• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 07

The Charge

“Please sit down, ladies. I believe Constable Perkins has offered you a cup of tea. Now, I’m afraid I need to ask you a few questions. Can you please confirm exactly where you were and what you were doing between the hours of midnight and 2.45am on the night of May the first?”

“Shall I go first, Gertrude?

“Of course. Go ahead, Muriel.”

“Well, officer, I hadn’t seen my old friend Gertrude here since before the first lockdown and as there was now a relaxation of the rules concerning gatherings, I suggested we go flenging with the splangoblegs on the river Glinge. She was absolutely thrilled at the idea, weren’t you Gertrude?”

“Absolutely thrilled, Muriel. Absolutely thrilled.”

“Well, as you may know, or indeed may not know, Inspector, splangoblegs are nocturnal beasts so naturally we were obliged to go flenging at night. These magnificent beasts are touchingly compliant and friendly and are delighted for homo sapiens to flenge on their silky coiled alabaster-white bodies for hours on end. They love to have their dashing pearl fronds tickled and sprangled as they plurt and crelge in the warm waters of the Glinge. Curiously, they do prefer that riders wear red or shades thereof. Gertrude wore a rather fetching short red skirt and a long pink scarf, didn’t you dear?”

“Yes I did, Muriel, and pink leaves of the muncrustiflorum tree fluttered from my hair.”

“That’s right, Gertrude, and I wore a long red dress that belonged to my great-aunt Gloriana, and both you and I made an attempt to dye our hair red which greatly pleased our hosts.


The Charge

Gertrude rode on her favourite splangobleg, Achnidithrump, and I perched on the tail of his sister, Brumplooperia, and we glided and spiralled till dawn. Does that satisfy your enquiry, officer?“

“No madam, alas it does not. I am obliged to inform you that under Procedural Investigation Protocol 441siieP8, I have sufficient evidence to caution you that it is in my powers to charge you with the offence.”

“Oh dear, officer, on what grounds are you proposing to charge us?”

“Sletchfurplanging, noobglasting and aggravated mulfledstumping, madam,” intoned Inspector Clump with an air of satisfaction bordering on the smug as he clipped his black biro back onto his shirt pocket next to the green, blue and red biros, looking rather like a row of small African parrots.