Chapter 8 – Dumbell Ena

The atmosphere inside the inn was very much like that of any Public House anywhere in the Known Universe. It was probably the same as any Public House in the Unknown Universe but that will never be known.. There was one major difference; you have to travel far and wide on earth to find a pub full of Orcs, Fairies, Pixys, Goblins and Gnomes  – though a trawl around Norfolk would probably do it.

The four travellers booked in at reception discussing whether to pay by cash or credit card and if they wanted a morning call or breakfast in bed. There was some discussion as to what type of breakfast, Full Fairy or Continental; in the end they said they’d suck it and see. Being simple characters from the other side of the sky their luggage was minimal; each carried a small pack with the preparations Hanny had insisted on, including spare trousers, socks and pants. Hanny carried an extra bag for her make-up.

Soon they found themselves in amongst the crowd in the main lounge, drinking beer and swapping tales with other travellers. It is a universal phenomenon that travellers will always try to outdo each other with their tales of mishaps and misadventures. If one traveller lost a friend in a flooded river then the next lost his entire family in a similar flood; if one stood in the plop of a Harpy then the next was plopped on by a flock of Harpies; a third would claim to have been eaten by a Harpy, digested and plopped out amazed that he was still alive. And there was Reganmy Five Heads boasting about her trip to Eleven-a-reef; ‘So much better than Tenerife’.

Our awesome quartet listened to such far fetched tales and tongue in cheek jibes until one strange looking Orc asked what they were up to.

“Heading for the fabled Lake of the Gloompty Fish,” said Greg without thinking.greg the Goblin

“There’s no such place!” quipped a one eyed Orc, an accountant from Setebos with a penchant for yellow trousers and meat cleavers.

His smile disappeared quickly.

Conversation started up again in the room, though at a lower level as most people were now sitting down. Every now and again a face would turn to look at the quartet, then turn away laughing to its companions. The strange Orc sat with them. They began to feel uncomfortable. Orcs were no longer the fearsome warriors of the past but there was always a possibility that this one was a tax inspector.

“I can see I’m making you a little uncomfortable,” said the Orc. “Let me introduce myself. My name is Regan. I’m a chief Financial Advisor for a corporation of Imps, Ogres, Trolls and Alchemists from the far west. IOTA they called themselves though personally I couldn’t care a jot what they’re called as long as they pay me on time. And they do pay on time or else I’ll eat them! I’m not a Tax Inspector,” he added, “though I do know a few!”

He said this with a wicked glint in his single eye.

“Nice to meet you I’m sure,” came the stunted replies of the trio plus one.

“How did you get that wicked glint in your eye?” asked Greg.

“There was a sale on recently at ‘Glints-R-Us’. I got it at a fifty percent discount and counted it as a tax deductible expense,” explained Regan.

“Was it half price because it was for only one eye?” asked Greg.

Regan ignored him though made a mental note about the correct oven temperature for cooking Goblins, and what would be the most suitable Vegetables and sauce.

“And Garlic bread, “ mumbled Regan.

“What?”cover 5

“So you’re off in search of legends?” said Regan, changing the subject.

“That’s right,” returned Steve, still nervous over his upcoming Tax return. “Do you know much about self-assessment?”

The Orc laughed.

“Not really my field. These days I’m much happier advising on Mutual and Trust funds, Pension Planning and Will Writing.”

There was a pause.

The Orc took a large chug of his beer.

As he put the glass down he asked, “So which one of you has the distressed arse?”

Hanny smiled. “A learned Orc! A rare treat. So if you know of the legend you know the answer to your question.”

“Well little Pixy,” said the Orc, “caught with your hand in the tarts box. Serves you right. But it could turn out to be of mutual advantage to both of us!”

“Meaning?”

“Well you see my lovely wife Ena needs a bit of a holiday. She’s a lovely girl but she still has a bit of a desire to walk on the wild side. You know we Orcs became sophisticated many moons ago. We realised that there comes a point when it really just isn’t worth fighting against the system. What you have to do is get inside the system if you want to change it. So that’s what we do these days. We control the system surreptitiously from within. Everyone on the planet now keeps good financial records and as such we have almost alleviated poverty and reduced corporate excess. Except of course with the King and Queen. In spite of this I’m sure that will come. Lord Chalfont has more than a passing sympathy for the Ways of The Accountant. And Kings don’t last forever.”

Hanny felt an uneasy shiver in her spine as he said this.

“So what can we do you for pal?” asked the agitated Goblin.

“As I said we get throwbacks in our race, Orcs with a desire for the wild life. My wife Ena is one such Orc. And I just thought if you lot were on a trip into the wild searching for legends then perhaps you could take her with you.”

“Look Regan,” began Peter, “we have a nice little team here ready to take on the world in the search for a Permanent Cure for Sore Bums. We’re happy. Why would we want another member of the team? More specifically why would we want the company of an Orc who thinks she’s born to be wild?” summer 2013 012

“Excellent points and well made. But let me ask you this; who would want to come under the close scrutiny of a team of Tax Inspectors. Who would want every penny of income checked and double checked by some of the most boring but dangerous creatures on the planet?”

*

The next morning the five travellers set off from the ‘Slug and Rider’ much invigorated. As a sign of his gratitude Regan had agreed to pay all of the bills for the quartet, knowing he would be able to claim it back as travel expenses. Regan was a bully and knew how to get his way.

Ena was an irritating bitch.

She was also the oddest looking Orc any of them had ever seen, even including all of the fiscally aware characters in Banks and Building Societies. Ena had a large mouth that rarely stopped talking, displaying an awesome set of pointy gnashers. She also had ridiculously large ears that looked as though someone had glued two half’s of a saucer to either side of her head.

Ena immediately wanted to take charge of the group, claiming she had scored one hundred percent in a map reading competition. By lunch time they were lost. Ena said ‘what do you expect if you try to lead Goblins or Gnomes anywhere; they are stupid creatures with no sense of direction. Hanny said ‘what do you expect when we don’t even have a map to read’.

Ena dismissed this comment and demanded lunch of cheese and chutney sandwiches with Ryebena.

´Through a weird twist of fate and a weird twist of a wormhole, it once came to pass that a Dead Famous Writer picked up the tale of Dumbell Ena, though got confused between a very small person and a person with a very small brain. Still, it kept Danny Kaye happy for a while.

Ena did keep them all entertained with her stupidity. Whilst walking through the Woodland she admitted to enjoying the sight of a Lumberjack with a marvellous chopper; she constantly gave all of the mountains their wrong names;  and whilst crossing a rather murky stream asked ‘what are water purification tablets used for? When she noticed the label on Steve´s T-shirt she said ‘ yes that´s about right , your name must be ‘S’!’

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The other four grimaced at the daftness which carried an air of menace.

Yet somehow, despite the trials and tribulations the jovial five made their way slowly south, inching day by day toward the fabled Lake of the Multi-Coloured Gloompty Fish.

Well that is assuming that south is the right direction for the Lake, which might not exist.

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Chapter 7 -At the sign of the Slug and Rider.

The afternoon wore on and the Sun sank her heavy head toward the horizon. In a twirl of mysticism the Sun sang, and  she wants us all to know that she gets tired too and is glad of the night so she can rest. The quartet trudged south though still in high spirits. They were not far from the City and still felt safe. There would not be any Ogres or Trolls in this region, though you never be too sure if there was swashbuckling or derring do available.

Eventually they hit a trail that led south east. They debated the validity of following the track. Some said that south east meant it was travelling east with a bit of south thrown in. Others said it was travelling south with a bit of east thrown in. There were those who claimed it must be travelling half way between south and east which was why it was called south east. Hanny gave a partial explanation of the difference between East South East and South South East, which merely left Peter picking at his magic undies and Steve experimenting with counting his toes.The debate raged on. There was agreement to follow it providing it didn’t go east too much; the argument that it would take them south, too, left a couple of them lost.Fairy Hanny

Eventually Fairy Hanny interrupted.

“You three are like twins,” she said. “If you would just stop and listen to me I’ll tell you exactly where this road goes. It travels south east from here, and admittedly at first it is a bit more east than south. However it eventually gets to be more south than east. Nevertheless the point being that I know this road leads to a fantastic pub called ‘The Slug and Rider’. It’s a good place to spend the night, though you have to be wary as it does tend to get full of Orcs.”

“Filthy money grabbers,” said Steve.

“I hope you’re not behind on you tax payments,” said Hanny, “ or there will be one less mouth to feed tomorrow morning, and one fat Orc who will not need to attend breakfast!”

As they walked on Peter asked Hanny to tell them more about the pub they were going to. It was such an unusual name. Most of the hostelries he knew had more predictable names like ‘The Kings Head’ or ‘The Queens Legs’ or ‘The Princes Toupee’. Of course there were the odd ones found in Pixy Ville such as ‘The Pointed Hat and Ears’ and ‘The Acorn and Toadstool’ and the legendary ‘Magic Pouf!’

But ‘The Slug and Rider’?

Bizarre.

“It comes from the deep and distant past, from the times of the Great Wars between The Fairies and the Orcs. It was in the reigns of the Great Fairy Kings such as Grayson, Inman and Howard that the wars with the Orcs were at their most fierce. The Orcs had war lords like Krakk Ed, Gut Eata and Death-Becomes-You. They were savage and bitter times. The wars were always in the balance, each side looking for an advantage. Then one of the Orcs remembered the Giant Slugs that roam wild in the Far East. It was said that these Slugs could Slime an enemy to death in no time at all. The Orcs sent scouting parties to find the beasts. The first few Orcs underestimated the power of the Slugs and were swamped in slime trails, a sight horrific to behold. Then Gaz Guzzla, a fierce Orc warrior, managed to sneak up on one of the semi-comatose Slugs; he quickly lashed a rope around its head and began to ride it. Legend has it, it took four days of bucking and bouncing until the Slug finally tired and gave up the fight, having slithered hundreds of yards and left a slime trial bigger than you’d find in the toilets at a Miss Universe competition. Then Gaz played his clever hand. He had a team of Orcs standing by for this moment, and as the beast gave up the fight the team ran out brandishing the leaves of many hardy perennials. The Slug was delighted, taking the proffered leaves with glee. It didn’t take long before this first Great Slug was tamed by the Orcs. The Orcs called it ‘Slippy’.

After Gazs’ success with Slippy it wasn’t long before the Orcs had control of many hundreds of the Giant Slugs. They formulated a massive mounted attack on the City of Setebos. Now you must remember that although they are slugs they move much faster than the slimy little gits that ruin most Hostas. So here we have the scenario. Over one thousand Orc warriors mounted on their Giant Slugs began a devastating charge on Setebos across the flatlands that lie to the East of the City. It was a fascinating though frightening sight to behold, according to the stories that have come down over the ages and that. The cries of death and torment from the Orcs mixed with the deafening slither of one thousand Giant Slugs!”

“So what happened?” asked Peter, totally taken up with the tale.

“To the East of the City lies the great Plain of Yaw Wrasse. Long ago in the time before time, well a time before my time, anyway, the Great Plain was a shallow sea. It was filled with magnificently coloured Wrasse, John Dory and Haddock.”

“And Pollack’s?” asked Peter.Peter the Pixy

“No it’s true. Lots of fish; they were caught regularly to feed the city. As time went by the stocks got lower, and the sea began to dry up. The water level lowered and most of the fish died. But one species seemed to thrive in the ever increasing shallow salty waters. It was a Wrasse that seemed to pitch and roll a lot. The people began to call it the Yaw Wrasse. The waters got lower and lower so that the fishermen could just walk out and nonchalantly kick up Yaw Wrasse, catch them in a net and serve them for supper with chips, mushy peas and curry sauce.”

“Even so the water got lower and lower until there was nothing left. No fish. No water. Just a massive salt Plain.”

“So what was happening?” asked Steve, being a curious little, though hardy, fucker. HieronymusBosch-473265

“As the mounted Slug cavalry got closer to the City they began to slow down. This is very unusual as cavalry normally speed up on the final charge. Everyone wondered what was happening. Had the Orcs devised a new strategy? Then The Slugs stopped; one by one across the great open space the Slugs stopped and began to melt. It was only then that we all remembered that the plain on the east side of the City was a big salt flat. The Orcs had killed their mounts due to poor planning and preparation. It is said that nearly all of the Great Slugs died that day, and few can now be found in the East.”

“Oh look we’re here,” continued Hanny as they approached the inn.

“The Slug and Rider.”

“That was a lovely tale thank you Hanny,” said Peter. “And we didn’t have to describe the scenery on the way!”

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Chapter 6 – What happens next?

They sat together in the Great Hall. Now they were seven, Queen Dillberry would have to play keyboards.

Rooty toot toot!

The pondering had long since finished and all seven were now deep in dialogue. Peter was more than happy with his newly acquired underclothing, though a little perturbed at the potential embarrassment and inherent danger of bending over with his rear end pointing up toward the Moon. Greg felt the outcome so far had been successful and quietly fulfilling, though he knew the task wasn’t over yet. This would be nothing more than a temporary respite.

A chance to draw breath.

A chance to draw little stick men in the corners of a book and animate them to produce a very poor cartoon effect.

A chance to ask the King and Queen what is blowing in the wind.

A chance to write and talk in clichés, as it were.

A chance to play strip poker with three lovely young ladies.

No chance.

The Fairies felt it was time to bring the travellers down to the ground.

They pointed out that despite the pleasure given by the magic underpants it was only a brief measure and to find permanent relief Peter would have to travel deep inside his head, and deep inside the interior of the continent to search for a Permanent Cure.

“Is there such a thing as a Permanent Cure for the Dukes!?” asked Hanny.

“Legend says there is…” said the Queen.

“Well let´s ask Legend then,” said Greg.

“…but the journey is perilous,” continued Dillberry, ignoring the stupidity of the diminutive Goblin. “Many have attempted it, none have returned. It is written that the quest involves a journey Down South to find the Fabled Lake of the Gloompty Fish. There the intrepid explorer must find a Bold Imp with a Sturdy Boat that will take the courageous adventurer out into the middle of the Great Fabled Lake. Then he must sort out his tackle and begin the Herculean task of fishing for the Great Gloompty Fish. After writhing and fighting the Monster fish for many hours he will land the catch on the Sturdy Boat and bas h the fucker to death. At the end of this arduous task the Hero must rapidly get back to the shore of the Town on the edge of the Great Fabled Lake of the Gloompty Fish, find the legendary Imp who extracts potions from Strange Fabled Creatures and persuade this other Hero to extract the oil from the Magical Liver of the Gloompty Fish. Legend then says applying this fresh Liver Oil to the affected parts will lead to a Permanent Cure for the Dukes!”

“Well that sounds just fabulous,” said Peter. “I suppose I’d best be off as soon as I can. It’s me with the sore bottom and me that needs to cure it. So Queenie, if you could just give me a map and a bit of scran to see me through the next few days then I’ll be off love.”

“It could just be a fable,” added the Queen.20100425132030!Hieronymus_Bosch-Removing_the_Rocks_from_the_Head-Detail

The Queen smiled at him, her beast like face almost betraying a touch of childhood beauty.

“No way young Pixy. You can’t undertake that journey alone. I would expect that your facially challenged friend (she grimaced at Greg) at least he will want to travel with you. And I will grant you a further companion. I will send one of my lovely Fairy Maidens with you.”

Hanny, Nouf and Thanthat all looked eagerly toward the Queen. They were all eager to take any chance to get out of washing the floppy flappy flabby bits of the Majestic King.

Dillberry looked from one to the other then back again. She knew that Innocent had more than an inkling in his dinkling for Hanny.

“It will be Fairy Hanny all the way!” declared the Queen,” She will be a good guide for you and is skilled in many tongues; I hear many great compliments regarding her tongue work. Besides she will be able to monitor your use of the Magic Underpants, report back to me on their effectiveness ensuring they are fit for purpose. It´s always important to have standards and meaningful targets, don´t you know! And if you eventually get the Fabled Bum Cure I would hope that Hanny would bring back any spare Gloompty Fish Liver Oil for my experiments.”

Greg bowed. “Majestic Queen Dillberry, I will gladly travel with Peter. He needs my looks and my brains if we are to make any progress.”

“That’s that failed then,” said the King in an aside to Nouf.

“And Majesty I too will be more than pleased to travel on this quest,” said Hanny. “This journey to destroy the burning ring. It will be an amusement; it will get me away from having to scrub the hygienically challenged Monarch, a pleasure I can survive without for as long as necessary!”

“That’s settled then,” said the Queen. “See ya!”

With that the Pixy, the Goblin and Fairy Hanny departed the Great Hall, with its fine columns, its four walls and its roof, to head Down South to the fabled land of the Lake of the Gloompty Fish.

What adventures would befall them?

What fun would they have?

Would there be any shenanigans with two guys and one doll?

Would they meet many strange and interesting characters that seemed too outlandish to be true?

It was time to make preparations.

Hanny took charge of this and put together packs of food and spare clothing. Being a logical and highly intelligent young gal she put each of the prepared goods into packs and labelled them. There were eight packs in all so she wrote down the contents on a list and labelled them from ‘A’ to ‘H’. She then assigned the packs amongst the three of them.

She made sure that Peter was carrying preparation ‘H’.

They left the Great Castle of Setebos via door number three, turned right, went up the road and bumped into Steve of the Guard. Being a nosey Gnome he asked how it had gone, what was happening, any juicy gossip to tell the guys as they stagged on overnight?

“What’s the buzz, tell me what a happening is!” he said.

Hanny explained the scenario and the quest to a scintillated Steve.

“Sounds cool,” said the Head of the Guard, “any chance of coming with you?”

“But what about your duties here?”

“Bored! It’s crap! I’d rather watch paint dry or be eaten by a fabled multi-coloured fish. This isn’t the life for me. I want adventure!”

So it was that that evening Peter the Pixy, Greg the Goblin, Steve the Gnome and the Fairy Hanny headed out of the West Gate of the Great City of Setebos.

They walked several miles before one of them remembered that the quest lay Down South. So turning left they set off on what would be the Greatest Adventure of their lives, a Magnificent Swashbuckling Tale on the Quest to find a Permanent Cure for Piles!

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Chapter 5 – Of Gold mines and magic undies.

Cover 5The sextet could have formed a magical jazz band. Innocent would have to be the drummer what with being fat and lazy, with Greg on the double bass – his overlong arms and squat legs made him ideal to handle the instrument, while his ugly face would look cool if adorned with shades. Peter would have a choice of instruments but would no doubt go for virtuoso guitar, sitting down to play as this suggests a more studied approach to music. The three babes would form the brass section and vocals. Hanny would play alto sax, caressing the long slender metal as she oozed each silky note; Nouf the trumpeter would cradle the moon with its bright shiny notes; Thanthat would play trombone and sing with a deep sexy voice that could turn saints into jazz fans.

King Innocent and his Unstable Mates play ‘Blues on Uranus’.

Radical.

They left the Great Hall with all its attributes – walls and roof and that – sliding off amongst the highways and byways that formed the Majestic Castle of the Fairy Kings of Setebos. Soon they were descending below ground, past the long disused dungeons, past the food stores (Peter was not tempted), and on toward the Magic Cellars of Queen Dillberry.

It was rumoured all over the planet that the Queen dibbled and dabbled in Magic. Everybody hoped that she dealt in Good Magic or White Magic as it is known, though many of the noble Fairy’s wanted to see some of that old Black Magic called love. Was the Queen a Black Magic woman? There are many dark secrets in Black Magic, but we won’t look into them as it may spoil our appetite.

They entered a room filled with bubbling cauldrons, smokes, fumes and strange coloured liquids. The smell was foul; there were bits of animals lying on worktops and odd looking roots were arranged on shelves. There were jars containing potions and powders with strange labels like ‘Mango Chutney’ and ¨Piccalilli´ and ´Gherkins´ and ´Crabs dicks.

“I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere as we appear to be in the kitchens,” said the King.

It took a little more pondering and deliberating but they eventually reached the magic workshop of the Queen. The four Fairy’s had been here on the odd occasion; the King liked to see his Fairy Queen now and again. To the dynamic duo it was a place of awe. There were jars of green and yellow goo on the shelves; sticks; cauliflowers and potatoes with eyes; there were four and twenty years ago, baked in a pie; the were runes and prunes; nuts and bolts; there was a magic dog that made a bolt for the door and a guinea pig that made a run for a rabbit; there were birds that sing and bees that sting, a frog that walks and a dog that talks; they came upon a child of God who was walking along the road; there was a magical mystery tour just waiting to take them away; there were three blind mice training guide dogs; and there in the corner stood the wonderful Queen Dillberry, clearly a salad dodger just like her beloved King, but with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp.

“Hello love,” said the King, “I’ve brought a couple of the lads around for a pint. Oh and one of them’s got a sore bum he’d like some advice on! Come on girls, get us a drink.”

As the handmaidens searched for a few beers Queen Dillberry looked deep into the eyes of the frightened Pixy.

“I suppose I should shout ´off with his head!’ but I´ll leave that to another fantastic Queen.

“And there could be a copyright problem too,” suggested Hanny, practical as ever.

“Well yes – just copy it if it seems right,” said the Queen.

The Queen pondered and looked askance.

“Off with his head!” she shouted.

“And off his head we have done,” muttered Hanny, “with what shall we do with it?”

“Say that again!”

“What shall we do with his head when it comes off?” asked Nouf.

“Fairy Nouf, good question,“ said the Queen and pondered some more.

“Give it to Lord Chalfont,” suggested the pondered Queen.

“Oh my love, “said the King. “You´re always saying give Head to Lord Chalfont! It´s not really his role to be collecting Heads. He collects taxes!”

“Fair enough,” said the Queen.

“Yes Your Majesty?”  said fairy Nouf.

The Queen decided it was time to look askance again.

Peter looked upon her doubtfully. Would he lose his head? Quite a price to pay for a Fairy Tart and a sore arse.

“Worry not oh anally challenged Pixy! For I am the Queen Dillberry! Star of the Sea! Mother of Invention! Zapper of flies and Captain in the heart of Beef! I can kill or cure you young Pixy! Choose wisely or the consequences could be fatal!”

“A cure would be best I think your ladyship.”

“You chose well my young friend. Tell me what can ail thee, sprite at arms, alone and palely loitering?”

“Well if you go back a few pages you can see that I´m stricken with the Dukes! Due to having one of your tarts,” explained Peter.

So the Queen read the story so far.

“The Dukes! So the prophecy is true. Praise Oberon and Titania! And Puck and Quince! And a man named Vince! Oh Sweet Gene Vincent! So no more chasing after my beautiful tarts anymore?”

Peter adorned his guilty look.

“I might be tempted if they taste of raspberry,” he admitted.

“Saints preserve us!” squealed the Queen. “He likes raspberry tarts!”

“And strangled farts!”

“Oh aye!” said the Pixy. “If the most beautiful tart in the world stood before me now, tempting me to lick and munch and drool all over it, I would be able to say No! I do not want my lust turned into a stinging pain down below!”

“Even if it is a raspberry tart?”

Peter thunk it through. Raspberry?

He loved raspberry tarts, though he hadn´t tried many.

He could raspberry tart all day and be happy.

But then the bum grapes would expand.

“No! Not even a raspberry tart!” declared the pitiful Pixy.


HieronymusBosch-473265“Good! Then I can help. Hanny!” she cried, “go to the cupboard in the back of my bedroom, the black cupboard with all the lovely pictures of hosts of golden daffodils, and open up the Golden Box. In it you will find a garment that will help our stricken companion. Go quickly girl for his arse has a burning ring of fire!”

Hanny returned after a period in which Peter and Greg felt their souls had been read by the Fairy Queen. Hanny held a small package that she handed to the Queen.

“My forbears knew of the prophecy and prepared for such an event. Long ago in the depths of time Queen Spenser sat in the light of the moon knitting her magic into this garment. The garment has the power to relieve a sore arse. I present now to you, troubled Pixy that you are, the magic underpants of the Fairy Queen Spenser!”

“Pardon?” said Peter

“Magic underpants?” asked Greg

“Yup!” said the Queen. “These will give better relief than CO2 or lard. However they must be looked after carefully. Too much time with the magic underpants can be addictive. They really should come with a government health warning.”

“What, like don´t smoke death sticks or drink Brownie Beer?”

“Something like that. Magic in your pants can be a bit bad,” explained the Queen.

“But what do I do oh bog eyed Majestic Queen?” asked Peter.

“Get your kecks off, chuck you lard stained trolleys away, divest your chuff of the semi-liquid lard and put these on. You’ll get instant relief.”

“Could you give me a hand please Hanny?” asked the Pixy in feigned innocence.

Hanny snorted derisively.

“If you want a hand that’s a job you can do yourself!” she said.

When Peter donned the magic pants his life changed instantly. The screeching, searing spikes that had insinuated their metaphorical presence in his rectum were immediately cast out like leftover cabbage. The tight pulsating smouldering sphincter lost its dominating authority in his brain. Freedom surged through his nether regions like a spring tide on a marsh. No longer would he walk in pain, carrying the fear of a leaking bum.

This was self-determination.

This was bliss.

Personal motivation to be the best of the best.

Yes Sir!

This was the magic underpants effect.

“Feeling better then son?” asked the King as he supped on a glass of brown ale.

“Better! I feel pretty and witty and gay!”

“Now, take care young Pixy,” warned the Queen. “You are using powerful magic; magic that can dampen the dark power of the burning ring. But beware. The magic doesn’t last forever. Those pants will need recharging every now and again if they are to maintain their effectiveness.”

Peter looked confused.

What could she mean by recharging? These pants had instantly rejuvenated his Jacksy – was she implying the effect wouldn’t last?

“The effect won’t last if they aren’t properly maintained, washed regularly and re-energised,” said the Queen.

Hanny looked at the perplexed Pixy in exasperation.

“Didn’t you listen to what her Majesty said? These are Underpants knitted in the light of the Magical Moon. Moonlight waxes and wanes! If you don’t keep them on full charge then the power will wane and you’ll be in pain!”

“Pardon me for butting in,” intruded the gob smacked Goblin, “but how exactly does one go about recharging a pair of underpants, even given that they are magic?”

“Moonlight!” chorused the Fairy’s.

“Moonlight?” questioned the brave travellers.

“And roses?”  asked the King.

Fairy Thanthat folded her arms in disbelief.

“You two really are as thick as pig shit aren’t you!” she declared.Fairy Hanny

“Fair cop!” agreed the Pixy and Goblin.

“Look,” continued Thanthat. “The power of the pants will reduce over the lunar cycle. So when there is a full moon you have to recharge them. And before you ask,” she continued, preventing the thickos from interrupting, “the method is quite easy. You drop your trousers and point your underpants clad bottom at the moon.”

“In the world of magic we call this Mooning,” said Queen Dillberry.

Pondering continued for some time until Greg had the courage to ask “Which Moon does he point his bum at? After all there are seventeen.”

Fairy Hanny giggled.

“Surely it’s obvious. Oberon, King of the Fairies. Point your bum at that one!”

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Chapter 4 – Bearing Our Souls.

titleIt was now a delight to be in the presence of the newly perfumed King, in the Great Hall with its Great Walls and Great Columns and Great Roof and Great Gargoyles. Add to that the  of the three most gorgeous babes they had ever seen, the stars of this epic tale were finally ready to take another step in the right direction.

“As I was saying before I was turned into a powder puff; what can I do for you lads?” repeated the King.

“Before we go any further, oh majestically scented one,” said Greg. “Before we get any further could you give us a proper introduction to your lusciously lovely assistants?”

“I’d should say so too, oh fragranced one that no longer smells!” added Peter.

“Sorry lads, quite remiss of me. These are my favourite handmaidens, good for all the jobs that need to be done by hand. Let me introduce you to Fairy Hanny, Fairy Nouf and the other one.”

“Well hello ladies,” chorused the hopeful duet, eyes dancing a quick step up and down the obvious protuberances of the scrumptious trio.

“Hello lads,” they shrilled in return.

“But tell me, oh father of all things that no longer smell of Dragon shite,” continued the perplexed Pixy, “why do you call this third fair maiden ‘the other one’?”

The King looked away, the anger dancing back up his trouser leg, out of his shirt and onto his Crimson face. Anger personified!

Peter was worried. Had he accidently stood in a social dog turd, a faux pas that could get him twenty years in the doghouse?

He turned to Hanny.

“Have I done something to offend, fair maiden?”

Hanny returned a gracious and condescending smile, like a Hollywood actor thanking a fan for pointing out what a great guy he was in his last movie.

“Not really,” said the buxom babe. “It’s just that the King sometimes has trouble in pronouncing certain names.”

“You mean like Siobhan, Niamh, Caoimhe and Aoife?” enquired Greg.

“Don´t be feckin ridiculous,” snorted Hanny. “Her name is Thanthat.”

“So it isn’t Beibhinn?”

“I can´t see how it could be any harder than those names!” stated Peter.

A glint of a memory came into Hanny´s eye. Had she travelled to the Emerald isle and the land of Faery? There was something troubling her, a memory that could not exist, a sense of déjà vu without a view. Her vision glazed temporarily. Who is Turenn she asked herself.

Peter and Greg just assumed she had wind.

Fairy Nouf took up the tale.

“As well as starting each day smelling like a teenage boys bedroom covered in monkey ordure, the King just struggles with some names. We try not to make too big a deal of it,” she whispered conspiratorially.

“So what is the problem with saying her name?” asked Greg.

“Can´t you see,” said Nouf, “he’s the King, the most wonderful being in this Universe, the most Majestic Majesty ever!”

“And he can’t say Fairy Thanthat.”

The King smiled, then expelled his angry look, along with a large amount of home grown  methane.

“Get out and walk!” shouted the King as he airbrushed his recently changed underpants.greg the Goblin

Peter and Greg, not being use to Royal Protocol, turned to leave the Great Hall.

Hanny and Nouf stopped them, while Thanthat giggled at their lack of sophistication.

The King chortled.

“Sorry lads,” he said, “ I didn’t mean you had to get out and walk away from here. It´s just a little encouragement for the Lean Bean Machine to leave the room! You don’t want them air biscuits hanging round too long.

The boys sort of felt chastened and embarrassed; fancy not understanding what to do in the case of a Royal Anal Foghorn.

King Innocent calmed his chortle to a snigger.

“So lads; what is the problem?” he asked. “ Why am I sitting here in my Great Hall waiting to listen to some petition from a hideous Goblin that is ugly as sin (no offence, and a Cardinal sin at that), and a Pixy that looks as though he has been riding a horse for the last fifty years and smells of part heated lard?”

Peter went simply red, then deep purple. The glow from his face began to light up the Great Hall and made the King even more Crimson. He tried to shift on his feet but each small movement told him that the lard was losing its effectiveness; the Dukes! were sending little spear parties deep into his jacksy. He looked lovingly into the eyes of Fairy Hanny; this was no time to beat about the bush, much as he would have enjoyed doing so; this was a time for action and honesty. And he was scared to fart.

Faint heart never won Fairy maiden.

Mind you in the annals of history a pile ridden Pixy never won a Fair maiden.

I digress.

“Your Majesty, here I am in the court of the most munificent monarch on Uranus.  I have a confession to make and a tale to tell, which might just explain the lardy smell.”

Greg nodded sagely; a decent rhyme was never a crime.

“Well hurry up lad, me dinners nearly ready!” said the King as he lifted his excess tummy flab.

“Sorry oh newly fragrant one. I stand before you, a poor humble Pixy, a forlorn hope for I have been stricken with a foul case of the Dukes!”

There was no reaction from the Fairies. They knew the implications of this confession. The dammed Pixy had been at the tarts. Fairy tarts at that. The Kings tarts, possibly. The King looked at his three lovelies. They shook their heads in denial.

No.

Peter the Pixy

 

No way would any of these three ever consort with a Pixy, letting him help himself to a tart. They were too loyal.

He looked at Thanthat. He couldn’t say it for certain with that one.

Trust.

“How did a hairy arsed little scumbag like you get his hands on one of my tarts!” belched the King.

Peter began to shake violently. The rapidity of the shakiness caused the now partially melted lard to slip down and out of  his chuff. The fear of the King outweighed the fear of losing the contents of his bottom, and slowly the life saving lard slid down his leg, like a sloppy turd escaping from the badly fitted nappy on a two year old.

The King grew more crimson as rage took the stage and treachery superceded lechery.

Hanny intervened.

 

“Majesty! It is your munificence to forgive and forget. It is obvious that our sore bottomed friend has suffered. But, on the positive side, he has proved to us that the old prophecy is true. This will be a good advert for the Kingdom. We won’t see many other reprobates wanting to suffer this type of anal embarrassment!”

The King subsided and released his pent up anger by peppering the air with a staccato burst of trouser trumpets.

“True enough love; true enough,” said the King as he frowned upon his handmaidens clutching their noses. “In fact you really have done us a favour here young sore b

um. I apologise for my harsh words but you have to admit, if you thought someone had had your tart you’d be nonplussed!”

Peter cast himself on the floor. He was filled with a mixture of shame for his

actions and the pain in his arse. The tears began to flow. A shiny brownish white puddle also began to flow from the bottom of his trousers.

Greg looked to the King.

“Oh sweet-smelling sovereign! Please show forgiveness on your humble subject. Forgive him his trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us. Your tarts probably led him into temptation; now deliver him from the evil that resides in his jacksy.”

King Innocent allowed his eyes to do a little jig; there is nothing quite so fetching as a cross-eyed Fairy. Alas Innocent wasn’t particularly handsome. Never mind. He had a decision to make.

The King was far from displaying nominative determinism. When it came to temptation he gave in to his urges. He had a penchant for tarts, despite the warnings of revenge from his Queen. In the history of the Kings of Setebos, Innocent was the fattest bastard who had ever attempted to sit on the throne. His predecessors had taken care to diet properly, taking pride in their food intake. They loved fairy cakes and angel delight but knew when to stop. They understood the food pyramid, the importance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the correct proportions. It was the Age of the Thin Kings and all was well on Uranus.

Those days had long gone and now we have King Innocent the Salad Dodger.

He knew what is like to be tempted by a strawberry tart on a sleepy afternoon. He had his own little stick of Blackpool rock, and liked to have a nibble on it now and again.

“You’re right,” said the King, “the Pixy has suffered and will continue to suffer in his secret parts unless we can find a cure. You Goblin! Get some fresh lard up his chod bin before he starts screaming like a banshee.”

The Goblin rapidly got to work, pondering the origin of purified pig fat. Who first thought of that? Mind you who first thought of mixing hops and barley with water to make beer? And who thought reality TV would be a good thing? And who thought putting six hundred and thirty five cheats and liars in a building would lead to good government?

There are stranger things in heaven and Earth than you would ever find on Uranus.

Hanny, Nouf and Thanthat watched in disbelief. They were used to unsoiling a fat Ruler but cramming a bum with lard was a new experience for them all.

“Can I have a go?” asked Hanny.

The remnants of Peters dignity careered out of control. How weird to have the girl of your dreams cramming a medicine up your troublesome chuffer. Should he be pleased with the intimacy or horrified at the loss of self-esteem? It was hard to work out. Would it be ok to ask her for a quiet drink that evening knowing that she had spent time stuffing his donk with lard?

The butt packing was soon done and Greg looked for a place to put the empty wrappers.

Time appeared to stand still for a few moments.

The six of them sat or stood in the Great Hall, with its walls and roof, not to mention its columns and windows, pondering. Each pondered in his or her own way, remembering previous times when pondering was less of a challenge.

The King intervened.

“I was just wondering as I was pondering,” he said, “as to why a Pixy and a Goblin should come in here as though they have been best friends forever. I just don´t get it. Pixies are fine enough creatures, with their little hats and pointy toed shoes, even if they do nick tarts and get the Dukes! But Goblins! Scum personified. Scum! I would not trust one as far as I could throw him!”

Greg looked at the fat bastard and realised the King probably couldn’t even throw a sprout at a Christmas Turkey.

Fairy Thanthat tried to pacify the King.

“My lord, don’t you remember you said you wanted to be more accessible to everyone on the planet. That you want to be seen as The Monarch of The Many. The King of the Kindred. The Leader of The Lowly. A friendly Fairy King with his beautiful Fairy Queen.”

“Fat chance of that, considering the bag of spanners I’m married to!”

Fairy Thanthat was taken aback; then she was taken a-sideways and a-down.

“Unfair my Lord. Queen Dillberry is one of the bestest Fairies ever. She is popular with all, even the Imps and Gremlins love her.”

“Do the Trolls love her?”

“Majesty the Trolls don’t love anyone since you sent Fub to crush their revolution.”

The pondering continued, before turning into deliberating; after a while the pondering returned.

“You’re right as always, the other one. Why even my daughter Princess Layer says she likes Goblin friends. Bless me with the sign of Titania but you’re right! Sorry disgusting Goblin scum; didn’t mean to offend.”

“I’m not offended boss. I’m used to being at the foot of the tree. However I am a really useful Goblin when you get to know me.”

The panel continued to ponderously ponder possibilities. Was there a way to help the petrified Pixy in his quest for a cure? Would he be forever reliant on lard? Would he ever manage to pull Fairy Hanny?

“Queen Dillberry could probably help,” said Fairy Nouf.

“Fair enough,” said the King. “Let’s go and ask her.”

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Chapter 3 – In the Court of the King with the Crimson Face.

HieronymusBosch-473265It turned out to be much easier than ever to find their way there, to the Great Hall in the Great Castle in the Great City of Setebos.

They did turn left and enter door number three. From there they had to work their way along a few deep and dreary back passages but eventually they emerged from a little entrance into the Great Hall.

It was magnificent.

And Great.

And wonderful – and marvellous and that.

There were beams a plenty that stretched from floor to ceiling, majestically holding the splendour of the roof in its splendid place on top of the walls. Of walls there were four, one at each side of the Hall. Each wall consisted of bricks, magnificently place on top of each other in a Flemish bond to add strength, and magically held together by mortar. Then in his perversity the Master Builder said what is it all made of; so rendered the walls in rendering. The brilliance of the architect was shown by having windows in each wall, windows that, should the observer be fifteen feet tall, would allow one to look outside. This was majestic splendour on a magnificent scale.

From the buttresses rose magnificent gargoyle sculptures, such that, if one peered at them with a slight squint in the right eye and a fist pushed into the left side of ones head, one could easily believe the masons had captured Prime Ministers Question Time. Or the Liverpool team from 1974.

At the far end of the Hall, or the near end if you were coming in from the other side, lay a raised dais upon which stood two magnificently majestic thrones. Each throne was raised above the dais on another, smaller dais in order for the occupants to take an even more condescending view of any grovelling bastard who dared ask for extra sandwiches. The cannier observer would detect that both thrones were in fact commodes, a device that has saved many a monarch when having the shit bored out of them by whinging politicians.

Greg and Peter did not notice this as it is not really relevant, but worth mentioning in trying to understand the mind of the planners, who are also full of shite.

They looked at each other.

“What happens next?” asked Peter.

“Search me,” said Greg.

“You’ve got some coins in your left pocket, a knife in your right, lots of useful pens, a pocket watch, a fire extinguisher, a comb, two hard boiled eggs and a decent supply of lard in your ruck sack,” said Peter ten minutes later, having taken Greg literally.

“I think the Dukes! are starting to affect you mental skills,” said Greg.

Cover 5

“I think I have always had mental bits,” said Peter.

Just then there came the sounds of horns blazing.

‘Parp! Parp! Parpety Parp!’ went the horns.

The dynamic duo were drawn magnetically toward the dais. As the horns parped louder and louder there appeared from the side of the Great hall the Fattest Fairy imaginable, his face glowing crimson with the effort of moving. As this figure waddled carefully toward the larger of the two thrones there came a stench as though every demon in Hell had farted simultaneously; hydrogen sulphide overdose with mega portions of skatole. The pair gagged and shuddered in disbelief.

The figure sat down and looked down at his strange subjects.

“Don’t blame me lads; I’m Innocent!” he said with more than a hint of mischief in his eyes.

 

[It needs to be noted at this juncture in the story that one of the strangest things about Uranus is it is full of wormholes.  These wormholes convey not only images and stories but also notions. One of the funniest ideas to traverse the interplanetary quite extraordinary Space is the Liverpool accent. Scholars in the Greater Library of the Gods in Bootle and the What The Fuck Happened Library of Alexandria can’t decide the direction in which the accent travelled; suffice it to say that the Fairies speak with a Scouse accent. If you can grasp this concept it will make the narrative even funnier. Funnier than flu.]

 

“What can I do for you, lads?” asked the munificent King Innocent.

The intrepid pair were still trying to get their breathing sorted. It takes some skill to breath only through the mouth; a talent achieved every night by many a drunk producing the most horrendous snoring to the annoyance of countless gorgeous young ladies. If perfected it eliminates the intensity of the smell. Schoolteachers and Nurses are highly proficient at this due to the horrible stinking environments in which they carry out their trades – I don´t mean those in their care, merely the shit they get chucked at them from governments. Mind you, taxi drivers have to be good at it too. As for sewage workers, they probably just enjoy the smell of shite.

Greg pulled himself together.

“Oh most noble and wonderful King; oh Glorious Master of all the Fairies and the lesser peoples of Uranus; oh tower of bulk and stoutness personified. There are many things we would like to ask. And may be so bold as to ask my first question; why do you smell like a ton of camel droppings mixed with rotten eggs and cabbages?”

The King paused.

Pausing is all part of the game on Uranus.

The King continued his pause.

A look of anger danced across his face, down his shirt and out of his trousers. Then a smile crossed his face.

“I haven’t had a shower today yet lads, sorry! And with a chod bin as wide as mine, getting things spick and span takes a little extra support.”

The King turned to his left.

He shouted.

“Hanny! Nouf!  The other one! Come out here and make your King a little more presentable for his raggedy arsed guests!”

The music of the wordy hurdy gurdy filled the room and a scent of lavender and vanilla attempted to hide the Monarchs stench.

There emerged from a side door to the rear of the dais, in the middle of one of the walls that held up the roof, the three most gorgeous Fairy babes that either of our heroes had ever seen. They were the kind of gals that made any male want to fall in love, have babies and never spend a night in the pub with his mates ever again – ok this is a fairy story…

The young females brought in with them a large bowl of steaming hot water, towels and soap, perfumes made from the finest spices the planet could produce. Fairy Nouf ran immediately to the two travellers giving each a Nosegay, saying “This’ll mask the pong until we’ve cleaned the Gloriously Reeking Ruler!”

It took a good long time for the Malodorous Sovereign to be made presentable, in which time the two heroes sat and watched the dance of the three gorgeous handmaidens as they spruced up the bulky old git. Peter became more and more enamoured of Hanny, her hair cascading in corkscrews down her shoulders, flashing and parting to display fine young breasts enclosed in green linen. Her skull was crowned with the latest in Fairy Hairy-do’s; a v-shaped wedge that drew the viewer’s eyes up along that pretty face. Her beautiful almond eyes glowed blue in the half light of the Hall. Her waist suggested an athletic existence, the six pack tastefully covered by a short gypsy skirt. Beneath the flowing skirts he could see long lithesome legs, lovely legends living lavishly, lustful lingerie lengthening the alliteration. At the end of those lovely legs were calf high black boots, army issue, and 24 lace holes.

Fairies wear boots and you’ve got to believe me.

All three girls fluttered vestigial gossamer wings as they danced and entranced the Minging  Stinking King. The Fairies have evolved on Uranus to a point where they can no longer use their wings. As they get older and slightly more tubby the wings become more colourful but less useful. These older Fairy gals refer to them as Bright Imitation Non Gliding Objects; or BINGO wings for short.

Peter had to stop looking for fear of making a fool of himself, as a priapism attempted to keep him seated for an hour or two.

He wanted to declare his love instantly. But what would she see? A Pixy fallen on hard times, who had betrayed the trust placed in him, lying there with an arse packed with purified pig fat. Who could fall in love with such a forlorn creature?

In that instant Peter felt that Hanny had broken off a corner of his mind, a corner she would hold onto until he could rid himself of the curse of the Dukes! If he could atone for his sins then maybe she would give back that little corner of him, and he could be the Pixy he had always been. Then maybe they could live happy ever after, Pixy and Fairy in perfect harmony.

Bollocks!

Too many obstacles.

Still, the road without obstacles never leads anywhere interesting. And if you don’t know where youre going then youre bound to get there.

A road to far?

Are we on the road to nowhere?

Will it be a long and winding road?

Any road, let´s continue with peter´s random thoughts…

A Fairy marry a Pixy?

Unheard of!

Peter ended his reverie as the more pleasant smells of perfume and parfum drifted up his nostrils, reminding him that Uranus can be quite a pleasant place to spend an evening. The King no longer smelt like a leather tanning factory in Morocco. He was all sweetness and light, and no longer smelt of shite. This was a new day. The aromas brought Peter back down from his musings. He could not afford to fall in love with anyone, let alone one of the Kings handmaidens.

In the midst of this romantic contemplation, Peter murmured out loud the thoughts wiggling a salsa through his imagination, “You can’t always get what you want!”

“I can!” said the King.

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Chapter 2 – Desperately seeking Innocent.

It was a relatively short, though oppressive walk to the City of Setebos. The woodland clung to their breath as they toddled along in search of forgiveness and a potential cure. The sky looked down gravely on the heroes, overcasting doubt on the success of their mission. The Sun beamed her glorious smile onto the walls of the City, though her mind was elsewhere; she was trying to find a solution for a disenfranchised Sloth in the jungles of South America.

Peter the Pixy

The City walls of Setebos had once been magnificent, a testament to the Greatness of the Old Fairies, The Lords of Uranus. Creatures had travelled from all over the planet to gaze upon the high white marble structures that told a tale of great wealth and great breeding. In those days the walls had been more than necessary.

They exhibited the splendour of the Fairy Kings but also were needed to keep out the riff raff, the ne’er do wells, down and outs, Harold Ramps, disgraced Defence Ministers, Letting agents and marauding Orcs.

Long gone were the times of the deadly Wars of the Fairies and Orcs. Many an Orc had been toasted before, during and after a battle and many a Fairy turned into a spit–roasted delicacy.

Fortunately this is no longer the Norm.

At the last great Siege of Setebos in the reign of King Grayson of Everard, the Orcs had caught a case of Darwinian Evolution. They went for a full one hundred and eighty degree about turn in their attitude. Here they lay at the walls of Setebos demanding the surrender of the City and the consumption of the majority of its inhabitants and then suddenly, shazam, they left to research the pros and cons of the Financial Services Industry.

Legend has it that the leader of the Orc Army, Krak Ed, sat musing on the costs of the siege. His men were getting very hungry, what with the long trek north, the building of siege wagons and the constant bombardment of the city with anything that could be catapulted; so Krak Ed began a  cost-benefit analysis of being a devastating Warlord. What was the point, he thought, of putting in all this effort, losing good men to the slings and arrows of outrageous Fairies, only to find he was out of pocket at the end? This was not great asset management. He’d raised his own venture capital by stealing from everyone he’d ever met and his potential profit would be to eat the King of the Fairies.

Is this my raison d’être he mused in a pretentious manner.

His head began to fill with Profit and Loss accounts, Angel Investors, Debt Management, Claims Management, Fraud, Theft and Financial Scamming. There was more than enough reason to create a Financial Cartel.

So he called his Chieftains together and explained their new approach.

They would become Financial Advisors, Accountants and Tax Inspectors.

He had to eat a couple of the guys who initially disagreed with his plan; however they soon all approved so they packed up and went home. Thus began a New Age of Enlightenment on Uranus. Nobody would dare cheat at Tax because the consequences could be fatal; despite the attempt at civilisation some Orcs were still partial to eating their victims, and of course being eaten for failing to declare a proper income was considered a just punishment in these parts.

Many of the Orcs began to take on more conventional names in order to appear more acceptable to their clients. No one would be tempted to visit a Financial Advisor called Rippy Zedoff or Head Muncher or Fairy Eater; so they changed their names to things like Bob, Steve and Rupert. However in these later days there are some of the younger Orcs who like to be a bit of a throwback and take on names such as Gaz, Jonno or Wayne, Dwayne, Rap and David.

Thus it had been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time since anyone had attacked the great City of Setebos. As a result the Great Walls had fallen somewhat into decay, with buddleia, wall flowers and mosses covering much of the once Magnificent Marbled exterior. There were gaps that grew larger each year as the inhabitants helped themselves to the stones for more useful functions such as Wall Fillers, Door Stops and Argument Solvers. Even the Great Gate at the Western side of the Great City stood permanently open, its Great hinges rusted into place after so many Great Generations of Great Peace.

Things were just Great.

The City did like to maintain some semblance of its former glory, so posted a Guard on the bridge in front of the West Gate. The Guard usually consisted of ten to a dozen of the most friendly and helpful creatures to be found on Uranus, the Gnomes. The Gnomes that formed the Guard came from families in which generation after generation had dedicated their lives to the service of the City, not unlike The Household Cavalry and The Swiss Guard and The Hell´s Angels. These wonderful Gnomish families were known collectively as the Guarding Gnomes and wore the livery of the Guard, a green tunic, red belt, blue trousers and brown Welly-Bobs; headgear was left as a personal choice. In an attempt at remembering their role in the defence of the city each carried a shield of Red bearing a golden wheelbarrow and also carried a ceremonial Fishing Rod.

They were always very, very helpful.

Hence it was that Peter and Greg meandered out of the wood toward the Great Gate at the Western edge of Setebos. Greg lurched along like an Orang Utan on Valium, whilst Peter minced forward, buttocks pulling his legs in strange directions, chuff stuffed with melting lard. They made a handsome sight which any unattached female would have run from; except perhaps one of those girls you meet just before the last dance at a nightclub.

They approached the Gate. greg the Goblin

A friendly Gnome approached, bowed and smiled a smile that would have made the smileyist thing in the Universe envious.

“Good day to you gentleman,” said the Gnome. “I am Steve, the captain of the Guard for today. What can I do for you? I would guess by the way you are moving that there is a tale of Great Deeds attached to you two fine young travellers!”

“He’s got the Dukes!” declared the Goblin, demonstrating his total lack of tact.

The Gnomes on the bridge took a collective deep breath and blessed themselves with the sign of the wheelbarrow. A Pixy with the Dukes! was more than a tale of Great Adventure, it was a tale of Derring-Do, without a Poo. It was a tragedy they had not experienced before, and one that threw their communal morality into a spin. There was only one way a Pixy could find himself in such a State, and that was a betrayal of the Royal Trust.

And yet deep down who wouldn’t risk their all for a chance with fine looking tart?

“In the name of the great Fishing Rod!” declared Steve, “you will need a lot of help with finding a solution to that problem.”

“Yes I worked that one out for myself!” said Peter.

“If the Dukes! strike harder it will be the only thing you can work out for yourself!” said Steve gravely.

“Well look at this, a Gnome with a sense of humour, how unusual.”

The scene could have got ugly now if it wasn’t for the inbreeding amongst the Guards and the subsequent automatic sense of duty to help.

“You’ll need some advice from the King,” said Steve.

“Is he at home today?”

“As luck would have it, yes!”

“So how do we get to see him?”

“Normally,” said Steve in a business like manner, “you would have to go and see the First Minister Lord Tchod or his assistant The Fub. However today those two are off playing a game of golf, so I reckon you should just go up to the castle, ring the bell and say ‘Is Innocent in?’”

“And that’s it?”

The Gnome continued his explanation.

“If Lord Tchod was here he would make you fill in Fairy Interview request form 117B ‘Audience with the King’. He would then interview you and ask the purpose of your visit and what you hoped to gain from the visit and any noticeable benefits to the King.”

“What type of benefits?”

“Oh the usual, you know; Gold, Silver, Silk, Pies, Cakes etc. The King is very fond of his Pies.”

“I see,” gloomed Peter.

“And after that interview you would be expected to spend a similar interview with The Fub, a scary experience by all accounts.”

“In what way?”

“Well apparently The Fub turned up here one day from the lord knows where. He is a fearsome creature, half man, half lard; some say he is a demon from another planet. But Lord Tchod likes him. Fub can scare away most folk that want an audience with the King. I believe he can just scare most people with his smell, his red face and very fat tummy. I think he is a semi-civilised Ogre myself, though a bit too intelligent. Lord Tchod likes Ogres too!”

“So have I got to see this Fub then?” asked a confused Peter.

“No,” said Steve. “I just told you he’s playing golf! Just go straight in. You’ll be more than welcome I’m sure.”

Peter and Greg looked at each other.

“So where are we going?”

“You walk down on the street, turn left and it´s door number three.”

The intrepid duo thanked the worrisome Gnome and set off for the next phase of this Great Adventure.

summer 2013 012

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