Wednesday, 29 June 2011


A story by Wilf, January 2011, from an original idea by Catriona Campbell.

Once upon a time, God decided to paint a picture. It was a big picture. It went right up into the sky further than you could see, and no-one had managed to find out how wide it was. It is very difficult to describe this picture but it was wonderfully colourful. It had a big swathe running up the middle which was about the size of a motorway but more interesting, and lots of sticky-out lumps of paint, a bit like a Van Gogh; in fact some were as big as Van Gogh himself, mind you he wasn't very tall.

Lots of people came to see it; some loved it, some hated it, and this went on for a long time. Then strange things began to happen. Some of the people who came to see the picture disappeared. No-one knew how or where but they did.

This came to the attention of a group of people called The Society of Religious Experts - s.o.r.e.s for short - who decided it was a bad thing for people to disappear, particularly when they didn’t understand it (they didn’t like anything to do with the picture and had wanted to take it away but being several miles high and of indeterminable width this was difficult). So the s.o.r.e.s decided to station some of their members along the length of the painting to explain to people that it wasn’t a very good piece of art and hopefully to stop people coming to see it. This is where our story begins.

The Arbuckle family was Bert and Lucy and their two kids, Digger and Sprinkle, and they had come to see the picture. They looked in amazement. Bert stood in silence, which was rare, Lucy stood in silence, which was even rarer, Digger jumped up and down and Sprinkle laughed and cried and gurgled with delight.

Nettlebed, the s.o.r.e. on duty, was having none of this. “Ah good morning I can see you think you like this, er, picture.”
“Too right, mate, I am fair stunned,” replied Bert.
“Actually, you are quite wrong sir. It is a poor effort, you just imagine you like it - and you needn't behave like that, madam, it's quite uncalled for,” Nettlebed snapped at Lucy who was swaying dizzily before the miraculous sight.
“I bet you couldn't paint anything that big, mister,” said Digger.
“Or that bootiful,” said Sprinkle, between all the other noises she was making.
“That's quite beside the point,” Nettlebed continued, “All modern critical analysis says ...”
“Is that man alright dad?” interrupted Digger.
“Eh? Oh! I doubt it,” said Bert.
“Now I must explain a few things to you about this, er, installation,” said Nettlebed in a weird fatherly tone that would have given them the creeps if they had been listening. And he explained and explained and explained ...
While this was going on, a strange thing happened. Digger, who was still jumping up and down, finally jumped up but didn't come down; up and up he went until he disappeared at about three quarters of a mile, leaving a beautiful splash of colour where he'd disappeared into the painting. Sprinkle, not to be outdone by her brother, did the same but with somersaults and pirouettes; it was most impressive as she too dived into the picture. Bert and Lucy could hardly turn their attention from the amazing work of art, but the loss of their beloved children did distract them. Bert looked at Lucy with an odd grin. “What do you reckon, love?”
Lucy smiled. “I reckon love.”

With that they held hands and with only the slightest flex of their knees they were flying up and up and dived into the painting near where their children had led the way.

Now I must go back to Nettlebed. He was still droning on as he saw all this happen but because he didn't believe it he simply forgot it and when he came to the end of his lecture on the badness of the painting almost a month later and saw that the family had gone, he actually thought that he had convinced them to stop looking at it and go home! I can't say he went away and lived happily ever after but it lasted about ten minutes which was quite a long time for him. But his imagined success gave him an even bigger head than before, and that was very bad for him.

As for Bert and Lucy, Digger and Sprinkle, that is another story, but whether anyone can tell it I don't know, because where they are everyone is living the best story ever and no one has any desire to break off and write about it.

If you ever get to see the big picture have a look about three quarters of a mile up. On the left a bit there is a great big blob of paint sticking out where the Arbuckles dived in.

No comments: