It was one of those mornings where you wake up and you just know something’s going to go horribly wrong. The mayor had got up, had his breakfast, arrived at the city hall and taken his place at his sumptuous leather topped mahogany desk without the horrible thing happening yet.
He drummed his fingers on the desk top, and waited for the horrible thing to happen.
There was a knock at the door.
The door swung itself open without the need of a beckon from the mayor.
This was normal and was not the horrible thing, but was horrible in itself, as it prolonged the horrible waiting for the horrible thing to happen.
‘Good morning, your mayorness,’ greeted the sharp suited young man who stepped through the door.
He had been the city clerk for the terms of office of the last three mayors, but had not yet learned how to address a mayor correctly.
‘Morning, Stigwood,’ responded the mayor, ‘Go on, lay it on me.’
‘Just two agenda today, your mayorjesty,’ said Stigwood, ‘The opening of the east wing of the hives clinic at eleven thirty, and the judging of the plesiosaur obedience championship at two thirty.’
‘Thank you, Stigwood.’
Neither of those two things were horrible.
In fact he would be finished for the day by half past three and could go home early and do some dribbling. Maybe he’d just woken up in a bit of a tizzy and the day was going to be okay after all.
Yes, that was it.
Just a couple of appointments and a few administrative duties in the office, and the grand and noble city of Having-a-Wank would tick over nicely for another day. ‘Oh, and Tugger has returned. He’s waiting outside.’
Ah, this could be it.
Tugger was a decent enough chap, but the mayor thought, just a little over zealous in his work.
He was the mayor’s personal junior private undersecretary, and had been out on a fact finding trip to the neighbouring city of Felching Yoghurt.
A rumour had circulated that the women of Felching Yoghurt had rounder, firmer and just generally nicer tits than those of Having-a-Wank.
Tugger had been dispatched on a two day assignment to find out if there was any truth behind these rumours. Six months later, he had returned and presumably was waiting to report his findings.
‘Send him in,’ said the mayor.
Stigwood departed and in stepped Tugger.
‘Ah, Tugger, I’m glad you could pop in,’ said the mayor. ‘As you know, I’m fairly relaxed when it comes to time keeping. After all, who am I to come between a man and his dribbling? However, I sent you out on a two day fact finding mission six months ago and I have to say you do appear to be, I hope this isn’t too strong a word, late.’
‘It was a very difficult assignment,’ replied Tugger, ‘I never expected there to be quite so many of them.’
‘What?’ said the mayor.
‘Tits,’ said Tugger brightly, ‘There were loads of them. They had two each! Here is my report’
He slapped a thick heavy wad on the desk.
‘And here are my expenses.’
He slapped an even thicker, heavier wad on the desk. The mayor gibbered at the thought of all the paperwork he’d have to do and how much it could interfere with his dribbling.
‘I shall look at them later,’ said the mayor, ‘Can you give me a summary of your report?’
‘Certainly,’ said Tugger, ‘They are of an extremely high standard.’
‘Better than our women’s?’
‘Well, I don’t know. I have yet to perform a similar survey on the women of Having-a-Wank. However, that will have to wait as I have discovered something terrible during my stay in Felching Yoghurt.’
Oh dear, thought the mayor, this is it.
‘It is a truly horrible, horrible thing. Something that could be disastrous to Having-a-Wank.’
‘Tell me,’ sighed the mayor.
‘They are ridiculing our name!’
‘What?’ exclaimed the mayor, ‘Our great and glorious name? Derided on the streets of Felching Yoghurt.’
‘How can they disparage Having-a-Wank? It is a noble name, passed down through the centuries from the city’s founder, Old Thingaty-Bobs!’
‘Well,’ said Tugger, ‘They’re claiming that in their language, Having-a-Wank means cluster of small rhubarb field tenders. They sing songs about us growing rhubarb. Their newspapers are littered with articles about how small we are and how much time we spend in the allotments.’
‘But they speak the same language as us!’ said the mayor, ‘How can they make this preposterous claim?’
‘They have redefined the name Having-a-Wank to mean small group of people of diminutive stature who grow rhubarb (badly),’ said Tugger, ‘It is in the latest edition of their dictionary and has proved to be enormously popular. They plan to sell it to other towns throughout the kingdom.’
‘This is an outrage!’ exploded the mayor, ‘Never has a single sprig of rhubarb been grown on the hallowed soil of Having-a-Wank. This is going to be disastrous to our tourist trade. I shall go to Felching Yoghurt immediately and have it out with their mayor.’
‘No,’ said Tugger, ‘That’s exactly what he wants. If you do that, he will publicly present you with a limp stalk of rhubarb. He intends to do it on stilts so he will have to pass it down to you. Everyone will laugh.’
‘The bastard!’ cursed the mayor, ‘That’s it! We’re ruined.’
‘Not necessarily,’ said Tugger, ‘I have spoken to Professor Hardon, head of linguistics at Bellend University, and he’s going to research the origins of Having-a-Wank in the hope that he can find out what it really means. As a countermeasure, he’s also going to look into the derivation of Felching Yoghurt in the off-chance that it means something equally embarrassing.’
‘Good man,’ said the mayor, ‘Did he say when we can expect a result?’
‘No,’ said Tugger, ‘But I’m going to go round there now to assist in his research. Wanna come?’
‘Too damn right I do.’
The mayor’s carriage was hurriedly prepared. Actually, it wasn’t hurriedly prepared because it was already being prepared for him to travel to the hives clinic, but due to the emergency everyone made it look like they were hurrying. Nobody wanted to be seen not doing their bit for Having-a-Wank.
However, it was hurriedly driven. It was drawn as if the horses themselves knew the importance of this journey. It hurtled down Pan Handle Avenue, round Helmet Corner and as it sped past the hives clinic the mayor asked the driver for his knife.
With a well aimed throw, the mayor spliced the ribbon that was draped across the entrance to the east wing.
‘I declare this wing open,’ he shouted at the assembled group of people who clapped politely and then entered the east wing where there was a nice spread of smoked salmon sandwiches.
Presently, they arrived at the university.
They found the professor in the library where he was pouring over an untidy array of tomes and manuscripts with assistance from a man who looked a bit like Keith Chegwin. (It just saves me having to write a description of him, especially since time is of the essence and we need to be cracking on.)
‘Mr. Mayor, Tugger,’ greeted Professor Hardon, ‘May I introduce you to Doctor Sponge who is on a secondment from Bummingham Institute Of Linguistics. The doctor has some rather disturbing news for you.’
‘Good morning, gentleman,’ spoke Doctor Sponge, ‘I regret that I must inform you that I am unwittingly responsible for the predicament that Having-a-Wank finds itself in.’
‘Explain,’ said the mayor.
‘Recently, I was commissioned by the mayor of Felching Yoghurt to find out the true origin of the name Having-a-Wank. I told him that it was a pointless exercise as everybody knows that it was named by Old Thingaty-Bobs, who founded the city, but no one knows what it means. He insisted that he wanted it researching so I agreed, but instead of doing the work myself I handed it to a student so I could get on with some dribbling I’d put off from last week.’
‘Perfectly reasonable,’ said the mayor.
‘Unfortunately not,’ said Doctor Sponge, ‘The young rapscallion made up a load of tosh about rhubarb and fobbed it off onto the mayor.’
‘So, there’s no truth in these rumours from Felching Yoghurt?’ said Tugger.
‘I’m afraid it’s not as simple as that,’ said Doctor Sponge, ‘You see, researchers in Felching Yoghurt are claiming that they have found evidence that verifies the student’s yarn. They believe that Old Thingaty-Bobs founded the city by employing a group of pygmies to grow rhubarb on the site of Having-a-Wank, but they weren’t very good at it, and so he had them build a city instead. Even if this turns out to be a complete pile of arse, the damage has already been done. People like the new definition of Having-a-Wank.’
‘Drat! Then we’re done for,’ said the mayor.
‘Maybe not,’ said Professor Hardon, ‘I’ve been looking into the origins of Felching Yoghurt. It appears that Yoghurt is a white creamy gooey liquid.’
‘A bit like sperm?’ asked Tugger.
‘Yes,’ said the professor, ‘but with a rather unpleasant taste. If we can find out what Felching means, maybe we can make up something rude involving sperm.’
‘Oh, I say,’ said the mayor, ‘That’s a bit nasty. But it would serve the bounders right!’ he added with more than a hint of menace.
‘You know something,’ said the professor, ‘For some time now, I’ve been beginning to suspect that some of our names - words which are quite common to us and seemingly innocuous - somewhere back in the dim and distant past, have origins that are profane, or even vulgar.’
‘Really, Professor,’ said Tugger, ‘What makes you think that?’
‘Well,’ explained the professor, ‘Take your name, for example.’
‘What, Tugger?’ queried Tugger, ‘What could be dirty about that?’
‘I believe that the word tugger is derived from gutter.’
Tugger gave a confused look.
‘A gutter,’ continued the professor, ‘is a conduit for channeling away dirty water or effluence. It is a place where drunks might urinate or vomit.’
‘That’s disgusting!’ Tugger ejaculated, ‘How can the great and worthy name Tugger be associated with something so base?’
‘I’m afraid it very well could be, along with a great many other names that we know so well. Sometimes I think that I alone have a totally clean and respectable name,’ said the professor.
‘That’s what you think, Professor Hardon!’
The unfamiliar voice startled the professor. He turned suddenly and saw, standing before the Jeremy Clarkson section, the mayor of Felching Yoghurt.
‘What are you doing in my library?’ demanded the professor.
‘This is a municipal library,’ said the mayor, ‘and since I am part of the municipality
‘Not this municipality,’ the professor cut him off, ‘Not any municipality of any worth and decency.’
‘That’s just where you’re wrong, professor,’ said the mayor, ‘or should I say Baboon’s Bottom Wiper for that is what the word professor actually means.’
‘What nonsense!’ dismissed the professor, ‘Where on earth do you get all this crap from?’
‘Crap it is not,’ said the mayor, and he took a book at random from the Jeremy Clarkson section, ‘Do you never read these books?’
‘Of course not. Not those books. They cannot be read. Occasionally, we get the odd retarded student who is capable of managing a couple of pages or so, but they report it is being a load of random gibberish which makes no sense whatsoever.’
‘On the contrary. These books contain a rare and mystic wisdom that can only be understood by specially trained minds. Minds that have risen above our normal consciousness and are able to see the inferiority of those not so enlightened. Minds that are
‘Utterly deranged, it would sound to me. Nothing good can ever be gleaned from those books. They were brought into the world by accident. By Old Thingaty-Bobs himself. He had discovered a temporary rift in the fabric of reality, and tried to find out what was on the other side of it. Unfortunately, these books all came tumbling onto him, presumably being thrown out by creatures living in an alternative time line that we couldn’t even possibly imagine.’
‘Your feeble mind may not be able to imagine it, but mine can. And speaking of feeble minds, I must leave and find your mayor and publically humiliate him into submission.’
And with that, he grabbed a book from the Jeremy Clarkson shelves, and displaying a contemptuous flourish, flounced out of the room.
‘It gives me great pleasure,’ spoke the mayor of Having-a-Wank to the assembled crowd of plesiosaur obedience enthusiasts, ‘to officiate at this most prestigious and celebrated occasion. And I have to say that I am most impressed with the high standards of this year’s entries. I believe I can say without fear of rebuke or contradiction that this kingdom surpasses all others in the august field of plesiosaur obedience.’
‘Baloney!’ called out a voice in the crowd.
The rest of the crowd gasped at this outrageous infraction.
‘And who so has the temerity to deride this noble event with a slander I care not to repeat?’ said the affronted mayor.
‘I do,’ said his heckler, ‘For thus it is. Baloney! And furthermore hogwash and hooey!’
The crowd parted and allowed the interloper to walk up to the front. He climbed the steps and stood face to face with the mayor on the rostrum.
‘Well, well, well,’ said the mayor of Having-a-Wank, ‘The mayor of Felching Yoghurt.’
‘I would address you accordingly,’ spoke the mayor of Felching Yoghurt, ‘but I fear that would be inappropriate. From this book I intend before this very audience to look up and announce the true meaning of your name.’
‘Ridiculous!’ said the mayor of Having-a-Wank, ‘That book and those like it contain nothing but insane blatherings that are of no use to man nor beast.’
‘That is just where you are wrong, as I am about to demonstrate.’
‘Wait!’ came another cry from the back.
Again, the crowd parted and allowed Professor Hardon to pass through and join the mayors on the stage. He was slightly breathless, and carrying a very large and frightening looking book.
‘Please, mayor,’ he said, ‘do not dismiss these books so lightly. I have just looked into them and seen that they are not as harmless as we previously thought. There are dark and sinister words inside them. Do not allow the mayor of Felching Yoghurt to open his book before you, at least unless you are equally armed yourself.’
With that he handed his book to the mayor of Having-a-Wank.
‘Very clever, professor,’ said the mayor of Felching Yoghurt. ‘Very well, in order to keep things fair and sportsmanlike, I shall allow you to defend yourself with that book. But I fear you will find it of little protection. You lack the capacity to ingest the subtleties of its contents. I, on the other hand, am well
‘Oh shut up,’ said the mayor of Having-a-Wank, ‘I shall accept your challenge, and all here will see you for the fraud you surely are. On the count of ten, we will each open our books and fire at each other whatever maledictions we find therein.’
‘A Clarkson-off!’ said his adversary gleefully, ‘I like it! Professor, would you be so kind as to do the counting?’
‘If you are both in agreement?’ said the professor.
‘We are,’ said the mayors jointly.
‘Then let us proceed,’ said the professor, ‘One.’
And he was not alone in his counting. A young moss and lichen seller at the front of the crowd accompanied him when he said ‘Two.’
Next to him were a hole worshipper and a string deknotter and they joined in with ‘Three.’
Behind them were a brigade of barley botherers who added their voices to the count of ‘Four.’
‘Five,’ they then said with the addition of the town’s squid doctor and his fellow practitioners.
More voices were added to ‘Six’ as the count spread further throughout the crowd.
And louder they became as the count went up to ‘Seven.’
At ‘Eight’ the whole crowd was counting, and still building up the volume.
‘NINE!’ Everybody shouted, almost as loud as they could.
But before the final count, the world was invaded by a marauding army of vampire cheese monsters from outer space, which pushed the whole issue right down everybody’s list of priorities.