This story

MEALS ON WHEELS

by Robert Williams

"YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"What was that noise?" said Mick to himself, who was sitting in his house. "Was it the oil refinery exploding?"

No, it was Des, who had just received the one phone call he thought he would never receive. Mrs Greasy had rung him and asked him not to come down the cafe that morning.

"This has to be my lucky day!!" said Des to Mick, who had just arrived round his house to find out what the noise was.

"I got the same phone call," said Mick, when Des had explained all. "I don't understand!"

"Is Mrs Greasy feeling all right?!" said Des. "Still, as long as it means we don't have to be force fed her cooking for once, who cares?!"

"Hmmmm, there's something very fishy going on here," said Mick.

"That'll be my tuna sandwich," said Des.

Just then they heard a massive explosion come from outside.

"Now that must have been the oil refinery!" said Des.

"No it's not, it's just an old van backfiring," said Mick. "An old van that's got 'Mrs Greasy's Meals on Wheels' scrawled across the side."

"Oh, that's all right then...WHAT?!?!?!"

Yes, driving slowly up the road was a dirty, decrepit van that had obviously been supplied by Mike the Manic Mechanic, with bright pink writing on the side.

"I know, I'll pretend I'm not in," said Des.

"That won't work, she knows you're in," said Mick. "She just rang you up!!"

"It's all right for you, you really are not in," said Des.

"I just hope she hasn't got that poor monkey to do her dirty work for her like she did last time," said Mick.

"Don't be ridiculous, monkeys can't drive vans," said Des.

The old van stopped outside Des and Mick's houses, and then, to their horror, out stepped a monkey. It walked up Mick's drive and rang the doorbell. When it got no reply, it stumbled through the bushes into Des's front garden, and rang Des's doorbell. Des reluctantly opened the door.

"Good morning," said the monkey. Des and Mick looked bemused. The monkey then took its head off, revealing Mrs Greasy inside. Des and Mick then screamed.

"It's only me!" said Mrs G.

"Why are you wearing a monkey costume?!" asked Mick.

"Because my driving licence only covers mopeds, it doesn't cover driving cars and vans," said Mrs Greasy. "So I'm wearing this cunning disguise just in case I run into PC Plod."

"With your driving abilities it won't be too long before you run into PC Plod," said Mick. "Or anyone else, for that matter!"

"Anyway, what's all this 'Meals on Wheels' rubbish about anyway?!" said Des. "Have I really got to that age now?!"

"Yup!" said Mrs G. "In addition, Mike the Manic Mechanic's building a stairlift for you!"

Des look alarmed.

"Only joking!!!" exclaimed Mrs G. "No, Meals on Wheels has to be my greatest plan yet! I can't believe how I never thought of it before!! Due to bafflingly low customer numbers at my cafe, I figured that if you can't get the people to come to your cafe, then the only answer is to take your cafe to the people!!!"

"Oh my god," said Mick.

"So what do you two fancy for lunch, then?" said Mrs G. "I've got a full selection in the back of my van!!"

"I'm not hungry," said Des.

"Nor me," said Mick.

"So that's sausages and mash for Des, and baked beans for Mick," said Mrs G, noting down their non-order, which was somewhat difficult with her monkey hands, while Des and Mick grimaced.

"Hey look Mrs G, someone's stealing stuff out of the back of your van!!" said Des.

"Oh, I'm not going to fall for that one," said Mrs Greasy. "You have to get up early in the morning to catch me."

"I did!" said Des. "Early for me, anyway."

"No, it's true, Mrs Greasy, look!" said Mick.

Mrs G turned round and saw a masked man loading various cakes and things out the back of her van.

"OI!!! YOU!!!" shouted Mrs G. She ran back towards the van, while the masked man scarpered with his loot (not his lute, that would be ridiculous).

"Can only have been Wayne," said Mick. "No one else would actually steal from Mrs Greasy!"

"Anyway look, now's our chance!!" said Des.

While Mrs Greasy was busy looking around for the felon, Des and Mick nipped into Des's Fiat 126 and drove off, despite the fact that Des was still wearing his pyjamas.

"Where are we going?!" said Mick.

"Anywhere!!" said Des.

Before long Mrs Greasy had tracked down and reprimanded Wayne for his unforgivable actions.

"I'm sorry Mrs G, but ever since Eldorado split up, I've been skint!!!" said Wayne.

"Oh that's a shame, tell you what, why don't I let you have a free sponge cake?" said Mrs G.

"Yum yum!!" said Wayne, agreeing to Mrs G's benevolent offer, which was all the more bizarre since he also still had all the stuff he stole out the back of the van.

She then turned to go back to Des's house, but noticed that the front door was closed and his car had vanished.

"Now where have they gone, those cheeky monkeys?!" exclaimed Mrs G. She popped her monkey head back on, and sped off (relative term) in her van.

Meanwhile Des and Mick were driving randomly round the local roads.

"I don't see the point in this, she's bound to catch up with us eventually," said Mick.

Before long Des spied a monkey driving an old van in his rear view mirror.

"OH NO!!!!!" exclaimed Des. He put his foot down, but unfortunately his Fiat 126 was already going at maximum speed, ie not very fast. Meanwhile Mrs Greasy was just behind them, also driving at maximum speed, ie not very fast either. This was destined to be the slowest chase of all time.

"This is ridiculous," sighed Mick.

"I've got it!!" said Des, suddenly. "The one place we'll be safe!!"

Mick couldn't think where that could be. But before long he found out, as Des drew up outside the local police station.

"There!" said Des. "There's no way Mrs Greasy is going to stop for us here!!"

"Very clever," said Mick. "Where's she gone, anyway?"

"Think she got held up at those traffic lights further up," said Des. "We'll just wait here a minute."

Just then PC Plod poked his head through Des's car window. Luckily, Des had already wound the window down.

"Excuse me sir, you can't park here," said Plod.

"Oh come on PC Plod, we won't be a moment!" whined Des. "We're on the run, you see."

Mick slapped his hand across his face.

"Really?" said PC Plod, getting out his notebook.

"Yes, from Mrs Greasy," said Des.

"Ah, I understand totally," said PC Plod, putting his notebook away. "By the way sir, do you normally drive around in your pyjamas?"

"No, I normally drive around in my car!!" said Des. "Ha ha!!"

Just then they saw Mrs Greasy's van driving towards them. She slowed down to stop by Des's car, then noticed it was right by the police station, and so had no option to carry on driving past.

"Right, we're safe now," said Des, once she was out of sight.

"Excuse me, sir," said a bewildered-looking Plod. "Was that a..."

"Monkey driving a van?" said Des, driving off.

"Yes..." said Plod. "I really must remember to book that holiday..."

The next morning, having foiled Mrs Greasy, Des and Mick turned up at the cafe as normal.

"Good morning Mrs Greasy," said Des.

"Good morning Des and Mick," said Mrs Greasy, bluntly.

"How's the Meals on Wheels going?" asked Des.

"Very well, thank you," said Mrs G.

"I've got an order for you, by the way," said Des.

"Oh yes??" said Mrs G.

"Yes, the police station would like you to deliver some scrambled eggs round to them, if that's all right," said Des.

"Very funny," said Mrs G, as Des and Mick sniggered. "I'll have you know, my Meals on Wheels service has been nothing less than an unmitigated success!!! I've made dozens of sales all over the local area!! Now everybody's had a chance to sample my wonderful cookery!!"

"I wondered why there were so many ambulances going past yesterday," said Mick.

"So now it's time to take things to the next level!" said Mrs Greasy.

"Next level?" said Des, looking worried.

"That's right!" said Mrs G. "Mrs Greasy's Meals on Wheels is going nationwide!!!"

"Oh no!!!" exclaimed Des.

"And on that bombshell, I'll go and fetch you your lunch," said Mrs G. "Unfortunately I haven't got much left after yesterday, so I apologise if your food appears a little more manky than usual."

"Oh no!!!" exclaimed Des. "More manky than usual, is that physically possible???"

"Great," said Mick. "So we get the leftovers. The stuff the other people wouldn't touch."

Mrs Greasy served them their lunch, which was indeed even mankier than usual.

"Now hurry up, and eat up," said Mrs Greasy. "I've got to get on the road again!!"

"But you just said, you've run out of food!" said Des.

"I'll be cooking while I'm driving, of course!!" said Mrs Greasy.

"I'd advise you steer clear of the police station again then," said Mick.

"Oh yes, and I must also pop in to see Mike the Manic Mechanic, to see how he's progressing with my nationwide expansion plans," said Mrs G.

"Nationwide expansion plans, I really don't like the sound of this," said Mick to Des. "Is she really planning to inflict her cooking on the whole country???"

"Hey never mind that, this has got to be good news for us!!" said Des. "If she's going to be busy driving her van around the country, she won't be here to inflict her cooking on us!!!"

"Yes, I just hope you're right," said Mick.

"Why are you always so pessimistic?!" said Des.

"I have this funny feeling..." said Mick.

"That'll be that omelette you've just eaten," said Des.

A few mornings later, Des and Mick walked along the road to the cafe as usual, and noticed that her beaten up old van was no longer parked outside.

"She's gone!!" exclaimed Des, excitedly. "Hurrah!!!!"

"No she hasn't," said Mick. "She's standing outside, grinning."

"What are you looking so happy about?" said Des. "Where's your van gone?"

"Sold it!" said Mrs Greasy. "That old thing's vastly insufficient for my expansion plan! For Meals on Wheels Nationwide, I need to think BIG!! Look, here it comes!!"

Round the corner they saw drive a lorry. And on the back of the lorry was an exact life-size replica of Mrs Greasy's cafe. Des and Mick stared incredulously at it.

"So what do you think?!" said Mrs G, as the lorry stopped outside the cafe.

Des and Mick were speechless.

"Brilliant, isn't it!!" said Mrs G. "Mike the Manic Mechanic built this!!"

Des and Mick were still speechless.

"Mrs Greasy's Cafe takes to the road at long last!!" exclaimed Mrs G. "Take a look inside!!"

Des and Mick peered inside the replica cafe, and the inside was just like the real thing as well.

"So...are you going to be driving this all round the country?" said Mick.

"Goodness no, I'll be busy in the mobile cafe, cooking up some glorious grub!" said Mrs G. "I've employed Long Distance Clara to drive the thing for me."

"Well, good luck to you," said Mick. "How long are you going to be away for?"

"Don't know," said Mrs Greasy. "Days, weeks, months, who knows?"

"Yes!!!" said Des, excitedly.

"Don't panic though, I've got everything sorted for you two," said Mrs G. "You won't be missing out!"

"What do you mean?" said Des.

"You're coming with me!!" said Mrs Greasy. "Oh look, here she comes now. Move along, Long Distance Clara!!"

Long Distance Clara drove the lorry with the replica of Mrs Greasy's cafe round the corner, and taking its place was another lorry carrying, to Des and Mick's absolute horror, none other than life-size replicas of their houses.

"Hi there Long Distance Tara!!" shouted Mrs Greasy to the driver of this second lorry.

Des and Mick stared with their mouths wide open.

"So what do you think?!" said Mrs G. "Home from home!!"

"But...but..." stuttered Des. "WHY???"

"You two are my longest-standing and most valued customers!" said Mrs G. "I owe it to you not to deprive you of my cooking for such a long time!!"

"What about Wayne?!?!" exclaimed Des. "Surely he's your most valued, well, only valued customer!!"

"He said he didn't want to go," said Mrs Greasy.

"We don't want to go!!!!" exclaimed Mick.

"Too late now, I've had these replicas of your houses made at great expense!" said Mrs G.

Des and Mick peered through the windows of their 'houses' and, unlike Mrs G's cafe replica, inside they were completely empty. They didn't even have an upstairs.

"Where's all the furniture?!" moaned Des.

"Ran out of money," said Mrs G. "Anyway, you've got furniture inside your real houses, you can just take that with you!!"

Des and Mick groaned.

"Still, look on the bright side," said Des. "While we're on the road, at least we won't have to suffer Dickie the Vicar's discos."

Just then Dickie the Vicar walked round the corner.

"Hi there Mrs G, all ready?!" said Dickie.

"Certainly is!!" said Mrs Greasy. "Look, here it comes now!! Move along, Long Distance Tara!!"

Long Distance Tara drove the lorry with the replica of Des and Mick's houses round the corner, and taking its place was yet another lorry. Des and Mick's hearts sank when they saw that it was carrying an exact life-size replica of the church hall.

"Hi there Long Distance Sara!!" shouted Mrs Greasy to the driver of the third lorry.

"That's fantastic!!" exclaimed Dickie, looking at the church hall replica. "Isn't it, Des and Mick?!! Now this mean as, my most regular and valued patrons, you won't have to miss out on my fabbo charity discos while you're away!!!"

Des and Mick fainted.

Later that day, once they had regained consciousness, Des and Mick found themselves heaving various items of furniture, such as chairs, beds and tables, out of their houses.

"What's this?!?!" exclaimed Clive when he saw them. "Is this my lucky day?!?! Are you finally moving out?!?!"

"Not exactly," said Mick. "And certainly not voluntarily."

Just then Long Distance Tara pulled up outside their real houses with their new fake houses. Clive looked at them in amazement.

"Please don't ask," said Mick. "All enquiries to Mrs Greasy, please."

That evening, Mrs Greasy's Meals on Wheels Nationwide took to the road, and a convoy of the three lorries was soon driving up the motorway, with Des, Mick, Mrs G and Dickie trying to make themselves at home in their respective fake abodes. Des stood in his house staring out of the plastic windows with a miserable look on his face.

"It's cold in here," he grumbled to himself, kicking the metal wall and making a dent in it. "And I wish they'd all stop staring at me!" he said, as all the drivers passing by looked on incredulously at this spectacle.

He decided to sit down in his armchair, but every time he tried to it ended up sliding across the floor to the other side. He tried watching television, but unfortunately he could only get a signal on Channel 5. He went to get a chocolate biscuit out of the cupboard, but then remembered Mrs Greasy had barred them from taking cupboards, fridges or any food storage devices, or, for that matter, any food that wasn't supplied by herself.

And then if things couldn't get any worse, Des's mobile phone rang.

"Hi there Des, Dickie the Vicar here, just letting you know I'm holding a groovy charity disco to raise funds to fix the church roof!! It's over at the church hall right now, just behind you!!"

"Oh right, so I'll just step outside my house onto the busy motorway to join you then," said Des.

"Yes, you do that!" said Dickie. "See ya!!"

Des decided it would be best if he went to bed. Except there wasn't even much point in trying that since he wouldn't be able to get to sleep due to the road noise.

By the morning, the convoy had arrived at the first destination on Mrs Greasy's grand nationwide tour. Des, who had managed to get a modicum of sleep after all, woke to find himself in a car park. Mrs Greasy rang him up on his mobile phone.

"Good morning Des!" she exclaimed. "Hope you had a great night's sleep!! And welcome to Milton Keynes!! By the way, if I were you, I'd come out of your house for a bit!!"

Des staggered out of his pretend house and jumped off the lorry. A crane that Mrs Greasy had hired then picked up the house and dumped it in the car park next to the mobile cafe which had already been dumped there. Then it went to pick up Mick's house.

"Hang on, where's Mick?!" said Des.

"Still inside his house," said Mrs G. "I can't ring up to warn him, because he hasn't got a mobile phone, has he?!"

And so Mick awoke to find his house dangling in mid-air as the crane picked it up.

"WHAT'S HAPPENING?!?!?" exclaimed an alarmed Mick.

There was then a sudden thud as it was dumped onto the ground. Des and Mrs G watched as a dazed and befuddled Mick opened the front door, and collapsed onto the ground.

Mrs Greasy had a busy day treating the unsuspecting populace of Milton Keynes to her unique brand of cooking. Meanwhile, once Mick had recovered, he and Des slipped away to seek out some proper food.

"Decent food, at last!" said Des, as they sat in a local restaurant tucking into some delicious fish and chips, the likes of which they hadn't tasted for years.

"So what are we going to do about this?!" groaned Mick. "Why couldn't Mrs Greasy just get replicas of us, she's got replicas of everything else!!"

"That's it!!" said Des. "We'll find some shop dummies and dress them up in our clothes!! She'll never notice the difference!! Then we could go home!!"

"But what about when she notices we haven't eaten any of her food?" said Mick.

"Wouldn't be any different to usual!!" said Des.

Unfortunately they had to abandon this plan when they realised they had both forgotten to pack any spare clothes - plus the only dummies they could find were just a bit too good-looking to be able to pass off as themselves. So they returned to the restaurant for another helping of edible food, where Mick's ears pricked up as the news came on the radio.

"Oh whoopee, the news, how exciting," groaned Des.

"Weather forecasters are warning of damaging gales of up to 100mph which are expected to batter the East Coast of England tomorrow," said the newsreader. "Police are advising residents in the Scarborough area not to venture out unless absolutely necessary. Local news now, and hospitals across Milton Keynes have today been inundated with an unprecedented level of food poisoning..."

"Well I hope Mrs Greasy isn't planning to take us anywhere near the East Coast then!" said Mick.

"On the contrary!" said Des, an idea forming in his head. He rang up Mrs Greasy up on his mobile phone. "Mrs G, news of Meals on Wheels Nationwide is speading fast, and the population of Scarborough are clamouring for your cooking! It's a long way, so we'd better get up there now!!"

Before they knew it, the cranes had lifted the fake buildings back onto the lorries, and Long Distance Clara, Tara and Sara were driving Mrs G, Des, Mick and Dickie 150 miles across England. The next morning they arrived in an extremely windy Scarborough.

"That looks a suitable place to park," said Des to Mrs G on his mobile phone. Mrs G peered out of the mobile cafe window and saw a sign saying 'DANGER'.

"Danger?!" said Mrs G. "Are you sure?!"

"Yes, Danger, it's a name of a suburb of Scarborough," said Des.

"It looks terribly close to the cliff edge!" said Mrs Greasy.

"Yes, it's a very popular area, all the holidaymakers come down here!" said Des.

"On a day like this?!?!" exclaimed Mrs G.

"Yes, your mobile cafe will attract people from far and wide, whatever the weather!!" said Des.

The foursome disembarked from their pretend buildings, and another crane that Mrs G had hired lifted them off the lorries.

"Right near the cliff edge!!" shouted Des to the crane driver.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?!" shouted a windswept Mrs G, looking at the ferocious sea below.

"Yes, the customers will love the sea views!" shouted a windswept Des.

As soon as the buildings had been deposited on the ground by the cliff edge, Des yelled "NOW RUN!!!!"

Des, Mick, Dickie and Mrs G dashed away from the edge, back past the danger sign, just as a huge wave engulfed the cliff edge. They watched as the ground, along with all of the fake buildings, collapsed into the sea and was washed away.

"I don't believe it!!!" exclaimed Mrs G.

"Oh dear, what a bit of bad luck," said Des, sarcastically. "Looks like the end of Meals on Wheels Nationwide!"

"Well done Des," said Mick.

"Thanks!" said Des.

"I was being sarcastic!" said Mick. "All our furniture was in those houses!!"

"Ah..." said Des, who hadn't thought of that.

"Good thing I was able to rescue my decks though!" said Dickie, who was standing by the aforementioned record decks. The others' hearts sank. "Anyone fancy a disco?!! I've got a great track by Living in the Box - 'Blow the House Down'!!!"

"Well I suppose it's sort of vaguely appropriate," muttered Mick.


Copyright © Robert Williams
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