Sunday, 19 May 2013

Armstrong’s Bogey.

Darren Worrow.


No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that the introduction to HG Well’s book “War of the Worlds” would be altered so much by influences greater than disco. No one could have understood Jeff Wayne’s reasons as he scrutinised and bluffed, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a recording contract might scrutinise the transient pop stars, like David Essex that swarm and multiply in a pop chart. With infinite complacency Jeff went to and fro over this globe proudly showing off his gatefold sleeve, serene in his assurance that his successful empire would matter decades on. However only to Gary Barlow was it so. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same, they just don’t have such nice hairdos.

Decades on, no one gave a thought to the developing worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea that life could mutate, evolve and multiply from human nasal waste upon them as impossible, improbable or just plain dirty. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days, Blake’s Seven especially so. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise, so they named a chocolate bar after it, yeah they are sure to like that. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to that of Steven Fry, intellects low, pathetic and a bit squidgy round the edges, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us, with big wax crayons on a wall that washed away with the rain. And early in the thirtieth century came the great disillusionment, the Bogey came back and this time it was god damn pissed off, like a teenager that was forced to watch Question Time.

“Stop picking your nose!” screamed Commander James Lovell, “this is supposed to be a sterile area!”

July 16th 1969, Neil Armstrong is worried, to be understood and expected, he was going to be the first man to land on the moon and his commander was treating him like he was his mum or something. In a sterile room at Kennedy Space Centre in Merritt Island in Florida he carefully put on his heavy spacesuit, “blast this damn cold,” he muttered to himself, sneezing. “What was that?” asked Commander James Lovell.

“Nothing,” replied Neil, he couldn’t tell anyone and jeopardise his place on this historic mission. He wiped the snot on his spacesuit and continued with his preparation.

After the blast-off he felt much better and history never knew of this common cold he was suffering with. Would it have mattered in the scheme of things, would it have really spoiled the momentous moment? No, everyone was far too excited for such petty concerns.

However a petty concern it was not, at least not for the population of planet Earth in 3275.  As by this time the single bogey that detached itself from the sleeve of Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit and drifted slowly off across the gulf of space had time enough to mutate, evolve and multiply into an army of fierce warriors that were hell bent on taking over the planet Earth. It was one small snot leek for mankind but a giant leap for a silly book’s plot.

Zak was a young lad in 3275, only 55 years old he was halfway through his school education and he hated it. The virtual reality classroom program was set to a 1970s preference and due to a population increase during those historic years Zak had to sit in a freezing cold mobile hut where the only fun to be had was if you rocked your chair hard enough one of its legs would eventually crunch through the rotten wooden floorboards.

The disadvantage was the board rubber, a teacher’s weapon that with the birth of the white board and progression onto IT computerised screen styled blackboards meant that it was, until the invention of a virtual classroom, a long expired instrument. However Zak suspected that it was the reason the teacher chose this time zone, that and the excuse to grow a beard and wear leather patches on his elbows. At least it was this instrument that was hurled at his head as his chair leg pushed its way through the floor and tilted him over in merriment.

“Zak! Pay attention!” shouted the teacher. Facial hair was long ago eliminated so the teacher revelled by the fact he could store little bits of his marmalade sandwich beneath his chin, and he scratched to confirm that it was still there. Zak screamed when the board rubber bounced off of his head, pain receptacle pads placed around his body sensed the pain and sent a message to his brain to tell it that if this really happened it would hurt.

“Now, observe through the telescope young man, the planet Mars,” the teacher said and Zak stood up, moved to the front of the class and placed his left eye over the end of the telescope. “Note that despite man’s attempts to prove that life once existed here still to this day no one has any definite proof. See that its surface is completely void of anything but red rock.”  

“But sir,” protested Zak, “What about that strange green gas that is protruding from its surface that appears to be quickly spreading out towards the Earth?”

 “What? Don’t be such a fool!” shouted the teacher and took the opportunity of the 1970s classroom to legally flick his finger at the boys ear. Zak quickly moved his eye away and the teacher took a look through the telescope, “What idiot has sneezed on the end of the telescope again?” he demanded.

All the kids laughed except one kid, a 55 year old John Lovell, and then the bell went. They took off their virtual glasses and logged off the school website system.

John was Zak’s best friend, he was round his house at the time and so they both went to ask Zak’s robo-mum for some juice. In the kitchen they chatted, “sneezed on the telescope my butt!” said John, “did you know that my ancestor was James Lovell, the commander on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 that took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon. It is a well-kept secret in our family history that James noticed that Neil Armstrong had a cold and wiped snot onto his sleeve before the launch. He passed this information onto his grandchild who came up with a theory that if a bogey detached itself in space and floated off it could genetically mutate and evolve into race of warrior aliens that would one day take vengeance upon the Earth and organise a deadly invasion?”

 “Stop on,” said the robo-mum, “the chances of any human nasal waste mutating into a race of warrior aliens and them coming from Mars is a million to one they say……” And then she continued to burst into a terrible disco song. Why Zak’s dad choice to update Zak’s mum to a robot version with variable chest expansion was beyond Zak, I mean he never even downloaded the standard nagging app or anything.

Zak and John went upstairs to his bedroom to find his telescope and when they did they located Mars and took a peek, sure enough they could still see a green spray of gas coming out of the planet. “Look!”

“Told you,” said John, “we have to speak to the US President; Morgan Freeman clone as soon as possible!”

“We can use the warp-drive Lamborghini hover jet,” said Zak.

“Too slow, is your teleportation drive not working?”

“Well, it is but last week I wanted to go to a brothel in Sweden; it sent me to the Brunel shopping centre in Swindon.”

“Just needs a bit of tweaking,” said John, tapping away on a devise that resembles a tablet computer, “I’ve deleted all locations in Wiltshire, now come on let’s go!”

In seconds their bodies were broken down to their atomic particles and said particles were transported to another place, “Wow, great views, now let’s find the President,” said Zak enthusiastically.

John looked around him at the beautiful downs below, the scattering of farms and small industrial units, “I don’t think we’re in the right place….”


John flicked about on his smart phone, “GPS says we aren’t at the White House in Washington DC but The White Horse in Westbury, Wiltshire.”

Zak was confused, “Oh, I thought you deleted all locations in Wiltshire?”

“Thought I did, perhaps I set it to only locations in Wiltshire; I don’t know why do you buy these Apple products? You know they’ve been rubbish since the iPhone 7677235,” John told Zak, “now get us out of here!”

“I can’t, screen’s frozen up,” said Zak frustratingly tapping his devise.

“Told you, Panasonic 6767, best smart phone out,” said John waving his devise about.

“Has it got the teleportation app?”

“No, mum says I should get the bus to school like she had to, anyway, take the back off, pull the battery out and restart it.”

Zak tried but it did no good, “we’re stuck here…..”

John waved his phone about, “according to this time/space app the alien invasion is just two hours away from the Earth. If we can’t get to the White House now we seriously need to take cover.” He started examining the hillside, “look, a hole with a ladder, this hill is hollow.”

“What could be inside it?” asked an inquisitive Zak as they examined the hole.

“Let us hope that there is some secret international rescue organisation hiding out inside just waiting for a mission to save the Earth from a giant bogey army from Mars!”

“Is that likely?”

“Highly.” The boys crawled down the tunnel and could hear some wonderful music coming from bellow them, “schh…do you here that?”

“Who or what is making that music?”

“My Shazam app will identify the song,” said John, waving his phone in the air. “Processing… says it does not register and its leading me onto a Wikipedia link, hold on….right it says here that this style of music was popular over one thousand two hundred years ago…..”

“Wow,” said Zak, “listen to the beautiful melody, the lingering harmonious vocals; this is the music of the ancients, a tribal bass that has not been heard for a thousand years; simply magical!”

“Yeah, it’s got a good beat too! Let’s climb down; we need to know where it’s coming from, come on!” exclaimed John going further down the ladder into the darkness below them.

The friends climbed down to the bottom, they could see a red glow coming through a small gap in the rocks, they climbed into it and found a huge opening, coloured lights lit up a stage and a group of people were playing the music from it. Three guys stood around a mountain of keyboards, synthesisers, speakers and other musical items that the boys had never seen the like of before. A tall dark woman in a purple flowing dress stood in the middle of them with a pole and a large round sausage shaped item on the end of it, she was singing into it. Suddenly they noticed Zak and John, “Hi!” they shouted and came down to see them.

The boys ducked back into the gap in the rocks that they had come from, these guys looked strange to say the least, their clothes were so outdated, and they didn’t even have the standard USB port inserted into the sides of their heads. “Hey don’t be afraid,” one man said as he approached them with his hands outstretched, “we are the M People, we come in peace.”

The boys came out of hiding and looked at the strange people before them, Zak plucked up the courage to speak first, he asked, “what are you doing down here?”

“Singing, y’know, making some music,” the man said, “that one was called One Night in Heaven, did you like it?”

“It was amazing, we have never heard music like it, where are you from?” asked John, thinking they must be aliens or something.

“Manchester, we were quite popular back in the 1990s,” said the woman, “my name is Heather by the way, and this is Mike and the other guys over there are Paul and Shovell.”

“How old are you, you must be ancient?” asked a confused Zak.

“We are eons old, I cannot tell you as we have no idea what year it is now. You see at the peak of our music careers we were very rich and famous. We set up many business ventures and unfortunately we got involved with a crazy scientist that made us immortal.”

“Oh right….”

“What are you boys doing here anyway?” asked Heather.

“Oh nothing really, well, to be honest we were hoping to find a secret international recuse team operating in this hillside, it was a long shot I suppose but we are getting short of time to halt an invasion of Earth by an alien race that evolved from a stray bogey left on Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit, is all. However it seems we have only found a bunch of immortal 1990 pop stars, so we best be off really. It was nice to meet you but we really need to find a rescue team……”

Just then the woman known as Heather grabbed her pole and began to sing beautifully through it, the sound echoing across the vast cave under the White Horse hill, “Day-o-umba-day-o-mamba-ji-ay-o, don’t look any further, don’t you look no further….”

“Yeah!” perked up Mike, “well done Heather, it’s been so long I plain forgot; we do have a little side-line in international rescue as it happens. Hold on, I’ll go get the rocket prepared!”

“Ok boys, have you got any theories on how we can stop these alien bogey people?” asked Heather, squeezing into a rather flashy tight spacesuit.

Before Zak and John knew what was going on they were in the spacesuit attire and they were with the pop group, sitting inside a giant rocket with “M People: International Rescue Craft 2,” written on the side of it in big fancy neon letters. A voice from nowhere came over a loudspeaker, “…..5…..4…..3….2…..1….M People are GO!”

As they looked up at the top of the hill from the inside the sky suddenly came into vision, the hilltop had lifted off on a hinge and the rocket blasted off like someone had a bit of string tied to a model, but they hadn’t. Heather was singing, “Movin’ on up, nothing can stop me!”

“So boys what’s the plan?” asked Mike.

“Well,” explained John, “what we need is a giant handkerchief which we can stretch across the gulf of space so that when the bogey aliens come they will splat into it, then, and here is the clever bit, we screw it up and put it in a giant pocket, or perhaps a black hole, I hadn’t thought that bit through properly yet.”

“Like where are we going to get a hankie the size of Russia out here in space?” questioned Mike.

Zak suddenly had a thought, “I know, the Lords of Streisand!”

They all looked at Zak in a state of mutual confusion, “Who?”

“I remember reading about them,” continued Zak, “back in the last half of the 21st century when plastic surgery was commonplace and cheap, before we could clone and then realised that it was all a bit vain, a bunch of rebels lived; a tribe of people refusing to have plastic surgery. Of course back then it was all about the nose, big noses were seen as a very bad thing and big nosed people were outlawed, hunted like vermin. Only people with big noses would ever mate with people that had big noses and as a consequence of genetics the outcast’s noses only became larger and larger until their whole bodies were completely nasal, they just have small eyes on top of their nose and little legs and arms. Needless to say the human race was horrified by their appearance and so they made a commune on the moon where they live to this day.”

“Great work!” said Mike, “listen I will drop you off at the moon, you meet with these Lords of Streisand and get the biggest hankie they have, I mean they must get colds right? Therefore they must have really big hankies. Meanwhile I will call on some friends, they have spaceships too. We need three more of us and then we can each grasp a corner of the handkerchief with the robot arms that are standard on every spaceship these days.”

Zak and John were dropped off on the moon, they called the Chief of the Lords of the Streisand and let him know of their mission, and at first he was reluctant to help, asking what the earthlings had done to help him. Zak gave told him that he had a vision that one day big noses and people would learn to live as one again and it was so convincing that the Chief agreed. It was a joke of course, Zak himself couldn’t stand to look at anyone with a big nose but this was only due to years of conditioning in a world where everyone’s nose was so perfect and tiny that Specsavers had to completely redesign their range of glasses.

Within no time at all they were picked up again by the mighty M people and they were introduced to the crews of the other three spaceships, The Shamen, The Stereo MC’s and the Utah Saints; Zak and John had heard of none of them, but they all seemed to be best of friends and shared bottles of water, chewing gum and spoke of parties of yore with a vague recollection. Each corner of the giant handkerchief was held by the robot arm on the 1990s pop band’s spaceships and they took off in unison.  

The Shamen headed over to Siberia where they sang songs about moving mountains and crazy men that like something called E’s. The Stereo MC’s orbited over China, making sure they were connected to the hankie. The Utah Saints stretched it across the Atlantic Ocean and made the coast of the Americas, that was something good. Meanwhile the M People held their end of the hankie over Africa and the whole world facing the invasion was covered.

They tensed as they saw the alien bogey fleet descending upon the earth, “Hold tight!” commanded Zak and sure and behold the alien spacecraft’s poised for war all went splat into the giant hankie and were nothing more than green plops on that giant white sheet. Everyone cheered and the Earth was finally safe. The M People’s craft continued on with the screwed up hankie to find a black hole big enough to swallow it in one big vacuum.

Heather looked stunning in her spacesuit as she prepared to hold out the hankie and thrust it out of the airlock; she was so pleased with the result and said in her beautiful song “What have you done today to make you feel proud?”

Just before the airlock opened and she put on her smashing gold helmet she sneezed and wiped it on the sleeve of her spacesuit. “Well done all,” said Zak, “we have saved the world, we just have to be certain that from now on anyone putting on a spacesuit is totally free of snot!”

They all laughed and all agreed, failing to see the tiny green particle of Heather’s nasal waste slowly floating off into outer space………………

Or search your local Amazon site, Kobo, Sony, WHSmiths or iTunes!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

The Pet Shit Boys.

“Straight down the pub after work huh John; something up with your new gaff, or what?”

“Hi Alf, well you could say that, you know I’ve rented that ground floor flat off Josie while she has gone to make her fame and fortune in Brighton, said to me that she couldn’t have pets at the place where she is so she asked if I could look after the cats for a while…..oh a pint of my usual please Sandy…..”

“Oh yeah, so what’s up, don’t like cats?”

“Oh, I don’t mind cats, I thought she meant a couple of cats like, I don’t mind that, but when I open the door I see three at the door, another two of ‘em in the front garden and inside I start counting a further five!”

“She got nine cats John?”

“No, three add two add another five makes ten Alf, she got ten of the little fuckers!”


“Oh indeed, and do you know what? They shit everywhere, all over the house. I ain’t got time after work to clean all that up so here’s what happened, you ain’t gonna believe it mate…….”

Alf took a sip of his pint and listened to John’s story.

So the other day right, I get in, cat shit all over the house again, they’ve got one litter tray between the lot of them but you’d think that they could just do it outside but you know what Josie is like, she treats them like they were her babies; probably don’t train ‘em properly. So anyway I see this ad in the paper, it says: Need Help Tiding up Your Pet’s Mess? Call the Pet Shit Boys for all your hygienic pet problems! So I think right, that sounds good and I get them to come around for a quote.

So they knock on the door right, hours after they said they would get here and the tall one is overdressed for the job, in a tuxedo of all things, and this, like, long coat and sunglasses. The other smaller bloke has a stripy black t-shirt on, jeans and a hat that says “boy,” on it; I guess he was looking for some reassurance that he was one as he did look, well a bit y’know.

I said to them, “Oh hi, you’re really late.”

The tall bloke said to me, “I am sorry but we were lost in the High Street, where the dogs run and my mum had her hairdo to be done.”

I thought it was a strange answer, familiar even, but I ignore it for now and invite them inside. I showed them the problem and said, “well, you can see the problem is quite big, I don’t know how much you have on at the moment so errr…”

The tall guy talks again, he says, “oh well, there’s lots of things I should have said or done, I never took the time.”

Now I’m getting a bit freaked out like, I mean the tall one does all the talking but just stands there rigid as a post, the small guy says nothing but wanders around looking at the cat shit and rubbing his chin. I inform them, “I know it seems like quite a lot of ermm, cat poo but you see well…..there is this girl that…..”

“Don’t worry,” the tall one interrupted, “Sooner or later this happens to everyone, everyone.” He turns towards me and continues, “You can live a life of luxury, if that’s what you want, taste forbidden pleasures, whatever you want, you can fly away to the end of the world but where does it get you to? Cause just when you least expect it, just what you least expect, love comes quickly, you know.”

“Oh,” I say, “it’s not like that, I’m not in love with her, just lodging here in her….”

“Yes, I understand,” he said, “you phone her up in the evening, buy her caviar, take her to restaurants off Broadway, you tell her who you are, you never ever argue, never calculate the currency you’ve spent, she loves you, you’re paying her rent.”

“Well, maybe,” he could be right I suppose, “I never asked her how she feels about me,” I say like but I want to try and change the subject, “so, anyway, what about this job, can you do it?”

“It’s better than nothing I suppose,” He said, “Some doors have opened, others have closed, but I couldn’t see you exposed to the horrors behind some of those.”

I wish the guy would make sense, I mean he talks in riddles but everything he says I get that strange deja-vu feeling, you know, like I’ve heard them before, like I know them from somewhere. Perhaps by asking them more about their jobs I can tell what is going on here, I mean are they phoneys or what? So I say to the tall one, “So, how did you get started in this, err, game?”

“Oh, well I had enough of scheming, messing around with jerks,” he said, “my car is parked outside but I’m afraid it doesn’t work, so I went looking for a partner, one who gets things done, someone who gets things fixed, and I asked him this question, do you want to be rich?”

“Oh, right,” I look over to the other guy, still examining the poo, “and what did he say?”

“He said that he had the brains, I had the looks, let’s make lots of money.”

I was curious now, “And do you make lots of money, I mean is there a lot of interest in this line of work?”

“It wasn’t easy,” he said, “I mean sometimes it feels like you’re better off dead, there’s a gun in your hand pointing at your head, you think you’re mad, too unstable, kicking in chairs and knocking down tables, in a restaurant, in a west end town, call the police there’s a mad man around!”

“Right,” I say backing off. This confirms it; I have heard enough of this, I have to get these nutters out of my house. I may well have to call the police. So I ask them outright, “look, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

“NO!” he shouted, “Look I’ll buy you flowers, I’ll read your books and talk to you for hours, everyday; buy the drinks, such pretty flowers, so tell me, what have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?”

Now they really are getting to me, they are acting so weird right it’s spinning my head, I get angry, start to push the tall guy to the door. The other one follows us. “GET OUT!” I shout.

“You sir are living a law short of delusion, when we fall in love there’s confusion, This must be the place I’ve waited years to leave….and how, how long?”

“Now!!!” I scream at the top of my voice, I’m going to slap him in a minute. Then, suddenly I recall where I remember them from; I know now where I have heard this crap. But it can’t be can it? Can illegal downloading effect the music business so bad that….that they have to resort to…….?

The tall man is out of the door, he looks upset. The little guy finally says something, he asks, “But you don’t understand, where can we go?”

Now, I’m really pissed off, I shout “Where can you go huh? Where can you go? I’ll tell you where you can go shall I? Somewhere where it is peaceful, somewhere in the open air, somewhere where the skies are blue, I’ll tell you what you’re going to do….” And I booted him up the backside, pushing him firmly out of the door, “…..GO FUCKING WEST!”

“Ha-ha-ha-ha!” laughed Alf and took another sip of his pint.

A not so far off future, in a galaxy so close that it is in actual fact this one………

Sunday, 5 May 2013

BATMUM: The Dark Nightie Rises.


The Dark Nightie Rises.


Darren Worrow.



Smoke belches out of a thousand chimneys, choking the blacked atmosphere of Gotjam City. Skyscrapers shape the skyline, towering above the smog. Below them at ground zero the slums are over-populated by the sickest criminal minds known to man. The leader of the worst of the gangs, an evil drug taking scum known to the underworld as The Toker is puffing away on a gigantic bong and plotting evil plans in a filthy alleyway. “Ha-ha-ha-ha, we shall steal the jewels of Gotjam City from the museum and sell them to the highest bidder!” he claims to his dirty, no-good associates.

They all grin in unison, “Yes,” snarls one of them, rubbing his grubby hands together, “that would be an excellent plan master!”

They break out in a babble of insane giggles that rise above the noise of traffic, barking stray dogs, police sirens and other everyday background noises. The sound horrifies anyone who maybe in earshot; except one person, who stealth-like drops into the alley from above without any of the gang noticing. The person is dressed in a costume and cloak as black as the night, if not blacker. The first member of the gang gets no warning; he is quickly wrapped in a flexible wire, trapped. Before he gets the chance to sound his disapproval his neck is cranked round further than it should naturally turn. He is scared beyond words, unable to talk when he sees his attacker raise their finger to their mouth, “schh,” they whisper.

The second member of the gang, the one they call dog-boy, is the first to notice that one of the gang is missing. Locked in fear he looks around at the darkness beyond their dimly lit group. In the shadows he sees a nose and mouth, grinning at him. Then he spots through the blackness a covered head, then piercing eyes staring straight into his own. He finds the time to scream, alerting the others that suddenly make a break for it. Then before he knows what is happening he is caught in the same wire as the other captured gang member and the figure thrusts its hand in the air, pulling the wire tighter. They whirl around until they smash into each other, knocking them both out cold.

“It’s…It’s the BAT!” one cries. The Toker laughs and makes his getaway. The rest of the gang are assembled together in the wire mesh and the figure stands before them, “I thought I told you boys you’re grounded for a whole week!”

“But, but….” cries one.

“No buts!” the figure shouts and they all shut up, save for the Toker himself who rides off into the night. The figure leaps from the ground up to amazing heights, back somersaults and lands directly in front of the Toker. The Toker tries to throw a punch, “How very dare you!” says the figure, catching his punch and clipping the Toker around the ear with the other hand.

“Bitch!” screams the Toker, holding his left ear in pain.

“Right I’ve just about had enough of your filth!” says the dark figure and swishes its cloak away from its torso, exposing a yellow utility belt. Unsnapping one of its pockets the figure produces a simple bottle of water. The Toker looks in confusion, rearing back against the wall. Another swish of the cloak and into another pocket the figure stands poised with a bar of soap in the other. “NOOOOOOOO!” screams the Toker.

“If I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times’ young man!” says the dark figure, “I’ll teach you for using that disgusting language.” The figure grabs hold of the Toker by the jaw, cracking his mouth open and thrusting the water into it. Next in goes the bar of soap, causing a lather to grow in his mouth. “I’ll wash your mouth out with soap and water young man!” the figure yells while the Toker lets out a petrified screech.

Spitting the taste from his mouth the Toker now crouches, staring up at his nemesis in horror. “I will leave you in the capable hands of Chief Commissioner’s boys,” says the figure and promptly flies upwards, ducking into the window of a building high above their heads.

Helplessly awaiting the arrival of the source of the sirens they can hear ascending in volume one of the tied up gang members calls out to the Toker; who lies on the floor a few feet away spitting bits of cheap lemon flavoured soap out of his mouth; “hey Toker, wasn’t that your Mum?”

The Toker takes a long drawn out sigh, “how embarrassing,” he mutters under his breath.




Betty Wayne is back in her mansion, there is so much tiding up to be done. “A woman’s work is never done,” she complains, and decides to put her Cliff Richard long-player on to help her pass the time. She has completed the dusting before “wired for sound” finishes as she dances over to her next chore; “must get these dirty clothes in the wash before the sun goes down!”

Something in what she is doing triggers a memory into Betty’s mind and she relives the horrible moment in her life when things would never be the same again. Running she was, in the wood with her little brother. Up a short incline she tramples the soft autumn leaves beneath her feet until suddenly, without warning the ground opens up and young Betty falls into a disused well. She hits the bottom hard and stares up at the tiny circle of light, seemingly miles above her head. The noise alarms a cloud of bats that frantically flap their wings, circling above her head in screeches. “Oh my god!” she cries, “look at the state of this place, it’s lucky I’ve bought some j-cloths and a bottle of cream cleaner!” and so she gets to work, tiding up the cavern for those dirty, dirty bats.

It is a day she will never forget, her obsession for cleaning started here, she cannot stand a dusty bookshelf, and she cannot abide to a pair of socks lying on the floor. She hates the brown stains under a u-bend and cannot live another minute if the oven is not in pristine condition. Betty has to have everything clean.

This dirty city needs a clean-up she decides after another horrible episode in her life. Now her wandering mind focuses back on that fateful evening. She was taking her aging mother and father to the bingo, oh how they loved the bingo. Out of the hall they came, laughing, joking and her mother carrying a cuddly Paddington Bear under her arm, “this will be great for your first nipper!” said her mum, how little did she know at the time.

Suddenly a man approaches them, pulls a gun and demands the fluffy toy. “Don’t let him have it!” cries her mother, but Betty disagrees. A father’s pride is broken, he has to obey his wife and he tugs the bear back from the criminal. The man flinches and puts the gun into her father’s chest, he fires and in a moment her life has changed forever. The man turns to the screaming wife and shoots her to shut her up. Betty is left speechless as the man runs away into the night. Determine that he was bought up wrong Betty vows to raise her children up with respect. Oh yeah, she also claims revenge on all that do the slightest thing wrong like leaving the top off the toothpaste and not wiping their feet when entering the house.

 So wrapped up in her thoughts she failed to notice the sound of the knocking at the front door, by the time she gets there her estranged teenage son is facing away from the door, kicking it with his heel. She thrusts the door open so that he falls inside. He picks himself up and Betty looks him in the eyes. Not a scratch upon his person, not a single bruise nor scar she shouts, “And who have you been fighting with?”

“But mummmmm, no one….” he whines in his usual whiny tone.

“Look at me,” she says and he does half-heartedly, she takes the corner of her apron and wipes a bit of mud from his face, “look at the state of you!”

“But mummm…. I’m the Toker, the master cri…..”

“Master Criminal or no, my son does not go out with mud all over his face understand? What if Roy and Shelia from next door see you, what would they think? Oh, what would they think?” Betty throws her hands in the air, “get upstairs now and tidy your room!”

“I did that last year!” whines the Toker, flapping his arms at his sides and shrugging.

“Go, and don’t come down until you’ve remembered the names of boys you’ve been fighting with!” she points to the stairs.

The boy goes up them, “hate you!” he mutters under his breath, “hate it here!”

“What was that?”


“I said, what was THAT?”

“I said ok…ok?” he stamps on every step, the harder the further he goes up. Betty slams the door, I bet the whole neighbourhood heard that, she thinks in disgust. No matter how hard she tried to raise her son properly he still denied her discipline. It was going too far now in her opinion, a little teenage delinquency was one thing, but master criminal of all Gotjam City was simply not on, she ought to confiscate his PlayStation, that is where he gets all these silly ideas from.





“Police Commissioner Gofer, is it true you are allowing this vigilante to roam the streets taking the law into their own hands?”

“Police Commissioner Gordon if you don’t mind,” replied the gofer, the press really got his goat up, he sighed and continued, “and no, she is acting against the law and if and when we catch her she will be taken before Gotjam City court. Justice will be done, mark my words!”

The journalists made notes in their Mr Men notepads, Gofer knew though they did not take heed of his words, they would twist them, edit them, they always did. It was a far cry from his old job, he hated this position, when will Philip Schofield come back for him he thought? I mean, what does Holly Willoughby have over him? Then he thought about it a bit more, her blond hair, pouting lips and startling good looks, well, I know what she has over me but still, Schofield, fucking deserter.

I mean I’m not even telling the truth, thought the gofer, the press knew this too. He supported the vigilante superhero for he knew he did not have the resources to overcome the blight of the criminal underworld that was rising up in his city. He was powerless without Batmum, even Holly Willoughby wouldn’t be able to cope, and so what gives Phil?

“Get Fern Britton on the phone!” demands the gofer as the press dismantle and leave.

His second in command protested, “We can’t bring out the Fern, we don’t know what she is capable of……”

“Just do it!” demands the Commissioner, “we have to be seen to be doing something!”

After a busy day the Gofer goes home, sits alone in his flat, he jumps when he gets the feeling that someone is behind him. He looks, “How….how did you get in?” he nervously asks.

“We want that same thing Commissioner, do not try and hunt me!” a voice spoke from a dark figure behind him.

 “I want that Toker banged up for good!” demands the gofer, head in his hands.

“I’ve grounded him for a whole week because he’s been a very naughty boy; that gives you time to round up all the others,” the voice says, “I want this city cleaned up, it’s a bad influence on my little Toker. He’s a good boy really.”

“Ok, what if I do as you say, after that you have to keep a low profile, the press and general public want me to arrest you,” said the commissioner, slowly reaching for his phone trying not to be noticed.

“I’m out of here, you know what you have to do…..oh, and Commissioner?” asks the voice.


A rolling pin comes spinning from out of nowhere, knocking the phone out of the Gofer’s hand; “Leave the Fern out of this!” demands the voice.

Gofer looks behind him but Batmum has mysteriously vanished like a bat in the night, there must be Corrie on the tele or something. 





A gathering of evil minds sit around a crumby table in a sweaty, dingy room on the nasty side of Gotjam City. They are all concerned; they do not know what to do. All of a sudden there is a bang on the window.

“What was that?” jumps one of them.

Another goes to the window, “ah, you jumpy bastard, just a pigeon hitting the window is all!”

“Not the Batmum is it?” asks one nervously.

“Don’t be so gods damn stupid!” shouts the one at the window, spitting through the gap in his teeth “If the Toker was here he would……”

A voice from the window interrupts them, “BUT I AM HERE!!!”

“Shit, the Toker!” they all cry.

“YES! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!” (there might have been a few more ha-ha’s but I thought it was enough to get the idea.)

“Say, whatcha doin’ hanging from the window boss?” one asks.

“Huh? Oh just shut up and let me in!”

“Were you tryin’ to scare us by breaking in through the window boss?”

“Huh? No, course not you idiot, I was, errr, errr, I was testing this window see if was strong enough to keep that pesky Batmum at bay while we thrash out this plan for the city Jewel theft!”

“Arh, hooray!” they all shout, except one who asks, “How did you get out boss?”

“I made a rope, organised a helicopter and just lifted myself outta there!” claimed the Toker. As he climbed in the window a note fell out of his pocket. The nearest gang member quickly picked it up and the Toker tried to snatch it back, “hey give it back, its mine!” He tried to thrash out at the guy but missed. The guy threw the note to another member, the Toker gave up the chase and looked down at his feet as the gang member now holding the note opened it and read; “Dear Mum, I am so sorry for fighting and that, I will not do it again I promise and if you let me out, just tonight I promise I will wash the dishes for a whole month, love Toker xx.”

They all burst out laughing and the Toker sinks into his chair, “yeah laugh it up now you bunch of knobs, we will see who is laughing when I become the richest man in Gotjam!”

They all shut up and sit around the table while the evil Toker lights up his bong. A bubble sound and a puff of smoke after he unfolds his master plan, infallible, watertight and, well, it may involve lots of muddy old football boots.




That is one thing Batmum cannot stand, the Toker knows this. Muddy football boots, all over her nice clean carpet. No mum can stand this; she would be beside herself in anger, too preoccupied by sorting them out so that the heist could take place before she cottoned on. That was the Toker’s master plan and everyone had to admit that it was a stonkingly good idea.

Betty was washing up, frustrated but not surprised that her son had not stuck to his promise. All of a sudden she heard footsteps, not one pair but many of them, marching up and down her hallway. “You better have taken your dirty boots off boys!” she yelled, “I’ve just cleaned that carpet!”

The door slammed shut and she heard them all running away laughing. She went to have a look, she gasped, and there were muddy footprints everywhere, the carpet and even the walls. She screamed “TOKER!!!!” but it was no good, they were long gone. At the end of the hall the door was blocked by hundreds of football boots, dripping wet mud. She was filled by a red flush of anger and squeezed into her Batmum outfit, “This is a job for Batmum!” she announced. She tried and tried to clean them, but there was so many. Just then the Batmum signal shot into the sky, Chief Commissioner needed her assistance. “Blast! I can’t go anywhere until I’ve sorted out these boots!” she shouted, raising her rolling pin to the sky in anger.

Just then a man arrived in a green Ford Ka, he was wearing blue hot pants with white stars on them, a red boob-tube laced with gold and a yellow crown with a star on that. He stepped out of the car with a glum look on his face, “You’ve got a nerve showing your face around here Wonder Wanker!” shouted Batmum.

“What? It’s my weekend to have the kids, or did you forget that?” he whined, walking up the garden path.

“Well, they are out, probably getting into trouble again, no thanks to you!” she shouted, pointing out the bat-signal.

“If you have to go I will sort out these boots,” he said and began bashing them together in an expert way, slates of mud with stud-holes going everywhere.

“Clean the hallway too!” she demanded, Wonder Wanker knew his place, arguing got him nowhere. Batmum raced off to the museum.

The gang were all there. “They’re trying to steal the city jewels!” cried Gofer, “they’re up in the tower of the museum, they have a hostage; a young girl by the name of Vicki Valve and they are demanding that we supply them with a helicopter to get away.”

“Do not worry Commissioner, I will get them!” Batmum scaled the building and cut them off. In minutes she came back down, holding all the gang members either by the scruff of the neck or bended ear. “The only one still up there is that blasted Toker!” she informed the Chief as he thanked her and put the cuffs on the gang.

A cop was shouting through a megaphone, “come down and talk, we are willing to listen to your demands, just do not harm the young girl!”

“Give me that!” snapped Batmum snatching the megaphone off him and then she shouted through it, “TOKER! Its Mum, have you washed behind your ears?”

A voice came from the museums clock tower, “Oh Mum, what do you want?” They saw him peer through the window, holding the girl in front of him.

“Put that girl down right now, you don’t know where she’s been!”

“But Mum! I want a helicopter! I want a helicopter mum, mum, mum I want a helicopter NOW!” he pleaded from tower.

“You’ll get a sore arse when I get hold of you young man!” she shouted back. Just then his father, Wonder Wanker turned up at the scene, she turned her attention to him; “you cleaned up the hallway?”

“Yep, all done!” he proudly said.

“It was bloody quick,” she pointed out.

“What did you expect, I am Wonder Man?!”

“Yes well,” she replied, “that is the name you give yourself but I say it’s an oxymoron….and talking of morons, do you realise that our son is up there with some dirty slag from the dole queue?”

“Oh let them be, they are only just starting out, learning the game, let’s encourage them,” said the dad. Then he went to the cop car and turned up the stereo, “let’s give them something to groove out to…..” He began to dance around, singing; “ain’t no doubt we are here to party!”

The boy suddenly looked out the window; they heard him say, “Oh hell, that can’t be…..can it? No…not in his….no!!!” Sure enough his dad was outside, in his costume, dad-dancing around the road, his ex-wife, the Batmum staring in total disbelief with her hands on her hips.

“Boogie Nights, come on now got to get it started. Dance with the funky gibbon, la-la-la, boogie nights are the best in town!” he continued, strutting around the car park.

Red in face, the boy could be seen, “That is just like, so embarrassing! I might have to quit this whole idea and go climb under a rock!”

“Oh don’t worry about them,” said Vicki Vale, “come here, I’ve got something to show you.” They both disappeared inside the tower for the best part of twenty seconds.

 “Wonder Wanker stop that at once,” shouted Batmum, “you’re not going to be able to embarrass him out like that!”

“Well,” retorted Wonder Wanker, “you’re nagging isn’t going to work either!”

Just then the Toker and Vicki Valve came out of the tower, hand in hand. They approached the Chief Commissioner and handed him the city jewels, “here you go sir,” said the Toker, “ever so sorry for the inconvenience.”

He turned to his parents who stood staring in disbelief, “Father, your pathetic antics will embarrass me no longer and mother, your constant nagging has become tiresome and irritating however I wash my hands of you both from now on, this stupid and immature bickering has found its natural end; I’m over it now. Victoria and I intend to take a gap year in Thailand to go and find ourselves, goodbye forever!” And with that he walked away with his girl.

“YOU WHAT???” shouted Batmum, “Come back here at once young man and as for you, you dirty little slapper I’ve a good mind to…….”

Wonder Wanker held her back, “let them go Batmum, it is for the best.”

The gofer came over and said, “Yes Batmum, thanks; you have saved Gotjam City once again, although I have reports that there is another criminal mastermind at work. He is stealing all known chocolate biscuit bars so he can get the monopoly of the chocolate biscuit bar business. They call him, The P, P, Pick up a Penguin, you have to stop him!”

“Hummm,” replied Batmum rubbing her chin in contemplation “Sounds like what that young man needs is a healthy plate of cabbage and greens.”

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