One evening, Pencil was reading Hello a bed-time story. Pencil was finding the book fascinating and kept saying, “Isn’t that amazing, Hello.”
Hello would mumble agreement, but, having the attention span of a flea, the truth was he wasn’t really listening, he was too busy eating Jammy Dodgers and thinking about, well, eating Jammy Dodgers.
Hello wasn’t meant to eat Jammy Dodgers in bed, as it made Pencil very cross. But he would do it anyway, and, being a bit of a dimwit, he invariably got caught. Except for this night. Pencil was so engrossed in his book that Hello managed to scoff 4 whole biscuits without being found out.
Full-to-bursting with Jammy Dodgers and having exhausted his capacity to think about them, Hello started listening to Pencil’s story.
“…red spots or swellings would appear on the body, which, in time, would become seething eruptions; this was followed by a great fever and sickness. Within 2 – 6 days the majority of infected people di…”
After two sentences, Hello’s capacity to absorb new information was similarly exhausted and he promptly fell asleep – dreaming of Jammy Dodgers and seething eruptions.
The next morning, Hello woke up with a start. He felt something funny on his head. He reached up his hand to see what it was. It felt all soft and gooey. Just then he noticed another one on his arm…then one on his tummy.
“Hmmm…seething eruptions”, he thought to himself.
After the minute or two it took for the thought to work its way through the fluff in his head, Hello jumped out of bed and ran around the room shouting, “THE PLAGUE…THE PLAGUE…I’VE GOT THE PLAGUE!!!”
Pencil, woken up by the racket, glared at Hello and asked him grumpily what was going on.
“The Plague,” Hello shouted. “I’ve got The Plague…”
“Nonsense,” said Pencil, “The Plague died out centuries ago; it said so in my book.”
“But I’ve got seething eruptions,” said Hello – “…and look Pencil, you’ve got them too.”
Pencil looked and, sure enough, he too had seething eruptions.
“Oh, dear God,” winced Pencil, as he slumped back on his pillow, bemoaning his fate and the absurdity of life.
“What happens now,” asked Hello, getting back into bed and imitating Pencil’s affected pose.
“We die,” whispered Pencil.
Hello, having already turned his attention to Jammy Dodgers gave no reply.
Pencil, not wanting to face the great-beyond without the correct introduction, declared to Hello that they needed a Priest.
Unfortunately, not knowing any Priests, they had to make do with their mate Dave.
Dave, always willing to help a mate in a pickle, was more than happy to oblige.
Pencil informed him that they needed him to chant some holy words, to see them on their way.
Dave, his mother being a Methodist and his father a drunken fool, didn’t know any holy-word chants; however, he did know the Chelsea Football Anthem and offered to chant that if they thought it would help.
“Of course it won’t silly,” said Pencil. “Everybody knows God supports Liverpool. We definitely won’t get into Heaven with the Chelsea Anthem, though it might just get us into Purgatory.”
“A Burger Tree?” said Hello, licking his lips. “Are we going to a Burger Tree?”
“No, not a Burger Tree,” said Pencil. “Purgatory…it’s like Birmingham, you go there when you die and do lots of chores.”
Hello didn’t like the sound of Birmingham or chores, and hoped he would go to the Burger Tree.
Just then, Dave cleared his throat and began to chant “Blue is the colour, football is the game. We’re altogether and winning is our aim. So cheer us on through the sun and…”
Dave had a surprisingly good chanting voice and both Hello and Pencil felt themselves relax as the listened to his dulcet tones.
Hello, feeling surprisingly content for someone with The Plague, absentmindedly licked his arm where it felt a bit sticky. Mmm…Jammy Dodger, he thought to himself. Then he looked at his arm and noticed it was a seething eruption. That’s funny he thought, as he licked another one.
“Pencil,” he whispered, “do your seething eruptions taste like Jammy Dodger?”
“What are you talking about,” snapped Pencil, annoyed at being roused from his death bed reverie. “seething eruptions don’t…”
Just then, he turned and saw Hello busily licking his seething eruptions.
“Hello…” he said, jumping out of bed. “Did you eat Jammy Dodgers in bed last night? Why you little £$%^!!!”
Just as Pencil was about to give his naughty friend a wallop, he realised that if his seething eruptions were just Jammy Dodger, then he didn’t have the Plagu, wasn’t on his death bed, and wouldn’t have to spend the next eon doing chores in Purgatory.
Hello, on the other hand – once the situation was explained – was disappointed he didn’t have the plague, wasn’t on his death bed, and wouldn’t be going to the Burger Tree.
Dave, over the moon his chanting had the power to heal, franchised his gift, grew a beard, and toured the world giving seminars.