by Dawn Knox
Previously - You’d have thought signing two dodgy contracts had taught Eddie and his chums a lesson but it appears not…
Gideon threw open the door into the Soup John Bee’s saloon.
His lower jaw dropped.
Inside, Eddie was on the floor with a bag of frozen peas over his beak, and at the table, sat Brian with his hand in a bowl of ice cream. Colin hovered nervously between them, periodically rubbing his shins.
“What on earth?” said Gideon.
“There was a punch up,” said Colin. “Brian hit Eddie on the beak. I warned him it would probably harm him more than Eddie but he did it anyway. And then, there was fight over the only bag of frozen peas. I’m glad you’re back because I’ve had enough of them. You’re big enough to bash their heads together and I suggest you do it if they start again. I’m going to my cabin to look after my cuts and bruises, since no one seems bothered about me… “
“Gentlemen,” said Gideon sternly, “I suggest you smarten yourselves up a bit. This is a very poor show. We have ladies aboard.” He stepped aside and revealed Babs and Deirdre.
Babs took in the scene for a few moments. “#ThePowerofChocolate,” she said walking to the galley. “Hot chocolate all round I think. Come on Deirdre, I need help.”
“I’m not sure,” said Deirdre slapping a paw over her mouth. “Don’t make any for me, I feel sick. I don’t even want to think about choco—" She rushed to the deck.
When Deirdre finally returned, peace had been restored. Gideon’s secret supply of rum had eased relationships and now Eddie, Brian and Colin were swaying drunkenly, singing sea shanties. Gideon and Babs were dancing.
“#HomeTime, before we #MissTheLastBus” said Deirdre.
“I inshisht you both shtay onboard tonight,” said Eddie, slithering to the floor.
“Come, ladies,” said Gideon “your cabin awaits.”
“Are you sure a cruise is a good idea, Eddie old chap?”
“Yes, it’s nothing short of a brainwave,” said Eddie, “It gives us a chance to thank Babs and Deirdre for finding Colin and Brian, even though they claim they didn’t have anything to do with it. But they must have done; it’s too far-fetched to imagine both Brian and Colin turned up at the same time without some assistance. And, it won’t be a bad thing if we’re out of harbour in case the police are still searching for Colin. We’re also running short of cash and the bunnies have offered to pay for the fuel and food. What’s not to like?”
“Well, if you say so, old thing. I suppose It’ll be exciting sailing through uncharted soup. Although I hope that young rabbit finds her soup-legs soon, she seems to be either throwing up or sleeping… and we’re still moored.”
During the following week, Deirdre spent most of her time confined to the cabin although Babs seemed unconcerned.
“She’ll be fine. The fresh air is doing her good but she can’t stand the smell of fish at the moment. #StopFussing.”
“There’s not much we can do about the aroma, I’m afraid,” said Eddie, “that’s the disadvantage of sailing across the Bouillabaisse Ocean.”
“I expect she’ll be all right in a few days,” said Babs.
“Land ahoy!” shouted Brian from the crow’s nest.
Eddie rushed to his cabin to get the telescope.
“What can you see?” Colin asked excitedly, “Is it inhabited? It might be a treasure island! There might be pirates living on it!”
“Grow up!” said Eddie, “This is real life, you know!”
“I was only saying…” said Colin sulkily.
“There’s a sign on the beach,” shouted Brian from the crow’s nest.
“What does it say, old chap?”
“Probably Keep off,” said Colin who’d turned his back and was feigning indifference.
Eddie peered through his telescope, “It says For Sale, and there’s a rat standing next to it. I wonder if he’s the owner. Look, he’s waving. Perhaps we ought to row over. We need a few supplies. Deirdre’s eaten every single carrot on board.”
“Did I hear someone mention buy?” A seagull hopped sideways along the deck railing and stopped in front of Eddie.
“Who’s asking?” said Eddie, lowering the telescope.
“I am,” said the seagull, “Waldemeyer’s the name, and I’m a business negotiator. Pleased to meet you. I’d be happy to be your agent. That island is a prime piece of land, that’s for sure. It’s got its own cheese mine and champagne springs. What d’you say?”
“Lovely I’m sure, but we were talking about the possibility of buying fresh water and a supply of carrots,” said Eddie, “we don’t want to buy an island.”
“Well, why didn’t you say?” said the seagull, “time’s money you know! And you’re wasting my time.”
“No one was asking you to do anything,” pointed out Colin.
The seagull tipped his head to one side, “I’d be happy to get you a good deal on… what was it you wanted?”
“Water and carrots.”
“Yes, that. I could throw in an offer for the island too, if you like. I know the owner.”
“We can’t afford an island,” said Eddie.
“So, there’s nothing I can do for you then?”
“Water and carrots?”
“What about them?” asked Waldemeyer.
“Never mind,” said Eddie. “We’ll row over in the tender and ask for ourselves.”
“Ask who?” said Waldemeyer.
“The owner of the island.”
“Oh, you mean… Ummm, now what’s his name? It’s on the tip of my beak, umm. Oh yes, it starts with Man…”
“Man Friday?” suggested Eddie.
“No, no…” said Waldemeyer.
“Man Overboard?” suggested Brian from the crow’s nest.
“Really? Where?” asked the seagull.
“For crying out loud,” said Colin, “what’s the name of the owner?”
“Manny Moore,” said the seagull. “And there’s no need to speak to me in that tone. If you’d simply asked, I’d have told you. Well, if there’s nothing I can do for you, I’ll be off.”
Manny Moore, a rather portly rat, met the rowing boat at the jetty.
“Welcome, friends! Here, let me give you a hand.” He helped Eddie out of the boat, “follow me lady and gents, the best place to start the tour is the beach bar.”
“That’s very kind of you,” said Eddie but we only came to see about the possibility of buying a few supplies…”
“All in good time, all in good time. Hand your list to my son, Sam, and he’ll prepare everything while you have a drink. I’m sure after all that rowing, you’ll be glad of refreshment.”
A scaled-down version of Manny appeared and took the list while his father led the group to a bar amongst the palms on the beach.
“So, what’ll you have?”
“Four beers and a ginger ale, please,” said Eddie.
“Sorry, we’re all out of beer and ginger ale. We’re moving out, see? The good lady wife and kids have already left for Macaroon. It’s just Sam and me left here to tidy up and sell the place.”
“Well, what do you have then, old chap?” asked Gideon.
“Follow me to the terrace and I’ll show you,” said Manny.
“D’you get the impression he’s showing us around anyway?” Gideon whispered about twenty minutes later.
“Definitely,” said Brian, “I don’t think we needed to go through the hotel and swimming pool area to get to the terrace. Look!” he pointed through the palms to the beach bar about fifty yards away. “That’s where we started. We could’ve just walked through there.”
“But it was nice to see the spa and golf course,” said Colin.
“Yes, they were very impressive. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to afford to buy the island?”
“I can negotiate a more favourable price if you like,” said Waldemeyer, who’d been waddling behind them.
“No point,” said Eddie. “We can barely afford to pay for the supplies.”
“You might be surprised,” said Waldemeyer.
“What is surprising,” said Eddie “is your persistence.”
Manny reappeared with a tray of empty glasses and placed them on the table.
“Champagne this way,” he said indicating a marble fountain bubbling with bubbly “and whisky here,” he said patting the tiny roof of what looked like a wishing well. “Help yourselves…”
They helped themselves.
Eddie was the first to wake up the following morning. He sat up, groaned and cradled his head in his wings. Around him the others were still fast asleep on the beach beds that were laid out neatly under the straw sun umbrellas.
“Good morning!” said Waldemeyer “Well don’t say you weren’t warned.”
“Warned? About what?”
“Oh dear! Did I forget to warn you? I did, didn’t I?”
“About what?” asked Eddie.
“I meant to warn you that Manny was desperate to sell and would stop at nothing, including getting you drunk.”
“Yes, you did forget to warn us.”
“Oh sorry, I thought I had. But it’s too late now.”
“What d’you mean? We haven’t bought anything… have we?”
“Oh yes,” said Waldemeyer “and to be honest, I could’ve got a much more favourable price.”
“No, no!” said Eddie, “Not again! Please! Tell me we just bought some supplies!”
“That contract says otherwise,” said Waldemeyer, pointing at the bar with his wing.
Eddie stood up quickly and hit his head on the beach umbrella but he barely noticed. He ran to the bar and grabbed the envelope marked Contract.
“Noooo! We can’t have done it again!” he wailed.
“You mean you bought the island before?” asked Waldemeyer.
“Don’t be ridiculous! No, we have a poor history of signing dodgy contracts and so far, it’s got us into an enormous amount of trouble.” He tore the envelope open.
His cry of “How much!” woke the others.
“Stop shrieking will you!” Brian said crossly. “I’ve got a dreadful headache.”
“You’re going to have turbo-charged seismic brain pain when you see this!” said Eddie.
“Hey!” called Colin from the sea where he was splashing his face. “Manny’s sold the island overnight, look, that For Sale sign now says Under New Ownership. I wonder who bought it.”
“Apparently, we did!” said Eddie “And here’s the contract to prove it.”
Eddie smoothed the contract out on the bar and they gathered round looking at it in horror.
“Well, it won’t do him any good,” said Brian. “Ee simply don’t have enough money, so we might have all signed the contract, but he won’t get paid.”
“You’ve already paid,” said Waldemeyer. “The lady had enough money in her purse.”
“#Ridiculous!” said Babs, opening her purse and holding it upside down over the bar, then peering into its empty depths.
“How much was in it?” asked Eddie.
“Only fifty ducats but they’ve all gone.”
“That’s what I said,” said Waldemeyer.
“No, you didn’t,” said Eddie.
“Didn’t I? Oh, it must have slipped my mind.”
“How much are we supposed to have paid for the island?” asked Babs, turning over the pages of the contract. “#Shocker, look at this! It says we paid fifty ducats and now we’re the legal owners.”
“That can’t be right,” said Eddie. “There must be small print. There’s always small print. Has anyone got a magnifying glass?”
“Well, after Deirdre and I last saw you, we got jobs as personal assistants to a firm of solicitors, handling property contracts. Let me read this document and I’ll see exactly what we’ve got ourselves into.” She suddenly put her paw to her mout., “#OhNo! I forgot all about Deirdre!”
“I expect she spent the whole time asleep,” said Brian, “or throwing up. Why don’t you text her then check out the contract? We need to know how much trouble we’re in.”
Babs sent Deirdre a text, then read and reread the contract. “It seems watertight,” she said finally.
Eddie groaned and clutched his heart. “It’s a disaster! We were just getting on our feet…”
“#DoNotPanic,” said Babs. “It’s watertight but it seems to be in our favour. According to this contract, we bought the whole island and everything on it for fifty ducats.”
“I could’ve got a better price than that if only you’d engaged me as your negotiator…” said Waldemeyer.
“But that’s ridiculous!” said Eddie, “It’s worth far more than that! Why would Manny sell it to us so cheaply?” he turned to Waldemeyer, “It’s not sinking is it?”
“Not that I know of.”
“Inhabited by a cannibal tribe?”
“Not so as you’d notice.”
“Infested by blood-sucking toads?”
“There are one or two but I wouldn’t say infested—"
“Right,” said Eddie, “there’s only one thing we can do, we’ll have to ask Manny what the catch is.”
“He’s gone,” said Waldemeyer.
“What d’you mean gone? Gone where?”
“Back to his family in Macaroon. I told you!”
“No, you didn’t!”
“Didn’t I? Oh, sorry, it must’ve slipped my mind.”
“Are you sure he’s gone?” asked Colin. “Only I didn’t notice a boat when we toured the island yesterday, other than that tiny speed boat moored at the jetty.”
“He and Sam left on that early this morning. I told you!” said Waldemeyer.
“No, you didn’t!”
“Didn’t I? Oh sorry ̶ “
“Don’t tell me, it slipped your mind,” said Eddie.
“What?” asked Waldemeyer.
“Never mind! But he’ll never get back to Macaroon on that boat. He couldn’t possibly carry enough fuel.”
“No, he’s going to board your boat and take it. I told you,” said Waldemeyer.
“But that’s piracy!” said Eddie.
“I thought you told me to grow up when I said this was a pirate island!” said Colin.
“Oh, shut up! What are we going to do? We’ll be stranded here!”
“Yes, that’s what I told him,” said Waldemeyer.
“Don’t worry,” said Babs. “Deirdre’s on board. She won’t let Manny take the boat.”
“You’re joking!” said Brian, “A sleepy rabbit’s not going to stop two determined rats, although I suppose she might vomit them into submission.”
“Oh, she won’t be vomiting now. And, you know what they say “Hell hath no fury…”?”
“But she’s not a ‘woman scorned’,” said Colin.“I know it wasn’t good manners to leave her on her own all night but she can hardly claim we scorned her.”
“Hell hath no fury like a mother whose young are threatened,” said Babs.
“I don’t see what that’s got to do with anything…” Colin paused. “Oh! You mean...?”
Babs nodded, “Now she’s given birth, she’ll be protecting her young. Manny and Sam won’t stand a chance if they try to board the Soup John Bee.”
Links to previous stories in The Macaroon Chronicles series
- The Macaroon Chronicles Prologue and the Three Wise Monkeys - http://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-macaroon-chronicles-prologue-and.html?m=0
- #ChickenInCustard - https://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/02/chickenincustard.html
- The Fine Print - https://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/02/the-fine-print.html
- French for Cheese - https://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/02/french-for-cheese.html
- Porkies and Espiggy-onage (Lies and Spies) – https://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/03/porkies-and-espiggy-onage-lies-and-spies.html
- Nearly Death by Chocolate - https://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/03/nearly-death-by-chocolate.html
- Waxing Lyrical - https://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/03/waxing-lyrical.html
- Seduced by Zeros - https://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/04/seduced-by-zeros.html
- Soup-Legs - https://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/04/soup-legs.html
- The Year’s Most Popular Christmas Toy - https://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-years-most-popular-christmas-toy.html
- Holey Night - https://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/05/holey-night.html
- Aleema - http://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/05/aleema.html
- Heading Home - http://cafelitcreativecafe.blogspot.com/2020/05/heading-home.html