A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

In their fight against a twelve-bore armed foe, the forest folk select Twinkletoes.


When the people living iat the fringes of the Forest saw fleeting glimpses of Twinkletoes they thought he was a fairy, but he wasn’t. Maybe his choice of clothing had something to do with it (and he did wear clothes in the winter when the winds blasted through the denuded trees of his homeland). But if crimson trews and purple jerkins were all too colourful for ordinary mortals to get their heads around as suitable garb for a crocodile, he wore them anyway.

He was a crocodile in their tongue, and you can probably see that being a crocodile really meant he was nothing like a fairy.

Or a Twinkletoes, come to think of it, but that was his name and he’d had it since birth.

“My friend Twinkletoes,” said Gertitia, with a warm smile illuminating her face in much the same way as a cold smile doesn’t, “My dear, dear friend, I have a task for you.”

“I would do anything for the peace and harmony of we forest folk, as you well know,” grunted Twinkletoes, “so what would you have me do?”

Gertitia shook her head gently, and continued: “There is a man in the forest, against all natural laws,” she said, “a man who has taken our senior Judge, the great Toowitty, and made him prisoner, has actually incarcerated the dear old fellow in his nest by nailing great beams of wood across his doorway! Do you think … might it be possible … could you do something that might free him and bring him back to his senses?”

Twinkletoes looked serenely at Queen Gertitia, who had during the past half hour or so decided to have a regnal presence in the Forest by permitting the appellation of queen, and she was already getting fond of it.

“I would do anything for you,” he murmured, almost weeping. “And it will be with great pleasure that I find the, what might we call him? B*****d of a Man? He who has caused our people all this distress. And I will certainly free his Lordship Toowitty from his undeserved incarceration. Meanwhile, may I suggest that you also free the good Longshanks from his own incarceration?”

She beamed at him. “You are such a good soul,” she said, “but it is already done! And Longshanks is now free as a bird and will happily advise you before you set out on your mission. He has a word or two to say about the so-called weaponry used by the evil Jules Junkface, because as you will know full well, fore-knowledge is a very useful thing.”

“Madam, you are too good to me,” wept Twinkletoes, dabbing his eyes with a floral handkerchief.

“Bring in the good Longshanks!” ordered Gertitia in her most imperious and regal voice, addressing it to a tiny hairy guard with big ears who was defending her honour with a stainless steel toothpick.

The pathologist was ushered before the queen by the now perky Elflight, and she smiled at them both so sweetly that a sugar mountain with icing on top wouldn’t have contained enough calories to equal its radiance.

“I am so glad to see you are free,” she murmured in her poshest accent, which was very posh indeed now that she was calling herself queen. “As you know, the foul judge whose acid words caused your incarceration has himself been locked away, but not by any creature of our forest, but by a man...”

The crocodile spat, and when crocodiles spit it’s best to keep out of range, which the queen skilfully did. “I will sort that kind of biped out!” he grated, mincing slightly in his attempt at appearing indomitable.

“And we hear he is equipped with something called a twelve-bore,” murmured Gertitia, “and wonder if you, as a major pathologist and student of all sorts of things can tell us what a twelve-bore might be?”

Twinkletoes snorted. “I have come upon such things in my studies,” he said with no hint of rancour in his voice, “it is a weapon that spits and makes a loud bang,” he added, “and the matter that it spits can do grievous harm to the flesh of most of us.”

“Even me?” asked Twinketoes nervously.

“That’s a hard matter for me to say,” growled Longshanks thoughtfully, “for I have yet to find the hide of one like yourself that will yield to my sharpest blade during a post-mortem examination, and I usually find I have to resort to a chain-saw at such times! But the spittle from a twelve-bore ... I don’t know, which is an admission of ignorance on my part. But I don’t, and that’s a fact.”

“Then I will have to be careful,” grunted Twinkletoes.

“Do you need companions?” asked the Queen, “for if I read matters correctly your mission might have a hint of danger to it.”

Twinkletoes looked at her and nodded. “Just the one. If the copper Elflight will accompany me in order to ensure that nothing that might later prove to be inadmissible in court occurs, I would be very grateful.”

“Very wise,” smiled Gertitia, “and it shall be so. When might you want to set out on your mission?”

“The sooner the better!” wept the eager Twinkletoes. “In fact, given a fair wind and personal choice in the matter I would have set out at dawn yesterday. But reality being what it is and us not having a Time machine we’ll just have to content ourselves with half an hour hence.”

“Half an hour it will be, then,” murmured the queen.

“Then I had better get prepared,” declared Elflight. “It is no great distance to Toowitty’s nest and we could be there in two shakes of a hermit’s dongle, but I must inform my good wife and arrange for funeral expenses should things go wrong.”

And he raced off to do what he had to do.

“He’s a fine fellow,” sighed Twinkletoes, “and I will do my best to protect him from monsters, men and twelve-bores.”

“I know you will,” smiled Gertitia, “and when you return I will have a shiny bravery medal for you.”

“Ma’am...” wept Twinkletoes, lost for words.

© Peter Rogerson 23.10.18

© 2018 Peter Rogerson

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Added on October 23, 2018
Last Updated on October 23, 2018
Tags: crocodile, twinkletoes, armed man, twelve-bore, policeman


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..