Tuesday, 31 March 2009


The coloured lights strung out in the sky were not a figment of my feeble, tranquilised imaginings or anything to do with visiting aliens. I didn't know it then, but they belonged to Pettigrew's Travelling Circus.

The two criminal masterminds bundled me unceremoniously out of the car and up to the door of a large caravan parked in the Circus compound. Desmond beat a sharp tattoo on the door with his clenched fist and it was opened by a dapper, pot-bellied little man in an expensive, maroon coloured leather jacket.

"Allo boys", he said in a conspiratorial tone. "I see you brought the package. Good. Good. Bring it in".

They laid me on a couch and the three men started to haggle over money. It was only then that I became aware of a fourth presence in the room. In the far corner of the caravan a powerfully built man, probably in his thirties, was watching me intently. Somehow, he did not seem like the others. His face, though not particularly handsome, was pleasant with broad, open features. He seemed entirely free of the suggestion of guile and treachery that clung to the three others like a cheap scent.

His gaze was hypnotic. I couldn't stop watching him watching me. Eventually, a slow smile formed on his face but there was no mirth in it. It was the sort of pitying smile reserved for the seriously ill.

At length, he came over and knelt down at my side. He took my pulse and stroked my cheek. For the first time since I'd been press ganged by those two French busybodies I felt completely at ease with another of God's creatures. There was something about this man........a certain depth!

"Morris, this monkey is finito", he said in a heavy, Italian accent.

All right it brought my mood down somewhat but, what he said was mitigated by the tone of compassion he used in saying it.

Desmond turned on his heel and said, angrily, "That monkey is NOT finito, my friend. He is, in fact, recuperating."

"Boys, boys ", said Morris Pettigrew, rubbing his pot belly, "No need for unpleasantness. Moisten his lips with some brandy. That'll do the trick".

Davie did the honours, but he was clumsy so, as well as my lips being moistened, my gullet got a good coating as well. I felt my eyes bulge. I felt my throat burn. I felt steam coming out of my ears and fancied I heard it whistle as it did so.

My new friend was horrified on my behalf. "Careful you clown" he said, looking menacingly at the hapless, useless Davie.

"Easy. Easy" Stromboli, said Pettigrew nervously, "We all know you are the strong man here. You don't have to prove it."

Davie seemed to like walking on eggs. "Yeah, Stromboli, don't erupt will yah!" Ladies and gentlemen, if looks could kill."

An argument started up again. This time it was joined by Stromboli who was vehemently defending my best interests. Bless him! While they were all going at it hammer and tong they completely ignored me. They had also left an almost full bottle of Remy Martin propped up beside me.

I was sitting up now. If nothing else, the brandy had certainly brought me around. Curious, I took another sip. This time it didn't burn.

Since nobody seemed to bother I took another sip and then another........and then another.
Soon the world was no longer a place to fear. It was a place of delight and wonders. I gazed, glassy eyed at the caravan and its contents. Finally, my eyes alighted on a top hat and a cigar sitting on a small table next to the couch. I put the hat on my head, experimenting with different angles: formal, jaunty that sort of thing. I put the cigar in my mouth and felt quite the thing.

It suddenly occurred to me, for no very good reason that I can remember, that Davie might like to see me in my new finery. To that end I approached him from behind and tugged at his trouser leg.

The events that resulted from this innocent notion unfolded quickly and violently. Here is a brief summation of what I remember:

Davie jumped out of his skin and, with an involutary movement of his arm, sent my top hat flying.

Stromboli hit Davie so hard I could have sworn I heard what remained of his teeth rattle.

Desmond took an ill advised swing at Stromboli and disappeared backwards through the half open caravan door for his troubles.

Davie ran out into the night after him rubbing his jaw.

Pettigrew finally emerged from his clothes cupboard to survey the effects of a few moments of mayhem on his living room. Then, all of a sudden, he burst out laughing.

There , lying on the floor in front of him, was a pile of cash. In the fracas the two masterminds had left their payment behind.

NEXT WEEK : I start working for the B.BC. (Bobo's Bavarian Chimps) . My respect and admiration for Stromboli deepens

Monday, 23 March 2009


While we all wait anxiously to hear of Marcel's fate, may we, at circusmonkeysmirror, take this opportunity to inform you of our new regular feature - Stromboli's "Aunt Sally"?

If there is something about life to-day, or a particular politician or public figure that really makes you "see red" we invite you to get it all "of your chest".

All you have to do is sit, breathe deeply, (sometimes putting your head between your knees helps) compose yourself and then compose your epistle and then email it to johnnicollendeavour@yahoo.co.uk

No more than five hundred words please and as much wit as you can muster. No bad language (as if you would) and no libel or slander. I don't have the temperament for court appearances - and the paperwork!

We'd like to hear North American, Commonwealth and European rants too - as long as they are in English

Monday, 16 March 2009


As we travelled on through that seemingly endless night I drifted in and out of a fitful sleep.

When I slept I had terrible dreams which I can't begin to describe, except to say that they were dreams of fear and foreboding about this strange new world into which I had been so recently propelled.

When I woke I saw, more vividly than in any dream, that old, civilized world from which I had just been wrenched. It was a good world - and a kind one. No-one is left out in our world. There is a place for everyone and we don't fill folk full of neurosis just to claim the credit for making them well again as you humans do with all those articles in your newspapers about eating too much or eating too little or asking if you are actually in the right job, or the wrong one, or whether you are getting enough sex or too little etc etc etc.

Maybe we didn't invent the wheel or the steam engine, but then again we didn't invent the atom bomb or Reality T.V. either.

Just as I lay with a picture in my head of dawn coming up over my own dear world, I became aware of a light in the sky in the world that I now, reluctantly, inhabited.

It wasn't dawn, though, but what looked like a long line of gaudily coloured lights strung high up in the sky somewhere near the horizon.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Saturday, 7 March 2009


I needn't have bothered with the "thinking cap" at all as it turned out. All these nights lying in the dark plotting my escape were, in the event, totally unneccessary.

It just so happened that "Ratty", who had become insanely jealous of all the "after hours" attention that his "main squeeze" was giving her "petit singe", had arranged a sudden, unofficial transfer for me.

I was awoken in the early hours of the morning by the squeaking of the door of my cage and the sound of agitated muttering between two low lifes, one of whom I strongly suspected, was the wretched Ratty himself and, before I had the chance to raise the alarm or even tell for sure who was accosting me, a large hand, almost as hairy as mine, clamped some chlorofolm soaked cotton wool over my mouth.

The next forty eight hours, or so, were a complete blur, not least because every time I came around, another hefty dose of chlorofolm was administered.

Eventually, when I came around for the umpteenth time, I waited for the hairy hand and another round of oblivion but, this time, for some reason, it didn't come.

As the mists in my addled bonce started to clear I was aware of travelling in the back of some sort of estate car, as I believe they are called. In the front seat were two humans. I could just make out their forms in the blackness. From their conversation I could tell that one of them
was the dominant figure in this relationship.

Just then one of the two turned round and peered down at me. It was not a sight calculated to reassure anyone in my state of peril. He sort of leered at me and I got an eyefull of a set of teeth that had more gaps than teeth and what teeth he did have seemed to have lost the will to stand up straight. Mind you, they had plenty of room to slouch around in. This unfortunate also had glasses as thick as bottle ends to contend with which made his eyes seem as big as billiard balls. I had seen a few human beings by now and knew that they came in infinite varieties but I didn't know that they came in this particular variety.

"Ere, Desmond, the monkeys reviving. Shall I stick him again?", he said in a high pitched voice that sounded as if it was permanently in a state of semi hysteria.

"No", said Desmond with slow and exaggerated patience. "He's already had enough to knock a b*&*^%$$Wdy elephant out"

"Can I hit him on the head wiv me torch then?" By now it was pretty clear that this character was not the dominant figure in the relationship.

"No, Davie, you cannot hit him with your torch" said Desmond building up a head of steam." If you hit him with a torch you will leave a big dent in his bonce and that will not go down well at the circus. Apparently the sight of a monkey with a crater for a forehead upsets the kiddies".

The bespectacled one obviously didn't know when to let it go.

"What happens if he goes berserk?" ventured Davie. "I seen one of them big monkeys go berserk on T.V. once. Frightful it was. It was beatin' its chest and tearing up all the bushes around his gaff. And you know what it did then Desmond? - You won't believe this.

I could sense that Desmond was about to blow - even from my position on the back seat - but Davie was too dense to read the signs.

"It kicked its kiddie into the long grass just as if it was a rugby football. It's own kiddie Desmond".

I lay on the back seat counting. One.....two.......three.


"Yes Desmond?"

"The way things are going with you and me, I am likely to go berserk long before that monkey back there. And when I do go berserk an obsteporous simian will be the very least of your troubles, my son."

Hello, I thought, you've got a way with words haven't you. It felt strange to have even the sneakiest of sneaking admiration for one's captor but that is what it was. Quite apart from the fact that he had, just minutes ago, saved me from a fractured skull, I also felt drawn to him because, in a way, he was as out of place in this situation as I was myself. I got the feeling that he wanted to be rolling through the dark night on the way to an uncertain destination even less than I did.

After a long sullen silence Davie piped up once more. "You think I am stupid don't you?"

"Noooooooo Davie, my feelings for you go much deeper than that?"

I sensed cruelty in the air.

"Really mate?", said Davie expectantly.

"I think you are a complete and utter moron but, unfortunately, you're the wife's brother and if I get rid of you I'll be on short rations for months to come if you get my drift".

There followed a long, petulant silence and then...........



"After we ditch the monkey, can we stop for a Pizza?"

For the next while the conversation turned to pizza toppings and their various merits. It transpired that Desmond favoured pepperoni while Davie was more of a ham and pineapple man. This latter fact gave Desmond another reason to look down on the snaggle - toothed one. Apparently, amongst human beings there is a taboo about mixing pineapple with pizzas and perpetrators are treated with the same disdain that we reserve for those among our number who try to befriend those bl**dy monkeys across the river from us.

I was very soon tired of the subject of pizza toppings, I can tell you, and was just about to drop off when their idiotic conversation and my repose was abruptly cut short.

"Cossers", screamed Davie, in the manner of a hysterical schoolgirl.

"Keep yer knickers on" offered Desmond. "Put a blanket over the monkey and let me do the talking">

"Evening sir"

"Evening officer" Desmond replied, cool as a cucumber.

"We've had reports about poaching in this area. You haven't seen anything unusual, have you?"

You had to laugh.

"What's that in the back sir?" said the policeman gesticulating with a torch whose battery seemed to be on its last legs.

(Now, at this point you are probably wondering why I did not leap at the opportunity to alert this policeman to my peril. Well, no1, I was in no condition to be leaping anywhere.I had been pumped so full of tranquillisers that I could barely feel my lips let alone my legs and, point no. 2, I did not, at that stage, know what a policeman was. As far as I was concerned, the gentleman in question was just another source of human danger. )

"Oh thats just a mate of ours. He's had a bit too much to drink. We're just seeing him home" said Desmond helpfully.

"And does he usually travel in barefeet?"

Desmond leant towards the P.C. in a conspiratorial manner. "He's got this condition officer. Very rare it is. His feet swell up when he's had a skinful."

For some reason the officer accepted this and I began to wonder if he was related to Davie.

"No offence sir, but your mate, well he's no oil painting is he?"

"Naw, he's an ugly b$%^$*&d actually."

"And short too", said Davie, helpfully, for which he got a dunt from Desmond's elbow which must have broken at least two ribs.

Desmond moved quickly to rescue the situation. "Yeah, officer, that's why he drinks. Takes his mind off being short and ugly".

After that little exchange the officer couldn't wait to get back to the safety of his patrol car(the presence of madness seems to have that effect on some people) and we continued our way throught the night in silence.

So I was short and ugly was I? The silence helped me to seethe more profoundly. I was no oil painting was I?

I would soon learn the hard way that human beings think that the whole of what a person is lies on the surface and that 99% of the time its not worth looking any deeper. Would you dismiss Einstein as being merely short and ugly? How about Toulouse Lautrec? No, exactly.

We rolled on through the dark and, at that point, I swear to you, I thought it would never end!