Thursday, 13 May 2010
Evidence that you should make sure you have the right animal in your title before being published
Beoslug – A breathtakingly exciting Anglo-Saxon tale in which a creature slithers from the earth, after undergoing some 'be an instant literary hero' training, and silently creeps up on a green monster, who then slips on Beoslug and brains himself on the edge of a table made from real oak, measuring forty feet by eighty feet and holding thirteen pigs with apples in their mouths and some tankards made from Celts' teeth and thigh bones. Beoslug is rewarded for his endeavours by firstly being scraped up by a buxom maiden (although he is not in a state to notice this) and then being immortalised in a long, long poem in a form of English no one can understand but which doesn't stop everyone from swearing blind they've read the whole thing from start to finish.
Lord of the Wasps – a group of boys land on a desert island and immediately begin to hate each other. One of the reasons for this is that some of the littluns swear they’ve seen a man in a yellow and black striped jumper fall from the sky and land in a tree. They go and look. When they don’t come back from their explorations, there’s a buzz of excitement, and in the chaos, someone who thinks he knows what the yellow and black thing is runs down the hill to tell everyone but is beaten to death with a pair of glasses. In the end, they are all stung by the giant wasp, just before the ship arrives to rescue them all, so when the man in the white uniform arrives on the beach and says, ‘Boys will be boys’, he is talking only to himself and the wasp, who turns out to be less interested in polite conversation than in stinging to death a patronising geezer who went to Eton.
The Duck Of the Baskervilles – a horrific tale in which a duck haunts the moors of
Devon, terrorising the neighbourhood with its beak of dripping flame and tendency to make a lot of noise at night. A man dies of shock after seeing the Baskerville Duck, as well he might. Beside the body is found one solitary webbed footprint (and then another one close by – ducks aren’t brilliant at balancing on one leg just so’s a writer can get a more chilling effect). The Baskerville Duck is slain by Mr Sherlock Holmes and is now the name of a popular dish in a local Devonian gastropub. It comes served with a tiny pile of rice formed in an eggcup and a raspberry jus. Then, when you've finished, still hungry, you get the bill.