by Dawn Knox
Two young rabbits sat on the banks of the river, their large ears drooping.
“I can’t believe the tickets are sold out,” said Babs with a sigh, “We might as well go home.’
“Definitely not! Gary and the Ghoulies are on. I’ve waited all my life to see them. P’raps we can find some ticket touts,” replied Deirdre.
“Well, p’raps we could hang about near the stage door. You never know, we might get a glimpse of Gary - or his Ghoulies,” said Deirdre.
“Yeah, I guess… And it’s not like we’ve got anything better to do.”
“Don’t remind me… Well, once the music festival’s over, we’ll start job hunting.”
“Yeah,” said Babs. She paused, “Listen, can you hear someone shouting?”
“It’s coming from over there.” Deirdre shaded her eyes with a paw and peered at the custard flowing lazily past.
Babs squinted at the river. “It looks like a monkey in a boat holding a custard-coated chicken on a stick.”
“Yeah. And look! Just behind the monkey, there’s a smaller one doing acrobatics and juggling bongos. That’s not something you see every day.”
“Hey, you don’t think they could be one of the bands, do you? It might be a publicity stunt.”
“Could be. You don’t often see monkeys in these parts. Hey, you don’t think they could be The Three Wise Monkeys, do you?”
“Look, that’s their poster over there.”
Babs stared at the poster and then at the spectacle on the river.
“The photos don’t look much like those guys in the boat.”
“They’ve probably been airbrushed.”
“Yeah, s’pose. Actually, now you come to mention it, I can see the likeness. That’s definitely Brain in the boat holding up the chicken-on-a-stick. An’ if you half-close your eyes, that small one juggling on the side of the boat, is Colon.”
“What are they shouting?”
‘It sounds like ‘Help’.”
“Yeah. It’s a great publicity stunt, isn’t it?”
“Just a shame there’s only us around to see it.”
“Oh well, we can’t hang around here all day watching. We’d better get to the stage door if we want a chance of getting into the festival.”
“Wait! I’ve had an idea. If those guys are The Three Wise Monkeys, we might be able to persuade them to get us in to the stadium.”
When Eddie had first climbed out of the boat, he’d hesitated before making good his escape and had rapidly been sucked beneath the custard. Quick-thinking Brian had inserted an oar up the back of his jacket and hoisted him out of the river where he remained dangling and dripping. He’d been so heavy that The Saucy Tart had listed - almost to the point of capsizing, and Brian had not had the strength to get him back on board. Colin had done his best to keep the boat upright by leaning precariously in the opposite direction, holding his bongos and Brian’s guitar for added ballast. No one dared move.
“I can’t hold Eddie much longer,” Brian gasped, “Colin! Do something!’
“What can I do? If I move, we’ll capsize. You do something.”
“Help!” screamed Eddie.
And amazingly, help came in the form of Babs and Deirdre.
The two rabbits strode quickly across the custard to The Saucy Tart. Babs held the boat steady while Deirdre plucked Eddie from the oar and between them, they carried him to the bank. With trembling muscles, Brian managed to row to the riverside and he and Colin scrambled to safety.
Eddie was grateful, of course, but he wished the whole rescue had been slightly more dignified. Babs’s comment on spotting him had been “Look at that chicken! It’s got an oar stuck right up its Parson’s Nose.” And that had been bad enough but the rabbits seemed to have an unhealthy interest in social media and insisted on photographing everything.
Eddie had no idea what ‘trending’ meant but he was pretty certain that when he looked up “#ChickenInCustard” on Facetube, he wasn’t going to be happy. And anyway, how had two rabbits been able to walk on the river when he’d sunk like a lump of stodgy pudding?
“You gotta keep moving on custard, see,” said Babs as if speaking to a child, “if you stand still, you sink.”
“I knew that,” said Eddie with a sniff.
By the time they arrived at the stadium, the custard had congealed on Eddie’s jacket and coated his skin in a tight, yellow glaze.
“That’s knocked years off you,” said Brian, “your skin’s all plumped up and your wrinkles have disappeared.”
“What d’you mean wrinkles? I don’t have wrinkles. But seriously, do I really look younger?”
“It’s so good, I’m tempted to go back to the river and jump in,” said Colin.
“Oooh, #CustardColon,” said Babs typing furiously on her phone.
“Colin! the name’s Colin!” said Colin.
“Shh, Babs! Don’t upset him or they won’t get us in.” She turned to Eddie, “You will get us in, won’t you? You did promise. And I have a wonderful photo of you dangling from that oar. I haven’t posted it yet but I thought #OarUpParsonsNose? might be a good hashtag...’
“Leave it to me. But I wonder if you might see fit not to post that photo…” said Eddie.
There was mayhem in the stage wings. A fox cut a swathe through the crowd of cowering sheep stagehands with his clipboard. They bleated “Yes, Mr Krapowski, No, Mr Krapowski,” as he swept past.
“This cannot be happening to me!” Mr Krapowski pressed his paws to his temples. “Heads will roll, I assure you!”
“Yes, Mr Krapowski…”
“No, Mr Krapowski…”
“Why were Gary and his Ghoulies skydiving anyway?” the fox asked.
“It was a publicity stunt, Mr Krapowski, they were supposed to land in the stadium.”
“Well, they’re no good to me over at Bigburger, are they? I need them here in twenty minutes.” He stabbed at his watch, “I shall sue the pilot. I shall sue the aircraft company, I shall sue Gary and his Ghoulies and I’ll sue you if you get under my feet again.” He kicked the nearest sheep. “Who’s on stage at the moment?”
“Soggy Slipper, Mr Krapowski. They’ve got about five minutes left.” The sheep backed away, his eyes round in fear.
“Who’s on after them?”
“The Three Wise Monkeys, Mr Krapowski.” The sheep nodded towards Eddie.
“Hey! Monkeys!” yelled Mr Krapowski You’re on after Soggy Slipper and you’ve been promoted. You’re now the headline act. And you’d better be good or I’ll sue you.”
“This is your chance, you Three Wise Monkeys,” said Eddie, patting Brian and Colin on their shoulders.
Colin wiped away the sticky custard smear. “I’m not a monkey, I’m a lemur.”
“Perhaps you could be an honorary monkey just for today. Once you’re stars, you can be whatever you like,” said Eddie pushing him towards the stage.
Mr Krapowski herded them all forward. “Hurry up! The audience’ll get restless. Get on stage!”
“It’s just Brian and Colin who are The Three Wise Monkeys, Mr Krapowski. I’m the manager and these are our roadies,” said Eddie gesturing to Babs and Deirdre.
“The headline act is miles away in Bigburger and I’m about to send in a second rate band in front of ten thousand people. If the audience don’t get value for money, we’ll be torn limb from limb. So, I’m not going to introduce The Three Wise Monkeys and then send in two monkeys. I’m going to introduce The Three Wise Monkeys and send in two monkeys, two rabbits and a chicken with a skin complaint.”
Brian grabbed Eddie’s beak, slapped a hand over Colin’s mouth and dragged them both on to the stage.
“Shall we go on too?” Babs asked Mr Krapowski hopefully, snapping a quick selfie.
“Ooh, #DreamComeTrue,” said Deirdre as Mr Krapowski shoved them on.
Soggy Slipper left the stage to tumultuous applause which stopped abruptly when The Three Wise Monkeys, two rabbits and a bald chicken appeared. Ignoring the lukewarm welcome, Brian swung his arm in an arc and began a riff so catchy, that Babs and Deirdre began to jive. Colin struck up a rhythmic beat and before long, toes began to tap, shoulders started to twitch and the audience began screaming. Eddie crept off stage. It all seemed to be going well without him.
On reaching the wings, someone seized him by the throat.
“Not so fast, chicken…”
“Mr Krapowski! Please, I’m really not at home on the stage. I’m management. I’m sure a fine director like you can appreciate that…and I’m actually a bald eagle.”
Eddie found himself flying through the air. He bounced twice and came to rest at the base of a large speaker. He was tempted to remain there but the overhead lamps were heating his custard coating and he was beginning to turn golden brown like a crème brûlée. If he didn’t get away from the lights soon, he feared he might caramelise.
“We love The Three Wise Monkeys!” the audience screamed.
“Ooh, #MonkeysRule,” shouted Deirdre, taking a selfie of herself and Babs, with the audience in the background.
Still lying on his back, a dazed Eddie spotted an enormous silky parachute overhead. It hovered for an instant in the strobe lighting and gently fluttered downwards.
“Stop it with the publicity stunts, already!” Mr Krapowski shouted from the wings.
On the left side of the stage, Brian and Colin were in musical nirvana, filling the stadium with music. Babs and Deirdre were on the right, performing dance moves so energetic, they were in danger of hurling each other into the frenzied crowd.
As the parachute descended, it became apparent to Eddie that two holes had opened up in it. One lace-trimmed hole was poised directly over the musicians and the other, over the dancers, but Eddie could see that the parachute would smother the rest of the stage, including him. Keeping his eye on a fist-waving Mr Krapowski, he surreptitiously crept backwards in the other direction. And he might have made it, but for the large cable behind him. Scrabbling for his footing and fluttering his wings to regain balance, he almost managed to make it off stage before the parachute landed, covering everything in white silk, except Brian, Colin, Babs and Deirdre.
The audience went wild.
“Ooh, look Babs, we’re trending!” said Deirdre holding up her phone.
“I know. Listen to what they’re saying about us on Facetube!’ said Babs, as the others gathered round. “The Three Wise Monkeys rocked Spudwell Stadium this evening. Genius! Musical monkeys, jive bunnies and a moonwalking chicken. The parachute stunt was inspired! And the special smell effects were a real innovation,” she read.
“Smell effects? I don’t know what they’re talking about. Anyway, come on,” Eddie said to Brian and Colin, his wings round their shoulders, “let’s go, I’m exhausted. We’ve still got to find digs tonight. Well done ladies and thanks for all the help.’
Before Eddie could take more than a few steps, a large paw came down on his neck. “Ah, my friend, what a great show. You’re not leaving so soon, are you? We have a lot to discuss.”
Eddie gulped. He wasn’t entirely comfortable being hugged by a fox. “Yes, Mr Krapowski.”
“That parachute stunt was nothing short of brilliant!”
“Er, yes, thank you.”
A trembling sheep sidled up to Mr Krapowski, ‘What d’you want us to do with the elephant’s knickers, Mr Krapowski?”
“Which elephant’s knickers?”
“I don’t know which elephant it was who threw her knickers, Mr Krapowski. All elephants look the same to me.”
“Where are these knickers?”
“All over the stage, sir.”
“Stupid sheep!” said Mr Krapowski, swiping him with his clipboard, “Use your initiative. Oh, wait! I forgot, you don’t have any.”
The sheep tiptoed away.
“Now, where were we?” Mr Krapowski turned back to Eddie “How did you arrange the delicious vanilla smell? What a triumph! What a spectacle! You were all sublime. I’ve never offered a recording contract to an unknown band but you boys and ladies are going to be my first. Now, did I hear you say you don’t have digs tonight? No problem. My brother has a luxury hotel down the road and he’d be thrilled to offer you complementary rooms. I’ll meet you tomorrow and we can talk business.”
The Macaroon Chronicles Prologue and the Three Wise Monkeys - http://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-macaroon-chronicles-prologue-and.html?m=0
About the author
Dawn’s latest book is ’The Basilwade Chronicles’ published by Chapeltown Books and she enjoys writing in different genres and has had romances, speculative fiction, sci-fi, humorous and women’s fiction published in magazines, anthologies and books. She’s also had two plays about World War One performed internationally. You can follow her here on https://dawnknox.com , Facebook here DawnKnoxWriter or on Twitter here https://twitter.com/SunriseCalls
Sent from Dawn's iPhone with hugs