The Bovine Book of Rocks
Everything written in this story never happened.It is entirely fictional.Except the meeting of Po Ping.Hes real and lives in a shop in Cardiff.
The thing lurched forward in the brisk country evening,using his arms to balance himself as he walked along the long,never ending fields of Bogginton.Staggering along in the rapidliy decreasing sunlight,the large mass of a person,saw another lost soul sitting by the stream singing happily to himself"Go,go power rangers!Dan-na-na-naaaaa!"and waving his arms about in an idiotic fashion.
Seeing the person was obviously from around here and also unstable,the thing went over and crouched down over the dancing fool and tapped his shoulder.
"Hi,could you tell me the way to the Indian Ocean,please?"
"Oh yeah,hi!Look do you have anything to eat?Anything,really.Even sugar!"the thing said smiling and then stopped and looked down at himself for the first time.He saw that he was almost completely white,from a fight and bird droppings."Oh,sorry,I haven't had time to clean myself up,"said the thing stooping down into the stream.
"CRAAAPPPPPPPP!"yelled the smallish chinese man.And collapsed.
"What?Look it wasn't that bad,its coming off now."and looking down at the passed out figure on the floor,sighed and after finishing his wash,went lumbering on to Bogginton.
Michel deRigley was an ordinary reporter,reporting ordinary news in a ordinary town,for ,what he claimed,a less than ordinary pay.He did most of the ordinary things that new local reporters did in small towns like Bogginton,and that was stuff like writing about pigs that somehow look like they are related or cows with an extra udder,and other such bovine news.Michel didn't really mind that sort of news,he was a simple man and despite being only 23 years of age he knew what he wanted out of life,unlike other young men at his age who seemed more caught up in a race to see who has the worst liver at the end of 40 years.
He was going to get a cottage and live there writing exciting books about cows.He hadn't really thought much about it but yes,it was almost definite.He had asked a friend of his,who was a top writer,what he could write about and was told that to sell books you needed an original idea.So,armed with this advice,Michel had marched himself to the local bookshop and had a look around the shelves.
After many hours of annoying the store attendants,he found that there were liitle or no books on cows,or there were a couple by an angry man called "Barking Mad" McCraggy but they weren't the type Michel had in mind and were found in a section marked "alternatives".
So,after presenting the idea to his friend and gotten the rather stunned response of "Well,thats .....certainly.....original....?"and a forced smile,he had gone to a more impressionable(and less patronising) publisher and said that he had done some market research and this was what the public were wanting,but not getting.The publisher was an idiot and had given Michel a contract and had opened a bottle of champagne for celebrating what he was calling the
Michel had gone home believing he had found his vocation in life.To write books about your run of the mill cows.Saving the world.In capes.
Smiling to himself as he thought about this he glanced down at the shopping list in his hand and quickly scanned through the things he needed.Noodles,fortune cookies and white sugar.Right,he thought and wandered around the ,dubiously called, "Smiling Chinaman" which was a small chinese "supermarket"as it was laughingly called by the owners as all there seemed to stock were 12 kinds of soy sauce and a half dead squid which attacked passers-by called Ken who lived off eating cats that strayed near his freezer.
And the staff didn't smile.They looked at you as if you were an univited guest and often took out knives which they patted.And talked to.Hence the absence of any real customers,or more importantly,money.
Still,it was better than the "Asdas" that the local community had in Boggington.All people went there for were to catch tubuculosis from hanging around the staff and to getting rancid cheese whenever they were drunk enough.Michel valued his life and for this reason alone he never went to Asdas,rancid cheese or not,instead he frequently visited the Smiling Chinaman for his everyday needs.This often involved unravelling the mysteries of the sea by buying the odd looking sea creature and often discovering later that they had escaped and tried to run back here.
So,the sea creatures had had the first offensive but Michel was determined that he was going to win this war again a small army of prawns.So he had fitted bars to his freezer and a poking stick to deal with the unruly inhabitants.He had also asked the store to kill them before he left the store,but was told that they were like family,and when asked then why do you sell them?they merely ignored it and instead shouted something foreign and leapt out the window.
Still,the food was nice here despite it being able to fight back when being cooked,but that made cooking more interesting.I mean,vegetables-Michel thought they were far too submissive.You buy them and then you cut them up.Wheres the fun in that?With the crayfish,you get a wrestling match and therefore an evenings entertainment as you cook.
What bothered Michel mostly though was the sign.The sign outside the shop had the words "The Simling Chinamen" scrawled onto a large plank of wood,with what seemed like toe-nails and next to it,a fat,grinning oriental man,holding a large knife.It was disturbing.Very disturbing.Reason being was that the people behind the counter looked the same but somehow managed to give off the air of murder around them.
Hmm,thought Michel,where the hell are the noodles?Rice,prawns,milk,but wheres the bloody noodles?I mean for a culture that was entirely famous for this part of their cuisine,it was like McDonalds workers not having squeaky voices or the difficult attitude they had when they asked you if you wanted the new "McPorky Pie with extra entrails" or some such hideous concoction the chefs of these places managed to find in the street.
Spying a passing attendant he walked over to the dribbling person and despite seeing the obvious task that he was doing,that is eating twigs, Michel mustered up enough courage to ask him if he knew where the noodles were.
Turning to face the voice,the man's nose exploded with mucus as he tried to breathe. "Noodles?Oh yes!"he said suddenly breaking out in smiles which when Michel tried them made his face hurt.Following the still grinning attendant he stopped as he pondered about what it was that he needed again as the man led him to the newstand.
"Ah!"he said and then pointed at a stack of newspapers.Michel looked at him.
"Yes...?"he said"Where are the noodles?"this time emphasising the word just in case the man had not heard properly.
"Yes,yes noodles here!"said the man pointing frantically at the stack.
Still looking at the man with an air of disbelief,Michel glanced down at the newspapers and caught the title of the edition."The Daily Noodles" announced the front cover rather too proudly,Michel thought.Looking up at the man again he noticed that there was a crowd of fellow elderly workers gathering around them as they came to look at the what their son had done.All seemed to be congratulating him on a job well done and were all then looking at Michel again.
Thinking what he had done to deserve this,Michel hesititantly took the newspaper and looked back at them with a nervous smile,turning onto fear."Thank you,"he said slowly.
Suddenly a cheer erupted and then they all seemed to be happy.Taking Michel completely by surprise he almost dropped his shopping basket and the newspaper.I wonder what they do when you buy two newspapers?thought Michel,or one of those dubiously labelled drinks called "yum-yum"?Still, judging from their already ecstatic faces he decided not to risk it.
Realising that he still had one thing left on his shopping list,the white sugar,Michel slowly walked back over to the attendant and tapped his shoulder,and tried to get his attention.
"Um,excuse me,"said Michel and was greeted by a hearty cheer from the small crowd.The man,or should I say hero now at selling a chinese newspaper which apparently had been near impossible before,said a few words and they set him down.
"Yes,er,sorry to stop the festivities old chap,but could I ask you to direct me to the white sugar?"As he said these words,the people who had been cheering madly before suddenly dispersed and the small man turned towards him quickly.Oh god what now?,thought Michel as he watched the now quivering man in front of him.
A gasp came out of the man,and his beaming face suddenly became dark."Why you need sugar?You speak english?"
Taken aback quickly by this dramatic change of attitude Michel stuttered"Er,well,you see..."
"Why you speak english?Where sugar?WHERE SUGAR?!?!?"
"Well,you see I was hoping you could tell me.....?"
"Aarrrgfhhhhh!"screamed the man and went red in the face shouting to himself.
Quite worried by what had started out as a simple question which may just turn out to be his death,Michel hurried over to the counter and started to pay for his food as fast as he could.
The crazed man was now throwing himself against a wall filled with soy sauce bottles with the idea to try and get rid of sugar,as he was continually yelling.
With the items paid for,Michel took them and went out thinking that he should have gone to the newsagents instead.As he left, the man was headbutting a box of Tetley while screaming "Why sugar?WHY SUGAR?!?!?!"
The lumbering hulk of the figure came into sight of the small community town of Bogginton,and checking his road map for a brief moment,he then continued on his way to the town.
Driving home with an air of relief,Michel brushed his hand through his hair and sighed.It had been a hectic two days and now they were starting to take their toll.Boggington was after all just an ordinary town south of London but recently the quiet atmosphere that was always present in Boggington had simply vanished over the last couple of weeks due to one simple thing that had happened.The white cliffs of Dover had been destroyed.Completely.They had been there one day and then the next they were gone.They were now greyish and no longer white.London's media ,and indeed quite a large amount of the worlds,had gone hysterical about this amazing turn of events and had all rushed to Dover to see what exactly had happened.What exactly had happened was what they already knew.The cliffs were gone.
As Michel thought about this some police cars rushed by his own car and he could hear a voice radioeing commands".........er,oh jesus christ this is not happening,er,we now have reports that Po Ping is attempting to rob the bank with his shoes and a slab of butter.We advise that you try not to laugh too much as he says he'll use the butter if he has to...hhahaha..!"
Shrugging his shoulders,Michel decided that he'll make some nice chinese cuisine and have a nice chat with one of his oldest friends,Capricorn Sonne, this evening.Still,what could have done such destruction to something as large as cliffs?Hopefully he'd find out tonight with the rock-specialist and have his first front page story tomorrow!
"Dover's cliffs gone-where did they go to?"Catchy he thought as he hummed to himself.
Shifting gears,Michel neared his semi-detached home which he rented a floor from a nice elderly couple who often washed his clothes for him-the fee was having to make him listen to war stories every Tuesday.I have got to find a new place to live,thought Michel.
"Oh hello,dear!"came the pleasant voice of the war hero,Mrs Kandahar."Do you need help with the shopping?"she said as she came over in her whell chair.Looking at her dubiously,Michel,said"Ha-haaaa!you were joking right?"
Looking at the front tire,Mrs Kandahar said smiling"Yes,I did meet Hitler-in Chesington,no less,"and zoomed away in her wheelchair,talking happily to her shoulder about how she won the war single-handedly.
"Yeah,good one...."muttered Michel as he slammed the car door shut,and watched as his rear-view mirror fell off.Great,he thought stuffing it into his pockets,my cars doing a dover.
Walking,or lurching depending on his mood,along the street and getting some odd glances from people stroking knives,the thing came up to a building and heard some shouting going on.Looking into the building he saw many men looking alike in uniforms and the person who had fainted the other night.
The person he met the other night was warning off the other men with some yellowy stuff that was melting fast.The other men were leaning against each other crying.Apparently they did not want the butter to melt or something,thought the thing.
The thing walked into the building...............
"Er,um be there in just a sec!"called Michel out from the kitchen,steam pouring out from it.Putting down some troublesome prawns that weren't happy about being cooked and wanted to live a happy life terrorising Michel,he hastily pulled off his apron and rushed for the door just as Capricorn was about to knock again.
"Hi!"said Michel smiling,breathing quite heavily,"Uh.please,please come in!"he said reaching for her coat and then realising that she didn't have one and was suddenly at a loss as to what he should do next.Looking at his own shirt he noticed there was a small lobster clinging on to it,and began to busy himself with removing it.
"Don't worry!"said a smiling Capricorn"Its warm out and I decided to walk,hence the absence of a coat.Besides theres a lot of interesting rock formations over the hills there,"
"Oh,"said Michel running his hands throught his hair and finding a shrimp lodged in it,"Good,for you I guess"he said shutting the door and handing her a glass of wine,who seemed to be ecstatic about having found some old fossils on Michel's mantelpiece before realising they were moving and pink.He could tell her that there were some fine fossils downstairs but felt that Mr and Mrs Kandahar wouldn't appreciate spending the rest of their lives in a musuem.Unless they could talk to people about the war.Now that was an idea.
"I hope you like noodles a la prawns a la moving?"Michel said threading his way back to the kitchen.
"Oh yeah,marvellous!"she said and then turned on the radio because there was nothing else to do really.
The announcer seemed to be very hastily announcing the news as he was fighting a group of diseased social workers."The bank was,er,fine after the initial,er,attack,and I use the term extremely loosely,by a local nut,but soon after the police came......"
There seemed to be some struggling on air and then there was a low booooooo-ing sound as the radio went off air.Looking at the radio in an odd way,she called back to the kitchen"Mike,your radios' heart just stopped".
"Eh?"said Michel back as he fought off a particularly nasty prawn with a ladle.
"Never mind,its just that.........."she started.
"Let me speak...."the radio suddenly came back to life,grunting as it did so."People of Bogginton.This is me.Po Ping.Ahahahahaha!You laughed at me when I said there were monsters!You wrong!Big time!Ahahahahahahahah!Me take over world with army of monsters!Ahaahhhaha!"
There followed a brief conversation with a person next to the insane announcer and Po Ping"....the only one,you see.....ahhaha.....stop it!....ok....i lie then......"
"I will crush your puny world,er,village.Ahahahahha!"
Turning off the hysterical radio Capri turned around to see that dinner was being put on the table by Michel and the smell that followed was just heavenly.
"Mmmm.."said Capricorn,sitting down on the prooffered chair that Michel had pulled out.
"Lovely food again,Mike!"she said as she reached for her plate.
"Yeah,buggery prawns put up more of a fight than usual this time!"
Capricorn laughed while Michel continued talking."So whats new in the world of.......wait a tick,"and he rushed into the kitchen and brought back a bottle of soy sauce."The kind you like!"he said brandishng it rather dramatically.
"Anyway,you were saying,?"
"I was saying...saying what?"
"Probably something to do with the obliteration of one of Britain's most famous landmarks.Oh,this is wonderful,Michel!"
Seeing that her food was now quite dead and cooked,Michel thanked any omnipotent person who was listening and got on with his food.
"Right,"said Michel switching on his tape recorder"So do the police have any idea as to what happened or how it happened?"
"Well,it seems that the cliffs were destroyed either by a large pair of hands or a dozen ball and chains put together.Pass the soy sauce please,"
"Ok,so how do you think it was done?"asked Michel passing over the dark bottle and pouring more wine.
"I'm quite partial to the dozen ball and chains idea,"
"Really?"said Michel swallowing.
"No not really,"
"Then who did it then,Capri?"
Taking a gulp of her wine,Capri said"Um,actually,the police already have a culprit.....no the other bottle"
"Sorry,a culprit?ONE man?"
"Yes,and thank you,"
Michel waited while Capricorn was swallowing a mouthful of prawns and took a sip of her wine."Well?"said Michel becoming more and more impatient.
"Has my head exploded yet?What do you think?"
"Oh,alright,"said Capri calmly."Well,you see the thing is the culprit is quite a man"
"Oh really?"said Michel sarcastically"Is he from Krypton?"
"Really?And what is he?"
"A golem,"said Capri."A so-called mytical creature that was made of rocks.Hes the one whos done it."Seeing the stunned look on his face she poured him some more wine and took a sip of hers.
"You're not serious"Michel managed to say after a while.
"Pretty much,"said Capri in response."Oh hes harmless,but from what hes told us,we've got rocks figured out ALL wrong,"
"Really?"said Michel disbelievingly."And they have this,this...er,golem then,in custody or something?"he said with a laugh.
"Did,"Capri corrected." hes disappeared and he likes to be addressed as Gordon."
"GORDON?"said Michel exasperatingly.
"Yes,well his full name is Gordon Galena.You know after the rock.Hes apparently made up of it and thats his full name,"
Gathering his wits,Michel pulled himself together and persisted despite seeing that his food was making a comeback on life.
"So,what,er,what was his motive?"he said trying to pin down this little uprising.
Watching this little drama unfold on her companion's plate,Capri giggled a bit but looked at her food more suspiciously from then on. "Weeell,from what the police could determine,they've never gotten along very well."
"Really?The cliffs of Dover and this Gordon fellow?"
"Yes,it seems that they are distant cousins or something and they had a little quarrel so they had a fight.It turned out quite bad and Gordon is worried he'll be tried for homicide."
"Because he killed a,uh,living cliff?,"was all Michel could say at this point "but you said something about changing our understanding of rocks....?"I really should switch to american cuisine,thought Michel as he tried to casually murder his dinner.
"Oh yes,you see when I said that Gordon and Cliff,thats the Dover cliffs that is,......"
"......don't interrupt,were distant cousins,that was pretty much true.You see,"Capri put down her fork"we thought that rocks were formed by heating and sediment etc,.yes?"
"Right.."said Michel slowly still looking at his food with a beady eye.
"Well,and this is the tricky part to understand,rocks are really formed by breeding."Noting the puzzled look on Michel's face she continued"You see,a sedimentary rock may find an igneous rock,er,attractive if you will,and they will start a family.A metamorphic rock is the result.According to Gordon,this is how ALL rocks were formed,"
Recovering quickly Michel asked boldly"So what about all the fossils you see in rocks and so forth?"
"Oh,they're just food you see,"said Capri nonchalantly.
"Oh?I'd never have guessed,"Michel said truthfully."So all this was just a family feud then?"
"Pretty much yeah,"
"So are there any more of these,uh....."
"...people,"said Capri helpfully.
"...yeah,are there any more of them then?"
"Noooo,apparently uh,'Gordon' and Cliff were the only ones left,though there are some rumours that there are more 'family members' in the Bay of Bengal near India."
"Ah,and I suppose thats where hes going then?"said Michel inquiringly.
"Apparently,"she said finishing off her plate and taking a sip of her wine"lovely food.Loved it when the prawns decided they did't like the shrimps and had a fight,"
"Uh?"said Michel still wondering about the new turn of events."Oh yes,right right,haha very good,"
Getting up from the table and heading for the door she said"Um,its true.Look they're still on the plate.I think the shrimps winning.Hes got him in a headlock,"
"Oh,"said Michel watching the plate with little interest and then seeing that she was about to leave,hurriedly opened the door for her.
"Oh,theres just one thing thats still bothering me,"said Michel in true Colombo fashion.
"How do they.....you know?"
"You know.......do it?"he finished lamely.
"Oh,well strangely no-ones bothered to ask him.He left before they could ask,"
"Oh,well,"said Michel disappointedly.
"Although.."said Capri rounding on Michel as she walked out the door.
"Yes?"called Michel back.
"I hear that their encounters are pretty.....hot!"she said and got into her car laughing.
2 years later,Michel wrote the best-selling novel "Super-Cow" and won many awards for it.He is said to be putting the finishing touches to his new novel "Cowinator-Judgement Day" which is also topped for a best-seller.
Capricorn managed to get Mr and Mrs Kandahar to live in a glass case for the rest of their lives in a musuem where they are reported to be very happy,and talkative.Capricorn got a prostigious award of some kind for the fine specimens.Soon after they began talking about the war,the musuem shut down and the old couple were forgotten about.It is rumoured that people walking by the abandoned museum can still hear voices saying "Met a tank division in the grocers the other day.Said they were here to get some aubergines,"
The government decided to over look the whole cliffs being destroyed and re-painted them claiming thats what they had done before anyway.
And finally,a small man took over China with the help of a strong accomplice and has now turned the country around,their national motto is now"Why Sugar?".