-Strange – 3 Pages –
Kelvin the human hang-glider woke up one morning and realized that the floor had changed color overnight. From the ravenously beautiful teak mahogany floor that he had been used to, there now lay a semi-fluid mass of twitching pulp. A low throbbing sound was emitted from the mass, which heaved and rumbled and sighed, much like a wrecked hot air balloon that has been invaded by a pack of hyenas.
It didn’t take long for Kelvin to realize what had in fact occurred during the night, and he sat up straight in horror.
“Luminous Toad!”, he screamed, for it was the remnants of his faithful sidekick that he now viewed pulsating wretchedly on the floor. “Oh, what have I done?” The remains of the amazing toad did not look happy; in fact, it would have been pretty hard for them to look anything, but we shall move on.
Kelvin thought long and hard about what could have happened to his longtime friend and mentor (for it was he who helped Kelvin to realize that he was, in fact, a human hang-glider). He mused over the happenings of yesterday just past, in an effort to remember the fate of his old friend.
The day had begun like any ordinary day in Little Twatting, the sleepy village that Kelvin called home. After hang-gliding to the shops using his amazing human hang-glider arms, he bought a postcard and sent it to himself. He then went down to the local fruit shop and bought his daily ration of four pineapples, and a small tin of kidney beans, with which he had hoped to rustle up an exciting meal for him and his amphibious mate. He had an unambitious conversation with Trill, the shop-owner, in which she imparted upon him the sordid details of a new toad-blender she had bought.
And then it hit him. Like a rusty beam falling from a non-compliant building site. Like a mischievous squirrel bounding through the air. Like a small meteorite whittled down from asteroid-status using Cold-War era nuclear technology and a healthy donation of suicidally brave maneuvering from Bruce Willis. Like a salmon misjudging the location of a rocky outcrop in a mountain waterfall. Like a monsoon raindrop onto an upturned caterpillar’s torso. Like a cabbage striking the forehead of a cheeky medieval villain, whose only crime had been to pilfer a loaf of bread from the cheating vagabond of Fetter Lane who had only the night before slept with his wife in order to gain access to his house and steal an antique clock (though it was new then) and sell into slavery, decanting it on to a clipper boat sailing absent-mindedly for Ghana skippered by a university professor from Oxford who had recently fled the city screaming while being chased by a rampaging armadillo (escaped from the laboratories) armed with a hockey stick and a small flick-knife, which itself had been pilfered from an orphan impaled upon the spike of Magdalen College while attempting to save a copper platter that had been ordained holy by his late father, a priest.
Yes. Trill had killed Luminous Toad.
The question beckoned to Kelvin like a zeppelin entering a much-tormented rain cloud. Why would Trill do such a thing? She was no more unhinged than the rest of the close-knit community of Little Twatting, and she certainly had no motive to carry out such a horrific act to his luminous toad, Luminous Toad.
He looked around the room for clues. His detective skills were still at a fairly embryonic stage at this point, and he figured that the direct approach would be most likely to yield results. “Why did she do this to you, Luminous Toad?”, he asked the oozing, disintegrating mass, next to his bed.
“Urgh”, replied the mass, formerly Luminous Toad, in a polished Wiltshire accent.
Maybe this was a clue, thought Kelvin, naively. He mused over this for a while, before his attention span denied him any further progress and turned him swiftly to the attention of the intriguing nature of the mass confronting him as he sat docile in his bed. He noticed how the green slime of his companion mingled effervescently with the black sludge that carpeted the remainder of his bedroom floor – filth that had been left by his other companions, the cockroaches. It seemed to resemble the endless turmoil of life, and the blurring of those distant black relics of the imagination which tinge the green everyday realities of his monotonous existence. This occupied his thoughts for a while until abruptly derailed by a more prescient thought. The cockroaches hadn’t paid the rent for months.
“I know”, grinned the telepathic one in the corner, sitting on the matchbox stuffed with hay and cotton buds that he called home. He wore a small paperclip twisted into a coil for a hat.
“One day”, thought Kelvin, “that cockroach is going to get his come-uppance”.
“Have to catch me first”, sneered the cockroach, before diving into a crack in the wall, the result of Kelvin’s over-ambitious, yet substandard plastering.
He lay in his bed and watched the ebbing of the green mass, his eye twitching involuntarily with fright as he saw a green tentacle grasp at an unsuspecting cockroach and suck it shrieking into the shimmering mound. The mass quivered slightly and then emitted a low, satisfied groan.
“Snap out of it”, Kelvin told himself, and decided that, in common with all the great detectives of his age (nine), he would devour some toast in order to set his masterful mind to work. He irrelevantly thought briefly about a book by Chaucer that he had once lifted from a table, and then put down again without so much as blowing the dust of the cover, then with all the quite inconsiderable strength he could muster, he lifted his amazing human hang-glider arms from beneath the sheets. A terrible creaking sound – not unlike the tearing of metal on the side of a stricken oil-tanker, which had waywardly happened upon a jagged rock in the South China Sea whilst the captain arrogantly entertained his shipmates down below with his second-to-none ‘shagging walrus’ impression – rang out, as his amazing arms broke themselves free from the molding, malodorous, sprawling heap of biodiversity that he called his duvet. Terrified fauna of all shapes, sizes and political persuasions spewed untidily onto the floor where they were consumed by the green and black masses next to Kelvin’s bed.
He raised himself tentatively to his knees, and with a huge sweep of his amazing human hang-glider arms, discovered by the Luminous Toad all those years ago, he glided towards the doorway that led to the kitchen, accompanied by rounds of applause and standing ovations from his appreciative audience, the cockroaches – and a small gurgling noise from the remains of his dear frog-like friend. He soared gracefully into the doorway, a victim once again of his tragic daily miscalculation involving the size of the doorway, and his wide, yet somewhat eye-wateringly beautiful wingspan.
The applause of the cockroaches, whose memory should never be praised too highly, turned, once again, to howls of anger and despair as he landed with a dull thud in the midst of the assembled insects, crushing several thousand of them. “Keeps the population in check”, he thought to himself, quietly (so as not to arouse the suspicions of the telepathic, cowardly one, still hiding in the crack). He allowed his mind to wander on this delightful Malthusian principle, before noticing a crowd of fuming cockroaches rounding on him, seeking revenge for the fate of their beloved friends.
A small one near his ankle fashioned a small crossbow out of a discarded toothpick and the remnants of an annihilated spider’s web and proceeded to launch several dung pellets up his trouser leg.
“Not today, I don’t need this today”, thought Kelvin, as he considered the mournful quest that lay ahead of him to seek justice for his dearly departed, and incandescent friend. His recently erected bedroom shelf looked down on him in dismay…