The story so far...
To be brutally honest, there isn't much of a story so far. In fact it's all just a little confusing. Youthful adventurers, The Spiffing Six are on holiday in Cornwall at Aunt Peg's cottage, and they haven't really done much of anything, other than eat and drink a lot. They did see a mysterious light out on the cliffs, but nothing seems to have come of the anticlimactic incident. Now the dopey sods have met up with a weirdo who calls himself 'Flob' and they're having a picnic. There haven't been any cliffhanger endings so far, and Stiffy, the priapic mutt appears to have disappeared. Confused? Join the club...
The hungry chums spread their picnic out before them on a chequered blanket. There was no real reason why the blanket was chequered - it just was.
The newcomer, Flob, who had so unnerved them with his creepy entrance, squatted on his haunches and stared, goggle eyed as the chums unpacked their goodies. To Martina, he resembled a sort of human vulture. Something along those lines anyway.
Aunt Peg had done the chums proud once again.
There was a huge stack of canned Headbanger beer, half a dozen bottles of fine Burgundy, a large Tupperware container of vol au vents, stacks of sandwiches with the crusts meticulously cut off; roast beef and horseradish, ham and mustard, cheese and pickle, prawn and cucumber, chicken salad, prawn salad, tuna mayo, tuna with sweetcorn, egg mayo, lettuce and tomato, egg cress, salami, pastrami and pate foie gras.
Sausage rolls, Cornish pasties, pork pies, scotch eggs, pickled eggs, pickled onions, quiche slices, pizza slices, fig slices, chocolate digestive biscuits, bourbon biscuits, custard creams, fig rolls, jammy dodgers, wagon wheels, jaffa cakes, Eccles cakes, coleslaw, potato salad, vegetable salad, samosas and fajitas.
Apple pies, blueberry pies, sherry trifle, Black Forest gateau, double cream, ice cream, cream eggs, Easter eggs, curried eggs, crisps, Pringles, tortilla chips, salsa dips, garlic dips, sour cream, whipped cream, clotted cream and strawberry jam.
And some after eight wafer thin mints.
It was a picnic fit for a king. A veritable cornucopia of culinary delights.
"I can't believe we managed to carry that lot without an articulated lorry!" Spanky remarked.
"Call it artistic licence," Abigail said cynically. "Suspension of disbelief. Crap writers do it all the time. Right then - let's all tuck in!"
The chums did exactly that. They sat and gorged themselves, revelling in the decadent excess of the moment.
He tucked in like a man possessed, like he hadn't enjoyed a decent feed for months. He just crammed the food in as if he was hollow inside. His cheeks puffed up like a hamster's as he crammed the food in faster than he could possibly chew or swallow it. The chums could only gawp, awestruck, as Flob conducted his own, personal calorific demolition derby.
Eventually, they finished.
Not a scrap or a drop remained.
Flob sat back and belched. He really was a sight to behold, as he grinned broadly with bits of food splattered about his chin. At least it was patently obvious that he wasn't in any way dangerous, so the chums relaxed. Having polished everything off barring the chequered blanket, they chatted away quite merrily.
"So, tell us something about yourself; do you live locally?" Spanky asked Flob.
"I'm like...a starchild, a child of the universe, you know? I'm God's child too. Like, what it all comes down to, is that, I guess, I'm what you might call, an enigma."
"Oh...right..." Spanky said. Obviously clueless, as usual.
"We're all like grains of sand man, on the ever shifting desert tides of the universe. Whatever..."
"Right on!" Tugboat said, even though he hadn't the foggiest idea what the hell Flob was twatting on about...he just hated feeling left out.
"Did you enjoy our little picnic, Flob?" Abigail enquired, with her usual impeccable politeness.
"Picnic...yeah, man. Oh yeah. Kinda symbolic. Bread and wine - the whole deal. Like...really... biblical...man..."
Martina arched an eyebrow in Flob's general diretion. She didn't know what the heck Flob was babbling on about either. In her opinion, Flob appeared to be something of a space cadet, a bit like a house where all the lights are on but the furniture is in all the wrong rooms.
"You're weird," she simply said.
"Weirdness is very much in the eye of the beholder," Flob declared earnestly. "You may think me weird, but trees don't uproot themselves when in my presence. Nor does rhubarb spontaneously combust. They obviously don't seem to think I'm weird, and neither do the statues on Easter Island - mind you, they don't think because they're made out of rock and they don't have any brains."
"Not only are you weird," Martina told him. "You also talk complete and utter claptrap."
"So you say," Flob declared, quite placidly. "But do bear in mind that your cosmic awareness is severely restricted by your mental limitations. And your karma is mind bogglingly negative."
"See!" Martina said. "He does talk a lot of silly claptrap."
"Oh, man," Flob shook his head with tired resignation. "You're obviously not wired, not quite tuned in. It could, like, all rear up, you know? It could all rear up and kick you in the face like the extending fist of doom.* And you still wouldn't see it."
"What could rear up and kick me in the face like the extending fist of doom?" Martina snapped. "What on earth are you twittering on about?"
"See?" Flob said to the others. "See what I'm sayin' here?"
Not that it mattered.
The chums appeared to recognise at least, that there was a certain novelty value in having Flob around. There seemed to be something vaguely mystical about his utterances - although the actual content comprised of little more than a load of absolute bollocks.
"My, my...What do we have here then?"
The voice was a rude interruption. It was becoming apparent to the chums that rude interruptions were becoming par for the course on this holiday. They looked up to see the hulking figure of PC Bottomshaft, the village policeman, looming over them.
"Just breaking the bread and shooting the breeze, Officer," Flob said affably.
"Yes Constable - just having ourselves a jolly little picnic actually. Had you come along a little earlier, you'd have been most welcome to join us, but sadly we've wolfed down all the grub and guzzled all the booze," Tugboat said.
"No thanks, laddie," the porky constable said. He certainly was a porker too. PC Bottomshaft was shaped like one of those roly-poly plastic toys that old age pensioners like to put in budgie cages.
Or Humpty Dumpty.
You couldn't really imagine PC Bottomshaft tear-arsing through the streets of Puddleby Cove in hot pursuit of some fleet-footed villain.
It just wasn't him. At all.
"So, what's your business then?" he asked suspiciously. Being a police officer tends to do that to otherwise well adjusted people, make them cynical and suspicious of anyone and everyone. And they don't come much more cynical than PC Bottomshaft. He paid particularly cynical and suspicious attention to Flob. He didn't like the look of the lad at all, didn't like the cut of Flob's jib (Whatever that means) far too scruffy and horrendously unkempt. Like one of those accursed new age travellers.
"It's as I said my good man, we've been having a picnic," Tugboat said.
PC Bottomshaft scowled at Flob with undisguised hostility.
"Don't I know you, laddie?"
"Like, I don't know what you know, man. It's not like I'm in your head or anything," Flob answered cryptically.
"Are you trying to be funny son?"
"No way, Pops - I'm quite happy to leave the ridiculousness in your capable hands," Flob chuckled.
The remark went way over PC Bottomshaft's head. Which was quicker and easier than the remark attempting to circumnavigate PC Bottomshaft's expansive waistline.
"I have seen you before," the rotund copper growled. "I reckon I've seen you on the television."
"Yeah?" Flob arched a quizzical eyebrow. "That's cool. I guess I must be famous or something, I reckon, but to be honest with you, my head is so totally fucked up at the moment that I can't for the life of me remember. Know what I'm sayin'?"
"That's right!" PC Bottomshaft continued, regardless. "I reckon you was in them student type demos up that London when that bloke out of Deep Purple's transsexual son was swinging about on that there memorial...I Sky plussed that, and I've committed all them villainous spotty studenty faces to memory, I has."
"Nah, sorry and all that, mate. Don't think I've ever been up that London, and even if I had, I doubt very much that I'd have the vibe, the energy, or the stamina to, like, get involved in any kind of violent stuff. Or anything like that. Mind you, I do admire them students - it's nice to know that somebody cares about our youth and their future. Even if it's only our youth. Not that it makes much difference anyway - the day of the great Pzazz is almost upon us."
"The great who?" PC Bottomshaft spluttered.
"Pzazz," Flob said flatly. Then, from talking a modicum of sense, Flob reverted to his more customary style of freaked out gibberish. "When the sun melts, and the mountains turn into milk chocolate, and the African rivers teem with amphibious dormice, then will dawn the day of the ascendency of the eighth noble suntan lotion warrior king."
"I wish I hadn't bothered asking," PC Bottomshaft groaned. He shook his head in bewilderment. Kids, these days - mad as bloody hatters, every man jack of them.
At which point, Abigail had a thought. She turned over in her mind whether or not she ought to give voice to that thought, and concluded - rightly or wrongly - that she should.
"Officer, yesterday, when we were out walking, we spotted a mysterious man, kind of sneaking furtively about on the cliffs - we tried to follow him, but he managed to give us the slip..."
"The filthy bastard!" PC Bottomshaft hissed malevolently.
"What? No, no! I mean - he eluded us."
"I think she means, he, like, got away, man," Flob interjected.
"Hmmm...you don't say..." PC Bottomshaft said.
"I thought I just did..." Flob shrugged.
PC Bottomshaft took out his police issue notebook and pencil.
"What time was this?" he asked, pencil poised, at the ready.
"Early evening, Officer."
"Can't you be a bit more specific?"
"Well, no. Not really," Abigail said."You see, we were all rather bladdered and we'd been doing spliffs all day, so time was kind of an afterthought."
"I see. Early evening then; and have you any idea what this perp might have been up to?"
"Perp?" Tugboat asked, puzzled.
"He's been, like, watching The Wire," Flob explained. "Or something. Who knows?"
"Ah," Abigail took a breath. "Erm...not really. The peep..."
"Perp!" PC Bottomshaft corrected her.
"Whatever...but he was acting ever so suspiciously, as I'm sure my jolly chums here will be only too happy to confirm."
The others nodded soberly in agreement, or as soberly as was humanly possible, given their various stages of intoxication.
"You're absolutely certain that it was a 'he'?"
"Hard to say really. We didn't quite get close enough to be able to ascertain much detail."
"Hmmm...I see..." PC Bottomshaft scribbled furiously in his notebook.
I'll give him that, thought Spanky. He might be a big fat useless bleeder, but he's certainly a conscientious big fat useless bleeder.
"I shall investigate this incident," the calorifically challenged PC announced.
"And that's not all," Abigail piped up.
"No, erm...I mean yes. You see, we were in our room at Aunt Peg's last night...when we observed a strange light."
"What sort of strange light?" PC Bottomshaft appeared to be suddenly bristling with barely suppressed excitement. It seems that he can't have had much excitement of any description in the course of his rather mundane existence.
"It was, kind of, sort of, like somebody was signalling, or something like that."
"Signalling, you say..." PC Bottomshaft scribbled furiously again. "Did you get a look at him...or her?"
"Sorry Officer," Abigail said. "All we saw was the light. As I said, we were all a tad sloshed, not to mention stoned as well. Altogether too wasted and trashed to mount a serious investigation or anything. Spanky thought it was a UFO. Of course, I told him not to be so silly. He even tried to persuade us that the CIA shot Elvis Presley..."
Spanky shot Abigail a look that would have killed a lesser mortal at a thousand yards, if it were possible for looks to do such outrageous things.
"I see." PC Bottomshaft snapped his notebook shut and placed it back in the breast pocket of his tunic. "Now then. You listen to me, you young uns, because right now, I be about to give you some very good advice."
The chums and Flob all nodded compliantly.
"Stay away from the cliffs. Especially at night. If you sees anyone, or anything unusual, then let me know about it immediately. Don't play at being policemen. Personally, I don't hold with this adventurin' and stuff malarkey. If there be somethin' funny afoot, it be my job to sort it out. So you lot keep yer pesky noses out of it. You hear?"
"We hear you Officer. Loud and clear."
"Good. Just think on."
The fat PC waddled off. He detested kids, especially kids of the curious persuasion, and particularly when they came from priveleged families with money to burn.
If I had my way, he tended to think in introspective moments. I'd shoot the fucking lot of them and have done with it. Then everything would be hunky dory...
Coming up in The Mystery Of Puddleby Cove - Featuring The Spiffing Six - Episode Six...
Another clifftop sighting, a chase, the plot thickens, but still not much of any consequence occurs. Still no sign of Stiffy the priapic dog (Although he does return in Episode Seven, albeit fleetingly...)
Stay tuned - We'll get it to you as soon as we can be arsed...
*The extending fist of doom was the creation of my colleague and lodger, Armfeetandtoe, who is currently up in the loft caressing the fruit bats and feeding tit-bits to the snow leopard what we adopted. Or something.