Wednesday, 6 August 2008

A Child's Story

I was speaking to my old chum Pieman yesterday. We were chewing over the industry fat, and it was exactly like the tramps in The Two Ronnies at one point. Except we were in a bar in Manchester, and not under a hedge...

Anyway. I was delighted to hear about his new kid's book. After penning a tale for his daughter, he called in a few favours, got the thing illustrated and now it's all poised for the publishers! So, nice one mate. He was beaming with excitement -bless him- and it does sound dead good. In fact, it made me wonder if I could write a child's story..? But the answer to that is no. Because I'm a fucking miserable arse and hate children.

However, once upon a time I did -indirectly- write a child's story for a job I was doing. I also happen to know two very talented and very, very frustrated designers who'll be reading this at work (hello ladies!) Maybe if they get a mo, they could illustrate my story?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the infamous... Tale Of The Virgin Sow

Once upon a time, there was a farmer called Mr.Neddy. Every morning he would set out early from his cottage to visit all the animals he kept on his farm. Mr. Neddy’s animals were his friends.

There was Anthony the horse, Stuart the bull, Julie the sheep, the two hens, Helen and Jane and Matthew the cockerel. But of all his animals, Mr.Neddy’s best friends were his two pigs, Wendy and Karl.

It was Spring time on the farm and all was well. The sun shone high in the sky and all the animals seemed happy. This was Mr.Neddy’s favourite time of year. After feeding and talking to his animals, he spent the day digging a hole. Then, after watching the sun go down he returned to his cottage for some well earned rest.

That night, he had a hearty meal and was just settling into his favourite armchair when there was a knock at the door. Grumbling to his feet, Mr. Neddy opened it, and to his surprise found Karl the pig standing nervously on his doorstep.

“Why, Karl,” he said. “It’s so late. What can I do for you?”
“I need to speak to you,” said Karl. “I don’t know what to do.”
“You’d better come in, my friend. You look awful.”

Inside the cottage, Karl sat down by the fireplace anxiously wringing his trotters.

“Can I get you drink?” asked Mr. Neddy.
“Thank you,” said the pig.
Mr. Neddy poured two large whiskies. “What’s all this about then, Karl?” he asked, handing his guest a generous tumbler of Scotch.
Karl lit a cigarette. “It’s Wendy. She won’t let me near her.”
“What do you mean?” said Mr. Neddy, puzzled.
“I mean, she won’t put out.”
“I see.” He paused. “Is this because of the miscarriage?”
“That’s just it, Mr. Neddy. There was no miscarriage. We made it up.”
“But... -Why?”
Karl stood up, turning his back as he spoke. His pride was shattered. “We knew you’d be disappointed. We had to be seen to be trying. ‘Truth is, we’ve never tried. She won’t let me. She’s closed up. Like a clam. I can’t go on like this, all the excuses, the lies. I need to know she loves me.”
Mr. Neddy sat back in his chair and took a thoughtful sip of his whisky. He stood up. “Karl,” he said, placing a hand on the pig’s shoulder, “I’m not disappointed in you. I understand. Don’t worry. I have an idea. Go back to bed and leave it to me.”
“But the sty! Wendy – she’s so cold,” he blubbed.
“I know, I know. But trust me. You go and sleep on it, and I’ll see you in the morning.”
Their eyes met in an exchange of trust. Karl bowed his head as if to say thank you and quietly, reluctantly trotted back to the sty.

That morning, Karl and Wendy awoke as usual. When Mr. Neddy came around with their feed, he had a knowing look in his eye.
“Good morning. And how are you this morning Karl?”
“As well as can be expected.”
“Jolly good. And you Wendy, how are you today? May I say look as radiant as ever?”
Wendy blushed. “Oh, thank you Mr. Neddy. I’m very well, thank you.”
“Splendid,” said the farmer. “You must excuse me for a moment, only I have some urgent business to attend to. I shall see you both later.”
And with that, Mr. Neddy disappeared behind the barn.

Karl looked at his feed but didn’t feel hungry. Trotting across the sty, he lay down in the sunshine and sighed, watching Wendy demurely crunching her breakfast. A few moments past, then, suddenly there was a sound; a noise that neither of the pigs had heard before. It was music, a wiry but infectious electric guitar. It had a groove. Then, a voice: “Very superstitious,” it sang, “Writing on the wall…” Karl lay confused. It continued, but Wendy was powerless. Her ears pricked up and she began to sway. She looked at Karl, now rising up on her hind legs, sashaying towards him she danced, her hips in time to the music. He was transfixed, hypnotised by this strange new ritual. Wendy jiggled around him smiling and slowly began to dance towards the sty, her eyes fixed on his. Karl followed her instinctively until the pair had vanished inside…

Later that day, Mr. Neddy walked past the pigsty to find Karl leaning over the fence, wistfully smoking a cigarette.
“Well?” asked the farmer.
“It worked.”
The farmer nodded with a hint of conceit and silently walked away.
“Wait!” said Karl. The farmer turned. “What was that music?”
“Stevie Wonder. The Talking Book L.P, 1972.”
"Well, it worked for Mrs. Neddy."

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