Dan On Mission

Posted: March 7, 2015 in Back To The Edge



I am in my living room with Big Boots. We are watching Futurama and eating dinner. The episode is hilarious. Fry has missed a delivery. The best delivery ever! Bender pops his head round the door, and announces that they even got medals. I look at Big Boots, who didn’t expect me to catch him dribbling some barbecue sauce.


“What are you doing tomorrow morning?”


“Erm. Not sure. I think I’m free. Why?”


“The Hods phoned. He needs some people to do some puppets for him.”


Big Boots’ church has a puppet team. The kids love them. And unfortunately so do the adults. But not the ones with sight or hearing.


I hate the puppets.


“Will you do it, Dan?”


“Dunno. Will you?”


“Yeah I might.”


I smile.


“Yeah, I might as well.”


“You never know, it could be fun!”


Big Boots stares at me blankly.


“We should, really. It’s our Christian duty! To serve! To be a blessing to our community! This is…. our mission. You don’t wanna miss it, it could even be the best mission ever!


Big Boots stares at me blankly.


“We might even get medals!”


Big Boots laughs, and presses un-pause.



It is the next morning and I am in the back of The Hods’ 2-seater builder’s van. I arch myself awkwardly, poised above things that are too resistant-materials-lesson-like for me to recognise. But they are dusty.


As is my bum.




The van jerks.


My head throbs.


The Hods laughs.



We arrive and The Hods explains the plan. He has two bookings. First a toddler group, and afterwards a special school’s day out assembly. Me and Big Boots are there as backing puppets. Which means is all we have to do is shake the puppets about. We smile, and sit in the back of a curtained-off plastic frame. Backstage. Celebrities in a dressing room. With a load of strewn puppets lying around us like an age-appropriate massacre.


A toddler gets curious, and peeks into the dressing room.


I see him, and panic! If he finds out why we’re here he’ll tell the other toddlers! He will find out that this is a charade! That these bizarre looking furry people and not really people! He knows too much! I react. And instinctively gently elbow the boy back out of the dressing room.


“Dan! Did you just elbow that kid?!”


I stare at Big Boots, with concern in my eyes.


“He knew too much.


Big Boots laughs, and reaches inside a furry lion’s bottom.


The music starts, and we make our animal puppets dance. It’s going brilliantly, until our arms ache. And there is only so much side-to-side dancing you can do. I decide to do what I always do in these situations.


I attack my mate.


I turn my puppet to face Big Boots’, and jump on it. We spend the entire rest of the set scrapping in the background, and it’s amazing. The show finishes and we escape secretly so nobody knows we were the ones tainting nursery rhymes with Ed Norton’s soap making.


We pack down quickly, and head to a bowling alley, where a special school have hired out several lanes. The Hods greets The Heads, who explains that the assembly will be in the function room after the bowling, and that two children have not turned up.


“We’ve paid for two meals that aren’t going to get used, so do your two lads want a free lunch?”


I dive in.


The Heads smiles, and takes our orders, before asking if we’d like to join one of the bowling teams. The Hods smiles, and tells us that he can set up the puppets on his own, as The Heads points to a lane lacking people. I smile. This is ace! We’re gonna get a free lunch! They aren’t even meant to exist! And free bowling! I am very happy, and decide to muck about. I bowl in various hilarious ways and nearly break the lane. The special kids on our team burst out laughing. They’re having a brilliant time. I smile. And watch Big Boots and a random teacher both bowl strikes. I’m losing, but it’s fun, and it’s fine, because I’m used to that by now. Suddenly The Heads appears, and disturbs the silliness.


“Here you are boys, your lunch.”


She presents us with a classic burger and fries meal each, and a thought hits me. Which is quite rude of it.


“Hang on, what about all the kids? Where’s theirs?”


“Oh, they’ll get theirs in a minute.”


Priority treatment! Oh well! I scoff down my unnnecessary meal watched by hordes of hungry disabled children and get back to bowling as Random Teacher announces that each lane’s score will be entered into a school-wide competition and that we need a team name. One of the kids suggests ‘Poetry In Motion’ and it is perfect. We carry on, and bowl the heck out of that alley. Until the assembly starts, and we take our place backstage. We do our set and the kids have a surprisingly great time. The Heads takes the stage one more time and says that she will now announce the winning team.


“If this is you then come on up to the front to receive your medals!”


I smile. This is lovely.


“And the winning team is…”


Some special kids are about to have some special memories made. Wonderful. I sit comfortably, and await a beautiful moment.


“…Poetry In Motion.”


Hang on…


“Come on up, Poetry In Motion!”


Oh no! Our kids run to the front with red-faced Random Teacher. Who beckons us over. Where we are awarded medals! Medals bought specifically for special children on their special day. Medals that mean very little to us.


We bow.



We arrive home, and Gibson is playing on the 360 and eating lunch.


“How did the puppets go?”


I smile.


“It was the best puppets ever!”


Big Boots pops his head round the door.


“We even got medals!”


We laugh, and watch Gibson dribble some barbecue sauce.







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