Thursday, 26 November 2009

Chapter 36 - Plans a-foot

'Pepe?' said Honeybun. 'I don't believe it? Why would Pepe have taken that photo? He's my pet. I've taken care of him all his life and yet he still chose to betray me.'

Boom patted her knee, which was no mean feat given the stumpy-legged, ample featherage nature of the kakapo anatomy. 'They're devious creatures, chihuahuas,' he said. 'Tendency towards derangement, too, so I understand. I think it's something to do with their weird eyes and big flappy ears. And too much chilli con carne.'

This was going to be difficult, thought Boom, as they continued their journey in silence, save the occasional sob from Honeybun, and the occasional squeal and giggle from Mrs Dangled who was riding shotgun up front with Dave. He'd fully intended to break up with Honeybun as soon as this Cleverly Dangled malarkey had been tied up with a bow and placed under the Christmas tree of unwanted gifts. And now, here he was, trying to comfort his distraught girlfriend slash manager, as they travelled in Dave's limousine to a police station in Droitwich where Pepe was currently ensconced and awaiting collection, having been picked up on the motorway some two hours previously for jay-walking.

'If you don't come and get him soon,' warned the custody sergeant who spoke to Honeybun, 'we'll start charging storage fees. He's eating us out of house and home here. I don't know how such a small creature can pack away so much food.'
'He always did have a healthy appetite,' sighed Honeybun.
'He's not dead,' said Boom, bemused by Honeybun's use of the past tense. 'He's just been a very, very naughty chihuahua.'

They arrived in Droitwich and Boom went into the station, returning in minutes with a defiant looking Pepe. As he clambered into the car, Honeybun could barely bring herself to look at him.
'How could you, Pepe?' she said, as they set off back to Much Malarkey Manor. 'And why? Haven't I always treated you well? Brought you everything you've ever wanted? Taken you on holidays to exotic places?'

Pepe turned his back and looked out of the window. Sighing, he placed his chin on the arm rest and hoped he'd be able to make it home without throwing up. That last jam doughnut dipped in peanut butter had been a bad idea.

* * * * * * * *

The caravan at the site of the Manor was a-buzz with excited chatter.

'We need to make plans for the future,' said Bob. 'As soon as Dave, Boom and Honeybun get back with Pepe, we must decide where we go from here.'
'I'm up for a world tour,' said Stix, who really didn't want to go back to running his hardware store in South Wales. 'Hey,' he continued, 'you girls could come with us. 'Boom Penguin' and 'Poulet Nous' on tour, together. What an act we'd make!'

Mrs Miggins coughed. 'Oh, I don't think so,' she said, ignoring the look of disappointment in the eyes of Mrs Pumphrey and Mrs Slocombe who had become very attached to Bob and Stix. 'Our place is here, at the Manor, with Andy and Denise.'
'If you want to go on tour with the guys,' I said, 'you should go. It would be the opportunity of a life time. Don't let us stand in your way. A good dose of chicken pop and rock is well overdue in the world, I reckon.'
'What are you planning to do?' asked Mrs Miggins.

I looked at Andy and he looked at me. 'We've decided to stay where our hearts lie,' I said. 'Here, at the Manor. What with the insurance money, the generous 'donation' from Cleverly Dangled, and the ticket sales from the concert, we can afford to re-build the Manor and start up a new business.'
'We haven't decided yet exactly what that business will be,' said Andy. 'But it will probably involve pigs.'
'And alpacas,' I added quickly, because it had taken me a long time to get Andy to agree to alpacas.
'And a cider press,' said Andy, which had been his side of the bargaining tool vis a vis the acquisition of alpacas.
'It sounds good,' said Mrs Miggins. 'And, if you'll forgive me for causing this disaster in the first place, I'd very much like to stay on with you here.'

'There is nothing to forgive,' I smiled, picking up Mrs Miggins and giving her a squeeze. An egg plopped to the ground. 'You are very precious to us, you daft old hen. You have a home here for as long as you wish. All of you.'
'Less of the 'old',' reprimanded Mrs Miggins, with more than a little smile on her beak.

A car horn heralded the arrival of Boom and Honeybun, Pepe and Dave.

'Well?' said Mrs Miggins, as they went to greet the home comers. 'Has that little ratbag excuse for a dog explained himself yet?'
'He can't talk,' said Honeybun. 'Remember?'
'Oh yeah,' said Mrs Miggins. 'Talking animals, eh? What was I thinking of?'
'But he looks sorry for what he's done,' said Honeybun, and everyone looked at Pepe who didn't look sorry at all.
'What are you going to do with him?' asked Boom. 'I'm not having him come on tour with us. Once a traitor, always a traitor.'
'I could take his camera equipment away,' said Honeybun, who realised the traitor label stuch just as fast to her as it did to Pepe. 'And his mobile phone.'
Pepe pulled a face.
'I'm afraid that's not good enough,' said Boom, sensing a potential letting-off-the-hook opportunity. 'I'm afraid, Honeybun, that it's either him. Or me.'

Everyone held their breath. Boom had never issued an ultimatum to Honeybun before. Theirs was the kind of relationship where she wore the trousers and carried the credit card.

Honeybun looked from Boom to Pepe and from Pepe to Boom.

'Then I'm sorry, Boom,' she said, softly, which disappointed the crowd who were hoping for a bit of bloodshed. 'But I choose Pepe.'

It was for the best. Honeybun had come into Boom's life with Pepe tucked under her arm, and thus was the way she would be leaving.

'I'll go and pack our cases,' said Honeybun. 'I know what Pepe did was wrong, but in the end, it all turned out for the best. Didn't it?' And she looked closely at everyone to see if they saw the truth as clearly as she.

Once she had turned her back and was heading towards the tour bus, Boom let out a sigh of relief. That was easier than he'd anticipated. And now, with Dave apparently getting down and canoodly with Mrs Dangled, the path was clear for him to resume his relationship with Laetitia Miggins.

'So,' he said, clapping his wings together in a business-like fashion. 'What's the plan?'

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