This story

IT'S CHRISTMAS AGAIN

by Robert Williams

"Do you realise, it's only four days till Christmas?!" said Des in the cafe to Mick, Clive and Wayne. "Who's in a festive mood then?!"

"ME!!!!!" yelled Wayne.

"Not me," said Mick.

"Nor me," said Clive.

"Well we'd better have a Christmas sing-song then, to get you in the mood!!" said Des. He opened his mouth to launch into a rendition of Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everybody'.

"Do you know what, I've just suddenly started feeling really Christmassy!" said Mick quickly.

"That's funny, so have I!" said Clive. "Merry Christmas everyone!"

"Oh..." said Des.

"I've got some news that'll make you all feel really Christmassy!" said Mrs Greasy. "I would like to report that this morning I put our Christmas turkey in the oven!!"

"You did what?!?!" exclaimed Clive.

"Bit early, isn't it?" said Des.

"Yes, I did get up at 5.00 this morning to put it on," said Mrs G.

"But why?!?!" said Mick.

"Following a number of complaints I received last year about my turkey being a little underdone, this year I've decided to put it on a bit earlier," said Mrs Greasy.

"Underdone?!?!" said Clive. "It was burnt to a cinder!!"

"You put it on at 5.00 this morning," said Mick. "That was five hours ago. It'll already be burnt to a cinder!!"

He ran into the kitchen.

"Oi, staff only are allowed in there!" said Mrs G, following him.

Mick opened the oven door and smoke poured out.

"Whoops!" said Mrs G, coughing and spluttering. After the smoke had cleared she reached into the oven (with her oven gloves on, obviously) and took out a charred mess that used to be a turkey. "Must have turned the temperature up a bit high. Never mind, I'll just pop down the shop and get another one."

Mrs Greasy put on her coat and scarf and walked out of the cafe, to the others' surprise.

"She's off!" said Des to Mick, Clive and Wayne. "Now's our chance, let's escape before she comes back and serves us our lunch!"

They put their coats on, but as just as they were about to leave, in walked Dickie the Vicar.

"Sorry Dickie, can't talk now!" said Des.

"But we must!" said Dickie. "I have some exciting news for you all! Sit down!"

Moaning and groaning, they all sat down again.

"Be quickie Dickie, we've got to go, urgently!!" said Des.

"That's the problem with modern society!" said Dickie. "Everyone's always in such a rush!! If only we took the time to appreciate the finer things in life!"

"We'll be forced to appreciate lunch cooked by Mrs Greasy if you don't get a move on!" said Des.

"All right then," said Dickie. "Basically, I'm here to bring you details of the groovy Nativity I'm holding this year."

"Oh whoopee," said Des. "Is that it? Right, we're off!"

"Wait a moment!" said Dickie. "This year I've decided to make some exciting changes to my Nativity this year, following last year's play where the average age of the audience was 94!"

"And that's even taking into account the fact that we were all there!" said Mick.

"So in order to attract a younger audience, this Christmas night I shall be holding a Nativity disco!!" said Dickie.

There was a stunned silence.

"I knew you'd be impressed!" said Dickie. "But there's just one problem – as soon as I informed the local drama group, Surbiton Amateur Dramatics, about this, they all told me they had other plans for Christmas night!"

"So the show's off?" said Mick.

"No, I have to raise those funds to fix the church roof!" said Dickie. "So I need you lot to take part instead!!"

"Get stuffed," said Des.

"Don't be so rude!" said Mick.

"I was, er, talking to the turkey that Mrs Greasy is just about to bring through the door," said Des.

"Oh great," said Mick.

"So I'll see you all for our first rehearsal tonight at 7.30!" said Dickie. "Laters!"

As Dickie walked out the door, Mrs Greasy walked in.

"I'm back!" said Mrs G. "Hey, why have you all put your coats and scarves on? I hope you weren't thinking of leaving, I haven't served you your lunch yet!"

"Umm, well no, of course not, the thing was, we, er, just remembered we haven't set the video for this morning's episode of 'Balamory'..." said Des.

"I can't be bothered listening to your rubbish excuses," said Mrs Greasy. "I've got to put this turkey in the oven!"

"But Mrs Greasy, it's still much too early!" said Mick, but to no avail.

Several hours later, Des and Mick were still stuck in the cafe, being forced to make a paper chain for Mrs Greasy. Then news came through from the kitchen that another turkey had been reduced to ashes.

"Sorry boys, I'm afraid I'm going to have to pop out again to get another turkey," said Mrs G.

Once Mrs Greasy was out of sight, Des and Mick dashed out of the cafe and back home. Unfortunately when Des got to his house Dickie the Vicar was there trying to push something through his letterbox, without much success.

"What's that, Dickie?" asked Des.

"The script for our Nativity disco of course!" said Dickie. "You're playing Joseph, by the way!"

"Let me look at that," said Des, grabbing the script. "I want to see what on earth a Nativity disco is supposed to be."

He picked a page at random and started reading.

"'MARY (Mick): There must be somewhere in this town we can stop off at. JOSEPH (Des): Pardon? MARY (Mick): Switch your iPod off, Joseph, I'm talking to you. JOSEPH (Des)(switching off iPod): All right, all right, just chill man. Let's see if there's any room at this happenin' nightclub. MARY (Mick): Oh yes please, this place looks so cool. (They knock on the door. Status Quo music comes blaring out as the door opens to reveal a bouncer). BOUNCER (Mike the Manic Mechanic): Can I help you? JOSEPH (Des): Yo dude, my missus is about to give birth, any chance we could come in? BOUNCER (Mike): No chance matey, you're not wearing a tie, you're not coming in. JOSEPH (Des): Oh botherations, we shall we do now then Mary? BOUNCER (Mike): Tell you what, why don't you pop round the garages at the back? JOSEPH (Des): Cheers mate, that sounds pukka. BOUNCER (Mike): I'm afraid it's a bit oily and messy back there but I'll expect there'll be plenty of room for your little lady to have her little baby just behind that superb 1982 Escort XR3 I'm currently selling with double spoiler, triple turbocharger and quadruple bonnet scoops.' Eh?!?!?"

"Just a little product placement," said Dickie, "Mike specifically asked me to put that bit in! What do you think?"

"It's rubbish!" said Des. "What's all this 'yo dude' nonsense?! And I'm sure they didn't have iPods in prehistoric times!"

"Des, you've got to get with the kids!" said Dickie.

"And where does the disco aspect of the 'Nativity disco' come in?" asked Des.

"While the play is going on I'll be hitting the decks with some trendy tunes for the youngsters to dance to, in case they find the play a bit boring!" said Dickie.

"Riiiiight," said Des. "Just one other thing...why is one of the characters named after the dog from 'Neighbours'?"

"Well why not?!" said Dickie. "Now you've only got three hours to learn your lines before our rehearsal starts at 7.30! See ya!"

"See ya," sighed Des.

Dickie then went next door to deliver Mick's script to him, and delight him with the amazing news that he'd be playing Mary.

Neither Des nor Mick turned up to rehearsals that evening - and both were surprised when Dickie didn't come calling on them like he usually did when they tried to avoid going to his nightly discos.

"I'm a bit worried," said Des the next morning, as he and Mick walked down the road to the cafe. "Do you think Dickie's all right? Where was he last night?!"

"I don't know," said Mick. "Maybe he just forgot. He's getting very forgetful these days. Well, I hope he's forgotten about it anyway!"

"You just don't want to play a lady!" said Des.

"Indeed," said Mick.

But all of thoughts of the Nativity play vanished from Des and Mick's heads when they walked into the cafe. The place was full of frozen turkeys.

"What's all this??!" exclaimed Des.

"Oh good morning, I'm afraid I'm not having much luck with our turkey this year," said Mrs G. "So instead of having to keep going down the shop each time one goes wrong, I've bought a job lot of them!"

"Good grief," said Mick. He sat down on his chair, but found a turkey on it. "Ouch, that's cold!"

"Watch out Mick, there's a turkey on that chair," said Mrs Greasy.

"Never mind that Mrs G, look, there's smoke coming from the kitchen!!" said Mick.

"Oh no, not another one!!" said Mrs G, dashing into the kitchen.

After much noise and clattering, Mrs G walked back out of the kitchen, tutted, picked up one of the frozen turkeys from the table and took it into the kitchen.

Two days later, Christmas Eve, and not much had changed. Mrs Greasy was still burning turkeys to a frazzle, and Dickie the Vicar seemed to have completely forgotten about his Nativity disco.

"So Dickie, what are you doing tomorrow night then?" asked Des.

"Shhhh..." said Mick.

"Nothing special," said Dickie. "I expect Mrs Dickie and I will settle down for a quiet, pleasant evening watching our DVD of 'Dick and Dom in da Bungalow'!"

"That settles it," said Mick when he had gone. "We can breathe easy now!"

"Not quite - Mrs Greasy hasn't forgotten about cooking our Christmas lunch!" said Des.

Mrs Greasy's job lot of turkeys was now drastically reduced in number, and the signs for Christmas lunch were not good.

"We need a contingency plan," said Mick. "At the rate Mrs Greasy is going, she'll have no turkeys left by tomorrow lunchtime!"

"You're right, we'd better nip down the shop and get ourselves a spare turkey," said Des. "We can get Clive to cook it."

And so they did - but they were alarmed to find that every single shop in the area had completely run out of turkeys.

"I can't believe it!" said Mick, as they arrived back at the cafe. "Mrs Greasy has bought up every last turkey!"

"And there aren't many of those left!" said Des. "Couldn't we just 'borrow' one of Mrs Greasy's?"

"No you could not!" said Mrs Greasy, emerging once again from a smoke-filled kitchen. "What reason could you possibly want one for? I reckon I'm just starting to get the hang of cooking these things, and I have no doubt whatsoever that a turkey will be on our Christmas dinner table tomorrow! (Probably)."

"So what happens if, sorry, I mean when you do burn the rest of these turkeys?!" said Mick.

"It'll be cheese sandwiches for Christmas lunch," sighed Des.

"Well...I do have a contingency plan," said Mrs Greasy. "Farmer Files has given me the address of the local turkey farm!"

"Oh god," said Mick.

"Mark my words, I will be cooking a turkey dinner for you this year, come what may!!" said Mrs Greasy. "However long it takes!!"

"Oh no!!!" exclaimed Des.

Des and Mick reconvened in Des's kitchen for an emergency crisis meeting.

"What are we going to do?!?!" exclaimed Des. "Mrs Greasy is set the decimate the UK turkey population!"

"She'll lose interest after Christmas Day," said Mick.

"No she won't, you heard what she said!" said Des. "She will be cooking a turkey for us, however long it takes, and however many turkeys she gets through!! At this rate we'll be having our Christmas dinner on August Bank Holiday Monday!!"

"So have you got any ideas?" said Mick.

"Luckily for you, I do!" said Des. "Let's go and see Farmer Files!"

And so they did.

"Ooooh arrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files when they arrived at his farmhouse-cum-hotel. "You be lookin' for a room this 'ere Christmas?! Well oi'm sorry, there be no room at this 'ere inn, oi mean 'otel!! 'Owever oi'm sure oi can be foinding you some room in the pigsty!!"

"What is he going on about?!" said Des.

"We're not after a room, we just want to know where this turkey farm is!" said Mick.

"Ooooh arrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "What be this obsession with turkeys all of a sudden?!"

Des explained his plan, and Farmer Files agreed to take them to the turkey farm in his Land Rover, which luckily wasn't all that far away.

When they arrived, Files showed them to a massive turkey shed. Des and Mick peered in, and saw what looked like hundreds of turkeys packed inside, all gobbling about.

"Oh good grief," said Mick.

"There's a lot, isn't there!" said Des.

"And your plan is to hide all these turkeys from Mrs Greasy," said Mick.

"We have no choice!" said Des. "Mrs Greasy will get through this lot in a couple of weeks! Which means by the time next Christmas rolls round, there'll no turkeys left in the whole country! This is a national emergency!!"

"I'm think you're blowing the situation out of all proportion," sighed Mick. "Now how do you suggest we catch all this lot? I'm not going in there!!"

"Umm...good question..." said Des. "Any ideas, Farmer Files?"

"Ooooh arrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "Move out the way!!"

Farmer Files opened the door wide and turkeys started rushing out.

"Farmer Files, this is no good!!" said Mick. "We'll never catch them all like this!!"

"Wait!!" said Files. "This be workin' for porkers, oi expect it'll work for turkeys too!!" He took a piccolo out of his pocket and started to play a little tune. To Des and Mick's astonishment, all the turkeys suddenly stopped gobbling and stood to attention.

Playing the piccolo, Files started to skip and dance his way across the farm to his Land Rover. They turkeys had soon organised themselves into one long line, and started to follow Farmer Files. Before long, Files had rounded up all the turkeys into the large trailer attached to the back of the Land Rover.

"That was amazing!" said Des, as they drove away from the farm. "How did you do that?!"

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files by way of explanation.

"Just a thought..." said Mick. "Isn't the turkey farmer going to mind us 'borrowing' all his turkeys?!"

"Ooooh arrrrr!!!" said Files. "Moi mate Farmer Smoiles 'ates Christmas, so 'e always be on 'oliday at this 'ere toime of year!! 'E never need know!!"

"Fair enough," said Mick. "Just one other thought - where exactly are we going to hide all these turkeys?!"

"Oh...I hadn't thought of that..." said Des. "Hey Farmer Files, could you hide them on your farm?!"

"Ooooh arrrrr, no way!!" said Files. "Loike oi said earlier, there be no room at moi farm!!"

"I know!" said Des. "The church hall!!"

"That's a ridiculous idea," said Mick.

"No it's not!" said Des. "Dickie's not using it at the moment, is he? The Nativity disco's obviously been cancelled!"

"Well...I suppose so..." said Mick.

In the absence of any better ideas, Des and Mick opted to go with hiding the turkeys in the church hall. Files parked his Land Rover outside the church hall, played his piccolo once again and all the turkeys marched off the trailer and into the hall.

"Are you sure Dickie's Nativity disco is cancelled?" said Mick. "Look, he's got the Nativity scene all set up on the stage!"

"Don't worry Mick, it is!!" said Des.

"Fair enough, if you say so," said Mick. He closed the door and made sure it was secure.

"Now when Mrs G runs out of turkeys she'll go up to the farm and find none there!" said Des.

"It still doesn't help us get a turkey for Christmas lunch," said Mick.

"Hmmm..." said Des. "I'm still working on that one."

"Ooooh arrrrrr!" said Files. "You'll be needin' this!!"

He rolled a large barrel out of his Land Rover and across to Des and Mick. Des took the lid off and peered inside.

"I'm not eating that!!" he exclaimed.

"Turkey feed!!" exclaimed Files.

"Oh!" said Des.

The next day was Christmas Day, and as usual, Des, Mick, Clive and Wayne had all gathered at Des's house for Des's usual fun-packed extravaganza. At 2.00 Mick was woken up by the doorbell.

"That'll be Mrs Greasy," said Des. "Go and answer the door, Mick." So he did.

"Hello!" said Mrs Greasy, walking inside. "Bad news, I'm afraid, I've burnt the last turkey! I was so busy watching that cartoon adaptation of 'Rupert the Red Nose Snowman' this morning I completely forgot I'd left the oven on!!"

"Oh dear," said Mick.

"So I popped over to that turkey farm," continued Mrs G. "And would you believe it?! All the turkeys had vanished!! Not a single turkey in the place!!"

"Maybe they've gone to have their Christmas dinner," remarked Clive.

"So it's cheese sandwiches for you lot!" said Mrs G. There were groans from all concerned.

At 3.00, by which time lunch was over and Mrs Greasy had left to re-open her cafe, Des switched the television on to watch the Queen's speech. But Her Majesty had barely had a chance to open her mouth when the picture started breaking up.

"That's odd, where's that interference coming from?!" said Des.

They didn't wait long to find out - as the interference cleared, a fuzzy image of Mike the Manic Mechanic sitting in his workshop appeared on Des's television.

"Hi there citizens, you're watching Mike and Motors TV! And welcome to my Christmas message!!"

"What's going on?!?!" exclaimed Mick. "He can't do this!!"

"Mike lost his broadcasting licence because his channel was so rubbish!" said Des. "So he's set himself up as a pirate broadcaster!"

"When I think of Christmas, I think of a time for giving and receiving, for caring and sharing, and spending time with people less fortunate than myself," said Mike. "(I'll be seeing you later, Des and Mick). But more importantly, Christmas is also a time for spending money! And where better to spend your money than right here at Mike's Manic Motors! For example, check out this fantastic 1986 Sierra Cosworth, only on its third bodykit and eighth exhaust..."

Mike's Christmas message turned into a ten minute advert.

"So that's the end of my Christmas message," said Mike, finally. "It just remains for me to wish you all a Merry Christmas - and, oh, what was the other thing...oh yes! I've got a spare turkey if anyone wants one!"

Without hesitation Des and Mick ran out of the house and down the road to Mike's garage.

"Where is it, where is it?!?!" said Des when he got there, huffing and puffing.

"You mean the turkey?" said Mike. "Hey, I said I'd see you two later! Ha ha!!"

"Never mind that, where's the turkey?!" said Mick.

"Sorry, you're too late," said Mike. "I've just given it to Mrs Greasy."

"Oh brilliant," said Des. "Thanks a bunch, Mike."

"And a Merry Christmas to you too!" said Mike.

Des and Mick moped home. Four-and-a-half hours later, Mrs Greasy turned up again. She was holding Mike's turkey - which was now completely charred.

"Look!!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "Perfect!! At last!!"

"No it's not, it's still burnt!" said Mick.

"Nonsense, now let's get tucking in, you must be starving!!" said Mrs G, taking the burnt turkey into Des's kitchen.

"To be honest, I feel really full after eating my one cheese sandwich five hours ago," said Des, looking at the blackened bird.

"Hey Des!" said Mick. "I've just thought of something!" He whispered something into Des's ear.

"Yes!!" exclaimed Des, punching the air.

The duo quickly left the house.

"Where are those two off to?!" said Mrs Greasy.

They were off to the church hall - Mick had remembered they hadn't fed the hidden turkeys all day.

"Good thinking Mick!" said Des, as they arrived. "Now we don't have to eat Mrs Greasy's cooking! Hey - you don't reckon we could borrow one of these turkeys and get Clive to cook it?"

"Don't even think about it!" said Mick. "If even one turkey goes missing, that turkey farmer is bound to notice when he comes back from holiday!"

"Oh all right then," said Des. "You open the door and I'll just go and fetch the barrel."

Mick opened the door, and straight away got a massive shock. He closed it again, his face aghast.

"What's the matter?" said Des, rolling the barrel of turkey feed round.

But Mick could not speak. He opened the door and pointed inside. When he looked in, Des gasped. Dickie the Vicar's Nativity disco was under way. With live turkeys. On stage, there was a turkey dressed as a shepherd, another dressed as an angel, another sitting in the manger. Dickie the Vicar was standing at his record decks, grooving along to the sound of Status Quo. And filling the rest of the hall were turkeys sat on chairs, gobbling away, watching this spectacle.

Des and Mick surveyed the scene in utter astonishment, and then quickly shut the door.

"So...shall you feed them, or shall I?" said Des.

"I don't care, I just need a stiff drink," said Mick.

"Oh all right then," said Des. "Merry Christmas."


Copyright © Robert Williams
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