dubiously true stories and cartoons

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Creature Features Part 5

A Fight in the Night

Two days before Owl had spoken to Ned,
In the Red Lion pub, Gnu – the hothead –
Was sat on his own in the corner of the bar,
Proclaiming that his dog was an absolute star.

The king of manure was a rude sort of fellow –
His customers would never describe him as mellow.
He was also a boaster, a braggart and a cad,
He was obnoxious and surly and really quite bad.

Now Gnu thought his dog was a ferocious creature,
And he knew this was so because he’d been its teacher.
It was taught how to snarl and to growl and to bite,
But most of all Gnu had taught it to fight.

“My dog is a fighter!” Gnu loudly declared,
“And he’s never backed down or even been scared.
He’s the best dog in the world!” he proudly announced,
“He evil and nasty and cannot be trounced!”

Giraffe heaved a sigh as the dreadful Gnu prattled
About how his fierce dog could never be rattled,
So he stood up and said, “Your dog sounds so course,
But I’ve got one at home that can easily beat yours.”

“What rubbish! What rot!” Gnu said with a scowl,
“There’s not a dog in the world that can make my beast cowl.
And though I’ve never seen yours, you long-necked twit,
If you bring it round here my dog will devour it!”

“You’re on,” said Giraffe, “you’ve just made a bet!
I suggest that you find a reliable vet.
My dog’s like no other,” he said with a glare,
“It’s a long-nosed, long-tailed, short-legged terrier.”

“A what?” said Gnu. “I’ve never heard of such a beast –
But no matter, it’ll give mine a well-deserved feast.”
“Don’t be so sure,” Giraffe said with intent,
“Mine was bred on an exotic continent.”

“Well, I called my dog Killer,” said Gnu, and he laughed
Straight into the face of Mr Giraffe.
“It’s a masculine name – not like your dogs’, I fancy.”
“That’s true,” said Giraffe, “because I call mine Nancy.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” said Gnu turning blue,
“And make sure you bring that whatever with you.
We’ll meet here tomorrow – same time and same place
“And I’ll take great pleasure wiping that smile from your face.”

The next night at eight the weather was clear,
And Mr Gnu’s dog was something to fear.
It was snarling and snapping and ready to bite
The other dog it had had been brought here to fight.

But Giraffe’s dog was nowhere to found.
“So, where is this beast of yours?” Mr Gnu frowned.
“I can’t bring her inside,” Mr Giraffe said,
“If I did that everyone here would be dead.”

“She’s far too ferocious and quite unpredictable,
She once even ate a full-sized snooker table.
I must think of the safety of those here at the bar,
So she’s locked in my van – she wouldn’t fit in my car.”

“Let’s waste no more time and get this thing done,”
Said Gnu, “I won’t be happy until my dog has won.”
Mr Giraffe smiled and stood up from his chair
And walked to the door without even a care.

Outside the pub it was sombre and dark –
The van was stood in the corner of the gloomy car park.
“Let’s do it!” said Gnu. “Release your dog from that vehicle.”
(Which in the gloom of the car park was the colour of treacle).

“I can’t let her loose! I can’t set her free!”
Said Giraffe. “She’s far too ferocious, you see.
Put Killer in the van and we’ll see who’s the winner,
But I warn you – Nancy’s not had her dinner.”

Gnu thought about this and then said, “It’s a deal,
But it’s your dog that’s going to end up as a meal.”
“Right then,” said Giraffe, opening the door just a crack,
“Be quick! Throw that dog of yours into the back!”

The door slammed shut as Killer went in
And what followed next was an almighty din.
Barking and growling and a deafening riot
Was followed by a CRUNCH! Then everything went quiet.

Giraffe opened the door of the van just a bit
So the winner of the fight could make its exit.
“It’s Killer,” cried Gnu. “That means your dog’s dead!”
But then he noticed that Killer was missing his head.

“Oh no!” cried Gnu, feeling terribly deflated.
“Oh yes!” said Giraffe. “Your dog is decimated!”
With a choking cry Gnu looked down at Killer’s lead
And sobbed, “Your dog – what was the breed?”

“Nancy is a long-nosed, long-tailed, short-legged terrier,”
Said Giraffe, his voice sounding merrier and merrier.
“She’s from Africa, from somewhere near the Nile,
But the natives call her – I think – a crocodile!”

Next week: A Rhino on the Lino

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Creature Features Part 4

A Horse, of Course

The Right Honourable Owl had a lovely deportment –
In fact he was once a Member of Parliament,
But because he wouldn’t take part in any dirty tricks
He was forced to resign from the world of politics.

Now, a year into his compulsory retirement, he thought
He would spend some time with his friends at The Court.
He hopped into his car and left the smoke of the city,
Singing as he drove a chart-topping ditty.

His car was a highly-polished and elegant machine –
It had one previous owner – a mouse called Maureen.
Buzz-Ard and Tur-Tel would be impressed, he thought,
When his car pulled into the drive of The Court.

But when he was deep in the country he heard a strange hissing,
Which was odd because the car had just had its annual servicing.
Another mile down the road and the car let out a shudder,
And it came to a halt with an almighty judder.

Owl stepped out of the car in a bit of a tatter
And lifted the bonnet to see what was the matter.
Steam rose from the engine and into his face,
As he stood looking forlorn in this isolated place.

He might have seen the tangles of wire and cable
If he hadn’t left his glasses at home on the table.
He was very long-sighted, and that was a fact –
A clear view of the engine was all that he lacked.

He stared blankly at the pipes and the wires and the pump,
Until a loud voice behind him made him suddenly jump.
“Your problem,” said the voice, “is your radiator cap’s missing –
And that is what’s causing that horrible hissing.”

Owl fluttered his feathers and hooted in fright,
But when he looked around there was no-one in sight.
When his heart calmed down he resumed his inspection,
But the voice came again – this time with inflection.

“I’ve told you your problem – your radiator cap’s missing –
And it’s that that was causing the horrible hissing.
Your engine may look to you like the landscape of Mars,
But trust me – I know a lot about cars.”

Owl looked round again in a state of vexation
To see who was imparting this technical information.
He was in the middle of nowhere, on a road lined with gorse,
And the only thing in sight was a massive white horse.

Owl thought for a moment and then decided to speak,
“Err – is it you who is talking?” he asked with a squeak.
“Of course it’s me,” said the horse with a nod of its head,
“I’m very pleased to meet you – my name is Ned.”

“But horses can’t talk,” said Owl, “it’s an impossibility.”
“Well, we can,” said Ned, “and we do it with such civility.
We are educated and clever and often have conversations
About history and psychology and other such diversions.

But my Uncle Dobbin was a very fine mechanic
And he taught me how to fix cars – so there’s no need to panic.
Now,” continued the horse, “as I told you before,
Your radiator cap’s off and it’s there on the floor.

Replace all your water and put the cap back on tight
And when you start up your engine it will sound just about right.”
“But I’ve got no water,” Owl said with alarm.
“Don’t worry about that,” replied Ned with great charm.

“I’m famed in these parts for the water I retain,
So step away from your vehicle while I take careful aim.”
Ned filled up the radiator from at least fifteen metres
And when he had finished it had taken twenty litres.

Owl was impressed and said, “Your aim is so true.”
“My pleasure,” said Ned. “Besides, I really needed the loo.”
Owl stayed on for a while and they both had a chat –
They talked about this and they talked about that.

They talked until the sun was about to go down,
When Owl suddenly declared, “I’d better head into town.”
Ned said, “Now that I know you I feel really delighted,
It’s my birthday on Saturday and you’re cordially invited.”

Owl jumped into his car and started the engine,
Then waved goodbye to his new-found companion.
He drove into town to the Dog and Duck pub,
Where he ordered a drink and a plateful of grub.

He took a sip from his drink and started a conversation
With Ollie the bar-owl (who was no relation).
“You’ll never guess what happened to me,” he squealed,
“My car was repaired by a horse in a field!”

Ollie let out a gasp and the pub fell into silence.
“It’s true,” said Owl, “and he gave me good guidance.”
Ollie was speechless – but after some time
He asked, “What was the colour of your mechanical equine?”

“He was white,” said Owl. “Why, is something the matter?
You are worrying me with your pessimistic chatter.”
“Just one more question,” the bar-owl said,
“This horse – did he call himself Ned?”

“Why, yes,” said Owl, “that’s the name that he gave me –
He topped up my radiator in order to save me.
It was empty and required a full twenty litres,
And he filled it from a distance of at least fifteen metres.”

“You were lucky,” said Ollie, “because on that stretch of track
There’s another white horse and his name is Jack.
His methods are archaic and completely impractical,
And he’s absolutely useless with anything mechanical.”

Everyone sighed and resumed their conversation
About what they’d been watching on last night’s television.
They all immediately forgot about Owl’s adventuring
Because, to be honest, it was not very interesting.

Owl passed a Beagle who was smoking at the bar –
He said his goodbyes and went out to his car.
Outside in the night it was rainy and dark,
But he found his car eventually in the gloomy car park.

As he drove past the Red Lion pub down on the right
A bump in the road gave him a bit of a fright –
But he knew the car’s chassis was toughened and hard,
So he carried on driving to see Tur-Tel and Buzz-Ard.

He was happy he was visiting his friends at The Court,
Who would be waiting for him with a bottle of port.
But better than that – much better by far –
Was meeting a horse who knew everything about cars.

Next week: A Fight in the Night