PATCH TOWN #1 – THE DROUGHTY FLOOD
It was a chaotic time for the Patch Town fruit and vegetables. A lack of rainfall for nearly two days had caused a huge water shortage. Some fortunate produce souls were able to have a fresh supply airlifted in from the insect market, but others were not so lucky. The teenagers and the groundless, in a desperate attempt to quench their sensitive skins, injected hypodermic needles filled with the precious, life-giving spring. Vegetables like Fred and Fanny Carrot sold fragments of their seed and skin in exchange for a pitiful drop. But the final nail in the peach was yet to come.
The government announced that most of the United Kingdom had gone into a terrible state of official shortage of irrigation. The inhabitants of Patch Town came together to decipher the message delivered to them by the politically correct, sheltered minds of the hypersensitive bonobo monkeys at the BBC, and they soon discovered the devastating truly truthfully awful truth:
There was a serious drought, and as a result, all hosepipes were tortured and imprisoned. Sprinklers everywhere turned on in their graves.
However, as quickly as the renegade drought engulfed Patch Town, the dehydrating tide suddenly turned. Fred and Fanny Carrot stared out of their window as grey clouds amassed and a gigantic gust built up speed. What came next surprised everyone:
After it was dry, it started to become…wet.
Very soon, vehicles travelled down Patch Town streets – followed by sections of tree and road signs. Then came the boats, yachts and canoes. People everywhere rejoiced and replenished their thirsty bodies with the bountiful moist goodness, and soon there was more than enough water to go around for everyone. Newspapers reported the wettest April 1st on record in living memory since last year.
Fred heaved a sigh of relief. Life in Patch Town was returning to normal. Even though his sofa, coffee table and TV had become islands in his living room, at least there was no more panic drinking. At least he wouldn’t have to watch melons sledge-hammering their own shells to find water. Today is going to be a great day, he thought, as he stretched and yawned, gathered his briefcase, put on his suit, stepped out of his house, walked out of his drive, onto the jetty and straight into the commuter steamboat.
Maybe I should buy my own canoe instead of riding on this overcrowded boat every morning.
Peering over the deck, he was caught by an unexpected slap on the stalk. He turned to see a familiar friend – a half grape, half date figure known affectionately as ‘Groper’ – his best pal and workmate, Date Grape.
‘Hey, Fred,’ Date bellowed as he joined him in gazing out to sea/town. ‘I was just getting onboard when I bumped into this cute looking orange. Her name’s Clementine. She gave me her number. Wouldn’t mind giving her a squeeze later – see if I can get some juice out of her. You look upset. What’s wrong?’
Fred sighed. ‘Date, my living room is still underwater. I’ve been weighing up my options and there’s only one thing I can think of doing.’
Date’s face slackened and his charming sparkle faded.
‘I’m going to have to find a hosepipe -’
‘Shh!’ Date interrupted. He looked around. ‘Okay, nobody’s listening. Tell me quietly.’
‘I’m going to go into the antique store, buy a hosepipe and siphon the water out of my living room.’
‘Are you crazy? You’ll go to prison. You’ll get peeled.’
‘There’s no other way. I can’t live on without the TV.’
They looked out towards the deep waters of the submerged, treacherous high street, filled to the brim with its fancy canoes and businessmen speedboats now packed together tightly and forming an orderly queue at the traffic lights.
‘If I see you, you know, using the…hosepipe, then -’
‘Then you didn’t see anything,’ said Fred.
* * * *
Garrett Carrot, the only child of Fred and Fanny, was a small, slightly yellowed legume. His best friend, Tommy Tomato – a North Korean, slightly yellowed legume, accompanied Garrett everywhere. The two foodlets were pricking each other in the skin when Fred came walking up the Carrot household drive carrying a snake-like, coiled object. Fanny greeted him at the door with a desperate hug and a tear, and a few mutters of ‘Please, Fred. Don’t do this.’ The children played on until Fred called over to them:
‘Boys! Come here. I need your help.’
Not long after, Fanny, Garrett and Tommy kicked and pushed water into a hosepipe while Fred stood in the street with a stance of defiance, watching as the evil floodwater travelled back to its source. Fanny hid in the kitchen, crying softly and feeling helpless. Could she make her husband see sense in what he was doing?
As the last of the floodwater left damp patches on the living room carpet, and the sofa, coffee table and TV no longer resembled continents, Garrett and Tommy expected to be paid for their time and effort. But Fred just stood outside, staring into the new Patch Town Sea. Suddenly, he blew his carrot top. He wrenched and tore and maliciously attacked the hosepipe, repeatedly stabbing the vulnerable surface and puncturing holes through the lining where water poured out in woeful wetness. Neighbours gathered outside their houses to watch the pandemonium.
Fred addressed the neighbours. ‘Grab your hosepipes and make a stand! We will not be told how to use them!’ But the neighbours remained still, and, one by one, they phoned the emergency services and reported a madman was savagely using a hosepipe.
Garrett and Tommy went outside.
‘Mr. Carrot,’ said Tommy. ‘All water gone living room.’
That was when Garrett realised something was out of place. It could’ve been the flower bed slightly out of centre compared with the rest of the garden, or it could’ve been the wrestling match between his father and the hosepipe.
‘Dad, stop!’ he yelled.
‘It’s too late, Garrett! It must be destroyed to make an example!’
Suddenly, the sound of sireny boat sirens sirened away in the street. A roarity roar sound roared overhead. Officers fell from the sky using giant ropes. More officers cart wheeled their way from patrol boats onto dry land. In the flash of a tiger’s tooth, they encircled Fred and rapidly closed in. Fred stopped scrambling and screaming. He turned to Fanny who stood in the doorway. He said, ‘I love you Fanny. I’m sorry. It had to be done.’ Then he looked at Garrett and said, ‘Garrett. Go inside. Upstairs you will find a desk. Inside is a book and a pen. Do your homework.’
His body became limp, and dejectedly, he said, ‘Okay, officers. I’ll come peacefully.’
And they tasered the fuck out of him.
* * * *
While Fred was in prison, hooked up to a machine that forced him to think repeatedly about what he’d done, a group of scientists arrived in Patch Town with their masses of lab coats and virginity. To cure the rare problem of the droughty flood, they had travelled – by request of the government – to Patch Town in order to test out a device that could fix Patch Town’s flooded, dry streets. The local inhabitants gathered in front of the town hall for a special announcement.
The head scientist made his way to a podium and said, ‘My dear people of Patch Town. We come to you today to test life-saving equipment. You are in desperate need of water.’
A person in the crowd said, ‘But there isn’t a drought anymore. We’re underwater.’
‘But you’re still officially in drought,’ replied the head scientist. ‘Do not be afraid. We are here to rescue you from the bone-dry death. Behold, a rain-making machine!’
Garrett and Tommy, the two late arrivals, climbed onto higher ground to see over the crowd. They watched a sheet fall, revealing the rain-making machine in all its pristine vagueness.
‘What that?’ said Tommy.
‘Dunno,’ said Garrett. ‘Looks like a giant granny.’
The head scientist’s assistant took a remote control and pressed a big magenta button. But nothing happened. Then someone in the crowd gave him two AA size batteries, and he hit the button again, and this time, the giant granny rain-making machine’s mechanical legs and arms waved aggressively.
‘And now,’ said the head scientist, ‘the rain-making machine will drink all the water in the town, and once again, Patch Town will be back to normal!’
‘I thought you say drought,’ shouted Tommy. ‘First drought, now flood. What fuck?’
‘I’m a little confused too,’ said the head scientist. He looked towards his assistant who adjusted the dial on the remote control to somewhere between FLOOD and DROUGHT. However, as he did, the needle snapped and began fluctuating violently between FLOOD, DROUGHT, FLOOD, DROUGHT, FLOOD, DROUGHT. The giant granny rain-making machine’s eyes lit up into a fierce magenta glow, and she began stomping around, picking up boats, canoes, yachts, benches and sculptures of modern art, and placing them neatly into the sides of buildings, and sometimes through the buildings and out the other side. At that point, the violent act abruptly stopped.
‘She’s malfunctioning!’ shouted the assistant, about twelve seconds too late. ‘Oh my God! What’s she doing now?’
Her eyes glowed an even brighter magenta that contained the glint of a tiger’s eye. As the crowd screamed and fled, Garrett and Tommy hid on the deck of a boat. Suddenly, circular beams radiated from the granny eyes.
‘Oh, no,’ said the head scientist. ‘It’s…it’s transforming from a granny…into a nanny!’
The giant rain-making granny-now-nanny froze the audience in their tracks. Only Garrett and Tommy managed to avoid the beams. They stayed hidden and watched in awe.
‘It’s hypnotising everyone into a nanny state,’ cried the assistant, before the beams attacked him and he dropped his precious clipboard and pen. The head scientist tried to flee but the beam soon tracked him down. The mindless nanny was beyond control. Garrett and Tommy jumped and swam away from the boat, but as they made their hasty escape, an unfriendly couple blocked their way.
‘There is a drought,’ said the couple.
‘No, there isn’t,’ replied Garrett.
‘Yes there is.’
‘No, there goddamn wet flood!’ said Tommy.
The couple became hostile and tried to seize the boys, but, reacting with his natural oriental speed and dexterity, Tommy grabbed a knife from his pocket and pretended to stab the couple. The couple reacted by standing still, completely confused by the little ripe red thing’s actions.
‘I think I kill them!’ shouted Tommy as he and Garrett fled the scene. Soon, the two had a much better perspective of what was really happening: the crowd, in a hypnotised nanny state, began to attack the last remaining people who dared to think of using a hosepipe; they attacked anyone who denied there was a drought; they attacked anyone who said that overpopulation played a role in water shortage; they attacked anyone who said the water companies were to blame. There was blood and legislation everywhere. Somebody even puked into the switched-off water fountain.
When they were a safe distance from the nanny’s indoctrination beam, Garrett had a brainwave, and when he realised this might offend people with epilepsy, he had a PC cognitive light bulb instead.
* * * *
They had heard he was a sex offender, but still, Garrett and Tommy came within ten metres of his house. They approached his front door. For some reason, they had to put two fingers through a hole in the door to ring the bell. That was when a scruffy, stubbly man appeared.
‘Uh, oh,’ said Date Grape. ‘Get away, get away, you weren’t here, you weren’t here.’
‘Are you the one they call…Groper?’ said Garrett.
Date froze. He said, ‘I have a real name. It’s Date. Hey, aren’t you Fred’s son, Garrett? Yeah, it is you. I recognise you from your facebook pictures. But let’s not get into that. Who’s the illegal immigrant?’
‘This is Tommy. He’s North Korean.’
Tommy bowed and said, ‘Am venerated to meet repeat sex offender. Is major accomplishment in my country, better than degree. Perhaps send you missile in post as present.’
Date said, ‘What’s the problem?’
Garrett said, ‘There’s a giant nanny destroying the town. She’s hypnotised everyone into a nanny state.’
Date considered the matter, and then uneasily, he said, ‘You boys had better come in. Hey, wait. You’re not working for the police, are you?’
The boys shook their heads and Date ushered them quickly inside.
The boys talked about Fred’s arrest and the failed rain-making experiment. With everyone now under the command of the nanny, they said that Date was the last person who could help Patch Town.
‘But why me?’ said Date.
‘I’ve heard about your work,’ said Garrett. ‘I’m not exactly sure what it is that you do, but I’ve heard you’re the best. The thing is, the giant nanny has an opening. A weak spot. I think you’d be better than us at -’
‘Say no more,’ said Date as he sighed and wandered over to a gold-framed certificate mounted on the wall. Behind the glass was a page from the sex offender’s register with his name in calligraphy-style block capitals. Beneath this was a portrait of a satisfied younger Date – a reminder of happier, more successful times.
‘Boys, I took an oath not to revert to old ways. I’m sorry. I just can’t help you out. You’ll have to come up with another plan.’
He escorted the boys out of the house and closed the door.
‘I thought you were the estranged guy my Dad said you were,’ shouted Garrett. ‘I thought you put all other criminals to shame. I’ll just have to tell my Dad that you didn’t have the mentally ill desire to offend again.’
And with that, Date burst open the door.
‘Goddamnit, you’re right. I’m the only one around here who can screw a nanny and get away with it. From this day forward, I’m going to be the greatest offender in Patch Town, and I’m going to show everyone that I’m not just a filthy, slime-ridden sicko, but I’m also the most reliable repeat offender they’ll ever know. This town needs bad crime statistics once again, and I am those statistics. Let’s get to work!’
And with that, Date swam at least ten metres behind the boys as they made their way into town.
* * * *
The hypnotised people of Patch Town formed an orderly queue behind the giant nanny. Having been consumed by the fiery magenta daze, the queue marched to the police station where they sensed potential victims ready to be taken under their control – Fanny, Fred, and a police officer booking in a fresh delivery of red tape.
Then, just as the nanny was about to pound the police station roof away with its oversized fist of metallic death, two boys and a creepy man stood in its way. The nanny froze unexpectedly, as did the queue of people, who waited politely.
‘Move out of the way, boys,’ said Date. ‘This isn’t for sensitive young eyes.’
The metallic fist swooped and missed, and as Date dodged the unpredictable, laboured swings of the nanny’s anatomy, the people closed in on Garrett and Tommy.
‘We fucked?’ asked Tommy.
‘Not today, Tommy,’ said Garrett as his skin began to peel with fright.
The crowd inched closer, holding out their arms in a mindless desire to capture the boys. They were only feet away now, and Garrett and Tommy turned around to find the wall of the police station standing high over them. They squashed themselves as tightly as they could against it and took deep breaths. Now the crowd came even closer, and closer, and closer, until they were at arm’s length, elbow length, wrist length, finger tip length, and…
And then the crowd stopped. Garrett and Tommy gazed through squinted eyelids. The magenta disappeared from the eyes of the misled townspeople. They looked at one another and backed away from the police station, muttering in confusion. From a deep crevice between the nanny’s legs, a human head popped out and said, ‘I did it! I found the off switch!’ Date fell out onto the ground. Covered in slime, he ran over to the boys.
‘The only thing I had to do was push her cervix and she was turned off. All along, the nanny was just a giant wet pussy with a weak backbone.’ The deactivated nanny struggled against the weight of her own spine. She collapsed to the ground and exploded.
‘That’s really disgusting,’ someone said to Date.
‘Hey everybody, it’s Groper,’ a woman shouted. ‘He’s breaking and entering again.’
‘After him!’ an angry gentleman said with an outstretched arm and a pointed finger, and the crowd surrounded Date.
‘Look over there!’ yelled Tommy. ‘Man try use hosepipe in droughty weather!’
‘After him!’ cried the angry gentleman, and the crowd dispersed in the opposite direction.
‘Thanks for the diversion,’ said Date. ‘See you online.’ He hitched a ride on a floating tree trunk and waved goodbye.
* * * *
As a result of the giant nanny incident, the government decided to repay Patch Town by relaxing the hosepipe ban, even though most people were now trying to get the water out of their gardens and their cars. The flood waters soon cleared and the streets dried up, and as for the scientists, nobody was really sure where they disappeared to, although some suspected their presence was still felt as they’d left their virginity behind.
Fanny and Garrett arrived at the police station to take Fred home.
‘Dad, how did you cope with that machine forcing you to think about your actions?’
‘Well, son. I did what all men do best. I wasn’t listening. In fact, I fantasised the whole time about a very special woman.’ With that, Fanny and Fred kissed.
‘Oh, Fred. You’re a dream.’
‘Fanny, I’m goddamn real.’
With that, they kissed even harder. Garrett blushed orange as they made their way past the reopened town fountain, where a certain Pukestain watched his pea and sweet corn children treating the fountain like a water park. This could only mean one thing: it was time for Pukestain to deliver his important closing message:
‘Hello everyone. I am Pukestain. Our country has a strange weather system. It’s impossible for anyone to predict whether it’s going to be dry one day or wet the next. Hell, I wouldn’t even trust the weather forecast beyond two days. Some overpopulated areas are running dry, but people still waste water. Some areas of the country get flooded, yet they receive hosepipe bans. It don’t make no sense, bro. Our water companies are leaving us with burst pipes, so all the water that should be conserved is allowed to leak back out into the sea, and with an increasing population, there’s a bigger demand, so we need all the water we can get.’
‘Maybe it’s time we confronted our water companies, because it’s clear we’re getting screwed over big time. In dry weather you shouldn’t have to worry about going thirsty, and in wet weather you shouldn’t have to worry about using too much water. Until the next time somebody pukes, good barf!’