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Mucky Pups

Hospital Shootout

Peter Miller
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Stewpot lurched down the sci-fi bright corridor, struggling to support the bulging rucksack on his back. His yellow plastic sandals made a clicking flip-flop sound on the tiles, his massive bellbottoms billowing in the air-conditioned outbreak of cleanliness, unnatural surroundings for a mucky pup like him. From behind, only the Holiday On Ice flounce of the sleeves of his eighteenth century tie-dye blouson could be seen, but the looks on the faces of the people coming in the opposite direction were indicative of ludicrousness of this misfit’s outfit. Some people turned around to look at Stewpot after they’d passed him, and more than one of them got quite a fright when the enormous rucksack appeared to rustle and wriggle. Impossible! And surely that button badge didn’t read “VOTE ENOCH!”? Stewpot’s hectic cloud of curly hair looked like someone had been playing Ker-Plunk! in it and had forgotten to gather up all the marbles afterwards. Upon closer inspection, it transpired that his locks were playing host to a number of tiny baubles made from silver paper and biscuit wrappers. Stewpot liked biscuits in wrappers. He looked like a demented market gardener protecting his mobile vegetable patch, which he had inexplicably planted on his head. It was safe from marauding starlings and peckish blackbirds. If you looked at him from the front, his acid casualty chic was emphasised by a look of pure determination, a we-shall-overcome attitude imprinted on his features, like Daley Thompson doing the pole vault. The look on his face didn’t fit in with his garish outfit. This suggested that the rucksack contained something very important. At least that was the dreadful impression Mitch got as he looked down the corridor from his doubled up position next to the drinks machine. He was prodding the coin slot with a dandruff-encrusted comb. It took Stewpot ages to slap-slap-slap along the whole length of the corridor, but Mitch was still bent over when he jangled to a halt, grinned and swayed in an invisible cosmic wind.

“What you getting, you fat plonker!?” he asked, as if the machine dispensed dream and wishes, wonder and wealth.

“Hot chocolate,” mumbled Mitch, “What’s in the rucksack? All your seventies music magazines?” Stewpot had a large horde of old pop publications from the days of Rick Wakeman and Gilbert O’ Sullivan, Stevie Wonder and “Topographic Oceans”, all of which he had “liberated” from the attic of one of his innumerable brothers-in-law.

Stewpot didn’t reply, used to this line of sarcastic pummelling, but rubbed his nose instead. Mitch pretty much freaked right out there and then when the big rucksack had a spasm and emitted a low moan.

“Heh heh!” chortled Stewpot, pleased as punch, “you mean who, not what!”

“You haven’t?” gawped Mitch.

Just when you thought you’d seen everything with Stewpot, he went and pulled a daft stunt like this... Mitch tried to gather his thoughts and strength, tried to say something sensible, but his mouth just opened and closed while no sound came out. He was still in this state when Stewpot’s grin turned into a mischievous leer and a nudge in the ribs. He was like a music hall comedian at times, reflected Mitch, wishing he had normal friends who did normal things and wore normal clothes.

“Bird! Bird! Legs! Legs! Bird!” Stewpot hissed, his eyebrows pumping up and down nineteen to the dozen.

“Eh?” asked Mitch, who was gobsmacked out of mental alignment by now, like an orang-utan after an operation. A nurse bustled by, and Stewpot’s leer transformed itself into a mammoth burst of dirty mirth, causing the nurse to look back at the two of them, her steely glare already half way out of its holster. Mitch was distraught, paralysed with embarrassment as usual, but when the nurse clocked the big freak with scarecrow baubles in his hair, she just hurried on, too alarmed to be anything like as angry as she should have been. She was unaware that it could have been her lucky day, especially if she liked stringy dinkles. As Stewpot had pointed out, she did indeed have legs, visible from the knee down, but they were of the tree-trunk variety. Stewpot claimed that he was a feminist because he always wanted to shag fat birds as well as thin birds. Most of them managed to elude his grasp, despite the massive girth of their legs. Stewpot had been getting more and more disgusting lately, due to his chronic inability to get his oats.

“Chocolate’s ready!” Stewpot nodded at the machine’s steaming orifice.

“Hmmm. You can’t bring a dog into a hospital, are you daft?”

“I know you can’t, why do you think he’s in a rucksack? Smuggling. Right boy?” Stewpot tapped the rucksack and a prolonged struggle with the oversized bag followed, which nearly toppled Stewpot off balance, Mitch coming to the rescue amid the jangling tinfoil baubles. Eventually Mister Billington Fox’s wet nose appeared from under the rucksack’s flap, sniffing frantically at the uncommonly clean air. No familiar odour was there to welcome him, no canine widdle or week-old West Highland Terrier turds in here.

“Why?” squealed Mitch, offering his hand to be sniffed by the floating concertina-ing snout, “why did you bring him here? It’s a hospital, not a bloody dog track! You’ll get us all shot!”

“I brought him to cheer Mungo up. Why do you think? Wouldn’t you like to be visited by Mister Billington Fox if you were poorly in hospital?”

“Yes, of course I would.” Mitch hesitated. “But he’s got germs.”

“He hasn’t got germs! He’s a wonder dog!”

“All dogs have got germs, there’s no need to take it like that!”

“You’ve got germs, you smelly bugger!”

“No I haven’t, come off it.”

“Yes you have. You can’t even wipe your bum properly. Your mum has to help you.”

“Look.” Mitch considered his words carefully. “You can’t have a dog in hospital, Stewpot. It’s not on. You’ll get us into trouble. Didn’t anyone notice when you came in?”

“No, I’ve got little balls of silver paper dangling from my hair. Who’s going to look at my rucksack properly when I’m decked out like a row of lettuces? I’m not stupid, you know.... Jesus, Mary and all the saints in Heaven!” he seethed, his Catholic upbringing coming to the fore again, “You think I’m stupid, don’t you? Don’t you? You always think I’m stupid, you arrogant tosspotting cunt!”

The rucksack set in motion again, like a tumble dryer made from rubber johnnies, or speeded up film of a half deflated hot air balloon.

“Calm down! Mister Billington Fox’s going round the bend in there. Let’s get into the room and you can let him out and set him on me if you want!”

“Good idea.”


“Don’t say ‘twat’, it’s rude.”


“That’s all right, mama,” sang Stewpot in his Elvis voice, “and you’ve forgotten your chocolate,” the latter in his normal voice.

“Shit!” cursed Mitch, skating back to the machine on the slippy floor.

“Is your bird here?”

“She’s not my bird.”

“Of course she’s your bird.”

“No she’s not.”

“What is she then? Have I got to say girlfriend?”

“No, she’s not my girlfriend. She’s just a good friend.”

“Bollocks! Have you shagged her or haven’t you?”

“She’s just a good friend. Leave it at that.”

“Wa-hah! You have, you dirty bugger!”

“No I haven’t. It’s not like that.”

“Humph. Is she here?”


“I’ll ask her then. Who else is here?”

“Tuppenny Rice and Treacle.”

“Oh bloody hell! Which one’s the psycho again?”

“I’m not telling you, that way you’ll have to behave with both of them. And leave Honeysuckle alone.”

“Honeysuckle. What a bloody stupid name!”

“She’s nice, you know she’s nice.”

“She’s your bird, she’s nice to you.”

“Not my bird. Not yet.”

“See? You do fancy her!”

“I didn’t say I didn’t fancy her, I said she wasn’t my bird.”

“Do you want me to fix you up?”



“Yes. Shut up, or I’ll chuck this chocolate at you.”

“You wouldn’t dare. Let’s go in and see your bird. Come on, Mister Billington Fox!”

“He hasn’t got a lot of choice in the matter,” mumbled Mitch, pushing the door open and watching Stewpot slide past him with the squirming rucksack on his back.

Mungo’s latest relapse had been brought on by a terrible discovery—something that made his skin feel like it was slowly becoming wrinkled, something that made him feel like cheerful Legoland workers were dismantling his life coloured brick by coloured brick. The tiny culprits were in fact a colony of almost invisible insects, opaque or like pastry rolled really thin, that had decided to set up home in Mungo’s CD collection. They must have been technologically advanced beasties, because they took no notice at all of his vinyl collection. When he had first noticed them, just one or two, Mungo had brushed them off with his fingers and shrugged the episode out of his mind. Or so he thought. After a few days he noticed himself bringing the plastic cases up to his eyes for closer inspection, occasionally finding a couple of the little bleeders doing a little dance or running around at random. They were there all right, but nothing to worry about. After a few more days, the cases started opening themselves, the CDs themselves begging Mungo to take them out and look underneath them in the grey plastic trays, where the insects proved easier to spot than against the multi-coloured designs that adorned the CD booklets. Once Mungo was just in time to see one of the little fuckers scurrying through the gaps around the hole in the middle of the tray, the little device that had proved such a benefit to mankind by allowing the easy removal of the disc from its housing. Mungo was not stupid, and it only took him a fraction of a minute to realise that the wee bugs would be much happier in the relative safety of the gap between the inner tray and the back cover of the CD. He didn’t bother to put the CD on, he just sat on the settee for an hour or so, brooding on the implications of his discovery—he would have to dismantle every single case and clean them one by one. He itched, worried that the creatures could take over the whole flat, get in his clothes, his hair, crawl up his bumhole and smother his colon, chewing their way through his vital organs until they gained access to his brain and started dismantling it, in no hurry but taking no rests, until it was just a useless honeycomb of dead coral. Where had the insects come from? What did they eat? Nothing could eat plastic, as far as he knew, or at least nothing could survive on plastic alone. All kinds of things have been found in sharks’ stomachs, and a leading synth-pop pioneer was rumoured to have harboured fifteen different types of spunk, including a dog’s, in his lilly-white belly. This last thought cheered Mungo up enough to make a cup of tea and think things over more calmly. At the very back of his mind was the terrifying awareness that insects can rarely be eliminated, only controlled. Cockroaches were a constant menace in warmer countries. You can hide but you can’t run, or rather you can make them hide, but they won’t go away completely. Mungo had also witnessed his dad’s battles against innocent ants. All he ever won was a brief respite, but the next year he’d be heaving the slabs up and swearing, mopping his brow with his sleeve and baring his teeth in exasperation again. The whole family had to suffer with him, he could only be stoical by sharing his misfortunes with the people around him. Which gave Mungo an idea. He invited all his friends and acquaintances round, gave them cups of tea and asked them for their opinions. Tuppenny Rice and Treacle just squealed and lifted their feet up of the floor, before jumping up quickly as if the settee was alive with the little insects. Mungo tried to reassure them, but Treacle couldn’t even finish her tea and they soon made their excuses and left, promising to be on time for band practice on Wednesday night. The next pair of visitors didn’t look much more promising, as Mitch and Stewpot spent at least twenty minutes making stupid comments and giggling as if they were stoned, which they weren’t - they were just like that. After Mungo had shooed them out into the night, unable to hide his exasperation, he slumped on the battered settee covered with an old blanket. Something Stewpot had blurted out wouldn’t leave his head. At first he’d thought it was just another stupid idea, and Stewpot’s unrestrained laughter meant that it had probably been intended that way, but by next morning Mungo was ready to make the supreme sacrifice, or so he thought.

Maxwell and Bernard Campbell were huddled over two cans of soup when Mungo bounded into the shop.

“Oh hi, Mungo!” Bernard beamed, looking up from their treasures, “We’re just comparing the ingredients in these two tins of soup, Heinz Big Soup and the supermarket’s own brand. They taste the same, but the ingredients are different! Can you believe it?”

“Wow!” mumbled Mungo.

“Hi!” grinned Maxwell, “Long time no see. I saw some posters for your group the other day. How’s it going?”

“Not bad...” Mungo had begun to feel a bit guilty.

“Yeah, it’s difficult at first. Nobody’s really bothered. Bummer.”

“Ach, it’s hardly surprising though, there’s so many groups out there, it’s difficult to do anything different. And we do sound terrible. I don’t blame people for steering clear,” Mungo sighed.

“I hear you’ve got two girls in the group who look the same?”

“Tuppenny Rice and Treacle, that’s right. They don’t really look the same, they’ve just got the same hair and clothes. I don’t know how they do it, because they don’t live together and they don’t phone each other to arrange their clothes before they go out. It’s funny really.”

“Hmmmm. Life’s full of mysteries,” whispered Bernard, fondling the two soup cans as if they were kittens, “What you got in that plaggy bag?”

CDs. I’m having a clear out. Wondered if you’d be interested in them. Pixies, Can and that Neu! live album from Japan.”

“Why do you want to sell that? It’s great!” Maxwell had lit up at the thought of it.

“Ach, I’m just sick of it, and I haven’t got enough room in the flat. It’s like a garden, you know? You have to prune your collection for it to flower properly.”

“Yeah, I know just what you mean. Too much undergrowth can obscure your prize blooms.”

“That Pixies shite’s just fertiliser!” boomed Bernard, “We shut down our indie section after you left.” He nodded at the memories. “It was getting too popular, people were beginning to see us as just a normal shop, loads of commercial shite. It just wasn’t cosmic enough.”

“Oh right.”

“So we don’t really want that. You should try Messing Records. They’ll have any old shite down there, the bastards!”

“Don’t get vexed, Bernard,” soothed Maxwell, “they’ll be laughing on the other side of their faces when the new era gets under way.”

“What about the other two?” asked Mungo, anxious to cut short their cosmic pronouncements.

Both Maxwell and Bernard sucked in their lower lips, making a noise like a sluice gate crossed with one of those rubber plungers used for unblocking sinks. They looked at each other, their lank hair flanking their features as they strained to read each other’s minds.

“Five quid for the both of them!” stated Bernard as Maxwell nodded vigorously, before shaking his head solemnly when he saw the look on Mungo’s face.

“You must be joking. I can see I’ve been wasting my time,” said Mungo, acting like a character he’d seen in a film on the television, all haughty and hurt.

“Go on then,” offered Maxwell, “Six quid. Can’t say fairer than that.” Bernard glared at him as if he had just stepped in a fresh dog turd.

“Done!” chimed Mungo, and held out his hand.

Bernard slammed the soup cans down and shambled over to the till, opened it and took out a five pound note and a one pound note. He shut the till with his arse, surprisingly grateful, like a seventies disco dancer doing the Bump to the Kenny record of the same name. Mungo reflected on this irony, Bernard doing a dance associated with the kind of record that kept all his Krautrock shite out of the charts at the time. Once he’d said goodbye and was out in the filthy, clogged up street, Mungo headed for a bench and sat down to think. By his calculations the little insects were multiplying at enough of a rate to infest all of Bernard and Maxwell’s stock within a month or so, so if they sold their usual two or three discs a day, it would mean an average of, let’s say two collections a day providing a new home for the little beasties, who would happily procreate there and enjoy family life. People who shop at Yeti usually sell CDs too, one of the more common ways to finance their affliction, so infested CDs would slowly make their way into all the other second-hand record shops in the city, and the process would start all over again. Before too long, every collection would be infested. Mungo no longer felt quite so alone as he trotted down to Messing Records to flog his Pixies album.

The shelves were alive with the insects, it was like a barely visible moving carpet of them, even more revolting under a microscope. Mungo immediately set to work taking all his CDs off the shelves and piling them up on the floor. He’d give them a bloody good clean later, but his priority was to get rid of the shelves. It was obvious that the insects were wood-eaters, and the CDs were just an idle diversion for them, like a trip to the beach or the countryside for most human inhabitants of this shitty city. What did he mean, human? Mungo was beginning to feel that they were all sub-human slug-brained scum, or aliens. Or perhaps he was the alien. People were complimentary enough about his new songs, but hardly anyone turned up at the concerts, and his demo tape had drawn a blank from every record company in the country. Still, at least no one had ripped him off yet. Woody was still in hospital, still seething, still unable to get anyone to believe him, poor demented fool. When people said nice things to Mungo he always made a point of looking in their eyes, as if he thought he was some kind of human lie detector. He only trusted people when they told him he was shit, to the extent that he didn’t even believe himself anymore when he lay awake plotting his next assault on the pop world, unconvinced of his own worth and the value of his songs. These thoughts were already driving him towards the giant waste disposal unit in the sky, and his battle against the bugs was only hastening his approach to the foul-smelling edge. He usually managed to chase the gloom away with music, but now even his favourite albums were playing hosts to horrible insects, busily procreating and defecating on the faces of his role models. He became so used to wiping the CD cases when taking them up in his hands that it became an unavoidable habit, transposed onto every other activity—he wiped the cup before making tea, he even burnt himself once by wiping the kettle, the heat searing through the sleeve of his jumper. As a knock-on effect of this increasingly frenzied wiping and cleaning, he started to see the insects in his cup, swimming in his tea, parading up and down the sink unit, using the toilet seat as a diving board, playing hide and seek in his clean underpants, and nibbling away at the contents of his laundry basket. At night he itched so much he had to get up and switch the light on, looking around quickly, never quite able to catch a glimpse of the insects disappearing under the floorboards. He sat down to read, but the letters moved around the page, pushed by industrious insects until they were unable to resist the temptation of jumping off the book into his pyjamas. He thought he could hear the tiny life forms crunching under his feet as he wandered into the kitchen to put some water on to boil, but not before wiping out the inside of the kettle with a damp cloth, which half way through the operation revealed itself with appalling clarity to be a particularly sought after breeding ground for poor Mungo’s six-legged friends.

The door barged open and Honeysuckle, Tuppenny Rice and Treacle dominoed towards the window, their glare-glare-glares melting into Mungo’s grin at the sight of Stewpot’s hair. It looked like an unkempt garden inexplicably protected against thieving birds with jangling milk bottle tops.

“Jeez!” mumbled Mungo.

Honeysuckle, Tuppenny Rice and Treacle’s mouths opened and closed, but no sound came out. Mitch viewed the spectacle with resignation, raising his eyebrows at Honeysuckle, who sent back half a smile. Outside the window, teeny-tiny golfers silently swung away on the driving range, like gnomes down a diamond mine. Silhouettes. Mungo had said he could hear them in his head, even though they were too far away and the double glazing was too expensive to hear them with his lugholes. The silence was politely nudged away by the tinkle of Stewpot’s milk bottle tops as he tried in vain to see what was happening in his wriggling rucksack. He turned a full three hundred and sixty degrees, jerking his head, trying to catch a glimpse of the pulsating, panting, and finally, whining bag. The girls moved away, Tuppenny Rice and Treacle clinging to each other, whimpering like the rucksack. Mungo went pale, or should I say paler? Honeysuckle looked at Mitch and started to mouth something, but Mitch had his hands over his eyes and his head tilted back in a gesture of papal beatitude. Perhaps it was this sensation of divine intervention that persuaded Honeysuckle to carry on mouthing, prayer-like, even though Mitch wasn’t looking. He opened his eyes to see the polystyrene ceiling tiles were nearly all slightly skew-whiffed, and one of the fluorescent light tubes couldn’t decide whether to flicker or not. He wondered who’d moved the tiles, was there someone in every public establishment whose job it was to knock ceiling tiles out of alignment? Was it the result of some mysterious cosmic force, like a kind of less noticeable crop circle? He could already feel a theory coming on, but the shrieks of fear made him look downwards, where a wet black squidgey thing was struggling out of the half open rucksack, Stewpot wrestling and cursing as he tried to open it properly, the wet thing followed by a long brown cone, which turned into two stretched back viscous white blobs which popped into eyeball shape when free of the fabric. A long pink sponge flopped out of the cone, spraying washing-up liquid foam all over the floor, and two silky purses completed the jigsaw. Everyone loved Mister Billington Fox, and Mungo looked on as a rugby scrum formed to try and help him out of the rucksack.

“This’ll perk you up a bit!” said Stewpot, his tinselly head emerging momentarily from the seething cauldron of limbs and voices.

“Ha ha!” grinned Mungo, just as Mister Billington Fox squeezed out from under the overeager mosh pit and launched himself, tongue first, at the rapidly recovering patient. He had time for a bloody good lick before the others realised he’d escaped and reluctantly began to think about stopping groping, fondling and tickling each other.

Stewpot looked more windswept than ever, like a cross between Wuthering Heights and Ernie, who drove the fastest milk cart in the West. The lassies giggled and pushed and shoved and brushed the hair out of their eyes, while Mitch let himself get steamrollered down, drowning in a sea of hormones. He could have set up home in just such a mass of slobber and hair and giggles and joy. Once they were all off him, he took his time surfacing and went and stood by Honeysuckle. He loved being close to her, in a rugby scrum or next to the window, sitting on the bus or looking round the shops, in a busy pub or wandering along the canal, counting seagulls as they whirled and hovered, occasionally diving down to catch a beakful of something unspeakable from the dirty water.

Mister Billington Fox snuffled from person to person, sniffing and wagging, his hind legs running on the spot with excitement. Everyone got a good coating of his spittle, and the number of germs in the hospital shot to a record high. They’d all be for the high jump if any nurses came in, but they hardly ever bothered anyway, Mungo was no trouble, so they just didn’t bother with the bugger. Mister Billington Fox bothered, heaving himself up onto the blanket to get a good gobful of Mungo’s body salt, leaving a terrible layer of dog gobslime in its place. Mungo seemed to enjoy this. The three girls squirmed in silence as Mister Billington Fox, back on the floor, licked first one hand, then scooted under the bed to slurp at the other hand, before racing back to where he’d started and pushing Mungo’s willing pyjama sleeve up with his snout and getting his big wet tongue around every tiny hair and right into the crock of his elbow, as if he was greasing it for an artificial limb insertion, a delighted Mungo pulling his sleeve up further and clicking his fingers for the excited dog to repeat the process on the other side, all the time shouting, “Good boy! Good boy!” and hanging right out of the bed like a racing motorcycle sidecar passenger risking his rump round Coppice Corner, just to pat Mister Billington Fox’s waggling rump. Mitch and Stewpot laughed at first, but after a while Mitch glanced at Honeysuckle, who looked distressed. So he looked at Tuppenny Rice and Treacle, who looked appalled. Mitch stopped laughing, like an alarm clock winding down, but Stewpot carried on until he started to think there was something a bit uncanny about Mister Billington Fox’s behaviour. By this time the dog’s tail was at about eye level, having nipped up onto the bed again, giving them all a good view of his squeezy bumhole, as he set to work licking every crevice and contour of Mungo’s face, even stifling his loony giggling by sticking his swollen dogbreath tongue inside Mungo’s gaping gob. Even this failed to put a damper on the patient’s spirits. It was as if he’d been locked up for ages and dog spittle was the heavenly nectar of liberation. Mitch remembered how Mungo had told Stewpot and him about a dream he kept having, where he was walking down a street and a couple of baldy kids in wheelchairs started following him, their wheels squeaking in time with each other with death march precision, and he kept looking back. Each time he looked back there were more baldy kids in wheelchairs, so he tried to outpace them, walking faster and faster, but the creaking squeaking wheels got faster too, and louder and louder, all the time keeping their own sinister beat, and now when he looked back there were loads of baldy kids, more and more and more had joined in, smiling like they were on Jim’ll Fix It. Now Mungo started to run, looking over his shoulder, but the baldy kids just kept pouring out of sidestreets and alleyways, until he looked back to see swarms of them, the squeaking creaking wheels now as deafening as a million marching boots. So he put on a spurt, but now they were even hanging out of windows, high up, lining the sooty streets he was painfully pumping his lungs through, the baldy kids throwing empty cans and bus tickets at him like a hideously mutated Argentina ’78 tickertape welcome. He could feel his heart about to give up on him, and he could see the tiny wheelchair footrests overtaking him, and he felt like stumbling and then he did take a tumble, and he knew that at that point he was meant to wake up, but he didn’t. The baldy kids had time to surround him and squeal with laughter, clicking their callipers, clapping their hands. When he did wake up, his pulse was dead fast, and he needed to go to the lavvy and look out of the window for a bit before he got back into bed. The orange streetlights made everything look stupid, wrong. When he was little, they used to be normal white lights, but for some reason they were all changed to orange. Mitch and Stewpot hadn’t said anything about the dream at the time, at least not to Mungo’s face because they didn’t want him to think that they thought he was going mental, but Mister Billington Fox’s determination to lick Mungo into submission, and the willingness of everyone else to stand by, their willingness to simply watch, or their petrifaction, made Mitch think of the terrible dream and begin to fidget his way towards Honeysuckle. Mungo heaved his head up from under the giant tongue and hooted with laughter, looking as if he expected everyone else to be enjoying it just as much as he was. Tuppenny Rice and Treacle were now impassive, like a double Greta Garbo, two Ikea armchairs, only more garish. Stewpot shook his head and rubbed his nose, making Mister Billington Fox look up momentarily from his self-appointed task and turn round, his nose next to his own bumhole for an instant. The jangle of the tinfoil or the squelching sound of his nose had given Mungo a respite, but instead of making the most of it to escape he just prodded the dog’s belly to make him start the slurp-slurp-slurping up again. The tail wagged furiously and Honeysuckle started to make whimpering noises in her throat as the tongue started to painstakingly undo Mungo’s pyjama buttons, bringing on even greater howls of glee from Mungo, and a low moan from the direction of Tuppenny Rice and Treacle, like trundling up to Purgatory. As Mister Billington Fox’s snout worked its way down from button to button, his tail wagged its way up, shuffling right round until he was straddling Mungo’s head, with his doggy bollocks dangling over his wide open eyes, gradually drooping lower and lower as Mister Billington Fox’s snout snuffled under the bedclothes, the goolies dropping dangerously low, little by little, Pit and the Pendulum style, until the testicles finally settled in Mungo’s eye sockets as Mister Billington Fox sat down in regal triumph after undoing the final button. He looked up for acknowledgement. After years of Stewpot’s bragging, Mister Billington Fox had just performed his first truly wondrous act.

Stewpot was too gobsmacked to comprehend the monumental fact that lies had turned to truth, like loaves turning into fishes, as he later called it. Besides which, Mister Billington Fox had looked up proudly to receive the applause he no doubt felt he deserved, only to find himself still obscured by the bedclothes he had so lithely snuggled under, so he couldn’t see the slow-motion mayhem sprouting in the hospital room. Honeysuckle, Tuppenny Rice and Treacle were rocking back and forth and moaning in terrifying unison with their eyes popping out, like an amateur dramatics performance of The Crucible, while Mitch and Stewpot gestured at each other and emitted strange sounds like Laurel and Hardy psyching each other up between takes. Only Mister Billington Fox and Mungo were happy, as the dog, unhindered by the lack of applause, used his tongue to swill out Mungo’s belly button. It must have been very salty, more delicious than a dream, because the dog’s desire to corkscrew his slobbery tongue around inside the belly button inspired him to make an impossible move, paddling his backside round and shuffling his front paws like a bongo-playing maniac until he had his entire body under the covers, crouched on top of his playful victim like a satisfied sheepdog, tail wagging underneath the covers. It looked like a tank under the bedspread, with a trigger happy speedfreak at the controls.

Then all the noise stopped, shut off like a gas tap, when the door slammed open. A pair of glasses over a gaping toothy mouth stood stock still, Mungo’s dad caught between fatherly pride at the size of his son’s cock and horror at his unnatural ability to move it at will, despite the weight of the bedclothes. Mungo’s mum just buckled up and folded to the floor. Honeysuckle took Mitch’s hand in hers. He nearly conked out.

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Copyright ©Peter Miller, 2001
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Date of publicationFebruary 2002
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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    Choose photos taken by yourself or from The Commons. You may need special privileges to tag photos if they are not your own. If the photo wasn’t taken by you and it is not from The Commons, please ask permission to the author or check that the license authorizes this use.

  2. Once tagged, check that the new tag is publicly available (it may take some minutes) clicking the following link till your photo is shown: show photos ...

  3. Once your photo is shown, you can add it to this page:

Even though does not display the identity of the person who added a photo, this action is not anonymous (tags are linked to the user who added them at Flickr). reserves the right to remove inappropriate photos. If you find a photo that does not really illustrate the work or whose license does not allow its use, let us know.

If you added a photo (for example, testing this service) that is not really related with this work, you can remove it deleting the machine tag at Flickr (step 1). Verify that the removal is already public (step 2) and then press the button at step 3 to update this page. shows 10 photos per work maximum. Idea, design & development: Xavier Badosa (1995–2018)