Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Old Possum's Book of Practical Gnats

There must be something in the water that occasionally grants me what I like to call 'The Vision'. No sooner had I posted that trivial bit of nonsense about gnats yesterday than the whole neighbourhood was invaded by bugs the size of house bricks. These were mean creatures and attracted to anything that was shiny, brightly coloured, or giving off a strong aroma. Naturally, David Dickinson stood no chance.

All that glistening, orange sweat heavily scented with French cologne: it was manna to the giant gnats. As Judy and I watched from the safety of our air conditioned front room, Dickinson went running down the street, waving his arms about his King Louis XIV perm.

‘Get away, you bloody fools!’ he cried. ‘Gnats! It’s the bloody gnats!’

‘Oh Richard, you must do something,’ said Judy as I stood there chuckling to myself.

‘I am doing something,’ I replied. ‘I’m standing here chuckling. I swear there’s a show in this. I should go and get my video camera.’

‘I mean you should go out and save him. You know that you’re immune to all wounds except that of a Vorpal blade.’

I hated to admit that Judy had a point since this was also a matter of principle.

‘You want me to save the man who has had nothing but bad things to say to me since the Michael Palin incident?’ I looked at my darling wife’s face, illuminated by virtuous concern for a man it is really quite hard to like. ‘Okay, okay,’ I said, turning for the front door. ‘I'll play the hero for once. Be ready to let us in. And if he says something cutting about the sofa, don’t say I didn’t warn you. He once made Stephen Fry cry just with the word "mahogany".'

I dashed for the Range Rover and made it untouched by the giant gnats. From there it was simply a matter of following the screams of ‘beware the bloody gnats!’ all the way to Ronnie Corbett’s front garden where I found Dickinson fighting his way through deep foliage.

‘I’m here to save you,’ I said.

‘Richard? Is that you?’ cried David. ‘They’ll bloody follow you, you know? Gnats! Bloody big gnats!’

‘Don’t worry,’ I said. ‘We’ve got to get you to a safe place.’

‘You’re so bloody kind,’ said David, pointing to me.

‘I know I am,’ I answered, choosing that moment to snap the above picture with my camera phone. I thought a picture of the man’s humiliation would be a good thing to own. I could always use it to remind him of the great debt he was about to owe me. (It looks even better if you click on it and see it in full resolution. You get a real sense of the gratitude in the David's eyes.)

However, his thanks were short lived. As we ran for the car, David began to rant about the bugs being a message for the neighbourhood.

‘The bloody bugs are all Madeley's fault!’ he cried, wide eyed, slack jawed, and senseless. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time but he was only wide-eyed, slack jawed and senseless because he’s allergic to gnat bites. That was left to Judy to spot, which she quickly did once I got him back to the house.

‘I don’t think his bottom lip should be that big,’ said Judy.

‘Ob corb ib nob subbbobed bo be bis blooby bib!’ replied Dickinson.

To be fair, I hadn’t noticed the inordinate size of his bottom lip because the whole of his face had swollen to something like twice its normal size. By the time we got him to the hospital, he was looking less like David Dickinson and more like Clarissa Dickson Wight.

And that’s where we left him being pumped full of antihistamines.

The last I heard was his telling a nurse that it was ‘like a blooby blague of bocusts senb dowb by Gob!’

‘Do you think that’s right?’ asked Judy. 'Why would God send a plague of gnats after David?'

‘Why?’ I laughed. ‘Because God has a bloody good sense of humour! That's why.’


Obnoxio The Clown said...

Schools have principals, matters have principles.

Richard Madeley said...

Oh, not again! Many thanks Obnoxio. I do know the difference but something happens between my fingers/brain and wordprocessor that causes this glitches. Can I simply blame Microsoft Word's habit of replacing my words for its own?

Lola said...

Oooh, are we allowed to correct the spelling? I always held back, thinking it might be slightly impolite and you'd prefer to hear nothing but praise and indications of obsessive love?

Richard Madeley said...

Lola, what do you mean you've always held back? I rarely in ever speel anything wrong.

And yes, more obsessive love please.

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