In Competition No. 2979 you were invited to supply your contribution to a series of parodies of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories that have just been published which re--imagine the five as adults — or to give another children’s classic the same treatment.
Everyone loves a spoof, it seems, to judge by the phenomenal success of the chart--topping Ladybird Books for Grown Ups. And never one to ignore the siren call of the literary bandwagon, I thought I’d invite you to have a go.
On the whole, the standard was high. A.R. Duncan-Jones, Bill Greenwell, Toni Hinckley and Anne du Croz shone and deserve honourable mentions. The winners, printed below, are rewarded with £30 each, except Chris O’Carroll who pockets £35.
Mr Nosey was Britain’s cleverest spy. Being so nosey made him good at ferreting out enemy secrets. Little Miss Bossy, head of MI6, was always sending him to exotic locations around the world to stick his nose into big, important secrets.
He opened Little Miss Bossy’s door and stepped into her outer office. Her two secretaries, the Little Miss Twins, looked up from their keyboards and gave him matching swoony looks. They tittered as usual when he greeted them, ‘Miss Money. Miss Penny.’
‘Have a seat, Nosey.’ The chief gestured toward a chair as he entered her inner sanctum. ‘Someone’s been sticking their nose into our secrets,’ she informed him solemnly. ‘MI5 have got hold of the idea that it might be you. I’m afraid you’re in for a session with their top interrogator.’ A hidden door behind her slid open to reveal the terrifying orange form of Mr Tickle.
‘I don’t want to hear nuffink about your problems!’ William was shouting into the phone. ‘Pay up or I’ll turn it over to Ginger. ’e ain’t broken a leg for two weeks and ’e’s getting impatient.’
Robert winced at his brother’s mockney. As if major drug distributors should talk like screen gangsters. Though even as a kid William had acted the prole. Robert winked at Violet Elizabeth, who rolled her eyes. She was a true sophisticate, matching the glamour of the corporate setting. Brainy, too. Her mediation had settled the wasteful turf war with Hubert Lane. She didn’t do men, but she kept loopy Ethel satisfied.
William ended the call with a curse and said, ‘I dunno, I don’t fink we scare them any more.’
‘For heaven’s sake, William!’ Violet Elizabeth upbraided him. ‘You know perfectly well we’re making a fortune from the NHS. Chill out. Give them time.’
Peter continued to assemble the flatpack wardrobe as his civil partner, Tumnus, dressed as ever in baggy trousers, trainers and a beret, opened the door to Lucy and her girlfriend.
‘Come in, Lucy. It’s nearly done. The back bit is missing, of course, so you can get through.’
‘I’ve just been to see Susan in the secure unit. They still think she’s potty, going on about Narnia.’
‘Lying low, since he sold that Yank dentist the licence to shoot Aslan.’
‘Right. You know what to do. Get them both.’
Lucy and her companion disappeared through the wardrobe, returning what seemed like immediately with the two struggling beavers.
‘Great. That’s two grand from the rewilding lot up in Scotland.’
‘But we’re talking animals,’ said Mr Beaver. ‘You’ll never get away with it.’
‘And we’re talking Scotland, ducky. They’re always so pissed they talk to walls, so animals won’t worry them.’
Sometimes Moomintroll wished he’d never left the Moominhouse, let alone joined the police. But Moominmamma had insisted. She was a great believer in self-reliance. He still missed her cooking, though. And inevitably being a cop had cost him friends: Sniff and Little My, for example. Unhappily, they thought of the police as not respecting the Scandinavian democratic ideal. But the great compensation for him was that Snorkmaiden had also joined the force, and now, joy of joys, they were both in Homicide working together on a case.
She was still a touch away with the fairies, or tuned in to her own personal wavelength — somewhere on the autistic spectrum, perhaps. But that never affected his feelings for her. Besides, her knowledge ran surprisingly deep. She had without hesitation named a duodenum, a kidney and a few centimetres of uncircumcised penis among the decomposing body parts they were examining.
‘Cripes, this is trickier than I’d anticipated,’ said Anne as another door slammed in her face. ‘Exactly what part of Islington is this again, Julian?’
‘Er, Doncaster,’ he replied, perusing the map.
‘Chin up,’ enthused George. ‘It’s a one-off.’
‘You said that the last time,’ sighed Anne.
‘And the time before,’ chimed Dick, who’d now tired of what they’d mistakenly presumed would be a jolly trip to the heartlands.
‘There must be some voters inspired by friend Jeremy and his exciting plans for 2020!’ enthused George some more.
‘Oh, give it a rest,’ groaned Julian.
‘Why did you come, anyway?’ Anne snapped.
‘I’ve never been up north,’ he replied. ‘I wanted to see what they look like.’
‘At this rate, 2020’s going to be a landslide,’ groaned Anne.
‘Super!’ enthused George again, suddenly adding, ‘Isn’t it?’
‘Oh George,’ sneered Dick. ‘You’re new to Jeremy’s Labour, aren’t you?’
No. 2982: Sea sick
You are invited to recast John Masefield’s ‘Sea Fever’ in light of the news that the poet suffered from acute sea sickness. Please email entries of 12 lines to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on 18 January.