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The Charmed Life Of Toby "Two-Ears" Hermitage
Mike Stools

Toby "Two-Ears" Hermitage was the luckiest little boy in Pooglespanner for he had two ears, one on either side of his head. All his uncles and aunties would regularly come round to visit and eat chocolate Bourbons and drink Colombian coffee and then sit back and admire Toby's ears. Every Sunday his granny would take him to church so she could show off his ears to all her crusty old decrepit friends.

At school he was by far the most popular boy as all the teachers favoured him and the other children befriended him for his two ears proved to be particularly beneficial when visiting the sweet shop.

"A quarter of sherbet lemons, please mister," he said politely to Mr. Cassowary the shopkeeper, one day after school.

"Certainly, young Toby," said Mr. Cassowary cheerily, "and since you have two ears you can save your money. You need not pay."

Toby smiled.

"Can my friends have some too?" he said.

"Of course," said Mr. Cassowary, "Here, take the whole jar and share them out amongst anybody who likes your two ears."

Toby and his friends left the shop with the jar of sherbet lemons and Mr. Cassowary reflected on how lucky he was that day for having witnessed Toby's two ears, one on either side of his head.

A few days later it was school sports day and Toby had entered the sack race even though he knew that he wasn't all that good at it. He got off to a good start but the other children soon pulled ahead and gained a substantial lead on him. Out in front was Monarchem Young the school sack race champion who looked destined to regain his title for the fourth year running. He glanced behind to see his fellow competitors and caught a glimpse of poor Toby struggling along in last place.

"Hmmm," thought Monarchem as his eyes caught Toby's two ears, "with ears like those, Toby should be the rightful winner of this race."

Then he made the supreme sacrifice and threw himself to the ground tripping up all the other children who were immediately behind him. Toby, being far enough behind to avoid the collision, hopped around the heap of fallen sack racers and went on to win the race.

How everybody cheered.

"Hurrah!" they all cried, "Hurrah for Toby and his two ears, one on either side of his head!"

* * *
Years passed and Toby reached adolescence developing a healthy teenage interest in girly magazines, animal cruelty and smoking cigarettes. He still had his two ears and they still brought him good fortune and great popularity. On his sixteenth birthday he met the school trollop Beryl Fitz-Emaullin behind the gas works canteen where he'd gone for quiet smoke.

"Since you have two ears," pouted the busty slag with her excessively red glossed lips, "I'm going to take your virginity."

She pushed him to the ground, pulled off his jeans, dropped her knickers and mounted his swollen twitching nob upon which she bounced with the enthusiasm of one of those pneumatic tarmac pounding machines that workmen use for levelling road surfaces. A few days later, Toby had been summoned to the headmaster's office.

"Now then, young Toby," said Mr. Ointment the headmaster, "I'm sorry to say that your exam results are appalling, your coursework is abysmal and your attendance rate is disgraceful."

Toby stared at his shoes. His lower lip gained greatly in size.

"However," continued Mr. Ointment, "I've sent photographs of your ears to Cambford University and they were so impressed that they've offered you a place. Also Natlay's Bank want to give you a twenty thousand pound scholarship."

*
So off went Toby to university with twenty thousand pounds where he skived all the lectures, took lots of drugs and shagged lots of girls. Even though he wasn't particularly good looking or interesting, had an embarrassingly small penis and a severe personal hygiene problem, the girls always remarked how nice it was to have sex with someone with two ears, one on either side of his head.

Eventually, finals time arrived and Toby had been called to see the head of department, Mr. Bloater-Fish.

"Well, Toby," said Mr. Bloater-Fish, "Since you've failed every module on the course there seems little point in putting you in for your finals. However, since Natlay's Bank are pleased with your two ears they want to take you on as a traynee manager with a salary of fifty thousand pounds. As a result of this we are going to give you a first class honours and the faculty prize for ears and save you the trouble and indignity of sitting any more exams."

*
At Natlay's Bank Toby met a beautiful woman called Florence who was working as a receptionist and with whom Toby fell instantly in love.

"Will you marry me?" he said when he first clapped eyes on her.

"Ordinarily I'd say no," said Florence, "But I will marry you and have your children and love you for ever and ever because you have two ears, one on either side of your head."

And so Toby and Florence were married.

In due course they had three children and Toby was promoted to manager of his own branch even though he wasn't actually all that good at his job and regularly made mistakes which cost the bank money. With his increase in salary he bought a nice big house out in the country and eventually earned himself a position on the board of directors.

One day the bank collapsed, it was forced to stop trading and its assets were frozen by the Serious Fraud Office. The collapse was attributed to a bad share investment made by Toby. He really hadn't quite got to grips with the intricasies of running a major financial institution and had been duped into buying fifty billion pounds worth of real estate on the surface of the sun. However, despite his ignorance Scotland Yard felt that Toby had a case to answer and so he was brought up before the Old Bailey.

"Toby Two-Ears Hermitage," spoke the judge, Mr. Justice Yoddlefleck, "you are responsible for the collapse of Natlay's Bank, the loss of its customers' investments and the loss of ten thousand jobs."

Toby frowned.

"However," said the judge, "because of your two ears, instead of compensating its customers and repaying its creditors I am going to order the bank to hand over any remaining assets to you."

*
With the money, Toby retired and led a life of luxury. The children grew up and had fine families of their own and Toby and Florence entered old age still in love with each other. At the age of seventy Toby lay on his bed a frail and infirm old man. Everybody knew he was going to cark it soon. The doctor closed his black medical bag and prepared to leave. There was nothing more he could do.

"Doctor," wheezed Toby.

"Yes, Toby?" said the doctor.

"There's something I need to know."

"What's that?"

"Well, it's about my ears."

"You are most fortunate, Toby. You have two ears, one on either side of your head," said the doctor.

"Yes," said Toby, "but there's something that's been puzzling me about that for a long, long time. You see, it's just that . . . well, I'm convinced that everybody else also has two ears, one on either side of their heads. What I don't understand is, what's so special about me?"

"Well, Toby," said the doctor, "Since you're about to pop your clogs I may as well explain."

The doctor re-opened his medical bag and took out a scruffy, horrid-looking trilby hat which he put on his head and a disgusting filthy ginger beard which he attached to his chin.

"I don't believe it!" gasped Toby.

"Yes," said the doctor cheerily.

"Jeremy Beadle!" exclaimed Toby, for it was he.

"You see," said Jeremy Beadle, "there's nothing special about you at all. You're a pathetic, incompetent, unattractive, dreary little man. Nobody actually likes you, your wife detests you intensely and none of your kids are your own. Everybody else does indeed have two ears, one on either side of their heads. There isn't even anything particularly special about your ears. In fact, they're actually quite drab. We've all just been taking the piss out of you all this time."

"Well, bless my soul," smiled the greatly surprised Toby, "You really are a card, Jeremy Beadle."

Toby was taken down to the You've Been Framed T.V. Studio where he died before three million viewers.





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