10. BABS

10. BABS

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

It would seem that the Forest is threatened by a thug with a gun.


In the world of the reprehensible Jules Junkface, Babs, a gloriously huge yet equally gloriously gentle member of the Forest community would have been called a baboon. And not any old diminutive baboon either: Babs was on the large or even oversized side, which helped in her chosen path through life because that chosen path dealt with birth and the introduction of brand new generations into the woodland. In short, Babs was the most efficient midwife in generations. She never lost a mother and didn’t even risk losing a single member of the as yet unborn.

To call her beautiful would have been a silly attempt at gilding a lily, and a particularly ugly lily at that: she didn’t have to be outwardly beautiful when she had so much beauty inside her. And in a humble sort of way she understood that.

And on the very day when the foul and aromatic Jules Junkface was hammering the final nail into the entrance to Toowitty’s nest she happened to be sauntering past on her way to deliver a young mother of the species camel of an unexpected addition to her family. But as neither that mother nor her offspring play any part in this tale other than being the reason Babs was in the area, no more need be said of them except that once delivered the youngster grew up to live into a productive and respected very old age.

Now why should that awful naked creature be doing that?” she thought, not that Jules Junkface was actually naked but she could see past the dirty clothes he chose to wear to the relative hairlessness beneath.

So, having thought the question, she decided to ask.

“Why are you doing that?” she asked, “what has our noble judge done that he be locked away in his nest without light or fresh air?” she added, determined to make her question perfectly clear.

“Clear orf, brute,” replied Jules Junkface, “or I’ll fetch my twelve bore and give you a dose of lead in your gizzards!”

That was enough to alert Babs. She knew three things. She knew that the tone of his voice was, to say the least, threatening, that a twelve bore was a weapon and that she didn’t fancy lead of any description in her gizzards. After all, she was a midwife about a very important job and the future of a certain camel dynasty lay in her hands.

And there was a fourth thing that crossed her mind. She should skedaddle and consult the wonderful and intellectual and charismatic Gertitia about the matter. She would know what was best, She would make all the right decision. But it would all have to wait until she had seen to the camel mother and helped her give birth to her promising baby camel.

“We’ll see about that!” she replied to Jules Junkface, without mentioning what she’d see about, and trotted off heavily about her duty.

The incarcerated Toowiity had seen the passing Babs through a remaining sliver of a gap between two heavy and well-hammered timbers, and had overheard the dialogue between her and the monster who had a hammer in his hand and no doubt a twelve bore somewhere about his person, whatever a twelve bore might be.

She’ll help to put things right,” he thought without it crossing his mind that all the bother had come about directly from himself being sweet-talked by a thug, probably because the Forest society didn’t usually harbour anyone even vaguely thug-like and the experience was beyond comprehension.

But it was a good two hours before Babs returned that way, and she did so by a slightly circuitous route in order to avoid any mischief with lead from twelve-bores. Her work had gone well, the mother was in milk already and the baby had already spoken its first word, which was camel for hungry.

She found Gertitia asleep in her own private ditch, but the moment she coughed politely the royal handmaid sat up and smiled sweetly at her.

Why, Babs, it’s more than good to see you, it’s a reminder of how kind you were to my dear mother when I was born,” she said with the sort of smile that meant every syllable of her speech was genuine.

We’ve got trouble, your handmaidenship,” she started without any wasteful preamble. “There’s a man with lead and he’s incarcerated Toowitty!”

With lead, you say?” asked Gertitia while she slipped her brain into royal mode.

Indeed,” nodded Babs, “and he mentioned a twelve-bore!”

Ah! I’ve heard of something monstrous along those lines,” mused Gertitia as a whole set of memories implanted into her head by a predecessor during her own coronation rose to the surface and dusted themselves off.

Twelve-bore, you say?” asked a new voice, new to the conversation, that is, though well known in the Forest. It was Prickly who was in search for something to offer the new love of his life for Sunday Lunch because if he didn’t find something tasty pronto she might not call on him at all, and that was unthinkable.

Twelve-bore,” agreed Babs, who rather liked Prickly despite his prickles, which had played havoc when he had been born.

That’s a weapon,” nodded Prickly, “and it shoots out missiles at a deadly rate. The pathologist might tell you all about them, or he would if he wasn’t locked up for life!”

That was Toowitty’s judgement, and he’s the judge,” sighed Gertitia. “I’m tempted to over-rule him, but once I start over-ruling experts, where will that lead us?”

It seems to me you better had, dear handmaiden,” put in Babs sweetly, “and it strikes me that we might not have too many minutes spare before the man with the gun comes our way and blasts us all to Kingdom Come!”

I don’t know...” dithered Gertitia, who liked to do everything by the book and the book said nothing about the over-ruling of a legal judgement.

If that man comes this way we’re all doomed,” sighed Prickly.

So Gertitia, perceiving herself to be in a corner that lay somewhere between the devil and the deep blue see, issued a terse order. “Then do it! Officers! Come hither!” she called, and the official Elflight came running from where he’d been lurking in order to overhear the conversation between midwife and monarch in case it had anything to do with him.

Release the pathologist and award him with a medal for his trouble!” she shouted, “we have perturbation within our borders, and perturbation needs sorting out!”

© Peter Rogerson 13.10.18

© 2018 Peter Rogerson

Author's Note

Peter Rogerson
The story is not yet over, but it will be a few days before I can write the next part as my wife and I are off to Austria in a charabanc

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Added on October 13, 2018
Last Updated on October 13, 2018
Tags: midwife, baboon, shotgun, twelve-bore, pathologist, incarceration


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..

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