Lord Rochdale and the Station Hop Robbery (a short story)

It is my understanding that a train is a sort of stubborn bus. I’ve never seen one myself. I stood on a station once and waited to see one, to see what all the fuss was about, but was sadly distracted by a pair of mating pigeons. I heard it go by and turned quickly to catch a glimpse but by the time I realised I had turned the wrong way, the blasted thing had disappeared.

You’re probably wondering why I’m going on about this, and who the bloody hell I am anyway? And rightly so. You should know these things. They’re important to a story. My name is Charlie. I’m a dashing sort of chap, about so high, with a passion for ornithology. So, now the formalities are out of the way, let’s get to the nub –

A friend of mine, Lord Rochdale (a dastardly sort of bloke, you wouldn’t like him), called me on the phone and asked me if I would like to help him burgle one (a train I mean, not a phone). I told him they are probably hard to steal seeing as they tend to be fixed to the tracks but I’m free next Thursday afternoon so why not. Not much else to do on a Thursday.

Jump forwards a few days and there we are; Thursday. Time to do some burglary. I arrived at the small train station just outside of Kent as agreed. I was wearing my trilby hat and trench coat, as is sensible in this weather, and there at the far end of the platform was my cohort and accomplice, Rochdale. He was staring at me.

“What are they thinking!” he shouted.

“Who?” I replied.

“The Gods!”

“I imagine they are trying to help us in any way they can.” I said, having arrived next to him. The oncoming sound of a train was already present.

“I am uncomfortable and miserable. Had I known it was going to pour down I might have cancelled.”

“It’s not too late.”

“Bugger it. We’re stealing that damn painting if it’s the last thing we do.”

“I thought we were stealing a train.”

He looked at me like a wizard looks at a clown. “Steal the train? How do you propose we do that?”

I shrugged. “Jimmy it?”

“It’s not a Fiat Panda, Charlie, it’s a bloody locomotive. You can’t just “jimmy it”.”

“Right. No, of course. What painting?”

“On that train is a young man named Percy Witherbrick. Have you heard of him?” I shook my head, “He’s a cousin on my mother’s side. He has in his possession a painting by Gainsborough, I’m assuming you’ve heard of Gainsborough?”

“Paints faces?”

“Yes. Sort of. Portraits. Percy’s father passed recently and they found one in his attic along with a whole bunch of other paintings, mostly worthless. Witherbrick is on his way to get it authenticated. At this moment in time that painting doesn’t exist. If he gets to his destination they will register it. Real or not. This is our only chance to get our hands on something worth millions that nobody yet knows about.”

“Who is the painting of?”

“Percy’s grandmother.”

There was a hiss and the train stopped in front of us. “Alright, you go in front of me. I’m going to duck behind you so he doesn’t recognise my face.”

“Right ho. This way then is it?”

“Just keep walking. He’ll be in first class. Next carriage along.”

The interior of the train was dull, lifeless, rusty, clattering. The seats were faded blue and full of street urchins and criminals (one suspects. I tried not to look at them.)

We bustled down the aisle and made it to the entrance of the first class carriage. Rochdale peered over my shoulder. His moustache tickled my ear.

“There he is. Four rows down facing us. Do you see him?”

“The man with the goatee beard and cardboard tube?”

“The very same.”

“What’s the plan?”

“We’ll casually walk down the aisle, me hiding behind you, and when we get close enough I’ll reach round and punch him in the face. Got it?”

“It’s a very sophisticated plan.”

“It’s not at all sophisticated. Let’s get on with it.”

We snuck carefully down the carriage and stopped in front of Percy. He looked up and smiled at me. I smiled back. Rochdale walloped him squarely the face. It was quite something. His head went back, his eyes closed, and he started snoring. I gently took the tube out of his limp hands and we backed back out of the carriage. People witnessed the event but didn’t make much of it. They were upper middle class people, it’s not easy to shock upper middle class people.

We ran back through the urchin carriage to the doors just as we pulled up at the next station. We jumped out and ran for the street. There was a car waiting for us on the road, prearranged by the criminal genius that is Rochdale.

We bundled in. Rochdale slapped me on the back. “Good show old boy!” he shouted. “Perry, step on it!” (Perry is the name of the driver.)

He did step on it and we hurtled down the road and away from the scene of our crime.

“Champagne Charleston?”

“It would be rude not to,” I said.

Rochdale cracked open the champers and filled two glasses. We chin-chinned and downed the contents.

“Shall we have a look?” said Rochdale.

“I think we must,” I said.

Rochdale put his glass down (which immediately fell over and wetted our shoes due to the nature of Perry’s fervent driving) and carefully removed the white cap. Inside was a rolled up canvas. Rochdale withdrew the painting. He unrolled it. We stared.

“What the fu-“ (I’m sorry for his language, I won’t include it in the story. That sort of thing just won’t do.)

“Well it’s certainly not a Gainsborough,” I said.

His shoulders sagged and his fists clenched the canvas, tearing it slightly. “You think?”

“I think it’s quite obvious.”

“Perry! Stop the car.”

The car stopped.

Rochdale got out and closed the door. And then he reacted. I’ve been looking through my dictionary to find the right would to describe his reaction. Tempestuous doesn’t quite cut it. Impassioned maybe? He let the painting fall to the ground and screamed at it. I can’t repeat all of his words here but there was something about Percy watching too much Art Attack. It all ended with him tearing off his clothes and throwing his shoes at a passing cat. He then chased the poor feline, half naked and screaming, down the street, leaving me alone in the car.

I looked out of the window at the torn and soaked painting on the floor. It was a Jackson Pollock. Pity really.

The Last Days of Flat L, Percy Road (short story)

Last Days CoverThere’s no point in questioning it anymore. Life has got weird, that’s all there is to it. I’m trapped in my flat. I blame Amazon. That damn website. You can buy anything on there. I bought a lock picking kit and I’ve been practising. Now I’m fucked.

What am I supposed to do, phone the estate agent and ask them to free me? What will I say? “I’ve broke into the flat just to see if I could and now I’ve fucked the lock. I can’t open it from the inside.” No. That won’t do. Time will fix things. Time always does. I should have practised sober. There’s always the window if things get desperate. I’m three floors up, in the loft, but I dropped my phone out of the window last week when I was smoking and that survived. If it comes to it I will jump. The phone doesn’t work now, sadly. Soon after the window incident I dropped it in the toilet and it had a fit and died. A lesson learned. I won’t try and escape through the toilet. God damn the world-wide abandonment of house phones! This could be sorted out with one call to my brother.

What would you do? I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m stuck here forever. I heard about a guy who got lost at sea for six months and he survived. I can survive here. If it comes to it I’ll eat the furniture. Maybe I’ll eat the Chinchilla. Luckily my hobby is writing. If my hobby was cycling I’d be screwed. I’d just have to sit here moping around, crying intermittently, and dreaming of the freedom of the bicycle. So this is it. Stuck forever with a cupboard full of dry pasta and a globe shaped bar full of liquor.

In a way it’s freeing. The idea of forced solitude can be daunting. But a writer is used to such things. It’s exciting for us. It gives us a chance to finally snub the procrastination that the outside world brings. If I was the sort of person that held any kind of respect for bills I would still have the internet. Then at least I could watch porn. And videos of goats screaming like men. Have you seen those videos? Goats and sheep. They are heaven and hell. Sheep are like living clouds and goats scream like the souls of tortured men are trapped within them.

Shit. I really am screwed. If it wasn’t for the fact I have a history of havoc I would bang on my front door and shout and wail until one of my neighbours hears me. But those bridges are smouldering at the bottom of a social canyon. If those bastards knew I was stuck in here they would evacuate the building and burn it to the ground. Finally they would be rid of that lunatic that lives in the attic, making their lives hell with his weird antics.

I should have never destroyed my TV. But the fucker had it coming. Have you watched the BBC recently? I rest my case. The Famous Grouse had convinced me that the 52 inches of high definition garbage that spews from the screen was destined for the grave. I had forgotten the fearsome looking gun I keep in my underwear draw was only a starter pistol. It only fires blanks. I stood just a foot away from the screen and blasted it three times but the fucker carried on unaffected by my onslaught. I chucked the gun into the bathroom and it smashed a corner off the sink. Yeah, the bathroom is in throwing distance of the lounge, that’s the kind of place I live in.

I lit a cigarette and paced around in front of my couch. Glaring at the incessant nonsense dancing around the screen trying to think how TVs are normally sent to the grave. How do you kill these things? What would Sarah Connor do? I picked up the TV and dragged it away from the stand. The wires held on momentarily but gave way to my frantic pull. But the fucker wasn’t going to die easily. It whipped up its plug and pulled my record player off its stand with it. It hit the ground and a bootleg Bob Dylan record came down with it and smashed to pieces.

So here I stand. Surrounded by smashed vinyl with only the TV to blame. Will it not stop until all art has been destroyed?

Now the TV is really going to get it. I decide to drown the fucker. I put the TV in the bath and piss on it. I turn on the taps and return to the couch. The wall where the TV used to be seems weirdly vacant. I stare at it. I top up my glass with whisky and roll a cigarette. Shit. How long have I been trapped here? An hour? And things have already gone to shit. There must be a better way.

I figure I better sleep on it. Tomorrow will bring a solution and hopefully sanity.

***

I wake up on the couch. I think I was crying in my sleep. My feet are wet. Nothing brings you to action like waking up with your feet in water. I’m three floors up and my shoes are floating across the lounge. Is this it? Has the world finally ended? I spring from the couch and look out of the window. The street below is dry. Just me then. The Gods have decided my time has come. Bring on the flood.

By the time I realise this isn’t God’s wrath but the revenge of a TV in a wet grave, it’s too late for preventative action. I run through the flat to the bathroom, the bottom of my dressing gown rippling through the lake as I go. I turn off the taps and pull out the plug. Then things really start going bad. The floor starts making a creaking sound. On the street outside the sound of many sirens can be heard screeching to a halt in front of the house. I edge backwards out of the bathroom just as the floor gives way and I watch the bath, full of TV and water, vanish into the flat below. The house shakes with the impact. Now someone is banging on my door.

“Are you alright in there? You need to get out of the house, the ceilings are falling in. What have you done?”

The water is rushing past my feet into the hole where the bath used to be. I quietly walk back into the lounge and considered my options. I open a bottle of whisky and drink a few swigs. Then there is a new sound. Metal on glass. I look over at the window. A ladder has been placed against it. I run over and pull the blind down. A few minutes later someone is knocking.

“Sir, you need to open the window.”

I keep quiet.

The window is smashed inwards and a man in a fireman’s helmet starts climbing in to my flat.

“What do you want from me?!” I shout, frantically searching for my gun.

“Sir, calm down. You need to come with me.”

I run to the bathroom remembering I chucked the gun in there and find it balancing on the edge of the hole. I pick it up. In the flat below an old woman is staring up at me giving me the finger. Bitch. I run back in the lounge and aim at the man. I fire.

“Christ! What the hell are you doing?” shouts the man, covering his head.

“Protecting myself!”

“I’m a fucking fireman! I’m trying to help you.”

I drop the gun and run for the front door. Maybe the lock has fixed itself? I hear his footsteps running up behind me and before I have time to escape I’m slammed into the door and wrestled to the ground.

***

The cells in the local police station smell like hamster cages. God damn my bad luck. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for Amazon. I’ll be writing a letter of complaint.

The end.

Bird (Short Story of the Weird Variety)

When I started writing me and a friend, Danny, used to text each other three words and then we would have to write a short story about those things. For instance, one text said, “Goat, money, burgers.” Another one said, “My son, a sausage, 99 encyclopaedias.” We would have one day to write each story and would generally spend about an hour writing them. The above suggestions became a story about a giant magic goat that loved burgers and had the ability to travel in time, and the other was about a baby detective investigating a sausage related murder, the solving of which hung on a single misspelling in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

They were funny, short, ridiculous stories that were never meant to be read by anyone except for us. They are kept in a secret file called, “Do Not Share”. They were writing exercises, and that was all.

However, seeing as I am beyond shame, I have decided to share one of these stories with you. Sadly, I can’t remember what the three words were (we wrote these stories several years ago). I came across it by accident recently and it made me laugh. The story is called…

Bird

‘Hey, man, you sure these are safe?’ Smirf held the bag up to eye level, ‘They look kinda wild. Know what I mean? Buzz? Buzz!? You know what I mean?’

Smirf looked over at Buzz.  They were sitting opposite each other outside a café. Buzz’s eyes had gone red and his skin looked greyer than normal. A stalk was hanging out of his mouth. He blinked slowly and opened his mouth, ‘Muh.’

Smirf turned his attention back to the bag of mushrooms, ‘Where did you say you got these?’

Buzz opened his mouth again, ‘Summ uh.’

One of Buzz’s eyes closed and the other widened and a weird little grin crept over his face.  Smirf stared at him for a while.

‘If you got these from Spaceman Dave I’m going to kill you.’

Buzz sagged in his chair and his head fell forward and landed on the table. He laughed lazily at himself. Smirf opened the bag and took out a mushroom. He squashed it up in his hand and stirred it into his coffee.

‘When will I learn?’ he said, and looked over at Buzz again who twitched and chuckled to himself. Smirf sighed and drank his coffee.

Inanimate objects began to pop and change colour around him. A waitress turned into a fish and swam into the sky humming a beautiful tune. He looked at Buzz. Bubbles were rising from his body. The table blew away like a handkerchief and the ground turned purple. He looked at his arms and they stretched out in front of him like oil on water. Everything drifted away and went dark. Smirf sank backwards and fell gently into a dark abyss. He looked down at his body. His legs slowly faded away followed by his arms and then his torso. Finally his head faded and all that was left was his consciousness falling silently through the soft darkness.

He landed hard on a large cylindrical slab of stone.

‘Owe! What the fuck!’ he said.

Buzz was standing over him, ‘Hey man,’ said Buzz, ‘What’s going on?’

Smirf rubbed his head and stood up. He looked around him. It was just them; Smirf and Buzz standing on a circular concrete slab in the middle of an endless void of darkness.

‘How the hell should I know!’ said Smirf.

‘Weird huh?’

‘Yes, Buzz, it’s weird. Of course it’s weird! It’s always weird when I’m with you!’

‘Yeh.’

Smirf looked around, ‘It’s just darkness. Everywhere. Darkness.’

‘Not everywhere,’ said Buzz.

‘Where isn’t it dark?’

Buzz pointed upwards and Smirf looked. High above them was a bird the size of a planet. Its eyes were as big as continents and as deep as oceans. Its wings stretched across space and vanished into the distance. The tip of its mountain-sized beak hung just a few hundred yards above them. The giant bird tilted its head and looked at the two men.

‘Right,’ said Smirf, ‘I didn’t notice that.’

‘Big isn’t it,’ observed Buzz.

Smirf looked at Buzz who was craning his neck up at the bird with his hands on his hips.

‘Yes, it’s quite big.’

Smirf and Buzz stared at the bird for a while and the giant bird stared back.

‘What do you think we should do?’ said Buzz.

‘Not sure, our options are fairly slim aren’t they.’

‘We could jump off,’ suggested Buzz.

‘No.’

‘I think we’re bird food,’ said Buzz.

The giant bird lowered its head so the top of its beak was level with Smirf and Buzz. It then continued to observe them.

‘Hmm,’ said Smirf.

‘I dare you to jump on to its beak,’ said Buzz.

‘No,’ said Smirf, ignoring him, ‘Hello Bird!’ he shouted.

The bird looked surprised and seemed to think for a moment. It opened its mouth a bit, as if it was about to say something, thought against it, and then closed it again. Buzz and Smirf looked at each other.

‘I think he can understand us,’ said Smirf.

‘Hello bird!!’ shouted Buzz.

This time the bird pulled its head back and looked dumbstruck. Slowly the bird got its nerves back and lowered its head to peer at the two men again.

‘Hello?’ said the bird, hesitantly.

‘Hello!’ shouted Smirf and Buzz simultaneously.

The bird panicked and ducked its head bellow the concrete pillar in an extraordinary attempt to hide itself.

‘I think it’s scared of us,’ said Smirf.

The bird slowly edged its head back up and looked at the two men. It felt quite out of sorts. He’d never seen, well, anything before. Just him, the darkness, and the cement pillar.

‘Hello,’ whispered the bird, and then moved its head away in case anything strange happened.

‘Hello,’ said Smirf, politely.

‘You speak bird,’ said the bird.

‘No,’ said Smirf, ‘you speak English.’

‘Right,’ said the bird, and then thought for a bit, ‘I’ve gone mad haven’t I?’

‘Not really sure,’ said Smirf, ‘Possibly.’

‘Are you going to eat me?’ asked the bird.

‘No,’ said Smirf, ‘You’re the size of a planet.’

‘Am I? What’s a planet?’ asked the bird.

‘It’s a big round thing,’ said Buzz.

‘Oh,’ said the bird, ‘But I’m bird shaped.’ The bird’s deep but kind voice surrounded them with its volume.

‘Indeed you are,’ said Smirf, ‘Listen, we’re a bit confused. You’re a massive talking bird and we’re not used to that kind of thing.’

‘And you are a small terrifying pink thing with no wings. And you can speak! Don’t you find that strange?’ asked the bird.

‘It’s never really occurred to me,’ said Smirf.

‘Birds don’t talk where we come from. Just people,’ said Buzz.

‘I see,’ said the bird, ‘And where do you come from?’

‘A planet called Earth,’ said Smirf.

‘Oh. And how did you get here?’ asked the bird.

‘I’m afraid I don’t know. We ate some mushrooms and now we’re here. This doesn’t normally happen but I’m afraid, the fact that this is happening while we are under the influence of mushrooms, may mean that you don’t actually exist,’ said Smirf.

The bird contemplated the ramifications of this idea and then said, ‘Mushrooms you say?’

‘Yes,’ said Buzz.

‘Sounds unlikely.’ said the bird, ‘so you’re trying to tell me that you live on a large round thing, you ate some mushrooms, and now you are here and you can talk?’

‘Yes,’ said Smirf.

‘Tell me,’ said the bird, ‘Are their many types of bird where you come from?’

‘Yes, hundreds,’ said Smirf.

‘Just as I thought. And how many long talking pink things are there?’

‘Just us,’ said Smirf, suddenly unsure of himself.

The bird seemed to have been expecting this answer. ‘I think I have some bad news,’ said the bird.

‘What’s that?’ said Smirf.

‘I think I have gone mad.’

‘I’m sorry to hear that,’ said Smirf.

‘I suspect you are, it does after all mean that you aren’t real,’ said the bird.

‘I think I need to sit down,’ said Buzz, sitting down.

‘Ok,’ said the bird.

Smirf thought for a moment, ‘No, I think we’re real. It’s definitely you who is not.’

‘No,’ said the bird, ‘I remember being here before you got here. I’ve been around forever.’

‘But I also remember being around before I got here,’ said Smirf.

‘How long?’ asked the bird.

‘How long what?’ asked Smirf.

‘How long have you been around?’

‘20 years,’ said Smirf.

‘Pah! That’s nothing,’ said the bird, ‘I am infinite in time. I have always been around.’

‘Well, we’re definitely real,’ said Smirf.

‘What if we aren’t?’ said Buzz, who was now lying down.

‘If I have gone mad,’ began the bird, ‘It is very possible that I invented a whole reality for you. My subconscious has had billions of years to construct a million different realities. I don’t know whether it has. It makes sense that it must have being doing something with its time. All I’ve been doing is looking out at everything.’

Smirf thought about this while Buzz put his fingers in his ears and started humming. ‘How about last week when I found a piece of paper on the floor thinking it was money only to find out when I got home that it was just a used piece of toilet paper. Did your subconscious invent that?’ asked Smirf.

‘That depends,’ said the bird, ‘If you are a figment of my imagination then yes. If you are not, then no.’

Buzz started to hum louder.

‘How can we find out? And if it turns out we are a figment of your imagination what does that mean for us?’ asked Smirf.

‘Give me a minute,’ said the bird, and then the bird looked away. Its eyes dimmed and the bird became vacantly still.

Buzz took his fingers out of his ears and stopped humming, ‘Have you killed him?’ he asked.

‘No, I think he’s gone off to talk to his subconscious,’ said Smirf.

The enormity of the bird hung above them. Its size incomprehensible; each feather the size of a yacht, and talons so big they could easily hook around The Moon. It was a hell of a hallucination if it was one.

‘Right!’ said the bird, suddenly alive again, ‘I have some good news and I have some bad news.’ Buzz and Smirf stood next to each other looking up at the monstrous bird like two children in front of a judge. ‘The good news is that you are real.’

Smirf and Buzz cheered. And then stopped, ‘So what’s the bad news?’ asked Buzz.

‘You are a figment of my imagination,’ said the bird.

‘That doesn’t make sense,’ said Smirf.

‘No, not at first,’ said the bird.

They waited for a moment.

‘It still doesn’t make sense. Will you elaborate?’ asked Smirf.

The bird lowered its head apologetically, ‘Ok, but promise you won’t be mad at me,’ said the bird, ‘I didn’t know what my subconscious was up to.’

‘Ok. I promise I won’t be mad,’ said Smirf.

The bird looked at Buzz.

‘Oh, I promise too,’ said Buzz.

The enormous bird took a breath and then tried to explain, ‘My subconscious has been getting bored recently. Well, I say recently, it’s been the last couple of billion years. Playing little pranks on me here and there, silly stuff, you know; making me bite my tongue when I’m sleeping, that kind of thing; creating a star and making it supernova in front of me. That made me jump! You know, silly stuff like that.’

Smirf and Buzz looked at each other, ‘created a star,’ mouthed Buzz.

The bird continued, ‘He’s been quiet for a few millennia now. I knew he was plotting something.’

‘So what’s he been plotting?’ asked Buzz, with a tinge of worry in his voice.

‘He decided to make me think I’d gone mad,’ said the bird.

‘What did he do?’ asked Smirf.

If the bird had cheeks he would have blushed, ‘He created an entire universe, with planets and stars and allsorts. And, err, talking pink things with fingers.’

Buzz looked at his hands.

‘The problem was, you existed in a different reality so he brought you two here partly to prove to himself that he had done it, and partly to freak me out. We just had a chat about it and he said he was going to keep you here and never tell me what you were so I really would think I’m mad, but then he said he was so proud of what he had created he decided he’d rather boast about it instead. I’ve never invented anything,’ said the bird glumly.

‘You and your subconscious are one and the same,’ Smirf pointed out, quite profoundly.

‘Not in a head this big,’ chuckled the bird.

Buzz nodded like he knew what the bird meant.

‘So now what do we do?’ asked Smirf.

The bird thought for a moment, ‘I suppose you can go home if you like?’

‘We can! I thought we were stuck here!’ shouted Buzz excitedly.

‘No, you can go, but please do come back, I get terribly bored,’ said the bird, with its deep voice falling around them.

‘Ok. How?’ asked Buzz.

‘Oh, good question, hold on.’

The bird went vacant for a moment and then came back, ‘Take this,’ it said plucking a small feather from its chest using its beak. It dropped the slightly larger than average feather at their feet and Smirf and Buzz picked it up, ‘just use it to stir your tea and have a sip. You’ll be back here in a jiffy,’ said the bird.

‘Cool,’ said Buzz, examining the feather. It was the size of a lance and they struggled to hold it. He wondered how easy it would be to stir tea with it.

‘Cheerio then,’ said the bird, ‘Sorry you’re not real.’

‘That’s ok,’ said Smirf.

‘No worries,’ said Buzz.

The giant bird ruffled its feathers and the two men vanished. The platform and the bird were alone again.

‘I miss them already,’ said the bird.

Smirf and Buzz suddenly woke up. It was getting dark but they were still sitting at the café table. A waitress was clearing up around them.

‘Oh good, you’re awake,’ she said, ‘I’ve been trying to wake you for ages. We’re closing now.’

Smirf looked around slightly confused, ‘Ok,’ he said, ‘Buzz, wake up.’

Buzz stirred, ‘Hmm?’

‘Come on, let’s go,’ said Smirf, struggling to stand up, ‘How long have we been asleep?’

‘About six hours,’ said the waitress, ‘Like I said, I couldn’t wake you.’

Buzz managed to get to his feet and started walking off.

‘Hold on!’ shouted Smirf, and caught up with him.

‘Weird trip dude,’ said Buzz.

‘Me too, man.’

‘Damn bird,’ said Buzz.

‘Yeah. What? A bird?’ said Smirf, stopping in the street.

Buzz stopped as well, ‘Yeah, there was a massive fucking bird.’ Smirf stared at him. ‘Are you ok?’ asked Buzz.

‘Did the bird say that we weren’t real?’ asked Smirf.

Buzz looked blank for a while, ‘Yeah.’

‘Was he the size of a planet?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Did you sit down and stick your fingers in your ears and hum so you didn’t have to hear what he was saying?’

Buzz’s mouth lulled, ‘Uh huh.’

‘Oh,’ said Smirf.

They stared at each other for a bit and then started searching frantically for the feather. They couldn’t find it. They looked back at the table they were sat at, and there, under the table, was a slightly larger than average, feather.

The End