"THE RETURN OF BULBO"
After many, many requests (mostly via 'Twitter') for a final game starring old 'Bulbo
Biggun' I finally relented and put one together. The game in question is another spoof (as usual) and this time it is loosely
(very loosely) based on the forthcoming Pete Jackson movie "Hobbit:The Unexpected Journey".
So if you fancy trying it out just download the 'zip' file , extract it to your desktop
and then play it through you browser (right-click on the html file and select 'Open with Firefox' or whatever your browser
This version is slightly different from the one you can actually play online .. so
if you wish to play the other version just click on the link below and try it for yourself.
Hope you enjoy the game .. regardless of which version you play.
BULBO's UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Online Version)
BULBO's UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Sugarcane Version)
"Behind Closed Doors 5"
"Behind Closed Doors 6"
As promised, here they are ..... just download the
'zip' files, unpack them to your hard-drive and then run the HTML files to play the
games. If you wish to play them online just click on the 'link' displayed above each 'zip' file.
Hope you enjoy them ... but if not, why should I worry, they
cost you nothing ... they are FREE!!!
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS 5
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS 5 (Online Version)
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS 6
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS 6 (Online Version)
If you have any comments to make then just add them to the 'Message
Board' .. you know where that is don't you ???
The Years Slip By
When I was aged 15 I had a good mate called 'Ned'
(his name was Martin actually but everybody called him that) and for a while him and I knocked about together after school.
'Ned' was a shade older but, luckily enough for me, he took it upon himself to look after the youngster.
It was also handy that he lived just across the main road at the end of my close.
In them days our only real source of enjoyment was the 'party'
.. an informal gathering of like minds that used to meet up at one house or another on 'weekend' nights and
listen to the latest '45s' on the old red/black Dansette. There was of course the odd 'tipple' to be consumed
and the so-called pleasure of sharing an 'exotic' cigarette - did anybody actually enjoy smoking 'Disque
Bleu' or 'Black Russian' ??
When I left South Wales the last I heard of 'Ned'
was that he had enlisted in the 'Voluntary Services Overseas' group and had gone off to some far-flung corner
of the globe. However a couple of years ago I was contacted by 'Ned' himself .. albeit through the pages
of 'Friends Re-United' .. and it was nice to catch up on all those missing years, even if it did seem that
he had made a better job of things than I had. But then he was always was the more academic of the two of us.
'Ned' it seemed had gone into the world of 'Risk
Management' - just the title gave me goosebumps - and, from what I gathered, had been more than successful at
it. A year or two ago 'Ned' and his wife moved to France to live the good life.
Last week I received a nice Christmas card from them both and
it brought back all those memories of those long-forgotten years .. oh to be back there again, collars of our coats turned
up against the biting wind and a 'Watney's Party 4' can tucked under our arms, whilst we wended on our way
to a Friday night party.
So here is to 'Ned' and all the other 'memories'
from our pasts .. thanks for being part of this journey we call life.
What About The Atari Stuff ???
After a heartful cry from an old pal, Jason Taylor, who was most
distressed to see that the Cat had forgotten all about our slight foray into the 'Atari ST/STE' market, we realised how right the lad was - that bloody feline had gone and omitted a very
important part of our history.
You see, at one stage ZENOBI were also producing great 'text'
and 'text/graphic' adventures for Atari's little beauty. A list of those titles can be found below ...
Jade Stone - Linda Wright
Border Warfare - Neil Clark & Gerry Tonner
Cortizone - Anthony Lees, Gareth Harrison & Tom Green
The Magic Shop - Jason Taylor
Arrival - Jason Taylor
End-Day 2240 - Dave Blower
Souldrinker - Dave Blower
Mines Of Lithiad - Jack Lockerby
Dark Tower - Jack Lockerby
The Ellisnore Diamond - Jack Lockerby
Treasure Island - Jack Lockerby
Dr.Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - Jack Lockerby
Lifeboat - Jack Lockerby
Enchanted Cottage - Jack Lockerby
Davy Jones Locker - Jack Lockerby
Into The Mystic - Jack Lockerby
The Thief - Jack Lockerby
The Challenge - Jack Lockerby
Domes Of Sha - Jack Lockerby
The Mutant - Jack Lockerby
Hammer Of Grimmold - Jack Lockerby
The Adventurer - S & D Gray
The Darkest Road - Clive Wilson
Whiplash and Wagonwheel - Clive Wilson & Les Hogarth
Hope that brings a smile to your face Jason ......
If you want to blag yourself a quick 'freebie' in celebration of the good kicking
that Cat is going to get, then just drop us a quick 'e-mail' stating which game you would like a copy of and we will be only
too happy to send it on to you by return. The game will be in the form of a 'disk-image' and you will need an AtariST emulator
to play it on (old Roachy recommends the likes of 'Steem' or 'WinSton' but the choice is up to you) .. but what the hell,
the game will cost you nothing.
Failing that you could always click on the following link and download the complete
"Atari CD" for yourself ... completely FREE of charge!!!
By the way if you want to see what Jason is up to these days
just take a trip over to his site and enjoy the experience ...
A lot of you have been making contact and informing me of how
good you find the games we published over the years .. as though I need any reminding of that. Even more of you have been
requesting 'solutions', 'hint-sheets', 'walkthroughs'
etc and, despite the fact that it is obvious you never actually parted with any good hard cash in order to obtain the game(s)
you are currently struggling to complete, I have sent out copies of the relevant items post haste. However things have now
got to such a state that it is necessary to change the format .. from now on if you need a 'hint-sheet' etc you will need
to resort to good old 'snail-mail'. So just send me a stamped self-addressed envelope and the required
item(s) will be winging their way back to you just as quickly as the postal-service can handle it.
Doug Harter over in the great US of A is hard at work on his superb
little utility programme 'Win Paw'. With this you can 'write', 'play' and 'investigate' any game constructed
using 'PAW' or 'QUILL'. Not only that but he is organising a huge depository of 'snapshots'
for any of you who are into such things. These 'snapshots' are purely for your OWN entertainment and as such, are NOT to be
placed on 'compilations' and sold off to the public at large.
Doug is also beavering away at 're-engineering' as many of these
'snapshots' as he see fit in order that they can be used in conjunction with his 'Win Paw' utility. With
this in mind we have just sent him a CD containing ALL the various ZENOBI titles - we look forward to seeing
If you want to download a copy of the utility or simply to learn
more about it, then click on the link below.
Go to WinPaw.Com
A Wish Is Granted
The old 'Cheshire Gap' (known as Kez to her mates) has been in
touch requesting the inclusion of a 'photo-album' (guess she needs something to brighten up her dreary, grey existence) ..
so here it is. Just click on the little piccy below to be transported to another world ...
|Click To Open
I recently unearthed this little piece (something I penned many a year ago)
and thought it might bring a smile to a couple of faces .. hope you enjoy it and that it brings back a few happy
"This game understands all the 'normal'
With the downward jab of a podgy finger Balrog punched home
the last dot of punctuation and sat back to admire his work. "Mmm, see you've gone and done it again,' mumbled the cat from
its perch on top of a pile of blank cassettes. "Just what the heck is a 'normal' command?" it asked, scratching its ear with
its paw and causing 2 large fleas to dart for safety. "What is 'normal' to you can be something totally 'strange' to somebody
like me. For example it is quite 'normal' for me to wash my bum with my tongue but it would be considered very strange if
you tried it!" smirked the cat, flicking its tail mischievously. "Not only strange but bleedin' impossible if you ask me!"
croaked a voice from beneath a nearby stack of discarded order forms and one small cockroach came within inches of losing
its life as Balrog brought his left hand crashing down on the top of the pile. "Keep your comments to yourself!" snapped Balrog
and turned back to look at the cat.
"Okay," he said, "look at it like this. An adventure game is
very much like life itself and as such should be treated in the same way. Approach the game with a logical mind and do what
you would do in everyday life." There was a rustle from beneath the pile of order forms and the cockroach squeaked, "In his
case there is no way you could do that... not unless you gave it a triple-X rating!" He pointed his third leg in the direction
of the cat. "I've seen what he gets up to with that tabby from No.10 and there is no way you could include 'that' in a family
adventure." The cat grinned to itself and nodded in agreement. "Maybe not that particular thing," replied Balrog, "but you
can still use the cat as an example." Balrog pushed back his chair and switched off the typewriter, before turning to the
"What is the first thing you do when you go out on
one of your 'jaunts?" he asked. "Apart from washing his bum with his tongue" sniggered the cockroach. "Well," said the cat,
glaring at the cockroach and vowing to sort out the little pest when the time was right, "First of all I EXAMINE the door
to see whether you have locked it or not and then, if you have, I OPEN the drawer in the kitchen cabinet and SEARCH through
its contents to find the key. When I find it, I TAKE the key and UNLOCK the back door with it, before I OPEN the door and
A large grin spread across Balrog's face and he said
"Right, that is what I mean. All those actions are commonplace in any adventure worth its salt. Always EXAMINE anything you
come across to see what can be done with it and if it appears that you need some other object in order to carry out some action
then look around until you find it... or find something that will do the same job for you." The cat thoughtfully cleaned its
whiskers for a moment or 2 and then slowly purred, "I get it... do what comes naturally!" There was another rustle from the
direction of the order forms and the cockroach scampered towards the safety of the open door, crying "I wonder who is going
to be the first fool to type in LICK BUM and get a response then.
The cat glared at the retreating cockroach, then shrugged its
shoulders and continued, "So when I go up the path and turn EAST at the apple-tree, before I CLIMB OVER the small wooden fence
in order to get into next door's petunia patch, then I am just doing what I would in any normal adventure, am I?" Balrog nodded
his head and mumbled, "Yep, just that. Then when you stop and LISTEN to see if you can hear the approach of next door's dog
or SNIFF the air to see if that tabby from No. 10 is around, all you are doing is what you could do in any self-respecting
As Balrog returned to working on his next epic, the cat stretched
lazily, then sauntered off to try out its new-found knowledge. Just then Balrog remembered something and with a glance over
his shoulder, yelled "... and don't forget, always take stock of what you are carrying and what you are wearing!' The cat
waved a paw in acknowledgment and continued on its way, secure in the knowledge that it would be able to put such words as
SEARCH, EXAMINE, LIFT, OPEN, UNLOCK, CLIMB, CRAWL, OVER, ENTER, OUT and WORN to a very good use, though perhaps the likes
of INSERT, UNROLL, THINK, PRISE and FOLD would only prove useful in the more 'demanding' of games.
Meanwhile, in a dark corner, a small cockroach typed
in most of the common swear-words and marvelled at the workings of the type of mind that could produce such responses...
Just thought we would allow you to catch up with some of the scribblings now emanating
from the pens of the lads (and lasses) that used to produce the games you loved so much, so from now on (or at least when
the mood takes us) we will feature the ramblings of one of them. First up is our old mate and one time all round 'pain-in-the-ass'
Les Floyd ... take it away Les ...
MORDOR, SHE WROTE - Part One
When the news reached Jessica Baggins that her second-cousin,
Bilbo, had been charged with breaking and entry at the Hobbiton branch of Cash Converters, she packed a knapsack with a few
bottles of juniper juice and caught the last dragon flight to the Shire. She didn't know, or even care if Bilbo was guilty
or innocent, but it sounded like a great plot for a sh*t book.
Frodo was sitting against the trunk of a tree at the edge of
a mossy glade, reading the tattered copy of 'Elven Wives' his uncle Bilbo had given him one drunken night, when he heard the
wheels of the cart clattering along the cobblestone lane. As he stood, and with a deftness not usually associated with the
race of Hobbits, he pulled up his trousers and lodged the magazine back in its hiding hole in the tree. The brief exclamation
of the resident tawny owl did nothing to distract young Frodo, and, clasping his belt, he ran off in the direction of the
The cart trundled to a halt as Frodo stood on the grassy bank overlooking the lane.
"You're late!" mocked
Frodo, his arms crossed.
The woman in the cart swigged back the last of the juniper juice and swayed a glance to the
Frodo lowered his hands, misconstruing the above text which was simply trying to explain that he was
standing proudly... er... standing up... nothing to do with his hobbit-hood, anyway.
"Authors are never late, Frodo
Baggins." began the bloodshot eyes which peeked from beneath a flowery bonnet. "And neither are they... spiders!"
said Frodo, checking the script. "What are you on about?"
"Well, it's a fact, isn't it? How many books have been written
by spiders?" drooled Jessica smugly as she opened another bottle of juniper juice. "Answer me that!"
"But that's like saying that rats can't be car mechanics. It's nonsense."
Jessica stared wide-eyed at Frodo in a disturbingly
long pause. "Where am I?" she asked at last, lapsing back into sobriety.
Frodo's lips tightened. "Page one, line twenty-four."
he whispered sharply.
"Ahh, yes." said Jessica, checking her own script.
With a broad smile, Frodo jumped from
the bank and into Jessica's arms. "It's so wonderful to see you!" he beamed.
Jessica looked down at the young hobbit
and chuckled. "You didn't think I'd miss your Uncle Bilbo's hanging, did you?"
"But it's obvious there's been some
sort of mistake!" protested Frodo in rebuke. "I thought you were here to help, not to watch Bilbo die?"
"I'll do what
I can, my Frodo - I'll do my utmost to prove Bilbo's innocence. I swear that on the life of my dear husband."
gave a disturbed frown. "But didn't he disappear mysteriously last year? And didn't you have him declared dead so you could
get the money from his insurance policy?"
"That is neither here nor there..."
Suddenly, there was a burst of
delighted laughter from the lane behind, as five excited children rushed out from their garden.
Fireworks!" shouted the smallest of the hobbits.
Frodo looked across to Jessica and smiled as, although she appeared
not to have noticed the voices, there was an amused twinkling in her eyes as she looked along the road ahead. With one hand
on the reins, she delved the other into her handbag.
"Fireworks!" sang the dispirited voices as they watched the cart
Jessica threw something in a high arc over her shoulder and Frodo laughed, then heard the joyful screams
of the children as it exploded. At least he thought the screams were joyful, until he turned around and noticed that blood
was running from the children's eyes and ears, and they were stumbling around and bumping into one another.
cart, Jessica!" said Frodo urgently, causing Jessica to turn her head back.
The horses lurched forward as Jessica whipped
"Didn't you hear me? Stop the cart!"
Jessica snorted: "And do you think it will do any good? Us offering
ourselves to police confinement with your Uncle, when those kids don't have a chance of picking us out at an identity parade?
I think not!"
Frodo crossed his arms angrily as the cart moved along the track at speed. He was beginning to think
that Jessica wasn't as nice as he had remembered.
Bilbo sat in the cold, damp prison cell and whimpered to himself.
Through the barred window, he could see the sun setting for the last time of his witness. Tomorrow he would be hanged, and
the world of Middle Earth would leave him; but his current disturbance came from a rather large and ugly Orc who sat, salivating,
on the cot directly across from him.
"Go on..." pressured the Orc. "Show 'us your ring."
Bilbo stammered in
hesitation. "N-n-no! It's mine, I tell you!"
"Just let me give it a little rub?" asked the Orc again, his lips twisting
to a grimacing smile. He lifted to his feet.
Bilbo flurried and ran to the bars of the cell. "Help!" he shouted.
that moment, the door to the holding block clunked as the lock turned, and the Orc sat back in his bed and snarled.
and Jessica were ushered through the door by a particularly small Hobbit guard who also played an Ewok in Return of the Jedi,
though it wasn't a primary role, and he was dressed in a bear costume at the time, which meant his friends always took the
p*ss and said that he was a lying b*stard.
"Frodo? Frodo, my lad?" gasped Bilbo, rubbing his eyes. "I didn't think
I'd ever see you again. Did you find Gandalf?"
"Sort of." replied Frodo. "Gandalf was elected Prime Wizard, and he
said he doesn't give a sh*t about local stuff any more. He wants to concentrate on his image, and he told me that aligning
himself to petty criminals isn't good for his street-cred. He wishes you well, though, but he'll deny that he ever said so
if it gets to the papers."
A tear trickled down Bilbo's cheek. "Good old Gandalf."
"Jessica's here, though!"
brightened Frodo. "Maybe she can help?"
"I'm sure, cousin Bilbo, that there's been some terrible mistake." announced
Jessica as she patted down her crumpled dress. "And I intend to get to the bottom of this! I'll do anything I can to help
you through this sorry situation." She stifled a laugh.
Bilbo paced up and down, nervously. "Well you could start by
having me transferred to another cell. He..." he said, pointing to the Orc, "wants to rub my ring!"
"That doesn't make
sense, uncle Bilbo." said Frodo. "The ring is in a sealed envelope back at Bag End."
"Exactly!" replied Bilbo.
Sheriff Brody drank his coffee as he reclined in his rocking-chair
and listened to Jessica. He wondered for a moment why the bloke writing the story had named him after the lead character in
Jaws, but realized that it was probably just down to forgetfulness or lack of proper research. Still, 'Mr Cunningham', or
'Father Dowling' - even 'Ritchie's Dad from Happy Days' - would have been better. At least they were recognizable parts, from
programmes he still received a steady royalty check from. There were certainly no personal battles with sharks in his career.
would Bilbo Baggins need to break into Cash Converters, Sheriff?" asked Jessica with a yellow-toothed smile. "That man has
the greatest wealth in the whole of Hobbiton."
Sheriff Brody rocked the chair forwards and stood, trying his best to
look like a better actor than he actually was. He raised his hands, then let them fall again. "Jessica, you do n't seem to
understand." he despaired. "We've go positive identification; fingerprints; closed-circuit television footage; matching DNA
samples... damn, we've got a signed confession from Bilbo himself, and we didn't even have to hit him."
her brow. "But something just doesn't make sense, Sheriff! There's an element to this episode which we're not seeing."
Brody flicked to the end of his script and sat heavily back in his chair. "You're probably right, Jessica, but I don't like
to wear glasses on screen. Okay... I'll give you a day to prove that Bilbo is innocent."
"Oh, thank you, Sheriff!"
said Jessica. "You won't regret it, I promise.
Samwise Gangee was cutting the grass in the garden of Bag End.
He liked gardening, and he liked it all the more when he could cultivate his crop of high-weild skunk in the gardens of the
gullible fools who paid him to tend their lawns unsupervised.
It was always good to play the idiot, thought Sam. He
says master and missus and they laugh behind his back when they pay him half the going rate for a gardener, because the idiot
'don't know no better'. Then they carry on laughing down the tavern with the money they saved, and the news gets round that
stupid Sam is a soft touch, so soon he has a hundred gardens in the Shire to tend, and that's a hundred different places to
make a lot of gold.
And who would the police blame if they found all the plants? Not stupid Samwise, that's for sure.
'He don't have the brains for that', the Sheriff would say. And before you know it, Sam would be far away in Mordor, personally
a uditioning some pretty elves before pimping them out to the lustful orcs - making even more money for himself - while the
hobbits who laughed at his nativity were hanging from trees and feeding the crows.
Sam sniggered with that thought
as he lifted from his knees and wiped his soiled hands against the waist of his old overalls. Next stop was Master Greyscurdle's
garden, where a bit of pruning and trimming was required; though, of course, there would be no clippings for the compost heap.
Gangee." said the sudden, ominous voice.
The hobbit startled and span around, then rushed a sigh of relief. "You scared
me then!" said Sam with a nervous laugh. "What are you doing out, anyway? I thought if I set eyes on you again it would be
through bars at best... or on a rope at worst."
A flash of light in the side of his skull threw Samwise to the ground
before he realized he'd been hit. It was a numb pain, and even though he was disorientated, he tried to push himself back
up. Then another strike came in - a heavy boot against his forehead - whipping his head backward and snapping his neck like
a branch of a dead tree.
His body convulsed for a moment, and then he was dead.
(To be Continued...)
BARNSLEY BEAR: Episode One - The Phantom Menace
Barnsley Bear shuffled in from the kitchen with a tray, carrying a pot of
steaming tea, his favourite china cup and a plate of freshly-baked honey biscuits, which he laid on the small table beside
his chair. Then with a groan of satisfaction, he sat down, ready to watch his favourite programme. As he reached for the remote-control, and the television flickered to life, he thought to himself that his was the
most comfortable chair ever made, and he shuffled his bottom until he was perfectly settled.
Anne Robearson greeted him from the television with a stern glare which
made Barnsley nearly spill the tea as he poured it.
"Steady on, Anne!" chuckled Barnsley, as he dunked a honey biscuit. "I don't
think the old ticker can take shocks like that."
He liked 'The Bleakest Wink' but that ginger bear frightened him. Once,
he had such a terrible nightmare that he woke up in a cold sweat, and couldn't get back to sleep until he checked under the
bed to make sure she wasn't there.
"You are obviously an idiot!" sneered Anne at one of the contestants, raising
another chuckle from Barnsley, who sipped at the piping-hot tea. "As a binbear, you don't know that the atomic weight of Nitrogen
is 14.0067 and NOT 15.9994... which is obviously Oxygen??"
The contestant began to cry.
At that moment, there was a tap-tap-tapping at the window... very much like
the sound a woodpecker would make if it was dyslexic.
"What on earth?" Barnsley asked himself curiously.
He put down the cup of tea and lifted wearily from his chair to investigate
the noise. With more puzzlement than actual shock, he watched the half-brick
smash through his living-room window on a trajectory that led it to bounce from the top of his head and knock him solidly
backwards into the arms of his comfy chair.
"Goodbye!" winked Anne Robearson from the television screen before Barnsley
slipped into unconsciousness.
* * * * *
When Barnsley awoke, the Ambulancebear was covering a nasty wound on
his forehead with vinegar and brown paper.
"Ouch!!" said Barnsley sharply, as his vision began to return.
"Sorry about that." said the Ambulancebear, securing the stinging paper
bandage with butcher's string. "Management cutbacks I'm afraid."
The whirling image of Detective Sergeant Panda floated into view. "Listen
Barnsley, I'm not mucking about with your problems any more. This is the nineteenth time bricks have been blown through your
windows this month, so I suggest you contact the Council. If I have to come over here again, I'm arresting you for murder
- and you just see if I can't make it stick!"
"But I didn't call you!" protested the injured bear in confusion.
Something solid swiped across the back of Barnsley's head, and he looked
around to see Pc Polar quickly turn away and replace his baton. He was eating the last of the honey biscuits.
"Needless to say, Barnsley, if you so much as think of calling us again..."
continued DS Panda, "It will be the last phone-call you make as a free bear."
"But I don't even have a telephone... Oof!" Barnsley rubbed the tender spot on the back of his head as PC Polar began to whistle innocently.
"Very well..." accepted Barnsley with a sigh of resignation.
"Good, good." said DS Panda with a crooked smile. "Now," he carried on,
turning to the Ambulancebear, "I suggest you have this bear checked out in hospital. We wouldn't want him dying on us now,
PC Polar sniggered.
"Well, I normally would." said the Ambulancebear, putting the ball of string
back into his Tesco carrier-bag. "It's these cutbacks, though... the Hospital Manager had to sell the ambulance so he could
get a nicer car. You know how it is, you can't get funding if you don't make the right impression, so he needs it for conferences
and what not. So, I'm on me bike. Can you take him in your car?"
DS Panda muttered something sharply at the Ambulancebear
"Right away..." said Barnsley, wobbling to his feet. "Sugar and milk?"
The three uniformed bears looked at him with bewilderment.
"Four coffees? I think I've got a jar of Goldielocks Blend somewhere."
The Ambulancebear patted Barnsley on the shoulder: "You get some sleep.
It seems you're having a little trouble hearing, so if you get any discharge from your ears later on, just plug it with cotton-wool
and get yourself to the hospital in the morning?"
"Put the lights and siren on, Polar..." whispered DS Panda to his assistant
as they left with the Ambulancebear. "I'm late for my dinner because of that hairy wanker."
Barnsley sighed. He hated to cause trouble.
With a visit to the cupboard, he placed a wooden board over the smashed
pane and nailed it into place. The wintry breeze still crept in. After
sweeping up the broken glass and washing his dishes, he turned off the television and the lights, and clambered up the stairs
to his warm bed, which was cold.
* * * * *
With bleary eyes, and a wide yawn, Barnsley surveyed the damage in the
light of day. There was nothing that couldn't be fixed with a little work, and he liked his little odd-jobs. It kept him busy.
The only concern was a patch of dried blood in the carpet. It was too late to simply mop it out, too. He would need to make
a visit to the village shop for some cleaner to carry out that task. With
that, he put on his coat and scarf - making sure he remembered his keys - and walked out of the front door, pulling it tight
It was a bitterly cold morning, but looked jolly seasonal with the layer
of frost that covered the trees and buildings. The sound of swearing birds filled the air as Barnsley paced down the street
to the shop with a spring in his step. It was all the circle of life, he thought as he whistled to himself.. Without the beauty
of winter, he wouldn't have the joy of summer.
Pushing through the shop doorway with a tinkle of the bell above his head,
Barnsley loosened his scarf and approached the counter. A beautiful young
lady-bear stood behind the till. She'd made quite an impression on Barnsley
since she came to work in the village as part of her care-in-the-community rehabilitation programme.
"Hello there, Miss Bear!" greeted Barnsley with a blush behind his fur.
"Good Morning." replied Miss Bear, before shouting "Woof!" at the till.
"I'm afraid I had a little trouble last night..."
"What's with the... the... the... BUMPS on your head???" interrupted Miss
Bear with a shout. "It makes you look like a ferr... a ferr... a FERRUCKING triceratops!" she smiled.
"Oh Miss Bear, you do make me laugh with your observations." chuckled Barnsley.
Miss Bear looked past Barnsley with unblinking eyes. A slug of drool dribbled
from the corner of her mouth and dangled from the fur on her chin.
"Well, I had a mishap last night and took a few bumps on the head." said
Barnsley. "I have a bloodstain on the carpet, and I wondered if you stocked any stain-remover?"
Miss Bear blinked fast, returning to the land of the living.
"Yes? Can I f-f-f.... help you?" asked Miss Bear, before barking again.
"Erm. Perhaps I should have a look myself?" suggested Barnsley with a warm
"Perhaps you should WHAT???" yelled Miss Bear at the counter.
Barnsley edged away from the till, and walked to the back of the shop. Miss
Bear was definitely the loveliest bear he'd ever set eyes on, but he sometimes wondered if the assurances from the police
and medical-assessor were true. But, he smiled, if her ex-boyfriend hadn't fallen on the scissors, that jury would have convicted
her. That's the way the law worked.
Searching the shelves, Barnsley found the bottle of 'New Improved Remove-o-Blood'
he was looking for. The advertisement on the television said that it was even better at removing bloodstains from fabric than
'Remove-o-Blood', and that would be perfect.
He walked back to the counter, and Miss Bear slammed the till closed.
"Just this!" smiled Barnsley, placing the bottle on the desk. "What do I
"THIRTY POUNDS!!! I DON'T DO IT FOR LESS THAN THIRTY!!!" screamed Miss Bear.
Barnsley frowned. "But it says 85p on the bottle?"
Miss Bear smiled, and keyed the 85p into the till. "Lovely weather?"
Back on familiar conversational ground, Barnsley took a £20 note from his
wallet and handed it to Miss Bear. "I think we may have snow for Christmas this year." He looked through the window to the
early-morning frost of Christmas Eve, and smiled at the hope of it being layered with white for the following day. With a slap of her hand against the counter, Miss Bear stared at Barnsley.
15p lay there.
Barnsley blinked hard. "But I gave you a £20 note?" Barnsley said with a
"Prove it!! !" hissed Miss Bear, stuffing a crinkly piece of paper down
the front of her trousers.
"Erm... I only had a £20 pound note..." said Barnsley, opening up the leather
wallet and looking down to ensure he hadn't made a mistake.
As he checked, he heard the shop door slam behind him. Looking out through
the window, and onto the street, he saw Miss Bear waving her arms in front of a large truck that had slid to a halt on the
icy road before her. Barnsley wondered what on earth had happened. He
rushed, as much as his tired legs would allow him, to the shop door, and pulled it open.
"He wanted me to kiss his dirty gerbil!" wailed Miss Bear to the truck driver,
who was already climbing down from the cab. She pointed over to Barnsley.
The truck driver - a very large brown-bear - looked across to Barnsley with
disgust. He rolled up his sleeves and stomped in the direction of the shop.
Barnsley quickly went back inside. He didn't like the look of things.
The truck driver pushed through the door and broke the bell, sending it
spinning into a shelf of cornflakes. He sneered at a cowering Barnsley...
"She's playing a trick. I didn't do anything, honestly!" whimpered Barnsley,
stepping further and further into the back of the shop. "There's some sort of mistake!"
The muscular truck driver cornered Barnsley and bared his teeth: "I'll show
you what happens to mistakes!"
Suddenly, a loud grumble alerted both bears, and they startled around to
see the headlights of the truck smash through the window of the shop...
* * * * *
The roaring fire lit the room with a soft orange glow. Barnsley lifted
his son onto his knee, giving him a warm cuddle.
"And that was how I met your Mum." he smiled, as he kissed the top of his
Barnaby Bear looked up to his Father.
"After the coma, I was so surprised..." continued Barnsley.
Barnsley chuckled. "Well, with the shop was destroyed, she wasn't allowed
to work there any longer. When I woke up in hospital... could you imagine my surprised when the first face that greeted me
was that of that same lovely bear from my own local shop?"
Barnaby was cross-eyed with perplexion.
"A clever man in the government thought it would be a good idea for those
people under community supervision to help out in the hospitals, and he made your dear mother a nursing assistant." explained
Barnsley. "It's still a mystery who threw those bricks, though."
"Dad?" asked Barnaby.
"Yes, my boy?" Barnsley said, with a warm cuddle and a soft smile.
"You really are a ferrucking idiot, aren't you??"
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