Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Chapter 33 - All Is Revealed (Well, Almost All)

Rita's revelations paled in comparison at the sight of the photograph she placed on the table, once Boom had wrestled the envelope from a frantic Honeybun and torn it open for its sordid contents to be seen by all.

'So,' said Boom. 'It was you all along.'
'And you let me take the blame,' spat Mrs Miggins. 'Hold me back, Gloria, hold me back, before I get her.'
'Yes,' said Honeybun, and watched nervously as Mrs Pumphrey wrestled Mrs Miggins into submission.

Well, she could hardly deny it, could she? It was there, in glorious techni-colour, for all to see. Pictorial evidence that it was she, Honeybun Slingsby, who had stolen Boom's precious lucky hat from him, that dark and fateful night, and passed it to Dave. Someone had caught them in the act, someone had snapped the hand-over, committed in a dark corner of some pub whose name even Honeybun couldn't remember. Her shimmery green kakapo wing, despite the gloom, contrasted clearly with the vibrant pink of Dave's flamingo appendage. And in the middle, the lucky hat hovered like a phantom.

'Dave!' said Mrs Miggins, turning and stopping in his tracks a shame-faced Dave, who was sneaking from the caravan. 'How could you? How could you betray Boom like that?'

Dave stepped back into the caravan.
'It's all bit embarrassing, really,' he said. 'I did it for you, Laetitia. For you. And for love.'
'Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah,' went the rest of the assembled crowd.
'No, not 'aaahhhhhhhhh',' snapped Mrs Miggins. 'The band split up because of you thieves.'
'But can't you see?' said Dave, dropping onto his knees before Mrs Miggins and then leaping up again immediately because he had knelt in something sticky. 'You were getting too involved with Boom. And he was no good for you.'
'Oi,' said Boom. 'I am here you know.'
'Shut up, Boom,' hissed Honeybun, who was happy to have the spotlight turned away from her. 'You'll only make things worse.'
'I think it's up to me to make decisions about my love life, don't you?' said Mrs Miggins. 'Besides, if it hadn't been for HER,' and she pointed a wing at Honeybun, 'then Boom and I would still be together, the band would still be playing and conquering the world with their own unique brand of rock 'n' roll, and Much Malarkey Manor would still be standing.'
'But what about me?' wailed Dave, who, for a flamingo who generally emanated an air of 'cool', was beginning to lose it big time. 'What about me, Laetitia?'
'What do you mean?' said Mrs Miggins. 'What about you?'
'I love you!' said Dave. 'I have always loved you, ever since the day I first clapped eyes on your glossy ginger feathers.'
'They're not ginger, they are auburn,' sniffed Mrs Miggins. 'Besides, it would never have worked. Not a chicken and a flamingo. I mean, think of the colour of the chicks.'
'Oh, and a chicken and a kakapo would have worked, would they?' said Dave.
'At least we're the same height,' interrupted Boom, who could hold his beak no longer.
'Shut up, Boom,' said Dave.

Boom was getting a bit fed up of being told to shut up.
'No,' he said. 'I will not shut up. It was my lucky hat that was stolen, and you were the one who stole it, Dave. You and Honeybun. And if you hadn't stolen my lucky hat, I wouldn't have to be wearing a toupee now.'
'You're wearing a toupee?' said Bob, studying Boom's head closely. 'You'd never notice. It's very good.'
'Isn't it?' said Boom, momentarily distracted from his outrage. 'I have them hand-woven especially, in New Zealand. They've got a good supply of the right feathers there, you see, because of the breeding programme.'
'Yes,' said Bob. 'Can it?'
'Go ahead,' said Boom. 'You won't find a join.'
'When you've quite finished,' said Rita Miassov, who'd been wholly disinterested in the unfolding malarkey, as she had known about it for weeks now, 'we need to decide what we're going to do about Cleverly Dangled.'
'Yes,' I said. 'And you still haven't told us why you helped him escape last night, either. Jail's the only place for him. Not only for arson, but for the attempted murder of an innocent chihuahua, too.'

'Don't you see?' said Rita, who was beginning to think that a depletion of oxygen levels in the caravan must be responsible for the growing insanity. 'I had to let him go, so I could trap him again. He thinks I'm on his side. I want to see him hoist by his own petard. And we don't have time to get caught up in something that happened years ago, and can't be changed.'
'I nearly went to Rio with you,' said Mrs Miggins, and she slapped Dave around the beak.
'STOP!' commanded Rita. 'Don't start up again. Forget you and Dave. Forget you and Boom. Forget Boom and Honeybun. In fact, forget any other romantic pairings that might have gone on, because I really don't want to know about them. And I especially do not want to know about the one involving Stix and that porcupine backing singer,' she added, before Stix decided to chip in with his tuppeny-worth. 'Focus on the here and now, folks. Focus on getting one over, and then some, on the evil property developer, Cleverly Dangled.'

'Right!'chorused the crowd.
'So are you behind me?' said Rita, thinking how nice it was to be really in charge of something after all these years of being told by others what to do.
'YES!' everyone shouted.
'THEN LET'S GO!' shouted Rita, and they all spilled outside where they stood in the black and charred remains of the Manor, staring at each other blankly.
'Now what?' said Dave.

And they all crowded back into the van and gathered around the tiny table to listen intently to each other's ideas,and then do exactly as Rita told them anyway.

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