This used to seem like a silly idea.
Or did it?!
This used to seem like a silly idea.
Or did it?!
“It’s a duck.”
“Hmm, I dunno.”
Katie sighed, tired of an argument that had now been going on for far too long.
“Dan,” she said, extending her patience so thin it might as well not exist anymore. “It swims like a duck, it quacks like a duck. It’s a duck.”
“Just because you say it’s a duck, and use the word duck over and over again, it doesn’t mean it is definitely a duck.”
“We’re sat beside a duck pond. There is a sign there that says ‘do not feed the ducks’, next to a picture of the very duck you are claiming might not be a duck. A picture captioned as ‘Ducky McDuckface’ brackets ‘a duck’.”
Dan wrinkled his nose. Dan had a habit of doing that when he was proved wrong. And like he always did when confronted with the incontrovertible facts, he folded his arms across his chest and sank back in his seat.
“I’m not convinced,” he said with a sniff.
The duck swam past, the water rippling gently in its wake.
“It could be a mallard I suppose,” he added.
“A mallard is a duck.”
“Is it though?”
The duck looked at them, and quacked. It was expecting some more bread scraps, but there were none left.
“If I caught the so-called ‘duck’,” he said, using air-quotes. “And cut it open and did all sorts of DNA tests, those test would say it was thirty percent camel.”
“They would also say it was one hundred percent duck.”
“How can something be one third camel, and fully duck?”
“You’re on fifth leg. That doesn’t make you a leg.”
“Though you are one one thousandth dick, and you are a complete dick.”
“Oh, so now I’M a duck?!”
“I didn’t say duck.”
“You can’t have it both ways. If I’m a duck, then that is definitely not a duck.”
Katie emptied the bread bag, tossing the remaining crumbs into the water. They’d been having the same argument now for sixty three years. It had started when they first sat on this bench. She had seen a duck in the distance, but couldn’t quite make it out at the time.
“Is that a duck?” she had asked, filling the terrifying silence, and pointing to the other side of the massive pond.
Then they had say staring at it, as it swam closer, clearly a duck.
Dan, confronted with this, didn’t admit he was wrong. He dug in. And now, sixty years later, it was all they ever talked about.
Gerald squeezed the pillow around his head to no avail. He could still hear that infernal buzzing noise.
He’d been hearing it for years now, ever since they first moved in. At first, it was just on the edge of consciousness, but once he realised he was hearing it, he couldn’t stop hearing it. Some days, it was all he could hear.
Mike claimed he heard nothing, and the more the buzzing invaded Gerald’s life, the more distant Mike became. No end of hearing tests had found a problem, and no-one seemed to listen when Gerald explained he only heard the damned buzzing in the house.
The buzzing eventually drove Mike away.
That’s what Gerald told himself, even though, deep down, he knew it was Gerald that had sent him packing. None of that seemed to matter now though. All that mattered was the fucking buzzing.
Gerald threw the pillow away, and tossed the covers aside. He didn’t bother with his slippers, nor a robe, and stomped naked down the stairs, following his ears, the same way he had followed them every night for years.
Tonight though, the buzzing seemed louder. Clearer. And he felt sure he could locate it. In the dining room, he crept across the floor, trying not to make the floorboards squeak, knowing any intrusion into his hearing might mean losing the elusive aural scent.
It was getting louder.
Each tentative step bought it closer.
Until he was pressed up against the wall, his ear pushed into the plaster. And beyond, he heard it. The buzzing was behind the wall.
Terrified of losing it, he scrawled a massive X in pen, and ran out to the shed. The grass was wet, and his balls swung in the cool air. He found a sledgehammer in the moonlight, and ran back inside.
The plaster crumbled to dust with the first blow, making him cough and splutter. He didn’t care. He took another swing, and another, and another, exposing brickwork and ageing mortar. And then, with one final blow, he cracked through. The rest of the wall fell away against his weight, revealing an old, bricked up closet beyond.
And there, louder than ever, the source of the buzzing.
Gerald knelt down in the dust and rubble, ignoring the pain of it digging into his flesh. He pushed his head closer, and looked at the source of his decade long woe.
It was an extension socket, with plugs jammed into every orifice. Each of the six slots housed a further extension cube, and from each of those, old, dangerously wired plugs ran cables into the wall.
The buzz was a cacophony to his ears now.
He reached with one finger to the switch at one end, pressed it.
And turned off the universe.
They can’t all be hits. On 13th January 1972, Garry Marshall presented the world with Me And The Chimp, a sitcom starring Ted Bessell and a chimp called Jackie. This was a full six years before Every Which Way But Loose, so it wasn’t even a cash-in. Marshall later went on to create Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley of course.
I wonder how many outtakes there are of the chimp attacking people’s faces.
The thirteen episode run made it to the UK, by way of ITV, in 1974.
It’s worth jumping ahead to watch the ad break though. TV Land started in 1996, originally billed as Nick At Nite’s TV Land, and showed classic TV shows. But it also aired old commercials, as you can see. That Maxwell House one is lovely, though the Tootsie Roll one has an unnerving jingle at the end. I haven’t ever tasted a Tootsie Roll, but it looks disgusting.
This series passed me by, most likely because it was on CITV, which I rarely watched. Here, Rik tells some tales based on the works of the Brothers Grimm, and adapted by Anne Caulfield and Anthony Horowitz. I presume this was born from Rik’s brilliant turn on Jackanory.