Community Service For A Grumpy Green In A Monster Menagerie

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Lord Justice Burns, had sentenced the perpetrator of the Windermere fish famine, Nancy Benn, to three years’ community service in George’s monster menagerie, and while George slept through an armour-off week, his man, Jack, was trying to find a room in which Nancy could stay. George’s ancient dilapidated castle had few habitable rooms, and apart from George’s and Jack’s own rooms, all available space was filled with tools and equipment needed to support the growing population of megafauna.

After surveying the limited alternatives, Nancy opted for moving into the incubation room, used for maintaining egg temperature during the winter. ‘At least it’s warm,’ she said, ‘and I’m used to living with monsters’ eggs.’

‘It’s not often we have more than one egg at a time,’ said Jack, ‘and sometimes there’s no egg in here, especially in the summer when eggs can be left outside.’

‘Where do you roll them?’

‘That’s just the point,’ said Jack, ‘if they’re stored in here they have to be rolled in the yard outside, and with the uneven cobble stones rolling can be difficult and there’s always the risk of a crack.’

‘And the summer eggs are laid on the grass and rolled on the grass?’

‘Yes, and usually all done by Mum!’

‘The natural way.’

‘Yes,’ said Jack, ‘but unfortunately all mums do not have natural instincts; they lay eggs at the wrong time and in the wrong place, some are not rollers and a few are egg-eaters or fail to prevent egg eating by the males. In almost all such cases, the eggs are safer in here and we become surrogate mums.’

‘How do you keep the eggs warm?’

‘We pack them in hay, it’s the old hay-box principle?’

‘Any fire risk?’

‘Yes, of course,’ said Jack, ‘Sometimes a wayward mum will come looking for her egg and the scent will draw her here. Then not being able to get inside, she will let fly with the hot stuff through the window and the hay goes up in flames.’

‘Has it happened?’

‘Once or twice; look at that blackened wall!’

‘Will it happen again?’

‘We hope not.’

‘How will you prevent it?’

‘We spray the hay with catnip, said Jack, ‘That blanket’s the scent of the egg.’

‘Repels monsters but attracts cats.’

‘Yes, I hope you’re a moggy lover.’

‘I hate all domestic animals.’

‘Then you’ll hate our monsters too,’ said Jack, ‘we treat them like domestic pets.’

‘Yes, I hate the whole set-up. All creatures should be free to live in the wild.’

‘That’s what motivated your crime and why the judge committed you to community service to change your ways.’

‘I’ll never change my beliefs. And if I get half a chance I’ll release all your pets!’

‘Well at least you’re being open with us,’ said Jack. ‘We shall be on guard to ensure that not even a half-chance arises.’

write by Alida

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