The All New Adventures of
Foglas And Damp in Smiberspace
Simply take some roughly grated Hurfenflurfi cheese
Throughout the history of crime, from time to time, fate or kismet or happenstance has thrown up superheroes whose sole purpose in life is to conquer evil with no thought for their own well-being and safety. ‘Aaaah yes,’ comes the riposte from the harbingers of doom and gloom,’ but what about the evildoers, the rapscallions, the ne’er-do-wells, the tortfeasors, larrikins, felons, hoodlums, hooligans, louts and sundry improxicables nurtured from the bemired bowels of the malodorous underworld? Surely the forces of good will never be a match for these hell-hounds?’
‘But not not, no no,’ we rejoin, unfridged by this negative wastrelry, ‘never in the fjord of humane enema, has so much been owed to just two.’
The two in question are, as any fool knows, un certain Foglas Nunucq and his irritatingly irrepressible boon companion Damp. History tells us that buses arrive in threes (except the No. 49 to Dulwich, which never arrives at all), and saviours of mankind and doubleacts come in twos. Par exemple: The Lone Ranger and Tonto, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Natty Bumppo and Chingachgook, Ishmael and Queequeg, Vladimir and Estragon, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Eric and Pilaf Sweng, The Swoss Twins….we could go on. But enough of this introductory guff and piffle. It’s time for the tale to unfold.
The No. 49 to Dulwich
Foglas Nunucq was not one to bathe in the warm afterglow of another successful campaign against misfeasance. Indeed, Foglas Nunucq, was none too keen on bathing at the best of times. As our story trips forth one bright spring morning to the joyful sound of birdsong, the cheery cries of the street vendors plying their twaddley trades upon the smiley-smiley streets of the merry metropolis and the clatter clatter clatter fish bonk of the passers-by passing by with dance floors on their heads, Foglas Nunucq is slumped in his favourite paff-chair like a Harvest Mince Pie.
‘Gah!’ said Foglas, breaking wind lustily, ‘time for a spot of luncheon, young feller.’ With one bound, our intrepid duo were on the street.
‘It’s a nice air, Foglas’ said Damp incomprehensibly, ‘I think I’ll skip lunch and scour the streets for people who need our help.’ Before Foglas could comment, Damp had climbed aboard his canary-yellow Space Hopper and vanished into the distance like Wyatt Earp.
On the corner of Losenge Street, within a mere whiff of the beery confines of The Bofors Gun & Giblets, that fabled watering-hole of the rich, the famous and the flatulent, stood the Pimlico outpost of Abdul Al-Haaaqq’s news emporium. Foglas Nunucq would call here daily for his specially-reserved copy of The Ipswich Fishing Bloater, pristinely ironed by proprietress of the said establishment, one Winnie Church. The badinage between these icons of contemporary society would follow this predictable but comforting pattern.
‘Aaaah’ would begin Foglas, head thrust back like a whippet’s waggonette ‘This repository of life, this insightful font of information and knowledge, this daily magnum opus, this broadsheet of bonhomie, this window on the world, this sceptred isle….. You know what they say…..’
…window on the world
At this juncture, Winnie would seize her cue, clear her throat and quote with due reverence the Bloater’s award winning advertising slogan, now on everyone’s lips, ‘ The Ipswich Fishing Bloater. First with the News, First with the Fish!’
Foglas Nunucq resplendent in pork pie hat, Maurice Onions tie and glossy rubber overshoes proffered some fiddling pieces of shrapnel in full payment for this meticulously creased itemette, bade her a cheery ‘Royston’ and set off hotfoot Boforswards.
Meanwhile, in a dull little street not a million miles from Nunucq’s bluthering, something serious was happening.
Ten to Fifteen Hundreds and Thousands
The residents of Nield Road were a miserable, woebegone dismal bunch. There was a simple explanation for their lugubrious demeanour and this all-pervading attack of Weltschmerz. To a man, they had not received a copy of their local free newspaper ‘The Muffineers Retort’ for as long as anyone could remember.
The Retort, while not an erudite organ comparable to the stature of the Ipswich Fishing Bloater, was an invaluable reference document for local events, jumble sales, fêtes, garden parties, bun-fights, bazaars, beanos, barbecues, barmitzvahs, auctions, jubblies, fitness and cement. The list could go on and on. The unfortunates of Nield Road felt disenfranchised, ignored and ostracized. Wailing and gnashing of teeth had been heard recently when they had all missed the visit of Billy Socks Circus.
The plight of Nield Road was, however, not the ‘something serious’ referred to earlier in this narrative. Nor has it anything to do with the Old Bag at 42 Moray Avenue who always made a point of noisily banging her front gate shut after her copy of the Muffineers Retort had been duly delivered. Nor indeed has it even anything to do with the neighbours in Swapey Crescent, one of whom receives eight whole copies while the other is given just the middle two sheets. No no, we are talking about something seriously serious!
By chance, Damp was bounding along Nield Road as a careworn mother screeched to some besatchelled, scruffy urchin who slouched his grimy way to his seat of learning, ‘Sidney! Come back here and get your Glass Smah money!’ The young spalpeen was however transfixed by the enthusiastic bounding-by of one Damp. It was at this precise moment that our hero approached some roadworks. The word roadworks was perhaps an inexactitude as all that was indeed going on was that a section of Nield Road had been neatly cordoned off by a pristine collection of Eric And Ernie cones. A rather threatening sign which declared somewhat menacingly ‘RAMP’ had been placed at a jaunty angle nearby. Sidney, his face a mélange of innocent childish wonder, encrusted breakfast cereal and nasal debris, gawped goggletly as Damp’s Space Hopper flashed by. But then, as the yellow blur boinged past the ‘Ramp’ warning, it suddenly vanished like the clou to the age of Louis XIV.
A rather threatening sign which declared somewhat menacingly ‘RAMP’
‘Mummy. Mummy. It just vanished like the clou to the age of Louis XIV,’ whined Sidney tearfully.
Meanwhile, in the Crinan Canal confines of the ‘Bofors Gun and Giblets’, luncheon was in full swing.
"What a vista of culinary excellance" blathered one of a gaggle of Office Johnnies perusing the chalkboard menu and needlessly blocking access to the bar for those in need of prompt Diesel replenishment. These young pups were a constant source of irritation to supersleuth Foglas Nunucq, a stickler for tradition who believed it to be critical that an attendant Glass Smah must be allowed to do its job. Foglas was determined not to have his luncheon spoilt, particularly as he was today in the company of local man-of-the-cloth, the Reverend Horse Liniment. Horse was a jovial, ruddy-faced, rotund gentleman whose notoriety in the Bofors was primarily due to his great girth. This girth invariably wedged itself into his paff-chair and the paff-chair, in turn, seemed to adhere steadfastly to his bottom whenever he attempted to walk to the bar.
The ‘Rev’ was more than an amiable luncheon companion. He was a man in touch with people. He knew of their joys, their hopes, their dreams. He felt their malaises. He knew their fears. He was in touch with their molluscs.
He also had the unnerving habit of conversing in ablative absolutes, an affliction which Foglas had once, through his powers of detection and analysis, ascribed to ‘too much time standing on a desk in Room 5.’ Nowadays this conclusion seems obvious.
‘The rotters having been routed, what now for your philanthropy, Foglas?’ Liniment queried.
‘Young Damp’s on the case, old boy. Leave the hoi polloi to the young whipper-snapper.’
Foglas and Horse lunched massively. Mr. Bursley, chummy licensee of the Bofors Gun & Giblets, had acquired the services of renowned chefs Maurice Pebcak and Mrs. Mason, thereby offering an eating experience bordering on the out-of-body. Bursley’s firmament was emblazoned with the twinkling of Michelin stars albeit through a glutinous fog of filthy cigarette smoke. On this very day, the Bofors punters were presented with the following three course delight. On the grounds of preventing unmanageable euphoria, the following menu represents a mere samplette. As food critic, Feinschmecker and gourmet Xavier McAdoo suggested recently, ‘it woluld be foolhardy to publish this at lenght.’ Xavier might be a fool but he is to food what Matt Munro is to the Busdriving years.
They washed down this ambrosial assemblage with copious quantities of Tidysans Old Pecker. They belched. They talked about mushrooms and laughed. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Monkeyglands Haemoglobin in Tropo Jus with a Mushy Onion Swaisy
Individual Fruit Knees
‘Aaaaah! The post prandial pleasure, pain and peril,’ quipped Foglas.
‘These things having been fitted out, Aeropus must dally no longer’ replied the Reverend Horse Liniment firmly.
At last they were fimshed. Foglas Nunucq stood. The Rev’d Horse Liniment and his paff-chair stood. They made for the door preparing to exchange their cheery Roystons.
‘What about next week, Foglas?’ queried the Rev, noisily jettisoning his wooden attachment.
‘Utupus’ replied Foglas matteroffactly.
‘Utupus?’ repeated Liniment. ‘Aaaah! Usual time, usual place, usual…….’
‘…..Snorkel’ inserted Foglas helpfully.
A Sack Of Ground Doro Wot
While Foglas Nunucq was busily eating a cadige lunch in good company and generally slipping a grubby toe into the dolce vita, Damp had inexplicably vanished completely in the middle of Nield Road.
Damp was largely unaware of this sudden disappearance as he deftly parked his Space Hopper alongside the pogo sticks, Sinclair C-5s, unicycles, sedan-chairs, hobby-horses, rickshaws, milkfloats, waggonettes, char-à-bancs, steam-rollers, tilburys, surreys, calashes, gigs, trolleys, wheelbarrows, wherries, luges, lobes and delphiniums in the ‘miscellaneous’ section of the Bill Smurthwaite Fitness and Cement Centre multi-storey car park.
All of a sudden, he found himself mobbed by a throng of Nield Road residents cheering wildly and slapping him on the back. Even the Old Bag from 42 Moray Avenue was jumping up and down like a dog at a fair. ‘How can we ever thank you?’ asked Hector Ferrall-Ghastly.
‘It was nothing……’, said Damp uncertainly, fiddling with his toggles, ‘……it’s what we do’. Damp had no idea what he had done but enjoyed this moment of bathing in glory like a plate of faggots. As quickly as they had arrived, the residents of Nield Road formed a conga-line and watusied homewards. ‘Hooray,’ they cried punching the air with copies of the Muffineers Retort, ‘Hooray.’
A plate of faggots
Damp was left with the feeling that something odd was happening. He was roused from his musings of oddness by the sound of frolicky, mapcap yapping approaching fast stage left. A feeling of warmth and comfort spread through Damp’s puzzled persona as he recognised the welcome propinquity of his faithful canine chum. ‘All’s right with the world,’ he thought as the moth-eaten mutt bounded up, tail flailing like a sack of ground doro wot, his name boldly inscribed in gold lamé lettering on his tartan overcoat…..’It’s ……er, er, it’s Alan the Wonder Dog!’ What????? Damp was non-plussed. It looked like his favourite, four-legged foot-soldier. It smelt like the curmudgeonly cur….but this was not Poots, his horribly hirsute hound. This was an impostor, fraud, humbug, spoofer, cheat, shammer, Cadwalider. An Alan in Poots clothing.
Damp, his irregular knees knocking in bewilderment, patted the mangey mongrel nodgily on the noggin.
‘Aarf aarf’ said Alan.
‘Indeedy,’ said Damp, ‘ I need to find Foglas…and soon!’
He slipped his mobule telephone from its de rigueur rhinestone holster and speed-dialled Nunucq’s Pimlico pied-à-terre. Placing the contraption firmly against his loblolly lug-hole, he listened to the relentless creaking of an unanswered telephone.
With one bound, Damp remounted his trusty Space Hopper ‘Cuspidor’, determined to get to the bottom of this confusion.
‘Knusprig, knusprig’ says Heinrich Böll
Damp propelled himself forward like a quadrilateral equation leaving the hapless Poots, or rather Alan, floundering in his slipstream, all floppy ears and halitosis.
There was something very odd about his surroundings - even though things seemed more or less in place. Over there happy eaters and shoppers tripped in and out of Vasco Da Gama’s Hi Quality Fish Bar, Norbert’s ‘Haberdashery and Tripe’ and Gaylord’s Sea Kebab shoppe, And then on the other side of the street stood good ol’ Abdul Al-Haaaqq’s, the Community Fish Hall and the Walk-in Bum-Muffler Exchange Centre. Nothing abnormal there. Perhaps there was an air of fin de siècle, perhaps it was all too normal.
As Damp spun ‘Cuspidor’ into Losenge Street his discomfort grew as he approached the ‘Bofors Gun and Giblets’. Someone decidedly Foglassy in appearance sat in an al fresco paff-chair. Damp’s blood froze as he observed Foglas Nunucq, for that proboscis could belong to no other, voraciously consuming a giant Double Chocolate Yock Sundae. There was not a sign of Old Pecker, nor even Glass Smah! Damp bounced up to this Foglas with trepidation and tension trickling down his spine like Soccy Socks and Basketball Stripes.
‘Hello Foglas,’ said Damp with typical originality. Foglas wiped some of the Double Chocolate Yock Sundae from various facial protuberances, grinned broadly like organic matter and cried out ‘Hullit!’
‘Hullit?’ queried Damp.
‘Hullit’ confirmed Foglas confidently.
All hell broke loose. Damp was forced to flee on his trusty ‘Cuspidor’ as all at once he found himself surrounded by a sea of faces screaming ‘Hullit! Hullit! Hullit!’ in his ear. It was turning nasty.
Sockless In Gaza
Boffy Tweggs had had a lean time since the scourge of privatisation had demolished the public utilities. The former Supremo of the National Drain Board was today a mere fonctionnaire amisdt a welter of regional outfits that knew a lot about promotions, advertising and making promises, but knew not a jot about drains. And it made him sick.
In the halcyon days you knew that the Gas Board dealt with gas, the Electricity Board dealt with electricity, the telephone company installed the creaking contraptions, the Fish Waste Board looked after your fish waste and the Drain Board looked after your drains. Simple. Nowadays you had not a clue who provided anything. Even the company names were no help as the smart-alec, whizz-kids dreamt up more and more ridiculous nomenclatures for everyday necessities. The regional gas companies came under the umbrella company Whiff, electricity was sold by West Teeth Power, Watt, Sparky, Lecky, Milliamp, Surge and Monkfish Thermidor……..to name just a few.
Then, when they all decided to sell each other’s products, these names were not broad-based enough - hence the trend to names which had no earthly connection with the products being sold. After all no one wanted to feel like a chump, when they announced that, for example, they purchased their gas from Sparky and their fish waste was collected by West Teeth Power!
Thankfully the young know-all, heavily-aftershaved, smarmy clever-dicks had selected a modest name for the Drain Board successor. ‘Smegma’ was even nicely understated in the new age of public utilities. ‘Smegma’ - drains, gas, electricity, telephones and fish waste. Just one old bill for the lot.
The headquarters of Smegma were to be found on the banks of the Humber in a region of this fair land where the local dialect teetered dangerously on the verge of incomprehensibility.
‘Eh, Mister. Yerv got kerk dahn yer kert,’ whirulled a young local oick as Tweggs walked to his office one day.
‘I beg your pardon, young fellow-me-lad.’
Boffy Tweggs conversed in cultured tones betraying an extensive education in some of the finest establishments of learning concluding, needlesstosay, at the ‘West Teeth Academy of Science, New Technology and Snorkel’ where he obtained a doctorate in Drains. Thankfully his education was complete long before this vital facet of the public services became victim of the modern fad of public-private partnership. Nowadays the financial input of the ‘Farleigh WallopTyre and Rubber Company’ into the teaching profession had prompted some strange changes to the curriculum. Youngsters were channelled, according to their aptitude into Arts/Humanities, Sciences or Rubber.
Boffy Tweggs was a man with a mission. He knew that one big idea would establish him not only as Drains supremo once again, but also as controller of the new age of public utilities. ‘BT’ would be a name synonymous with everything going into and coming out of the homes of this fair nation. Little did he know, what trauma his plan would cause.
‘Bring On The Mammoth Cleanser Sandwiches, You Swaped Toad!’
Meanwhile Damp, almost encircled by a ‘Hullit’ screaming rabble, was being guided to relative safety by the timely reappearance of Alan the Wonder Dog!
Alan was desperately trying to tell him something!
‘Aarf Aarf Aarf’ said Alan as he attempted to surround a bemused tourist from Tel Aviv causing him to spill his packet of Israeli biscuits.
‘Of course!’ cried Damp, the clang of the penny dropping resounding like wimples drying on a washing line in Tedstone Wafre. ‘It’s obvious! That’s it! Ulrika!!’
With one bound, Damp vanished from sight just as the clasping mitts of the Hullit varletry homed in on his scrawny throat! Before you coluld say ‘Blagadareeoo Vass’, Damp was found on the bountiful banks of the Humber where the sun he shine all time, left hand behind back. Here was the seat of Boffy Tweggs’ skeffling headquarters of Smegma.
wimples drying on a washing line
Tweggs, it transpired, had been secretly developing a system of one pipe service provision. By neatly wrapping gas, electricity, telephone, drain and fish waste conduits in Irish Face Flannels, Tweggs had slashed the delivery and collection costs involved. Unfortunately his pilot scheme in Goole had not revealed the fatal flaw in this scheme! The fusion of services released an odourless gas carrying the deadly ‘Ramp’ virus causing speech to transmogrify into a meaningless string of ‘Hullits’.
Tweggs was a broken man but the astuteness of our hero Damp had saved mankind.
Now Damp understood why he received the grateful thanks of all. The press were soon on the case.
‘DAMP defeats RAMP!’ barked the lead article in the Ipswich Fishing Bloater, penned by ace crime reporter, Gecc Workman. A huge photograph of Damp sat astride ‘Cuspidor’ covered almost the whole widht and lenght of the front page. ‘Mean, moody, magnificent, snorkel’ began Gecc Workman’s adulatory panegyric detailing how Damp had single-handedly fimshed the whole Ramp outbreak.
‘How Damp discovered the link between some innocuous roadworks in Nield Road and the horrific speech impediment afflicting vast numbers of the populace, we may never know. Superheroes like Damp modestly talk down their acts of derring-(dog)do with dismissive statements. ‘It was nothing,’ said Damp yesterday. But without the selfless dedication of such fine citizens, there would be no freedom of movement, no peace in our time, no ligth at the end of the tunnel, no fool like an old fool and no socks for Ivan.’
Damp glowed like a warm trifle. At last he had stepped from his mentor’s shadow. Foglas would be proud!
Greeting the crowds of well-wishers, Damp toured the town, his tousled hair appearing then disappearing above the throng as ‘Cuspidor’ carried him homeward. Finally he turned into Nield Road and passed the roadworks where this adventure began. The sound of cheering crowds was suddenly hushed. Before him Damp could make out the fuzzy outline of a large number of workmen leaning on their shovels while an energetic workmate demonstrated how to do some work. Just then the quiet was broken by dulcit tones calling faintly, then louder and louder! As he bounced serenely along, he recognised this as the comforting sound of an earth mother calling to her offspring, as they have called since time began.
‘Sidney! Stop playing with that New Technology and come and eat your whelks!’
O Tempura (batter) O Maurice (Pebcak)
All was right with the world again - well, all was never really wrong with it. Damp had somehow got himself into a parallel universe and his triumph still resided there. At least if Ramp ever struck here, he would know how to deal with it! Even the residents of Nield Road were still bemoaning their lack of ‘the Muffineers Retort’. The Old Bag at 42 Moray Avenue was banging her gate shut and bellyaching. Normality. People were busily putting things on top of other things. Scurfing in Smiberspace. Doing the Benson. In his palatial Pimlico pied-à-terre, Foglas Nunucq was sleeping off another luncheon excess, blissfully unaware of the telephone creaking irritatingly alongside his heavily hirsute hearing appendage. There was just the question of what was going on behind closed doors at the local Bill Smurthwaite Fitness and Cement Centre. But there is no time to go into this now…….
©2000 The Reader's Doglist Association of Great Britain