Cobol and Dropping
had been married for fifteen years now. They lived happily in a
brightly coloured teapot on the fringe of a political uprising where they collected Navaho
Indians for the enjoyment of visiting spaniels. Dropping's father had originally thought that
she could do better for herself than marry Cobol for he was after all a toilet brush with
rather scraggy badger hair bristles. However, the ensuing fifteen years had proved Cobol to
be a most worthy husband. He was kind and considerate, well mannered at the dining table
and could reach those particularly difficult stains on the upper lip of the U-bend. And when
she considered that she herself was a small piece of carpet fluff Dropping reckoned that as
far as matrimonial matters were concerned she'd done all right for herself.
This belief was further compounded by the events that took place on the eve of their
wedding anniversary. Cobol had just returned home from a long day's cauliflower baiting
when he found his teapot under siege from a marauding army of mules' ears. Without a
moment's hesitation he charged towards his home frantically trying to repel the
dismembered ears that were flapping wildly about his head. On approaching the teapot he
leapt boldly towards its spout, clambered his way into the nozzle and slid down the inside of
There he found his wife in a terrible state of distress.
"Oh Cobol," she wept. "I'm so frightened. They've been attacking the teapot all day."
"There, there," comforted Cobol, "It's OK. I think I know what's causing this."
"What?" asked Dropping.
"Take a look at this," said Cobol. "I got it from a colleague at work today."
He handed her a thin paper book of about a dozen pages. Dropping read the front cover.
"Busty Spanish Squid Charmers?" she queried. "What is it?"
"Read it," said Cobol. "All will become clear."
Dropping sat down and read the book.
the story of a deranged woman
who was unable to bake potato and pilchard pasties and ended up turning orange and exploding.
the story of a small pea-green man
who lived in a toaster which became infested with Mighty White bread
and he had to enlist the help of a golf playing mackerel.
the story of the son of a bagel stuffer who fell in love
with a large breasted Spanish girl who could charm squid.
"I don't understand," said Dropping when she'd finished, "What has this got to do with
"There's more," said Cobol and he showed her another similar looking book. Dropping
looked at the title.
"Momp Momp Cark?"
she said curiously. "What does that mean?"
"It means we're in deep shit," said Cobol gravely, "Look what's inside it -
Polly Draperie's Larger Cupboard. And that s not all.
There's another book here
all about socks.
There's loads of this stuff and it's all shite, the
insane banterings of a deeply disturbed mind."
"I still don't see how this relates to our problem," said Dropping.
"Well," said Cobol. "Look at the situation we're in. It has all the hallmarks of the writings
of this demented woman."
"What do you mean?"
"Don't you see?" said Cobol. "We're clearly trapped in a Kate 36C story!"
At this juncture a dramatic chord is supposed to go Da Daaa!
somewhere in the reader's mind.
In reality the reader probably just went "Oh dear".
"What, you mean we're just characters in someone else's story?" said Dropping.
"But that's ridiculous!"
"Look, think about it," said Cobol. "We're in a teapot, we're being being besieged by
mule's ears. We have a substantial collection of Navaho Indians. I'm a toilet brush and
you're a piece of carpet fluff and we're married to each other for Christ's sake! That's
typical Kate 36C material."
"Well, what can we do about it?"
"We have to go and see her and get this sorted out."
"Do you know here to find her?"
"Yes. I discovered she lives in Leeds."
I was in the process of rolling up some breakfast when the doorbell rang. I had spent the
last half an hour scratting about my untidy room for enough Rizlas and a suitable roach and
so could have done without being disturbed. particularly at this unearthly hour. I switched on
the T.V. to catch the day's second showing of Home And Away. The doorbell rang again. I
suppose I'd better answer it. It might be someone I can borrow money off 'til my Giro
comes. That reminds me. I haven't phoned Mike for a while.
I selected my least smelly skirt, put on a top I'd borrowed from
Jane and gave myself an
optimistic spray of deodorant. Upon arriving at the door I was surprised to find that there
was no one there. Just a toilet brush and a piece of carpet fluff stood on the doorstep.
"Miss Kate 36C?" spoke the toilet brush unexpectedly.
"Wh-what?" I stammered.
"Miss 36C. I believe you know why we're here," said the toilet brush.
"You're a talking toilet brush?" I gasped in astonishment.
"Well, yes," it said.
"You can't be," I said, "I haven't had my breakfast yet!"
"Your meal times are of no concern to us," said the brush. "We have other matters to
And with that, it hopped over the threshold closely followed by the piece of carpet fluff.
"And put the kettle on," demanded the fluff.
By the time we'd finished our tea I was still none the wiser. Here I was, in my own flat,
drinking tea with a toilet brush called Cobol and a piece of carpet fluff called Dropping who
claimed that the siege upon their teapot by dismembered mules' ears was my responsibility
because I'd made the whole thing up anyway.
"Come on, admit it 36C," insisted Cobol. "We know it's you. It's got your prints all over
"Honestly," I urged. "I'd never even heard of you 'til you turned up on my doorstep. And
besides, even if I had written you into one of my stories do you think I'd be stupid enough to
have you come round disturbing me during Home And Away? Afterall, if I were writing
this then I could just write you away. I could make you do anything I wished."
"Well. if it's not you," said Dropping, "then who is it? And how do we save our teapot?"
"Look," I said, "I might be able to help. There's this guy in Islington, a frien . . . an acquain . . .
er, someone I know. He writes shite too. He may have some idea about what's going on."
"How do we get there?" asked Dropping.
"I'll take you there," I said. "Afterall, it seems that I'm tangled up in this story too. And
besides, I need to get out of the flat. It's become too untidy even for me to live in."
Kate nervously approaches Mike's front door
"What if he's not in?" said Cobol as I gave the doorknocker a third and louder banging.
"He'll be in," I said confidently, "It's nearly eight o'clock so we may have to wait 'til
Corrie's finished before he answers the door."
"He watches Coronation Street?" exclaimed Cobol.
"What a tosser."
"I can't wait to . . ."
"No, listen," I cautioned. "Just let me do all the talking. This guy's an advanced idiot. He
needs to be dealt with, er, carefully."
Finally, the door opened.
We gave each other an obligatory hug but that's about as far as it goes. Mike knows that
his chances of getting off with me are about as good as mine are of getting off with him. It's
not that either of us are particularly fussy, it's just that we all have to draw the line
I stepped into Mike's neat tidy flat and into the immaculately pristine kitchen. How
anybody could live like this I just don't understand. It's not natural. If the Good Lord had
intended us to have clean kitchens, He wouldn't have given us tea bags, pasta shells and
Bolognese sauce now, would He?
I placed Cobol and Dropping on the unhygenically clean kitchen table. Who knows what
traces of Ajax lurk menacingly on that surface?
"Mike," I said. "I'd like to introduce you to Cobol a toilet brush and Dropping, a small piece
of carpet fluff."
"Oh, er, that's nice," said Mike pleasantly.
"Aren't you going to say hello to them?" I asked.
"Of course," said Mike. "How ill-mannered of me. Hello Cobol. Hello Dropping."
Cobol and Dropping, however, remained as inert as, well, as a toilet brush and a small
piece of carpet fluff.
"Cobol. Dropping," I hissed. "Say hello to Mike."
"Maybe they're a bit shy," said Mike failing abysmally to hide the sarcasm in his voice.
"Er, yes," I said a little nervously.
"Tea?" he said.
"Please," I replied.
I sat down and watched as Mike filled his spotless kettle and switched it on. Then he took
two cups from the cupboard and placed an Assam tea bag in each. There's something
disgusting about using a cup straight from the cupboard without having to rinse it out first.
Afterall, that cup may have been standing for days gathering germs whereas if you were to
save washing it until when you really needed it then you'd know it was clean.
"Only two cups?" I said curiously.
"How many do you want?" said Mike.
"Well, four altogether."
"Of course. Cobol and er Dropping was it, will want one too?"
His smarminess was beginning to annoy me.
"You know damn well they do!" I snapped. "Come on, Mike. I know you're the author.
You're deliberately keeping them quiet just to make me look stupid."
"Well, what if I am the author? You've been nagging me to write to you for ages."
"To me, not about me!"
"Yeah, well. It's just a bit of fun. You know how it is."
"Not for me, it isn't! Well, I'm not standing for it, I tell you."
"I'm afraid you have no choice. I am, as you said, the author and I can make you do
anything I want."
"That's what you think!"
"That's what I know. I made you come here with a toilet brush and a piece of carpet fluff. I
can send you back with a stuffed aardvark on your head and your arse painted orange. I
could even make you not get your tits out."
And to prove he was wrong I threw off my top and started to unfasten my bra.
"What's the matter with my bra?" I demanded as I struggled with the fastener.
"I'm afraid, it's stuck." said Mike smugly. "You won't be able to remove your bra."
I grabbed the cups and gave a mighty upwards tug. Incredibly, I was unable to pull my bra
up from my pert bouncy bosoms.
"You bastard, Mike," I spat. "No one has ever before stopped me getting my tits out."
"Well, now you know what it's like to be a character in a story," he said.
"Is that what all this is about?" I said.
"Yes," he said. "We're both writers, shite writers at that, and I think we need to give a little
consideration to the characters we use in our stories, characters that we enslave and
manipulate at our will and at the end of the story casually discard without a thought for their
"Aw, come on Mike. That's getting a little sentimental."
"No, no, hear me out," he insisted. "Take for example
The Tale Of The Infested Toaster.
A giant mackerel saved Luggage's toaster from the ravages of the Mighty White bread, but
in the end it split into slices and was made into sandwiches."
"You've killed fish too," I challenged. "What about
The Star That Lost It's Twinkle?"
"Oh, I admit I'm equally as guilty. That's why we need to do something about it."
"Yes, but characters like the mackerel and Pembroke and Muriel are entirely fictional. I'm
real. I actually exist."
"Yes. but you're not actually here. We're not actually having this conversation. You are at
home reading this some days after I wrote it. In many ways, you are actually a fictional
"Hang on a minute," I said, "If you're the author and I'm a character, why do you write me in
the first person and yourself in the third?"
I had to admit she had a point. I guess it was time to change persons again even if it just
added to the confusion. To be honest, I had once again written myself into a mess without
any real idea how the story was going to turn out. But I'm a writer. A professional. I shall
find a way out even if it involves killing a few more fish.
I looked at Kate and took pity on her. I had dragged her all the way to London only to have
a pointless argument with her.
"We could always go for a happy ending," she suggested.
"Good idea," I said "Wiggle your hands about like they do in Wayne's World when
entering a dream scene."
We both did the Wayne's World Wiggle and were transported to a beautiful tropical beach
somewhere in the Seychelles. Golden white sands stretched out along the shoreline. Palm
trees stood attentively behind us and a glorious deep blue ocean rolled before us. Beside us,
two sun loungers beckoned us to lie in them. As we took our loungers, two magnificent ice
cream sundaes were brought to us, Kate's by a bronzed stallion of a man with an ample
bulge in his trunks and mine by a large bosomed gorgeous black chick with long flowing hair
and a pert squeezable bottom.
Having finished our ice creams we took our escorts back to our hotel rooms and had an
inordinate amount of sex.