I have decided to write a book about the Grimniens and I am going to publish it on my blog chapter by chapter as it is written. Please note that some of our Twitter friends will appear in the book. If you read something about yourself and don’t like it, please let me know so that I can have a good laugh! Seriously, if there is anything you are not happy with, let me know and I will remove it. I have never written a book before (apart from a book of poems) so your comments and advice will be greatly appreciated. But please be gentle! Remember, Gongleshanks does not take criticism well…………..
This is the story of the Grimniens. It is a fictional story. If you think you recognise yourself or someone you know in this tale…….get yourself to a psychiatrist immediately!
Once upon a time there lived a wizard by the name of Grimnien. He lived in a fantasy world all of his own, this land was called Grimney. Many strange creatures inhabited the land of Grimney and when they were not at war fighting to control the land, they spent their days painting, reading books and writing.One day Grimnien was sat in the woods chatting to his friends when he stunned everybody by announcing ‘I’m bored!’
‘You’re bored?’ repeated Morton the slimy clam ‘Well what do you want to do Grimnien?’ Grimnien looked thoughtful for a moment then he turned to Morton and said ‘I want to start an online empire’
Everyone stopped chatting idly and turned their attention to the strange wizard who was wearing a very expensive looking dress.
Kara Jarina a beautiful and enchanting lady was first to speak ‘If you want to spend the day creating an empire dear Grimnien then that is what you must do.’ Kara then resumed her welding.
Without another word Grimnien arose elegantly – as befits someone wearing a very expensive dress – and staggered off into the woods. He staggered because he was wearing exceedingly high heels, not the best attire for hiking but…..well, that’s Grimnien for you!
After some time he re-appeared accompanied by a very handsome man who walked towards the group of friends on his hands.
‘This is Gongleshanks’ said Grimnien, ‘he is joining my empire. He used to be Meadow Goblinglitter but I changed her into a man’.
‘Ooooh’ piped up Morton, ‘Why did you change Meadow into a man?’
‘Every empire has a handsome and charismatic man on the team’ replied Grimnien with a vague expression on his face.
‘But why is he upside down?’ Morton continued.
Grimnien’s eyes became clear now and he spoke with great determination. ‘Ah, yes, why indeed Morton’ he began. ‘I can tell you exactly why Gongleshanks is upside down young………..clam. Goodness, yes indeedy………….and well spotted, you are indeed a very observant young……..clam! The reason why Gongleshanks, the handsome, charismatic man is upside down is…………because…………my spell went wrong. Yes, that’s it…………that’s what happened the spell went wrong, it was a mistake, that, Morton is why Gongleshanks is upside down.’
The wizard smiled contentedly to himself, quietly pleased with his clear and intelligent explanation.
Wendel, the Mayor of Dingletown grabbed hold of Gongle’s foot and shook it vigorously. ‘I was very pleased to meet you tomorrow’ said Wendel because he was extremely stupid.
‘OK’ announced the elegantly dressed wizard’ There is no time like the future we had better make a start for we have a long and arduous journey ahead of us.’
‘But…..where are we going?’ protested Kara as she lifted her welding mask.
‘We are going to Twitterland’ beamed Grimnien. ‘I have heard tell that there are many unhappy people in this land. There are writers and painters and poets and minstrels of great quality but nobody will give them the time of day because a tyrant has taken over the land. He has created a huge empire and mesmerised the population into believing that the only creative people worth seeing are the ones that he chooses to show on the watchy box and has commanded that nobody else will be allowed into his empire unless they have been chosen by him or one of his close friends.
At this, the band of creatures rolled around on the ground laughing and holding their tummies because their chuckle muscles were hurting.
‘Oh Grimnien!’ they gasped, ‘Where do you get these outlandish ideas, ha ha, hee hee, as if that could really happen!’
Grimnien stepped over them and continued, ‘We must make tracks if we are to save the creatives of earth.
The group stopped laughing and picked themselves up because they could see by the absent expression on the wizard’s face that he was in no mood for jollity and was indeed serious about saving the creative people of earth from a life of anonymity.
That is how the Grimniens came to be in twitterland and the rest – as they say – is history.
The group worked hard from their little office and made lots of friends in Twitterland. Grimnien spent his days scouring the haberdashery shops for sequins because he was obsessed with sparkly things. Success quickly went to Morton’s head and he lavished allsorts of expensive gifts on himself including the latest model Clambretta. He soon found that his clambretta attracted lots of ladies and he began to disappear on ‘business’ trips with alarming regularity. Beautiful Kara became a workaholic, locked away with mountains of paperwork for months on end and Gongleshanks met the love of his life, a girl from Miami who was the perfect partner for the imp because she always turned a blind eye to his philandering, presumably hoping that one day he would settle down and mend his ways – Yes in a way, Ann was as big a dreamer as Grimnien!
One sunny day Grimnien decided to bring in a new staff member and turned up with an old, rusty, tin knight by the name of Garlan. The team were told that Garlan had worshipped gold before coming to Twitterland. To teach him a valuable lesson (see what I did there!) some wizard had turned Garlan into metal ‘because he loved the stuff so much’ The only way Garlan could regain his original form and be reunited with his lady, Ambrosia was to perform many good deeds without accepting any payment whatsoever – making a position on the staff at Voice Box Promotions ideal.
Things were going well in Twitterland for many months then one day Gongleshanks walked into the office, and put his hands into a pool of clam slime. As he stood unsteadily on his feet wiping his hands on Grimnien’s blouse he surveyed the strange scene in his place of work, the clam hanging from the ceiling dripping slime, Grimnien counting his sequins and Garlan scrubbing himself with a brillo pad and he thought to himself:
‘This is not how I envisaged my life when I was a young girl.’
Gongle thought he needed a rest so he took himself off to his private island in the middle of the Carribean to have a think about his life……….
When he returned more staff had joined the team, There was Garli, a sun Goddess, Ursula, a bit of a mystery that one! and a Master swordsman by the name of Killgin………
18 months later………….
Grimnien had called a meeting. He wanted to update everybody on how things were going in Twitterland. He had decided to hold the meeting in the open air and so he began……..
‘Things need to change!’ he bellowed. ‘You are all getting out of control! He waved his magic wand as he spoke and a great roar of thunder encircled the group. Blinding flashes of lightning crackled around the great wizard and there was a mighty roar as the heavens opened.
As rain started to soak the Grimniens Garli shouted ‘You should have listened to Sian Lloyd, she said a storm was heading this way.The rain battered them and within seconds the Grimniens were soaked to the skin. Grimnien pulled his cardigan over his bald head and declared ‘We will continue this meeting indoors.’ They all scurried into Kara’s house looking like wet dishcloths.
Everyone huddled round in the large dining room and dripped all over the parquet floor.
‘Ahem’ went on Grimnien ‘as I was saying, I expect better things from you team!’ He thumped his fist on the dining table and everyone in the room sat cringing and desperately avoiding eye contact with the great wizard. Not because Grimnien was in a bad mood but because they were desperately struggling not to laugh out loud. It was hard to take Grimnien seriously as he stood yelling at them in his frilly dress clutching his red handbag. I mean, the red handbag just did NOT go with the yellow polka dot dress! The wizard looked ridiculous.
‘Can I make a suggestion?’ piped up Garli but then stopped mid-sentence……….
‘Yeuch’ she exclaimed as a large glob of slime landed on her nose. ‘MORTON!’ she screamed ‘How many times do we have to tell you to STOP hanging on the ceiling!’
Morton had no social skills, he just didn’t see that it wasn’t pleasant having slime dripped on you when you were trying to address a serious meeting.
Just then the beautiful Kara slid off her hobnail boot and scratched her foot vigorously
‘They look so trendy on the adverts’ she exclaimed ‘but they don’t half make your feet sweat’
Everyone turned to glare at Kara for being so uncouth – apart, of course, from Gongleshanks who sat gazing at her with a silly grin on his face because in his eyes Kara could do no wrong.
‘Ahem, Order’ shouted Grimnien can we get on please…..’
Just then a tiny voice piped up
‘Oooh I need a wee’ it was Hall the cartoon causing the latest disturbance.
‘Don’t be so ridiculous’ shouted Gongleshanks ‘Cartoons don’t need to wee, cartoons don’t EAT, cartoons don’t DRINK, and therefore cartoons DON’T NEED TO WEE!’ When will you get it into that thick pencil lined head of yours Hall YOU ARE A CARTOON!
A hush fell over the room at Gongle’s harsh words
‘Actually’ said Kara ‘you need to stop being so dramatic Gongle and get back to reality’
At this, gasps went around the room. ‘Ahh ‘said Ursula ‘Kara said the R word’
Everybody knows that the R word is the most insulting thing you can say to a Grimnien
‘This is getting too silly for words’ exclaimed Morton, the slimy clam. ‘At the end of the day NONE of us are real, in fact Gongleshanks is making this up just so he can write a book!’
‘Aha’ retorted Gongleshanks ‘If none of us are real how can I be writing a book?’
‘Mmmmm it’s a fair point’ interjected Grimnien for he was a very wise wizard.
‘I’ll show YOU who’s not real’ snapped Hall who had regained her composure by now. She jumped up from her chair and tweaked Gongle’s nose. ‘Oww’ said Gongle…….NO it was harder than that……..’OUCH’ screamed Gongle………yes, that’s more like it.
Just then Killgin Stark shot up out of his seat……and immediately slumped back down, for he was drunk from the fumes emanating from Hall’s wet ink.
COME ON! Gongleshanks!’ snapped Grimnien ‘If you don’t get on with it you’ll never finish this book, it’s pretty rubbish as it is’
‘Rubbish is it’ exclaimed Gongle ‘I can only work with the tools I’ve been given! If it’s rubbish it’s because of the characters YOU created. How would you like it if somebody said to you……Go and write a book, I’ll give you some characters and you write the story. There’s an imp who’s upside down, a slimy clam, a wizard with a bald head who wears dresses, a beautiful woman who wears hobnail boots, a yellow faced lady, a fearsome warrior who slices boulders in half with his sword and……writes beautiful poetry, a strange woman called Ursula who nobody really knows anything about, a cartoon sketch on a bit of paper who hops round in circles and collects twigs, a man who lives in Lanzarote by the name of Simon, a red haired woman from Miami who is going to be your wife and a dragon catcher called Meadow who adores ironing AND incidentally was you before I changed you into an imp. Now be a good chap and go and knock a bestseller off for me.’
After Gongle’s boring rant the Grimniens had become disinterested, Morton was busily eating Kara’s chintz curtains, Meadow was ironing some imaginary handsome man’s shirt, Hall was prancing around in a ball gown holding her favourite twig, Grimnien was admiring some sequins he’d found in his handbag Garli was gazing at a sunbeam that had miraculously appeared through the clouds and Ursula was batting her eyelashes at a bemused Simon.
‘Sorry’ said Grimnien to Gongle ‘Did you say something?’
Just then there was a loud knock at the door which startled the group back to rea……erm the R word.
Meadow slammed her iron down.’ I’ll get it then shall I?’ she said sarcastically as she marched to the door.
As she opened the door a pile of leaves swirled in followed by An Marie and Sian’
‘Hello cariads’ beamed Sian, for she was Welsh and she didn’t care who knew it. ‘I came to tell you that the storm is going to be much worse than I originally predicted…….’ She trailed off as she looked around the room at the sodden and bedraggled Grimniens and realised that her warning had come too late………Well she IS a weather forecaster!
Sian Lloyd, dear reader, is a TV weather presenter in the United Kingdom for those who didn’t know and YES Sian, whatever YOU may think there are some who have never heard of you!
Grimnien beckoned the two ladies to take a seat, he was anxious to get the meeting finished because he was now feeling quite uncomfortable in his soggy dress and badly needed to take a shower and slip into something comfortable.
He looked directly at Gongleshanks, ‘It has come to my attention that you have been becoming increasingly rude to our Twitter followers’ he said ‘If you are not careful young imp you are going to alienate people.
Gongle, who was not used to criticism jumped to the defence.
‘Well YOU created me!’ he retorted, ‘If you wanted some nice, polite person to tweet for you, you shouldn’t have made a cheeky imp!’
Grimnien grimaced at the remark because he knew deep down that it was true. Everything the Grimniens did on Twitter was down to him, he was the head honcho after all and the buck had to stop with him.
‘I……’ went on Gongle ‘am a product of your imagination Grimnien. I was created by a fictional character’. He wiped the silly grin off his face momentarily and looked serious. He looked around the room accusingly, ‘We are ALL fictional characters’ he went on ‘apart from Simon, Sian and An Marie of course. Forgive me for using the R word but I need to use strong language in order for you all to realise the gravity of the situation that we find ourselves in. None of this is real, not the setting, not me, not you, not Grimnien, none of it! Humans don’t realise what they are messing with when they start ‘playing God’ and ‘creating’ people. Do they not realise that even fictional characters have feelings?
Grimnien shuffled around uncomfortably, apart from his sodden dress, well……..let’s face it; NOBODY likes being told that they are just a figment of somebody else’s imagination – especially when the person doing the telling is a figment of somebody’s imagination.
Just a little side note here: The author of this book IS real but he/she has asserted his/her right to remain anonymous because he/she does not relish the idea of being ‘carted off in a strait jacket’ If I refer to the author again I shall refer to him/her as him otherwise the writing is going to start looking jerky.
I think maybe I should tell you a little bit about the author. What shall I call him…………let’s say, Bob, for simplicity’s sake. So Bob has never been ‘into’ fiction and has read very few fictional books. He has not made a ‘plan’ about this book, he has just plunged headlong into writing it in the vague hope that it will all work out fine in the end. The critics and reviewers among you will now be nodding smugly and thinking ‘Yep, I KNEW it’ being the highly qualified critic that you are, probably never having written a hilarious fantasy book in your life!
Anyway, Bob is not exactly the sort of person who likes to be told how to do things which, in some ways is a good thing and in other ways is a bad thing. The point is Bob doesn’t really care about rules and regulations. When Bob gets an idea Bob likes to plunge headlong into it and throw caution to the wind. When Grimnien introduced him to a fantasy world, it sort of went to Bob’s head! He found himself so deeply immersed in fantasy that he went a bit mad, I suppose he was making up for lost time not having been the sort to fantasise before he met the wizard. Anyway that’s enough about Bob because real people are pretty boring, you know what I mean?
Now, where was I?…………….
Kara’s lovely little house was increasingly looking like a Grimney swamp between the pools of rain water on the floor, the steam rising from the Grimniens’ clothes and the slime which Morton was dripping all over the place, it really wasn’t a ‘home from home’ type scenario.
Now, you may think it slightly odd that a slimy clam is tweeting on Twitter and has over fifty thousand followers. What you may not know is that Morton the clam was once a very accomplished Master wizard, perhaps even more accomplished than Grimnien but, I agree, that isn’t saying much! One day Morton was experimenting when he accidentally turned himself into a clam. I don’t know if you’ve heard but clams are not generally recognised for their intellect and because the wizard was now a clam he didn’t have the wizardly know how to turn himself back.
An Marie, the American feminist who was betrothed to Gongleshanks suddenely broke into everyone’s thoughts when she asked Kara, ‘Are you a feminist Kara?’ Kara eyed the strange American vaguely and muttered back, ‘I’m not an anything ist, I’m just me’ An Marie’s jaw dropped at this evasive reply, I mean, how can you sink your teeth into a good debate about feminism with someone who refused to be drawn on the subject?
Speaking of people being drawn, Hall the cartoon lady who referred to Gongleshanks as ‘Pesky Imp’ was busy chucking acorns around Kara’s dining room which was no longer the clean and tidy room that the gang had poured into an hour before. Everyone liked Hall…..even Gongleshanks although he didn’t like to admit it. Gongle liked to think he held the monopoly on making people laugh you see, and the little ‘Sketch’ as he called her was quite adept at it. Hall had funny bones but it’s unclear how this was the case because she didn’t ACTUALLY have any bones – being a sketch you understand.
By now it had dawned on Grimnien that it was pointless to try to continue with the meeting and he desperately needed to get his high heels off and to escape from the dripping dress which was making his tights cling to his hairy legs. He didn’t like to appear in front of his creations looking so unkempt.
‘We will resume this meeting at a later date’ he announced in a grand, wizard like voice which was clearly at odds with his appearance. ‘When,’ he went on ‘Bob gets up in the middle of the night with more brilliant ideas’ He emphasised the word, brilliant and Bob thought that he detected a note of sarcasm but he quickly dismissed the thought rationalising to himself that the wizard was merely in a bad mood from getting his frilly dress spoiled in the violent storm which Sian had failed to predict……………….
To be continued.
Gongleshanks was sitting against a tree just chillin’ when something started to irritate him. He wasn’t sure what it was but it was like, when a fly keeps buzzing in front of your face. Then he heard a familiar voice giggling behind him. It was Sketch; she’d been blowing his hair in order to attract his attention.
‘Hey Pesky’ she started, as Gongle screwed his lips to the side and sighed, ‘I read your book last night and I think it’s fab’ She jumped up and bit him on the end of his nose. Gongle brushed Sketch off, ‘Do you HAVE to be so annoying? I’ve come here for a bit of peace.’
‘The only thing is………’ she went on, completely ignoring the imp’s comment and twirling round whilst throwing an acorn into the air and catching it, ‘You told people that Grimnien made me and he didn’t and……..’ she stopped momentarily while she stooped to pick up the acorn which she’d dropped for the umpteenth time, much to Gongle’s annoyance….. ‘I’m not a member of the Voice Box team either, you old trout.’ She jumped up and tweaked his nose again.
Gongle looked dejected……two criticisms in two days, not good for Gongle’s ego!
‘Oh yeah I forgot’ he replied quietly. He was not his usual loud and flamboyant self.
‘You ok? Trout face? Asked Hall as she hopped round in a circle.
‘Not really Sketch, I’m a bit fed up to be honest’ he replied.
Hall stopped hopping and gazed at Gongleshanks, no clever comments no bragging, this wasn’t like the imp at all. She sat down next to him and brushed the hair from his face.
‘What’s up?’ she asked trying to sound as concerned as possible but she couldn’t resist throwing the acorn up and catching it again.
‘It’s Bob, he’s beginning to get on my nerves to tell you the truth………..’
‘Bob?………..oh the prolific author who’s writing our conversation down? What’s he done?’
Gongle sighed and took in a long breath, ‘Do you not get fed up of having your life controlled by someone else Sketch? We’re told when to eat, when to sleep, how to act, what to say, even who to fall in love with………..
‘Hall looked at Gongle without speaking for several moments then……….
‘Not really Pesky, never thought about it really. What would you do differently anyway?’
‘Excuse me!’ a voice said although there was nobody to be seen, ‘I’m trying to concentrate on writing a story here, can you two pipe down a bit, I can’t concentrate.’ It was Bob.
Gongle and Sketch looked at each other with surprised expressions on their faces…………….
‘No they didn’t!’ shouted Gongle, ‘Look, Look, I don’t look surprised at all’ He jumped up and started swinging on a tree branch and whistling. Hall looked a little troubled, she didn’t like confrontations. ‘Write THAT down Bob!’ exclaimed Gongle. ‘I’ve got an idea Bob…….WE’LL act the story out and you just watch and write it down. Stop interfering in our lives!’
‘Now listen here young imp’ said Bob ‘I don’t know what you’re complaining about, you have a good life! I’ve given you loads of money, a private island, a private jet, a beautiful girlfriend…….Some characters are just never satisfied!’
‘And, how do you know I wanted all those things?’ replied Gongle, defiantly. ‘I may have wanted to be a monk or something for all you know.’
Bob thought for a minute and rubbed his chin……….’Ah no, no Gongle it’s too late, I don’t think the readers would buy that now……Gongleshanks the monk!’ he smiled, ‘No I don’t think even THEY will buy that!
‘Anyway Gogeleshanks, have it YOUR way. I’ll go away and leave you to live your own lives, let’s see how you get on!’
With that, Bob closed his computer and left them to it………………
The two characters sat motionless and silent against the tree until, Gongleshanks leapt up.
‘I know’ he said enthusiastically, his mood brightening now he was up to mischief, ‘Let’s write a story about BOB!’
‘Ooooh yes’ enthused Hall, ‘What shall we write Gongle?’
Gongle thought for a minute then………..
‘I know! We could say he’s a miserable old man with no life and that’s why he spends his time making stories up about us!’
Hall jumped up and down with glee and rubbed her hands together.
‘Or we could say he’s a woman’…………
Gongle thought for a minute. He thought Hall had come up with an excellent idea but he didn’t want to admit it because she’d thought of it.
‘No’ he said, finally, ‘That wouldn’t work, he’s obviously a man or he wouldn’t always be chatting to beautiful ladies on Twitter. As a matter of fact Sketch I KNOW Bob’s real identity’ he went on.
Sketch eyed the imp curiously for a moment, ‘NO you don’t you old trout face’ she responded as she threw an acorn at his head.
‘Oh yes I do!’ Gongle retorted, ‘I know lots about Bob, I know his real name, I know where he lives……in fact, I know so much about him that I could really drop him in it if I wanted to’
‘Drop him in what?’ asked Hall as she put her hands on her hips and swivelled as though she had a hoola hoop around her waist.
‘Erm…….I’m not sure, I’ve heard people on this planet use the expression a lot’
‘I think you should be careful Pesky, if you drop Bob in IT he may kill us off you know’ said Hall because she was quite deceptively wise.
Gongle thought for a moment then………
‘Nah! He would never kill us off Sketch, his life depends on us. He’d be bored if he didn’t have us to occupy him.’
‘Well are you going to tell me who he is then?’ asked the cartoon lady as she nibbled on a twig.
Just then Grimnien appeared.
‘Hello, what are you two plotting?’
‘Nothing’ shrieked Hall making it perfectly obvious that the two were indeed plotting something.
Grimnien smiled at the cartoon for he knew she regarded Gongleshanks as an older brother and that if any plotting was going on, the imp would be the instigator.
‘Gongleshanks? I hope you’re not up to mischief.’ Grimnien continued
‘Who? Me?’ Gongle replied, ‘No just chatting to Sketch that’s all’ he lied as Grimnien noticed Hall going bright red. Hall said nothing but held out the twig to the mighty wizard in a weak attempt to distract him from what was becoming a very uncomfortable conversation.
‘Thank you’ said Grimnien as he took the twig, ‘That is a very nice twig Hall. Well I must be off, behave you two’ he added as he winked at Hall.
Gongle waited until the wizard was out of earshot.
‘So, do you want to know who Bob really is then?’ he asked as he snapped a twig off a tree and handed it to Hall in a Big-brotherly way.
Hall glanced around anxiously because she knew that she was about to hear information which she really ought not to hear. She snuggled up close to Gongle.
‘Go on then.’
His real name is Steve. He lives in London and he is old. He used to play in a pop group in the 1960’s, they were very famous’ said Gongle with a self-satisfied grin on his face. He looked at Hall chewing vigorously on the twig as she tried to digest the ‘top secret’ information. ‘That’s why he’s so interested in music’ Gongle went on to his captive audience. He joined Twitter so that he could listen to new music and that’s when Grimnien told him he could have a character on Twitter……ME’ he announced grandly. That’s how he came to be part of Voice Box. He enjoyed playing with a character so much that he eventually decided to have a go at writing a book.’
The two jumped as they heard a familiar ‘clicking’ sound
‘It’s BOB’ gasped Hall and she trembled uncontrollably.
Gongle put a protective arm around her. ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be fine.’ He reassured her although he was shaking inwardly.
‘How have you two been getting on without me then?’ said a voice and although they couldn’t see anybody, they knew instinctively that it was Bob.
Hall fiddled with her skirt, afraid to look up. Gongle replied boldly, ‘We’ve been fine thanks Bob.’
‘And what have you been getting up to? Bob asked with mirth in his voice.
Hall continued to pull at a loose piece of cotton hanging from her hem. She stared intensely at the thread, fully aware that if she dared to look up, a giveaway tear would roll down her face. As long as she concentrated on the cotton she could just about manage to contain the salty pool that was teetering on the edge of her eye lid.
‘We’ve just been sitting here chatting’ said Gongle who could feel his heart thumping against his rib cage.
‘Erm …….allsorts gulped Gongle as a large bead of sweat trickled down his face.
‘I hope you haven’t been giving away any secrets!’ teased Bob.
Gongle squeezed Hall tightly in an effort to steady himself.
‘No Sir!’ he heard himself saying.
‘Good’ chuckled Bob, ‘because I am quite fond of you characters, I would hate to have to……………’ He made a sound like a knife slicing through a carrot. (OK clever clogs! YOU describe the sound!)
Gongle and Hall shuddered.