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Tales From Beyond The Enchanted Prong Hills

The Battle Of The Fluffy Clouds


Page 5


Rostrum was now demonstrating his cunning plan for the obliteration of the town that had become the bane of his life.
"In the forecourt of this tavern," he explained, "is a wagon containing one hundred and fifty of these."
He placed upon the table a small brown object of curious design. Its surface was nobbly yet it was smooth and slippery to the touch. It had four legs on which it not stand, instead being forced to rest upon its huge, swollen, bulbous underside. It was very, very bloated. A silver star marked one end which one instinctively judged to be the rear.
"At the risk of stating the obvious," said Colin, "It's a grossly inflated toad."
"A Snibbet's Marsh Toad to be precise," said Rostrum, "from the Gloop Swamps of Cludge. The swamps are particularly rich in marsh gas and this gets trapped inside the bowels of the toads. I recently discovered that if you cover their arses with these stick-on silver stars, the toad cannot fart and so it suffers a massive build up of the gas. Now watch."
He withdrew a short length of fuse, pushed one end of it through the silver star and up the toad's rectal orifice. Then he lit the other end of the fuse and tossed the toad behind the bar.
"Take cover!" he commanded.
Everybody crouched down and covered their heads. It was pretty obvious what was about to ensue.
The explosion was tremendous. Every bottle was blasted from its bracket showering the bar area with shards of glass. An unwholesome cocktail of spirits was sprayed liberally about the tavern supplementing everybody's drinks, many of which were garnished with a small piece of dismembered toad.
"Right, that's it!" hollered the landlord at Rostrum, "You! Out!"
"What, me?" said Rostrum, all innocent.
"Yes, you!" the landlord replied, "I'm not having any toad tossing in here. You know the rules!"
"Yes, and do you know," Rostrum countered, "where the rule prohibiting toad tossing comes from?"
"Ig!" cried one of the punters.
"And since when has Ig dictated the law in Frippit?" Rostrum appealed to his followers.
"Never!" they cried in concert.
"Then let us march upon Ig," exhorted Rostrum, "with our toads held high. Never again shall man speak unto man and say You can't toss your toads here. It's time to come out of the lily pond. Declare your amphibian abuse. Hold your head up and announce to the world with pride, with defiance, with rapture I am a Toad Tosser!1"
Once again the crowd exploded into hysteric jubilation. These people could be led to Halifax and back.
"Right! Let's kill the bastards!" cried Rostrum.
The rush for the door was accompanied by the rumblings of a manic stampede. Outside the tavern, the scramble for the toads from Rostrum's wagon was still met by the same rumble but no one was running anymore. The rumble grew to a tremour - the ground began to shake. The people ceased their toad gathering operation in bewilderment.
"Earthquake?" queried Rostrum.
"No," said Colin, "Look!"
On the horizon of the road to Ig a cloud of dust was stirring . . . growing . . . approaching. Within seconds the cloud had come close enough to make out the constituents of its core.
"Hamsters," gasped Colin, "They're attacking us!"
"Quick, get the toads!" commanded Rostrum, "Wait 'til they get within range then Toss The Toads at them!"
The Frippiters grabbed the remainder of the toads and collected fuses from Rostrum which they pushed through the silver stars. Matches were at the ready for the onslaught.
Rostrum lit his toad grenade. The fuse hissed ominously through the thunder of the stampeding rodents. With a mighty lob, the toad was tossed toward the dust cloud, arcing in a perfect parabolic trajectory, curving gracefully at its maximum height then descending faster, faster, homing directly upon the lead hamster.

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The Battle Of The Fluffy Clouds
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