My favourite boy turned six today. He’s absolutely full of imagination and stories and so this year we collaborated on his birthday story. Ideas are his, (as is the slightly baffling title), words are mine. Hope you enjoy.
“The Vision of the Police”
Concept Caleb Carson (Aged 6)
Words Jan (Aged older than 6)
There were five rhinos in the police car. The largest, (who was also the Chief Inspector), rode up front in the passenger seat. A young Detective drove and, in the back, two Sergeants were crammed together, their crinkly, grey bottoms shoved up against the back windscreen. None of the rhinos were wearing seatbelts though they were all policemen and should have known better. They were much too fat for ordinary seatbelts. When they travelled by airplane, they brought their own special, stretchy seatbelts, made from confiscated trampolines. Seatbelts were absolutely essential in airplanes for it was a very long way down if you happened to fall out.
A fifth rhino policeman rode on top of the car, hanging on to the roof with all four hands and feet as it flew round the streets of Ballycaleb. He had only just become a policeman that morning and was too shy to tell the other four that it wasn’t fair, or even safe, to make someone ride on top of a police car. His name was Roland. He would never be popular with the other rhino policemen for he did not like rugby or squashing smaller things, and he had an extra toe on each of his standing feet. Roland had not wanted to become a policeman but there were no jobs going at the doughnut shop. He was more than a little scared of heights and fastly moving things such as police cars.
There was a sixth person in the police car, hiding inside the glove compartment. His name was Matt. He was the best and bravest policeman in the entire town of Ballycaleb. Most of the other policemen did not even know his name and sometimes stepped on him, accidentally, on their way to the chocolate machine or the toilets. Every other policeman in Ballycaleb was a rhino. Most ordinary people in Ballycaleb believed that only rhinos could become policemen. “It is because they have horns,” thought the children. The adults were sure it was their super strength and stamping feet which made them the very best at fighting crime. None of this was true. Rhinos made terrible policemen. They were too fat to run, too lazy to do paperwork and too loud to creep up on burglars and other sneaky criminals.
Matt was a turtle policeman. He had been given the job because he was not a lazy rhino and because he had an all over solid shell which would make extremely good protection during gun battles. (There had never been a gun battle in Ballycaleb but once a man had thrown some quite large water balloons at the police and they could not be sure this would not happen again).
Matt was only ten centimetres high, fifteen when he stood on tippy-toes. At the police station the rhino policemen ignored him. They were too tall to see him without bending over or using a telescope and often forgot that Matt even worked at the police station. Matt the turtle did everything he could to get their attention. He spoke his morning “hello” in a loud and booming voice and stomped all four feet noisily on the door mat when he left in the evening. For weeks he wore a set of tiny, turtle stilts and when, even this, failed to get him noticed, painted his shell blue and yellow spotted, all over, even underneath. Still, no one noticed Matt the turtle.
At ten minutes past lunchtime the telephone rang in the police station. A terrible emergency was taking place at the Ballcaleb sweet factory. Suddenly there were sirens and flashing lights like tiny wall-mounted discos and all five rhino policemen went rushing out the door in one great, grey stampede. No one thought to tell Matt about the terrible emergency. No one even remembered that Matt worked at the police station.
But Matt the turtle heard all about it. Lately he had taken to eating his cheese and lettuce sandwiches in the glove compartment of the police car. It was cosy in there with the door closed and none of the rhino policemen could laugh at the funny way he ate, nipping and nibbling, like a nervous goat at the crusts of his bread. As the police car went speeding round the roads of Ballycaleb, Matt the turtle kept very quiet in the glove compartment and heard all about the dangerous criminals who had broken into the sweet factory and were threatening to eat all the sweets in Ballycaleb, one by one, before they’d had any proper dinner.
Matt the turtle knew this was a terrible emergency, possibly the worst thing to happen in Ballycaleb since the monkeys left town. He also knew the rhino policemen were too thick and thumpy to sneak into the sweet factory and catch the criminals before they could run away. “I am exactly the perfect policeman for this mission,” thought Matt the turtle and was, for the very first time, glad of his tiny legs and his quiet stepping and the way he was blue and yellow, disguised like a sucky sweet.
When they arrived at the sweet factory Roland the rhino could not stand up. Riding on top of the police car had made him sick in his belly and also his head. He sat on the curb, holding his poorly head in one hand and sometimes throwing up into his police hat. The next day he would quit being a policeman and take a job at Tescos where he could sit down all day and only his hands had to go fastly, zip, zip zapping all the prices on the carrots and yogurt.
The other four rhino policemen unpeeled themselves from the car. This took many minutes, almost an hour, for their enormous bottoms had become wedged to the seats as if stuck with superglue or Pritt stick. Once outside they rushed all at once towards the door of the sweet factory. They could hear the noise of the criminals gobbling and munching their way through marshmallows and wine gums and entire boxes of sherbet straws. They did not stop to think up a plan. There was not a second to lose, if the sweets of Ballycaleb were to be saved. They stormed through the door; one, two, three, four policemen each one as big and heavy as a medium sized tractor. By the time they’d noticed the enormous vat of runny chocolate just inside the door it was too late to stop. One, two, three, four they sploshed headfirst into the chocolate pot and passed out for it is a well-known fact that all rhinos are extremely allergic to chocolate.
The criminals in the corner laughed hard and long when they saw all four rhino policemen fast asleep and covered in chocolate like overgrown Easter bunnies. “We’ve totally got away with it,” they said and hi-fived each other happily as they stuffed their mouths full of adult sweets. “Next time let’s rob the biscuit factory.”
But the criminals had not counted on Matt the Turtle. Crawling slowly from the police car to the factory door in small steps and centimetres Matt had slipped inside without anyone noticing. His blue and brightly yellow shell was the perfect disguise for hiding inside giant piles of brightly coloured sweets. And, as the criminal were both terribly tall giraffes, it was almost impossible for them to see Matt so many miles below their high, high heads. In fact the giraffe criminals did not notice Matt the turtle until he pulled his special issue ray gun from its secret hiding place inside his shell and yelled in his loud and booming morning voice, “hands up guys, this is the police. We’ve got you surrounded.”
Later in the afternoon when the rhino policemen had been fished out of the chocolate pot and run three times through the Ballycaleb carwash, Matt the turtle drove the giraffe criminals back to the police station and locked them up in separate cells.
“It’s so not fair,” moaned the leader of the criminal gang, “we didn’t see you creeping up on us like that. We’d be half way to the biscuit factory by now if you weren’t so small.”
“Exactly,” replied Matt the turtle, “it’s my secret weapon.”