Overheard at the boundary

The characters -
Head Monkey
Grey Goosie
Wise Monkey


The Great Stabber (unseen and unheard, but definitely there)

a rather grumpy bottle of beer who becomes more subdued as the scene progresses.

The scene - A Sunday cricket match in a rather chilly June. We are near the boundary, listening to the assorted shouts of exasperated bowlers and cheering team mates. The dying sun casts long shadows across the field as the match draws to a close. If we listen carefully, we can just hear a whispered conversation coming from a small group of friends...

- 'Is that our chap out there bowling?'

Wise Monkey - 'I think so - hard to tell from here, they look the same from a distance, and all dressed in white.'
Grey Goosie - 'Can someone tell me who I am, where am I and why I am please? I'm only two hours old.'
Head Monkey
- 'You are a mere babe! We saw you being created by the Great Stabber. You are at a cricket match and your name is Grey Goosie.'

Grey Goosie
'What is cricket? Who is the Great Stabber? Why? How? When?'

(momentary distraction as attention reverts to the match)

Head Monkey - 'Oh good running sir!'
Custard - 'I wish I could run like that, but alas, I am legless'
Bottle of Beer 'Well don't blame me! I didn't ask you to stick your great yellow snout into my neck!'
Wise Monkey
- 'Calm down, Beer, he meant legless as in legless, not as in
legless. But then, you are a rather fine specimen of Fiddler's Elbow, so you must expect to be drunk, if you pardon the pun.'

bottle of beer subsides, grumbling, then squeaks as it is plucked from its resting place. When it returns, it is somewhat quieter).

Grey Goosie - 'So why are we here? What are we doing? Who are you all?'
Custard - 'Well I am waiting for my legs, then I will be going to my new home. I have heard that she is a lovely, gentle lady who lives in a magical palace filled with wondrous materials and treasures.'
Head Monkey - 'I have been waiting for the rest of my body for weeks...I am destined to travel far across the ocean to sunny climes' (he shivers as a breeze cuts across the field) 'and not before time - this country is far too cold for a monkey. I have heard that my new mistress is a talented artist who creates delightful books for children. I am to be her special toy, all her own. I would jump for joy, except I am only a head...'
Wise Monkey - 'And you have been made in my image. I belong to the Great Stabber. Before that I belonged to her father, and he brought me from a far hotter country than you are destined for. Although I too am missing some limbs, I am very old, and one of her prized possessions.'
Grey Goosie (breaking in impetuously) - 'What about me? What about me? Where am I going? Who will love ME? More importantly, why haven't I got a proper grown-up beak?'

(There is a startled gasp from the beer bottle as yet again it is lifted from the table top, to a mysterious Somewhere high above their heads).

Wise Monkey - 'Oh impatient youth! Barely three hours old and already seeking the answer to everything. For every creature there is a home. It is written in the stars'

Custard - 'We have heard tell of Mavis, who stayed on the toy shelf for many weeks, but at last found a home and flew hundreds of miles to live with a fairy artist. She even laid an egg on her journey. You will find your Someone, one day. When there's a bit more of you.'
Head Monkey (grumpily) - 'I wish there was a bit more of ME!'
Wise Monkey - Now hush, my children, the sun is sinking and the wind is gathering...let us snuggle into our basket and I will tell you stories of toys who were found, and we will dream...'

(As the curtain descends on the drowsy scene, the beer bottle is heard gurgling emptily off-stage, before silence falls, disturbed only by tiny snores emanating from the sewing basket).


d. moll, l.ac. said...

This is fabulous, I enjoyed it ever so much. Much welcome lifting break from writing student evaluations;-)...!!!!!! Back to work laughing ( guess that would be BTWL). Oh, love looking at your work in progress.....

Anonymous said...

That was so much fun. I was seriously getting into it and then it ended. Very well written and the animals are adorable.

Aglaya said...

Awww what a lovely story... And great creations. I didn't realize how big they are until now. It must have costed a lot of effort to felt so nicely such big pieces.

green phoenix said...

Omitting the beer that's a children's story itself.How lovely!
I guess you're still busy then?Any thoughts on doing both writing and illustrating?

Stephanie Roth Sisson said...

Monkey head!! THE monkey head?? *big grin*

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I can't stop smiling!

Anonymous said...

This is my first read of a children's story that has beer as a character! I loved it. How goes the illustrations? I see you are still finding time for stabbing! Jen

ellen said...

Oh, Gretel..I just love this story, a lovely mix of funny and sweet and winsome. I definitely would leave the beer in. What a great way for me to start my day. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Oh the joys of the full moon and what it does to people. And toys. I like the sound of that beer, Fiddler's Elbow, looks like one we haven't tried yet! :D

Rima Staines said...

Oh I do love your stories Gretel :)
You write them so well...
How about some bendy wire in these fellows so that they can be stop-frame animated into a little series?!
It is a rather chilly June isn't it?
Hugs xx

Marianne said...

What a great story!! So, what do they do next? And does Grey Goosie ever achieve enlightenment? And, and, and what's the Wise Monkey's tale? Eh? What do you mean it's ended? :-o

Waaaaaaahhhhhhhh! Wanna 'notha story! Sniff...

Thanks for another wonderful day brightener, Gretel. Your stories are lovely.


Weeping Sore said...

The Wise Monkey's silhouette and long shadow in the first picture set an almost melancholy tone for the metaphysical musings of your wonderfully-named creations. I realize that your imagination plays a large part in the design and creation of your critters, and now I see that they all take on bits of their creator's personality. The Great Stabber is the best name of all!

Ratlion said...

Lovely post. That conversation so needs to be a children's book or something!

lettuce said...

i love your stabby creatures and yes! this would make a great childrens book

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Gorgeous and the idea of you as the great stabber is lovely!
also fascinated by your post below on children's books and illustration.

natural attrill said...

I agree, these characters would be lovely in a childrens book, I think photographed rather than illustrated.
I hope you are getting on well with your commercial work.


Gorgeous! Love your characterful animals. And a perfect English country cricket scene.

Anonymous said...

Aaaw! I could just snuggle up and go to sleep now, lovely, thanks!

Unknown said...

Almost a children's book! Loads of fun.

kate smudges said...

Ah, this was great fun to read. I love the Wise Monkey - the beer bottle made some hilarious comments... lucky little people who get to go to new homes. Poor grey goose ... reminded me of the goslings in the park. A few weeks ago they were tiny little yellow balls and now they are getting huge.

This really would make a wonderful children's story!

Unknown said...

I think you need to write as well as all your other talents! I'm loving custard - even without his legs! I just posted a new tale of felting disaster ... I tried that wet felting ... it was a M-E-S-S! I think I will try just the needles next time! I hope you are well - Rachael x

Deb said...

hello gretel. your story about your felt friends and the beer bottle was so nice to read. dx.

carolyn said...

Delightful, never have I enjoyed a cricket match so much!

tlchang said...

You crack me up. (And Mavis says hello, btw. She's glad to know she is still remembered and spoken of :-).

The fabric of my life said...

Ohhhhh look it's Custard! I can't wait to meet him, he sounds, and looks sooooo sweet!