Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Duke's Kingdom

Once upon a time there was a leaky shower.

But luckily for you this story is not about him. It’s about his very good friend.

A very good friend who just so happened to be a duck. A yellow plastic duck to be precise. He was called Duke.

Now I think everyone needs a friend who is a yellow plastic duck. But that is especially true if you are a shower. You see, unlike many potential friends who are detered by dampness, Duke the Duck wasn’t at all bothered by the wet. In fact he loved the wet.

He loved the wet so much that the shower wasn’t really quite wet enough for his taste.

Rain! Now that stuff sounded properly wet, even to Duke’s very small ducky ears. Duke would look out of the bathroom window and wish. Firstly that it wasn’t frosted so that he could actually see out of it. And secondly that he could go outside in the rain for real. He’d never been outside from the moment he was born in the cupboard under the sink, next to draino and the jay cloth. (Both nice chaps.)

The shower, whom he loved, was still just ‘pretend rain’ to him. Duke couldn’t understand why humans chose to get washed in the ‘inside rain’ when they could go outside in the huge, sky shower whenever it rained. And it seemed to rain an awful lot. Rain drumming on the windows and the roof of the bathroom was his favourite kind of music. If only his mother had let him have music lessons – he would have been a natural on the drums. Ducks have a great sense of rhythm you know. Especially plastic ones.

Of course Duke the Duck didn’t have an awfully clear idea of what the outside world was like because he’d never been outside of the bathroom. And as we know all the windows in the bathroom were frosted. …so he couldn’t see outside very well at all.

This was another thing about humans that confused him. “Perhaps the outside world is so terrifying that humans are secretly afraid of it. And they don’t even like to look at it,” he thought. “I wonder what they find so frightening out there. It sounds wonderful to me.” And Duke the Duck would sigh just a little bit.

He had some ideas of what life looked like on the outside – just from the variety of sounds that he could hear echo around the bathroom. And from the bathtime stories that the Mother Human used to tell to the little humans in the tub.

Every morning shortly after Father Human left the bathroom (usually with some soap foam still on his chin and his hair sticking up just a little) there would come a roaring noise from below the house. Followed by a giant creaking and then more roaring. This was the way in which Father Human went to work.

Duke thought that it sounded like a mighty caged beast. He’d heard about dragons from the kids’ bath times when mum told them all sorts of magical tales. (Duke the Duck of course believed in magic as any sensible plastic person does.)

So Duke deduced that Father Human went to his office on the building site every day on the back of a giant purple dragon. A giant purple dragon with great lime green spots under his wings.

Duke guessed that the dragon didn’t like being ridden very much. And that was why he roared every day as they released him from the dungeon under the house. The creaking, Duke guessed, was the metal gates of the dungeon opening up to release the savage stead.

Mother Human’s dragon didn’t sound as feisty as Father Human’s. Whenever she left the house there was a croaky coughing and spluttering and something that sounded like a nasty case of wind. Duke deduced that Mother Human’s dragon was old, possibly short- sighted and a bit slow to get going.

How Duke wished he could get outside into the wonderfully wet world of flying beasts. Outside where he could see the wind, not just hear her breathy voice rattle the windows and doors. He imagined her magnificent, cloaked in purple streaming through the skies….lifting the soaring dragons. He wanted to see the Sun’s house. The place that he retired to every night. What an amazing palace that would be….dripping in molten gold and liquid jewels!

Duke wanted to go out and play with Hail – the one who didn’t come around very often but when he did would always knock repeatedly on the bathroom window. Calling to Duke to go out and play.

Then one day, it happened.

The Humans were moving house. Everything was being loaded up into boxes to be transported to a new house on the top of the hill. When it came time for the bathroom to be packed up, Duke hung back and tried to hide himself behind the shampoo bottles. He had worked out that if he could manoeuver himself to being placed at the top of a box he would gave a great view of the outside world at last.

It took some ducking and diving to achieve it, but he wasn’t called Duke the Duck for nothing! At last the bathroom box was packed up and Duke was perched right on the top of the soap dish, next to the scales.

He was so excited he could hardly breathe. At last he was going to see the dragons and the palaces! The magic of the outside world – that he had imagined since he was born under the sink.

A man he hadn’t seen before came into the bathroom and picked up the heavy box as though it weighed nothing. He put the box on his shoulder and carried it out of the bathroom.

Through the bedroom.

Through the living room.

Down the stairs.

Past the kitchen.

Past the garage.

And outside.

Duke was outside at last.

He blinked. It was brighter than he had thought.

He sniffed. It was fresher than he had hoped.

He breathed in. It was bigger than he had imagined.

He looked around for the dragons and the palaces and the magic.

For the purple-caped wind and playful hail.

What he saw was the removal van. Father Human’s car with the big engine. Mother Human’s car with the small engine. And the outside of a brick house

And he laughed outloud, “Quack. Quack. Quack!”

“Ha! Ha! Ha!”

(Which is what ‘quack, quack, quack’ means, by the way. Ducks like to laugh a lot.)

“Dragons and palaces!”

“They’re even more amazing than I thought….!”

He bounced up and down in excitement.

“I’ve seen dragons and palaces! I wonder what amazing things I’m going to see next!”

He tapped out a funky little rhythm with his plastic bottom waggling tunefully against the china soapdish. This was an excellent start to his outside adventure!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! i go away, i come back and not one but two stories appear! can't wait to read them...
xx fi

12:34 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

so cool - this one would definitely be a great kid's story book with wonderful illustrations!

3:42 PM  

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