Read Colin Meets an Emu Online

Authors: Merv Lambert

Tags: #emu, #library, #libraries, #adventure, #book, #bookmark, #children, #kids, #education, #young, #juvenile, #bedtime, #short story, #short stories

Colin Meets an Emu

BOOK: Colin Meets an Emu
6.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Title Page







Merv Lambert



Publisher Information


Colin And the Emu published in 2010 by

Andrews UK Limited


This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published, and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.


The characters and situations in this book are entirely imaginary and bear no relation to any real person or actual happening.


Copyright © Merv Lambert


The right of Merv Lambert to be identified as author of this book has been asserted in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the Copyrights Designs and Patents Act 1988.





For Thomas, Max and Jamie



Colin Meets a Fair Maiden
& Makes a Strange New Friend


He had not intended to start reading a story so late at night, but as the book, i.e. his special book, fell open at a particular page, whilst he was looking for the photo of Robin Hood and Maid Marion, Colin felt himself drawn into it. Yes, the bookmark was glowing. Sammy had woken up. A quick glance told Colin that he was wearing his usual jeans and sweater, but that was odd! He could hear a guitar being played somewhere nearby and quite badly. He looked around him and realised with a start that he was in the hallway of his Auntie Flo's house. He recognised the wallpaper, the pictures on the walls and the green and blue carpet on the stairs. Something did not quite seem right. He did not call out to his Auntie Flo, but once again felt drawn to action without knowing exactly why. Quietly he climbed the stairs, clutching Sammy under one arm. The noise seemed to be coming from the second bedroom on the right hand side of the landing. Cautiously he approached it and knocked softly on the door. It opened suddenly and light flooded out.

“Come in, Colin. We were expecting you.” It was Auntie Flo's voice.

“Hello, auntie. This is Sammy,” he said, holding out the little dog so that she could pat it on the head. Sammy woofed happily.

Colin's eyes were drawn to what was happening in the room. He saw his cousins Jilly and Billy sitting on the bed, and Billy was holding a guitar, an electric guitar linked to two amplifiers. The most amazing thing though was that the guitar was being played by an emu! It was standing on one leg and trying with the other to get the right notes with its toes, whilst using its beak on the strings. It did not stop just because a visitor had entered the room.

“By the way, this is M,” said Auntie Flo, pointing at the emu.

“Hi, Colin,” said Jilly. Billy took a hand off the guitar to wave, which made it wobble. He got a glare from the emu.

“Come on, M,” said Billy. “You're supposed to be playing ‘You'll Never Walk Alone' and you're so slow you make it sound like ‘Amazing Grace' instead!”

The emu ignored him and went on playing.

“Yes, it is a little bit painful,” said Auntie Flo, “but he's only a learner. Not bad for an emu really! It's our fault for encouraging him. He was getting a little bit bored in the school holidays. Of course you are very privileged, Colin. Not many people can actually see M, as he was computer-generated, but now he seems to have developed a life of his own. We have quite a job trying to control him sometimes. Maybe you could occasionally step in and help.”

“But I don't know anything about playing the guitar!” protested Colin.

“You don't have to,” replied Auntie Flo. “Billy and Jilly are staying with me this week.”

“Yes, and we're performing at the open-air concert in Thingy Park on Wednesday!” interrupted Jilly excitedly.

“Jilly is the lead singer and I'm in her backing group on guitar of course,” added Billy.

“The trouble is,” explained Auntie Flo, “that Jilly and Billy can't keep an eye on M, when they are performing. He may well behave himself and be quite content to watch them. On the other hand, he can sometimes be very easily distracted and wander off, when something takes his interest. Normally I would be able to watch him myself, but I've been asked to run the Fortune Teller's booth in the fairground, and as all the money is going to charity, I couldn't refuse. Would you and Sammy be willing to take over from me for a couple of hours, Colin?”

He decided instantly. “O.K.”, he said.

“You don't know what you are letting yourself in for,” warned Jilly. “He can be a bit of a handful!”


Meanwhile Sammy was looking curiously and hopefully at M. Could he see him? Or was he mesmerised by the guitar playing by itself? Auntie Flo glanced across at him and answered Colin's question before he could ask it.

“Oh, yes, he can see the emu. You and Sammy can stay here for a few days. I've made the room next door ready for you. There is a beanbag that Sammy can sleep on.”

“Won't Mr. Jellysox be annoyed, if I don't turn up for work tomorrow?”

“No, just ring in and tell him you've been called away to Liverpool on family business. I'll speak to him myself, if you like. I can be very persuasive, you know.”

“Yes, I know,” said Colin, wondering what he was doing promising to babysit an invisible emu!

Nevertheless he did enjoy his stay there. The next day, Tuesday, Auntie Flo spoke to Mr. Jellysox on the phone and arranged everything, and Colin took Sammy for a couple of walks round Thingy Park. The first time Jilly, Billy and M went with him. The second time they went on their own, as Billy and Jilly were rehearsing for the concert, or rather they went on their own accompanied by M. Sammy was exhausted by the time they got back to the house. He and M had played a chasing game almost non-stop, whilst Colin sat on a bench and watched them. “Well,” he thought, “one day he's playing with a dragon, and the next it's with an emu!”


Wednesday passed in much the same way, but in the evening they all made their way to the park. Auntie Flo drove Colin, Sammy and the children in her car and left it in the special car-park that had been roped off on the grass. M had loped easily beside the car all the way there. Jilly and Billy were used to this, but Colin couldn't take his eyes off the extraordinary bird. Auntie Flo had told him all about the things M had done, the curtain-eating, the beating of the school bully, the upheaval in the supermarket, and their holiday in Italy. She had also warned Colin that M's behaviour became very unpredictable, if he spotted a pretty young woman. “And he is extremely strong,” she added.

Colin had replied, “Don't worry. I am too sometimes.”

Auntie Flo arranged to meet them all at her car at eleven o'clock after the concert had finished. Billy and Jilly went off to the open-air concert stage, and Auntie Flo went to the Fortune Teller's booth, whilst Colin, Sammy and M took a stroll round the fair. It was already getting quite crowded. As darkness fell the many-coloured lights of the rides and sideshows glowed, blazed, flickered and flashed. Colin decided it was time to make their way to the concert stage.

“Come on,” he said. Sammy and M followed him. Sammy was on a lead, but M was not. He would not have liked it and there would have been trouble. As they neared the concert stage, Colin noticed a tall young woman holding a huge carrier-bag apparently arguing with three young men,who were wearing baseball caps, which hid their features. She was wearing a dark blue headscarf and dark glasses, even though it was no longer daylight. She had long dark hair that hung to her shoulders. Angrily she gestured to her companions and kept stabbing her finger in different directions, as if giving them instructions. The young men appeared to be in awe of her, but there was something attractive about her too, which made Colin think about Auntie Flo's warning to him about M. He hoped that the emu would not become very silly and awkward. However, nothing untoward happened, as they arrived at the area roped off in front of the stage. They stood towards the back on a slight slope. There were no seats. Most of the audience, as would be expected, were young people. However, there were some older people there as well.


It was not long before the concert started. M seemed quite content, hopping up and down in time to the music and nodding his head forward to the beat of the guitars. Fortunately only Colin and Sammy could see him. The audience cheered and applauded every act. They seemed to like Jilly's singing in particular. After her first song, while they were stamping their feet and shouting for more, Colin noticed a young man in a green baseball cap push past two older ladies, and he thought he saw him snatch something and put it in his pocket. It was one of the youths he had seen earlier arguing with the young woman. He tried to give chase, but after a few moments the youth was lost in the crowd. The bookmark glowed, telling Colin that perhaps this was the reason he was here.

To M and Sammy he said, “We've got to find that boy in the green cap. I think he'll go to the fairground.” As they went in that direction Sammy seemed to know where to go. He led them through the sideshows, past the tall tower of the Helter-Skelter with its spiral slide, past the long, long covered structure that announced in large letters ‘The GHOOOOOOOOST Train' and past the enormous, towering mass of the roller-coaster ride called ‘The Hellzapoppin-Screamalong' to the back field, where the fairground workers' caravans were. It was darker there with long shadows cast by the lights from the fair itself and the blare of the music of the rides mingled with the music of the concert, which was loud even there. However, the sound of raised voices drew Colin towards a large red and white caravan parked at an angle to all the others. He pulled Sammy into the shadows and peered round the corner of the caravan. M walked confidently round it and stopped. It did not matter. He could not be seen anyway, except by Colin and Sammy. It was just as Colin had thought. The argument between the young woman in the blue headscarf and the three youths was continuing, only now Colin could hear what was being said.

“You idiots!” cried Blue Headscarf. “What were you thinking of? I told you not to contact me yet!”

“Yeah, but we had to ring you,” whined Green Baseball Cap. He was very nervous and kept tossing his mobile phone from hand to hand. “Me and Kevin were working the concert crowd and Darius was doing the fair, just like you said, but then he rang us to say that he had seen the Sanguinetti twins, and, if they knew we were working on their territory, we'd be dead!”

“You're not afraid of them, are you?” snarled Blue Headscarf.

“You bet we are!” moaned Kevin, who was wearing the white baseball cap.

“Tcha!” snorted Blue Headscarf contemptuously.

“Th..Th..They p..p..put Berkley Bewsley in last year!” stammered the third youth, who wore a blue baseball cap and was probably Darius.

“Huh!” Blue Headscarf was still not impressed.

“But, Olivia, he was in there for months and he still can't walk straight!” wailed Kevin.

Huh!” repeated Blue Headscarf, who was obviously called Olivia. “They only broke
of his legs! I'm not afraid of them! Before you start work again you'd better give me what you've got so far. Remember this is for Papa.”

The other three put several purses into the large, strong carrier-bag held out by Olivia, and then put two handbags into it.

“Now, you wimps, get back to work, or it'll be far more painful than anything the Sanguinettis can dish out. I'll just put this stuff in the caravan.”

“Y..Y..Yes, Olivia,” stammered Darius, and they all scampered off in different directions.

M was about to dash after one of them, but Colin held him back and whispered, “Wait! We know who they are. There's something I don't quite understand here. Why are they doing this? I think they seem very half-hearted pickpockets. Perhaps we should get to Olivia first. She's the ringleader. Then we'll pick off the others one by one. We'll see if we can do something about the Sanguinettis too. They sound like really nasty pieces of work.” The bookmark glowed and throbbed in his pocket, as if to tell him he had found the reason for being there.

M was hopping up and down excitedly and Sammy was raring to go. Already the seemingly tough and formidable Olivia had set off again through the crowds, but Sammy had sniffed the spot, where she had been standing and was soon eagerly following her trail through the crowds milling around the various rides, sideshows and stalls, but then he lost it, for there were just too many folk and too many conflicting smells for him.


Suddenly M stopped. Colin thought he had caught sight of Olivia, but no, he was staring at a sideshow. A few people were trying to win prizes at a darts stall. M stared a moment or two longer, then dashed forward, seized a dart in his beak and with a curious sideways flipping motion sent it crashing hard into the dartboard. Doing! He did it twice more. Doing! Doing! The onlookers were astounded to see three darts apparently rise of their own accord into the air and propel themselves at the board.

“Strewth! Did you see that, Maisie?”

“No, Geoff.”

“Those three darts threw themselves!”

“Don't be daft! You've been too long in the beer tent. Time I took you home.”

“No, but..”

“No buts, Geoff. Come on.”

Poor Geoff found himself being dragged away by his wife just as Colin was holding M back.

“Come on, M,” he said. “We've got to find Olivia.”


They made their way slowly through the crowds, but Olivia seemed to have vanished. Once Colin thought that M had vanished as well, until he saw him whizzing round and round high up in one of the Chairoplanes, a roundabout, which had seats hanging by chains from the underside of its roof. M was having a great time, and Colin was realising more and more how uncontrollable this emu could be. Colin liked him, however, even though he seemed rather mad. Sammy of course adored his strange new friend. “He sure can pick them,” thought Colin again. “First a dragon, now an emu!” At the end of the ride M hopped nimbly to the ground, and they were able to move on.

BOOK: Colin Meets an Emu
6.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Secret in the Old Lace by Carolyn G. Keene
Save Me From Myself by Stacey Mosteller
Crossword Mystery by E.R. Punshon
California Royale by Deborah Smith
Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon
Tangled Lies by Connie Mann
Mistress Murder by Bernard Knight