Birds of a feather

RTÉ Guide - - Couch -

“So that’s Christ­mas done then,” said Fa­ther Tubs as he wrapped up his Toy Show and turned his thoughts to 12 months hence. In the quiet of his dress­ing-room, the cries of gi -laden chil­dren and adults long faded, a gloom de­scended on the beard­less one. “Only 364 sleeps to the next Toy Show,” he sighed as he idly played with his LEGO be­fore dri ing o into an uneasy sleep. It was cold when he awoke, his slum­ber bro­ken by a so tap­ping at the door.

“Oh who can be abroad at such an un­godly hour?” won­dered Fa­ther Tubs as he re­called the ghosts of chat shows past. “Surely that naughty boy from Boy­zone is long gone?” But there was no one out­side his dress­ing room door, not a soul on that cor­ri­dor of bro­ken dreams, its walls hung with por­traits of long for­got­ten faces. Shak­ing his head, Fa­ther Tubs stepped back into his suite only to nd an owl on the couch, hop­ping from foot to foot and hoot­ing tune­lessly as it sur­veyed him with gimlet eyes. “You don’t re­mem­ber me do you?” e feath­ered in­ter­loper spoke in a strangely fa­mil­iar tongue. “Should I?” asked Fa­ther Tubs, mak­ing a men­tal note to re­mind his pro­ducer that work­ing with chil­dren and an­i­mals on the same night is never a good thing. e owl sighed and pro­duced a Cuban cigar from be­neath his wing. “Do you mind?” he asked even as he red up and closed his eyes. “ ey al­ways for­get, even the clever ones, how they sold their souls to sit on the vel­vet throne.”

“ at’s a hoot,” said Fa­ther Tubs as he pressed the se­cret alarm be­neath the ban­quette, not re­al­is­ing such de­vices hadn’t worked since Der­mot Ban­non had re­placed all ttings with fake props. “No this is a hoot,” says the mid­night caller be­fore let­ting rip with an almighty screech that caused the very air to shim­mer like a cheap spe­cial e ect from a 1970s chil­dren’s show. Sud­denly the room was lled with bird­song, cheap jokes and Christ­mases past.

When Fa­ther Tubs opened his eyes, there was no liv­ing thing in the room, hoot­ing or oth­er­wise. “Did I imag­ine it all?” he said, even as a downy feather dri ed gen­tly onto his up­turned face, and in that mo­ment, like Archimedes in his bath, ev­ery­thing be­came clear. “I have it!” he cried, whis­per­ing the theme for next year’s Toy Show to the dumb­struck walls. No one heard, not even the lit­tle girl who had hid­den her­self amid the wreck­age of the Toy Show stu­dio and was at that late hour hav­ing a chat with a wise old owl.

e Late Late Toy Show re­turns next year.

The Late Late Toy Show

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