Sunday, 6 December 2020

Spy-chology at Christmas

 


by Dawn Knox

milk  

 

What happens when Eddie the Bald Eagle (who’s really a chicken), Brian (the monkey), Colin (the lemur), Gideon (the pig) and Babs and Deirdre (both rabbits) disagree about what’s going to happen at Christmas on the jointly-owned Three Monkey Island Resort? Who will triumph?

 

 “Sandwiches for Christmas dinner? You must be joking!” Eddie said. His beak dropped open as he stared at the committee members of the Three Monkey Island Resort.

Brian patted the air placatingly. “Look, Eddie, Chef wants a holiday. He says he’s not going to cook on Christmas Day. We’ve all been working hard for weeks now, and we’re fully booked throughout next year, too. Chef needs a break. We need a break.”

“But you can’t offer guests sandwiches for Christmas dinner!” Eddie spluttered.

“But, Eddie,” said Colin “there won’t be any guests over Christmas. We haven’t booked anybody in.”

“You haven’t what?” Eddie leapt up, knocking his chair over backwards. He leaned forward menacingly, resting his wingtips on the table and glared at the others. “Please tell me this is someone’s idea of a joke because I can’t believe you’re not taking advantage of Christmas!”

“Well, Old Chap,” said Gideon, “if I may be so bold as to point out that’s where you’re wrong because we are taking advantage of Christmas. We’re going to use it to catch up on some sleep and if that means a picnic on the beach then I, for one, am in favour.”

“#HearHear,” said Babs and Deirdre, in unison.

“You’ve all gone mad!” Eddie said pressing his wingtips to his temples, “I can’t believe I’m hearing this!”

“Look, Eddie,” said Brian, “it’s not us who’ve gone mad. But I’m seriously worried about your mental condition.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me! Can’t you see! We could charge what we liked! We’d make a killing at Christmas!”

“It’s us you’d be killing! It’s all very well working hard but I think you’re taking it to extremes and if we push Chef and the other members of staff too far, they’ll simply leave and then where will we be?”

Eddie surveyed the other members of the team in silence. Determination registered on each face and he knew he was beaten.

For the moment.

As far as Eddie was concerned, he was in charge and they’d have to do whatever he said, despite them having apparently organised themselves into a mutinous band. But in the end, he was certain, they’d see sense and do as he wanted. He simply had to bide his time.

 

After the meeting was over and Eddie had gone to check on Chef, the others discussed Eddie’s response.

“Well, I thought he’d have put up more of a fight than that, said Brian with a worried frown.

“Yes, I thought it would be #Fisticuffs,” said Babs.

“But he seemed to accept it, didn’t he?” asked Deirdre.

“I’m not so sure,” said Colin, “he had that scary glint in his eye. We may have won the battle but I suspect he’ll be back shortly, in an armoured tank to mow us down.”

“I have an idea,” said Gideon rummaging in his inside jacket pocket.

Everyone scrambled to hide under the table, knocking cups, saucers and plates over in their haste.

“Look chaps!” snapped Gideon.  “I know I’ve made a few mistakes in the past and accidentally shot a few people with my dart pen, but I think you’re all over-reacting. I’ve been practising and I think I’ve got the hang of all my writing implements now. But it doesn’t do a chap’s confidence any good to know whenever I put my trotter in my pocket, you all dive for cover.”

Gideon had once been in training as a spy, but had failed his exams for muddling his espionage gadgets and accidentally shooting the examiner with his dart pen when he confused it with an ordinary pen.

“Oh, wipe that pout off your snout, Gideon,” Babs said, “#OnceBittenTwiceShy, you know.” She risked a peep above the table top to see if Gideon had found whatever he was seeking in his pocket.

He had.

It wasn’t a pen, it was a watch.

“Is that an explosive device?” Babs asked, ready to duck under the table again.

“Of course not!” said Gideon crossly. “Please have a bit of faith in a chap! It’s simply a pocket watch.”

The others emerged from beneath the table and warily resumed their seats.

 “Are you late or something?” Brian asked.

“No,” said Gideon, “but I have a splendid idea.” He looked meaningfully at the watch.

“#WeAreAllEars,” said Babs, waggling hers. 

“I’m going to use this on Eddie,” said Gideon.

The others stared at the small, round, golden watch on his trotter.

“Are you going to time him?” Brian asked.

“Of course not!” said Gideon, “I’m going to hypnotise him.”

Colin began to giggle but stopped when he saw Gideon’s face and realised he was serious. The others simply stared.

“Well, say something, Chaps,” Gideon said.

“Do you know how to hypnotise people?” Deirdre asked.

“Of course! It was part of my espionage training,” said Gideon.

“But you didn’t finish your spy course…” Brian said. “Did you actually complete the hypnotism module?”

“As good as…” said Gideon airily.

“Has anyone got a better idea?” asked Colin. Everyone shook their heads. “In that case, we’ve got nothing to lose.”

“But how are you going to get Eddie to agree? He won’t willingly sit there while you swing a watch in front of his beak,” Brian said.

“I’m going to use Spy-chology,” said Gideon.

 “Oh dear,” Deirdre sighed, “that sounds very scientific.”

“And #PigsMightFly,” scoffed Babs.

“We’ll see,” said Gideon with a toss of his head, “I’ll go and get Eddie now. Just one thing – when I get back, don’t watch the watch. Is everyone clear? Don’t watch the watch!”

He arrived back with a smug-looking Eddie.

“So, Gideon tells me you have something to say to me. I’m so pleased you’ve finally seen sense and are going to work over Christmas. Chef refuses to budge so I’m afraid we’ll all have extra duties cooking dinner on Christmas day…”

Gideon held his trotter up. “Steady on, Old Bean, I didn’t say we were giving in, I said we had a remedy to the Christmas problem.”

“And what’s that?” Eddie snapped.

“I’m going to hypnotise you,” said Gideon.

Brian groaned as he cradled his head in his hands. He muttered, “So much for Spy-chology! More like Pie in the Sky-chology!”

The others looked at Gideon in disbelief, including Eddie. “You think you’re going to hypnotise me? Don’t make me laugh!” said Eddie.

Gideon sighed and his shoulders sagged. “Yes, I suppose you’re right, Old Chap. Oh well, never mind. I thought I could do a group session and make everyone work harder… but it’ll probably fail. It was a foolish idea to think I could single-handedly solve the Christmas problem…”

“Wait!” said Eddie “That’s not a bad plan! Of course, you won’t be able to hypnotise me, I’m too strong-willed for all that nonsense, but the others would benefit. Yes, yes! Give it a go!”

Brian, Colin, Babs and Deirdre glanced at each other in confusion. Either Gideon had been fiendishly clever in manoeuvring Eddie to agree or, more likely, he’d trapped himself – and them – in a corner.

Everyone flinched as Gideon thrust his hand inside his jacket and withdrew the pocket watch, then set it swinging.

“You are feeling sleeeepy…” said Gideon.

The watch was indeed, mesmeric, Brian thought as his gaze followed its arc. Back and forth.

Back and forth.

Back and forth.

His eyelids began to droop.

“Your eyes are heavy,” said Gideon with a yawn.

A sharp kick on Brian’s leg brought him back to his senses and he glanced at Colin who mouthed Don’t watch the watch!

Brian shook his head to banish the tiredness which had started to wash over him.

“You will now fall asleep…” said Gideon whose voice was slurred.

Gradually the watch came to a standstill.

Eddie was fast asleep, his head resting on his wing.

Brian, Colin and the two rabbits kept their eyes on Eddie, not daring to move and risk rousing him.

Finally Brian nudged Colin and whispered “It looks like Gideon’s Spy-chology has worked! Well, who’d have believed it!”

“But now what?” asked Colin, “Shouldn’t Gideon be suggesting Eddie relax a bit and forget his Christmas idea?”

“Oh dear!” said Babs, “I think Gideon’s nodded off as well!”

On the other side of the table, Gideon’s head lay on his trotter, his piggy lips puckering with each snore.

“I’m feeling a bit sleepy, myself,” said Deirdre.

“We’re all feeling sleepy,” said Brian “we’re all exhausted after working so hard, for so long. But what do we do now?”

“Well, let’s suggest to Eddie that he takes things easy over Christmas and allows everyone to relax,” said Colin, “and then we’ll do our best to bring them both round.”

 

“Another?” Eddie asked, offering the plate of sandwiches to Colin. It was Christmas Day and the staff of The Three Monkey Resort were lounging on the beach while Eddie served them lunch.

“Thank goodness you warned us not to watch your watch,” Brian whispered to Gideon, “or we’d all still be in a state of hypnosis!”

Gideon sighed, “Oh, I doubt it, Old Chap. I rather think we were all so tired that we just nodded off, don’t you know.”

“But I thought you believed in hypnosis?” Brian said.

“No,” said Gideon with a sigh, “I’ve realised I’m a failure and it was just another thing I botched. But never mind, it’s not like I’m in the spying business now, is it?”

“But, you must have hypnotised Eddie. After all, he’s prepared the Christmas Day picnic and he’s serving us. Nothing short of blackmail would’ve made that happen under normal circumstances.”

“I think Eddie’s just being nice and playing along,” said Gideon sadly, “he’s probably worked out that if he gives way today, we’ll work twice as hard in the coming year. After all, if we were determined enough to refuse his orders and even tried a scheme like hypnosis, he must’ve realised we weren’t going to work over Christmas.”

“Eddie never gives in.  And he’s never nice.”

“Well, perhaps he’s trying Spy-chology on us, Old Chap. He’s lulling us into a false sense of security. It’s too much to believe I managed to hypnotise him. I’m an utter failure.”

“I wouldn’t be too sure, Gideon,” said Brian.

“Well, we’ll never know, Old Bean.”

“We might,” said Brian, “And any moment now, we should see.”

“What do you mean?” asked Gideon.

“Well, before we woke you up with that bucket of water, we suggested a few things to Eddie…” 

“Hot cross bun?” Eddie asked, holding out a plate.

“Hot cross bun?” asked Brian, “that’s not usual Christmas fare.”

“Yes, I know,” said Eddie, “but they were out of date and we wouldn’t want to give them to the guests would we?”

“Even under a hypnotic spell, he’s as mean as ever,” Brian said to Gideon, when Eddie had gone.

“You don’t still believe I hypnotised him, do you, Old Boy? I’ve told you. It’s not possible.”

“We’ll see,” said Brian, “we’ll see. And we might as well see now. What’s the time, Gideon?” Brian asked.

“Who cares?” said Gideon, “It’s Christmas Day, Eddie is serving us food and he’s returning from the kitchen with more. Let’s just enjoy it.”

“Yes, but it’d be nice to know what the time is,” said Brian.

“Well, if you must know, Old Chap,” said Gideon rummaging in his coat pocket, “I’ll check.”

As Gideon held his watch up, Eddie froze, then putting down his tray, he walked into the middle of the sand in front of Brian, Gideon, Colin, and the bunnies.

“Let the entertainment begin!” he announced, flinging his wings wide, “First, I will perform a medley of your favourite songs, old and new.”

“I’ve never heard Eddie sing,” said Gideon.

“He seems to have developed a taste for it,” said Colin winking at Brian.

“Just wait till he does his impersonation of a dinosaur,” Babs said, “I’m looking forward to that!”

“How d’you know what he’s going to do?” asked Gideon, “Eddie didn’t mention anything about entertainment… or dinosaurs.”

The others nudged each other and laughed.

“I’m beginning to think you’re playing a prank,” said Gideon, “But I can’t for the life of me see what it is.”

“Perhaps it’s time to confess,” said Brian, “While Eddie was under the influence of your hypnosis, we tried a bit of Spy-chology of our own and suggested that he might like to provide a cabaret, whenever you took out your watch.”

 “Is that all you told him to do?” asked Gideon.

“My lips are sealed,” said Brian, “but let’s just say he’s going to be dancing to our tune till the end of the day. Then, tomorrow, he’ll wake up and things will go back to normal.”

“I’m shocked!” said Gideon crossly, “That is a gross misuse of my hypnotic powers!”

“But I thought you said you didn’t have any?”

“That’s not the point, Old Thing!”

“Oh, come on, Gideon! It’s Christmas!”

Babs turned to Deirdre and whispered, “Perhaps we went too far when we suggested to Gideon he’d feel compelled to get up and partner Eddie when he announces he’s going to do the tango?”

“It was all done in the name of science,” said Deirdre.

“And now,” announced Eddie, “Who will partner me in the tango?”

“This is going to be the crowning glory of the day!” said Brian spluttering on his mouthful of Hot Cross Bun as Gideon shot to his feet and raised his trotter.

 

About the author 

 

For more stories about the characters on the Isle of Macaroon – ‘The Macaroon Chronicles’, by Dawn Knox published by Chapeltown Books available here mybook.to/TheMacaroonChronicles

 

Also, ‘The Basilwade Chronicles’, by Dawn Knox, published by Chapeltown Books available here mybook.to/TheBasilwadeChronicles

 


 

 

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