Reg – An Object of Admiration

Reg on the wall in an art gallery
Reg on the wall in an art gallery

Reg’s Dlog (Well, what else would you call a dog’s blog?)

Have you ever wished you were an object of admiration in an art gallery? As an up and coming writer whose latest story is about a model, I thought I’d better do some research and find out what was involved. The protagonist of my story is the devastatingly handsome and debonair, Rog, who happens to look quite a lot like me. And photographers are tripping over themselves to take his photo and slap them all over art gallery walls. So, I thought I’d better find out what it felt like to have people staring at my image. And I can now report that it felt quite good although the chap on the left of the photo obviously has no taste. The other two people, however, are enthralled. The Old Girl said they’re probably stunned speechless. To be honest, I can’t say that it actually helped with writing the story but it was a lot of fun. In fact, I haven’t got very far with the story at all.

So, in the meantime, if you’ve read the Old Girl’s first story about the Three Wise Monkeys which you can find here and you’ve read the second which you can find here, you might like to read the third and possibly the final story, below. Although I have a feeling that Eddie, the Bald Eagle and Miss Havisham might not have finished their adventures – but you never know. Anyway, I strongly suggest you read the first two stories before the one below or you may be rather puzzled by reference to elephant’s knickers. You may also wonder why Colin doesn’t like being called a monkey and why Eddie is covered in custard.

The Fine Print

Word count = 2,006

Reluctantly, he handed over the keys.

‘This is most irregular, Young Mr. Krapowski. I really need your brother’s permission to give you rooms.’

‘Come on Hugo! It’s not like you’re full.’

‘That’s not the point, sir. The Tropicana Hotel has a reputation to uphold.’

‘#WhatADump,’ whispered Deirdre.

‘Well, if you’ll take a seat, I’ll find the register,’ Hugo muttered.

Eddie looked around the decaying hotel reception with dismay. Undoubtedly it had once been grand, but over time, its red velvet furnishings had faded to a sickly, salmon pink and the gold tassels and trimmings were mildewed and green. As Eddie sat on the sofa, a puff of dust enveloped him and rose into the gloom. It was one dust shower too many, for the spider above Eddie’s head. He began to choke and with one final dust-laden cough, he dropped from his web and dangled lifelessly by a thread.

‘Another one bites the dust,’ remarked an ancient spider on one of the lanterns that hung from the ceiling. ‘If I were you, mate, I’d get out while you can,’ he said to Eddie.

‘D’you think he’s right?’ whispered Babs, ‘there’s something odd about this place. I haven’t seen a single guest.’

‘They’re probably asleep in their rooms, like I want to be,’ said Colin yawning.

‘Look there’s someone,’ said Deirdre, ‘She keeps wandering in and out of the reception.’

‘I don’t think she can see through that veil she’s wearing. She’s trying to open the panel in the wall.’

‘The door’s to the left, Miss Havisham,’ Hugo called to the old lady mouse.

‘Thank you, Hugo,’ she trilled, stepping to the right and trying a different panel.

Taking a feather duster from under the desk, Hugo hobbled towards the old lady who was now rapping on the wooden panel with her walking stick.

‘Now, now, Miss Havisham,’ said Hugo, flicking the duster back and forth across the old lady’s veil, which disintegrated with each swipe, ‘there, let’s get rid of all those cobwebs.’

‘I wish to make a complaint. This door is stuck.’

Hugo took her gently by the shoulders and turned her towards the large entrance to her left.

‘If I might make a suggestion, Miss Havisham, it’s best to keep out of the cellar which is full of cobwebs.’

‘Why on earth should I go into the cellar?’

‘I’ve no idea, Miss Havisham. But that’s why you’re covered in cobwebs.’

‘Rubbish. Now please point me in the direction of my room.’

‘It’s to the right and up the stairs… the other right, Miss Havisham.’

Hugo lumbered back to the desk and beckoned to the weary group.

‘Name?’ he asked Babs.

‘Babs’n’Deirdre.’

He scribbled laboriously in a large book.

‘Name? he asked Deirdre.

‘Er…Deirdre.’

He scribbled again.

‘Er, Hugo, she’s Babs and I’m Deirdre.’

He glared at the rabbits and crossed out the entries.

‘Name?’

‘This could take a while,’ whispered Brian with a sigh.

 

Hugo had finally let them go to their rooms. The water in the shower had been tepid but after some vigorous scrubbing, Eddie’s goose bumps were no longer glazed in custard. By the time he’d climbed into bed, Colin and Brian were top to tail in the other bed, snoring in time with each other.

‘Rise ‘n shine, boys!’ Eddie said the following morning as he gingerly pulled the threadbare curtains apart.

‘Shut up!’ said Brian pulling the duvet over his head.

There was a loud knock at the door.

‘It’s Hugo with our breakfast!’ said Eddie.

‘Good morning, Mr. Chicken and Sirs. Mr. Krapowski asked me to inform you that you’re expected in the conference room in ten minutes.’

‘You can put the tray here,’ Eddie said clearing a space on the table.

‘Only if you want Miss Havisham to join you, sir,’ Hugo said, ‘this is her breakfast.’ He turned and carried on further up the corridor, followed by the delicious aroma of bacon and eggs.

 

‘I hope there’s something for us to eat,’ Colin said as they made their way down to the conference room, ‘I’m starving.’

Ahead of them a veiled Miss Havisham stepped into a broom cupboard. A mop fell out into the corridor, closely followed by a bucket.

‘Miss Havisham, can I help you?’ Eddie asked.

‘Perhaps you’d be good enough to direct me to the restaurant. My eyesight is playing up this morning.’

Eddie brushed the cobwebs from her head. ‘Have you been in the cellar again, Miss Havisham?’

‘Certainly not. Now, where’s the restaurant? While you ask me silly questions, the eggs are getting congealed.’

‘But didn’t you have breakfast in your room earlier?’

‘That was ages ago. Now, shall we go?’ she asked, tucking her paw under Eddie’s wing.

‘Er, the other way round, Miss Havisham,’ he said, turning her so she was facing the same way as him and tucking her other paw under his arm. ‘Let’s go.’

 

The door to the restaurant was clearly marked.

‘This way, Miss Havisham,’ Eddie said as she walked past it.

Once Eddie was satisfied she’d made it to a table, he followed the others towards the conference room.

The door opened and Mr. Krapowski beckoned them, ‘Come on! We haven’t got all day!’

‘What’s the rush?’ Babs whispered to Deirdre.

‘I hope there’s breakfast,’ said Colin.

As they entered the conference room, cameras flashed and people stampeded towards them shouting questions.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen!’ Mr. Krapowski held up his paws and shouted above the roar, ‘there will be plenty of time to talk to the band later, please let The Three Wise Monkeys in.’

‘#MorningMayhem!’ said Babs.

‘#WorseThanThat!’ said Deirdre, ‘what on earth’s going on?’

Mr. Krapowski led them to a table on a dais, in front of which were rows of chairs.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, please find a seat, ready for an important announcement.’

Mr. Krapowski indicated that the band members should sit at the table and then placing a sheaf of papers in front of each one, he told the reporters to be ready with their cameras to photograph the signing of the “Deal of the Century”.

‘What deal?’ Colin whispered.

Eddie shrugged, ‘I’ve no idea. I expect he’ll explain in a minute.’

‘Right, when I give the signal, I want everyone to sign their contracts here, and here and then tick this little box,’ said Mr. Krapowski.

‘But we haven’t read ̶ ‘

‘I’m signing you up for fame and fortune!’ snapped Mr. Krapowski.

‘Yes, but we ought to read ̶ ‘

‘Just sign the contract. You can read it later and if you don’t agree, there’s a cooling off period of three days. But you can’t keep the press waiting any longer,’ said Mr. Krapowski.

‘So, if we don’t agree with the contract, it won’t be binding?’

‘Correct.’

‘I’m not sure about this,’ said Brian.

‘Me neither,’ said Colin.

‘Look,’ said Eddie, ‘if we don’t like it, we’ll just cancel it.’

‘Ready!’ Mr. Krapowski said to the reporters, ‘Sign!’ he said to The Three Wise Monkeys.

The five members of The Three Wise Monkeys signed where Mr. Krapowski had indicated, and ticked the box, as cameras clicked and flashed.

‘Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. And now, I know many of you have questions for the superstars.’

 

‘What a load of sexist nonsense!’ said Babs after the press had exhausted their questions and left, ‘They didn’t ask how often Brian or Colin pluck their eyebrows!’

‘Never mind,’ said Colin, ‘When we’re rich beyond our wildest dreams, you can buy a newspaper and sack all the idiots, can’t they Eddie?’

Eddie was reading the contract with his beak wide open.

‘Can’t they Eddie?’

Eddie leapt up and chased after Mr. Krapowski, who was showing the last of the reporters out.

‘You told me we could cancel this contract!’ said Eddie.

‘And you could have done, if you hadn’t ticked that little box,’ said Mr. Krapowski, tapping the paper with his claw.

‘But you told us to tick that box!’

‘Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to sign anything until you’ve read the fine print?’
‘We’ve got to what?’ said Babs, reading her copy of the contract.

‘Stop saying that!’ said Eddie ‘You’re giving me a headache!’

‘Yes but really! We’ve got to what?’

‘Hand over our mobile phones.’ read Deirdre, ‘Oh no, #CompletelyStuffed.’

‘Is that all you’re worried about? Look at this!’ said Eddie, ‘We can’t leave the Tropicana Hotel without Mr. Krapowski’s permission! #TrussedUpLikeATurkey!’

‘Ooh!’ said Deirdre ‘Great hashtag.’

‘Well technically,’ said Brian smugly, ‘I can leave because I didn’t sign my name on the contract.’

‘You wrote something,’ said Deirdre, ‘I saw you.’

‘Yeah.’ said Brian ‘I signed my contract “Colin” so I can walk out of here any time I please.’

‘So can I!’ said Colin ‘Great minds think alike. I signed my contract “Brian”.’

‘Sit down the pair of you,’ said Eddie ‘if Mr Krapowski has got one contract signed “Brian” and one signed “Colin” do you think he’s going to be bothered which of you numbskulls has signed it?’

Brian and Colin glared at each other and sat down again on the sagging bed.

‘Well what’re we gonna do?’ asked Deirdre ‘We can’t possibly perform twice a day, seven days a week! It was exhausting enough doing last night’s show.’

‘And what about the elephant’s knickers? How can we recreate that at each performance?’ said Babs bursting into tears. ‘#Doomed!’

‘We’ve got to get out of this, Eddie. You’re the manager, manage things!’ said Colin.

The others nodded.

‘We need to escape but Hugo is everywhere. I tried to get out of the fire exit but he caught me,’ said Deirdre, ‘I had to pretend I’d tripped and fallen through the door.’

‘Like I said,’ said Babs ‘#Doomed!’ she sobbed hysterically.

‘Shh, Babs! What’s that?’ asked Brian.

‘What?’

‘There’s tapping outside our bedroom door.’ He looked through the spy hole. ‘It’s Miss Havisham. She’s probably trying to find the restaurant for lunch.’

‘Right!’ said Eddie leaping up, ‘follow me! #EagleWithAPlan.’

 

‘Now, let’s get this straight,’ said Miss Havisham, ‘You want me to take you to the restaurant?’

‘Yes, please, Miss Havisham.’

‘Well, of course. Follow me.’

‘There’s just one thing, we need to be really quiet. It’s just like a game. We’re hiding from Hugo.’

‘Say no more. I’ll be as quiet as a mouse,’ she said bumping into a table and knocking over an enormous vase.

Colin pirouetted, caught the vase midair and slid along the corridor on his stomach holding it aloft.

‘Shh!’ said Miss Havisham, ‘Now, I’m sure the door’s here somewhere.’

‘This is the first floor, Miss Havisham. Are you certain?’

‘Oh yes. Ah!’ she said opening a door which led to the servants’ staircase. ‘Yes, this is it.’

At the bottom of the steps, she opened another door.

‘Yes!’ said Eddie excitedly.

‘This isn’t the restaurant!’ said Colin.

‘No, it’s the cellar! We’re going to dig our way out,’ said Eddie.

‘What’s that about a cellar?’ asked Miss Havisham.

‘Nothing, Miss Havisham. Thank you for bringing us to the restaurant.’

 

‘It’s amazing what collective talents we have,’ said Brian, ‘I didn’t know rabbits were so good at digging.’

‘And I didn’t know monkeys were so good at climbing,’ said Babs.

‘I am not a monkey!’ said Colin.

‘Well,’ said Eddie, ‘now we’ve escaped from the cellar, we’d best go our separate ways. Mr. Krapowski won’t be able to catch us if we’ve split up.’

‘Bye,’ said Babs, wiping her eyes, ‘Deirdre and I are going back to Spudwell to get proper jobs. It’s been great knowing you. #LoveYouToBits.’ She blew kisses as they set off towards town.

‘I’m going back to college,’ said Colin, ‘I want to be an architect.’

‘I’m going to Cakehall, said Brian, ‘I’m going to work down the cheese mine. That’s been my dream since I was young.’

‘And I’m going exploring,’ said Eddie, I’m going to hire a boat and row to the source of the custard river.’

‘And I’m going to the restaurant,’ said Miss Havisham, tucking her paw under Eddie’s wing.

The End

If you’d like to read more of the Old Girl’s stories, why not try ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’, which you can find here on the Muse It Up Publishing website as an ebook or as a paperback here.