An Extract From “Gluefinger”
It was pretty cold up this tree with the wind whistling round the parts you wouldn’t want the wind to whistle. In fact, it was so cold, if you stuck your tongue out, it would turn into an iced lolly before you could whip it back inside your mouth.
I’d been up here for ages, watching, waiting and shivering. It was now half-past seven in the morning. The sun hadn’t risen yet and, if it had any sense at all, it wouldn’t bother. Instead, it would pull the quilt up over its head, mumble something about another half an hour in bed and start shaking the walls with some pretty impressive snoring.
My headphones were stuck to my head.
My microphone had turned blue.
I daren’t tell you what was hanging from my nose.
Even my thermal underpants (red polka dots, if you must know) had formed icicles… on the inside. My backside was now officially frozen to the branch I was sitting on.
It wasn’t funny.
Every time I moved, a little icicle dug into me and my eyes watered. Then the tears turned to little crystals before dropping to the ground like little sweets. Down at the foot of the tree was a small pile of frozen tear drops.
I just hoped nobody slipped on it…
My only problem (apart from my freezing backside, my cold nose and icicles inside my underpants) was that I had to intercept any conversations that took place in the house just opposite where I was sitting.
I’d been there a fortnight.
Nobody had told me the house owner had gone on holiday.
But, just a few minutes ago, Sir Rackerty Rackerson, owner of the house (actually, it was more like a mansion… the sort of thing top football stars live in… the sort of house that has so many rooms, you’d just never use them all), had arrived back home, looking bronzed, tanned and athletic.
An icicle snapped off inside my underpants.
I peered through Barry’s Amazing Trinoculars® into Sir Rackerty’s mansion. (I did explain to him I only had two eyes, but he didn’t seem to listen. He just warbled something about alien invasions and swanned off.)
I could see him now pacing up and down behind a window in the warm, eating a toasted buttered crumpet and drinking steaming hot chocolate. Butter ran down his chin, leaving a greasy slick like a palm oil magnate with no conscience.
For a moment, I was jealous.
I just loved hot chocolate first thing in the morning.
Suddenly, the cold got to me and there was a ringing in my head – it was the tune to the Hokey Cokey. I was going to die here, on this branch, frozen like a hundred and thirty-three pound oven ready turkey (the turkeys are big where I come from) whilst listening to a mobile phone version of the Hokey Cokey!!! It was there, banging on and on in my ears, the sound pumping through my headphones…
In all the excitement of hypothermia I’d completely forgotten about them!
The Hokey Cokey was his ringtone!
I fumbled with the controls on the microphone and set it to VERY HIGH – if Rackerson was about to have a chat with someone, then I was going to listen to every single word.
Peering through my Trinoculars® again, I saw Sir Rackerty put down his hot chocolate, slopping warm gooey liquid everywhere and stuff the crumpet in his trouser pocket, picking up a mobile telephone, which he clamped to his ear. “Hello,” he said, hopping around the room rather agitatedly, as he tried to retrieve the hot buttered crumpet from his pocket. “The pigeons are flying high over Moscow tonight.”
“And I wave my bottom at the limbo dancers who live on the planet Buttocks,” replied a gruff voice.
Most peculiar, I thought. I’d never even thought of doing the limbo.
“Are all the ingredients in place?” said Rackerson, tossing his half-eaten, fluff-covered crumpet onto the fire, and then wiping his butter-smeared hand across Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.
“Yes,” said the voice, which was deeper than a wishing well. “Everything is in place. Just be careful of B.U.M.S.S.”
Rackerson laughed. “I have no fear of B.U.M.S.S. Sticking an agent in a tree with headphones and a microphone wouldn’t stop me!” He strolled to the window and gazed out.
His stare was aimed straight at me.