27. Fat Larry and the Charnel House.

As the Sun beat down they lay on the ground and you could almost hear them talk. It turned out it was just Ethel with her lawnmower. Still, she knows what she likes.

Bogey had guided them carefully through the wild country, past the most notorious gathering places of the Ogres, avoiding as many bridges as possible in order to miss out on the tedium of “Fol de Roll! I’m a Troll!” which would invariably lead to “Hi Bogey!” as the would-be assailant emerged from the bridge. With all of his cunning, guile, philosophy and a decent Ordnance Survey map procured from the W.H. Smith shop at Ipswich Station, Bogey led them back in to the lands Where Things Are More Pleasant, Milk Was Drinkable and Everyone Except Politicians are Honest.

Just at the edge of the Wild Lands, or the Wildies as they are known, there lies one of the more unusual spots on Uranus. No I am sure that you, being an avid reader, will have read all those wonderful works by the Grimm boys and the Anderson chap and by Tolkien and Gamain and Swifty, you will no doubt remember that at the end of every tale, they all live happily ever after.

This is pure twaddle.cover 1

Balderdash.

Hogwash.

Bunkum.

Codswallop.

Tosh.

And Bullshit.

“Never heard so much humbug in my life,” declared one anally retentive slug.

The well hidden truth is that …

Even Fairies die.

Odd Fairies die too.

Think of all the dead things on Uranus.

You can stop now as you probably feel sick.

Have a cup of tea and a slice of lemon cake.

So what do they do with the dead things on Uranus?

We can´t have Plague Doctors screaming ‘Bring out your Dead!’;  that is so undignified for Fairies and Pixy’s and that.

And they don’t follow the Irish tradition of sitting round with dead bodies to see if they might just possibly wake up.

They’re not quite that civilised on Uranus.

What they like to do on Uranus is to get a message to the appropriate authorities, along the lines of ‘Aunty Flo is dead, please dispose. Thank you, Alex the Fairy’. Then up comes a discreet little wagon and takes the body off to a Charnel House.

However within the polite Society of Uranus nobody ever mentions that somebody has died. It is just unheard of! Like suggesting that women fart.

Instead the euphemism is that people ‘go travelling’.

“How is Aunty Flo?”

“Oh she is travelling!”

“When will she be back?”

“When she has finished travelling!”

So it goes.

Now we find ourselves in the domain of Fat Larry, Keeper of the Dead., Fixer of Brooms, Father of Two Fat Lasses and all round Boring Bastard.

Larry is a Pixy with a Mission.

He wants the dead out the house, in the van, looked after and disposed of as quickly and politely as possible. Larry is one of the Funeral Directors of Uranus. He is good at this job as he himself is already brain dead.

It is very unusual to find a Pixy in charge of the Dead; the job usually being left to disgraced Brownies or even the odd Witch. In the good old days it was a common occupation for the more civilised of Trolls though this was always a bit dodgy; since even a civilised Troll has relatives, some of whom will eat anything. In the extreme cases the job might be taken on by a retarded Maths teacher who will sing praises to his Lord.

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Here on the Edge of the Wild this wonderful Charnel House is in the incapable hands of Fat Larry. Not that he did the job all by himself. Like all of the Houses of the Dead across the planet the donkey work is carried out by Gremlins. This is an appropriate calling as normally anything the Gremlins get asked to do will break, and breaking the dead is not really an issue, unless it is to tissue.

The Questing Quintet approached Fat Larry’s House as the Sun danced down toward the horizon, licking the rooftops with her last light of the day; she was back off to have a look at how that Sloth was getting on in the jungles of South America.

The building was quite large, being laid out in the shape of a capital ‘H’. Larry’s Office and bedroom lay in the bar in the middle, the two wings being occupied by the dead and the Gremlins.

“Hello,” cried Bogey, entering through the main door with all the stealth of a cat that had just crapped in a pair of shoes.

“Anyone home?”

Stupid Question really.

“If you have a stiff to dispose of take it down the corridor on your left, hand it over to Gasser the Chief Gremlin, leave your name and address at the desk and then go home. If you want to be at the internment, which I doubt, let me know and we’ll put on a more dignified shovelling.”

The voice which sounded these words was not that of a Pixy, nor the guttural mumblings of a Gremlin. Instead it was the delightful tones of a very pretty girl, now emerging from the room on the right.

She stopped suddenly as she caught sight of this gathering of bedraggled troubadours. Yet here was a girl who could take all of life in her stride, then laugh.

“Which of you is dead?” she asked with a smile in her eye, noting the cadaverous build of Bogey. It was more than a smile; it was a twinkle. And the lovely lass could easily produce a twinkle in any eye. She could tell there would be a tale to tell, something to brighten up her daily routine, something that would make her smile as she Questioned the Pixy, the Fairy, the Goblin, Gnome and Troll.

“That Goblin looks to be on his last legs; are you getting him in early to save time?”

“I’ll have you know madam that I am as fit as a fiddle!” said Greg, all indignant and puffed out chest.

“Look, we usually only see the dead here, with the occasional relative. Five travellers are not what we would expect in a Charnel House. I hope you’re not looking for a room for the night as we only have marble slabs for the Stiffs and some old mattresses for the Gremlins.”

Peter had been looking intently into the eyes of the beauty. He was a hopeless romantic, falling in love at the drop of a hat; or the drop of a pair of knickers. This girl attracted him instantly. Mind you Greg and Steve also had the hots for her as she was some babe; Bogey was wondering if he could scare her in some way.

Hanny felt the heat rising in her male companions. This could be good for her, a way of slowly getting rid of Peters’ attention; though she was unsure if that was the way she wanted life to go –‘Am I in love? I must be in love’.

“Let me introduce you to these vagabonds: My name is Hanny, this is Peter, Greg, Steve and Bogey. We’re on a Quest and really could do with somewhere to kip and a bite to eat. I’d prefer sleeping with the Dead rather than have to share with the Gremlins as something would be bound to go wrong.”

“Forgive me,” said their erstwhile hostess. “You caught me unawares. This is the Charnel House of Fat Larry. Larry isn’t here at the moment as he had to pop across to his workshop to fix a broom that one of the Gremlins broke. He always seems to have things to fix when dead bodies arrive; never mind. I’m his assistant; my name is Mrs. White.”

“That’s rather formal isn’t it?”

“Some people call me Snow, but for business purposes I prefer Mrs. White.”

Greg beamed. “I thought I recognised you. Weren’t you the Housekeeper for a group of Dwarf Miners, up near the Black Mountains?”

“That was me in a former life. And?”

“What happened to the Dwarfs?”

“They wanted to try seven–up but I wasn’t too keen. They mostly met pretty girly Dwarfs and got married. Then when they set up their own homes there wasn’t a job for good old Snow White anymore!”

“I heard you got married!”the-garden-of-earthly-delights-by-hieronymus-bosch-1

“I did. Then that twat Prince Charming only goes off in search of another great deed, meets some large breasted blond bird and fucks off with her, leaving me all on my own to try and put my life back together! And all I had on my CV was being an outcast who looked after seven miniature degenerates. Not good for job prospects.”

“Ouch! That must have hurt!”

“Hurt! The embarrassment! Even Adam and his Ants couldn’t console my grief. I’d been dumped in the woods to die but took on the job of looking after seven Dwarfs who, I have to admit, were not the best at personal hygiene. You should see the state of their underpants when they finally decide to change them. Now that is an ouch! Three or four weeks of Dwarfy skidmarks is not what this girl wanted to deal with. However I persevered. I turned their bachelor shit hole into quite a nice little place to entertain guests. This is when they all started courting, pulling birds left, right and centre. Except for Dopey of course; he couldn’t pull a bird if she lap danced naked across his bed; he couldn’t even pull a mussel on the sea bed. Personally think Dopey might well be totally asexual, but that’s another story. Anyway the long and short of it was six weddings and a remedial.”

“So what happened to Dopey?”

“Oh, he’s working here with the Gremlins. All those years of mining didn’t go to waste; he’s the chief gravedigger now!”

“And Charming?”

“No he’s not charming. How can an asexual, grave digging Dwarf be charming?”

“No, I meant what about Prince Charming?”

“I told you, he ran off with some cheap slut that mucks out kitchens and fireplaces. I ask you, how could anyone be so cruel? And I’m still waiting for the photographs from the wedding – delayed somewhere in the ether. Never mind; someday my Prints will come.”

Peter considered this Question deeply. He knew Big Bad Regan could be that cruel and worse, but it was unlikely that Regan would ever run off with another woman, not unless he intended eating her. To abandon such a swinging babe as Snow White a man would have to be totally nuts.

“He must be a gimp!” declared Peter, “to leave a sharp looking thing like your good self. Are there any other guys chasing your tail at the moment?”

This last comment led to a swift slap across the back of his head accompanied by a mind-your-own-business.

The Dopey one suddenly appeared. He could see that Peter was no doubt suffering the joys of another anal upsurge, too much magic in his Jacksy preventing him from rational behaviour. At the same time the gang were getting tired and hungry and it was possible they would all be feeling grumpy soon.

“That’s not likely,” said Snow White, “as Grumpy is now married and lives many miles from here.”

Food and beds were negotiated, the boys opting to sleep with the Gremlins and Hanny electing a marble slab in amongst the corpses.  Peter cheekily asked if there was a chance of a bed in the same room as Mrs. White, only to receive yet another cranial rocket.

They sat eating a chilled supper as Fat Larry returned from fixing the broom. His appearance struck them all as unusual. It was as though Larry had taken all of the elements of as many mythical beings as possible and combined them into one portly lump. He wore the Green pointy hat and little jacket that marked him out as a Pixy, yet both were straining due to the bulk of his body. This was in itself unusual as Pixies rarely get tubby. He also sported a beard, an affectation more often than not associated with Dwarfs or Gnomes. He spoke with a sort of posh Fairy accent, like a scouser from the Wirral. To top it all off he waxed lyrical on the joys of running a Charnel House.

“It is really nice to get the dead well dressed and into the ground as efficiently as possible. The relatives really appreciate the effort that Mrs White and the Gremlins put into the process. It gives me great joy when someone actually attends an internment. Deep fun. The only difficulty is keeping the Gremlins under control the rest of the time. It’s not as though we can give them jobs to do around the House; you can’t exactly ask a Gremlin to fix something. And they just can’t keep their area clean. It’s always a mess, as though the Gods of Chaos were embodied in them.”

“But surely that is a definition of a Gremlin,” stated Bogey, “a living example of the Third Law of Thermodynamics. Chaos personified. Entropy in living form. A messy little scumbag. Gremlins are exactly what it says on the label, you just have to let them be.”

“Let them be what?” asked the slightly confused proprietor of the dead.

“Let them be trouble in paradise! Let them be chocolate stains on a white jacket! Let them be a broken starter motor in a new sports car! Let them be what nature intended!”

“But if I do that we may well end up with the corpses stored on the ceiling or out in the cludgie!”

“That’s just the way it is!”

“That what must it be!” said Greg, getting confused in the heat of the argument.

Mrs White smiled. It was fun to have these folks around for the evening. Fat Larry could be a tiresome bastard, even for an abandoned and dumped chick like her. So it was nice to see him having to debate his position. Fat Larry carried a good degree of pomposity in his knapsack, always being ready to lecture the Gremlins and Mrs White on the rights and wrongs of getting a cadaver tucked away. Listening to him attempting to justify himself to what were his intellectual superiors made quite a change for the sweet singing legend. Besides, that Peter the Pixy was something of a hunk, despite the problem with his bottom.

Mrs White took charge of the sleeping arrangements that night. The Heroes of the Quest were bedded in the relevant places, Larry went to his cot, Dopey slept in a newly dug grave and the Gremlins went out of the back windows for a night on the town.

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Quotes from Pooh Bear

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My GF says I look like Pooh

  1. “You’re braver than you believe and stronger and smarter than you think.” 
  2. “Think it over, think it under.” 
  3. “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” 
  4. “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” 
  5. “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”
  6.  “Think, think, think.” 
  7. “The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.” 
  8. “Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be.” 
  9. “To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks.” 
  10. “Home is the comfiest place to be.” 
  11. “So perhaps the best thing to do is to stop writing introductions, and get on with the book.” 
  12. “I must go forward to where I have never been instead of backwards where I have.” 
  13. “One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.” 
  14. “Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.” 
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Writing that book

Writing and creating and publishing … I’m working on it.

And teaching it…

http://www.internetbusinessschool.com/a/11024/jL3Zjyv9

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26. For whom the Trolls Bell.

I suppose it was an artful escape. Hanny at her peak; though Peter would have preferred a peak at Hanny. He was so far out on the relationship now.

He knew he owed her his life but could not be sure what she might want in return. If she demanded undying love he had it ready in a package to hand over lock, stock and barrel. If she demanded a new pair of shoes from the latest catalogue she could have them; a copy of the latest novel by Harry and The Krishnas could be hers; perfection and understanding of the opposite sex – well he’d try. If there was anything else he could give her would let her have it. If he found two pots of gold he knew he would definitely give her one.

Uncertainty sat on his shoulders like a bare bellied buddha.

The bum pangs screamed through his brain like a thousand railroad trains, only to be calmed by an uncontrollable mysterious force. Spenser, the Fairy Queen of old had miscalculated. He regretted having that tart as it had blown his life away. Yet without it he would most likely never met Hanny.

“I do love you Hanny,” he said.cover 1

“I think I love you too,” confessed Hanny, “but at the moment I can only find the time to sort you out. There is not enough time to love you properly.”

“Could you love me long time?”

The gang of four were way off their allotted task. They had wandered far to the east, and now needed some guidance to help them find the fabled Lake. Steve decided to cheer them up with a little ditty.

“Too far to go! Too far to go! Too far! Too far! Too far to go!” he sang.

“Well that’s cheered us up!”

A voice cried out in the wilderness.

“Who the fuck is trying to be cheerful in the arse end of the world?”

The four intrepid explorers looked at each other as if to ascertain who had come out with the last sentence.

“It wasn’t me!” they chorused, producing a very sexy harmony that, if the chance had been right, could have propelled them to the top of the Hit Parade. Alas pop pickers it was not to be.

Ahead lay what could have been called a bridge but really it was just a few planks that spanned a minor rivulet; well a drainage ditch really. From under the bridge emerged a Troll, though a very emaciated one at that. The skinny Troll approached our heroes in an almost aggressive manner.

“Fol de Roll! I’m a Troll!” he declared, “but I couldn’t give a shit about that just now. Have any of you dudes got some grub?”

This remnant of an earthbound child’s nightmare turned out to be a long lost relative of the famous Gusset.

“My name is Bogart but most folk just call me Bogey,” he said.

They examined the wraith like apparition. Long straggly hair swept across an emaciated body; fingernails filled with detritus, no doubt scraped from a rats arse. Across his back were three protrusions; humps even.

The Troll could tell they were a little startled by the lumps on his back.

“Yes I’m Hump Three Bogart – wanna make something of it?”uranus-rings-by-david-a-hardy

Steve tried to imagine making a model of the Taj Mahal from the three humps but to no avail.

“I was exiled to this bridge like structure because of my family links with the revolution. Gusset was expunged from History and it’s only a few Bogeys like me that try to keep the Trolletariat together. Not that I should let a Fairy know this sort of thing. If I say too much I may have to kill you!”

“You’ll have me to deal with first!” declared Peter.

“Yes and I’m scared!” laughed the thin Troll.

They fed the famished Troll what they could spare, which turned out to be nearly everything as he was a hungry bastard. Bogey explained that such an isolated location didn’t attract many visitors so the chance of frightening them away and stealing their food was very thin, like him.

They fell into conversation about the revolution, the Quest and the dirty doings of Chalfont. Hanny was stunned to find she had so much in common with the scrawny Troll, particularly a very large bottle of dislike for Lord Chalfont.

“He’s a cunt!” spat the Troll.

There was no disagreement from the crowd of four.

Bogey was intrigued by the Quest. He argued that if there was a fabled Lake then there was likely to be rivers feeding it. Where there were rivers there would be bridges, and with bridges would come a new location for his scaring.

“I think I’ll live on the bridge and charge a living wage for people to cross. I’ll give up being a scary Troll and just get more blatant. I’ll be a toll Troll. Or as they say in France ‘Troll de Toll’.”

Nobody bothered to ask him how he knew about France, or even how he seemed to have some semblance of the French Language. It can be assumed the French get everywhere and underline all aspects of liberty and brotherliness; after all how can anyone ever have liberty and equality?

So they would be five again, allowing for different harmonics in the interactions. As they moved forward on the Quest there would have to be more singing, dancing and all sorts of shennaniganic librettos. They could investigate their symphonic unions with the latest electronic gizmos, though now they were a five piece they’d have to dismiss Fourier analysis. Perhaps they should wait for a sign wave. Or it would come to pass there would be a fork in the road – hopefully a tuning fork.

At this point Hanny declared we should just get on with the story.

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Reflections on words

I was going to start with ‘mirror’ but that is just a bad Physicists joke and I am a bad Physicist.

When working through chapter 24 tonight and had to look up quite a few words. I love Google – I still remember sitting at home with an Oxford dictionary, a dictionary of etymology and Roget’s thesaurus, spending hours on a word or phrase, attempting to make it as funny as possible.

Today’s haul included Beagle, Beadle, Fox, Junoesque, Charming, cunning, prepossessing, glow-worm or glowworm or glow worm, psychotic, Goth, Visigoth, obfustication and prorogue.cover 1

I also invented a new word for female Orc – Forc. I bet someone has used it before!

At this rate I will finish editing ‘Strange Things from Uranus‘ and can carry on with ‘Trans-Uranic Elements: The Dark Side of Uranus‘  and ‘Fairy Hanny and the sons of Turenn.

Maybe then I can get on with my Inspector Flaange novels…

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Motivation

Earlier this year I was a little lost.

I have a full time teaching job and I lost interest; pupils, courses, parents, colleagues. I really could not be arsed!  I was ready to quit.

Meanwhile I was working to write a three part Fantasy story.

I was working on two online business models.

Lack of focus – which path to follow.

I was then fortunate enough to have a friend who gave me this link and so I am back on target…

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The tale continues – I am back in Casablanca

 Chapter 23. Losing you.

 

When you’re on the road again you should have a code that you can live by. You can call it the Highway Code and make sure it is available from all good bookshops. When travelling on Uranus such a code would be totally useless, as the highways and byways and blokes who sing my ways, just don’t exist.

The cool tunes shrilled from our travelling quartet were much more straightforward. If Hanny says do it then that’s what they do. Sadly even large breasted sex goddesses make mistakes sometimes, and as a result the band had passed way out of the known territories and into bandit country.

It was a simple error that could have been made by any female. Hanny said they were heading south while all along they were heading east. I know it should be possible to approximate east and south based on the position of the Sun. Let’s face it though; there are parts of Uranus where the Sun doesn’t shine.

Hence they were at a loss.20100425132030!Hieronymus_Bosch-Removing_the_Rocks_from_the_Head-Detail

Well, lost really.

Very lost.

The land they entered was cold and barren like the smile of a Tory.  There were rocks and trees and plants and things and the Sun began to turn red. They were going through a hot desert which is not nearly half as nice as going through a hot dessert. For a start rice pudding, when served piping hot with blobs of strawberry jam, is a lot more entertaining than getting sand in your sandals in the Sahara. A baked Alaska is far more delightful than a cold Alaska, despite the Polar Bears. And apple crumble with custard is far more preferable to a smack on the Gobi.

There is only one type of creature that could live in this sort of environment, Ogres and Trolls.

Actually that’s two types. This reminds me that there are three types of Maths teachers; those that can count and those that can’t.

I’m sure this sterile land could even support Fire Dragons; Gremlins would probably cope with the isolation too. Even Imps, given a little support, could thrive here. In fact there is no doubt several more creatures that would survive in this sort of environment.

Peter assessed the landscape and decided it would be suitable for many different types of life form, depending on the sort of camping equipment they used; preferably something designed by one of those ex-Special Forces types with automatic moisture collection points, a wind-up electrical supply and self-contained honey pot.

“Ogres we can do without!” said Steve.

“I’d rather not meet any Trolls either,” said Hanny. “They aren’t too fond of Fairies at the best of times, and in recent years they’ve come to hate us even more.”

Steve pondered the lovely red spangles on Hanny’s boots then asked, “Why’s that?”

Hanny felt it appropriate to describe the shenanigans that had taken place between the Fairies and the Trolls. King Innocent had made some spurious comment relating to equal opportunities for all inhabitants of the planet, comments which had filtered back to the land of the Trolls.

The Trolls liked the idea.

The implication being that Trolls would be able to take on other more stimulating jobs rather than spend all day under bridges shouting ‘Fol de Roll, I’m a Troll’ and scaring the shit out of unwary travellers, or hanging round the Interweb looking for an opportunity to spout their fascist political opinions or religious ideologies.

“Not that there is anything inherently wrong with taking on such a task in life. – Far from it. There are many, many tasks that have to be carried out by a nameless army of semi-skilled nobodies, but that is not to say that they are wasted lives. Indeed many a high flying pilot has spent his early days cleaning out toilets in order to get a solid grip on reality,” declared the King during a lunchtime interview with the Mudslinging Brownie Press of Uranus.

“Fol de Roll, I’m a Troll” is not quite the challenge that stimulates everyone.

An opportunity arose to test the Kings mettle when the erstwhile bestest Pixy friend of the Kings, the infamous Crumbly Buffoon, lost his job in the Pixy Phactory by slapping one of the junior Pixies. Crumbly, being the wet buffoon, came off worse as the Junior Pixy happened to be a martial artist, totally au fait with Karate, Jug Jitsu, Aikido, Manga and Origami.

Well, this led to many a kerfuffle, shuffle, muffle and duffel coat wearing indignations. Even the curtain twitcher’s felt the reverberations of the outcry down the back alley where nobody goes.Fairy Hanny

So the King in his benevolence (and to divert attention away from this scandalous scandal) decided the job of the replacement would be advertised on the Open Market.

So the Kings best mate, Lord Chalfont, ensure there was a stall at the Open Market, at which point they could advertise the Post as head of Pixy Therapy at the Pixy Phactory, a Post that would attract a salary of Umpteen Gazillion Gigots. People came from Far and Wide and other places too, to look at the advert. Most gave a derisory snort as they knew the Game was fixed by the Fairy and Pixy Elites. Most living things understood this was only Doublespeak and that the job was already lined up for Crumbly´s inbred friend Bongo, John’s son. This was the normal course of events as they were all related and ensured jobs for the next of kin. Even Bongo, with his face like an identikit paedophile and his shock of bright red hair, was guaranteed a cushy post with the Pixy´s and Fairy´s. In fact when the dice are stacked in your favour it is possible to get to be a Head of State despite having the intellectual ability of a Hermit Crab.

Unfortunately one of the Trolls took the advert literally.

The Troll race, as in the race that makes up the Trolls rather than the annual fun run, has not evolved much. Their Social skills compare well to the meeting of Nuns and Pimps. And so Gusset, a Troll who stated his address as Under the Bridge, Across the River, In the Middle of Nowhere, asked for and completed the application form. In the section which asked for an explanation of ‘what you can bring to this job’ Mr Gusset had written ‘ A tin of beans, some mushrooms, a deckchair, some chopsticks and a recipe for pancakes’.

At first Innocent believed it to be a spoof application from one of his courtiers. Realising it was a genuine application Innocent went into a panic.

“Don’t panic you majesty,” said Lord Chalfont. “What we’ll do is invite all the candidates in for an interview then give the job to the best candidate, which will be Bongo.”

“Won’t it look suspicious when just the two turn up?”

“Don’t worry sire, I’ll get at least five applicants on the day to make it look like we’re taking the application seriously, then we’ll give the job to Bongo.”

“But Bongo is a total Fuckwit!” screamed the King.

“Could you let me know how that makes him any different to most of your other appointments?” enquired the cocky Chalfont.

The King paused to ponder as it had been some time since anyone had paused or pondered in this tale.

“Will we get away with it?”

“Sire you have just appointed all of your immediate relatives to positions of responsibility within the government, and you’re opening up a new job for Crumbly Buffoon as the Head of Political Politicking, just because you like him; of course we’ll get away with it!”

So that’s the way it went.

Gusset turned up to meet Bongo and the other candidates; there was Susie, one of the Banshees; a cross eyed Imp with one leg called Ervious; and a Ghost called Ovachance.

The day was gruelling for all of the candidates; apart from Bongo, who sat with Warwick Hunt sipping chilled white wine and playing travel scrabble.

Gusset gave a superb interview, as did the Imp and Susie. Unfortunately the ghost didn’t have a chance from the very beginning. At the end of the day, when there’s nothing left to say, and your almost ready for the radio, Lord Chalfont decided to debrief the candidates.

“Ovachance you were shit and I don’t know why you turned up; actually I don’t even know if you did turn up; or was it that you arrived and I couldn’t see you; anyway your application was transparent; and you’re too ephemeral to hold down such a job; and I’ve run out of bad excuses so just feck off back to wherever you came from and that.. Susie and Imp Ervious; you gave good interviews but I can’t see how you can make a long term commitment to the post as you’re both unfeeling bastards with as much empathy as a slug on a lettuce. Gusset, you did well though on this occasion you are in second place. If Bongo turns the job down then it’s yours for the asking. See my secretary on the way out to get your travel expense forms sorted. Bye now!”

With that they were ushered from the office.

Ovachance made his claims for a late appearance, Susie and Imp Ervious got three bob for turning up and Gusset was given a wooden spoon, a packet of Everton Mints and an umbrella for rainy days; though he pointed out it’s hard to get wet hanging round under a bridge, except when the river floods, in which case an umbrella is feckin useless.

Gusset was far from happy.

He was also far from home.

He had prepared. Yes it was possible that maybe an image consultant could have been useful, along with a change of name (“Frederick of the Bridge” looked so much more happening!) He knew he was more than capable to do the job; it dawned on him it had been a total stitch up. Why not just give the job away rather than waste everybody’s time?

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Returning to the bleak lands of the Bleakland, where we are presently based in this travesty, Gusset began a revolutionary movement. Initially it was quite entertaining to see him spinning right round like a record baby, as he completed his motions. Some of the older Trolls said it was a load of old crap, though the younger Trolls, who saw their future as part of the greater union of Uranus, were quite taken.

The Central Committee of the Trolletariat passed many a motion and soon had enough movements and motions that were seconded and thirded and got a fourth passage too. Then by some twist of fate a random twist in the bowels of time deposited a copy of a little red book in the lap of Gusset. It explained the thoughts of those Great Marx Brothers, Freddo and Karlo, and emboldened the Trolls to march on Setebos.

“I’ll never join a club that would have me as a member!” they chanted.

“No such thing as a Sanity Clause!” they jeered.

“We’re going to live forever or die trying!”

“If you don’t like our principles, we have others!”

“Quote us as saying we were misquoted!”

They became brothers in arms as they marched on the capital. Innocent felt the City was in dire straits. In Setebos they began to call it the Green Revolution as most of the Trolls copied Gusset’s way of dressing in Lincoln Green.

Chalfont began to worry.

On its own a disgruntled Troll was nothing to worry about; give him a bigger bridge to hide under and he’d soon be back on top. Now it looked like all of the Trolls on Uranus were involved in some sort of mass disobedience and that was a different kettle of fish. No Trolls meant travellers had nothing to fear when crossing rivers or ravines by rickety rackety bridges. They would eschew the Government controlled Bridges, which were of magnificent structure and put together by teams of Civil Engineers from The Lanchester Polytechnic. How those Engineers ever began working for the King of the Fairy’s is not told in this tale, though it could make a three part series all by itself.

We digress as a blatant way of filling more pages in this tragedy.

Lord Chalfont wanted travellers to be faced with a choice of Tolls or Trolls. The Trolls were meant to scare people into using government crossings and thus paying exorbitant taxes; not that this had any affect on the three Billy Goats Gruff.

Bridges without Trolls could lead to roads without Tolls which could lead to bogs without Rolls.

Or Hills without moles.

Or Mints without holes.

Or goals without poles.

Or horses without foals.

Or managers without roles.

Or women without souls.

This would not do.

Too many poor rhymes in too many lines.

The Trolls were pushing their luck.

Lord Chalfont decided it was time to act…

He starred in a play called ‘Mac Death’ which featured an idiot who over-ate Hamburgers and Beef burger Butties until it felt like his tummy would explode. “Is this a Dagger I see before me?” asks Lady MacDeath. “No it’s a scalpel to cut open your husbands tummy to allow the trapped gas to escape.” The play went on for several more Acts but it just wasn´t funny. The Critics, being Brownies, loved it. They praised Lord Chalfont for his performances. “Nobody could play a better fat bastard, except maybe Warwick Hunt” chimed one critic. “As Chalfont munched on that Beef burger Buttie I was licking my lips” declared Elizabeth Brownie. “I thought the acting was wooden and the plot a load of old shite” said another who rapidly disappeared.

When the play was over Lord Chalfont decided to do something about the Troll problem.

Warwick Hunt was summoned to Chalfont’s chamber. The fat monster Hunt oozed into the room with all of the subtlety of a turd in a swimming pool.

“Yes boss?”

“The Trolls. Go and wipe up that Gusset and his immediate followers and get the rest of the Trolls back under those bridges and archways as soon as possible! We are losing money and that is all that counts. I reckon this disruption has cost sixty six gazillion Gigots so far and that could ruin my holiday with the Carob, Ian!”

“Yes boss!”

Hunt knew that his boss loved to spend time out in the Ocean with the Carobs, so he strode forward with all the zeal of a Seagull on Felixstowe Promenade.

Then it was done.

The Troll Spring was crushed in the jackbooted heel of the Thing that was Half Lard Half Man – Warwick Hunt. Gusset appeared to slip and get an ice pick through his skull, a common accident amongst revolutionaries. The Other leaders were taken away and tortured by sitting in a Vegan Restaurant for Days on end until they died from over exposure to self-righteousness.

At this point Hanny finished her tale, only to realise that Steve and Greg had fallen asleep. Peter was looking glassy eyed, the magic in his underpants sending him back into the dream time.

“Idle bastards!” shouted Hanny, slapping each in turn.

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