Foglas Nunucq and the American Caper
In the corner of the dimly-lit room, the telephone creaked expectantly. Foglas Nunucq, legs akimbo (a unique position), sighed knowingly and, with an air of absolute indifference, hoisted himself clear of the luxurious depths of his favourite armchair. His globular face exuded a high degree of passionate irritation as he trudged leaden-footed over the bread-basket acreage of the deep-piled and tastelessly-patterned carpet. "Who the Noo 139 could this be disturbing my afternoon repose?" he grunted to himself stiffly. Soon the creaking contraption bleated within a horse-length of his stubby piano-key fingers. Foglas, however, then managed to trip over the outstretched leg of a neglected telephone directory and belly-flopped haughtily to the floor. The telephone continued to creak in breathless anticipation. At the end of his tether, Foglas, growling like a dry poodle, drop-kicked the receiver from the craftsman-made and Winfield-labelled table.
"Hello Foglas," said the receiver chirpily, "Damp here. Hope I didn't wake you." He then launched into a long and largely irrelevant monologue. Eventually, as Foglas' Hannibal's elephant's snores ping-ponged around the room in ever decreasing circles so that they finally bundled back into his vibrant visage and woke him, Damp arrived at something approaching the point of his call.
Some new horror was about to beset the nation according to one of Damp's infallible informants-the assistant washroom attendant at the Clapham "Food Desk"-that famous fast-food restaurant chain specialising in the "Mammoth Cleanser Sandwich" (over 30 million sold.) This rare delicacy stood at the top of the junk-food league. Assistant washroom attendant Colin Bung mixed in the lofty echelons of public life. His information sources were impeccable. His table manners were disgusting. His inside-leg was thirty-two. Damp explained that he was on his way to meet Bung and would report to Foglas the next day. Foglas could scarcely conceal his excitement as he went back to sleep. Wooz.
It was a threateningly sunny morning when Foglas awoke-reflecting on an empty sandwich-box of dreams-only to find the nuisance value of Damp extracting piffling quantities of nasal debris in the light of an unashamedly uncurtained window. "Good morning Foglas," piped Damp like a wet puppy, "hope you're well rested. Seems there's another nest of vipers afoot. The Yard boys are out to lunch so we'll have to do our stuff."
"Must be something to do with that damnable American business," snorted Foglas dopily like a disgruntled pouch.
"No no, not at all," snivelled Damp, "Gebitveilige Snoep."
An empty sandwich box...
"Aha Damp, now I understand. There's not a second to lose." Foglas promptly went back to sleep issuing occasional whistling sounds amongst a rhythmical 'hunk, hunk, hunk, boze, whoil.' The day was soon reduced to clippings. Outside the Nunucq residence an innocent passer-by passed by not knowing what on earth was going on. He wore a green blazer and had a dance floor on his head-and this was only Pimlico! Damp imagined himself into one of those natty little glass bottles with a cheap and nasty model of the Eiffel Tower which you can shake up and down to produce a dandruff snowstorm. "Vacillating little wally," thought Foglas as the clatter of flaking skin from the Damp noggin finally crannied him into unpaddled action. Nibbling an Israeli biscuit, Foglas played himself at electronic Snooks-the ultimate in non-competitive electronic sports-and did not win or lose to his extrorse satisfaction.
Damp explained in his own naïvely enthusiastic style about the latest peril to face the honest citizens of these intrepid islands. It was a veritable plague of rampant speech defects, which gripped the innocent throats of the beleaguered populace. The happy sounds of Cockney rhyming slang no longer intrigued the Pentax-necklaced tourist hordes as they traipsed around the streets of the capital from one rip-off to the next. Instead an almost canine 'RurRurRurRur' was all these cheerful folk could utter. The foreigners had enough trouble understanding them before but now they could understand them only slightly better. "Can you direct me to 10 Droning Street, mack; your policemen are wonderful; your beefburgers are so cute," asked one tourist on a coach tour from Reykjavik.
"RurRurRurRurRurRur," replied a chirpy newspaper vendor, "RurRurRurRurRur."
"Monk's fridge, Damp!" blasted Foglas in dolloped displeasure, "who could be behind this dastardly deed? Who dares to threaten our horbelisha heritage?" Damp of course did not know the answer. He posed in thoughtful style-although his concentration was locked more into imagining the changing colour of the diminishing gobstopper currently slopping around his oral cavity-than into aiding Foglas in his detecting processes.
All over the country the ghastly blight spread through the rich assortment of local dialects. It affected not only the humble working man but also the toffee-nosed snobs with their Royal Ascot, Polo, Deb's balls, anyone for tennis, Sotheby's, chinless wonders, Sandhurst, eat with the army, interbreeding, Crufts, corgis, weak R's, Captain Mark Phillips, Fortnum and Mason, garden parties, diarrhoea, loose boxes, trooping the colour, Henley regattas, bloody Torquay, Eton and Hawow, Daily Telegwarf, damned fuzzy-wuzzies, send a gunboat, pin-striped tax-haven, MCC tie, Twickers, foreign muck-whose jaws were locked open endearingly so that, when spotted in the street by gangs of scruffy urchins, they became victims of cruel games such as 'stuff the toffs' gobs full of dog do'-or as it was now known, 'Rur-RurRurRurRur.'
one of those natty little glass bottles with a cheap and nasty model of the Eiffel Tower
which you can shake up and down to produce a dandruff snowstorm
Despite his obvious immense resources of cerebral power, Foglas would often pick the brains of well-known experts to help crack a case. He always rewarded them well by claiming all the credit himself-thus preserving his unacclaimed aides' sense of modesty. For this job Foglas called on the services of Professor Liggi Schmorsch, linguistics expert from the University of Shepshed and the famed inventor of the ultimate tool of translation 'cadige.' "Tell me Schmorschi, old fellow," flannelled Foglas chummily, "what do you make of it?"
"Vell my dear Foglas, it's all a question of ze gooreadiness methodology," he expounded with great clarity, "ze answer is simply cadige or-mindestens-wringing cadige three times." Foglas looked nonplussed. Liggi grinned inanely and suddenly broke into a spate of furious clucking-"cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, hübsch!"-like a demented German hen. Foglas felt his stomach churn like a plastic briefcase. He knew he was on his own again. Or at least he and Damp were on their own-which amounted to the same thing.
Back at his London office, Foglas' thoughts cobwebbed around the room. Things were going from bad to worse. What fiend could possibly want to render the whole country incommunicado? What was his motive? Foglas pondered all this at length. The solution was obvious! "Sow's wheelbarrows," he exclaimed catapulting himself into the air, "you can take a Norse to Walter but you cannot make him sink!" Damp knew Foglas was on to something. He was beginning to make sense. The anticipation of action crinkled Damp's 'Roy of the Rovers' hairstyle like a blistered foot. They rushed into the street almost knocking down a passer-by who was passing by with a dance floor on his head. He'd been wandering about for days. No one knew why. It was sinister and, of course had no bearing on the plot. "Where are we going?" gasped Damp in full flight as if 'doing the Benson.' "No time to explain Damp," replied Foglas importantly as his scampering limbs endeavoured to find something approaching co-ordination.
All over the country people were returning home from a hard day's toil. Some turned on their T.V. sets to catch up with the day's events. "RurRurRurRurRurRur" said the newsreader, revealing his lowly origins (the affliction did little for one's social standing.) Was Foglas too late? Had everyone succumbed to this as yet unexplained phenomenon?
Meanwhile back at the Clapham 'Food Desk' the uninspiring figure of Colin Bung emerged from a back door and tiptoed towards a large and seemingly unused warehouse nearby. Daylight followed him in through the door somewhat reluctantly and then retreated quickly like latex flippers.
...a plastic briefcase
Bung clicked a switch evilly and some timid electric light revealed the horrifying contents of the warehouse. Stacks of Brylcreem vats, clusters of okapi skins, a whole bunch of foul-smelling liquid and some articles by Peregrine Worsthorne. So this was it! Foglas suddenly emerged from behind some crates of semaphore equipment. "The game's up Bung. You might as well give up. You haven't got a chance!"
"By the Lord Maldive Bedlam-Stome, how the funk-hole did you find out Nunucq?"
"Grand pianos stay awake," retorted Foglas in triumph.
His words plopped into the vast unnoticed ticktock pools of time like Les Morris saucepans bubbling with the jugged-hare of long-forgotten dinners.
"But how did you solve it Foglas?" enquired Damp, hopping from foot to foot in anticipation.
"It was obvious. This Bung bounder had bought up the world's total supplies of semaphore equipment. With the population reduced to unintelligible grunts, he was set to make a killing by selling this stuff. He used all these disgusting ingredients to spike those filthy Mammoth Cleanser sandwiches that the whole country has been eating. The horrifying combination reduced their vocal functions to meaningless gibberings."
"It's a fair cop, Nunucq. But I'll never give you the antidote. And to this day he never has.
Les Morris saucepans
©1980,2000 The Reader's Doglist Association of Great Britain