Saturday, 26 March 2011

Episode 75

“Quickly! Paper towels and boiling water, for pity’s sake!” gasped Teatime, as he hurtled past an astonished Harold and on down the corridor. Harold closed Moon’s door as quietly as possible before setting off after the little monkey.

“What on earth happened to you?” he asked as he caught up, “and – what IS that awful smell?”

“That perishing Moon fellow decided he wanted a midnight snack, so I was forced to sequester myself at short notice in his kitchen rubbish bin – a most unpleasant and malodorous place of concealment, I can tell you.” replied Teatime. “It is a mystery to baffle even the wisest sage why humans, with a world of delicious natural foods to choose from, still insist on filling their bellies with such disgusting lifeless fare as comes in little film-wrapped plastic trays, which they then consume whilst in the mindless, slack-jawed thrall of the television. I ended up sitting in the semi-congealed remains of such a dish – an experience which could actually be improved by a long hot soak in a bath of industrial waste!”

Harold burst out laughing.

“It’s not funny!” Teatime cried, crossly. “I was in there for simply ages. The fellow just would not go back to bed.”

“Begging your pardon,” laughed Harold, “but it is rather hilarious – having to hide in a bin – you couldn’t make this stuff up.”

“No, you jolly well couldn’t!” agreed the little monkey huffily.

“What were you doing in the kitchen, anyway?” asked Harold.

“Oh, I decided to take the opportunity to rustle up a three course dinner, of course!” retorted Teatime, “ What do you THINK I was doing there? I was looking for the key to Moon’s briefcase, the wretched fellow had locked it so I wasn’t able to plant the tracker inside.”

“I see. But you did plant the tracker somewhere?”

“Yes, yes, I settled for slipping it into the lining of his jacket in the end – I just hope he continues to wear it.”

“Well, that’s better than nothing anyway,” said Harold, “I’m just glad we weren’t discovered.”

“Indeed,” agreed Teatime.

Outside the building, the street was fairly dark and quiet. In the distance an ambulance siren wailed. Harold walked down the street and round the corner to where Othello was waiting in the car.

“Mission accomplished,” he said, climbing in.

“What took you so long?” asked Othello. “I was about to come in after you.”

“It’s a long story,” laughed Harold. “But not terribly newsworthy.” He added, seeing Teatime’s scowl. Othello grunted and started up the car.

They soon arrived back at Mr Teeth’s, where only Mercury was still waiting up for them.

“Well, let’s hope Moon doesn’t find the tracker or any traces of our little visit,” he said, after hearing the night’s events, as related by a grinning Harold, “he’s as sharp as a tack, that one, and can probably put two and two together as well as anybody.” He stifled a huge yawn, “Well, I think I’ll turn in now, see you in the morning.” He wandered off in the direction of the bedrooms.

“You know,” said Harold, “all that talk of kitchens and food has made me realise we haven’t had any proper food for hours – those sugar cookies have completely worn off. Fancy sharing some sort of disgusting lifeless fare with me?”

“Very funny,” said Teatime.

They wandered into the kitchen where a quick rummage through Mr Teeth’s cupboards and refrigerator yielded various cold meats, a heap of salad, bread and butter and a pile of enough fresh fruit to make even Teatime salivate a little.

“Right,” declared Harold, “that looks about enough. Let’s try it on for size.”

They set to.

“I hope this tracker device thing works out,” said Teatime, after a while.

“Yeah, it’d be nice to finally make some real progress at last,” agreed Harold. “Just think, we might actually solve the case in a few days. I can’t wait!”

“Really?” asked Teatime, “I’d have thought you would have wanted it to last as long as possible.”

“Why would I want that?” asked Harold, puzzled.

“Well, old biscuit,” explained the little monkey, “Once the case is finally over, these humans aren’t exactly going to let you hang about up here, are they? It’ll be back to the Basement for you before you can say Jack Robinson, won’t it?”

“Oh, I hadn’t thought of that.” Said Harold.

He put down his knife and fork, his appetite had suddenly disappeared.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Episode 74

Teatime crouched anxiously in Moon’s garbage bin, keeping as still as possible. This was not easy, as he seemed to be sitting in a disgusting-smelling plastic meal tray, complete with popcorn-sized lumps of a decidedly squishy substance still adhering to it. As the sounds of Moon moving about in the kitchen came to him inside the malodorous receptacle (a bowl of cereal and a glass of water seemed to be in order), Teatime’s initial relief at having hidden himself so quickly disappeared like so much melting snow, to be replaced by an exasperated questioning in his mind of the wisdom of hiding in a place from which there was no possibility of escape if discovered.

For his part, Moon was a little puzzled: as he’d made his way across the living room with a view to fixing himself a little snack (the macaroni cheese ready meal had been as unsatisfying as it had been unappetising), he’d been sure he’d heard a noise coming from the kitchen, but when he’d arrived and flipped on the light, all had been still and quiet - apart from one thing. The cutlery drawer had been slightly open. Now Moon was sure he’d left it properly closed. Nothing else was amiss though, so he dismissed the noise as a product of the imagination of a half-asleep brain.

As he dipped his spoon into the cereal and munched, he thought about the possible new chapter in his life that looked to be opening up. The message he’d received earlier that day had been most promising, but on no account was he going to get his hopes up too much – that way lay disappointment. Still, so long as his informant hadn’t been painting too rosy a picture of things, there was much to hope for.

Moon paused for a moment to give silent thanks for the wanderlust that had taken him on that trip to Europe. It had almost cleaned out his then meagre bank account, but it had been so worth it to have run purely by chance into his uncle in Switzerland. And what a momentous meeting it had turned out to be. They’d met on a climb and had hit it off almost immediately. It had taken them both some time to realise they were related, but by then they were fast friends anyway. Once back home, Moon had found a job in OGS more-or-less waiting for him. Everything had been going along very nicely after that - until Moon had got a call telling him his uncle had been injured in a climbing accident. As the last of the cereal disappeared, revealing the ridiculous hearts-and-flowers motif at the bottom of the bowl, Moon felt more hopeful than he had at any time since then. If things worked out, after tomorrow, everybody would have to sit up and take notice: not just OGS, with its internal politics and adherence to the old ways, but eventually the whole world.