Friday, December 19, 2008

Once Upon a Time

Dear Learned Judges,

Please find below our entry for The World's Greatest Online Collective Story competition. We humbly submit it is a fine story and trust you will enjoy it.

Yours most humbly, the undersigned:

Leo Tolstoy, Italo Calvino, man bag, Anon, Cormac McCarthy, Kettle
a.k.a The Kettle Collective Story Collective

** A huge thanks to everyone who contributed!

It's Time

[Leo Tolstoy] All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion. Everything had gone wrong in [Kettle] John Howard's household.

[Italo Calvino] Only three months ago one of his sons, Baron Bruno had refused to eat some very palatable snailmeal porridge and then he'd gone to live on the roof, which was COLORBOND® Pale Eucalypt®. He'd yelled, "I'll never come down again!" and so far he'd been true to his word.

[man bag] This was troubling to Baron Howard, who was pretty sure Bastardo Bush wasn't having roof-related issues with his daughters, and knew for a fact (thanks to the webcam he'd hooked up in the White House, when he was, you know, a somebody) that Bush's kidsters happily ate their snailmeal porridge every morning at ground level.

Baron Howard sighed and cursed the day he put the COLOURBOND in. "It's just so damn attractive, is that COLOURBOND® Pale Eucalypt®. If only it was skankarse I wouldn't have lost my son to it. Oh well," he yabbered to Janette, who sat at the kitchen table doing a sudoku, "at least I still have my dignity."

When he left the room Janette had a good old snort to herself, picked up the phone and rang [Anonymous] Blanche D'Apulget. "Oh Blanche," sighed Janette, "I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm just not used to having him around the house. He's sent Bruno up the roof and is sending me round the twist. What does one do with an ousted Prime Minister?"

"Ah," said Blanche, "I know just the thing."

[Cormac McCarthy] "Just cos the rodeo's over, it don't mean yer Johnny can never ride again honey. When you fall off a horse you gotta get right back on again right quick. Now whut you've gotta do is get yer husband Johnny there a game called 'Commander in Chief'. That way he can go pretendin' he's the president of america and boy howdy that's gotta be better than bein' prime minister of whutever yer country's name is. Yer Johnny will feel like he's back in the saddle in no tahm and purtnear all man agin. Now yer've gotta be firm with the boy Bruno, you gotta get yer gun and shoot 'im down cos it's the only way he'll learn whut's good for him. And whun yer done makin' him feel all man Janey darlin' yer should cook him a pumpkin pie. Yeeha!"

[Kettle] With this excellent advice Janette sallied forth to the shops to buy 'Commander in Chief' for her newly-about-the-house man. She was delighted to find an Australian version, gloriously entitled 'Prime Minister: the Big Cheese Down Under'. Rushing home she had just enough time to get the game loaded on the PC before 'The Bold and the Beautiful' started.

Meanwhile, Baron Howard was beavering away in the study, sorting through boxes of papers from his time in office. He lifted boxes here and sorted files there and at last he came to a large box resting precipitously on the edge of a shelf high up in his book case. He nudged it forward, first the right side, then the left, then he nudged again and pulled and lifted and grunted and heaved and what ho! Down came the box in one crashing mess on top of the Baron's head!

Papers and letters fluttered everywhere; a report entitled 'Project Bobbing Apples: The Children Overboard Affair' settled on his right hand while another called 'How to Close a Peak Indigenous Body in 10 Easy Steps' came to a stop on his left thigh. The lid of the box spun on its corner then settled on the Baron's head; 'My Greatest Triumphs,' it read in big, black letters.

Night came and the Baron lay under his papers, out cold on his study floor. He didn't hear the leaves rustle outside his study window; he didn't see the window being raised; and he didn't know someone was climbing into the room with him.

The intruder crept quietly up to Baron Howard, and, settling by his head gently lifted the lid from his face and waved a glossy brochure to and fro over the greying pate. It was Baron Bruno waving the latest COLORBOND® catelogue!

Baron Howard began to stir so Baron Bruno quickly crept back over to the window and hoisted himself up onto the roof and out of sight.

When Baron Howard awoke, he rubbed his foggy head and pulled himself out from under his papers. He stumbled out to the living room and found Janette snoring gently on the couch. He caught sight of 'Prime Minister: The Big Cheese Down Under' set up on the computer and sat down to play.

The night wore on and Baron Howard kept playing. He set up committees and wrote terms of reference and reviewed a few sets of regulations.

Then something extraordinary happened: he opened talks with not-for-profit organisations and called a summit on the environment. He started to feel good! He gave extra funding to AIDS research and released the refugees at Woomera and opened a koala sanctuary in Bankstown. He was on a roll, he liked doing good things, he wanted to do more! He signed the Kyoto Protocol and apologised to the Stolen Generation and started being taken seriously by leaders around the world!

With every good decision the Baron changed a little, a new set of glasses here, a lightening of his hair there, until by the time the sun rose he was no longer the bushy eye-browed sap he'd once been. He was a lean, keen, Kevin machine!

When the clock struck seven Janette yawned and stretched and looked over at the Baron, who sat beaming at the computer, loving his new and improved self. "My my," said Janette when she saw that the Baron had become a Kevinator, "I always was partial to the other side... and blondes."

So they had a happy snog and the Baron promised never to do evil things again. Their son looked on from the skylight, grinning from ear to ear. "COLORBOND® - what a force for good," he marvelled, and started to make his way down from the roof, on a ladder that leant a little to the left, to rejoin the family.

The End.


words, wine, coffee, art said...

I am impressed Kettle, that your wonderful (even famous!) group of writers were able to create such a terrific story! Your own contribution in pulling it all together is astounding! It's almost several chapters. I was totally struck down with writer's block, especially when the Colorbond issue arose.
Hope you all win the accolades you so richly deserve! What is the prize anyway?

The Dangerous Kettle said...

Dear Words and Wine, thank you for your kind words! I shall pass them on to the rest of the collective.

We do hope you join us for the next story. Together we will build marvellous story-castles: some can hoist the Colourbond, some can get jiggy with the putty filler, and some can get those windows level :)