Two Birthday Cards and a Newspaper
by Gordon Dioxide
Once upon a time there was a 12-year-old girl called Jenny Wellington. She was on her way to the shop to buy two newspapers and a birthday card, not two birthday cards and a newspaper like it mistakenly says in the title of this story.
Suddenly she heard a voice behind her shouting "Wait! Wait!"
She turned to see her brother Boz running along the street.
"The goldfish! The goldfish!" he shouted.
"What about the goldfish?" she replied.
"The goldfish! The goldfish!" he shouted again.
"Calm down Boz. Calm down. What's happened?"
Boz took a deep breath.
"The goldfish bowl has fallen off the shelf and smashed into many small pieces. They're all dead! They're all dead!" he cried.
"I've told you before" she said "they are not goldfish, they are carrots. It's part of a school science experiment to see what happens when you keep a bunch of carrots in a bowl of water."
"Oh" said Boz "what does happen?"
"Nothing" she said "well, not until your brother comes and knocks them off the shelf."
"I didn't! I didn't!"
Boz repeats nearly everything he says.
Meanwhile, back at the house, the carrots were not dead. They were very much alive. There were five of them and they all had similar names: Orange 1, Orange 2, Orange 3, Orange 4 and Orange 856.
Orange 3 was the leader, and he was leading them out of the kitchen and into the garden. They were looking for Mr Wellington's vegetable patch. After a couple of minutes they found it, and spent the next two hours freeing all the carrots from the soil. They now had a Carrot Army with 600 soldiers and their mission was to take over the world. They wanted carrots to be in charge and humans to be their slaves!
Orange 3 changed his name to General Orange and ordered his army to spread out and attack any humans they came across.
The first human to appear was Mrs Mabel Wellington, the mother of Jenny and Boz and wife of Mister.
She was hanging out the washing.
The carrots surrounded her and started to close in, leaving her with no escape route. Just as they were about to pounce, Mrs Mabel looked down and said "Who's left all these carrots on the ground?" She picked them up, put them in a big saucepan and boiled them up for dinner.
That was the end of the Carrot Army and 599 of the nasty orange root vegetables.
But their leader General Orange had managed to escape and he was now hiding in the garden shed.
The garden shed had been built fifty years earlier by a man called Jim Shed. Jim is short for Jimmy, which is long for James.
Jim was a really nice man. Every day he would build a new shed and give it to someone, even if they didn't want it. Once he built four sheds in one day, which is still a record for the Northern Hemisphere. The record for the Southern Hemisphere is held by Jacinda Hamilton of Auckland, New Zealand, who built six timber sheds in 23 hours and 12 minutes on July 7th 1974.
But Jim hated carrots. He had hated them ever since his Mother had tried to force feed him raw vegetables for breakfast on his seventh birthday. He took a vow to destroy every carrot in the land, every carrot in every other land and every carrot in the sea.
For 49 years he built sheds in the morning and destroyed carrots in the afternoon. The evenings were spent on other activities.
When he eventually retired from his shed and carrot work, he took a part-time job at a village shop.
And that's where he was working when Jenny Wellington walked in and asked for two birthday cards and a newspaper. She was meant to ask for one birthday card and two newspapers but she was all confused because of Boz and his goldfish problem.
"How's your shed?" asked Jim.
"Fine" said Jenny.
"Good. I built that shed fifty years ago."
"I know. You tell me that every day."
"Can I come and check it over this afternoon?" he asked.
"Yes if you think you must, but please don't go attacking Dad's vegetable patch like you did last week" she replied.
So later that day, Jim Shed arrived at the Wellington house. He was pleased to see that the carrots had all disappeared from the garden.
Now he was heading for the shed. The shed that was now the hiding place of the evil General Orange. General Orange the carrot. How would he react when he saw it? Would he go mad with anger? Would he collapse in tears? Let's find out ...
Jim opened the shed door. He stepped inside. He looked around. He moved slowly towards a large box in the corner. He reached out a hand to lift the lid from the box ...
Suddenly there was a loud bang. He looked around to see Superman flying through the window. Except it wasn't the real Superman. It was Boz. And Boz was wearing the new Superman cape that he'd got for his birthday.
This distracted Jim, and General Orange took his chance to leap out of the box and attack. A great battle followed until Boz managed to overpower the evil carrot and bury it deep under ground. Jim said that Boz was a hero.
Boz went inside for his birthday tea and told everyone that he was a hero. But they just laughed when he said he had won a battle against a carrot. "Carrots aren't dangerous" they said.
But we know that some are dangerous, don't we? Especially General Orange. Let's just hope that nobody ever digs him up and puts him on your dinner plate!
Here are a few questions to see if you've been listening ...
1. What did Jenny have to do in her science experiment?
2. How did Mrs Mabel Wellington destroy 599 carrots?
3. Who holds the shed building record for the Southern Hemisphere?
4. Can you make up a really bad song about carrots?