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Horrible Horace

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Horrible Horace

Horrible Horace

Text copyright Š 2009 Gerrard T Wilson Gerrard T Wilson asserts the moral rights to be identified as the author of this work.

Conditions of sale: This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form, binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

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Horrible Horace

Horrible Horace Children LOVE Him Parents HATE Him

By Gerrard T Wilson

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Horrible Horace

Horrible Horace

You can purchase further copies of this book, and others, By visiting my website: www.crazymadwriter.com

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Horrible Horace

Horrible Horace He’s a Little Tyke!

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Horrible Horace

This book contains three stories, all of them about Horrible Horace. The first is about his kite flying experience, the second about a little vacation he decided to take, and the last story is about his teacher, Miss Battle-Scars’ school chair. I hope you enjoy them. Gerrard T Wilson (the crazy-mad writer)

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Three Stories, One Book

1. Horrible Horace Flies a Kite 2. Horrible Horace Takes a Little Vacation 3. Horrible Horace, Lousy Linda and Miss Battle-Scars’ School Chair

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Horrible Horace Flies a Kite

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Chapter One A Brown Paper Bag

One fine summer’s day, Horrible Horace decided to build a kite. Let me tell you all about it... Last Thursday week, Horrible Horace’s father arrived home from work, looking very proud of himself. Because he was on night work, it was morning time, when his wife was busy getting their children ready for school. “Off so soon?” he asked, cheerfully eying his two children who were donning their coats and hats, preparing for the off. “Before you

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have seen what I have got for you?” With that, he produced a brown paper bag for their inspection “They’re late,” his wife, scolded. “Now off with you,” she said opening the front door and ushering them out from the house. “I’ll set off in a few minutes, on my bicycle,” she added. “I will catch up before you get to the crossroad.” Although Horrible Horace’s mother dispatched her children to school on their own, she made a point of always being with them at the busy crossroad, each morning. “But I haven’t yet shown them what’s in the bag,” her husband protested, offering her the bag. Taking absolutely no notice of it, she said, “It can wait until this evening, whatever it is, there will be time enough, then.” Later, at school, Horrible Horace and Moidering Maria were mesmerised, captivated and enthralled, trying to work out what was inside the brown paper bag. “I bet it’s a bazooka,” Horrible Horace said to his sister, getting carried away by the mystery. “A bazooka?” his sister replied. “How on earth could he get a bazooka inside – even if he wanted to – such a small bag?” “Well...” he replied, if it’s not a bazooka, then it must surely be a machine gun!” 10


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“What has gotten into you?” she asked. “Ever since you saw that Terminator film, last week, you have been obsessed with guns, bombs and bazookas!” “If you’re so smart,” he replied, “you tell me what’s in the bag. Go on, I dare you!” Put on the spot by her Horrible brother, Moidering Maria gave it her best shot, saying, “I think it’s a Diplodocus.” “A Diplodocus,” he howled in great peals of laughter. “They are hundreds of times bigger than bazookas! What sort of a bag do you think it is? No, don’t tell me, let me guess, it’s an elastic bag that stretches and stretches and stretches...” he hooted. “You are now entering the world of fantasy,” she snapped. “You know full well that I meant a model of a Diplodocus. Dad said he was going to get each of us one, after that program on television, last week.” “Nah, I still don’t think it’s that.” “Then we will just have to wait until after school, when we go home,” she replied, folding her arms defiantly, “and see who is closer to the truth.” “Right, we will,” he replied, folding him arms, copying her.

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“I don’t know what has gotten into you two,” said the mother, when her two children pushed excitedly past her, into the house. “All the way home you hardly said a word, but now?” “Now we want to see dad!” they cried out, running down the hallway, into the kitchen. “He’s not in here!” Moidering Maria bemoaned, disappointed to the core that she had not found him. “He must be in the sitting room,” said her Horrible brother. Tearing out from the kitchen, he flew down the hallway and into the sitting room, but their father was not there, either. “He’s not in here!” he groaned. “Upstairs!” said his sister. “He must be upstairs!” Climbing the stairs, two steps at a time, brother and sister frantically searched the remainder of the house for their lost father, but they were unable to find him. Confused, with no idea as to where he might be, Horrible Horace grumbled, “He’s not anywhere!” Having no wish to give up, Moidering Maria cried out, “Where are you, dad?” “WHERE ARE YOU, DAD?” the brother and sister cried out, “WHERE ARE YOU?”

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Returning downstairs, to the kitchen, the Horrible brother and Moideringly mad sister saw their mother making the tea like she hadn’t got a care in the world. “Well?” she asked. “Well what?” they asked, confused by her odd manner. “More haste...less speed,” she replied, in the same calm tone as before. “Pardon?” “Remember the race?” “Race? What race?” her son asked, thinking his mother had lost something vitally important inside her brain. “The race between the hare and the tortoise, of course” she replied.

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“And?” “The slowest one won!” she explained, adding a quaint smile for good measure. “Oh,” said her Moidering daughter. “I see,” said her Horrible son. “More haste less speed, you say?” After nodding a yes their mother put a plate of scrambled eggs on toast before each of them, and she said, “Eat up your meal, and when you have finished it – including your cups of fine tea – I might, just might be able to tell you where your father can be found.” “Hurray!” they cheered digging into their food, with gusto. When they had had finished their meal the two children attacked their cups of fine tea, swilling them back faster than a camel taking a drink of cool water after being in the desert for three months, without any. “Well?” Horrible Horace asked, wiping away the last vestiges of egg from his mouth. “Well?” asked Moidering Maria, adding her two pennies worth. “Well what?” their mother asked, teasing them. “Where is he?” the brother and sister asked ever so pleadingly. “Please tell us, mum, lest we die of confusion!” 14


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All right, all right,” she replied, laughing at their innocence, “he’s down the end of the plot, burning the garden waste. When you see him, please tell him that his tea is read –” her children, however, were unable to hear what she was saying, because they were already half way down the garden path, on their way to their father, to ask him what was inside the brown paper bag, the very same one that had caused them so much wonder. “Ah,” said their mother, “they might as well enjoy themselves while they are still young.” Smoke filled the end of the garden, in fact there was so much of it Horrible Horace and his Moidering sister found it difficult to see where they were going, let alone find their misplaced dad. “Where are you?” his Horrible son called out. “Where are you?” his daughter Moidered enquiringly. “I’m here,” he replied, from somewhere deep within the thick, pungent smoke. “But where?” asked Horrible Horace. “Yes, where are you?” asked Moidering Maria. “Stay where you are,” he instructed them, “and I’ll find you.” With that, their father, abandoning his bonfire par excellence, retraced his steps through the smoke, trying to find his children. “OW!” he cried out. “That hurt! Darn rake!”

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Staring into the thick smoke, worrying for the welfare of her father, Moidering Maria asked, “Are you all right, dad?” “Yes,” he replied, “at least I think so...” Then he came into view, from out of the thick, pungent smoke, mere inches away from their startled faces, their father appeared, his face and hands black, as black as coal, with a rapidly growing bump on his forehead. “Dad,” they cried out, without noticing his sooty blackness, let alone the bump on his forehead, “where is it?” “Where is what?” he asked, raising his ebony coloured hands, feigning surprise. “DAD!” said his Moideringly mad daughter, her hands hovering over her hips, like a cowboy – or cowgirl – ready for a shootout. “Dad!” said his Horrible son, “THE BAG! WHAT’S IN THE BAG?” “Okay, okay,” he replied, “I will show you what is inside it, but let me have a wash, first, huh?” When their father had finished washing himself, when his hands and face were once again white as snow, he pulled out a chair from under the table and sat upon it. “Ah, that’s better,” he said, “my feet are killing me.”

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Handing her husband a plate of scrambled eggs on toast and a mug of fine tea, his wife said, “Eat that up and drink your fine tea, and when you have done that you will feel much better, feet and all.” “Eggs?” Horrible Horace snivelled. “Toast?” whimpered his Moideringly mad sister. Their father either did not hear them or (more likely) chose not to hear them until he had finished all of his food and fine drink. When their father was nearing the end of his meal, Horrible Horace and Moidering Maria, at bursting point, unable to take the suspense for a second longer, shouted, “DAD! YOU PROMISED! YOU PROMISED TO TELL US WHAT YOU HAVE IN THE BAG!”

Finishing his last piece of egg, their father leaned over to pick up his cup of fine tea. “No, NO!” they cried out. “Enough is enough, dad – you promised!” “All right,” he chuckled, “you win. I’ll go fetch it,” Getting up from the table, he opened the back door and disappeared into the garden. “Where do you think he has hidden it?” asked Moidering Maria. “His shed,” her Horrible brother replied, nodding his head thoughtfully. “We should have remembered...he hides everything of importance, in there.” 18


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“Yeh,” she agreed. “That’s why it’s always locked, to stop us getting at all the good things...” Nudging her brother, she asked, “What do you think it really is?” “No!” he replied forcefully. “I’m not staring that game again!” In less than a few minutes their father had returned from his shed with the bag, the mysterious bag that had his children – and now even his wife – were enthralled as to what it contained.

“Is that it?” said Moidering Maria, bitterly disappointed by what she had seen. “Is that really it?” asked Horrible Horace, who was finding it hard, incredible hard to believe the article before him was in fact it. Taking the present – a DVD –from out of its wrapper, offering his children a closer look, their father had no idea why they were so disappointed. “What’s wrong with it?” he asked, eying the DVD with some considerable bewilderment. “I thought everyone liked Mary Poppins!” “Everyone a thousand years ago,” Moidering Maria snapped. “Everyone a million years ago,” said his Horrible son, correcting his sister.

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Offering the DVD to his wife, the father said, “What do you think, dear. Is it really THAT bad?” Seeing how awful her husband was feeling, that his little present had been so callously shot down in flames, she said, “I think we should all sit go into the sitting room, and look at it. Only after we have watched the film should we decide how bad – or good – Mary Poppins happens to be.” “What?” her Horrible son protested. “That’s worse than making us watch paint dry!” “It’s worse that making us wait for global warming to begin,” said his sister, looking out of the window, seeing a large, black cloud looming above the horizon. “No ifs or buts,” said their mother. “Now in with you,” she said, directing her Moideringly mad daughter, her Horribly bad son and her terribly naive husband into the sitting room. An hour and a half later, Moidering Maria and Horrible Horace stood up from the sofa, to leave the sitting room. “Well?” asked their father. “What did you think of it, the film?” Sensing that her offspring were not at all happy, that she had made them watch something so obviously not to their taste, their mother said, “How about a nice, tall glass of Fizzing Fruit juice drink?”

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“Thanks,” said Horrible Horace. “I certainly need it after watching that load of rubbish.” “Yes please,” his Moidering sister added, “for it has left a bad taste in my mouth, also.” “Was it really that bad?” asked their father, feeling inadequate for having bought them something they so obviously hated. Returning with a tray supporting four tall glasses, full to the brim with Fizzing Fruit juice drink, his wife, seeing her husband’s all too obvious consternation, said, “Wasn’t there anything, anything at all in the film that either of you liked?” “Well, there was one thing...” Horrible Horace admitted. “What?” his sister asked. “What on earth could you have liked about it?” she bellowed. “The entire film, from beginning to end, was absolutely dreadful!” “The kites...” he whispered. “I liked the scene when they were flying those kites. Yes,” he spoke louder, “I liked it enormously. In fact, I liked it so much, I am going to make one, and go fly it. That would be fun,” he said. “Yes, it would be great fun indeed!” “So, it appears I wasn’t entirely mistaken,” said their father, relieved by his son’s admission, that he had liked the film, even if it was only a small part of it, about a kite.

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Storming out of the room, Moidering Maria said, “I think you’ve gone stark raving mad, Horrible. How could you have enjoyed that, that film from the dark ages?” she griped. “The kites,” her brother replied. “I liked the kites.” His sister, however, was unable to hear him, for she was gone.

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Chapter Two A Kite to Build

Next day, the only thing Horrible Horace was able to think about at school was kites; big ones, small ones, red ones, blue ones, old ones – and new ones. “Watcha,” said Barmy Bernard, to his best friend. “Watcha,” said Horrible Horace. “Have you lost something?” his Barmy friend enquired. “Someone.”

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“Who?” Tinkering Tommy,” he replied. “You don’t happen to know where he is do you?” “Tinkering?” his Barmy friend replied. “Yes, of course, he’s over there,” he said, pointing across to the bicycle sheds, “He’s behind them, in his office.” Whenever Tinkering Tommy secluded himself behind the bicycle sheds, it meant only one – he was thinking about something, and it was usually something that he wanted to make. You see, no one else ever went there. It was far too wet a place, with puddles, and mud, and all sorts of other bits and pieces of flotsam and jetsam swept in by the rain. It was the wettest part of the entire school grounds, and that suited Tinkering Tommy down to the ground. Perched there, alone and uninterrupted, in his office, a small seat he had invented, attached to the back of the bicycles sheds, above the waterline, he was as happy and contended as a pig in muck. Cocooned within the seclusion this offered, he had time to think, to Tinker – and invent. “Watcha,” said Horrible Horace, wading through the murky waters, to his friend. “What are you doing here?” Tinkering Tommy asked, for Horrible Horace had never visited him, there, not even once. “It’s a bit wet,” he groaned, his shoes and socks in his hands lest they get wet. 24


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“That’s how I like it,” Tinkering Tommy replied laughing, “and the wetter, the better!”

After he had finished speaking with Tinkering Tommy, telling him what he would like him to do, Horrible Horace said, “Well, do you think you can help me, to make it?” “Of course I can” he replied. “It’s the easiest thing in the world to make a kite.” “But I want it to be special,” he reminded him. “And it has to be BIG!” “Size is no obstacle,” his Tinkering Tommy chuckled, “except if the wind in too strong...” Dismissing his friend’s concerns as to how strong the wind might be blowing at the time of the launch, Horrible Horace excitedly said, “You CAN make it, though, you said so! That’s all that I wanted to know!” “Yes, yes of course I can make it,” he replied. “When do you plan on beginning?” he asked. Grinning mischievously, Horrible Horace said, “This evening, I want to begin making it this very evening.” “Why all the rush?” 25


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“Because,” he explained, “I have it on very good authority that Cheeky Charlie is also planning to make one (you see, Cheeky Charlie’s father, being a friend and a work mate of Horrible Horace’s father, had also purchased a copy of the Mary Poppins DVD for his children to watch). “Cheeky Charlie will never be able to build a kite!” said Tinkering Tommy. “He hasn’t got the brains!” “He might not have the brains to do it,” said his Horrible friend, “but you can bet your bottom dollar that Meddling Maurice has – and he’s helping him!” “Meddling Maurice, you say?” “The very same boy who made a giant, wind turbine out of papiermâché, that Miss Battle-Scars uses to power the lights in our classroom.” “Oh...then it looks like we have a fight on our hands,” Tinkering Tommy surmised, “to see who can build it the fastest!” “And the biggest!” “What are we waiting for, then?” said Tinkering Tommy, stepping down from his seat. “When we have the mother of all kites to build?”

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“Hurray!” the two friends shouted, “Hurray for the Mary Poppins film, and all of the wonderful kites in it!”

That evening, after school, Horrible Horace rushed through his tea. “I’m going to visit Tinkering Tommy after tea,” he said to his mother. “Is that okay?” “Yes, that’s fine,” she replied, “but do remember to be home by seven, and no later!” When he had finished eating his tea (he had felt like might never get through it), Horrible Horace, donning his jacket and hat, ran to the front door as if he was a boy possessed. Pulling the door closed behind him, he said, “Bye,” and then he was gone. In no time at all, Horrible Horace was knocking his friend’s doorknocker – a semblance of a Lincoln Imp – that for some peculiar reason always sent shivers up his spine. Rat-a-tat, tat, he knocked, rat-a-tat, tat, impatient to see his friend, and to get started on the construction of the mother of all kites. “Why, it’s young Horrible,” said Tinkering Tommy’s mother, when she opened the door. “Come in, come in,” she said, “Tommy’s upstairs, in his bedroom. Go on up, he’s expecting you.”

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“Thanks,” he replied, climbing the stairs three steps at a time. “Can I come in?” he asked, tapping the door of his friend’s bedroom ever so gently. “Yes, Horrible,” Tinkering Tommy replied from within. “Here, take a look at this,” he said, handing Horrible Horace an extremely large sheet of paper, “I’ve just completed it.” Struggling with the paper, his Horrible friend studied the myriad blue coloured lines, scribbles, doodles and writing upon it. “It’s a blueprint,” Tinkering Tommy proudly proclaimed, “of our kite! You can have it, he said. “It’s your copy. I have my own, see?” he showed him another, identical piece of paper. “Wow! Thanks!” he replied, genuinely taken aback. “It’s so detailed,” he said studying it closely. “What is this?” he asked, pointing to the top of the sheet. “It looks like you forgot to finish this bit!” “I left that bit blank, for its name.” “Its name?” “Yes, of course,” Tinkering Tommy explained. “By my reckoning, if planes, and ships, and submarines – well, at least I think submarines – are named, we should name our creation, even if it’s only a kite.”

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“It’s not just any old kite,” said Horrible Horace. “It’s the mother of all kites!” “Yes, that and then some...” his Tinkering friend agreed. “What shall we call it?” It took them almost until seven o’clock that evening to come up with a name for their kite, one they felt described it effectively. The name they finally chose was ‘Invincible.’ “Invincible will be so big, so bright and so fantastic,” said Tinkering Tommy, “Cheeky Charlie and Meddling Maurice will be so embarrassed, ashamed and mortified of their own puny effort they won’t know which way to look.” After they had each written the name of their kite in the blank space at the top of their blueprints, the two friends agreed to meet on the morrow, to go into town and purchase the material required for its construction. Folding his blueprint up carefully and ever so neatly, Horrible Horace said, “Bye, Tinkering, I’ll see you tomorrow.” “Bye” Tinkering Tommy replied, also folding his. The next day being Saturday offered a whole world of possibilities for children who had kite construction on their minds. On the one hand, there was Horrible Horace and Tinkering Tommy, and on the other Cheeky Charlie and Meddling Maurice. 29


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Although Horrible Horace had a good idea of the size of kite he wanted to make, the fact that two other children – and from his own class at that– were also making one, spurred him to consider grander dimensions. “If Cheeky Charlie thinks he is going to outdo me,” he harped, strolling down the street with Tinkering Tommy, “he is in for a shock, because our kite – and only ours – is the mother of all kites!” “It will be...if gets made,” his friend replied, examining the list of items they needed. “Because there’s an awful lot of things on this list, and they all cost money!” “Don’t you be worrying yourself about that,” said Horrible Horace. “I had some money stashed away from a rainy day, and what better reason to spend it than on our kite?” Lifting a hand, Tinkering Tommy felt a few drops of rain land upon it. “And it is a rainy day,” he laughed. “Come on,” he said, “the bus is coming...”

After they had returned from town, with the all of the items required to make the mother of all kites, Horrible Horace and Tinkering Tommy were in a quandary. “Where can we make it?” asked Tinkering Tommy. “My bedroom is far too small for such a project.” He was right; the larger dimensions that his Horrible friend

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had insisted they adopt meant it was impossible for them to make it indoors. Raising a finger, Horrible Horace said, “How about we make it at school?” “Inside our classroom?” said Tinkering Tommy. “Miss battle-Scars would never agree to that.” “No, not inside...somewhere altogether less obvious...” His friend was stumped; he had absolutely no idea where he could mean.

Behind the school building, to the rear of the playing field, Horrible Horace stopped alongside the ancient, air raid shelter; the very same one all of the children believed had been there forever. After depositing the various boxes and bags that he had been carrying upon the ground he pointed at it. “No, you can’t mean in there!” said Tinkering Tommy, trying to balance the boxes and bags that he was carrying. “No one goes inside there!” However, he did mean it, Horrible Horace, fully intent on constructing the mother of all kites inside the abandoned air raid shelter that no one ever went into continued to point at it. “Apart

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from the maintenance man going in at fete time,” he said, “to get the stuff they store in there for it – and that’s solely on the instructions of headmistress, Mrs Corpse – no one ever goes in there. It’s perfect,” he said, his eyes lighting up as he spoke. “No one will know we are there. We will be safe from all prying eyes.” “But there are no windows,” Tinkering Tommy complained, “it will be pitch-black inside!” “No it will not,” his Horrible friend replied. “There has to be a light in there! Look there’s a power cable going in.” “But...” “No ifs and buts, remember?” “All right,” Tinkering Tommy said, finally agreeing, “As long as there are no rats down there.” Ignoring the remark about rats, Horrible Horace said, “Let’s be getting this stuff inside.” Descending the steep, concrete steps, carefully balancing his boxes and bags as he went down, Tinkering Tommy felt a terrible feeling of foreboding come over him. He felt that something ghastly was about to happen, but when he arrived inside, in a dry, roomy and surprisingly bright space (once his Horrible friend had found the light switch) he relaxed, forgetting all about his earlier concerns.

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“It’s not at all bad, in here,” he said. Pointing to a door at the far end of the room, he asked, “What’s that, then?” “Let’s go see,” said Horrible Horace. Reaching the door, he turned the brass handle. It opened easily, revealing another room. “Wow!” said Tinkering Tommy. “They’ve sure packed this one to the gills!” He was right, the space, the room they were looking into was packed full all the way up to the ceiling with every piece of paraphernalia needed for running the school fete. “All the more room left for us, in here,” said his Horrible friend, “to construct out little project.” Raising an eyebrow, Tinkering Tommy replied, “Little?” “Okay,” he laughed, “Our big, our huge, our GIANT project – the mother of all kites!” With that, they began unpacking their boxes, emptying their bags, and unfolding their giant blue prints. Invincible was on its way...

Sunday evening found Horrible Horace and Tinkering Tommy standing back from their work, inspecting the results of their endeavours.

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“Well,” said Tinkering Tommy, “what do you think of it?” Scratching his head and then rubbing an eye, Horrible Horace said, “It’s good, in fact it’s so good I believe it must truly be the best kite in the entire world.” “Better than the one Cheeky Charlie and Meddling Maurice are making?” Although he had not seen their effort, Horrible Horace dismissed it out of hand, saying, “Certainly, it’s better! Their paltry effort could never be a good as ours. Just look at the quality of our workmanship,” he fingered some of the stitching they had laboured over for hours upon end, “not to mention its size! It’s the mother of all kites, I tell you, and that is that!” However, scratching his head for a second time, he added, “Having said that, I do have to admit that I can’t shake off the feeling that something is still missing...” “Missing?” “Yes,” he replied. “But as to what it might be I have absolutely no idea... Oh well, it can wait until later... I need to sleep, I’m bushed.”

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Chapter Three Rivals!

Next morning, Monday, was a school day, with the business of kite making put on the backburner. Miss Battle-Scars had other things to interest the children under her care. “Take out your arithmetic

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exercise books, everyone,” she said, “because we are having a test, today.” “A test?” every last child in the room cried out, thinking the first day of the week could not possibly get any worse. “Yes, a test,” she replied, and when it is over, I will have something to tell you...” “What is it?” they asked, “Please, Miss battle-Scars, tell us what it is!” “Is it a school trip?” one child, a redheaded girl, asked, Another child said, “Or is it a special treat, like the milkshake straws we had, before? A third child, a ruddy-faced boy, said, “We’re getting the rest of the day off, aren’t we?” On hearing those words every child in the classroom hurrahed their teacher for the expected time off school, despite her rebuttals to the contrary. After their test was over, and Miss battle-Scars had dismissed them to the playground (that being their little treat) so she could have some peace and quiet while correcting their efforts, Horrible Horace made a beeline for his comrade in arms, his workmate in aptitude, the co-creator of Invincible.

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“Watcha,” he grumbled less than enthusiastically, wading through the murky waters behind the bicycle sheds, to Tinkering Tommy. His friend, however, sitting aloof, ensconced in his chair, above the waterline, said nothing. What’s up?” asked his Horrible friend. “Anyone would think you had just undergone an arithmetic test, hah, hah!” he said, trying to cheer him up. “Oh, sorry, Horrible,” he replied, “it’s just that I’ve been thinking...” “Thinking? Be careful you don’t have a brainstorm,” he warned, continuing with the light-hearted vein he had adopted. “I have been thinking about what you were saying.” “You were?” “Yes, and I have come to the conclusion that because of her huge size we shall need a great deal of wind to have any hope of launching Invincible.” “And?” asked Horrible Horace, unable to see where the conversation was heading. “And as much as I hate to say it, I feel it is far too dangerous an occupation for anyone less than an adult to attempt.”

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“What, what, what?” Horrible Horace stormed. “No one and I mean absolutely no one – adult or child – is getting anyway near Invincible!” he barked defiantly. “Apart from me that is!” “Okay, okay,” Tinkering Tommy replied. “Keep your hair on!” “I’m sorry,” said Horrible Horace, “it was my idea and I want to fly it.” “I know, I know, forget I said anything.” “All right, I will,” he replied. “When are we going to test it, anyhow?” “Saturday, I reckon.” “Sounds good to me. In the park?” “Either that or the old, abandoned quarry,” Tinkering Tommy replied. “The quarry, why the quarry?” asked Horrible Horace. “There’s a bit of a hill, there,” he explained. “It will be perfect for catching the wind.” Tinkering Tommy had said it again, the wind, and for some peculiar reason shivers of dread ran down Horrible Horace’s spine.

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“What about the others,” said Tinkering Tommy, “you know, Cheeky Charlie and Meddling Maurice? Shall we tell them where we are going to test Invincible?” “No,” his Horrible friend snapped, “The less they know, the better.” The rest of the week passed slowly, painfully slowly for Horrible Horace and his Tinkering friend. Miss Battle-Scars was no help, no help at all. She actually made it worse by giving them another two tests – English and History – to endure. Even though the time passed painfully slow, Friday afternoon finally arrived and Horrible Horace and Tinkering Tommy listened with baited breath for the sound of the bell to ring. Ring a ling a ling, ring a ling a ling, the sound of the school bell ringing told the children what they wanted to her, that it was time to go home, away from school for two glorious days with no lessons, no teachers – and no more tests. “Hurray!” they all shouted, streaming out of the school gate, “Hurray,” they all shouted again, “for the weekend!” Saturday morning, standing alongside the rickety gates outside the abandoned quarry, two boys stood struggling under the immense bulk of what they believed to be the largest, most powerful and most colourful kite in the world.

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“Give it to me,” said Horrible Horace. “I can manage it,” he said confidently, leaving bag of supplies he had been carrying, to the ground. Open those gates,” he ordered. Approaching the gates, Tinkering Tommy attempted to open them, but he was unable to budge them, not even an inch. “Hurry up!” said Horrible Horace, “I can’t hold onto this forever!” he barked. Although Tinkering Tommy tried harder, the gates stubbornly resisted his efforts. “What’s keeping you so long?” asked his Horrible friend. “It seems to be locked from the inside,” he replied. “Strange, it wasn’t the last time we were here, playing...” “Give it a hard yank, you berk! It’s only a gate, and a rusty old one at that!” “Okay,” he replied, choosing to ignore the cruel remark, “Here goes...” Pulling, tugging, yanking ever so hard, Tinkering Tommy finally managed to open the gates leading into the quarry. “That’s more like it,” said Horrible Horace. “Now give me a hand with this kite, it’s ever so awkward trying to hold on my own.”

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Horrible Horace

His friend, however, did not hear this request. He had other things on his mind. “Look,” he said. “Look at this.” Pointing to the inside of the door, he showed his Horrible friend a bolt, that although almost completely separated from its companion, was still in its closed position. This door,” he said, “was secured shut from the inside!” “Inside, outside,” said Horrible Horace, “what difference does it make? Come on, give me a hand, my back is killing me!” Taking the strain for his Horrible friend, Tinkering Tommy, answering his own question, said, “If someone is already here, it might make a difference to our kite flying...” “Pardon? Did you say something?” “No, nothing that’s can’t wait,” he replied, his eyes scanning the area for signs of intruders other than them. Arriving at the top of the hill, Horrible Horace was gobsmacked when he saw two other children were already. Cheeky Charlie and Meddling Maurice, having beaten them in, were ensconced in the prime position. “How did you get in here!” he asked, almost foaming at the mouth, so mad he was. “It’s a free world, at least it was the last time I looked,” Cheeky Charlie cheekily replied.

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“And what is it to you, anyway,” asked Meddling Maurice, meddling fast and furious with the already uncomfortable situation that Horrible Horace found himself in. Neither Horrible Horace nor Tinkering Tommy answered their antagonists; they were far too shocked to say anything, because they had just noticed their enormous kite resting upon the ground. “How, how were you able to make it so big?” asked Tinkering Tommy, when he found enough words to begin speaking again. Tapping the side of his nose, Meddling Maurice said, “That’s for us to know and for you to finds out, if you are able, creep.” “I’ll knock your block off,” Tinkering Tommy screamed in one of the ever so rare instances that he lost his temper. “Haw, haw, “their antagonists guffawed, “haw, haw, haw!” Fifteen minutes later, when the two rival camps had calmed down enough to act half decently, the testing of the kites was ready to begin. “We should be there, at the top,” grumbled Horrible Horace. “I’m not so sure about that,” said Tinkering Tommy. There’s more than enough wind, here.” He was right, although the day had started out fine; a clear blue sky with not even a hint of a breeze, it had slowly deteriorated. 44


Horrible Horace

Licking a finger and sticking it high above his head, Horrible Horace said, “We need wind, to lift it, our mother of all kites.” Guffawing loudly, Cheeky Charlie and Meddling Maurice lifted their kite, the father of all kites, to a vertical position. It posed a formidable site, at least two feet longer and a foot wider than theirs. “That’s what you call a kite,” said their ever so Cheeky rival. “It’s the father of all kites,” Meddling Maurice proudly added, “and that includes yours!” To add insult to injury, when Horrible Horace and Tinkering Tommy lifted Invincible, their rivals, guffawing even more, said, “A kite with no tail? That’s a new one, haw, haw, haw!” They were right, in all their excitement, their rush to complete it, Horrible Horace and Tinkering Tommy had completely forgotten about its tail. Withdrawing a short distance down the hill, the two friends thanked their lucky stars they had had the foresight to bring extra supplies for running repairs. Delving a hand into one of the bags, Tinkering Tommy searched frantically for the items they needed to make a tail for their kite. “Aha!” he whispered, hardly daring to believe that he had found one so quickly. “Gotcha!” he said, withdrawing his hand, producing a piece of pink material. “Pink?” said Horrible Horace. “No, not pink!” 45


Horrible Horace

“Beggars can’t be choosers,” Tinkering Tommy replied. “Now where is that scissors?” “It’s in the pocket of this bag, the green one,” he said, handing him the bag. “Thanks, now all that we need is some string,” said his Tinkeringly intelligent friend. However, after searching though all of their bags they were unable to find any. “What happened to all the string?” asked Tinkering Tommy. “I left it on your bedside locker,” said his Horrible friend. “My bedside locker – are you sure?” “Yes, I am positive...is there a problem?” Nodding his head, Tinkering Tommy told him there was. “I never put anything there,” he said, “ever since I spilt a glass of milk over my watch.” “The string, it’s still there, isn’t it?” said Horrible Horace. “Yes,” he replied sombrely, “I’m afraid so...” Lifting a finger, he asked, “Can’t we use some of the control string attached to Invincible?”

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“No!” Horrible Horace warned, “It’s guaranteed unbreakable, so long as it’s not interfered with. We can’t take the risk!” Having no other option other than moving on, making do without the said string, Tinkering Tommy set about constructing an alternative tail for Invincible. Without having any string for the tail, he said, “I have decided to make it entirely out of that piece of pink cloth.” “You CAN’T mean this piece?” his Horrible friend asked. “The PINK bit?” “I most certainly do.” “But, but it’s PINK!” “Never you mind what colour it happens be,” he replied, “Do you want a tail for Invincible, or not” Nodding, Horrible Horace said (and much quieter this time), “But it isn’t long enough...” Grinning, Tinkering Tommy replied, “It will be, when I have torn it into thin strips and you have stitched them all together.”

When the tail for Invincible was finished, Tinkering Tommy attached it to the mother of all kites. Horrible Horace was in two minds as to how he felt about it; he was happy that she now had a 47


Horrible Horace

tail, but mortally ashamed that it was of a sissy a colour. Returning to the top of the hill and their rivals, he knew only too well how Cheeky Charlie and meddling Maurice would greet them. “Haw, haw, look at its tail!” Cheeky Charlie guffawed the moment he spotted it. “Are you sure that you haven’t forgotten something?” Meddling Maurice asked teasingly. “Like your DOLL?” Once again feeling himself driven to boiling point, Tinkering Tommy barked, “I’ll knock your block off, so I will!” “Calm down, Tinkering,” said Horrible Horace. “That’s what he’s trying to do, to get your goat up. Even though Invincible’s smaller than theirs, they have a fight on their hands – they KNOW it – and that’s how they think they will win, getting us flummoxed.” “She’s not smaller by much!” “Yes, I agree, it’s not by much. Their kite is inferior.” Pointing at it, he said, “Just look at the workmanship!” “What’s wrong with the workmanship?” Cheeky Charlie asked, the smile having disappeared from his face. “It’s all Meddled about!”

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If you are casting aspersions on the quality of my work, bellowed Meddling Maurice, the smile having disappeared from his face, also, “I will knock YOUR block off!” Realising what his rivals were at, playing them at their own game, Cheeky Charlie, said, “Ignore them, they’re braggarts. Come on, Meddling, we have the father of all kites to launch. And when she’s up there, flying high above these, these losers’ effort, they will see who the best kite maker is really!”

TO BE CONTINUED... Chapter Four The Mother of all Storms

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Horrible Horace.  

Children LOVE him. Parents HATE him. A selections of stories to amuse and entertain children of all ages.

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