Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Childleg's Turn To Carry The Christmas Pudding

It is Childleg’s turn to carry the Christmas pudding. The Christmas pudding is kept in the ‘special drawer’. The ‘special drawer’ needs the three strongest cats on the boat to get it open. The three strongest cats are Monty, Mr. Pickles and Lisping John Murphies.

Childleg is not strong enough to open the drawer. Childleg stands at the back of the ‘special cabin’, watching the three cats get the drawer open. Lisping John Murphies takes the Christmas pudding out of the drawer and walks it over to Childleg.

‘Thhhhhh,’ he says and gives Childleg the Chrismas pudding.

‘Thanks,’ says Childleg.

The other cats leave Childleg alone to get ready.

Unlike most of the cats on The Cat Boat, Childleg doesn’t enjoy carrying the Christmas pudding. Childleg feels awkward and blank and small and ridiculous whenever he carries the Christmas pudding. He can’t ‘get into it’. He feels like he is just doing an imitation of one of the other cats, and sometimes he feels like he is watching himself from a point very far away, like at the top of the rigging. Sometimes, before going to sleep, Childleg remembers a time when he carried the Christmas pudding and winces.

Childleg rests the Christmas pudding on one of the ‘special countertops’ and puts on the ‘special neckerchief’. He ties it at the front, then shuffles it around his neck so the knot is at the back. Childleg picks up the Christmas pudding and walks awkwardly towards the door.

It is one forty five p.m. The Pacific Ocean looks like a giant melted scratching post.

The other cats are waiting on deck. When Childleg steps out of the ‘special cabin’ they become silent.

Childleg carries the Christmas pudding.

He carries it up the deck then back again. The cats look at the Christmas pudding. Childleg feels like he is doing an imitation of a cat carrying a Christmas pudding. His leg feels stupid. He wants to throw the Christmas pudding into the Pacific Ocean and walk on all fours and lick himself. He feels his tail start to swish involuntarily. He tries to think about something peaceful to stop the tail from swishing. He thinks about the record album. He thinks about manning the rigging. He thinks about being asleep.

His tail stops swishing.

*

Later the cats listen to the record album. They go into different areas and compartments of the boat and listen to it. Three of the cats are looking over the side of the boat at the water.

‘I was looking at another record album on Amazon,’ says A Diamond as Big as the Ritz.

Dewey Decimal and The Old Curiosity Shop don’t say anything.

‘It was called ‘Planet Waves’ by Bob Dylan,’ says A Diamond as Big as the Ritz. ‘I had a listen to some of the songs on it. It only let you listen to the first thirty seconds or so but they sounded pretty good. I noticed they have a Used and New copy for something like 50p plus postage.’

‘What the hell are you trying to say?’ says Dewey Decimal.

‘Nothing,’ says A Diamond as Big as the Ritz.

A Diamond as Big as the Ritz feels confused and sad.

They look silently over the side of the boat at the water and listen to the record album.

For no reason, Whatthehellamidoingwhyaminotworkingonmynovel? starts to laugh.

4 comments:

Duncan Cheshire said...

Excellent story, good work, Chris. I like this story so much it has instantly gained a place in my top five 'favourite stories written by Chris Killen'.

chris killen said...

wow. thanks. what are the other four?

Duncan Cheshire said...

If I had to choose, the other four would be, in no particular order:

i will murder the tiny break-dancing child

The Talking Magritte

The Man in the Road

Freddy Pickles and Friday Night

Duncan Cheshire said...

ISSMTCADSW.

(that was an acronym for: I Should Stop Making Throw-away Comments And Do Some Work)