Sunday, 22 November 2009

Chapter 29 - Off With A Bang!

'Boom Penguin' rocked! From the moment their lead singer stepped onto that stage from his lunar module, wearing his silver space suit and brandishing his Martian Light Sabre (other light sabres are available), the crowd, devotees of the original Major Tom, was his.
'I could be Major Boom,' thought Boom as he moonwalked to centre stage, the crowd roaring and whooping their appreciation. 'Or better still, Field Marshall Penguin. I wonder if Field Marshall is the highest military rank there is. Must remember to look it up on Trickipedia tomorrow.'

The band rocked their way through four numbers, and then 'Poulet Nous' hit the stage.Sequins flashing, hairdos bouffed to the peak of bouffancy, Misses Miggins, Pumphrey and Slocombe would give even the biggest of disco divas a run for their money. By the interval, everyone was certain the evening would be a success. Tango Pete was busily recording clips to put on You-Tube, and his current squeeze, Cha-Cha Lil had been taking phone bookings for the next concert.

Dripping with sweat, Boom ran into the wings.
'This is GREAT1' he said, as Honeybun wrapped his lucky Liberace smoking jacket around his shoulders.
'I must say I thought we were all toast when the crowd realised they weren't going to see David Bowie,' said Honeybun.
'It just goes to show,' said Boom, 'that talent will always triumph over funny hair and abstract make-up.'

Honeybun looked to the opposite wing. Pepe was performing his warm-up tai chi whilst a couple of stage hands dragged the pirahna tank onto the stage.
I wonder what he's going to do instead of his 'Cut a Kakapo in Two' trick, she thought.
'Ready?' she shouted to Pepe, as he opened his eyes and flexed his toes. Pepe had webbed toes; a useful tool for a chihuahua who enjoys scuba diving.
Pepe gave her a thumbs up, and Honeybun took the microphone from Mrs Slocombe who was using it to do comedy shaving with on Stix. She marched onto the stage (Honeybun, not Mrs Slocombe; sorry, inaccurate use of pronouns there), and announced that during the interval the crowd would be entertained by a magic act, and that refreshments were available at the various tents placed around the arena. The crowd hushed enough for Honeybun to be satisfied they had heard her, so she left the stage in the capable paws of Pepe.

Honeybun had never wanted a dog. She was more of a cat person, really, or guinea pig at a push. But one evening, on a particularly drunken post-concert pub crawl with Boom and Dave (Bob had gone home to watch a recording of Mastermind, and Stix was still lying comatose on the stage having caught his head on a high hat cymbol during an overly-energetic drum solo), she'd found herself on the receiving end of some sales patter via a rather shifty looking character at 'The Mole's End.'
'You're a lady who looks like she enjpys something small and furry,' said the man.
Honeybun giggled. She was on her fifth Archer's and lemonade. With a day off gigging tomorrow, she was determined to enjoy herself this evening.
'Have a look in my box,' said the man.
'Sssshir,' said Honeybun. 'I'm not assssh drunk as shum thinkle peep I am. I don't look in any old sssstrangerssssss boxes, you know.'
'Course you don't,' said the man. 'And if I can't tempt you, I'll be on my way...'
'WAIT! Honeybun yelled, placing a hand firmly on the man's arm. 'However, I reverse the right to have a neaky speep.'
The man smiled. He reached beneath the table and lifted up a cardboard box. The box gave out a tiny squeak.
'Ooooooh,' said Honeybun. 'What's in the box?'
'Take a look, little lady,' said the man.

So Honeybun did, and inside was a small, skinny, pink and bare of fur...thing.
'Ittsssssss a slug!' said Honeybun. 'Eeurgghhh.'
'It's not a slug,' said Boom, peering into the box himself. 'It's got legs.'
Honeybun squinted more closely. 'Oh yes,' she said. 'Four little stink and pumpy legs.'
'It's a guinea pig,' said the man.
'OOOOOOOOOOH!' squealed Honeybun. 'I love pinny gigs. Buy me the pinny gig, Boom. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze.'

And Boom had pulled out his wallet and paid a huge amount of money for the guinea pig, especially when the man reassured him that, yes, it would fur, and that it was a very rare type of guinea pig.

And a very drunk Honeybun took the guinea pig home.

Over the next couple of weeks, the guinea pig began to grow at an alarming rate. Its ears grew beyond what one would normally expected from a guinea pig, and eventually, when the guinea pig started begging for meat, Honeybun took it to the vet.

'I thought guinea pigs were vegetarian,' said Honeybun.
'They are,' said the vet, whose name was Andy. 'Unless it's been crossed with a hampire.'
'What's a hampire?' asked Honeybun.
'It's a cross between a hamster and a vampire,' said Andy. 'Hamsters are very like guinea pigs in that neither of them are blessed in the brain department. Your guinea pig could have be the result of an error in the dark.'
'Oh,' said Honeybun, who hadn't a clue what Andy the Vet was going on about; she assumed it was some technical veterinary malarkey.
'But I think the reason your guinea is begging for meat and growing beyond your standard guinea pig size,' said Andy, 'is because it is, in fact, a chihuahua.'

Honeybun looked at Andy.

'It's a miracle,' she breathed, because she was one of those women who always get a bit over-awed and breathy in the company of vets. And firemen. 'A guinea pig that has transmogrified into a dog.'
'It was always a dog,' said Andy. 'No-where in its genetic make-up has a guinea pig been involved with this animal.'
'Are you sure?' said Honeybun, slightly disappointed that the miracle was evaporating before her eyes before she could sell her story to the tabloids.
'About as sure as I can be,' said Andy.
'You are a proper vet, aren't you?' said Honeybun.
'Yes,' said Andy. 'Look, my certificate is on the wall.'
'Just checking,' said Honeybun, and she picked up her guinea-huahua and left the surgery.

As it turned out, Pepe proved to be better as a talented dog rather than an untalented guinea pig, so Honeybun decided to keep him. It was a bit like having a guinea pig anyway. A big, bald, webbed-foot guinea pig.

And now, here he was, her Pepe, performing magic on stage before a crowd of thousands. If he had been her child Honeybun might have burst with pride. But she always maintained it wasn't a good idea to treat your pets like they were human. That way, she always told people, lies madness and getting caught up in things like writing a novel in a month.

'How's it going?' asked Mrs Miggins, appearing behind Honeybun. She had changed from her sequin cat suit into her boho chic combination swirly skirt, frilly blouse and faux leather purple waistcoat.
'Fine,' said Honeybun. 'He's already escaped from the tank of pirhanas, and produced a hat from a rabbit.'
'Shouldn't it be the other way around?' asked Miggins.
'Not the way Pepe does it,' said Honeybun, causing Mrs Miggins to wince.
'Poor rabbit,' said Mrs Miggins.
'Indeed,' said Honeybun. 'But don't worry; it's all to do with slight of paw.'

They stood and watched as Pepe did a spot of mind-reading and then a couple of card tricks.
'What's he doing for his finale?' asked Miggins. 'Now he can't do his cut-a-kakapo-in-two trick?'
'I don't know,' said Honeybun. 'He refused to let me see his rehearsals.'
'Mrs Slocombe offered to help him with a hack-a-hen-in-half version,' said Mrs Miggins. 'But I always think Mrs Slocombe and sharp objects are a bad combination.'
'Look,' said Honeybun. 'He's preparing for his finale.'

Pepe stepped into the centre of the stage. The crowd, who had become entranced by this enigmatic performer, watched as the stage hands dragged on a cannon.
'Brilliant!' said Mrs Miggins. 'I like a good cannon trick.'
Pepe swept his cloak back and forth, like a matador teasing a bull. To one side, a stage hand held a flaming torch. And next to him stood a familiar figure, holding what looked like a Christmas pudding.
'I know that person,' said Honeybun. 'It's the firework guy. The one who came to sort out the display.'
'Why's he holding a Christmas pudding?' said Mrs Miggins. 'It's not Stir-up Sunday for another three and a half weeks yet. It'll go off, you mark my words.'

But oh,never were there more fatal words uttered by a chicken in jest.

('It's not jest,' said Mrs Miggins. 'It's true. I know about puddings. Make 'em too soon, and it'll be mould or mice before mid-December, no matter how much brandy you feed it.')

For as soon as Pepe raised his hand, the firework man stepped mid-stage and placed the pudding into the mouth of the cannon. And then he picked up Pepe and placed him in the cannon atop the pudding. Before Mrs Miggins could say 'that pudding looks very black, he must have made it months ago, it'll definitely go off now,' and before Honeybun to shriek 'BOMB!!!!', the stage hand passed the flaming torch to
the firework man, who lit the fuse and the whole thing went...

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