Wednesday 1 July 2020

Strike Negotiations

by Dawn Knox

a calming cup of chamomile tea

Previously: Eddie has discovered the soup around the island is shark-infested and the golf course is under the management of a mole but now, he finds out there are much needed members of staff on the other side of the island. Is he the right chicken to persuade them back?

Babs finished writing in her incident book.
With a Grade One First Aid badge, she was the most medically qualified of the team. She re-read her entries:
  • Staunched Gideon’s snout bleed and applied an ice pack to left eye.
  • Removed dart from Brian’s shoulder, cleaned the puncture wound with antiseptic. Applied an ice pack to Brian’s right eye.
  • Strapped suspected sprain of Colin’s right ankle with an elastic bandage. Applied pack of frozen peas to left and right eyes (No ice packs left).
  • Inspected Eddie’s bruised beak. Slight dent but no sign of breakage. Applied pack of frozen peas. Administered analgesic for headache brought about when Deirdre smacked Eddie’s and Waldemeyer’s heads together, as well as for severe backache after Eddie fell off the table.
  • Applied frozen peas to two bumps on Waldemeyer’s head. One from collision with Eddie’s head and one from falling backwards and striking a rock.
  • N.B. Remind Deirdre to order more frozen peas.
Babs looked up at her patients, “Well, perhaps someone will explain to me what that disgraceful behaviour was about…” She ignored Eddie who still had a pad of gauze over his beak held in place with a large plaster. He was ranting but his words were too muffled to hear. 

“You can start,” Babs said pointing to Colin who’d raised his hand.

“Eddie said he’d hurt his back after he fell off the table, so I thought I’d help by walking up and down his spine. And then without warning he launched himself at Waldemeyer. I managed to hold on for a bit but in the end, I got thrown off.”

“And why did he launch himself at Waldemeyer?”

“Eddie overheard Waldemeyer say there were another six people on the island and he went berserk…”

“And what happened to you two?” Babs asked Gideon and Brian.

“He shot me with a dart!” said Brian with an outraged expression.

“I have apologised most profusely, dear chap. I thought it would be easier to see what was going on if I got out my torch. Unfortunately, I forgot it was still loaded with darts and when I turned it on, I shot Brian. It was a complete accident.”

“Numbskull!” said Brian.

“I say! There’s no need for name-calling,” said Gideon. 

“No, indeed, there’s not,” said Babs, “I suggest you all shake paws or whatever you have on the ends of your arms and put this behind you. If you can’t work together, Eagles’ Rest is doomed… And let’s hope Ursula Best doesn’t notice you all look as though you’ve been in a punch up. Now, I’m not letting anyone leave the medical room until they assure me they’ll work as part of a team. Anyone caught fighting from now on…” she stared sternly at Eddie, “will be in for a dose of castor oil. And, perhaps, Waldemeyer, you’d like to tell us who the other inhabitants of this island are and why we’ve not met them yet…”

“They used to work for Manny Moore but he stopped paying them, so they went on strike. They’re living on the far side of the island.” 

“Well, why didn’t you tell us?” Brian asked. 

“I’m sure I did,” said Waldemeyer.

“No, you didn’t!” screamed Eddie who’d finally peeled the plaster off his beak. “I can’t sleep at night worrying because we don’t have enough staff! I’d definitely have remembered an itsy-bitsy detail like that!”

“What sort of jobs did they do?” Brian asked inserting himself between Waldemeyer and Eddie.

“Luigi Spaghelli is a chef. His Spaghetti Bolognaise is the finest in the world. The rest of them are waiters, cleaners, office staff… you know, the usual people in a hotel.”

“Let’s go and bring them back to work,” suggested Brian, “The sooner the better.”

“They may take a bit of persuading,” said Waldemeyer, “Manny promised he’d pay them if they came back but he kept fobbing them off. You may have to do more than offer them their old jobs back…”

“They surely wouldn’t expect back pay?”

“They might. Luigi is quite militant and the others do as he tells them.”

“Well, we’re wasting time here,” said Eddie, “We might as well go and meet them but first, we’ll stop at the golf course. Let’s go by golf buggy, it’ll be faster than walking to the far side of the island and while we’re there, I’ll fire Bruno Antellini.”

“You can’t do that!” Waldemeyer said.

“I don’t remember consulting you!” said Eddie.

“You haven’t consulted any of us,” said Brian, “in fact, Eddie, you’re becoming rather bossy.”

“Someone has to take charge and earn us a thumbs up from Ursula. We need someone decisive. Now, tell me why I can’t fire the groundsmole…”

“Well, you can if you like, but I can assure you Luigi won’t come back if you fire his brother.”

“Brother? But I thought you said Bruno’s surname was Antellini.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Well you said Luigi’s name was Spaghetti—”


“Why don’t they have the same surname?”

“Ah, I see. No, you misunderstand me,” said Waldemeyer, peeping about apprehensively. He lowered his voice “Luigi and Bruno aren’t brothers, they’re brothers!

“That makes the sort of sense I expect from you,” said Eddie crossly. 

Gideon stepped forward, a worried look on his face. “When you say brothers, Waldemeyer, do you mean they belong to a brotherhood?”

“Exactly,” said Waldemeyer. 

“You mean the Cosa Nostra?” Gideon whispered, glancing nervously right and left.

“I might,” said Waldemeyer doubtfully, “If I knew what that meant.” 

“I mean the M-Word,” Gideon persisted.

“Oh, yes, that’s the one,” said Waldemeyer. 

Gideon gulped and turned white, “Oh no, Eddie old chap! I hate to give you the bad news but Eagles’ Rest is a hub for organised crime!”

“Is it?” asked Waldemeyer, “How d’you know?”

“We have two Mafia members on our island…”

“Do we?” asked Waldemeyer, his beak dropping open, “I didn’t know! Well, who are they?”

“Luigi and Bruno. You’re the one who told us about them!”

“No, I didn’t,” said Waldemeyer, shaking his head.

“But you said they belonged to the Mafia,” said Gideon.

“No, I didn’t!”

“Well, what did you mean by the M-Word?”

 “Oh, that! Oh, no, no, no! Not that M-Word. Luigi and Bruno used to belong to a…” he lowered his voice and looked about anxiously, “monastery. But they ran away. It’s not the sort of place you simply walk out of – you know what those cult members are like. That’s why they’re both here. They’re on the run. So, if you fire Bruno, you’ll lose Luigi.” 

“Right, well we’ll worry about hiring and firing after Ursula’s visit. If things carry on in the same way, we’ll all be fired. So, let’s go and get the golf buggy,” said Brian. 

“This golf buggy is overloaded,” said Sat Nav peevishly.

“Who asked you? And more to the point, who brought you?” Eddie asked.

“She insisted on coming,” said Colin, “and to be fair, she hasn’t been out on a journey for some time.”

“We’re not obliged to take her on outings! And we’re only going across the island. It’s not a complicated journey,” said Eddie crossly, stamping on the accelerator and hurtling towards the forest. 

“Take the path between the two tallest date palms,” the sat nav said loudly over the screams of the passengers.

“Which palms are they?” Brian yelled, clutching Colin with one hand and the side rail with the other, “They’re all tall!”

“These!” Eddie yelled, making straight for the treeline. 

“I still can’t see a gap!” shouted Brian, his eyeballs repeatedly swivelling left and right.

“Slow down! Babs screamed from the rear seat, “We’ve got young on board!”

“Well, I didn’t ask you to bring the kittens,” Eddie shouted over his shoulder.

“But Deirdre couldn’t have left them on their own.”

“We need to get to the other side of the island as soon as we can. And if that means taking a few risks… well, so be it!” Eddie yelled.

“#****!” Deirdre screeched.

Squashed in the middle of the front seat, with Eddie to his left and Brian and Colin on his right, Waldemeyer covered his eyes with one wing and jammed his feet against the front of the buggy to brace himself. 

“Aargh!” screamed Brian as the vehicle lurched along the narrow path and a low branch struck him, almost scooping Colin off his lap. 

“Follow this path for three miles. Then you will arrive at your destination,” Sat Nav said, “If you’re lucky,” she added in a quavering voice. 

“I don’t know why you bothered to bring her, Colin,” said Eddie, “I could’ve easily worked out the route myself without the benefit of satellite navigation.”

“I wish I hadn’t come, you’re driving like a maniac!” said Sat Nav. 

In the back, on the rear-facing seat, Gideon was flanked by rabbits clutching kittens. He had nothing to hold on to and as the golf buggy hit a rather vicious bump in the path, he was launched into the air. Mercifully, the parachute training he’d received in his spying days returned to him and milliseconds before impact, he remembered his trainer’s words, ‘Keep your knees together and roll as you land’. He’d have been hard pressed to say afterwards where his knees had been in relation to each other or the rest of his body – but he’d definitely rolled. And rolled. In fact, he’d kept rolling until he reached the bottom of the steep incline at the side of the path, and hit a boulder. 

“Eddieeee!” Babs shouted, “Stop! Gideon’s fallen off!”

“We’ll pick him up on the way back,” Eddie called, swerving around a bend on two wheels. 

“Y…you have arrived at your d…destination,” Sat Nav stuttered, as they shot out of the forest on to a long, golden beach.

After stomping on the brake, Eddie leapt from the vehicle and shielding his eyes with one wing, he peered up and down the stretch of sand for signs of life. 

To their left, at the back of the beach, was a group of thatched huts and several figures could be seen fishing in a canoe, in the shallows. 

“Eddie! Wait!” gasped Brian, still with Colin clinging to him, “Remember we agreed I’m going to do the talking – when I get my breath back, that is…”  

“Well come on then,” said Eddie striding along the sand towards the huts, “Hellooo! Is anybody home?” he yelled. 

“Who wants to know?” a stocky mole, came out of one of the huts.

“I do,” said Eddie, “My name is Eddie and I’m now in charge of this island. I demand you all come back to work immediately—” 

Before he could add anything else, Brian threw Colin at Eddie’s head and hurled himself at the chicken’s legs in a rugby tackle. 

Lying on his stomach in the sand, still holding on to Eddie’s thrashing legs, Brian spat sand out of his mouth and looked up at the mole. 

“Good morning,” he said politely, “My name is Brian and I’m here on behalf of the new management of the island to negotiate with you and your colleagues to see if we can come to some sort of mutual agreement about your resumption of work.”

“Smooth talking!” said Colin who was sitting on Eddie’s head.

“Mmmmfff!” said Eddie from under Colin’s bottom. 

“We want zee private health care and zee back pay,” Luigi, the Chef, said, his short, powerful forelimbs folded over his chest. Behind him two squirrels nodded their heads in agreement. 

“We’re currently experiencing a cash flow problem which means we won’t be able to consider back pay until after Ursula Best and her team have gone…” Brian said, “That is assuming we get a thumbs up, of course. But if we don’t, then the resort will close anyway—”

“Did you say Ursula Best?” Luigi asked, blinking rapidly behind his sunglasses.

“Yes, she’ll be here tomorrow—"

Luigi whistled shrilly and beckoned the squirrels who were fishing in the canoe. They came running up the beach towards him when they saw his frenzied signal and the strikers huddled together some way away from Brian and Colin who still had Eddie pinned down on the sand. 

Finally, Luigi broke away from the group and walked back to Brian, Colin and Eddie. The squirrels followed.

Si, we’ll come back to work but as soon as the resort begins to make money, we want zee back pay,” Luigi said.

“Yes, agreed!” said Brian.

“Wait, I haven’t finished yet,” said Luigi, “We want a group photo with Mees Best.”

“Well, I can’t promise that, but I’ll do my best,” said Brian.

“He’ll do his best to get us a photo with Mees Best!” Luigi roared with laughter and the squirrels joined in, squeaking with delight.

 “Well, they seem a jolly lot,” Colin whispered to Brian, “let’s see if we can keep on the right side of them.”

“That might mean gagging Eddie,” said Brian. 

“Good idea,” said Colin. 

It soon became apparent that Eddie’s plan to bring back the strikers had been flawed. The golf buggy had been overloaded on the way out – despite inadvertently jettisoning Gideon halfway. So, to add one mole and six squirrels to the number of passengers on the return journey presented a challenge.
In the end, Luigi provided several ropes and tied a gagged Eddie on the top of the buggy with four squirrels clinging on. Brian drove with Colin on his lap, Waldemeyer sat in the middle and Luigi squeezed in next to him. 

“I can’t breathe with the steering wheel pressed against my chest,” Colin wheezed.

“Well, it’s the best I can do. If you don’t like it, sit on Waldemeyer’s lap,” Brian said crossly.
Colin eyed the gull critically, “He doesn’t seem to have a lap,” he said.

In the rear, Babs, Deirdre, six kittens and two squirrels were also tied in with rope, to prevent anyone doing a Gideon, as Deirdre put it. 

Brian turned on the ignition and released the brake.

“Follow this path for two miles. Then you will arrive at your destination,” Sat Nav said.

“Hang on a minute,” said Brian, “on the way here, you said ‘follow the path for three miles’. How can it only be two miles on the same way back?”

“Don’t you know anything?” said the sat nav, “It’s always faster on the return journey.”

Links to previous stories in The Macaroon Chronicles series
  1. The Macaroon Chronicles Prologue and the Three Wise Monkeys -
  2. #ChickenInCustard -
  3. The Fine Print -
  4. French for Cheese -
  5. Porkies and Espiggy-onage (Lies and Spies) –
  6. Nearly Death by Chocolate -
  7. Waxing Lyrical -
  8. Seduced by Zeros -
  9. Soup-Legs -
  10. The Year’s Most Popular Christmas Toy -
  11. Holey Night -
  12. Aleema -
  13. Heading Home -
  14. Moore’s the Pity -
  15. Eagles’ Rest -
  16. We Need A Thumbs Up! -

About the author

Dawn’s latest book is ’The Basilwade Chronicles’ published by Chapeltown Books. She enjoys writing in different genres and has had romances, speculative fiction, sci-fi, humorous and women’s fiction published in magazines, anthologies and books. Dawn has also had two plays about World War One performed internationally. You can follow her here on, Facebook here DawnKnoxWriter or on Twitter here   

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