A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



What’s that counting?” hissed Royston before passing out where he sat, a wave of impenetrable shadow sweeping his consciousness away and leaving him in the arms of Lethe.

I dunno,” grated Blinky, unaware that he might be talking to himself as a consequence of the somnambulism being thoroughly demonstrated in the seat next to him.

The mechanical countdown had reached three and Bllnky was half-way through the Lord’s Prayer, which was as far as he ever got without forgetting what comes next, when he heard Angelina’s voice calling him.

Ah, an angel, drawing me towards Olympus and the heights wherein I might fall for a lady goddess amongst clouds of utter delight, he thought, convinced they were all about to die, though he didn’t know how.

It’s all right Blinky,” she was saying, though she usually preferred to call him by the more deferential sir, “it’s his kitchen timer. He’s just got to put the chips on.”

That lost him. He had no idea that chips were available in wild places like this, and where in the name of goodness would he get the potatoes from if he made his own? Where did he get anything from? How did he survive in the broken wilderness that was this cursed place, where the only growing things he could see were scrubby little bushes with thorns instead of fruit on them and the only colour was a kind of mud-green?

Wha’s going on?” came blurrily from a recovering Royston who somehow had persuaded the darkness to leave him for a while.

He’s making us some chips,” beamed Angelina, “isn't he such a gorgeous hunk of a man?”

Who is?” asked Royston weakly,

Why, Igor of course!” exclaimed Angelina.

But he isn’t wearing any trousers!” protested Royston, “why is he not wearing any trousers? Surely a man in this sort of place might find wearing trousers to be almost mandatory? There are so many prickly things around… a man must have protection, surely? His valuable crown jewels…?”

He’s perfectly all right,” Angelina told him, “after all, he is wearing rather smart boxer shorts, and anyway there’s nothing to harm him up there where’s he’s standing, and a lovely safe path all the way back to his cave. We’re all invited for lunch. He got my message all right.”

What message?” demanded an almost recovered Blinky who was squinting because a sudden shaft of sunlight had decided to search out the internal structure of his eyes at the precise moment that they started working again.

I told him that Tiffany was three,” grinned Angelina, “you know, breakfast, and there are three of us. No Norse legends mentioned I’m afraid, Igor loves Nordic stuff, but I was in a hurry.”

But when…?” asked Royston weakly.

I did tell you he had a good broadband connection, didn’t I?” beamed Angelina, “and a really smart phone,” she added. “It wasn’t hard,” she continued, grinning, “even girls know how to send messages on the quiet, and you two aren’t the most observant chaps around. Now come on or the chips will get cold.”

They had no choice, as they saw it, so first Royston and then Blinky with Angelina helping him climbed out of the car and made their way slowly towards where the hairiest man they had ever seen stood grinning at them.

Royston eyed the hermit Igor and had to admire the length of his hair, and the complete lack of discipline in the way it misbehaved when every minor puff of wind ruffled it. In colour, it might have once been auburn but there was enough grey in it to make it almost sandy.

He was dressed, if that’s what you’d call it, in a tee-shirt portraying a weary Mickie Mouse doing something unprintable to Minnie, a pair of shoes, brown leather and polished, a pair of pink and puce striped boxer-shorts, but no trousers. If it hadn’t been for the lack of that particular garment he might have looked almost normal, but normal was a word nobody uses when he is describing a very hirsute man minus and kind of trousers in public.

The thing that most confused Royston was the fact that the man they were approaching was an oddity (to say the least) and yet he felt almost inferior to him, as though he himself was an ape-man on the way to greet some grand Lord in his mansion.

Welcome, friendsh,” greeted Igor, “and I hope you can help me.”

His speech was that of a man without any teeth, a fact that was obvious whenever he opened his mouth, and he seemed uncomfortably aware of the fact.

Thish way,” he said with the barest hint of a smile protruding through the bush that covered his face, and they trooped along behind him.

Angelina had been right about the route to what must be the man’s primitive home because all thorny growths had been removed and the path was clear and almost seemed well tended. It led up to the irregular shape of a cave entrance, and once inside it they could see that it was unlike any cave they had ever imagined.

It wasn’t exactly spartan, though, but the furniture was modern and more than adequate for Igor’s solitary existence. There were even enough comfortable chairs for his guests to sit in while Igor himself attended to something in what Royston decided must be the kitchen area.

You are staying for lunch,” he called, “chips. I love chips and when I can get fish I love fish and chips. Sorry, but there isn’t any fish available today. The cunning little creatures seem to have learned to steer clear of my nets!”

You’re certainly very comfortable in here,” broached Royston, though the sight of an extremely hairy man in boxer shorts supervising a bubbling pan of frying chips seemed at odds with the notion of civilised comfort. His apparatus seemed to be some kind of wood-burning stove which sent little spurts of bitter smoke into the air as well as up a stove pipe that vanished through the roof, an aroma that seemed to be complemented by the occasional more bitter stench of frizzling human hair.

That, thought Royston cynically, must be why he wears the pants rather than go totally commando…

You might be wondering why I’ve called you here,” called Igor, glancing up from his sizzling stove, “and that’sh the nub of the matter. I’ve losht my teeth!”

There didn’t seem to be much they could say to that even though they all formulated at least a dozen questions each. Angelina was first.

Where did you lose them?” she asked.

If I knew that they wouldn’t be losth!” he snapped back, then smiled at her. “I wash fishing,” he said quietly, “in the shtream which runsh pasht the other entrance of this homeshtead of mine, and I took them out while I chewed on a piece of gum I’ve been using for agesh. What happened next is pure shpeculation, becaushe when I looked to pick them up they had gone.”

You’re sure you looked in the right place?” asked Blinky.

Igor sighed wearily. “Of courshe I did,” he almost shouted, then more quietly, “I’ve got a tremendoushly high IQ and I never forget important thingsh like that,” he said, “and the only thing that I can think of is one of the fishesh jumped out of the water and pinched them while my back wash turned! It’sh the only sholution And I’m employing the Curmudgeon agency to find them!”

Oh bother,” muttered Royston wearily.

© Peter Rogerson 16.01.20

© 2020 Peter Rogerson

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Added on January 16, 2020
Last Updated on January 16, 2020
Tags: cave, caveman, Igor, fish and chips, dentures


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 76 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..