...Or should that be NO EXPENSE SPENT!?! Yes, that's more like it!!
A LITTLE MOUSE
BECOMING MORE CAT-LIKE
COLIN THE CUSTARD-EATING SPIDER
Thanks to Tim Mitchell for inviting me back on the show! It was also good to hear material from Nathan Jones' new book.
Sunday was also busy - as in the evening it was time for my 8th live show - but more about that next week when I'll be posting the link for the live episode - which should be out by the end of this week...
Speaking of little shows... Next up - and I know you're all desperate to know...
What have we been up to on THE SHY LIFE PODCAST since last time? Well, this is what!!
It took me a while to find the exact title for this episode - at one stage it was THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING PUB - but that is only a really small element of the episode... Following that it became STOP! YOUR LOCAL NEEDS YOU!! but that didn't seem to quite work either... I hope what I did select in the end fits slightly better! Let me know! Or maybe don't... ha...
SHY SIGHS AND BEGINS TO EXPLORE HIS SURROUNDINGS - HE FOLLOWS A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT SIDE-STREETS - ADMIRING THE VENICE VIEWS - BUT NO MATTER WHICH WAY HE GOES HE ENDS BACK IN THE SAME SQUARE WHERE HE FIRST STARTED OFF...
(continuing to mutter to himself) This is exactly the kind of thing you expect from a dream - still, it's nice to get to explore Venice - even if it is only a dream version of it. Maybe I'll just sit in the square and admire the view - nobody can spoil my daydream if I just stay here and don't try and go anywhere...
JUST AT THAT MOMENT HE NOTICES ALL THE BENCHES IN THE SQUARE SIMPLY FADING AWAY - AS IF THEY ARE DOING SO JUST TO ANNOY HIM...
Now you're just being petty... How grown-up of you... Really!!
SUDDEN VOICE: (politely)
Hello, sir... Looking for a seat? I just happen to have a deck chair that you're welcome to use..
SHY TURNS, SURPRISED TO BE SPOKEN TO AS ONLY SECONDS BEFORE HE HAD BEEN COMPLETELY ON HIS OWN - HE IS EVEN MORE SURPRISED TO FIND WHO IS SPEAKING - IT IS TOPPIE AND HE IS DRESSED AS SOME KIND OF TRAIN TICKET INSPECTOR...
TOPPIE! What are you doing here in my dream?
TOPPIE: (apparently confused)
I'm sorry, sir... Have we met?
Err... Yeah... You're Toppie - I'm Shy Yeti... We're old friends...
Very good, sir... How pleasant...
Come on, now - are you still sure you don't recognise me?
I couldn't possibly say, sir...
Well, I suppose if you're a dream Toppie then you won't necessarily have the same memories as the real Toppie - not that the real Toppie's memory is exactly 100% at the moment as it is; although he tells me that it's getting much better, I believe.
TOPPIE: (slightly distracted)
I'm awfully glad to hear it... Would you like to follow me, please, sir?
Would I? I'm not sure... Where are we going?
To catch the train, sir...
SHY: (in two minds)
Oh... I quite like trains... I like Venice more though... Still, it would be rather a nice day for a little train trip outside of the city, I suppose... As long as it's not too stuffy...
It's a steam train, sir - plenty of ventilation!
SHY: (warming to the idea)
I must admit that does sound kind of exciting... I had no idea that they still ran steam trains in this neck of the woods! How absolutely marvellous!
You're going to like it, sir - it's tip top!
It's what? Tip top? Why on earth are you sounding so British all of a sudden? May I ask?
TOPPIE: (almost robotically)
I'm sorry, sir... Do you find it offensive? How British would you prefer me to be?
It's not offensive, no... It's perfectly tip top, I must say - only... Well... You ain't English, that's all - not even British... You're American! Had you forgotten, perhaps?
TOPPIE: (politely, once again)
Possibly, sir... This IS a dream, after all!
SHY: (enjoying the pretence)
Oh yes... So it is... Well then... About your business... Lead on to the train!
TOPPIE: (nodding and leading the way)
Very good, sir...
SHY AND TOPPIE HEAD ON - DOWN ALL MANNER OF BREEZY VENICE BACK-STREETS... EVENTUALLY THEY CROSS A BRIDGE OVER THE GRAND CANAL AND HEAD ACROSS TO THE RAILWAY STATION... TOPPIE IS LOOKING QUITE EXCITING AND USHERS PAUL QUICKLY TOWARDS THE TRAIN... THE JOURNEY THERE SEEMS TO PASS IN DOUBLE-QUICK TIME AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY ARE ACTUALLY ON THE TRAIN AND IT'S PULLING AWAY FROM THE STATION...
SHY: (with slight regret)
Aw... Goodbye Venice! It's been all too brief...
TOPPIE: (beaming, reassuring)
Don't worry, sir... Just you wait and see where we're heading... I think you'll find it beats even Venice!
Hmm... I'm not convinced, but I'm open to the possibility, I guess; but I do so LOVE Venice...
Well, I'm sure it's very fond of you too, sir...
SHY: (slightly befuddled)
Toppie, you really don't have to call me "sir" - this may be some kind of weird dream - but...
I'm sorry... I think it's your subconscious that is making me speak this way... You see I think you secretly like being treated like a celebrity...
SHY: (with a sigh)
Hmm... I was going to deny it, but I think you might actually be right... Who wouldn't want to be a star, hey?
I'm not so sure... You'd always have to be polishing your shoes...
TOPPIE: (sounding quite informed)
Well, if you were famous you'd always have your shoes nice and polished - you certainly wouldn't be able to wear Converse...
SHY: (looking down at his own favourite pair of Converse, with a frown)
Now you're being personal...
No... No, not at all... I'm just saying...
Look, if we were genuinely famous then we could pay somebody else to clean our shoes...
That's a bit lazy... A bit of a waste of money... Would you really do that?
YES! Yes... (tuts) Now you've pointed it out I feel a bit awkward even suggesting it...
Oh... Don't feel awkward... Maybe yeti poets need that extra bit of pampering... You're a podcaster too - they're notoriously attention-seeking...
But you're a podcaster too!
Which is how I know this... There's nothing wrong with it! Thank goodness for attention-seeking people... If nobody had the need to entertain us all then this world would be a seriously duller place...
SHY: (nods uncertainly)
I see what you mean... Yes, it would... (Shy pauses and looks around him) Are we going up a hill?
It feels like we're going up a hill... I didn't think there were any hills outside Venice...
Oh no... It's not a hill, sir... We're actually going up into space...
WE'RE DOING WHAT!?!?
TOPPIE: (smiling, possibly through gritted teeth)
We're taking a little trip, sir... You knew that...
Yeah, sure... I just thought we were going to Milan or somewhere...
TOPPIE: (with a sigh)
No... Milan's not up in space - and we're going to space...
GOING TO SPACE!! That's all rather vague, isn't it? Which part of space? It's a big place, you know... We're not going somewhere dangerous, are we?
No... It'll be fine... It's not far...
Won't we need space helmets?
TOPPIE: (sympathetically, encouraging)
No silly... This is just a dream, remember... We do have crackers though...
SHY: (completely befuddled)
Crackers!? CRACKERS!? WHY CRACKERS?
TOPPIE: (calmly, attempting to explain)
We're going for a picnic, that's why - and the moon...
SHY: (with realisation dawning)
Is made of cheese, right? Aha!
TOPPIE: (suddenly coming over all serious)
Well, some of it is... But we don't encourage our passengers to go nibbling away at it... Many a visitor has gone chewing away at it only to discover the bit they were snacking on is actually moon-rock and I won't even begin to tell you quite how unpleasant a belly-full of moon rock can be once you get back down to earth.
SHY: (concerned, then curious)
I don't think I want to know, do I? So what about the moon cheese? Is it even edible?
TOPPIE: (pausing to consider his reply before continuing)
Well, yes... But it's very mature - so it's not to everyone's taste... To a certain extent it does actually replenish itself; but you have to be sensible and not take too much...
Goodness, Toppie - you know so much about all of this...
TOPPIE: (with a certain pride)
So would you if you'd been doing this job for twenty years,,,
You can't possibly have been doing this job that long...
Well, this is your dream... It feels like twenty years to me!
SHY: (thinking it through)
Well, I guess that if it feels like it is then maybe in a way it is... It's the actual truth - at least here in this dream... Best not to be too pedantic about it, I guess...
TOPPIE: (nodding in agreement)
You know, I think you're right... I'm glad you agree!
SHY: (curious/growing impatient)
I do... I do... So how much longer are we going to be stuck on this train?
Travelling to the moon isn't something that one can do in just a moment...
Is it not? I thought this was a dream? Can't we fast forward through the boring bits, at least?
Oh well... I guess so... Fair point...
TOPPIE REACHES FOR WHAT APPEARS TO BE A LIGHT-SWITCH ON THE WALL, BUT CLEARLY IS SOMETHING A LITTLE MORE MAGICAL. TIME SEEMS TO PASS FASTER AND THEN QUICKLY SLOWS DOWN AGAIN, BUT THEY ARE NOW ALMOST AT THE MOON...
(with a yawn) There we go! We should be arriving in about ten minutes...
SHY: (trying not to sound too grumpy)
TEN minutes!! Couldn't we have whizzed right through to arrival?
'Fraid not... I have to feed you..
To what? Or whom?
Now! Now! Don't be silly... That is a terribly old joke, you know...
SHY: (with a sigh)
Sorry... Go on then... I must admit I am feeling a little bit peckish - although why exactly I need to eat in a dream I really don't know...
Just go with it, right!?
TOPPIE HURRIES OUT OF THE CARRIAGE - RETURNING SECONDS LATER PUSHING A TROLLEY WITH A LARGE COVERED SILVER TRAY ON IT - THERE IS QUITE CLEARLY SOMETHING UNDERNEATH THE TRAY, BUT SHY CANNOT YET TELL WHAT IT MIGHT BE...
Are you sure this thing isn't going to eat me, Toppie?
TOPPIE: (growing embarrassed, attempting to reassure him)
Shh, now... No! Believe me... It won't!
SHY DOESN'T LOOK TOO SURE - ESPECIALLY WHEN THE LID OF THE SILVER TRAY IS REMOVED AND A WEIRD-LOOKING TENTACLED OCTO-SLUG CREATURE IS REVEALED TO BE SITTING THERE HAVING A NAP ON THE MIDDLE OF THE TRAY...
Oh! No... It doesn't want ME to EAT it, does it? (Toppie winces)
Do I want you to do what? EAT ME!? You've been reading too much of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy series! Just because things like that happen in some worlds it doesn't mean to say that it will happen everywhere!
I'm sorry! It's just that you were presented to me from under a silver tray, so...
TOPPIE: (trying to help matters)
My mistake - I can see where the confusion might lie...
SLUG-THING: (again sounding offended)
So, are you saying that you WOULDN'T eat me if I was offered up for your sustenance?
SHY: (lost for words)
He's a vegetarian - so the answer's yes, he wouldn't eat you whatever the circumstance...
A vegetarian, aye?
SHY: (catching on eventually)
I am!?! I mean, I am... Yes, indeed...
SLUG-THING: (saddened, shaming)
Really, how barbaric - it's the vegetables that I feel sorry for...
SHY: (almost to himself)
I had that conversation once before with a bunch of tomatoes when I attempted healthy-eating - I got into some terrible trouble; nobody seems happy for you to eat them these days...
TOPPIE: (chipping in as he recalls)
It wasn't so long ago that we both encountered an alien trifle - or, at least - an alien that had taken on the appearance of one...
THE SLUG-THING DOESN'T LOOK TERRIBLY IMPRESSED AND SO SHY INTERJECTS...
So, if you're not offering yourself up for dinner - sitting there upon that silver tray - then what ARE you doing? I mean, I was under the impression that I was meant to be eating before we arrive on the moon!
SLUG-THING: (coldly polite)
I'm actually here to take your order? Beans and chips - Sausages and chips or chips and chips...
What about Sausages, beans and chips?
You can't have all three - that's really greedy!!
Oh go on, he's a growing yeti...
SLUG-THING: (giving in surprisingly easily)
Oh - alright then...
THE SLUG-THING OPENS HIS MOUTH AND BEGINS SPITTING DIFFERENT PORTIONS OF FOOD ONTO A PLATE - FIRST THE SAUSAGES - THEN THE CHIPS AND FINALLY THE BEANS...
(lowering his voice) There you go... But don't tell everyone or they'll all want all three...
Thanks... Look at him! You have made that yeti's day...
SLUG-THING: (suddenly impatient)
It's no problem - now take me back to the kitchen, please...
Right-o... Won't be a minute, Shy... Eat up...
SHY DOESN'T SAY ANYTHING BUT JUST STARES AT HIS PLATE AS TOPPIE WHEELS THE SLUG-THING AWAY - HE STILL HASN'T TOUCHED HIS MEAL BY THE TIME TOPPIE RETURNS...
(confused) What's up? You need salt and pepper or something?
What!?! Did I miss something!?
SHY: (still aghast)
Did you not SEE how that creature served up my meal? HONESTLY!?
TOPPIE: (not especially sympathetic)
Okay! No need to shout! Look, if you're not going to eat then I think we're about to arrive...
SHY: (losing interest in his food)
Oh... Really? I think I'm actually quite excited...
Now you will promise not to eat too much of the moon, won't you?
Err... Yeah... Honestly I'm not expecting it to be terribly good anyway - it's been up there so long - how tasty could it still be?
TOPPIE: (wary, yet also trying to be encouraging)
I couldn't possibly comment - at any rate... Best just to use it as an excellent photo opportunity... First yeti in space and all that?
Would I even count for that - what about Simon Yeti? Didn't he go into space?
TOPPIE: (trying to sound like he knows what he's talking about)
Oh... No... That was more time travel - that's a little different...
Oh... Okay... Well, should we go then?
TOPPIE NODS AND THEN LEADS SHY OUT OF THE CARRIAGE AND TOWARDS THE NEAREST EXIT - APPARENTLY THERE IS NO NEED FOR A SPACE-SUIT, WHICH IS A RELIEF AS IT WOULD REALLY SLOW DOWN THE FLOW OF THIS LITTLE SKETCH...
Oooh! I'm pretty much sure that I can see Venice from up here...
That's Canada, Shy...
SHY: (making light of it)
Really? I'm surprised - it really does look pretty Venice-y.
You need to get yourself a new atlas...
SHY: (mutters back, having heard him)
WITH THAT THE PAIR HEAD FROM THE TRAIN DOWN ONTO THE MOON'S SURFACE...
(surprised) It's not very pretty up here, is it - but I wasn't expecting much - I've seen it on the telly...
TOPPIE: (slightly exasperated)
What do you suggest? Flowers? There are no mice to eat the cheese before you ask...
SHY: (rolling his eyes)
Really? They're missing a treat...
No need to be sarcastic... (Shy does not reply - he seems to be distracted by something) NOW what are you doing?
What happened to calling me sir?
We're not on the train any more - and this isn't real anyway... You've had quite enough respect from me for one dream,,,
So what ARE you doing?
Collecting space rocks, that's all... To take back... Even though they're NOT real...
You can't do THAT!
Why ever not?
It's against the law!
SHY: (sarcastic again)
Really? What are you now, a policeman?
SHY LOOKS UP AND SURE ENOUGH TOPPIE IS NOW STANDING THERE ON THE MOON WITH HIM DRESSED AS A POLICEMAN...
Oh! Very funny... Alright! I'll put the rock back... Listen, I'm beginning to feel tired... Isn't it time to wake up yet?
I'm not sure about that - there are no more trains until next August!
SHY: (looking around and realising that the train is no longer there)
WE CUT AWAY HERE AND OBSERVE MR YETI ASLEEP - ALTHOUGH HE IS NOT ALONE - SITTING BY HIS BEDSIDE IS TOLSTOY, APPARENTLY READING MR YETI'S DREAMS... IN THE SPARE ROOM, TOPPIE'S COAT REMAINS ON THE BACK OF THE DOOR, BUT HIS SUITCASE IS GONE... TIME PASSES - IT IS MORNING AND MR YETI WAKES UP, HE FEELS SLIGHTLY DISORIENTATED AND NOTES A SMALL PATCH OF GINGER FUR ON HIS NIGHT-STAND BUT DOESN'T THINK TOO MUCH ABOUT IT... GETTING UP HE HEADS INTO THE KITCHEN, EXPECTING TO FIND TOPPIE THERE HAVING HIS BREAKFAST; BUT HE IS NOT THERE...
SHY: (only slightly concerned at this point)
TOPPIE!?! HELLO!? WHERE ARE YOU!?
SHY HEADS TO HIS BEDROOM AND IS SURPRISED TO FIND THE DOOR STANDING OPEN - TOPPIE'S CLOTHES AND BELONGINGS ARE GONE - AS IS TOPPIE HIMSELF... THERE IS, HOWEVER, A NOTE LEFT STANDING ON THE CHEST OF DRAWERS - SHY PICKS IT UP AND READS IT...
HI SHY! THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP! I HAD TO GO SOONER THAN EXPECTED - DIDN'T WANT TO WAKE YOU! TALK TO YOU SOON! TOPPIE X
SHY FROWNS - FOR A MOMENT HE GAZES OUT OF THE WINDOW, AS HE TURNS HE SEES TOPPIE'S COAT ON THE BACK OF THE DOOR - GOING TO EXAMINE IT HE FINDS SOMETHING IN THE POCKET... IT IS TOPPIE'S PASSPORT...
(mutters to self) Now this isn't right... I didn't even know he had his passport yet, but... Well, he won't be going very far without that...
JUST AT THAT MOMENT THERE COMES A NOISE FROM THE FRONT-DOOR...
HAUNTCUB: (sounding urgent)
HEY! YETI! IT'S ME... HAUNTCUB... ANSWER THIS DOOR... THERE'S A PROBLEM! YOU'RE NEEDED, YETI... TOPPIE NEEDS YOU...
SHY IS SURPRISED, BUT IS ABOUT TO GO ANSWER THE DOOR WHEN HE PAUSES - FINDING SOMETHING IN HIS POCKET THAT HE HADN'T EXPECTED TO FIND THERE - IT IS A MOON ROCK... THE MOON ROCK THAT RECENTLY DREAMT OF...
HOW DID THE MOON ROCK END UP IN SHY'S POCKET? WHAT IS HAUNTCUB DOING AT HIS DOOR? WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO TOPPIE? WHAT IS TOLSTOY PLANNING AND WILL HE SOON RETURN WITH EVEN MORE EVIL PLANS!?!
TO BE CONTINUED...