Crafts, Cabbages and Confetti. (Part Two)

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Tippy-toe. Tippy-toe. Tippy-toe.

That’s the sound of Rocky and me, tippy-toeing through the door, our hearts still beating faster than a hungry hurricane, and louder than my alarm clock (which goes off way too early!).

“Crafts,” I whisper under my breath, thinking of the sign above the door. I lift my head to get a good look at the place. Rocky does the same and I’m just about to tell him what I make of it all when the door we have just come through slams shut and locks itself.

“At least this means that that giant Brush won’t be able to follow us in,” I say to Rocky. He isn’t concerned, more excited about this wonderful place we find ourselves in.

There are lots of trees here. Usually, as you will know, trees are green. Here, the trees are all different shades of colours. Some are purple, some are yellow and others are red. There’s no breeze here but the leaves are swaying from right to left, from left to right.

“These trees look like they have been painted,” I say to Rocky, who doesn’t really care.

I take a closer look at the trees when suddenly thick drops of rain, the shape of crocodile tears, fall on our heads. This is odd because we’re inside.  The roof doesn’t seem to be leaking, so I look around to see where the drops are coming from.

“Are the trees crying?” I ask Rocky. He gives me one of his don’t-be-ridiculous looks and carries on gazing around the space.

The ground is covered in old paintbrushes, sawdust and confetti. Every now and then there’s some star shaped paper on the floor that shortly after being spotted drifts upwards. I look at the ceiling and discover that lots of stars are now hovering underneath the roof, gliding, playing some sort of game. They are joined by old sweet wrappers that are shaped like butterflies.

I look down again and am astonished to discover heaps of flowers on the ground and little birthday candles, the kind you put on a cake.

Slowly and carefully we carry on walking down a narrow path that looks a little like a proper street, with double yellow lines. It’s really an ordinary kind of street that would never stand out in a crowd of streets.  In the distance I can see another building, or maybe walls.

“A building within a building,” I say to Rocky.

We continue to walk, slowly, when we start to hear crafting noises like the sound of a paintbrush being dipped in paint, the sound of metal being banged into shape and the hullabaloo of sewing machines. I look at Rocky and laugh.

“Hahaha! You’re covered in paint!” He looks at me and shakes his head. I look down at my raincoat, which is also covered in various colours: red, blue, green, white and purple. I look up and to my amazement notice that the drops of crocodile tears are now replaced by thick drops of paint.

“It’s quite messy in here,” I say. “I don’t think the giant Brush would like it much.” Rocky nods and we continue to head towards the other building. I check behind me to make sure the Brush isn’t following and the coast seems clear. I listen to the exciting crafting noises but can’t help but wonder where they are coming from. Are we not alone? I wonder. I don’t say this out loud because I don’t want to worry Rocky but I’ve got to admit I’m getting a little worried by this point. Who will we encounter next and more importantly, how will we ever get home?

Finally, we reach the other building. It turns out it’s not really a building at all. We’re looking at colossal iron gates. Their carefully woven structure reminds me of a mountain of spaghetti, or macaroni, if macaroni were longer (this is really a whole new topic!), but, without the sauce.

Behind the gates is a busy market, where statues, out of yellow stone, as yellow as a banana and a lemon put together, are doing all the crafting. Thick drops of paint, this time in a light blue and yellow, as well as floating orange peel (this is no joke) are drifting around the air. The smell’s just wonderful.

The small stony statues look a little like Snow White’s dwarfs. They’re busy painting, sewing and banging metal into shape. The stalls look unusual too. They consist of colourful flowers like tulips, roses, dahlias, sunflowers and cactuses (I know!). Instead of regular wooden tables there are heaps of cabbages and brussel sprouts (both of which I hate!), all shaped into table shapes.

The stony figures are standing over their work, shifting their weight from the left foot to the right foot from time to time. (I’m assuming they’re pretty heavy since they’re made out of stone.).

I rub my eyes. I look at Rocky and he rolls his eyes at me.

“Yes, you’re right, we’ve seen stranger things,” I say to him.

We stand outside the gates, I guess to avoid a repeat of the brush incident (see, we’ve learned!).

Every now and again one of crafters whistles a tune and everyone else joins in. It seems peaceful enough. Rocky and I both get carried away, and begin to whistle one of our own songs when all of a sudden and unexpectedly these miniature creatures run over to us, wrestle us to the ground and tie us up! They continue to roll us around like two barrels of laughs (only that we’re not laughing at all!) until they stop.  I’m quite scared and now and judging by the expression on Rocky’s face, so is he. I try to read the figures’ faces but am only met by stony silence.

“Nooo, please, let us go!” I shout. I think shouting, when you’re tied up, isn’t a bad idea.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?” One of the dwarfs, named Fish (he wears a nametag) asks us.

“Did the giant Brush send you?” Another one, named Meat, asks.

“No, no, no! This is all a big misunderstanding. We were running away from the Brush when we fell into a puddle and landed outside the Crafts’ door. The Brush tried to follow us so we came here to hide from it,” I say, as calmly as possible. Rocky nods like there’s no tomorrow.

“And why should we believe you?” Fish asks.

I think and I think and I think. Why should they believe us?

“Because we like mess?” I say carefully.

The dwarfs break into a whisper, repeating what I just said over and over again. They look at Rocky and me, suspiciously.

“You like mess?” Meat asks.

“Yes, we love mess. We never tidy anything up, do we Rocky?” Rocky nods and tries one of his charming smiles.

“Prove it,” Fish says.

He unties us and walks us into the market place. He gets out a huge sack and marches us over to the paint stall. I keep my fingers crossed that he won’t torture us with the cactus.

He hands me the sack and the paint.

“Make a mess,” he says.

I look at Rocky and smile. That, we can do.

I throw the sack’s contents up in the air and mixture of confetti and sawdust drizzles down on us. Rocky dips his arms and legs in the paint and starts running through the colourful drizzle and I do the same. In no time, the space around us is transformed into a vibrant mess.

“Not bad,” Fish says and Meat agrees. “You see, the giant Brush has been trying to clean up our crafty mess for years now. We love mess. Our motto’s: No Mess, Much Stress. It has tried to send little helpers down here before.”

“Yes, like that time when it sent that mop and bucket!” Meat says. “Thankfully, we managed to convert both the mop and the bucket.” He points at a corner. I can see the mop dipping itself in paint and then spinning around like the spinniest of spinners, splashing its surroundings with paint.

I smile.

“Rocky and I love a good mess.” I say and wonder if these two are able to help us. “Now, I’ve a favour to ask.”

Meat and Fish look at each other and then at me, quizzically.

“Yes?”

I gather all my courage. I look at Rocky for some support. He rolls his eyes at me, as if to say ‘big deal’.

“It’s very nice down here but I was wondering if you could tell us how to get back up there? We really need to get home,” I say.

Again, Fish and Meat look at each other. Fish nods and looks behind him.

“Veg! Veeeeg! Vegetable! Where are you?” he shouts.

Vegetable, or Veg as his friends call him, moves over to us.

“Yes? What can I do for you?” Veg asks.

“We’ll need some of your cabbages, brussel sprouts, onions and your umbrella,” Meat says. Then he turns to me. “You see, the only way to get back up there is through, how shall I put it politely, erm, natural gas. In order for you to produce this natural gas, you need to eat a lot of cabbage, sprouts and onions. The rest is a doddle.”

Now I’m worried. I hate cabbage and sprouts.

“Couldn’t he eat it?” I say and point at Rocky, who gives me a very angry look and starts shaking his head.

“That fellow? Nah, he’s too small,” Fish says. Rocky doesn’t waste any time in giving me one of his smirks and starts to drag cabbages my way.

What happens next is too horrific to tell you in detail. Let me just say I have never ever, in my whole life, felt so bloated and sick.

But it works. With the umbrella in one hand and Rocky in the other, I fart my way upward. We float gently but I never stop trumping, just in case.

We re-emerge through another puddle, just around the corner from our flat. I walk as fast as I can.

“Hurry up, Rocky, I need the loo!” I shout. He rolls his eyes at me. “Well, who had to eat all those cabbages and sprouts? You or me?” I say, annoyed.

Over and out.

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The Sweeping Brush and Dustpan. (Part One)

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Drip. Drop. Drip. Drop.

That’s the sound of the rain, banging against our window.

It’s another one of those dull grey days. Most people choose to stay inside.

However, Rocky and I decide to go for a walk. We’d never go for a stroll if it wasn’t raining. He’s a terrapin, which means he likes being wet. I’m a human and like getting soaked too. I look outside the window and smile.

“Great! Lots of puddles, Rocky!” I say and put my raincoat and wellies on.

Once outdoors, thick clouds of evermore rain force the few remaining people inside. Not Rocky and me. We like the rain. (The more, the better!).

We stroll along, jumping from puddle to puddle, splashing each other with water. Rocky takes the lead. He’s faster than you’d think.

“Wait up, Rocky!” I shout. He turns around and gives me one of his looks. He’s annoyed that I’m unable to keep up.

“My wellies are a size too big and I forgot to put two pairs of socks on!” I try to explain. Still, he’s determined to make the most of the puddles and the rain so ploughs on.

We continue to move by jumping from puddle to puddle. Rocky’s a couple of puddles ahead of me, when I notice that he stops in his tracks. I finally catch up and try to make out what he’s looking at. He’s mesmerised.

“Wow!” I say. 

In front of us, right in front of our eyes, there’s a sweeping brush and dustpan the size of a chubby cottage. The weird thing is that it’s moving on its own accord. There’s nobody here who’s controlling it. Sweep, sweep, sweep. It’s sweeping up all the dirt and rubbish around it, frantically.

“I don’t think it likes mess,” I say to Rocky. He nods and continues to watch. (I wish I could tell you that I’m no fan of mess either but the truth of the matter is that Rocky and I are rather on the messy side!)

The colossal brush continues to sweep empty crisp packets, expired bus tickets, chocolate wrappers, plastic bags and old chips (I know!) onto the pan. The contents are then emptied into a huge hole that reminds me of an ever-chewing mouth: greedy and ravenous.

“We could do with a hole like that,” I say to Rocky, who’s still observing the sweeping action. He glances my way, telling me to zip it, when it happens.

The giant brush catches sight of us. In one swift sweeping motion it moves our way, making bigger and faster brush-strokes. It is angry.

“Oh no, Rocky, what shall we do?” I say.  I’ve no intentions of being swept up or eaten alive by that ever-greedy mouth.

I panic. I want to scream but that wouldn’t be any use. There’s nobody here. Just Rocky, me, the giant brush and that chewing mouth in the ground. We have to think fast. The brush is approaching and is just about to sweep us up when Rocky does a star-jump and bites its handle.

The brush stops for a second, trying to process what has just happened. Rocky and I use the distraction and run, as fast as we possibly can, until we reach a puddle. We jump in with all our power, hoping to splash the brush senseless, when we fall and fall, down the puddle, ever downwards, at enormous speed.

“We need something to slow our fall!” I shout at Rocky. He thinks speedier than we plummet and motions that I should take his arms and legs. I do as he tells me and we almost stop mid-air. Rocky and his shell function as a parachute. We begin to float down gently now, descending into darkness, when I have an idea (I must add that I had five-bean-chilli for my tea).

I let out a fart and for a split second we begin to float upwards, not downwards. Rocky, who can’t hold his nose because I’m holding on to his arms and legs wretches but lets me know to try again.

I fart again and again for a split second we move upwards again, only to be pulled down shortly afterwards. I try again and the same happens. Until nothing happens.

“I’m all out of farts!” I apologise. Rocky looks confused. He doesn’t know whether to be relieved or worried.

I look down but all I can make out is black.

Suddenly, I see a faint light as we approach the end of our dive. We land softly on double yellow lines.

Rocky starts shaking his arms and legs out (they have been stretched to the maximum) when we catch sight of a sign. It says “Crafts”. There’s a door underneath the sign.

“Shall we go in?” I ask Rocky, who doesn’t seem to be sure. We look up to where we came from when we see outlines of the giant brush.

“Oh no, it must have followed us,” I whisper. We look at each other and open the door.

“An angry brush and dustpan, a hungry hole in the ground, a puddle passageway to an underground door leading to “Crafts”.  Whatever next?” I say as we enter, our hearts beating faster than a herd of running antelopes, and louder than a group of outraged drums.

Over and out.

The Haunted Car Park.

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Patter. Patter. Patter.

That’s the sound of me getting up in the middle of the night. I try my hardest to be quiet. I know, not so much from experience but from watching TV and reading lots of books, that most mysteries happen at night.

As I enter the lounge I see that Rocky, my terrapin, is wide awake. He can’t sleep either.

“Hello Assistant-Detective,” I say.

He gives me a look as if to say he is the older one, therefore I should be the assistant. I’m about to switch his light on when I hear the sound of thunder and woodpigeons. I jump. I run to the window and look out. It’s dark and thick streaks of rain obstruct my view. It’s gloomy out there, that much I can tell. The streets are deserted. The only shapes I can make out for sure are the shadows of the trees, swaying in the light breeze. No woodpigeons in sight. No lightning on the horizon. The multi-storey car park opposite my flat is as still as the still water we buy in bottles (I’ve no idea why we don’t just drink tap water?!).

“That’s odd, isn’t it?” I say to Rocky as I’m about to get myself a glass of water.

He nods and carries on moving the rocks in his tank from one side to the other. I’ve no idea why he does that. He refuses to tell me. I like to think he’s looking for treasure.

As I’m turning on the tap (I do like drinking tap water) I hear the same sound again. Thunder and woodpigeons. Again, I wriggle over to the window.

My eyes have adjusted to the dark and I manage to get a clear view of the multi-storey car park (I squint really hard!).

I scan my eyes across the car park, from top to bottom, until I catch sight of a tall figure. I jump again, throw myself on the floor and fart accidentally. I turn to Rocky and mouth “Shhhh”, trying to pretend I never farted. He gives me a disapproving look. He heard me alright.

“Did it see us?” I whisper.

Rocky waves at me, as if to tell me to stay hidden. He seems to be forgetting that I’m in charge and he’s the assistant.


“No Rocky, this could be a real mystery, a real crime for us to solve,” I whisper.

Carefully, I pull myself up and peep over the windowsill. I hold my breath and tell myself that it was probably nothing (always hoping it was something!).

There it is again. The weird figure has made its way up the next level. Its unusually tall and floaty outline reminds me of a really thin giant, covered in porridge (which I hate). I look harder and notice that this figure doesn’t seem to be walking. It seems to be floating. I rub my eyes. I swallow hard.

“I don’t believe in ghosts,” I say to myself more than to Rocky. I fear he’d laugh at me if I told him that this figure, through the streaks of rain and in the pitch dark, looks a little like a ghost. Or shall I say A LOT?

The problem with ghosts is that they can walk through walls and feel your fear. I do hope they can’t smell farts. If they can, I’m in deep trouble. And so is Rocky.

I blink and I blink again. The figure is up the next level, floating around, looking for something. I try my hardest to focus my eyes and make out its face but where faces usually are, there is only more porridge. I don’t dare to breathe. Finally, it reaches the flat roof of the car park. It zooms around until it picks up a cage.

“A cage? A cage? Do you think that cage is for us?” I say to Rocky, who is now sitting on top of his rock to get a better view.

At this very moment the figure, high up on the roof, pauses. It gazes around until its gaze rests on my window. I dodge down as fast as I can. My heart beats as loud as a tapping bear would tap if it had tap shoes.

“Is it still looking?” I mouth to Rocky.

Rocky doesn’t move. I take that as a yes.

I let a few seconds pass, trying to gather my courage. I pull myself up very slowly and carefully. I take my chances and steal a glance. Nothing.

Suddenly the sound of thunder and woodpigeons returns. The figure is back, floating down the various levels of the car park.

I strain my eyes to see what’s in the cage but it’s no use. I crawl over to the cupboard and get a pair of binoculars out. I crawl back to the window just in time to see what this eerie figure is transporting in that cage and why it looks like a porridge-covered skinny giant.

“Woodpigeons. A cage full of woodpigeons, Rocky!”

Just as I brief Rocky, the figure whooshes down, level after level, until it reaches the open road. Off it goes, around the corner and into the darkness.

I stay by the window for another few minutes but nothing happens.

“Better get this report typed up, Rocky,” I say as I return to bed, relieved we’re both still alive.

The next morning I look at the newspaper. The headline reads: “Woodpigeons Abducted by Roller-Skating Porridge Fanatic!”

Over and out.

The Boredom Begins.

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It’s not that I don’t like the school holidays. In fact, I like them a lot. The problem is though, after so many lie-ins, so much daytime TV and as many meals in front of the TV I get restless. I want to be out there, see what’s going on and solve some mysteries. I know Rocky, my terrapin, feels much the same. He gets bored easily.

The first problem: How do you go about finding a real mystery, maybe even a real crime?

The only thing I can do for now is keep my eyes and ears open, look out of the window and eavesdrop on my neighbours’ conversations.

Fingers crossed I’ll have something to report soon.

Over and out.