The Village of the Dim.

The monster mystery.

Welcome to the very last scraping of Knickerbocker Glory.  I hope you didn’t miss me too much during the holidays, I have nearly finished the kitchen, which let me in for a lot of feeding groups of people who were not noticeably undernourished.  Happily the house is back to nearly normal and the festive tat has been binned or stuck in the loft and the last Christmas card arrived today, just in time to be recycled.  Everywhere people are launching into the new year with varying degrees of enthusiasm, dieting and financial planning.

Not so in the Village of the Dim; home turf, I’m sure you recall, of the great detective’s sidekick, Watsup.  Here the idiot villagers are still waiting to celebrate Christmas………………………………

Rural music, birdsong.

Ethereal voice      And once again, as early morning changes to slightly 
                     later morning, we find ourselves in the countryside,
                     roaming freely in the

FX Da Da Da!

Ethereal voice      Village of the Dim which seems to be deserted.  I
                     wonder where the villagers are?  Perhaps we should
                     ask Millennium Domes, the great detective and his
                     chum of infinitesimal intellect, Watsup, who have
                     returned to the village to solve yet another mystery. 
                     No doubt they have been summoned by Watsup’s 
                     aunt, who panics rather easily.

Fade up Watsup  I tell you, Domes, she said it was a monster.

Domes              Yes but has anyone seen it, Watsup?  It’s all very well
                      saying there is a monster but has anyone even caught
                      a glimpse of it?

Watsup            Well no, Domes, because the villagers are too
                     frightened to go out.  They’re staying in doorways.

Domes             I think you mean indoors, Domes.  A nice semantic
                    precision is important to detectives.

Watsup           Is it?  Oh dear, Domes, I haven’t got one of those,
                    though I have got a nice new magnifying glass.  Look
                    at this: things look big, take it away, things look little
                    again.  Things look big, things look little; it’s very
                    entertaining.  And I do mean doorways, you know. 
                    It’s because of the earthquakes, you see.  It is most
                    unfortunate that the poor villagers are coping with
                    earthquakes and a monster at the same time.  My
                    auntie says that everyone is exhausted here in the

FX Da Da Da!

Watsup          Village of the Dim.  No one is getting any sleep.
                   They just sit up all night in their doorways, feeling
                    the tremors and listening to the monster roaming
                   round the village.   They’re absolutely terrified, Domes
                   totally terrified and terribly tired too.  The tremors are
                   taking it out of them, you know how it is.

Domes           Perhaps I do but that’s none of your business, Watsup.
                  However, fear not, old friend, I intend to render 
                  assistance just as soon as I can find a villager to
                  question.  Now, whose cottage is this, on the
                  outskirts of the village?

Watsup         It’s old Mrs Looney’s little cottage, Domes.  Look,
                 I can make it look huge through my magnifying glass.
                 Big cottage, little cottage, big cottage, little cottage.
                 Oh I say, I spy Mrs Looney asleep in the doorway
                 clutching a pin, no it isn’t, it’s a baseball bat.  I haven’t
                 quite got the hang of this magnifying lark yet.  Should we
                  wake her?

Domes         I think we must.  Good morning, Mrs Looney!

Mrs Looney    What!  Oh!  Go away, if I hit you with this fishing
                  rod, you’ll get an electric shock!

Watsup         It’s all right, Mrs Looney, it’s me, Watsup and my
                 friend, the great detective, Millennium Domes.

Mrs Looney    So it is, young Watsup, I’m sorry I shouted, I thought
                 you were a monster.

Watsup        No, it’s just us; we heard about the monster and have
                 come to help.  Mr Domes and I are going to catch it.

Mrs Looney     If you can’t run fast enough, you probably will.  It’s

Domes          Have you seen it, Mrs Looney?

Mrs Looney     I don’t want to see it, thank you, Mr Domes.  Hearing
                  it all night is bad enough.

Domes           What does it sound like, Mrs Looney?

Mrs Looney      Terrible.  You can hear it roaring all round the village.
                    Sometimes you can hear its stomach rumbling and then
                    it does these awful wails.  All the while the earth is
                    shaking and all the ornaments dropping off the dresser.
                    Then you can hear the monster trying to get into the
                    village.  You can hear it growling up at the far end of
                    Squitty Alley then roaming round the outside and trying
                    to get up Bakers Lane.

Watsup            How awful, Mrs Looney.  You must be terrified.

Mrs Looney       What if it gets into the village and starts eating the
                     pets?  Mrs Abacus at the store can’t let her dog,
                     Widdler, out on his own anymore.  Everybody knows
                     Widdler, you know and nobody locks their doors
                     round here.  He used to wander freely in the fields and
                     round the village, though, mind you, she had to stop
                     that even before the monster came.

Watsup            Why, Mrs Looney?  Was he worrying sheep?

Mrs Looney       No, young Watsup but he worries the villagers,
                    especially the ones with new carpets.

Domes             I wonder why the monster doesn’t simply come into
                    the village down the main street?

Mrs Looney       Oh, we’ve put up barricades, both ends.  We might
                    be stupid here in the


Mrs Looney      Village of the Dim but we’re not stupid, you know.

Domes            A wise move.  So Mrs Looney, let me see if this is
                   right.  At night there’s a noise which seems to be
                   trying to get into the village.  Is that all the evidence
                   for a monster?

Mrs Looney      Well apart from the enormous footprints, yes.

Domes             Footprints, Mrs Looney?

Mrs Looney       Yes.  All round the village, Mr Domes.  You can
                     see them there just on the other side of the barricade.

Domes             Thank you, Mrs Looney, I think we’ll take a look.
                     Come along, Watsup, you can use your new
                     magnifying glass.

Watsup           Oh hurrah!  I’m going to be useful!

Domes            Don’t push it Watsup. However, the glass might be

Fade up sounds of clucking which continue through the following.

Watsup           So Domes, here we are at the barricade.

Domes            It’s a very strange barricade, Watsup.  A couple of
                   duvets, a crate of chickens and some balloons tied to a

Watsup          I think it’s a wonderful barricade, Domes.  It’s even
                  manned.  Look there’s Cholmondely Farquarharson,
                  road sweeper and official village idiot, asleep on one of 
                  the duvets!  What ho, Farquarharson!

Road sweeper   What? Oh! Ding fang riddle I lemondrop, is it morning?

Domes          Indeed it is, my good fool. Have you been here all night?

Road sweeper   They shall not pass.  Save the village.  I’ll have a little
                   blue one.

Watsup          Mrs Looney mentioned something about footprints,
                   Farquarharson.  Have you seen them?

Road sweeper    All over the road, good sirs.  All over the horizon, 
                   beyond me.

Watsup           It’s a lovely barricade, Farquarharson. Did you
                   invent it?

Road sweeper    Mrs Looney tells I.  She says, big bangs, early
                   warnings and make sure no one gets hurt.  So I’ve
                   done balloons, chickens and duvets.  Have I done right?

Watsup          Well it certainly seems to have worked.  The marks on
                   the road come right up to the barricade, go round and
                   round in circles and then go away again.  What do you
                   make of them, Domes?

Domes           Caterpillar tracks, Watsup.

Watsup          Goodness me, Domes, are they, by Jove!  The
                   caterpillar that made them must have been absolutely
                   gigantic.  Goodness gracious, if it turns into a butterfly
                   it will be bigger than an aeroplane.

Domes            No Watsup, the footprints were not made by a
                   caterpillar.  They are the marks of caterpillar tracks
                   such as are found on agricultural vehicles.  Somebody
                   has been driving round the village in a tractor, or
                   something very like it.  I wonder about the agricultural
                   activities hereabouts.  Do you know what is grown
                   nearby, Watsup?

Watsup          Well, there’s the dump in Bluebell Dip which grows
                   rusty car bodies and old mattresses.  There’s the 
                   pickled onion factory over at Twittington Wallop
                   Parva which is surrounded by fields full of onions.
                   Oh and the Windy Hill cheese farm, of course.

Domes           Is the cheese farm nearby?

Watsup          It’s over there on top of Windy Hill.  That’s why it’s
                   called the Windy Hill cheese farm, you know.  The
                  local cheese is world famous and also completely

Domes           How so, Watsup?

Watsup          They sell tons and tons of it world wide, Domes,
                   packaged in gigantic blocks with no labels on.
                   Restaurants and supermarkets everywhere re package
                   it and put their own labels on it.

Domes           Fancy that, Watsup.  What is it like?

Watsup          Well I don’t fancy it at all, Domes.  It’s orange in
                   colour, sweats a lot, tastes of nothing and bounces like
                   a rubber ball.  In fact most of the children in the

FX Da Da Da!

Watsup          Village of the Dim have footballs and tennis balls made
                   out of it.

Domes            Oh I think I’ve had some of that, Watsup.

Watsup           Probably, Domes.  It lasts in an industrial store for up
                    to five years but in a domestic fridge it goes mouldy
                    overnight.  Farmer Pickles has a patent out on it, you
                    know.  I don’t think he would frighten the villagers
                    with a tractor.

Domes            I’m quite sure it isn’t him anyway, Watsup.  None of
                   the tracks go up the hill towards the farm.

Watsup           Ah! But are there any tracks coming down the hill
                    away from the farm, Domes?

Domes             No, there are none coming from the farm, either,
                    Watsup.  I think we should look elsewhere. Let us
                    go into the village and interview some villagers, as
                     Cholmondely Farquarharson seems to have gone
                    back to sleep.

Watsup           He’s probably tired, poor fellow.  Wasn’t it brave of
                    him to man the barricade all night?

Domes            Indeed it was, Watsup and like all the villagers he’s 
                   very kind to animals.  Look at the way he’s cuddling
                   that crate of chickens.  That reminds me, I’m hungry,
                   let’s go and see Mrs Cakemix at the shop.

Fade out chickens.
Tinkly shop bell.

Watsup           Hello Mrs Cakemix.

Mrs Cakemix       Hello young Watsup.  I am pleased to see you.  I
                    see you’ve brought your detective friend with you.
                    Not a moment too soon, we could do with some
                    good detectoring.  The earthquakes are playing havoc 
                    with my china.  All the bowls and cups have got
                    smashed so I’m having to serve everything in eggcups.
                    It’s confusing the villagers dreadfully.  I keep getting
                    orders for lightly boiled cups of tea and people
                    asking for toasted soldiers to dip in their trifle.  What
                    with that and no sleep I’m nearly getting to my wit’s

Watsup           Oh dear, Mrs Cakemix, have you got far to go?

Mrs Cakemix      It’s not a long journey, no but I’m trying to keep
                    calm and collected because my youngest son, 
                   Christmas, is due home on leave any day now. In
                   fact, he’s overdue. You remember Christmas, don’t
                   you, young Watsup?  Wasn’t he in your class at
                  infants’ school?

Watsup          That’s right, Mrs Cakemix.  Chris and I were in
                   the infants’ school for twelve years, Domes, until I
                   left for higher education and he went into the army.
                   How is he doing, Mrs Cakemix?

Mrs Cakemix     Absolutely wonderful.  They’ve learned him all sorts.
                  After only a month he’d learned how to do walking,
                  another month and he’d learned how to polish his
                  boots and put them on the right feet, or, better, one
                  on the left foot as well. Last I heard he was learning
                  how to peel potatoes.  It’s wonderful how they learn
                  them all these skills.  He said they were learning him 
                  something else and he would show me when he came
                  home on leave.  It’s a surprise, he says.  First person
                  ever from the

FX  Da Da Da!

Mrs Cakemix    Village of the Dim to make it into the army and I’m
                  his proud mum.  Isn’t it wonderful?  Would you
                  like an eggcup of coffee, or six?  Or some local cheese?

Watsup         That’s a very kind offer, Mrs Cakemix but I don’t think 
                  we’re that hungry.

Mrs Cakemix     That’s all right because I had planned to use it as floor
                   tiles.  I thought it might help the china to bounce if we
                   had another earthquake.

Domes          I think we may have spotted another clue, Mrs Cakemix.
                 If you would care to go and stand in the main street, the
                 mystery will be solved very shortly.  Come Watsup, let
                 us go to the barricade at the other end of the village.

Watsup        Oh I say, Domes, are we going to man the barricades?

Domes (fading)  Not at all, Watsup, in fact we’re going to dismantle

(Fade up) Domes  Well here we are at the other barricade, Watsup.

Watsup        Oh I say, Domes, isn’t it colourful?

Domes         Well it would be, Watsup, as it is mainly composed
                 of piles and piles of jumpers.

Watsup        Oh gosh, so it is.  Good gracious, Domes, look at this.
                This jumper belongs to me, my auntie knitted it.  It’s 
                a jumper for helping with the washing up and gardening.

Domes        That will be why it has a knitted tea towel attached to the
               chest, presumably.

Watsup       Exactly, Domes and very useful it is.  Though to be
                honest the knitted spade joined to the wrist is not all
                that handy as it does get dirty very quickly and it has to
                be dry cleaned.  Mrs On Won Hanger at the Chinese
                Laundry does it.  Oh I say, there she is, fast asleep
                on a bed of trousers cuddling a couple of rabbits.  Cooee
                Mrs Hanger.

Mrs Hanger    Herro, what, go away!  Go away or I sharr put you
                 on fast linse and spin.  Oh herro, Master Watsup, Mr
                 Domes.  Solly, I thought you were a monster.  Why
                 didn’t you terr me, Fruffy and Fifi?  You’re supposed
                 to wake me up if anyone comes.  They’re not much use
                 as earry warning labbits, Mr Domes.  I sharr bling my
                 hamster tomollow night.

Domes          There will be no need, Mrs Hanger.  We are going to
                 dismantle the barricade.

Mrs Hanger     Dismantre the ballicade!  Have you gone mad?  The
                  monster wirr get into the virrage!

Domes         Exactly, Mrs Hanger.

Mrs Hanger     Werr, if that’s your idea of detectiving, I think it’s

Domes          Don’t worry Mrs Hanger, I promise everything will be
                 all right.

Mrs Hanger     Plomises, plomises, I don’t know if I berieve you.

Domes         Mrs Hanger, please believe me, all will be well.  Watsup
                 and I will move the jumpers if you will go and fetch Mrs 

Mrs Cakemix   Okay, I take my earry warning labbits with me.  (Fading)
but prease put the jumpers into those raundly baskets or 
                 I wirr have to wash them arr over again.

Watsup        Certainly, Mrs Hanger, we’ll just put the filled baskets
                 here on the pavement.  Remind me why we are doing
                 this, Domes?  Oh look, a sock with teddy bears on it
                 by Jove, I wish I had one of these, oh look, another
                 one.  I say, you could wear one on each foot, how jolly.

Domes         Pass me another empty basket, there’s a good fellow.
                 We’re dismantling the barricade so the monster can
                 come through.

Watsup        I say, Domes, is that wise?  Oh look, green wool
                 combinations with socks, gloves and a balaclava
                 attached.  How very practical.

Domes         No one could accuse the villagers of being slaves
                to fashion, Watsup.  That’s the last basket. There we are,
                a clear road.  I suggest we stand on the pavement armed
                with a long stick.

Watsup            Will this do?  It’s one of Mrs Hanger’s clothes props.
                 Here she comes now with Mrs Cakemix.  Is it all right
                 if we borrow your clothes prop, Mrs Hanger?

Mrs Hanger     It’s okay but are you going to fight the monster
                  with onry a crothes plop?

Watsup         Oh goodness gracious, golly, gosh, my goodness me, no.
                 I’m not that stupid. Domes is going to do it.

Mrs Hanger      Mr Domes, you’re either velly sirry or velly blave.
                  Oh here come monster now.  Lun away!

Huge rumbling

Domes          Stand on the pavement, ladies, all will be well.

Huge rumbling followed by a massive clang.  The rumbling stops.

Watsup          Goodness gracious, by Jove, I say, golly whizz bang,
                   Domes and then some!  It’s an army tank.

Domes           Quite so, Watsup.  Now if you’d be good enough to
                  give me a leg up I can climb up on it and talk to the
                  driver.  Oof, ah, thank you.  Hello in there!

Muffled voice   Hello out there.  Help!  Help!

Domes           Hello in there!  Are you stuck?

Muffled voice    Yes I am.  I can’t get the hatch open.

Domes            I fancy a quick twist of this lever will do it.

Clang thump.

Domes           There you are, climb out, young man.

Unmuffled voice  Cor, what a relief.  Hello Mum!

Mrs Cakemix      Christmas!

Watsup           Golly gosh, Domes.  It’s Christmas Cakemix.

Domes            Home on birthday leave for the holidays.

Unmuffled voice    Hello Mum.

Mrs Cakemix       It’s lovely to see you and I am happy, Christmas
                     birthday and new year but what are you doing
                     in that tank?

Unmuffled voice    Hello Mum.  It’s my surprise.  They’ve been
                      learning me to drive a tank.

Mrs Cakemix        Silly Christmas, didn’t you stay for the lesson
                      where they learned you to undo the lid?

Unmuffled voice    Sorry Mum, I just wanted to show you.  I’ve been
                      driving round the village for days now.  I couldn’t
                      get out and I couldn’t come down the village street
                      for help because someone had put animals at both
                      ends.  There was chickens at the far end and fluffy
                      bunnies up this end.  Are the bunny rabbits all right?

Mrs Hanger         The labbits are quite safe, Master Cakemix, don’t 

Unmuffled voice     Hello Mrs Hanger.  You couldn’t give the inside of
                       this tank a wash before I take it back, could you?

Mrs Hanger         Reeve the tank in the load, I sharr wash it tomollow.

Unmuffled voice     How about some home cooking, Mum?

Mrs Cakemix         I’ll do you some cheese on toast.

Unmuffled voice     Oh it’s lovely to be home.  Have I missed Christmas?

Mrs Cakemix         Not as much as I’ve missed you, Christmas.  We’ve
                       all missed it so we’ll have it next week for a week 
                       then we’ll have your birthday and then we’ll have
                       new year the first week of February and Easter in
                       the summer to leave room for pancake day and
                       move the spring bank holiday to October just in time
                       to buy the presents for next Christmas, Christmas.

Watsup             I say Domes, don’t the years just fly by!  How nice it
                      is to know that the

FX Da Da Da!

Watsup            Village of the Dim is safe and the villagers won’t have
                     to leave.

Domes              I don’t think you were going to leave the

FX Da Da Da!

Domes              Village of the Dim anyway, were you, Mrs Cakemix?

Mrs Cakemix        Of course not, Mr Domes.  Now I’m an army mum
                      I shall always be home for Christmas.  Arrgh!  A
                      a giant eye!

Watsup             Big Cakemix, little Cakemix, big Cakemix little

Domes              Did you get that in a cracker?

Watsup             Millennium Domes, wok.  Millennium Domes, wok.

Rural music.  Birdsong.


That concludes Knickerbocker Glory, the series of six half hour radio plays I wrote some years ago which were never broadcast.  If anyone wishes to do so, please get in touch; I have a great deal more silly trapped in my tank.  Meanwhile if you found me lately the whole series is archived under Knickerbocker Glory or can be found by tracking back through the archived months. -  narrowcasting mainly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, see you here!

This entry was posted in Knickerbocker Glory and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *