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illustration by jonny voss

 

A   R I G H T   D I N G   D O N G   A F T E R
A    B I T    O F   B I N G   B O N G

b y   A l a n   M c C o r m i c k

 

 

 




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Searching some bing, bong and bouncy, Felicity Fling, Divine Anthony, Bird, Cheetah, and Man Eating Lion congregated in the bric-brac, skip-fest, come- dump-where-you-like street near their homes. They sought the ultimate spring-sprung bed, the bounce needing to be proportionate and appropriate to their varying body sizes. When they found one lying in the middle of the road they were in raptures, and twittered, nattered, and growled their delight.

‘I’m 100 kilos, I should rise ten feet unaided, minimum; you, Bird, should expect to bounce at least three feet, if not more,’ proclaimed Divine Anthony.

The various drawings tried their best. They sprung and rose, and measurements were made, and statistical adjustments apportioned for varying heights and body weights. In the end Bird was adjudicated as the victor - size: two kilos, height: eight feet, value: 4; a clear and deserving winner.

Not so apparently. Bird’s performance was opposed on various grounds: her helpful wings, her extreme slightness, and her suppressed, but seemingly absorbed past experience of flight.

‘If you were picking a gymnastic’ fly in the air’ team solely on commitment, and the ability to spring upwards from a static position, then it’s clear you would have no choice but to choose me as captain,’ said Divine Anthony, a dramatically impassioned ex-thesp bore if ever there was one.

But wait: both Cheetah and Man Eating Lion were not happy with either Bird’s unfair victory, or Divine Anthony’s pompous declarations. So they gave way to the logic of their wild inclinations and ate them; Man Eating Lion efficiently dispatching Divine Anthony in a matter of minutes, whilst Cheetah, who had lived too long in the city, made a bit of a meal of eating Bird. In the end Bird had to be plucked and cooked as if Cheetah was preparing to devour Sunday roast.

Felicity Fling, who had been quiet up to this point, was not best pleased.

‘So typical of you wild cats to resort to violence,’ she chided.

‘Wait a minute, Felicity Fling,’ said Man Eating Lion. ‘Divine Anthony was an egotistical nutball, and that twit of a Bird cheated.’

Cheetah thought she heard her name.

‘Cheated, not Cheetah,’ growled Man Eating Lion.

‘Keep your mane on,’ growled Cheetah.

‘Look, you two, I’ve had enough of all this aggression. Last week we went to the canal to fly a kite and you ate two of my best friends. And now this; it simply can’t go on.’

‘But . . .’ started Man Eating Lion.

‘No, Man Eating Lion,’ interrupted Felicity Fling. ‘I don’t want to hear another one of your pathetic excuses.’

‘But…’ Man Eating Lion started again.

This time Cheetah stopped him speaking by lightly pulling on his tail.

‘Come on old friend,’ said Cheetah, ‘it’s time for us to go home and reflect on what we’ve done’.

There was a glimmer of red-sun menace still flashing in Man Eating Lion’s eyes, but he was also sensitive enough to realise that Cheetah was right. In any case, it was pointless arguing with Felicity Fling: she was so darn clever and good with words. More importantly, she was a woman and he was just a Man Eating Lion, and so she would always be safe, however much she riled him.

The two wild cats, suitably chastened, linked drooping tails and set off slowly down the road.

Felicity Fling thought of shouting after to tell them not to eat anyone or anything on the way home, but she trusted them: they had learnt their lesson, and for that reason, Bird and Divine Anthony had not died in vain.

She thought about all this as she slipped off her shoes and climbed onto the bed to practise her bouncing. She would bounce long into the night, and set several personal best bounces; it was just a shame that no one was there to see them.