WAKEY WAKEY FOR A STINK MISTAKEY
‘Josh, wake up,’ said Tingle after being asleep for eight hours. ‘The sun is rising!’
Josh rolled over and moved Dino slowly across the pillow.
‘Josh we need to escape and let the world know a big stink is on its way!’ she whispered, hoping that no one could hear her.
Josh sat up suddenly and looked around. ‘Not a dream?’ he said rubbing his eyes.
‘No…’ Tingle replied.
‘Little Stinkers are real?’ he asked, looking a little bit confused.
Tingle nodded. ‘We should get changed into our clothes… I have an idea of how to get out of here.’
Josh looked at Tingle with a very tired look on his face. ‘I’m hungry.’
‘If we can get to mum and dad then they will have snacks,’ she said, she had already figured that out.
The word snack made Josh lurch and grab Dino. The pair leapt out of bed and Josh hurriedly put on his clothes over his pyjamas.
Tingle thought it was strange and did the same. It didn’t matter because they were in a hurry.
Quietly, Tingle checked the door handle and quietly clicked the door open. She opened it very carefully, just in case it had squeaky hinges. She then looked down the corridor. In one direction was the dining room and Pong-zone and Pongatory. In the other direction a series of tunnels led to the room with the ‘Do Not Press this button’.’
‘Josh I think we go to the room with the ‘Do Not Press This Button’,’ she said…
Josh nodded, he didn’t care – he just wanted snacks.
‘Right you have to be very quiet…’ she said checking the area was clear.
The pair crept along the passageway and glanced around the corner. Some of the Little Stinkers were up at sunrise making stinky preparations.
Tingle made a ‘Shhh!’ gesture, and the pair ran to the next corridor. They continued creeping quietly. At one end of the corridor two Whiff Warblers appeared to be warbling at each other about the different stinks. It seemed one of them had sniffed something so disgusting that it made a very pained warbling sound.
Tingle and Josh glanced at each and crossed that corridor stealthily. There was no time to listen to dastardly doom discussions. As they darted along in the direction of the secret room they noticed one of the doors was open. They paused by the door and glanced in. There were long dormitories of beautifully decorated bunk beds. Each was nicely designed and had a pretty curtain surrounding it.
‘That is where the Little Stinkers sleep,’ whispered Tingle.
There was stirring in the bunks and Josh looked nervous. Tingle gestured for the pair to continue to the room with the button that said ‘Do Not Press This Button’ written on it. When the pair arrived they paused for a moment and checked the room was clear. The button still carried the ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ sign. Beside the ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ sign the wall was made up of wooden decorated panels. Some had gold flower patterns and others were plain. There were also lots of book cases. ‘It looks like a library,’ said Tingle turning to see Josh press the ‘Do Not Press This Button’ button. He couldn’t help himself!
A second later one of the panels opened to reveal the secret room, which was surrounded by more books. The wall panels in that room were decorated with mountains, snow and beautiful skies. There was a button by the fireplace which said, ‘Definitely Do Not Press This Button’.
Josh pressed the button and the fireplace moved sideways to reveal a staircase going up.
‘Exciting!’ whispered Tingle but was cautious. What if they went up the stairs and the door closed behind them and they were trapped?
The pair heard stomping along the corridor. It seemed that a whole group of Stink Stonkers were on their way to breakfast.
‘We go…’ said Josh stepping into the doorway. The stomping became louder and Tingle quickly followed. The secret door closed and two trails of fairy lights hung from the banister. They provided enough light for the pair to see where to go. There were a lot of stairs and it was a very straight climb. After clambering for five minutes the pair came to the end of the stairs. Was it a dead end? There was a ceiling above them.
‘Why would that happen?’ Tingle muttered.
Josh let Dino bounce along the railing.
‘Button here,’ said Josh.
Tingle frowned, ‘Well I would…’
She didn’t have time to say anything because Dino bounced on the button and the ceiling above their heads opened. Another secret trapdoor! Josh and Tingle peeked out of the hole in the floor to face numerous toilets in a line. When they turned round they saw three grown-ups sleeping on sofa beds.
‘Mum and Dad…’ Tingle whispered. Josh and Tingle darted from the secret passage and went and jumped on their parents who were snoring deeply on different beds.
‘Mum,’ cried Tingle as she bounded onto her bed.
‘Dad!’ cried Josh as he climbed onto his bed.
‘Auntie Joanna…’ the pair called across the room.
There were snorts and grunts as the parents rolled over and half opened their eyes.
‘Tingle!’ Dianne cried as she sat up and cuddled her daughter with relief.
John made a loud snort, rubbed his head and gave Josh a big cuddle. The trapdoor slid shut. Auntie Joanna gasped… ‘I knew it!’ she said launching across the floor but it was too late. She tried to find the edge of the door but the Victorians always built things to precision. There was no way that trapdoor would open without something making it happen. That something was definitely in that room.
‘How did you escape?’ asked Dianne, rubbing her head. ‘Oh I have the worst headache…’
‘Me too,’ said John.
‘And me…’ said Auntie Joanna squinting and rubbing the back of her head.
‘We just left our beds and went to a room with a button you shouldn’t press. When we pressed it there was a secret room. Then there was a fireplace with a secret staircase.’ Tingle replied.
‘Ah the usual thing…’ said John, he would have happily stayed at home.
‘So are you both okay?’ Dianne asked.
‘We met Mister Sebastian Stinkworthy,’ Tingle said.
‘He has a cape,’ said Josh pretending to swish a cape.
‘Oh and…’ Tingle trailed off.
Auntie Joanna waited for Tingle to describe him. She was intrigued.
‘He isn’t a proper baddy…’ Tingle said looking quite sad.
‘He is nice…’ Josh said. ‘He read us a bedtime story.’
‘He does a lot of singing and dancing too…’ Tingle said breaking into a silly dance.
Auntie Joanna made her way over to Dianne’s bed and sat down. ‘Did he tell you anything?’ she asked.
‘Yes we had tea with him. Today is his birthday and he is going to release the stink. It will be very bad… Very, very, very bad and it will make the whole world smell horrid.’ Tingle wrinkled her nose at the thought of it.
‘Anything else?’ Auntie Joanna asked.
‘Dogs will wag tails,’ said Josh.
John began to chuckle.
‘That’s not funny!’ said Dianne trying not to look amused.
‘Oh it is amazing!’ John replied. ‘You asked the man who intends to cover the world in the worst stench imaginable if dogs will still wag their tails. I just love it!’
‘Yes,’ said Tingle. ‘Dogs never did anything horrible to Mister Stinkworthy.’
‘Now as funny as that is John, we need to find out what Sebastian is up to and then come up with a plan,’ Auntie Joanna said in a definite tone.
‘We can’t really do anything can we? We are all locked in here. If we try and make an escape then Mildred will Stinkithise us again,’ John said moving to dangle his legs over the side of his bed.
‘What does that word mean?’ Josh asked sitting on his lap.
‘Oh it is something your dad made up. Mildred made some horrible smells that put us to sleep…’ said Dianne. ‘That is why we all have headaches…’
Tingle watched Auntie Joanna fidget; she kept putting her hair behind her ear.
‘Right tell us what you know and we will come up with a plan,’ said Auntie Joanna.
‘Sebastian makes a big birthday stink today,’ said Josh waving Dino. ‘Stinky, stinky, stinky!’
‘That is a good start. So what else do you know?’ Auntie Joanna questioned further.
‘He has jars and jars full of different stinks… There are Little Stink creatures all over the world waiting and ready to release lots of horrible pongs. Stink holes will open up all over the world. All of the rivers have pong bubbles made by duck-billed-splatter-pus who will release them all at midday – London time…’ Tingle scratched her cheek as she thought. There was lots more.
‘Gosh, now that is a truly massive stink! It sounds even bigger than the Great Stink.’ Dianne said and shook her head in disbelief.
‘He said he will be the Supreme Stench.’ Tingle replied.
‘Is there anything else we should know darling?’ Dianne asked gesturing for Tingle to give her a cuddle.
‘He is going to get Pongle to play the PARPSICHORD,’ Tingle answered after a bit of reflection.
‘A parpsichord?’ John said with a look of surprise.
‘It is a piano that plays raspberries. He likes making raspberry tunes that ‘Thwarp!’’ Tingle explained.
Josh pretended to play a piano and made a raspberry every time he pressed a key.
‘That man sounds like a genius!’ said John liking his ingenuity.
Auntie Joanna glanced at her watch. ‘It is six o’clock in the morning now. Did he say what he was going to do before the big release?’
‘He was going to tell us the final part of the story of what happened to him at breakfast,’ Tingle said glancing at Josh.
‘What time did he say breakfast was?’ There was panic in Auntie Joanna’s tone.
‘7.30am was the time,’ Tingle wondered what was wrong with Auntie Joanna.
Josh was bored of the conversation. He climbed down from his dad’s lap, and since he had pressed all the buttons that he was not allowed to press, he thought he would pull the toilet chains instead. There was a sign that said ‘Please Don’t Pull The Toilet Chains Unless You Have Permission To Do So’.
‘Thwarrrrrrrrrrrrrp!’ Josh giggled.
John got up and walked over to Josh and pulled a chain too. ‘Thwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarp!’ It was a slightly higher pitch.
‘Come on John, don’t encourage him. There’s a sign there that says ‘DON’T PULL THE TOILET CHAINS’,’ Dianne said.
‘What are they going to do? We are already trapped,’ John pulled another toilet chain and so did Josh. They made different sounds.
‘We need to come up with a plan…’ said Dianne seriously.
‘You can plan, and Josh and I will play…’ John said moving over to the next ornamental toilet.
Auntie Joanna sighed. Making a plan with loud raspberry noises being played in the background was going to be a challenge!
‘Tingle is there anything else you think we should know before we come up with a plan?’ Dianne asked, watching her husband and son giggling as they pulled the toilet chains.
‘Sebastian likes to dance. He also makes really nice smells and he isn’t a horrid man. He is weird but if you had been stuck down here for close to a hundred and seventy years without any proper friends then you would also be weird.’
Auntie Joanna glanced at Dianne. They couldn’t imagine it.
‘Anything else darling?’ asked Dianne.
‘Thwarpppppppppppp!’ Josh and John giggled and Dianne rolled her eyes.
‘Do you know how difficult is it to concentrate with loud raspberries forming a tune behind you…?’ Dianne cried.
‘Mum there are so many Little Stinkers and kinds of Stinkers… They are really fun,’ Tingle said giggling at Josh who clearly liked the toilet raspberry sounds.
Auntie Joanna made a loud sigh.
‘Thwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwarpin…g!’ Was the sound that came from the next toilet flush. Josh and John began to laugh hysterically. They both held their bellies.
‘Well done!’ said Auntie Joanna… ’Right let’s think about this…’
‘Don’t you mean let’s stink about this?’ said John who clearly found himself amusing.
Dianne gave John a look and then smiled. He was being very silly.
‘We are all locked in this room. There is the locked door and a secret passage and…’ Auntie Joanna trailed off.
‘A lot of toilets…’ John said through his laughter.
‘Can we go down the toilet?’ Josh asked. He peered into the toilet basin. ‘Too small.’
‘So we either have to find a key for the door, break the door or go out through the trapdoor,’ John said thoughtfully.
The group were silent so Josh pulled three toilet chains in a row. ‘Thwarp! Thwarrrrrp! Thwwwwwwwarpin…g!’ He then giggled again. He liked that sound.
‘I say we all just stay here together. Let him release the stink. Once that is done then we will be free to go home,’ Dianne suggested.
‘Great – it works, but do you really want to live amongst a stink for at least a few years?’ John said holding his nose dramatically.
‘Not really but I can’t see how we get out of here…’ Dianne answered and glanced around the room.
Josh watched his family and looked up at the big painting on the wall… There were Little Stinkers in the picture and each had a letter… It was a game. The Hippobottymous had a F. The Warblers had an A. The Stink Stonkers had a B. The Dancey Doom Dunkers had a D. The Tangy Twerpers had a C. The Dastardly Droolers had an E and the Pump-kins had a G. The Gross Grunters looked really annoyed because they didn’t have a letter. All of the other creatures appeared to be dancing around in a circle. From one angle the picture looked like they were all coming out of the picture, and from another angle they all looked like they were going into the picture. Josh ran back and forth looking at the picture and paused.
‘I think we need to stop Sebastian,’ said Auntie Joanna. ‘If he isn’t that much of a baddy then maybe we can convince him to do the right thing.’
Tingle shook her head, ‘Mister Stinkworthy said he wants to complete what he started. He said otherwise it was all a waste of time. Once he has taken his revenge he can start anew.’
Dianne gave Tingle a cuddle, ‘My clever daughter tried to get the Supreme Stench to not make a bad smell. Well done darling…’
‘Thwarp, Thwwaaaarp… Thwarrpity… Thwwwwwwwarp..ing Thwarp… Thwarrrrp… and Thwarppppp!’
With that the trapdoor slid open… The group paused and glanced at Josh who made an excited little clap. He then waved Dino. A moment later the trapdoor closed again.
‘How did you do that?’ John asked, amazed at the fact the trapdoor had opened after hearing a series of raspberries.
‘Little Stinkers,’ Josh said pointing at the painting… ‘Alphabet,’ he said pointing at the toilet.
‘The answer was staring us in the face,’ said John who was amazed by his son. ‘Three grown-ups thinking too hard and it takes a five year old to figure it out!’
‘I am nearly six,’ said Josh.
Auntie Joanna stood up and made her way over to Josh. ‘So the letters are shown in the painting and you flush the toilet to make the tune to open the trapdoor. Right that means we can make a plan now because we have options. We don’t want to disrupt Sebastian or make him think that someone is going to stop him. So I suggest that Tingle and Josh go back to their bedroom downstairs and pretend to be asleep. They then have breakfast with Sebastian so they know the full story. After Mildred brings us breakfast we go down the trapdoor and find Josh and Tingle.’
‘How will we do that? I bet it is a warren down there,’ John said.
‘What is in this room that we can use?’ Dianne asked.
‘Toilet paper…’ said Tingle.
‘Yes a trail of toilet paper… Now rather than stringing it out… just put crumpled tissues in a pile along the floor, as if someone has dropped a snotty tissue by accident…’ Dianne said glancing at John and Auntie Joanna.
‘We don’t want to make it too obvious. If you roll out the paper and they figure it out then they will follow the path to your bedroom. We don’t want to give anything away… so we will leave scrunched tissues.’
Tingle was thoughtful, ‘Okay but then what?’
‘We come and find you. We then make our way back to the atrium in the pumping station… The main doors are there. We get back to the van and call the police,’ Auntie Joanna suggested.
‘Auntie Joanna. The problem is no one is going to believe us… What are you going to say?’ Tingle asked.
‘A huge stink is about to be released worldwide. The culprit is at the Waftness Pumping Station,’ Auntie Joanna answered.
‘Auntie Joanna if you were a very busy police person or the telephone operator, who takes the calls – what would you think?’ Tingle wondered. Tingle, at her great age of eight, was right.
Auntie Joanna sighed, ‘But we need to stop the stink.’
‘I can hear footsteps,’ said John.
‘Quick you two need to hide,’ said John gesturing at Tingle and Josh.
The children quickly hid behind the ornamental toilet display. The adults jumped back into bed and watched Mildred with a group of Sneaky Squeakies bring in breakfast.
‘Wakey wakey rise and stinky,’ she said with a chuckle. ‘Here is your breakfast – now it is early because Bertie and I need to get focused on this Stinkathon. Only a few hours until we sound the PONG-GONG!’
‘Pong Gong?’ John asked with an amused look on his face.
‘Yes – It is a large metal dish with PONG written on it. When we sound it – it is like the gunshot that starts a race… That is why we call it the Stinkathon because there will be numerous smells released and it is a race to reach the ultimate stench by the midday finish line…’
‘Oh! So you will be starting before midday? We thought midday was when the stink will rise…’ Dianne asked.
‘Yes – that is the moment of pure stinkacious fruition. The thing is for all the smells to rise and be perfectly coordinated across the world we start at ten o’clock. Oh and it will be quite a show because the actual Symphony of Stink and Odourous Opera need time to reach the masses and draw their attention. It has all been planned to the finest detail and to be quite honest the fact that you are confined behind these very walls means that you will be protected from the most abominable smells.’
‘Will the stink event be televised?’ asked John.
Dianne and Auntie Joanna glanced at him and gave him a certain look.
‘What? I think it would make good watching… rather than smelling,’ said John with a smile. ‘Let’s face it, we are trapped here and can’t do anything,’ he winked at his wife. ‘So we may as well enjoy the show.’
Mildred appeared rather pleased, ‘I will mention to Sebastian that you might enjoy the stink spectacular or Stinktacular as Sebastian calls it. Maybe he will provide you with seats in the viewing room.’
‘Viewing room? Is that like a private cinema?’ John responded in a slightly too excited tone.
‘Oh no – it is far more interesting than that. Sebastian will create his own screen… If he allows it then you will see what he is capable of. It will be pure magic,’ Mildred gave a sly smile.
Auntie Joanna studied Mildred, Sebastian was certainly curious… she thought.
‘Oh and before you think you will be able to stop him… Sebastian has set everything up so if anything happens to him the full stink will be delivered worldwide no matter what. Delivery is his focus… He doesn’t care about anything else!’ Mildred turned towards the door and gestured for the Sneaky Squeakies to follow her.
‘He seems to have considered all eventuality… Does he know we are here?’ Dianne asked.
Mildred purposely avoided the question, ‘Right I am getting distracted. Enjoy your breakfast because it could be the last one eaten without a festering stink accompanying it for quite a while.’
With that she turned theatrically on her heel, and marched out of the room followed by a squirm of squeaking made by the Sneaky Squeakies.
Josh and Tingle climbed out from behind the toilets. Josh ran over to the food and glanced at his mum. ‘Can I have a pastry please?’ he asked.
‘Of course darling,’ Dianne said passing him an apricot croissant.
‘John why did you do that?’ Auntie Joanna asked.
‘Well I would rather watch the show than sit in here just waiting, or worse – get stinked out,’ he said. He began to pace with his arms behind his back.
‘Yes but you know what that means?’ Auntie Joanna said.
‘It means that we can’t leave this room because they will then know we have escaped and then they will hunt us down,’ Auntie Joanna replied.
‘Auntie Joanna,’ Tingle said in a questioning tone. ‘Why don’t Josh and I go back to our beds and have breakfast with Sebastian. Then while we are at breakfast you can take a look around and see if you can find a way to stop the stink? After breakfast we come back up here to see what we think we can do and go from there. If Josh and I need to go back then we can. If you need to find us then you can by using the scrunched up tissue. If we need to make an escape then we can go down and then up through the pump house.’ All the while the adults were talking Tingle’s mind had churned all of the options.
John studied his daughter with a proud look, ‘You can tell she is my daughter.’ he said.
Dianne rolled her eyes. ‘It makes sense Tingle… so Josh you have a very important job after eating that pastry…’
‘Play the toilet tune and open the trapdoor!’ he said before he took the next bite.