Jüris H. Smirnoff
I once lived in an orange dirigible, an orange dirigible that flew, higher and faster than any of the previous orange dirigibles before it. It went like the clappers at a Status Quo concert. It also sped-up with such velocity when a beautiful girl should be sighted below. It was an intelligent orange dirigible, I have to confess.
I used to randomly travel around aimlessly in my orange dirigible, because quite frankly, there was not much else to do with ones time back then. Besides, nothing would beat the wind in my face and the rain in my eyes, as I travelled thoughtfully and mostly un-thoughtfully on many a journey.
Anyhow, on with the story! Listen up now!
One day, I was slightly burnt from the intensity of the sun above, bursting through the wavy cumulus nimbus clouds, which were also above. This was due to over indulgence on my part, because I was excited over the shipping forecast; Scilly Automatic was Gale Force and it had been such a long time previously since this last occurred. Anyhow, due to the aforementioned burning of my neck, I fiddled a bit and managed to get my orange dirigible to change its direction, slowing and lowering, so to land. I had not unfortunately noticed a pretty lass below, a particularly fine creature, of one and twenty years, wearing a long black coat, a leopard-skin pillbox hat and boots of Spanish Leather. My orange dirigible did notice however and because this one and twenty year old (a guess of course) was a fine specimen of exquisite beauty and intrigue, it quickened up, we were only at 100 feet, thus meaning a crash looked likely. I started to shout at the lass below, but all to no avail, we plummeted and plummeted and plummeted, for what seemed 10 minutes, but which in reality was only 10 seconds and we hit the ground with a hardish thud and the basket I was in was dragged along the ground, as my orange dirigible tried to get a better look at the one and twenty year old ahead. We were catching up and still the exquisite creature ahead did not notice a 100ft orange dirigible, making more noise than a stunned audience in a brothel, when a real nun should perform her show in front of them. Even louder than indeed, the noise at a Michael Jackson concert when he would have that unfortunate accident with a monkey. She was oblivious to our approach.
Still we got closer and we could now see that she also had a headband around her head, which glowed somewhat in the fading evening light. Even closer we would get, when we noticed she had headphones on, explaining her incompetence at not noticing us in any way, shape, or sound. I wonder what she was listening to? ‘Aswad’ perhaps or ‘Rick Astley’? Even ‘The Captain and Tennille’ or ‘Wynder K. Frog’?, who knows. This was not a life threatening ponder, so I soon changed it to a ponder that was, this being: ‘How in Jeffrey Archer’s name am I going to stop my orange dirigible from hitting this poor lass from behind?’ Our speed increased, as my orange dirigible got more eager about knowing who she was. What was going to happen was inevitable and I closed my eyes, thinking of the shipping forecast once more and the time the presenter on the World Service thought he was in the film “Kes” and got carried away. Now that was a funny 5 minutes of humorous radio!
My eyes stayed firmly closed and my buttocks clenched, I needed to fart. But nothing happened, except the continued buffeting of the basket on the grass below. Surely we must have caught her up? I opened one eye and to my amazement, my orange dirigible was slowing down; what had he seen that I hadn’t? I don’t know, it’s hard for any dirigible to see, let alone an orange one, but still, he slowed and the lass ahead increased her distance. We were not sufficiently slowing down enough though and it would still be a while until we stopped fully.
I was just getting settled again, on my Alan (Whicker) chair, when my beloved orange dirigible suddenly lifted up and started to increase its speed again, why? I was not aware of anything, except the aforementioned lass, but surely not? Why did he slow down the first time? We were now back at a healthy 200 feet or more and the sun once again beamed down on my shoulders and neck. The lass was still at small and could be seen ahead in the distance. Once again, our speed increased and my Lionels started to sway in the wind, 1970s fashion was back in fashion after all. It was then that I noticed the Leopard-skin Pillbox hat attached to my orange dirigible’s pointy end and then realised why we were speeding up. As we re-approached the lass of one and twenty years I shouted again. “Halloa! Below there!”. I continued anyhow, all to no avail. It was getting desperate, the light was fading and we had to return the leopard-skin pillbox hat to the lass in the long black coat and boots of Spanish leather, with the adornment of the strange glowing headband. Once again we were getting too close for comfort and I still hadn’t farted. I once again closed my eyes, letting off a rip roarer of a fart.
Crash, bang, cafizzle, splat, boiing... ‘Ouch, why did you take me from behind?’ screamed the lass loudly as we fell on top of each other.
‘Well, would you believe it if I told you it is not my fault?’ She shook her head and stared coldly at me. ‘Thought not, but honestly, I blame it on my orange dirigible, he wanted to return this...’ I sort of half-heartedly replied.
‘What! When did that fall off? I blame it on Tonto’s expanding headband; it always makes strange things happen to me. It’s not the first time I’ve been taken from behind you know, why only last week...’
‘I do not wish to know; but what does Tonto’s expanding headband do exactly?’ I interrupted.
‘It makes me listen to “The Captain and Tennille” and the theme to “Roobarb and Custard” regularly and makes me speak like B.A. Barakas and that man from the Iceland advert, you know, “Are we doing a deal, or are we doing a deal”’.
‘Argh! I hate him, speak as someone else.’ I replied loudly. ‘Have you ever thought of removing Tonto’s expanding headband?’
‘Yes of course, but it has strange affects! I lose all my clothing and I have to walk about starkers and we don’t want that do we!’
‘Err, no, well, maybe...’ I then deservedly got a slap, although apparently, it was Tonto’s expanding headband that forced her into it. ‘Ouch!! Obviously I mean no, but can we try it anyway? It may be all in your mind.’ I said, expecting another slap, as I enjoyed the first one.
‘You think this...” she started to remove Tonto’s expanding headband “is in my mind?’
Her clothes promptly disappeared, leaving her standing naked, with myself and a drooling orange dirigible, in a random field.
‘Right, fair enough, I believe you.’ looking somewhat embarrassed. ‘You better put Tonto’s expanding headband back on, before you catch a chill.’ I replied, still looking somewhat embarrassed with events.
She promptly put Tonto’s expanding headband back on and her clothes returned. I returned her leopard-skin pillbox hat and she put that on her head, which was covered in beautiful long flowing, brunette hair.
So is there no way of discarding, or removing the power of Tonto’s expanding headband?’ I queried.
‘Not that I have found, but I know there is a label on the back, but I have never read it, I get a chill before I have a chance to.’
‘Hang on then, let me see...’ “Made in Macau, machine washable, 100% cotton...” I read out loudly. ‘Hmmm, interesting, not much to go on there. Hang on, there is something very small at the bottom...’ “Tonto headbands Ltd., GB, phone...” ‘Right it looks as if the telephone number has been smudged out, that is not good. Seems they do not want to be contacted.’ I paused for a moment to have a think. ‘I have an idea! Hop in with me and we will find out more about this; firstly, let’s get the number from somewhere.’ I swiftly asked her.
‘I am not sure, I do not know anything about you, you took me from behind as well, on our first meeting! But you seem an honest enough man, even if you do look strange; but you are willing to help me with my problem.’ I nodded in agreement. ‘So, what are you popularly known as anyway? I reckon you’re a Timothy, you have the mentality of a Timothy. I have known many; I am normally pretty good with names. Am I right?’
‘Yes, of course you are, Tinkerbell!’ I sarcastically replied, somehow thinking that this name suited her. ‘I shall introduce myself fully, I am Timothy William Arthur Turner, at your service!’ I replied.
‘Erm... Timmy, you do realise your initials spell the word TWAT don’t you? That’s amusing!’ She started to laugh at me; I was not amused by this. ‘To introduce myself as well: I am Tinkerbell Imogen Trusty and yes, my initials spell TIT, haha, how amusing.’
‘Oh to wit, to wit to wit, you are so funny! You cannot have a name like that? Surely not?’ I replied with irritable gusto. It also seems I was right to call her Tinkerbell earlier, it is rather strange how things turn out.
‘Why Timmy, I do, nothing unfortunate about that, I had eccentric parents’ she retorted.
‘Right, are you hopping in or not? We have to make a move to safer pastures before dark sets in totally.’ I hastily said to side-track her.
‘Oooh, someone didn’t like what I said, trying to change subject are we Timmy?’ She stared at me coldly. I gave her my cheesy grin of agreement to her in response. ‘Yes, I am hopping in, give me one moment, I have adjustments to make to my clothing, it’s always the case when they return.’ She fidgets quite a bit, adjusts her clothes and tries to jump in without making a tit of herself.
‘Right, let’s be making a move orange dirigible!’
‘Orange dirigible! That’s rather a naff name, the poor readers will get annoyed at you, you know, how about calling him George?’ She retorted once more.
‘Right, you have a point and an answer to everything. George it is!’ I reluctantly replied.
I never did like the name George and it did not even sound right. George was one of those names that could be used for a females’ name if one should wish and my orange dirigible was most definitely of the male variety. I decided I would quiz her later about the name choice, thinking she seems to be in a foul mood already.
Tinkerbell and I, with the aid of the ever trusty George, the orange dirigible, slowly made our way, only to get about 2 miles on, when darkness sets in.
‘Oh, the darkness, it’s blinding me! We will have to land.’ expressed me.
‘Obviously! It is going to be difficult to go anywhere in this bloody gloomy excuse for weather. It is going to be a bloody cold night sleeping here, do you have any protection?’ answered Tinkerbell.
‘Aye, of course I do, I have some blankets and I myself have a sleeping bag, which you can borrow.’ I said, expressing my kindness.
‘Good good, but you realise you’re sleeping on the grass don’t you? You wouldn’t let a lady have no room to move and sleep on the damp dew?’ she sighed, then I nodded in agreement. ‘No, of course not, so I get to sleep with George and you, you get to sleep with the dew’, she said with great gusto and much saliva.
I handed her the sleeping bag, which was a nice stripy number in hearing-aid cream and puce and I took my place on the dewy grass and tried to get some sleep. After some time this happened.
I woke up rather too quickly for my liking, it seems I had a very untoward dream involving all manner of strange occurrences, but I cannot remember exactly what. I looked towards George and found Tinkerbell still asleep and still looking beautiful, so I decided to leave her be. I felt slightly cold, unsurprisingly and did not know how to get warm without disturbing Tinkerbell. All was quiet around me, except for the sound of George, who was making strange noises, why, I have no idea.
I then put my mind to how to solve the problem about Tonto’s expanding headband, as I knew there was a way of finding further information. It was during this rare amount of thinking, that I swear I heard something in the distant, but what it was, I have no idea. It sounded rather like musical bicycle pumps, although rather out of tune. I stayed where I was and went back to pondering about the predicament mentioned just moments before when I heard the aforementioned sounds again, this time, only being 0.5 of a decibel louder, this startled me, as this meant that they were getting closer very slowly.
‘Wake up Tinkerbell dearest! It is time to be moving on, something has come up, so my sincerest apologies for waking you up when you are not ready to do so.’ She started to stir and I could see her wonderfully absorbing eyelids opening. Her arms then started to move into an erect position in front of her, this seemed strange..., this was not a natural way to wake up, what was going on? Her torso, then bolted upright, without any hesitation. There she was, sat up, with her legs in the sleeping bag, her eyes wide open and her arms stretched out in front of her. I never noticed her blink either. It was as if she had been possessed somehow.
‘Tinkerbell, are you all right? If this is your idea of a joke, you better stop it right now, I am not a bit amused.’
No reply or reaction.
‘Look, I hear strange noises and they are getting closer, ever so slowly. So therefore my pretty little thing, I am a tad worried, to say the least. I wish I knew what those perishing noises were too, I have heard similar before, I just cannot place where I have heard them from.’
I sighed. Again, there was no response from Tinkerbell, now I was starting to get worried.
I then got up, folded up my plain white blankets, with my initials in the bottom right corner and went to start up George’s engine.
It took some time to get it started, it seemed George’s engine didn’t want to be started that day. Finally however, the trusty Lister diesel engine spluttered into life, only to die once more.
‘Strange’, I muttered to myself.
‘What is strange?’
‘This old Lister diesel engine, he never has failed me before, but now, well..., he just started and died. That is what is strange’ I said.
Then it occurred to me. That was not my own brain replying to my mutterings, it was someone else entirely; it had a deep manly voice, in fact, it was one of those stereotypical voices that are most commonly associated with god-type figures in awful American films. I was not imagining it at all. I looked round to Tinkerbell, she was in the same state as before, but I guess it could have still been her that replied. I curiously looked around further, past the hulk of what was George sat before me. There was nothing but long outstretched fields, full of all sorts of different things; wheat, grain, rapeseed, poppies. I could see an old Massey-Ferguson tractor in the distance too; idle and still, with a nude farmer stood beside it and I thought nothing of it, due to the circumstances at that particular time. My eyes continued around further, finally resting back onto where they had started. Nothing was there. I presumed I was hearing things, or else, I was going mad and so I put this strange occurrence at the back of my mind.
I attempted to start the old Lister again, thinking it had given up the ghost completely. To my surprise, it kicked into life.
‘Great! You finally bloody work, hoo-bloody-ray, thank you Mr. God!’
‘Pardon?’ I murmured.
‘I said, no problem’ the mysterious voice replied.
‘Who in god’s name is that? I cannot see you anywhere, why do you taunt me? Am I going mad?’ I looked around once more; nothing. I looked at Tinkerbell, she had not moved. I kept my eyes fixed on her mouth.
‘It is not young Tinkerbell that speaks these words Mr. Turner.’ said the voice.
‘So who is it then? I am not mad, I do not wear Corduroys and wear annoying N.H.S. spectacles with tape holding them together. I do not computer program for pleasure. I do not write stories about orange dirigibles. I am sane. I am a homosapien bipedal male, from Epsom, with a family history involving much illegitimacy and I am an agnostic too!’ I replied hesitantly, freaking out somewhat.
‘Granted, you are not a bespectacled insane weirdo who wears corduroys and has mold growing in his bedroom for experimental purposes. Indeed, you are more than that. You are just above ignoramus status; you are a cad of the highest proportions; you are an irrelevant twerp, with a life only just worth living. Get the picture? It gets worse, but I shall save you the bother of hearing about your sad life.’ Said Mr. I-know-everything-about-you-and-I-will-insult-you-lots.
‘However insulting you may be, you are wrong, I do grow mold in my room for experimental purposes, but by-the-by, that does not answer my totally relevant question that I asked you just a few moments ago, does it now? That question being: Who are you?’ I replied callously and rather bemusedly at the same time.
‘You really want to know? You won’t be best pleased’.
‘Yes, I want to know, I do not care one iota who you are, so just bloody tell me!’ I cried out.
‘Well, I can tell you something. I am not God and I am not Satan, but whoever I am, I am the key to that girl’s predicament down there. I am also not an apparition of your mind either. You have two weeks to solve my riddles, or the girl will stay like that for life. I will appear once a day and set one new riddle per day. You have just that one day to solve that one riddle. So that is a total of 14 riddles.’
‘Whatever wise-guy, wherever you may be, I do not believe your nonsensical and rather spontaneous and delusional thoughts. I am not as silly as you may think..., you really think this Smeagol rubbish about riddles and what-not will change my hallucinogenic thoughts about you and everything you have said? Besides, I have never been one for riddles.’ I said rather proudly.
Damn, that was the best thing I had said all year, I was proud of that, there is no beating a great piece of linguistic skill on my part. Also, I had never been so wound-up about anything so much for years, so the words just spewed out of my mouth. I almost swore too.
‘Well, Mr. Turner, you had better believe me, otherwise the girl stays like that forever. I shall release her from her current state, once I have given you the first of my riddles. One mortal alone cannot solve this; you need Tinkerbell. If you fail, as said previously, then she will be returned to her current state forever. Do you believe me yet?’
‘Hell no, but give me your damned riddle anyhow. I do not rightly care about Tinkerbell’s state, she was rather annoying anyhow. At least she cannot answer back like this. I do however, wish to solve other problems related to her. So I suppose I need her.’ I replied, shrugging my shoulders.
‘Very well then. I hope you have a good brain, as you need to remember this riddle. You will also have to relay it back to Tinkerbell once she is back to normal.’
‘I have a good brain, I shall solve your poncy riddles. Get on with it.’ I snapped.
‘The first riddle...’
’Hang on wise-guy’ I interrupted. ’I need to get a pen and paper. It is lucky I just happen to have this pen in my pocket, otherwise I would have to remember it, as you said..., I bet you do not sound so wise now?’
’Shut up you little squirt, you know sod all, just hear me out... right, where was I, oh yes, the first riddle: Sleep is important. Remember the day previous. Everything makes sense. Remember everything.’
‘That is it? That is hardly a riddle!’ I responded, rather flummoxed.
‘Well, it is. I have started you off gently, things will be getting harder for you. I shall now bring back Tinkerbell from her current state. I then shall be off, until tomorrow.’
With this, Tinkerbell’s arms suddenly drop back down to rest on either side of her waist. Then her eyelids start to blink rapidly. Her senses return and she starts to move like a normal human.
‘Ah, morning Timmy! You’re awake early, did you have trouble sleeping? I hope you weren’t dreaming about me! That would be scary for both of our sakes, but oh well, I suppose I have to trust you!’ said Tinkerbell, speaking for the first time since the apparent “curse”.
I was trying to write down the damn riddle at this point..., luckily I remembered it, otherwise..., well, otherwise something pretty damn awful is likely to have happened to my rather young and beautiful friend Tinkerbell, or so I had been told anyhow.
‘Are you feeling alright? Do you not remember what just happened? Did you not hear that voice and the riddle?’ I responded.
‘Eh? What are you talking about love? I heard sod all. I’ve been asleep, remember? I heard nothing. Has something happened?’
‘It is difficult to explain, but I shall try. But before this, I need to ask you many questions, something is bothering me deeply.’
‘Questions? Yes, I am a virgin and yes, you only have to ask...’
‘What? No..., not those questions, but thank you anyway, I shall bear that in mind.’ I said, giving a sly wink with my right eyelid to Tinkerbell. ‘I meant questions about who you are, how you came across “Tonto’s expanding headband” and whether you hate pretzels or not?’
‘Pretzels? Why Pretzels?’
‘Because I have a packet, do you want to share them?’
‘Um, fine, as long as I don’t have a Bush moment, the last thing I want is you doing the bloody Heimlich manoeuvre on me, you’ll hurt my precious ribs you will.’
‘As if I would hurt you, that is not possible, with your beauty!’
‘Oi, don’t flatter me, I’m just a boring lass from Kingston, with no flare for life, or anything. Plus I was hit with the ugly stick at birth, if you don’t believe me, just look at my scars!’