by Gordon Dioxide
Mike was bored. Nothing ever seemed to happen in his life. Every day he would get up, do nothing for twelve hours and then go back to bed.
Then the following day he would get up, do nothing for twelve hours and then go back to bed.
And the day after that he would get up, do nothing for twelve hours and then go back to bed.
This happened every day, and every following day. Yesterday, today and tomorrow in that order.
"Get up, do nothing, go to bed" he said.
Then he said it again, twice.
"Get up, do nothing, go to bed"
"Get up, do nothing, go to bed"
This routine went on for a long long long long long time. Well, quite long anyway.
Mike was a mountain. In fact he still is. His Dad was a Scotsman called Ben Nevis and his Mum was an Asian lady called Eva Rest.
Most mountains lead very quiet lives. Every day is the same. Nothing ever seems to happen in their lives. They get up, do nothing for twelve hours and then go back to bed.
But one day something did happen. Something amazing. And it happened to our friend Mike. And I'm going to write a book to tell you about it.
This is that book. I've finished it already.
So here goes ...
Once upon a time, there was a mountain called Mike. He was bored. Nothing ever seemed to happen in his blah blah blah etc etc, you know all this so I won't repeat it.
Let's get straight to the amazing thing.
Mike was sitting in his garden when he found a piece of paper and a pen. That's not the amazing thing. Be patient.
He decided he would use the pen to write a story on the piece of paper. Then he would have three things - a pen, a piece of paper and a story. Neat idea, but not the amazing thing.
The amazing thing happened when he decided what his story would be about. He decided he would write about a story about someone who writes stories. Yes, he decided he would write a story about me, Gordon Dioxide.
So he was writing a story about me, while I was writing a story about him. And my story about him was about him writing a story about me. Amazing isn't it? Well I think it is.
Not much happened in Chapter 2 so please go straight to Chapter 3.
Chapter 3 is all about the weather, which isn't very interesting so I won't bore you with all the details. All you need to know is that it was a cloudy day.
On this particular cloudy day, as Mike sat in his garden writing a book called Gordon Dioxide and the Dancing Cat, a gentle noise came floating down from the sky. The noise settled on Mike's shoulder and stayed very still and very quiet.
So still that Mike didn't notice, and so quiet that you wouldn't really call it a noise anymore.
Just then, Mike's Mum Eva came out into the garden. She immediately noticed the silent noise, and told Mike. Mike stood up slowly, taking care not to disturb the noise. But he failed miserably. The noise was badly disturbed, and was silent no more.
Shouting and screaming, the noise started demanding equal rights for this, more money for that and straighter bananas.
Eva and Mike were having none of this.
"No, no, no!" they replied, "You can have your equal rights, you can take more money but bananas must always be bent. A straight banana would look wrong, it would taste wrong and it would almost certainly smell of garlic!"
"Well that's just typical." said the noise "Nobody ever does what I say. Fine. Let's just forget the whole thing."
Now Eva and Mike were starting to feel a bit guilty.
"Mmmm" said Mike "I suppose we could ask the government to straighten some bananas".
"Yes we could ask them to straighten some" said Eva.
"Don't bother" said the noise "They won't take any notice. They never do."
"Okay" said Mike.
And that pretty much wraps up Chapter 4.
The next day the noise came back and did exactly the same thing, so please read Chapter 4 again.
In the weeks that followed, there were seven days.
The noise never came back and boredom returned to the world of Mike Mountain.
Mike's big wish was to become a footballer, but he was just too lazy to do anything about it. Too lazy to buy a football kit, too lazy to buy a ball and too lazy to practice.
He would get up every morning, do nothing for twelve hours and then go back to bed.
Then one day he got a phone call from the England football manager, who was trying to get a team together for the World Cup. Unfortunately, Mike was asleep at the time and didn't hear the phone ring. He was dreaming about playing for England in the World Cup.
So that was a particularly bad day. A day when something brilliant nearly happened but didn't, making it even worse than an average day when nothing even nearly happens.
Mike suddenly remembered about the book he was writing - Gordon Dioxide and the Dancing Cat. He found it by the seat in the garden. There were still no words in it, so there was little chance of getting it published yet. But the title was excellent, especially if he could work out a way of combining a dancing cat with an author.
After mulling it over for a second or two he lost all interest in writing stories, and went back to bed.
Chapter 8 is the chapter immediately before chapter 9, which is actually a much better chapter so let’s skip forward to that.
One day Clive the Plumber came into Mike's life and fixed his leaking sink. But this was no ordinary plumber, although the sink was very ordinary.
Clive had a talent, a wonderful talent, because when he starts to sing the world starts to sing. And when Clive's fixing a leaky pipe he always starts to sing.
Mike was trying to read a book about a rare species of South American dancing cat to get some ideas for his story, which he'd forgotten he'd lost interest in.
But he could no longer concentrate as everybody on the planet was singing "Zippedy Doo Daa Zippedy Day My Oh My What a Wonderful Day".
"Shut up!" he shouted "You're all very irritating!"
The world went quiet. They all looked at Mike.
"Ooooooh, moody!" they said.
But Mike ignored that remark, and continued his research.
He discovered that dancing cats were once common in Europe, but had been hunted to the point of extinction by an even rarer species of gardening cat. In 1742 the gardening cats had gathered all their forks and spades and used them to hurl mushroom compost at the retreating armies of dancing cat.
This episode of history had ended with the last of the dancing cats seeking protection on the great prairies of Argentina.
"An interesting piece of information" thought Mike "But not interesting enough. I need to find out exactly what these dancing cats are like."
So the very next day, armed with a piece of paper and a pen, he set sail for Argentina.
Now Argentina is a very long way away, unless you're in Brazil. Which is exactly where Mike was. He'd caught the wrong ship and ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"This is all wrong" he said to himself "This is Brazil and my watch is 20 minutes fast".
But after a few days the problem had been solved. He was now in Argentina, exactly the country he wanted to be in, and his watch had been adjusted to American Atomic Time. There is no more accurate measure of time than AAT.
He soon found a colony of dancing cats, playing violins and skipping round a camp fire. At first the cats were afraid that Mike was a spy working for an evil gang of European gardening cats, but after a while they started to trust him.
Mike learnt that dancing cats are kind, generous, intelligent, cute and reliable. He stayed at their camp for two weeks.
He would remember those cats for the rest of his life, which wasn't very long because the ship sank on the way home.
Here are a few questions to see if you've been listening ...
1. What country did Mike's Dad come from?
2. Who chased the dancing cats out of Europe in 1742?
3. What was Mike dreaming about when the England football manager phoned?
4. What came floating down from the sky?
5. If you were a mountain, what would you eat for breakfast?