[Not read Part I or II yet? Why not?! Get your eyeballs round THIS]
The kitchen spat out Judy is a Punk as Mr Pulcinella entered, grabbing the pepper grinder from the table on his way to his wife.
“Oh, Pol, sei bellissima, my succulent one. Bit lower, eh?” moaned the baby in pleasure as Polly’s bulging breasts pressed against his chest and chin. They fell away as the amalgamation of baby and high chair hit the tiled floor with a thwack thanks to Mr Pulcinella’s efficient kick as he went past. On reaching his wife she turned from chiselling the sausage remains from the frying pan. “Ah, husband. You are looking spritely, and all dressed and ready. My joy is munifico! And what did the good Dottore prescribe, dear?”
“A good dose of the physic, my lover,” and the pepper grinder went about demonstrating this most excellent of cures across the body of Mrs Pulcinella.
His parents being otherwise indisposed, the baby, truly miffed by the sudden recumbent position of his being, let out a whaling cry which alerted all nearby wildlife to the hideous unfairness he felt from within. Although being a three hundred year old baby did have its up sides – not having to do much for one’s self – it also had its irritations, that of not really being able to do much for one’s self. He had invented many contraptions with which to manage the everyday adult built world, and his mother seemed to enjoy carrying out the tasks he set for her. But being stuck in a high chair, the current prison of his torso, and being wedged beneath a sturdy adult chair did require some help from which to escape.
He continued to wail and sob, for being a baby held certain tropes no invention could assist. “Help your loved one from this death trap! I must be free! Free! Waaaa!”
Polly sprang to her lover’s aid, throwing the adult chair from his helpless body and lifting him to his towering position. He continued to scream with discontent until she enveloped his round head in her bosom.
“Oh, I’m so glad you’re feeling better, husband.” Thwack. “I was worried about the show.” Thwack. “You are of course irreplaceable.” Thwack. “Truly unique.” Thwack. Thonk.
“I am! I am! And don’t you forget it! Irreplaceable! No me, no show!”
Mr Pulcinella continued to beat the robust body of his wife, the woman who he’d endured for all these years, who he could not disregard. The agreement said so.
“Without me there is no show, and that is surely the way to do it, my wench of discontent, my grassone trota.” Thwack. “But shhh, my dear. Worry not about it in your head.” Thwack. “For all you know about it we shall perform, and we shall dazzle, and we shall collect what is ours.” Thwack. “We shall pay our dues, and we shall live forever!” Thwack. “And thus your husband, padre to your children, will provide selflessly. The years of surrender has brought sustenance to our little family, and so it will forever be, my crepa of sorrow, my femminile noose, my weight of fleshy burden! Thwack. Thwonk. Crack.
Mrs Pulcinella gazed into her devoted husband’s wide eyes blurring and refocusing every blow of the pepper grinder. Everything he’d done had been only for love. Once, anyway. But still, if she directed her thoughts thusly, which with three hundred years’ practice wasn’t difficult, she believed in his unending loyalty to his duty. The show must go on.
Having regained himself thanks to the intermittent breaths from within his girlfriend’s chest, the baby grabbed his meat tenderiser from the tool belt attached to the leg of his high chair, and hurled himself as fast as his tiny gait could manage towards his father’s bony ankle. The piercing pain took Mr Pulcinella to the floor with an agonised screech, just as his son had intended. Mrs Pulcinella reached for the antibacterial wipes, a new-fangled invention she admired, and started to wipe the splotches of ankle and accompanying splatters from the cupboard door.
The baby, grinning manically, took advantage of this playtime opportunity with his favourite toy. He enjoyed the pattern it cut in the flesh of his father while he hopped around and over the grappling hands like a dance of the fleas. So caught up in the moment that he didn’t notice his mother had left her cupboard door debugging for the knock of the front door, until a pencil-like policeman stood over him with a quizzical look. The baby stopped instantly, looking at the policeman, and then at his father’s battered body which now revelled in the lucky cessation by grabbing him tightly round his own ankle and hoisting him into the air like a poached rabbit. The baby calculated for a moment, and then let out a huge cry, that of which could be heard in the Otherworlds.
“Now then you,” said the policeman, the passion of ridding scum from the world in these three words. “Let that baby alone and appropriate yourself for arresting.” He removed the handcuffs from his belt and dangled them before Mr Pulcinella. The withered figure dropped the baby on its head as he stood. The baby, still in character, screamed dramatically as it writhed about, unrestrained.
“We’ve had complaints about the noise emanating from this property, and rightly so it seems.”
“Oh, Constable, I wholeheartedly agree! These creatures who invade my nest could do with the force of the law about them,” said Mr Pulcinella, sweeping his hand across his family.
The policeman laughed in disbelief. “You seek further punishment than that which you have inflicted? How truly debauched you are!”
“Haha! Yes, yes, I do my best, but I’m sure your establishment is better equipped for such deserved debasements.”
“Right, that’s it. Put your hands to your back and turn around. Shackles are where you obviously belong.”
Noting the two immersed in conversation, the baby ceased its floor based writhing and crawled stealthily towards the cigarette packet with the ounce of Slugger’s finest secreted within. Having noted the policeman intended to incarcerate her husband, Mrs Pulcinella paused her antibacterial wiping to settle on the worrying thought of his absence at tonight’s show. Having settled upon the same thought, though with less worry and more determination, Mr Pulcinella set his mind to a scheme of escape.
“Ah, grazie, grazie, but I am sure I do not seek to procure your services after all, Governatore. I will settle this matter without need of your assistance.”
“Oh, but I am in need of you, Mr Pulcinella. There’s a cell with a drain problem that has your name on it!”
“Such a kind offer, Signor, but I am proficient enough to deal with these problems you so unselfishly seek to rectify for me. Thank you all the same.”
Growing increasingly frustrated at the lackadaisical attitude of the violent psychopath before him, the constable went for the wrists that he intended to cuff.
“Oh, yes please!” screeched Mr Pulcinella, and grabbed the truncheon hanging from his assailant’s belt. The first hit bent the constable’s body double, affording a satisfying second blow to the spine. Squeals of delight blended with oofs and ughs over the Ramones’ rhythmic ranting of Wart Hog, both ceasing simultaneously to leave the battered Constable groaning into his own stomach beside the fridge.
“Oh, a fine job, marito impotente,” praised Mrs Pulcinella before resuming her now more cumbersome cleaning frenzy. Mr Pulcinella beamed with satisfaction. “And don’t you forget it!” he snarled triumphantly, throwing the truncheon like a proficient bowler towards the baby’s head. Tobacco with green flecks scattered across the highchair table and surrounding floor tiles.
“You assoluto bastardo of a father! I’ve just got that! And on my meagre wages you think I can afford to just throw it about like spent ashes!”
“Oh, son, you need to learn some respect for your father,” said Mr Pulcinella in mock kindness as he edged through the sweet smelling floor scattering, “I am your provider, your protector, your educator, and…” he melded into a scowl as his face met his son’s, red nose to snotty nose, “I am your boss! I am in charge of you, and you will obey me, boy!”
The Constable’s belly bubbled with thunderous rage. Even to his own detriment he was dedicated to crushing the evil from the world. Well, from his patch anyway. And this…this…animal… No! This creature! This devil in fancy dress! He wasn’t going to let him get away. Using small movements to test out where the hurt would radiate from most, he cajoled his body into rising.
“You will not get away, you evil incubus!”
Disabled as he was from his injuries the Constable swiftly rose to his feet ready to grab and contain his catch. But his catch was slippery and spry and dodged his outstretched arms, vaulted over his wife and out the back door. The Constable gave chase and found himself in a dusty high fenced back yard with an out of place patch of grass on which stood a cockerel, Mr Pulcinella, and a tiny grey and white speckled horse.
“You think you’re so strong, so clever,” said Mr Pulcinella mockingly, “You think, ‘oh, now I have him, he cannot escape’, and you think you of all this world’s inhabitants will win over myself. Ha! Bless you and your ignorant sort.”
Like a suburban cowboy Mr Pulcinella swung his leg wide, concluding in a rolling crouch with his feet firmly on the ground either side of the small horse.
“What is that thing?” enquired the incensed constable to the wife of the deranged man.
“Oh, that’s Hector, our cavallo,” said Mrs Pulcinella, “He’s a HORG.”
“Yes, a HORG breed. Horse of Restricted Growth.”
The policeman raised an eyebrow, unsure he’d ever heard of such a thing before, watching it being kicked in the rear end with its rider’s pointy shoe.
Mrs Pulcinella smiled warmly. “A fine breed. Bellissimo! Look at how strong he is, carrying such a load.” And the constable had to agree that the ridiculous view of a horse the size of a child’s tricycle carrying the relatively mountainous load over the six foot fence did remind him of the remarkable feat of the flight of a bumblebee.
Sitting round the gingham table, the Constable, the baby, and Mrs Pulcinella watched the clock meander its way towards show time. Fully abreast of the situation, the Constable still didn’t really understand Mrs Pulcinella’s overly anxious demeanour.
“I’m so worried, Constable. He’s never done this before. We will be late! Late! Oh, the thought is just…” Mrs Pulcinella broke under the weight of worry and sobbed into her apron.
“There, there, ma’am. I’m sure he’ll return shortly.”
“No, no, you don’t understand…”
The clock seemed to tick louder than usual.
“You may be a little late, but what does one show matter, eh?”
The shocked faces blinked at the Constable in time with the second hand of the clock, which caught the minute hand in an embrace that took them both to the hour. Eight o’clock. The ticking stopped.
The curtain twitched as Elsie Savant tried to catch a stealthy glimpse towards the ground shaking rumble emanating from next door, yet without musical accompaniment. She watched as the house began to vibrate violently. Lumps of plaster revealed abstract patterns of grey brick as it crashed to the pavement in puffs of white dust. A gap appeared between the foundations of the house and the ground on which it stood. The grimy door knocker banged furiously as the gap widened and the house lifted into the air, dangling roots of pipes and wires with tattered red and white stripped wallpaper floundering beneath. Many curtains twitched up and down the street as the residents watched the house fly off into the stratosphere, never to be seen again.
In a cobbled backstreet, the dusty boards of the Regency Theatre advertised an obscure show from long past. Layers of cobwebs seemed to hold the decaying wooden overhang in place above the small red doors at the foot of which a dune of black dirt had accumulated over the years of disuse. Yet from deep within this derelict aesthetic came the sound of a mistuned music hall piano, plinking and plonking a happy tune.
Inside the dark theatre the tatty blood coloured curtain rose to solitary applause. Upon the red and white stripped stage stood four figures, their gregarious faces captured within the grain of a tree. Their hinged joints instantly creaked into animation as they were revealed and danced in time to the twang of the piano. The sound of their wooden stumps on the boards echoed around the nearly empty theatre, their movements across the stage seemingly matching the flicking and gliding of fleshless fingers attached to the solitary dark figure sat in the dress circle, who, for the first time in three hundred years, felt a great sense of enjoyment in his new role of ‘Director’. Better to be in complete control than have to deal with the wants and wills of others, he thought. A shrill laugh emanated from the hook nosed character on stage, which was dressed in a ragged red and yellow suit intricately decorated with gold thread, as it bashed a long slapstick about the carved heads of a baby, a policeman, and a robust woman holding a frying pan full of sausages.
“That’s the way to do it!” it shrieked.