I'm still working on the editing---its turning into a bigger job that the actual writing---but it is on its way.
The final freebie chapter (below) takes you into the last of the three settings that I flit between throughout the whole story, but perhaps more importantly, we introduce Mrs Heppleheimer (who adorns the books cover), the octogenarian, Bavarian barm-pot who's very name and presence can turn even the sturdiest soul to liquid fear. This woman has been living in the community and stirring up devilment for over sixty years and is showing no signs of slowing down. And with her meat cleaver hands and her steel toe-capped fluffy slippers, she moves in and out of the villagers lives without threat or fear of interference.
And yet again if you've not read Chapters 1 and 2 please click here for the first chapter and here for the second, and for those of you who are completely new to my blog, and therefore have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, I've posted directly below a synopsis for the whole story.
Synopsis for the Night of the Village Idiots
How could the removal of a family painting, a childhood fear of thunder and lightning and the pub landlord's flu cause so much trouble?
Simple, add a dotty half wit Lord of the manor, place him next to his short fused and volcanic wife, refer to the butler, who is the very model of decorum and upholder the old ways, as the family pet, ignite the head cooks flatulent backside with a lightning bolt, have Mrs Heppleheimer: a crazy octogenarian Bavarian barm pot run the village pub and bring her own brain battering, soul sapping brew of the Norse Gods, get the villagers to try and get her drunk in an ill fated drinking competition which will eventually end up with the mass hypnotism of the village quoits team, while all the time have the incumbents of Hamlet Hall running around a darkened stately home that's been blacked out by the worst storms in living memory; have an old suit of armour nearly decapitate her Ladyship while she attempts to head her portly husband off in his search for a stepladder and something to remove a picture with, then add to the mix a nervous maid with a curtsying fixation and a concussed and amnesic head cook who's wondering around the house covered in fruit preserves and compotes, and you have the ingredients for a stormy night with a village full of idiots.
So sit back, choose a beverage of your choice and enjoy the first part of the Night of the Village Idiots. If you like it, keep coming back as I announce the release date and where and when you can purchase the whole story for yourself.
So without further ramblings on my behalf here we go with Chapter 3 of the Night of the village idiots:
The bar at the Cock & Bull, the village pub, was unusually busy for a Wednesday night; due in part to the inter-pub coits championship that had taken place earlier on that evening. Add to this the fact that the storm had hit a full hour before the end of the competition and no one really wanted to venture out into the violently battering winds and sheets of icy rain, so they had decided to carry on drinking until it calmed down enough to make a dash for their respective homes. But the few drinks had turned into many, the storm had not abated and the general demeanour of the villagers inside had elevated itself to the level of the pleasantly nonplussed.
Mrs Heppleheimer, who prided herself on always being able to ‘Drink der Dumkoph villagers under der table’, was on her fifth pint of Squirrels Best Bitter and Rev Batwing had just downed the third glass of his favourite tipple: Holy sparkling water and was, in his own fluffy headed opinion, feeling a little light headed.
“Don’t be so stupid,” snorted Mrs Heppleheimer “its only der vater you are drinking unt who ever heard of any von getting drunk on der vater?!” Rev Batwing looked into his glass, swirling it around like a particularly fine Merlot and replied:
“Well perhaps the bubbles are going to my head!” Mrs. Heppleheimer was about to make a comment about his head being full of bubbles anyway, when a groan came from behind the bar. She turned to look at Tom--- incomer, entrepreneur and Landlord of the Cock & Bull--- swaying like a drunk. Mrs Heppleheimer studied him with a frown.
Tom had started the week with an irritating sore throat which had progressed to a full blown fever: he could hardly stand, he ached all over and his nose felt like it was blocked with porridge. His head thumped and banged while every bone and muscle either ached mercilessly or throbbed incessantly. He looked like death warmed up, but if you asked Tom his opinion on the subject, he would've stated quite clearly that death would be an improvement on the way he was feeling night now---heated up or otherwise.
“Vy don’t you just get yourself off to bed, you look awful”
Tom groaned through pained, half closed eyes. “I can’t” he began, “just look at the place, its buzzing for the first time in ages...I can’t afford to close the bar when people are spending like this” Mrs Heppleheimer looked around at the tidily villagers who were indeed whooping it up and making merry with the local brew.
“But you can hardly stand up” she argued
“Perhaps he’s had too much Holy sparkling water, like me...it does go to one’s head you know” interjected Rev Batwing: swirling the contents of his glass while singularly failing to notice the looks of agitation Mrs Heppleheimer was throwing at him.
“You don’t need to close der bar down, I vill look after it” she continued. Tom looked up in abject horror.
“You?!” he said with a strange mix of rhetorical finality “You want me to hand over the bar to you?!”
Mrs Heppleheimer smiled inwardly. She knew there existed--- between herself and Tom--- a state of war in the battle of wits department, and she was willing to grudgingly admit that he’d proven a tougher mental nut to crack than all the other villagers put together---not that that was necessarily something to put on your CV with pride--- the competition was thin at best and downright mentally unstable at worst. She and Tom had had many a psychological tussle and out of the whole village she considered him her mental nemesis; but what is probably more important here was the fact that she did not consider him her mental equal. So instead of rising to his defamatory bait she feigned hurt and hoped his flu weakened brain would be more susceptible to her deviously twisted Bavarian mind.
“Am am cut to ze qvick, Tom. You hurt me, I only meant to help you out in your hour of need” Tom looked at her. But even through the hazy fog of flu he could still see she was up to something.
“Huh!” he said with a shudder that sent pain shooting to his brain “in a pigs eye you do, you just want to get behind the bar and do something I’ll wake up to and regret”
“Vot could I possibly do zat you vould regret?” she implored with such energy and pathos that she started to believe what she was saying herself.
But, if truth be told, whenever Mrs Heppleheimer offered her aid on the grounds of altruism, you would be well advised to produce a note from your mother, or some such authority figure, excusing you from any form of Bavarian based activities. And Tom knew this. But his mind was being weakened by the constant shooting pains and the drugs he was taking were softening the edges of his perception. He began slowly to see the logic behind having someone run the bar---just for one night---and what, in actual fact, could she do in one, solitary, single night. The constant aching dulled his senses to the reality of having a Heppleheimer behind the bar, and the fugginess that surrounded his mind started to turn him around to the thought.
He could go to bed, he reasoned, and allow sleep to envelop him, and have his body fight the infection. He imagined himself pulling the warm blankets of his large soft bed over his shivering, aching body as he fell into the arms of Somnia herself, allowing his fevered brow to be mopped by the healing hands of Apollo. The images were appealing and Tom was on the verge of acquiescing when reason thundered back, slapping at the hands of Apollo and wrenching him from the caring arms of Somnia. Visions of what this Germanic menace was capable of flared up like a wall of pain and Tom’s brow ached to the mental struggle that raged inside his sick head.
His pain drenched reverie was broken by a voice calling from the precipice of his reality; he turned to see one of the farmers waggling an empty bottle, announcing his impending desire for a replacement. Tom looked to the fridge and saw that his stock of that particular product had run out. He announced that he needed to go down to the cellar and bring up more bottles to replenish his stock. He bent over, lifted the trapdoor that led to the cellar, placed his left foot over the gap, totally misjudged the first step and bumped, crashed and cart-wheeled his way down the cellar steps and only stopped rolling when he arrived at a wall of neatly stacked and empty barrels. The barrels scattered on impact and rained all around him like a storm of aluminium.
Tom groaned as he tried to raise himself, but the fever induced pain raged around his body with renewed vigour at the outrage of all that uncalled for and unnecessary aluminium. He groaned with self pity and was faintly aware of the sounds of footsteps scrambling down the stairs to his aid. As the bodies that huddled around him blurred into amorphous shapes, Tom finally gave into his fever and blacked out.
When he awoke he was in his big comfortable bed with the concerned eyes of Rev Batwing looking down at him.
“Are you all right, old chap?” he asked with a genuine openness. Tom groaned. He tried to sit up but Rev Batwing held him with a strength that belied his floppy, weak persona.
“I suggest you stay there, you've had quite a fall. I said we should call the doctor but then someone reminded me that he had already passed out behind the fruit machine. And anyway, you didn't bang your head too badly so concussion isn't an immediate concern: do you hurt anywhere else?”
Tom looked dubiously at the Rev Batwing, wondering how he could possibly be sure that he was safe from the effects of concussion. But as he looked up at the half closed and simplistic expression of the village vicar, he realised that if anyone knew about the condition of concussion it would be him; especially seeing as he appeared to be in a near constant state of it himself.
Tom checked his body, but beside the pains of flu, he was unhurt, so he shook his head; too tired to even talk. Rev Batwing smiled angelically down at him and Tom thought he saw a halo fringe the tufts of frizzy grey hair that shot out from behind his ears like volcanic explosions.
“Take these tablets and try and get some sleep, there’s a good chap”
“But what about my pub?” Tom said in a last ditch attempt at consciousness. But Rev Batwing was having none of it. He gave him the tablets, made him swallow them and smiled that halo enriched smile, assuring him that all would be well. Tom lay back onto his soft pillows and felt them ease his pain; the coolness of the fresh linen acting as a cold compress on his hot skin. Rain beat relentlessly against his windows but the rhythm seemed only to sooth him. He closed his eyes and blissful release began to envelop his senses and the last words he heard before falling into the white fluffy clouds of sleep were: “...Mrs Heppleheimer’s got it all under control, old chap”
And then he was out.
Well there you go. Chapter 3 is completed. Only another 22 to go--- and a lot of those are so much longer than the ones you've just read. So keep coming back and I'll keep you updated as to when, where and what is happening in the village of Sleepy Hamlet.
Also, next week, around this time, I'll be showing you my newest project which is a collaboration with a friend called 101 uses for a dead mother-in-law. As the title states, this is not a children's book but an adult cartoon one. This time I illustrate someone else's worrying thoughts and dark desires. Anyway, it all looks fun and I will, of course, just like Ryan's Dinosaur Dreams, be posting some examples of the artwork that you can expect to see through the pages.
So until Friday, and the next instalment of Brabbles & Boggitt, have a nice day (ish)
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