Mr. Snake had worked at the Squirrel School for a very, very long time. He was now Deputy Headmaster.
He was an unusual character that was often surrounded by clouds of smoke when he was outside the Squirrel School. However what was interesting about Mr. Snake was his secrets.
Either Mr. Snake was very lucky or had a special kind of magic as whenever one of the other staff at the Squirrel School found out about one of his secrets they vanished!
His boss the headmaster Mr. Burger had vanished over Christmas last year. There were many other people that had once worked there, but had left mysteriously once they had discovered a secret of Mr. Snake.
Two visitors to the Squirrel School, an Australian called Mr. Griffin and his friend Mr. Hobgoblin had tried to tell people about Mr. Snake’s secrets.
However many people they told about Mr. Snake’s secrets they didn’t get much further. Mr. Burger just told them they were wrong to say bad things about Mr. Snake.
Others said they didn’t understand the secrets and it was all very sad.
So many spells had been cast on the two ghosts to make them go away that they didn’t know much about Mr. Snake’s secrets.
Eventually Mr Hobgoblin got cross. He felt Mr. Snake wasn’t being fair and had too much power.
So he cast a spell called “I know” which meant the Squirrel School had to tell him Mr. Snake’s secrets.
Mr. Snake asked his good friend Mr. Journey to cast the counter-spell, “No you don’t know” instead.
And so it went on and on for a year until everyone, including those watching were quite exhausted.
ICO then told the Squirrel School to stop being so silly and tell Mr. Hobgoblin Mr Snake’s secrets.
Mr. Snake had had enough and decided it was time to go. Unfortunately his disappearing spell hadn’t worked on Mr. Hobgoblin and Mr. Griffin so he tried it on himself instead!
Marmaduke however felt sorry for Mr. Snake. So he asked his friends in the Red Gang and the Blue Gang to give him 49,000 gold coins and his pension early (at a cost of between 207,000 and 228,000 gold coins).
A promise was made to Mr. Snake that they would tell the ghosts to go away so they wouldn’t know.
However this made one of the ghosts angry, so Mr Journey told the pupils to tell the ghost that he could not talk, to just make an information request and go away!
The Head of the Yellow Gang Mr. Gilbert wasn’t happy with Mr. Snake leaving. He didn’t feel it was right. After all hadn’t Marmaduke told people the Squirrel School didn’t have any money left?
Mr. Snake left and soon found a job elsewhere thanks to his friends.
Marmaduke was Head Boy at the Squirrel School and thought he was very clever. The Squirrel School was a very strange magical school. There were no children at it as the minimum age was eighteen years old and the pupils were in charge of the School.
There were exactly sixty-six pupils. If anybody left or unfortunately died another magically appeared a few weeks later.
Thousands of people worked at the Squirrel School to keep the magic going. Marmaduke was Leader of the Red Gang, which had over half the pupils at the school in it. Because of the way the rules were at the Squirrel School it meant he and his Red Gang often got their way.
One day the member of staff in charge of the magic told Marmaduke that some of the staff had unfortunately got their sums wrong.
It was Marmaduke’s job to make sure the staff were doing their sums properly, but he didn’t want the pupils, staff and others to know this. He wanted to blame it all on the Blue Gang instead.
He’d been distracted recently as he’d been made Head Boy of all the schools in the area. However Marmaduke’s friend Joe had kindly helped Marmaduke by offering to be Head Boy of all the schools instead of Marmaduke. Marmaduke accepted this helpful suggestion and resigned.
Joe was Head Boy (and also Leader of the Red Gang) from an even bigger school that was the other side of the River of Misery from a place called Shiverpool. Joe had wanted to be Head Boy of all the schools for a very long time. He was pleased that Marmaduke finally agreed with him that this was for the best! It was exactly what he wanted and just in time for Christmas!
However back to Marmaduke.
There was another problem Marmaduke had. There were two ghosts that haunted the school. This caused a problem for Marmaduke as the ghosts told the people outside, the staff and pupils what was really happening.
So he hired an expensive ghost adviser at the Squirrel School to deal with the ghosts. Marmaduke also asked Mr. Journey for a magical spell to make the ghosts go away.
However Marmaduke didn’t have the power to make the ghosts go away on his own. Whenever he wanted to make the ghosts go away, he had to get the agreement of the other pupils at the school to do so.
Sadly sometimes Marmaduke managed to bungle the spell and the ghosts refused to leave until he got it right! He then had to ask for Mr. Journey’s help to make the spell again the right way as Marmaduke wasn’t as good at spells as Mr. Journey.
You may well ask why Mr. Journey didn’t do the spells instead? The way the magic worked Mr. Journey wasn’t allowed to cast the spell that made the ghosts go away. Only Marmaduke and the other pupils could do so.
The two ghosts were rather strange ghosts. One was called the Ghost From Very Far Away. The other ghost was called the Ghost That Walks. They were married to each other.
The ghosts had a strange magic all of their own that Marmaduke and the Squirrel School didn’t really fully understand. There were many myths and legends about the ghosts too.
Marmaduke’s problem was he couldn’t control the ghosts (apart from the spell to make them go away). They weren’t staff at the school, so he couldn’t tell the ghosts what to do.
Some people thought the ghosts must just be from another school but nobody knew if this was really true. Others thought that the ghosts were there because some naughty people at the Squirrel School had done something very bad and the ghosts were there to tell people the truth.
Marmaduke’s friends in the Red Gang thought they could control people through fear and greed. Sadly fear and greed didn’t work on these ghosts. This made Marmaduke’s friends very cross.
For example the two ghosts had told people that Marmaduke (who was Leader of the Red Gang) and Head Boy had helped his friends in the Red Gang.
Marmaduke had agreed that the Squirrel School should pay for people to drive his friends in the Red Gang to and from the Squirrel School.
At the same time Marmaduke had been telling the staff, pupils and people outside that the Squirrel School no longer had any money left!
This wasn’t the only embarrassing matter the ghosts had pointed out.
Another embarrassing thing Marmaduke had done was decide to close a school far, far away even though the Blue, Yellow and Green gangs had told him not to.
In fact even some people in Marmaduke’s own Red Gang had told Marmaduke not to, but he had just ignored them.
Not only had one of the ghosts showed that when the school far, far away was closed that the Squirrel School would sell it for millions of gold coins, but he had pointed out that the Squirrel School was paying many gold coins to the person who was telling them to close it. This person wasn’t even on the staff at Squirrel School.
A stranger rides in to Wirral Town in a thrilling Wild West tale about gold, greed, horses, the law and a land grab
A stranger rides in to Wirral Town in a thrilling Wild West tale about gold, greed, horses, the law and a land grab
The following is a work of satire.
Deep in the dusty, hot West was a town called Wirral. This tale is about a land grab, a common theme in these parts as some townsfolk had let greed enter into their hearts.
Outside of town were about ten acres of farmland known as Fernbank Farm where all day the pony club offered rides to the local children. Everyone had fun there and the pony club had been there for as long as people could remember and paid rent for the use of the land to their landlord. Everybody was happy.
Little did the pony club know then, but their landlord wanted them off that land. At first they thought everything was going as it had in years gone by as their landlord even sent them a new lease to sign, which they returned back thinking everything would be just as it was in the past.
However they didn’t know that the local politicians had had a meeting and at this meeting they had changed the rules so a hundred houses could be built on the land. This was deliberately kept a secret from the pony club on the instructions of Tony Simpson.
Once a deadline had been passed and a new lease had deliberately not been agreed (while telling the pony club they would happily agree to a new lease), the landlord went to Surjit “the Sheriff” Tour, who worked for the landlord to ask him what to do. He told them that he couldn’t turf the pony club off their land yet and in order to evict them he’d first need a judge to agree to it.
The pony club were surprised by this move and got Kirwan (a lawman and former politician to help them), he did his best but the pony club soon ran out of gold coins to pay him and asked for help from Lewis instead.
The pony club’s day in court came and in the judge’s chambers in the town’s courthouse a Judge explained to all (including two curious journalists from the local reservation) that it would have to go to a proper trial where everyone would have their say. Reluctantly the landlord agreed to this.
The day of the trial came and another Judge was in charge. The landlord had hired expensive help from far, far away. The Judge said he was very sorry, but that he had no choice but to sign a possession order to turf the pony club off the landlord’s land. His hands were tied, he felt he had no choice but was very apologetic. If their landlord hadn’t been so underhand he said, he would have granted the pony club a new lease, but now unfortunately his hands were tied.
Once again the two curious journalists from the local reservation were there including a large number of the townsfolk who wanted the pony club to stay. The journalists wrote down what happened, told the local people and a story about the trial appeared in the town’s newspaper.
The husband of one of those put on trial felt the whole thing was unfair and complained. The landlord read his complaint but (surprise, surprise) said he didn’t agree. One of the two curious journalists from the local reservation even asked a question at a meeting of the politicians (it took a month for the politician to answer).
The landlord wasn’t entirely happy with these two going off the reservation at all, as well, these two were known to have caused trouble in the past but they also knew the townsfolk would really start kicking up a fuss if a large number of braves on horseback rode into the town because of how badly it had been handled. You see those on the reservation quite liked horses and didn’t like as it tended to be translated “white man speak with forked tongue”.
It wasn’t the done thing anymore for the landlord to label people (even those from the reservation) they saw as troublemakers as “crazy”. They’d done just that and ending up having to pay many, many, many (and probably a few more) gold coins to a Mr. Morton (a former employee) after he’d raised a big stink about their past skullduggery and a large amount of gold coins that the landlord had stolen accidentally removed in one of their “mistakes” and had said that they wouldn’t pay back (later changing their mind).
So what was the landlord to do? They asked a stranger from far away to come into town. The stranger did come into town, he talked with the pony club and he talked with the landlord.
Not quite understanding the rules of the game* Mr Aspin (the stranger) was from a far away town called Rochdale. He was not a lawman, but a surveyor but he did not like all he surveyed. Phrases such as “this is not an appropriate action for a Local Authority landlord to take”, “accusation of dishonesty”, “gnawed at his professional conscience” and “unfortunate sequence of events” ran through his report as a series of criticisms as to how the landlord had behaved.
*rules of the game referring to the landlord’s rule in that they preferred “independent” people to agree with them as if they didn’t it would mean no more gold coins from the landlord for them.
The stranger recommended they send an immediate written apology to the pony club, pay them them the gold coins they had paid to Kirwan and allow them to stay rent free as well as finding them somewhere else to move to.
Oh dear, what was the landlord to do? Sooner or later those two pesky reservation journalists would start writing about it (although on the plus side the landlord thought it might stop them writing about another of their dastardly schemes to try and close a local school called Lyndale) and then their mistakes would end up in the newspaper again which would mean all the townsfolk would know. Oh dear! How could they stop the press writing about it they thought? Let’s release the report on a Saturday they decided, the press won’t be at work then.
As no politician wanted to associate themselves with such an unpopular issue, they got the big cheese and well-known troubleshooter Mr. Burgess to apologise. “We apologise for the distress”, “the site is on of the three most valuable council-owned development sites”, “savings targets” and “we should have communicated better” he wrote as well as making the same commitment his boss had Councillor Phil Davies to find the pony club somewhere else.
Mr Burgess even went a little too far in some people’s minds in his enthusiasm and wrote things like “the independent investigation”… “found that the Council acted legally throughout possession proceedings” when the investigator’s report in fact stated “I am satisfied that the Council followed the correct procedure in the preparation and issuing of Court proceedings. It is outside my remit to make further comments in this regard as a legal process subsequently followed resulting in the Court granting permission.”
So, one of the two journalists on the reservation saw what went on and wrote this tale and here it is. A partial victory for the pony club, but it seems that the fight will carry on.
Tune in for next week’s thrilling episode about the Wild West Town of Wirral to hear how about the landlord continues to get into hot water in its efforts to “evict” disabled children from the local school called Lyndale in another tale of communication problems, politicians, apologies but this time (as far as we know at this point) not involving horses.
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