Skunky Woozle: an X'mas Panto for the MCRmy

How Skunky Woozle Found an Army

Skunky Woozle had a bad reputation – at least, he was on his way to getting one. He drank too much, he smoked and he never, ever washed. But he had a loyal gang – Mucky, Blank and Totem.

The gang used to hang out in the dark basement, in a dark part of a dark town, scheming schemes and making plans. But these plans seemed to get them nowhere. “What we need to be” declared Skunky, one particularly dark night, “ is the baddest gang in town! – We will drink, we will smoke and we will never, ever wash!” The gang stood around  (standing somewhat at a distance since he was not called ‘Skunky’ for nothing) and pondered this pronouncement. Mucky nodded assent, because Skunky and Mucky were brothers and Mucky usually went along with what Skunky said, because he valued family and because Mucky was a rather amiable chap. Blank however, gave Skunky a sidelong glance and muttered , “You mean YOU will drink, smoke and never wash…” but refrained from further sarcasm as Skunky shot him a hurt look, (and despite Blank’s sardonic nature, he was really quite fond of Skunky). But secretly, Blank vowed that he would indeed wash – and at every opportunity, because that was one of the reasons everyone liked Blank – he was the only one of the gang who always smelled nice! Totem stood silently, hands behind his back, nodding sagely while deciding that he would do exactly what he wanted to, as usual, while making Skunky believe it was all his idea.

Skunky continued “ Well, what we really need, if we are to make our mark, and be the baddest gang in town, are the right weapons – and an army!”

The gang paid attention, and all had to admit – it was an idea. Totem spoke first, “Sounds good, but where do we get our weapons, and how do we recruit an army?” Blank rolled his eyes, “Great plan Skunky. Any more thoughts?” Mucky raised a finger tentatively, in preparation before making a suggestion, “Erm…. Well, this is a question. But, I’ve heard that there is a kid down by the river near the docks who will answer any question, yes any question, no matter HOW dumb!” he shot a worried glance at Skunky who looked a little annoyed at this implication, “ At least, he is willing to spend hours answering questions – big or small. “ “Yeah, and who is this kid and how do we find him?” asked Blank doubtfully. “ He’s the Joe with jazzhands and he plays a drum. If we walk down by the docks we are bound to hear him, bashing away – drumming up business, haha, so to speak” chuckled Mucky, because he enjoyed a pun.

So, on this very dark night, they took a little walk along the river to the docks. The water looked particularly black and sludgy and the gang sighed and shuffled along, kicking discarded tin cans and feeling despondent. Soon enough they heard the sound of drumming. “There you go!” exclaimed Mucky and they picked up their pace. The drumming came from a brightly lit tavern, and Skunky cheered up immediately. The Joe with the jazzhands sat in one corner and drummed up a jaunty tune. As the gang approached he smiled at them genially and declared “ Ask me anything – go on – anything!” Totem and Blank exchanged a concerned look “ Hmm, yes thanks..” said Totem “ but one day you may regret saying that…” the Joe with the jazzhands just shrugged, and repeated “Go on, ask me anything!” Skunky came forward “Phew!,” said the Joe, blinking “ bit whiffy, aren’t you?” then with a brief drum roll, said apologetically, “ Sorry, you are supposed to be asking the questions” Skunky persisted “We want to be the baddest gang in town. How do we get some weapons and gather an army?” “ Oh, that?” said the Joe, and with a little ‘tap, tat-tish’, he produced a curious looking bottle. “You need to take one good long swig of this magic…stuff….and it will help you work it out.” “Right on!” said Skunky enthusiastically, grasping the bottle from the Joe’s outstretched hand. Regarding it with some suspicion, he added “ What does it do? What does it taste like?” After a swift military tattoo on his drum, the Joe answered with impatience “Well, I don’t know, do I? I’m underage!” and with that, he dismissed them with a wave of his drumstick.

Finding themselves outside again in the darkness next to the slimy river, Skunky held up the bottle and examined it’s contents, “Well, how bad can it be?” he declared and took a long swig, he screwed up his face “Blagh!” he spluttered, but took another swig anyway, the others shouted at him in unison ‘ONE long swig!” but Skunky had already taken several, “Nah,” he said,  tottering slightly “S’alright” staggering somewhat “Y’have some” he held the bottle out rather unsteadily to Mucky, who took a small swig, “Gimme it again..” said Skunky, now shuffling around in a circular motion and missing Mucky’s hand completely “S’ easy peasy, easy peasy..Pumpkin Pie…Motherf..” and before he could finish, promptly fell backwards into the river. “Oh, fu..” gasped Mucky and dived in straight after him. Totem had, with some foresight, rescued the bottle and he and Blank now stood facing each other on the dismal river bank as their pals floated speedily downstream, “They can’t do without us you know” sighed Blank, grasping the bottle from Totem and taking a swing, “I know” agreed Totem, taking the bottle and doing likewise. Then they both looked at each other, “Geronimo!” they yelled and jumped into the black water.

When they awoke they found themselves washed up on a different shore. Here was a sunny cove and warm beach. Blank was the first to awake and sit up, Totem soon after. Looking around he wondered,  “What is this place? “ “ It’s not the Jersey Shore” Blank snorted “Nothing like!” Mucky pulled himself up next and shook Skunky who was still sleeping flat on his back in the sand. Skunky dragged himself to a sitting position, “Oooh,..my head..” he groaned. Blank meanwhile had noticed that there was  a grassy ridge above them and three figures were seated there, watching them intently. “Guys,” he ventured, “ Maybe we should introduce ourselves to the natives and find out where we are?” They all stood up and faced the three seated figures on the ridge, except for Skunky who was still somewhat dazed and looking out towards the water “Who?” he inquired. Mucky obligingly turned him around, “Oh, them..” As the gang began to move closer to the figures they saw that the one in the middle was dressed as a pirate Captain and had a shining sabre tucked into her belt. To her left sat someone who was clearly a Pixie and to her right a figure dressed as an Explorer – resembling Christopher Columbus about to set off for the New World. The Captain stood up and spoke first “THERE you are..” she said, “We’ve been waiting” the other two stood up to join her, “Woof”, said the Pixie, “you stink!” Totem looked down at his damp clothes and reconciled himself to the fact that he would soon dry off in the sun, Mucky shrugged apologetically. Skunky merely scratched his head, making his hair tangle up into an even greater mess, and Blank wrinkled up his nose “Eeww! Is there somewhere I could have a shower?” he inquired. All three girls standing on the bank winked at him, and, being the kind of fellow he was, he winked back. Shaking himself sober, Skunky spoke, “ We want to be the baddest gang around. But we need appropriate weapons and an army.” “Yes, yes, said the Captain, “ We can help you with that. We are warrior women!” and with that she leaped backwards, unsheathed her handsome sword and began to jump around nimbly, deftly swinging her weapon as if fighting off an imaginary enemy. “Ohh!” nodded Skunky, “You are gonna teach us some moves!”. The Pixie giggled, “Ooooh, I’ll teach you some moves you whiffy, muffin-bunny!” (for she was, to be honest, a rather naughty pixie). “Quite so” said the Explorer “but we must first show you the way to where you shall receive your weapons.” The gang nodded expectantly “And!” the Captain added, still flinging her sword about skilfully, “We shall be your bodyguards!” “Minders, more like…” muttered the Pixie, under her breath. “Come along now, no time to waste!” exclaimed the Captain, once again sheathing her sword and beckoning for them to join them on the ridge. As they grouped together she turned to the Explorer “So, where should we go first?” but the Explorer made no answer. The Pixie and the Captain turned to the gang,  the Captain said, “No matter, let’s move onwards!” and pointed inland. As they marched off the Pixie trailed behind, occasionally hurling taunts at the raggle-taggle gang “What DO you look like? Would it kill you to put on a clean vest?” but if any of them turned around she would simply grin cheekily and tip them a wink.

They had been marching for some time when the Explorer suddenly exclaimed “ To CtheV’s cave over the pond.” They all stopped and looked at each other. a little bemused, but the Pixie explained “She’s brilliant actually, but it takes her a little time to answer sometimes –  You’ll get used to it.” “She, means,” said the Captain, “That we should make our way there to collect your first weapons. So – to the pond!” “But..” Mucky chipped in, “I’m afraid of large bodies of water!” Skunky stopped and put his hand affectionately on Mucky’s shoulder, “You jumped into the river after me, bro. I think we can manage to wade across a pond.” “Huzzah! Well said!” the Captain interjected, and waved her sword over her head. As they reached the pond, Blank suddenly exclaimed, “Don’t get my balls wet!” and pulled a crumpled paper bag of aniseed balls carefully out of his pocket and held them over his head as, following the fearless Captain, they waded across the pond to the far side. Once on the opposite shore, the Explorer took out her compass and consulted it solemly, as they breathlessly waited for her advice, “This is a nice compass.” she stated and then turning towards the east, she pointed to a cave in some cliffs nearby, “Oh, by the way, CtheV lives there.” They trudged on towards the cave until they were a few yards away and then the Captain, Pixie and Explorer stopped. “Right!” declared the Pixie “ In you go..” “You’re not coming with us?” asked Totem, a little taken aback, “Er..no..” the Captain admitted, “Why not?” asked Skunky, “Well,” the Captain hesitated, then leaned forward in an conspiratorial manner and whispered “It’s CtheV you know..We wouldn’t want to all crash in and disturb her and well…you go in” and she winked at Blank again, just for good measure. “Oh get in..” snapped the Pixie and pushed the gang bodily towards the mouth of the cave. Inside the darkness of the cave the gang proceeded cautiously. Ahead of them came the sound of what seemed like scribbling and the scratching of a pen. Sure enough, when their eyes got used to the darkness, they saw the bent figure of a writer hunched up over a desk, a feathery quill pen dancing in her hand. They approached as quietly as they could, Skunky gave a soft cough. CtheV spun her head around to glare at them, “What is it?!” she shouted, straightening up and slamming her quill down on the desk, “Can’t you see I’m writing?!” Skunky came forward (after a surreptitious kick on the calf from Blank) and began in quiet tones “ We don’t mean to disturb you, but I believe you have a weapon to give us?” “Certainly I do!” CtheV turned around in her seat to face them, “What does the C stand for?” asked Mucky, somewhat injudiciously, “Never you mind..” she said, jabbing the quill in his direction, “Well, what does the V stand for?” asked Blank, even more injudiciously, but he punctuated his question with a charming wink, “ ..The V stands for..VENOMOUS!”  CtheV made them shake in their boots – she must surely be able to provide them with a formidable weapon. “Now, introduction over. “ she stated, “ I am going to give you your first and most fearful weapon. Learn how to use it wisely and skilfully, and it will serve you well!” Skunky stepped forward, “We are ready.” he answered. Then from behind her back, CtheV pulled – a pencil! Skunky looked crestfallen, “A pencil?” he questioned, “YES! A PENCIL!”  CtheV brandished it before them like a dagger, “Can’t you imagine what you could do with such a weapon?” she asked them. “Oh, I get it!” answered Totem, who had been previously distracted by her singular boots, “You can jab it in someone’s eye” “Oh yes!” added Blank, “Or in their ear!” “Up through the chin!” joined in Mucky, “Into the chest..” concluded Skunky, “Fatal..” CtheV got up out of her chair, and lowered the pencil, “What? You dopes, what are you talking about? That’s NOT what a pencil is for.” Then she jabbed it up again vertically in front of them, making them jump back, “A pencil, “she continued, speaking distinctly, “Is for writing and drawing, isn’t it?” “Yes, yes ma’am..” they all muttered guiltily. “Right! Now we have that clear – take it!” she handed it to Skunky, inadvertently stabbing the point into his hand. Skunky bit his lip with a little gasp and tried not to flinch. “Thanks very much.” he said, politely, in a rather strained voice. “And that’s not all!” said CtheV and with her other hand, pulled out from behind her back – a delicate paintbrush! “This will make what you draw – awesome!” “Like your boots.” Said Totem, nodding towards them, “We’ve all been admiring them!” the gang all mumbled their approval and praise at the deftly and colourfully painted boots, “Yes, they are awesome.” sighed CtheV, softening visibly as she regarded her legs shod in her beloved boots. Then she looked back up sternly, “But they took a lot of time and work and that is what is needed to do things well.” The gang nodded their agreement energetically. Skunky was shaken but thoughtful, “Thank you CtheV – I see what you mean” he said resolutely. “Good!” and CtheV presented him with the paintbrush. Turning to her desk she picked up a wad of paper and threw it at the gang, who caught as much of it as they could. “Now, go and learn to use your weapons – write – draw – paint!” and she sat back at her desk, picked up her quill and continued her scribbling.

Once outside the gang showed their new acquisitions to the Captain, the Pixie and the Explorer. “Well, let’s try them out.” suggested the Captain, and they spent a merry hour or two lying on the grass – drawing, writing and tickling each other with the paintbrush.

“Time to move on!” declared the Explorer, consulting her compass yet again, “Onward to Lilly the fairy and Jess the imp – they are the next ones who will provide you with weapons.” Blank whispered to the Captain and the Pixie, “How does she know all this?” the Pixie said simply “ Well, she’s an authority..” the Captain nodded agreement and removing her shining sabre, pointed it ahead “Forwards!” she commanded and began to stride up the hill. “Err, it’s over there” the Explorer pointed in the other direction, towards a small, but thick copse of trees. “Right!” said the captain, swinging around, sword still extended, “Forward!”. The group gathered up the papers and hopped and stumbled on after the Captain.

As they approached the copse the sound of music emanated from the trees, “Metallica?” queried Totem, “Probably” agreed the Pixie, “ Jess the imp likes all kinds of music – she always has it playing – luckily the copse is thick enough to be relatively sound-proof..” the Captain asserted. This time they all entered the thicket, and the Captain’s sword came in handy for cutting through the densest tangle of bushes and twigs. When at last they entered a small clearing in the very centre of the trees they found two figures seated there, one head banging to the music, this was Jess the imp, and one nodding delicately, this was Lilly the fairy. She sprang up immediately to greet the visitors “Hello! She said brightly, “How nise of you to come?” Jess looked up and turned the music down, “Oh, yes, Here you are. We were waiting for you. We’ve got some stuff to give you.” “Yes, “ nodded Lilly “Sum, stuf to giv U”. The gang looked a little bemused, “Oh,” the Pixie piped up, “Don’t worry, that’s just the way she speaks – she’s a very kind fairy though and she will give you your most valuable weapon. So show some respect, you gits!”  The gang all shook hands politely with the gentle fairy and the pretty imp and settled down to sit on the ground for their instructions. “Now,” Jess the imp was the first to speak, “ Listen..” for the next few hours she played them much of her record collection and they listened intently, it seemed that in that magical place they could do nothing else. “Got it? She asked them?” Somewhat dazed by the aural assault the gang nodded weakly. “Good because I’m going to give you your weapons now.” She held up two branches and gave one to Totem and one to Blank. When they grasped them they saw that the two branches had turned into guitars and they seemed to feel  a warm kinship with the instruments. “Hey you!” the imp addressed Mucky, “Here!” and she threw a log to him. When he caught it, it had transformed into a bass guitar! “Now, you!” she beckoned to Skunky with her index finger, inviting him to step forward. Skunky stood up and walked to the centre of the clearing. “The fairy has something important to give to you!” Lilly the fairy stepped lightly forward and, brandishing a slender twig, she hit Skunky smartly over the head, “Oowww!” he gasped, rubbing his tangled hair. “U migt say, ‘Ow’” the little fairy declared, “But I hav given U a grate gift – yr final wepon!” Skunky looked perplexed, but the fairy wielded her shining twig above his head and threatened – in a sweet voice, “Now SING – or I’ll whack U on yr hed agen!!” To his delight and relief, Skunky found that he could.

The gang found that they became adept at drawing, writing, painting, playing music and singing – formidable weapons indeed, and if used well and wisely, enough to recruit and charm an army – and make them the baddest gang in town. But where to find this army. “Oh, you need to go to court for that!” explained the Explorer. “To court?!” Skunky looked alarmed, “Yes, agreed the fairy, “ The cort of Princess Saxana and her soofsayer – ‘the girl of light”. “We should all go!” proclaimed the Captain and with a whoop, unsheathed her sword again and slashed a path out of the copse.

The court of Princess Saxana was an old and exotic place. A castle of great antiquity and old world magic. The gang and their helpers were ushered into the royal presence without ado. The Princess greeted them with much graciousness. “ Well, Fu*k me! What’s all this?” Next to the throne, was the glowing figure of her chief minister and advisor, the ‘girl of light’. She leaned down to the Princess and spoke calmly and with great presence “They are here to play and entertain and charm the court and the good citizens, Princess. We should extend out permission, shall we not?” “Yeees, goodie!” cheered the Princess, “Call all the court and the citizens for we shall have an ass-kicking concert tonight! “ “ You – gang!” she indicated, “Go and make your preparations, and when the court and citizens are gathered you will be summoned to play before us!” The gang and their helpers bowed and retreated backwards out of the royal chamber, trying not to trip over each others’ feet. Once outside in the courtyard of the castle, they got to work. They used their pencils and paintbrush to design a set and costumes,  and they wrote the words and music to wonderful songs. The ‘girl of light’ came to supervise their progress. “I will take the drawings you have made – they shall be made into actuality for your performance tonight. “ “Wow, by tonight? How, by magic?” asked Blank, but ‘the girl of light’ merely winked at him, and he, of course, winked back. “Oooer, can I be the chief dresser?!” requested the Pixie, hopping from foot to foot and clapping her hands with glee..” I’ll need to give them a good scrub down in a bath first…heh heh..” she mused, looking forward to her evenings’ work. “Just one more weapon to go” the Explorer spoke up to the gangs’ surprise. “One more?” asked Skunky, “You bet your ass!” said the Captain, “Now it’s our turn to show you some moves!”  Mucky immediately leaped forward, kicking and punching in mock Kung Fu style. The Captain, the Explorer and the Pixie exchanged uneasy looks, “That’s nice Mucky but not really  necessary just now.” The Captain said tactfully. But with this she whipped an iPod out from under her Captain’s hat, and two speakers from the inside her Captain’s jacket. “Now, we are going to teach you how to shake your moneymakers! Line up now, and to the music – shake your thang!”

The evening arrived and the court was decorated with bright colours and flags according to the gang’s artistic vision. Their costumes were ready and the Pixie had seen to them being cleaned brushed and dressed, although it had all seemed to take her an inordinately long time. They were barely ready when it came time for them to be ushered before the Princess and the good citizens of the realm. The great hall was full to bursting – all the courtiers were there, the royal surgeon, ‘Herr Doctor’ the caterer ‘MrMmmmyum’ the astronomer, ‘Dame Oooitchy’  Isil the minister of information and the senators and councillors from all over the realm. The gang were nervous, but ready – their time to shine had come! “Introduction please!” called the Princess, but no-one came forward, “Where is my MC, Amy? AmyDied?” “Oh no she hasn’t !!” the crowd responded as one voice as if they were at a panto, as the elusive Amy came to the front of the stage, “Err… just a mo?!” she said and ran back to the wings where the gang were waiting, “How do I introduce you? What are you called – you are no longer just ‘a gang’” “No” Skunky agreed, “ We are – ‘My Symetrical Necromance!” “Right…” said Amy, doubtfully, “And I’m NOT Skunky anymore! I’m Germicide!”

The concert was a great success  – the gang had learned to use the great weapons they had been given – Art and Music and Fun, and in reward the girl of light predicted a happy future for them – they would each find lovely guardian angels to love and protect them, (or at least try to) and would engender a further generation of daughter outlaws, and girls lovely as flowers and fruits. In this new and colourful land, the sad raggle-taggle  group, became the ‘baddest’ gang in town, with the ‘baddest’ army.

Comments
  1. Captain K says:

    That was fab! I really enjoyed it, you captured us perfectly. I love the name of the band too haha we should use that name. Well done! Another great story.

  2. ash_lee!! says:

    this is AMAZING i love it, ahhhhh “Now SING – or I’ll whack U on yr hed agen!!” <– perfect, just perfect!

  3. Pixie Poison says:

    Hahaha hilarious, I’m sat on bus giggling like a nutter! You should send it to the guys!

  4. Amy(Died) says:

    I also read this on a bus and gained many bizarre looks. Hilarious! XD

  5. TechnicolorRadio says:

    You are a genius, this story rocks, almost as much as My Symetrical Necromance does. Soo funny.

    • renzelen says:

      Thank you all so much for your comments. The panto season is the silly season! I wrote it as a gift and a ‘thank you’ for all my friends in the MCRmy and all of you who have supported the ‘Hathor’ sci-fi too. You are all appreciated and valued.

  6. SmashAuthority says:

    I loved it! Loved the names you gave them, so cool! I really do enjoy reading your stories. xx

  7. *Karnivale says:

    oh brilliantly written. I particularly like the band name. 🙂

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