates “Press him! Press them! press someone, not meeeeeee!!!!”
Cleopatra: “Yes Marcus fetch these buffoons some treasure and let us feast on the Bersierneaux de Bath Sheba!!”
The Comte goes off the side and returns with a wheel barrow with a very large sack in it.
Cleopatra: “That’s far too much for them Marcus!! Give me the bag, I will allocate them some trinkets.”
Comte de B.: “But of course ma patisserie, ‘elp yourself”
He dumps the wheel barrow nearby and looks on smirking, Yolanda ungracefully unties the string on the bag. Who should leap out of course but ‘venomous snake Johnson’ who launches himself out of the bag at Cleopatra and stabs her in the neck with a hypodermic needle.
Cleopatra: `“Owwww fucking hell! Morris!!” she yells
Morris: “Quiet!”
The flamethrower burst comes forth again, Venomous snake Johnson is caught and runs off the side screaming, Anubis Johnson chases helpfully with a blanket.
Comte: “Ahahahahahahha”
Laughs the Comte, now mon Cherie come to me, and he snatches Bath Sheba back off Bikle who is been quite non-plussed by the sudden chaos.
Bikle: “Hoi! Come back here wid by odiod!”
He attempts to give chase, but finds himself pulled up sharply. The reason for this sudden cessation of forward momentum is, sadly, not far to seek. He peers glumly behind him.
Bikle: “Ho god. It’s just as I feared. By cloak is caught id dat blasted bangle again!”
As if apprehending certain consequences, he peers around him with a somewhat haunted look. The Comte is cavorting triumphantly with Bath Sheba, Buckland is still, in his own mind at least, distracting the guards, the Johnsons are milling around, seemingly bored of the whole thing. Nobody else appears.
Bikle: “Bi said, by cloak is trapped in dat blasted bangle!” Again, nothing. Bikle seems nonplussed, “Cloak id der bangle b’everybody!”
Marcus Alphonso is in transports of ecstasy, smothering the onion queen in messy kisses.
Comte de B.: “Ah yes ma swit pungent cherie, soon we shall mingle your eyewatering juices wiz mahn! And zen, ah shall be keeeng of zer Nile! And I shall ‘ave mah vengeance upon Caesar, zat fuckair!”
Again, everybody looks expectantly at the wings. Nothing. The audience, used to the procedure by now, chorus:
Audience: “MO-RRIIISS!”
Eventually, and somewhat incongruously, Mexican Bandit Johnson slouches on stage and renders the Comte hors du combat with a loping roundhouse left to the jaw. Morris himself ambles onstage dressed in a serapé and sombrero, clearly surprised that the pantomime is still going on.
Morris: “What are you lot still doing here? Yolanda, bring on the next contestant.”
With her neck swathed in bloodstained bandages Yolanda lurches onto the set. Her eyes are glassy and unfocussed, in a singsong voice she announces,
Yolanda: “Next up tonight boys and girls, is 58 year old Clancetta from Caernarvon.”
On he waddles, still clad in his widow’s garb.
Morris: “Come on then sunshine, what’s your story. And make it brief, I’ve got a fiver’s worth of brisket simmering away back there that’s got my name on it.”
Clancy: “Blblplp! Ho sir, I’m a poor widow. Husband burnt to death in newsagency tragedy. Sold only cow. Blplplb! Son an embarrassing failure. Can’t go anywhere without getting cape trapped in h’mangle! Like to sing overture from Gounod’s Faust.”
Morris: “I just bet you would you turkey bastard. Well not on my watch. Gimme a sand dance and make it snappy…”
Clancy looks crestfallen.
Clancy: “Blplplbl! Not much of a dancer. Even in my younger days. Some conjuring perhaps?”
Yolanda, patently under the influence of Venomous Snake Johnson’s pernicious narcotic, suddenly pipes up:
Yolanda: “I may be dressed as a figure from an ancient aegyptian legend, an icon of myth and romance, but when I spots a gobbler like you…”
Audience: “I SAYS DANCE TURKEY DANCE!”
Yolanda: “And I may be high on snake toxins, as anyone can see at a glance, but when I’m confronted by an old fraud like you…”
Audience: “I SAYS DANCE TURKEY DANCE!”
Yolanda: “I may be having muscle spasms, and falling into a deathly trance…” (hits floor with a thud.)
Bikle wrenches himself free with a grunt and turns to face the crowd.
Bikle: “But whed I sees a bother like you…”
Audience: “I SAYS DANCE TURKEY DANCE!”
With a sudden flourishing dance
Clancy: “Blblblblblblblp I may be an old widow, I may be short on romance, but when I feel music take my feet I say…”
Audience “Dance Turkey Dance!”
The music continues and Clancy performs an impressive routine. The audience clap wildly and throw flowers.
Morris: “You may be my old arch enemy, you be a turkey bastard, but when I see a fowl, with a rhythm like a err bowel, I say dance Turkey dance,”
Morris spins the turkey round elegantly, Clancy releases from the spin and steps daintily to one side looking back at him, Morris doffs his hat and Clancy moves seamlessly back into his arms and they faux waltz back across the stage to a jaunty blue danubesque number before returning to the main melody, the Morris and Clancy sing the last part together
Morris/Clancy: “We may be the other’s respective nemesis, we may foil each other’s plans, but when put on a show there are faces
all aglow, and no one in a rigid stance, yes when we put on a show the whole place is aglow with the a warmth like the south of Fraaaance!”
Morris: Alone now speaking in his dread tone “Well the whole place is aglow isn’t it! As a terrifying conflagration swept through the stalls, the audience screamed! But it was to no avail as the tragedy unfolded! Look!”
Arsonist Johnson is busy at work with a petrol can…Bikle is writhing and screaming.
Bikle: “Wake up! I bust be dreabig!”
Suddenly he awakes. He is drenched with sweat, lying on a leather couch in a dimly lit room. Blinking, he looks owlishly around. Seated beside him in a deep leather armchair is a short portly figure dressed in a suit redolent of the height of European fashion of the early 20th century. He is terrified to see that behind the wispy white beard and moustache the fleshless lips are drawn back to display the shrivelled gums and teeth. Behind the round spectacles, the sockets are eyeless black pits. The lich presses him gently back onto the couch with a withered, clawlike hand, and speaks in a sibilant rattling whisper tinged with a Viennese accent:
Freud Corpse: “So. Tell me zer von about your mutter again….”

Published in: on January 6, 2015 at 1:17 pm  Comments (1)  

Morris’ Generation Game

Cast.
Morris.
A partially insane wizard of extreme power and often grumpy demeanour. Clearly also vaguely deaf and prone to losing track of what is going on.
Bikle.
Tall gothic man in his thirties. Wears a long black cloak, black trousers and pixies boots. Round glasses and high cheek bones. Sense of self importance. Also looks fucked off with the whole business. Talks in deep, voice a bit like he has a cold.
Buckle.
Idiotic brother of Bikle, similar stature, but horribly clumsy. Also wears a cloak but the outfit is generally ridiculous looking. Believes there will at some juncture be cheese. Voice is goofy but similar to Bikles.
Clancy Butterball Turkey.
Giant anthropomorphic Turkey with magic powers. Often removes people’s trousers and says ‘Really…?’ in a Kenneth Williams esque manner. Arch enemy to Morris.
Johnsons.
A race of bird people, part goose, part man, part penguin. In the employ of Morris. Johnsons are what the predicate before the word Johnson suggests. Though Johnson also exists as a creature in its own right –undetermined by a specific predicate.
Simon.
Small irritating bald character. Often brandishing tomorrows newspaper.
Frosty.
Grumpy man who lives in squalid flat. Not very bright and has status issues.
Yolanda.
Morris’ long suffering wife.
Koth Hotep.
Titan of abysmal space.
Pete and his Peppers
Very poor entertainment act of a Frenchman (Pete) in a harlequin outfit, hurling peppers around at various things.
Pete and Paul
Idiotic brothers seeking to try to help.
Alfonso de Bersierneaux.
Well known French juggins, often drunk.
Duke of Croy.
Violent French alcoholic aristrocrat.
Captain Flint.
Large piece of flint. Sometimes wearing a tricorn hat.
Judge Bikle.
A part of Bikle’s psyche in Judge form. In here he manifests as a ‘Judge Bikle action figure’

 

 

Morris’ Generation Game.

Music finishes, camera pans to Morris

Morris: “Good evening ladies gentlemen and small children, welcome to the show, and what as show we have got for you look! Ladies and gentlemen a funny thing happened to me on my way to the studio today, I bumped into our old friend Farmer Johnson. How’s the potato crop Johnson? I asked. He replied, I’ve been very busy learning Jazz guitar, I’m going to dig them later!” (waits for laughter, embarrassed silence.) “Anyway, enough of this hilarity, let’s meet tonight’s contestants… Yolanda, if you please…”
Yolanda walks on from unexpected side that Morris gestures to
Morris: ” Fuck! Where did you come from?” Audience shock noise
Yolanda: “Morris! We’re on telly remember!”
Morris: “Yes Yolanda, you are on the telly, as were you also last month when investigative Johnson took these compromising pictures of you on Kojak star Telly Savalas *shows unsuitable pictures on large screen* horrified noises from audience and comedy drum happens. “anyway enough of this Hilary, Yolanda or whoever you are. Who are tonight’s three teams?”
Yolanda (with fixed nervous smile): “Well first up tonight Morris, we have Simon, a Newsagent, and his older, balding friend, who wouldn’t give us his name, but describes himself as ‘a very private person.’”
Morris: “Ho ho Yolanda, so why has he decided to appear on a prime time Tv show then?” *turns to frosty * “Answer me you turkey bastard or I will burn you to death!” Frosty looks alarmed
Frosty: “Fuckin’ ‘ell! Hoping to win a new cat basket.”
Morris: “Bat casket? What is this man talking about? Get them out of my sight before the carpet burns, and them with it!” Nervous audience laughter, “now who have we got here Hilary?”
Yolanda: “Um this Michael a fridge engineer and his auntie Mavis, Michael lives in a squalid flat with his brother, who is in the audience tonight, and Mavis works in a coconut processing factory”
Polite applause
Morris: “So then Michael, you spend your time surrounded by crippled fridges?”
Bikle: “It’s Bikle actually, and…”
Morris: “That’s marvellous. And you Mavis, you work with a lot of nuts? A bit like me what? Ho ho ho. Anyway, Dolores, who’s the last pair of deadbeats you’ve got lined up for us tonight?”
Yolanda: “Well Morris last but certainly not least we’ve got Mr and Mrs Johnson…”
Loud applause
Johnson: “Mwaaerk!”
Morris peers suspiciously at Johnsons, disturbed by their obvious popularity.
Morris: “Be. Very. Careful. I have got my eyes on you Johnsons.”
The avian couple shift nervously. Luckily Morris is distracted by the sound of a large gong.
Morris: “Marvellous. That’s the signal for the start of round one. The eliminator round. The rules are very simple. One question per team, if you get the answer right you progress to the next round. Of course if the contestants get the answer wrong…” Laughs gently with a knowing look at the audience, before shrieking into the faces of the stricken Johnsons, eyes ablaze with the white hot fire of madness, spittle flying, “I WILL SHRED YOUR ROTTEN STINKING FLESH, FLAY YOU WITH WHIPS OF MAGMA AND SCOUR YOUR VERY ESSENCE FROM EXISTENCE!”
Yolanda: quietly aside to Morris “Are you having one of your turns dear? Do you need a tablet?”
Morris: “Ho ho Dolanda, no I am not having a turn, but they are! As we play round one! First members of the team on the podiums please for question one. Bat casket man this is for you” reads from card “tell me what is Planck’s constant to 5 decimal places?”
Frosty looks blank and peers owlishly around the stage. Morris drums impatiently on his lecturn.
Morris: “Come on, come on we don’t have all day. Get a wriggle on Rat Gasket. Do you want to ask the audience?”
Frosty looks hopefully at this:
Frosty: “huh yeah, go on then”
Morris: “Well you MAY NOT ASK THE AUDIENCE, what do you think this is ‘who wants to be a millionaire cake slice?’ Answer the question or I will lock you in a Rat Casket of my own devising and throw away the key, Johnson! Fetch the Rat Casket in preparation!”
Audience shuffle uncomfortably as Frosty goes pale and starts to mumble something inaudible. Flourishing a periodical Frosty’s partner chirps up.
Simon: “Ho, h’excuse be h’sir, h’I cad adswer h’that question. Hi read h’it h’in toborrow’s dewspaper!”
Morris stares at him silently for a long moment, then brandishes an identical tabloid.
Morris: “Would that be the article beneath the headline POINTLESS NUISANCE INCINERATED ON PRIMETIME TELEVISION BY PERFECTLY SANE HOST by any chance?”
The audience seems comedically buoyed by tomorrow’s newspaper, much to Morris’s chagrin. Sensing the crowds backing he presses ahead
Simon: “Ho h’yes, Poor old flat h’basket ” *audience laughter* “still h’I’m sure one day he’ll be h’prawn again!” The audience laughs heavily “Ho, h’what headline h’Borris? H’I don’t h’see h’any h’such headline!”
He crows, waving his copy of the journal, carried away by his seeming triumph. The crowd bay with laughter. There is a sudden harsh roaring rushing sound, like that of a gas cooker being lit, only magnified a thousandfold, as a pillar of blue and white fire erupts from the podium. As quickly as it appears the flame subsides, leaving a pall of cinders and greasy, sweet smelling smoke climbing towards the roof of the auditorium. As the fumes clear, two carbonised twisted skeletons are seen lolling hideously over their scoreboard their blackened jaws opened in a silent scream of agony. Cries of horror and fear rise from the spectators as the cough and gag on the stench of burnt flesh.
Morris: “Ho ho ho ladies a gentlemen, looks like Simon and basket boy are out. Or at least they will be when Johnson gets here with the extinguisher.”
The contestant Johnsons look agitated as if they don’t know if they should be putting the fire out, but then Johnson arrives with the relevant equipment, puts out the remaining fire and cleans up generally.
Morris: “Now then next question, for you Michael, how long is piece of string?”
Bikel: “Ho. Dat’s easy. How long do you want it to be?”
The cadaverous contestant chuckles to himself. The audience braces itself for another fiery holocaust, but Morris, holding one hand to his ear appears to be listening to something. He nods.
Morris: “Very well. I can accept that answer.” Spinning round suddenly, he screams “INFILTRATORS!”
Mr and Mrs Johnson freeze in terror. A group of leather jacketed, tattooed birdmen rush onstage and set about their erstwhile colleagues with ice picks and motorcycle chains. Blood and feathers fly amidst the most awful cries. As quickly as it began, the tumult is over and nothing but two wide streaks of crimson leading to the wings remain of the luckless contestants. Morris glares at Yolanda and whispers hoarsely.
Morris: “Replace them.”
Enter Johnson with a mop whilst a stressed looking Yolanda ushers in the replacement Johnsons.
Morris: “Ladies and gentlemen the Johnsons are back! Now the next round is one in which our special guest comes on, demonstrates a special skill, which you are obliged to copy, and tonight’s guest is err Mr Lance Battenburg from Turkey. Round of applause please ladies and gents for Lance Battenburg.”
Enter Clancy Butterball Turkey thinly disguised in a stripey yellow suit with a moustache and fez. Morris however seems oblivious to his enemy’s presence.
Morris: “So tell me Lance tonight what will our contestants be trying tonight? Or should I say frying tonight! HO HO HO!”
Clancy: “Blblbp! Lovely to be here tonight!” (doffs fez politely to Yolanda.) “Going to do some magic tricks! Blplblblp! Need a volunteer from audience!” He ostentatiously peers around the auditorium before pointing to a familiar figure. “You sir! Blplblblbp! Total stranger. Never met you before! Up you come!” A lanky figure in too short cord trousers, patched cloak and galoshes clambers awkwardly onto the stage.
Buckle: “Ho! Hello dere Bikle! Look at be! I’b od de telly!”
Clancy “Blblblblblp now then sir. Simple trick nothing in the hat. Blblbp, please inspect.”
Buckle: “Led be have look in dere. Hmmph dothing at all” Bikle cringes at what’s coming “you do Lance I thought there’s be cheese, how disappointing” audience laughs
Clancy: “Blblblp no cheese, blblblp but there is a pair of collar doves blblblp”
Audience ooh and ah, then Morris casually incinerates the doves.
Morris: “Looks simple enough let’s see what kind of pig’s ear our contestants can make of it. Mike you first, don’t be shy now!”
Bikle: “It’s Bike. I bean Bikle. I haven’t the slightest idea what I’b doig here. What’s goig od adyway?”
Clancy: “Bit of magic. All good. Lighthearted fun. Blpblblb. Another demonstration?” (Whisk!)
Bikle’s trousers have magickally vanished and are now in the Turkey’s hands.
Bikle: “By trousers!” (Audience roars with laughter. Clancy flourishes trousers derisively.) “Give theb here!”
Bikle charges headlong at Clancy, arms windmilling and cloak billowing, only to run smack into a wall that the Turkey has magically transported to in front of Bikle.
Bikle: “Boooooh!” (CRASH!)
Clancy: “Reeeaally! No trousers on television! Looking stupid! Proper juggins! Blpblblp!”
Morris looks confused.
Morris: “What is going on here? Wasn’t he supposed to be doing the hat thing? How many points does he get for that no trousers wall debacle with no doves?”
Clancy: “Blblblblbp 2 points, blblp of a possible 10, very poor. Blblblblbp! Now you try Johnson”
Turkey passes the hat and Johnson deftly produces 2 turtle doves
Johnson: “Mwaaaerk!”
Clancy: “Blblblblblp very good, wrong doves, but still good, blblbp 9 points”
The Johnsons look pleased but Morris is twitching again.
Morris: “Yolanda can we get the mangle out yet?”
Yolanda: Sighs “I thought we’d discussed that Morris. This round is nearly over. Why don’t you just look at the pretty birds for a while?”
Morris: “Very well my sweet. If this rubbish goes on much longer I may need to have a bit of a lie down. Who’s stupid idea was this anyway? I bet it was Johnson. He’s always coming up with schemes, like that one with the hat factory.”
Meanwhile, Bikle assisted by Johnson, has managed to extricate himself from a tangle of cables and storm back across the stage and put his trousers back on which the Turkey has now discarded.
Bikle: “Wait a bobent Br Battenburg. Bi want adother go at the hat business!”
Clancy: “Blblbplp! Certainly! Good sport! Just pop your hand in there!”
With no further ado Bikle plunges in his hand.
Bikle: “B’ive got sobthig! It won’t come out!”
Clancy: “Blpblp! Pull hard. Quickly now! Portal closing!”
Morris: “Yes pull it out quickly Bicycle head!”
Bikle heaves and the hat rips emitting some terrible sulphurous vapours. He flies backwards and lands in a heap. The hat hangs hideously in the air ripping its aperture wider as an enormous hand begins to emerge.
Morris: “ladies and gentlemen please welcome the next of tonight’s special guests, Koth Hotep titan of the depths of abysmal space!”
Nervous applause and some shrieks as Koth Hotep emerges from a widening portal. His terrifying fuligin bulk near fills the stage.
Morris: addressing him cheerfully “so Koth, what have you got for us tonight?”
Koth: “DEEEEEEEEEEAATH. AAAND ETERNAAAL SOOOUULL HORRORRR. FORR THOSE WHOO SHALL FAIIIL MYYY TESSSST.”
The audience are by now whimpering and cowering in terror, confronted by this darkness within the darkness from before fear had a name. Morris however is visibly perked up by the appearance of an old chum.
Morris: “Marvellous! Lovely to have you on the show Koth mate. And what form shall the test take?”
The shadowy blackness coils in upon itself, hideous cold blue luminosity flashing around its extremities.
Koth: “ITEMS SHAAALL PASSS BYY MORTAALLLS TWIIICE. REMEEEMMBERRR THE MOOOST SHALLL BEEE SAAAVED. AND PRIIIZEES SHAAALL GAAIIN. THEY WHO RECCAAALL LEEEAAST PEEERISHHH THEEEY MUUUUSSTTT.”
Roiling and boiling, the horror ascends to the roof and hangs there emanating hate.
Morris: “You heard him Johnson, remember the stuff that rolls past or face a fate beyond all awfulness, look!” Gestures to the hanging mass of iniquity. “But of course no memory game of ancient evil would be complete without ‘the eldritch dark conveyor belt cubicle of dread’ Johnson the cubicle if you please!”
Part of the stage swivels round to reveal a hideous gothic dark wood carved cubicle resplendent with strange signs and sinister faces. A window from which the sitting contestant can peer out of looks over an old old leather conveyor belt. The machinery is heavy and seems to be ready to be hand operated by sinister mechanical Johnson, who stands nearby. The general impression of the set up causes the audience to recoil in fear.
Morris: “Come on now Johnson in you get!”
Johnson looks terrified. Quivering with fear, Johnson steps falteringly into the box. Instantly the door slams behind him, the carvings writhe and meld into one another until no trace of the doorway remains, leaving Johnson entombed save for his panicky face peering through the aperture. With an awful grinding noise, the conveyor belt judders into life, and a succession of objects roll slowly past. In a toneless yet menacing voice, Morris keeps up a running commentary:
Morris: “A baked potato. A coffee machine. A wagon wheel. The charred skull of a newsagent. A tumble dryer. The animated corpse of Sigmund Freud. One of Carl’s sheep. A No Frills french bread pizza. A bowling ball…” Here Morris’s attention seems to wander for a moment, but pulling himself together he continues.”Astaroth’s teeth, Pandora’s socks, half a pound of chipolatas, a Minotaur, a garden saw, a living hoover, a jiving mover, an anaconda,” pauses “ hang on a minute Yolanda, is that an aconda? What is aconda? Or should it say condor? It looks more like a big snake? Johnson stop turning!”
Yolanda: “Morris it’s an anaconda”
Morris: Looking at her with a scrunched up confused face. “An..Anna Conda? Is it the next special guest?”
Yolanda: “No Morris it’s a giant snake!”
Morris: “Is it?”
Yolanda: “Yes you can see it is!”
But now the snake has slithered partially off the conveyer belt and is constricting poor Mr Johnson in the cubicle.
Morris: “Oops, quickly Johnson, get turning!”
Johnson turns for all he is worth, sadly this does not of course free Mr Johnson rather it drags him out of the viewing hole onto the conveyor belt.
Morris: “…and a multipack of assorted flavoured crisps, now Johnson let’s see what you can remember, Johnson?! Johnson? Where has he gone Yolanda? This is intolerable, we are going out live to millions of viewers, and he just disappears at will. If I know Johnson, he’s probably sloped off for a baked potato… and a wagon wheel. And a coffee machine, Ashtaroth’s teeth, the charred skull of a newsagent, a living hoover, one of Carl’s sheep and a Minotaur.” Morris beams. “So then Anita, what do I win?”
Yolanda: “Morris! You’re the host not a bloody contestant!”
Morris: “Of course I can recommend a good decongestant. Drowsy or non-drowsy? Will you be operating heavy machinery? Well you are operating heavy machinery. Look! Out of the way Sinister Mechanical Johnson, Dorito here wants a turn on the conveyor belt. I’d think twice about doing that with your bad head cold. Anyway, where is our next contestant?”
Bikle strides forward purposefully, keen to vindicate himself in the eyes of the audience after the earlier debacle. Morris turns to him and gives him a fierce glare.
Morris: “So Michael. What are you singing for us tonight?”
Bikle is about to reply when Morris cuts him short again.
Morris: “Good choice. And what musical round would be complete without the karaoke cubicle of eternal foulness!”
The same abomination of carpentry is gestured to. The door reappears and unclicks open with an evil hiss. Large dark metal pipes now protrude from the sides, and a low piped discordant melody issues forth.
Morris: “In you get Captain Beaky!”
Sinister mechanical Johnson bustles him in and Koth Hotep blasts the stage with an icy misty breath of despair. Bikle peers out worriedly.
Morris: “Yolanda, whenever you’re ready turn the crank!”
Yolanda sighs and begins to slowly turn the evil machine. As she does so an unmistakeable yet still dissonant version of a famous tune appears.
Morris: Booming “Sing contestant sing! Your soul depends upon it!”
Bikle: Falteringly begins “Bi’ve got a… lovely bunch of cocoduts…!”
Morris: “Marvellous, now remember the stuff as well, Johnson put stuff back on the conveyer”
Bikle’s eyes scan the belt as he uncomfortably warbles.
Bikle: “Large ones, s’ball ones some as big as your head o.o.”
Morris: Begins again: “A baked potato, a coconut, John Lewis pillow cases, a dvd player with digibox, an undead crocodile, another coconut, another coconut, a John Lewis coconut, Astaroth’s coconut, a block of cheese….”
At this, a voice is heard from the audience.
Buckle: To the audience member next to him. “Ho dow, dat’s a coincidence, you see, hearlier today…”
Morris scowls, a flurry of Johnsons dart into the crowd, and there comes the sound of blows. The Johnsons reemerge carrying a slumped, bloody figure. Morris resumes his monologue;
“A litre bottle of Special Red. 5 lepers leaping. A baked coconut. Jerry Lee Lewis’ paternity case. A commercially ill advised “Judge Bikle” Action Figure. A Coco Chanel vanity case. A baked Alaska. A cage of dead canaries…”
Bikle: “By cadaries!”
Morris: “A coconut. A coconut. Soup. A coconut. A dreaded Wendigo Teatime Assortment. Johnson. A foaling stall. A bowl of gooseberries. A leading brand of non-drowsy decongestant.”
Yolanda, sensing the audience’s restlessness, tries to interrupt……but Morris is in no mood to be thwarted.
Morris: “A penny Farthing. A microwave oven. A pair of trousers.”
Bikle: “By trousers!”
Morris: “a mouldy plate, a cuckoo clock, a dirty sock, a severed head, a four poster bed….”
Bikle’s head swims at the horrendous list.
Bikle: “Bi feel a little queer” he moans.
Morris pauses impressively “and…..the mangle of Koth Hotep”
The hideous mangle roles slowly across the belt and out of sight. Bikle lies slumped in the cubicle mumbling the words to the coconut song. At the mention of his mangle Koth Hotep lets out a terrifying hiss.
Morris: ‘Yes, erm, I should think twice before remembering that. Now contestant, get out the box!”
The door unclicks and Bikle falls sideways out of the cubicle and lies there mumbling. Morris puts the microphone to him.
Morris: “So contestant, what was on the list?”
Bikle: “Cocodut…” Comes the feeble reply
Morris: “Congratulations, you have won a coconut! Give him a round of applause ladies and gentlemen”
Bikle raises his head feebly as the audience applauds wildly. In his fevered mind their hands have been replaced with brown husk covered hemispheres which clack together with a noise all too reminiscent of mud stained ponies skittering frantically on a music hall stage.
Bikle: “Cocoduts?”
Morris dubiously prods the bedraggled figure with a stick.
Morris: “He doesn’t look very cute Miranda. Do you think we should keep him?”
Morris is suddenly distracted by a cracking sound. Auntie Mavis has gain access to the coconut reserve and is now using her powerful reptilian feet to crack them open. Johnson tries in vain to fend her away, but wants to keep his distance from the vicious appendages. Crack, crack the coconuts lie in twain, and she makes a hideous screech.
Morris: “Oi you!” Morris shouts, “leave my prize coconuts alone!” Morris moves towards her but slips in the coconut milk careering into Johnson, who in turn trips over Bikle’s slumped figure. “Yikes! Johnson!”
Johnson: “Mwaaerk!”
At the bottom of the pile, Bikle stares blankly at the chaos, then something seems to shake him. Struggling free he draws himself to his feet.
Bikle: “By cocodut! By prize cocodut! Ruined! I’ll get you for this Bavis!” Johnson and Yolanda attempt to restrain him, but he wrenches himself free. “Ho! Get off of be you two!” and rushes at his opponent.
Morris signals Johnson to bring on another act to distract the terrified crowd. A pasty figure in red, yellow and green rags springs forth from the wings clutching a basket of brightly coloured capsicums.
Pete & Peppers:”Allo everybody! Eet ees I, Pete! And I ‘ave ma peppairs!”
Intent upon her work of destruction Bavis does not see her maddened nephew bearing down upon her until the last moment Just as Bikle is about the grab the destructive relative, she expands her leathery wings and takes to the air, clutching the last good coconut. Pete and his peppers is unsure what to do next, but spying Koth’s mangle is displeased as in his last encounter with it ruined several peppers.
Pete&Peppers: “Zat pesky machine, I will pelt it with ze pepairs!”
Launches an array of colourful peppers which duly bounce off the evil device. Koth Hotep rumbles angrily amongst the rafters and a spiny tentacle unfurls downwards. With a last despairing scream the harlequin is thrust headfirst betwixt the rollers of doom. The handle spins briefly and he is no more. His final act however has unforeseen consequences, as a particularly juicy pepper richochets off the mangle, caromes off Bikle’s forehead and bursts square in Bavis’ face.
Bavis: “Aaaaaaeee! My eyes! So vinegary!”
Blinded, she swoops and whirls about the auditorium, banging into struts and lights.
Morris: “Ho Ho! Looks as though Pete picked a pack of PICKLED peppers eh Melinda?”
Bavis, screeching slams into a chandelier. The coconut is jarred from her pincers and plummets downwards. Bikle: “By cocodut! Catch it somebody!”
Pete/Paul: “Uh huh hu huh. Allow us to catch your coconut!”
Clancy: “Bllblblblp! Not likely, my prize coconut!”
Clancy swoops by in a kind of microlight, catching the coconut with a net, sadly he then nearly crashes straight into Koth Hotep,takes evasive action loop the looping, the coconut plummets out the net.
Bikle: “Stop dat cocodut!”
Pete/Paul: “Uhuhuh we’ll help”
p & p try again. The coconut lands harshly on petes head knocking him out “uhuhuh ouch” thud, but the soft landing leaves it intact.
Bikle: “Ahah by cocodut” Bikle grabs it at last. Morris dusting himself down and wiping coconut milk off his hands on his Bikles cloak
Morris: “Well I suppose you did win it fair and square, but now would you like the opportunity to take this coconut home or gamble it for whatever is in the box?”
A large sinister black box is brought on by Johnson
Bikle: “Berrr I’ll keep de coconut if you don’t bind.”
Morris: “As I was saying will you keep the coconut or gamble? Ladies and gentlemen he’s going to gamble. Greedy or brave or heading for the grave, as granny used to say. Are you sure?”
Produces the Judge Bikle doll and moves it whilst doing a Bikle impersonation
Judge Bikle: “Yes bi’d love to gamble siledce I’d court ribbit!”
Morris: “Marvelous, and tonight’s next special guest will open the box and I will have the coconut, infact I already have it look!”
A brown Jenkin like coconut creature sits on Morris’ shoulder and Bikle is empty handed.
Bikle: “By bloody cocodut! Ho very well den, Hi suppose H’i’ll hopen the box.”
Morris: “An excellent choice.” says Morris, gesturing to a phalanx of Johnsons who have levelled their carbines at Bikle. “No need for that now Johnson. Now Michael, I’m sure that you’d want your beloved brother to witness your final gamble.”
Buckle staggers in rather bloodied and contused, but still full of keen boyish interest.
Buckle: “Ho Bikle! H’i’m od de telly!”
A couple of Carl’s sheep have wandered in with him, adding a strangely pastoral note to the scene.
Morris “Now Millicent, with no further ado, I’d like a wagon wheel.”
Yolanda sighs and goes off to bring on the special guest. Morris strokes the animated coconut which appears to be whispering into his ear.
Morris: “An excellent idea Coco.”
But then replying to himself with the judge Bikle doll.
Judge Bikle: “Bi’m dot so sure about dat, Borris! Order, Order!”
Morris: “Shut up you, you turkey bastard, what would you know anyway. Eh coco?”
Judge Bikle: “Bi’m just saying, dat’s against de law!”
Morris: “Enough! Enough! Johnson the special guest”
Captain Flint is wheeled on from stage left on a trolley by Johnson.
Morris: “Good evening Captain, great to have you on the show!”
Captain Flint:
Morris: “Marvellous! Now Captain the box if you please!
Silence except for the soft hiss of Koth: the silence and the waiting go on interminably, nothing happens. Eventually Morris whispers:
Morris: “Give him a hand Johnson.”
Johnson lifts captain flint to nudge the box lid open as if he is doing so himself. Sadly captain flint is too heavy and cumbersome for Johnson to wield effectively and Johnson inadvertently tips him into the box, there is a thump and a hideous squelching sound.
Morris: “Whoops a daisy! That’s done for old Flinty. Miranda! What other old chestnuts have we got lined up in the freezer?”
Yolanda shakes her head sadly and shrugs, pointing at a row of tarpaulin draped cages. Morris lifts the first sheet.
Morris: “Hmmmm, Toad and Barrel. No.” Second cage, “The bonus barrel of King Johnson? No.”
As he approaches the third cage, it emits a hideous whinnying sound, and something spatters against the inside of the sheet. Bikle takes Morris’s arm,
Bikle: “Berrr, dot dat one Borris, what about number 4?”
The sound of breaking glass comes from within, followed by a hard punch. From behind voices can also be heard.
Alfonso: “Owwww!”
Duke of Croy: “Zat was ze last of ze cider you fuckair Alphonso! Eh! Yolandair! Lemme out of thees steenkeen’ cage and ah’ll mek you feel real good! That fucking madman Morris ees’nt around ees ‘e?”
Morris looks disdainfully at the shouting French cage and decides against it. Now from the side of the stage Clancy reappears clutching a red book and small bottle.
Clancy: “Blblblblp you thought you came here tonight to present a quiz show that deteriorates into farcical insanity when in fact Morris tonight…”
Morris: His insane interest is picqued “What tonight? What tell me?”
Clancy: “Blblblbkblp no rush, just drink this bottle of non-drowsey decongestant first, blbkblblbp, leading brand!”
Morris: “Give it here you turkey bastard!”
Clancy: “Blblblnp certainly!”
Morris opens and glugs down the bottle
Morris: “Now tonight what?”
Clancy: “Blblblp feeling sleepy little Morris?”
Morris: “You Turkey berries…. What have you….?” Morris stumbles and slurs.
Clancy: “Blblbllp changed the bottles! Blblblblp leading brand of drowsy decongestant eh judge Bikle?” Remarkably and disturbingly Morris’ mouth makes the Judge Bikle voice perfectly:
Judge Bikle: “Yes dat’s right! Siledce I’d court for you!”
Morris: “I do feel a bit sleepy, maybe I could snuggle up with you mummy?”
Clancy: “Blblblblp of course you can blblblblp, snuggle up!”
Clancy wraps Morris up in an old duvet and lays him down. Morris snores loudly.
Yolanda “Oh Clancy you are clever!”
Yolanda claps her hands excitedly. More sheep mill around the periphery giving now not only a pastoral but also Nativity esque sense. Lighting Johnson adjusts the central spotlight appropriately to emphasise the image. Clancy turns to the camera and winks.
Clancy: “And that ladies and gentlemen is magic. Blblblblblblblp!”

Published in: on January 5, 2015 at 9:57 am  Comments (2)