Chris Pascoe’s Fun Tales
A visit to his parents left Chris shaking his head in wonder…
Regular readers will know that I finished last week on a cliffhanger. OK, as cliffhangers go, it wasn’t exactly up to your Stephen King suspense standards, the setting being me at my mum’s having a cup of tea. I’ll quote my mum’s words:
“Oh, I was meaning to tell you, I’ve accidentally been feeding a giant rat for the last two months.”
With that, my dad shook his head gravely and returned to his daily task of completely failing to finish his newspaper’s cryptic crossword. I think the main problem is his point blank refusal to believe that cryptic clues really are cryptic.
Anyway, how did Mum come to be providing regular meals for a giant rat?
“I thought he was a hedgehog,” she explained. “He definitely used to be a hedgehog.”
My head spinning, as it usually is after a ten minute conversation with my parents, I asked how on earth this rat could have started life as a hedgehog.
“Don’t be so silly Christopher,” she admonished. (I’m only called “Christopher” when I say something extremely stupid…)
“There was a hedgehog, and I was feeding him, but he’s moved on and I thought it was strange how much more he’s been eating lately, then the other day I looked out in the early hours, and there was a rat the size of a donkey eating his food.” “A donkey?” “A dog.” “Really? As big as a dog?” “Well, a very small dog anyway; bigger than a Teacup Chihuahua.”
“What’s a Teacup Chihuahua?” I asked.
“It doesn’t matter – what matters is that I’ve been feeding a giant rat for two months and I don’t know how to stop.”
I suggested that the simplest way to stop would be to not put food out, immediately causing my name to revert to Christopher.
“I thought I’d go and see Mrs Turnbull at number 15 about it.”
Mrs Turnbull, the elderly ex-haberdasher ten doors down? What? Why would she go and see an ex-haberdasher about a rat? I felt my head begin to spin again.
“Why?” I squeaked, finding it hard to push the word out.
“Well, she’s been having problems with rats for a long time. I thought it might be one of hers.”
“Mum, you can’t just return people’s rats.”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell her all week, boy, but she won’t listen.”
With that Mum left the room with a “huff”, presumably to put out some rat food.
“Vice – it’s first rate in the desert,” said Dad.
“You what?” I said, starting to believe I’d somehow entered the twilight zone. “Five letters?” “Ah, right,” I sighed, “the crossword… hmm, ah, I know, it’s Sinai.”
“Sinai? How do you get that? It’s got to be whore, hasn’t it?”
You see what I mean?
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“I’ve accidentally been feeding a giant rat for two months”