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Authors: R. A. Spratt

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BOOK: Nanny Piggins and the Race to Power 8
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‘Good news!’ called Nanny Piggins. ‘Boris is fine. And we aren’t experiencing an extremely localised earthquake.’

‘Then what is it?’ asked Derrick.

‘Boris has fallen into one of his super deep hibernation sleeps and is snoring,’ explained Nanny Piggins.

‘No way!’ exclaimed Michael.

‘Come and see for yourselves,’ said Nanny Piggins.

A few minutes later, after they had donned their bicycle helmets for protection, Nanny Piggins and the children stood around the larder in the kitchen where Boris was lying fast asleep on the floor, with a smile on his face and a bucket of honey in his arms.

‘The poor mite,’ said Nanny Piggins affectionately. ‘He was obviously tuckered out by all the home improvements we made this morning.’

‘How are we going to wake him up?’ asked Michael. ‘Do you want me to fetch the fire extinguisher?’

‘Or tip a huge bucket of ice over his head?’ asked Samantha.

‘Or whisper something controversial about ballet in his ear?’ asked Derrick.

‘No,’ said Nanny Piggins, ‘not this time. I know we usually wake Boris up when he falls into one of his hibernation sleeps, but on this occasion it is winter, and he has been getting crotchety lately.’

‘He has?’ asked Samantha.

‘Oh yes,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Just last week I asked him to pass me the butter and he said, “No, get it yourself.” And the week before that he forgot to say excuse me when he sneezed on Mrs Simpson.’

‘And that’s a bad sign?’ asked Derrick.

‘Oh yes,’ said Nanny Piggins, ‘When it’s from a bear with such impeccable manners as Boris. No, he hasn’t had a proper hibernation for years. He needs to have a good long rest. After all, he’s a growing young bear.’

‘But we can’t leave him here in the house,’ said Derrick. ‘I don’t care how many Mars Bars you’ve strapped to the framework, if he keeps this snoring up, it’s going to bring the house down.’

‘Also, I’m pretty sure this could be the turning point for Father,’ said Michael. ‘It’s one thing not to notice a ten-foot-tall dancing bear living in the garden, but it’s much harder not to notice a ten-foot-tall dancing bear who is snoring in your kitchen.’

‘We’ll just have to move Boris,’ decided Nanny Piggins.

‘How?’ asked Samantha. ‘He weighs –’

Nanny Piggins clamped her trotter over Samantha’s mouth. ‘Shhh. Just because he’s asleep doesn’t mean you can’t hurt his feelings.’

‘He weighs a little more than we could easily carry,’ said Samantha, carefully wording the least offensive way of saying 700 kilograms.

‘If the slaves could build the great pyramids of Egypt without cranes, bulldozers or anti-gravitational technology,’ said Nanny Piggins, ‘we must be able to shift one 700-kilogram bear.’

Boris jerked in his sleep, muttering, ‘Big bones, not my fault.’

‘Shhh,’ said Derrick.

They were all quiet for a moment while Boris resettled.

‘So how did the slaves build the great pyramids?’ asked Michael.

‘I’m not exactly sure,’ admitted Nanny Piggins. ‘I think it involved ropes, rolling logs and as much humus as they could eat.’

‘Agghhh!’ yelped Samantha as she noticed the clock.

‘What’s wrong?’ asked Nanny Piggins.

‘The time!’ said Samantha.

‘What’s wrong with the time?’ asked Nanny Piggins. ‘Do you think we should convert to a metric system. I’m not for it myself. If there were only ten hours in the day, when would I find time to eat cake?’

‘Father is due home at two o’clock!’ said Samantha.

‘Why?’ asked Nanny Piggins. ‘He usually never gets home before midnight if he can avoid it.’

‘A journalist from the local newspaper is meeting him here to do an interview about his mayoral campaign,’ said Samantha.

‘How typically aggravating of your father,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘I know! Let’s leave Boris here to sabotage your father’s interview.’

‘But that might sabotage Boris’ life prospects,’ said Derrick. ‘What if Father panics and has him shipped back to Siberia?’

‘Father panics when he sees a cockroach,’ said Michael. ‘I’m pretty sure he’ll panic when he sees, and hears, a huge snoring bear . . . with a very petite figure,’ added Michael hastily as Boris started to stir.

‘Then we’d better get started,’ declared Nanny Piggins. ‘Michael, you go out to the shed and fetch some ropes. Derrick, you climb over the fence and chop down Mrs McGill’s camphor laurel tree to turn it into logs. And Samantha, run down to the deli and get a big bucket of humus.’

‘Really?’ asked Samantha. ‘Do you really think chickpea paste is essential?’

‘There are crazy people out there who think aliens built the pyramids,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Is it any crazier to give the credit to humus?’

‘Perhaps they didn’t eat humus back then,’ suggested Derrick. ‘Perhaps apart from having prescient engineering technology, they were ahead of their time as bakers and they fed the slaves chocolate cake.’

‘You’re a genius!’ exclaimed Nanny Piggins. ‘That would explain so much. For example, why the Sphinx looks so smug. Because she had just eaten a mud cake!’ Nanny Piggins turned to Samantha again. ‘Go to Hans and get some cake instead. And quickly, we don’t have much time.’

‘What are
going to do?’ asked Michael.

‘Dress up as Cleopatra, of course,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘If we are re-enacting the building techniques of ancient Egypt it would be a terrible shame to miss the opportunity to dress up as the most glamorous pig ever in history.’

‘Cleopatra wasn’t a pig,’ said Samantha.

‘Piffle!’ exclaimed Nanny Piggins. ‘You don’t think a woman that glamorous, beautiful and politically powerful could have been a mere human, do you?’

When the children stopped and thought about it, it did make sense that Cleopatra was a distant relative of Nanny Piggins.

Fifteen minutes later, Boris was lying on top of a dozen rolling logs, and Nanny Piggins and the children were pulling him slowly across the yard using ropes tied round his legs.

‘Heave!’ encouraged Nanny Piggins.

They all heaved and Boris edged forward another centimetre.

‘Gosh it’s hard to move Boris,’ said Michael as he dabbed the sweat from his brow.

‘And that just goes to show what a great ballet dancer he is,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘He moves himself about all the time, with comparatively little effort, and he makes it look so graceful.’

‘We’ve still got seven metres to go,’ said Samantha. ‘We are moving him at a rate of about five centimetres per minute and Father is due home soon.’

‘What’s your point?’ asked Nanny Piggins. (Maths was one of her few weaknesses.)

‘We aren’t going to get him in the shed in time,’ said Samantha.

‘There must be something we can do,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘If only I had a cannon handy, I could blast him in there.’

‘I know,’ said Michael. ‘The shed weighs less than Boris. Why don’t we just pick up the shed and put it over him?’

‘Brilliant!’ declared Nanny Piggins.

‘Do you think Father will notice that the shed is only half a metre from the back door?’ asked Samantha.

‘I doubt it,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘He’s unlikely to go outside. You know how your father claims the smell of grass gives him asthma.’

The children and Nanny Piggins soon placed the shed over the top of Boris, and it was an entirely successful method of hiding him from view. The only problem was that he could still be heard. (In fact, his snores could be heard several kilometres away in neighbouring towns.) And the shed was shaking with the vibrations.

‘What are we going to do?’ asked Derrick.

‘We’ll just have to soundproof the shed,’ declared Nanny Piggins.

‘How?’ asked Samantha.

‘I know!’ said Michael. ‘By blasting him into outer space!’ He had heard somewhere that in space no-one could hear you scream, so he assumed no-one would be able to hear you snore either.

‘Hmmm,’ said Nanny Piggins, ‘we could do that. But from what he said, using very ungentlemanly language last time we spoke on the phone, I don’t think the head of NASA is prepared to lend me the space shuttle again anytime soon. No, we’ll just have to use egg cartons.’

‘Egg cartons?’ asked Samantha, suspecting her nanny of thinking of cake when she should be thinking of her brother.

‘Yes,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Aside from protecting eggs, egg cartons have a wonderful ability to absorb sound. If you glue them to your walls it will soundproof a room.’

‘But how many egg cartons would we need to line the walls of the shed?’ asked Derrick.

‘Well, the dimply half of an egg carton is thirty centimetres by ten centimetres. That means you would need thirty to fill one square metre. And Boris’ shed is two metres by three metres by three metres, which is a surface area of 36 metres. So that would require 1080 egg cartons or, rather, 12,960 eggs, which, given that it takes four eggs to make a good sponge cake, equals 3240 cakes worth of eggs.’ (Nanny Piggins was excellent at mathematics when it was applied to cake.)

‘But we don’t actually have to make that many cakes, do we?’ asked Derrick.

‘Of course we do,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘If we are going to soundproof Boris’ shed we can’t leave 12,960 eggs rolling about on the floor. Your father might not notice a ten-foot-tall bear, but he would be sure to notice when he stood on one of the eggs and slipped over.’

The children imagined this scene and all secretly thought it would be worth trying, just to see their father lying on his back covered in raw egg yolk.

‘But where are we going to get that many eggs from?’ asked Samantha. ‘I know you have friends who are chickens but do you know any chickens who have drivers’ licences so they could bring their eggs here.’

‘No need for that,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘I know where we can get a large supply of eggs super quickly.’ She took out the mobile phone she had ‘borrowed’ from Mr Green’s pocket just that morning, and started dialling. ‘I’m going to ask my friend the truck driver from the Slimbridge Cake Factory to help me out.’ The phone started ringing. Then they heard the truck driver answer ‘Hello’ on the other end.

‘Stan, darling, it’s me,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘I know it’s Tuesday morning and you are usually driving the factory’s weekly egg supply to the plant about now.’

‘That’s right,’ agreed Stan.

‘Oh good, then I hope you wouldn’t mind terribly much if I hijack your entire truckload of eggs?’ asked Nanny Piggins. ‘I promise to wear a mask and be rough with you so that your bosses won’t suspect a thing.’

(The management at the Slimbridge Cake Factory was well aware that it was Nanny Piggins who periodically hijacked their trucks, but she was such a good customer that they were prepared to turn a blind eye to it.)

‘I don’t know,’ said Stan. ‘I’m only a hundred metres from the front of the factory.’

‘If you immediately make a U-turn and drive straight to our house, I’ll make it worth your while,’ said Nanny Piggins.

‘You will?’ said Stan hopefully. ‘Will you give me a slice of your triple choc marble cake?’

‘No,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘I will give you an entire triple choc marble cake! Two if you get here in under three minutes.’

The children could hear the sound of the truck driver applying his compression brakes, skidding his truck through a 180-degree turn and working the engine up through the gears as he started speeding towards their house.

Nanny Piggins snapped the mobile phone shut. (Her favourite thing about ‘borrowing’ Mr Green’s mobile was getting to make this dramatic gesture.)

‘Excellent, everything is going to plan,’ said Nanny Piggins. ‘Now all we need to do is bake 3240 cakes, glue the egg cartons to the shed walls, then eat all the cakes before your father comes home, and he’ll never know there is a hibernating bear hidden in his garden.’

‘That sounds like a lot of work,’ said Derrick.

‘Ah, but the good thing about baking 3240 cakes is that if you start eating the first ones as soon as they come out of the oven, the sugary buttery goodness will give you the energy you need to power through the rest of the job,’ explained Nanny Piggins. ‘It’s amazing what you can achieve with five or six hundred cakes in your stomach. This is why Henry VIII was such a successful king.’

And so, four and a half hours later, Nanny Piggins, the truck driver and the children were licking the cake crumbs from their fingers from the 3240th cake as they sat in the garden enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the now entirely soundproofed shed.

Admittedly, you could still tell that Boris was in there snoring because the ground still vibrated with every intake of breath. But Mr Green would never notice that. He had not sat down on a patch of grass for 27 years because he so hated getting grass stains on his trousers, or to be strictly accurate, he hated paying drycleaners to get grass stains out of his trousers. In fact, when he proposed to Mrs Green he did it on a bitumen road because even though it was a lot more painful to go down on one knee, it saved him $5.60 in dry-cleaning fees.

At this moment the doorbell rang. (Mr Green had taken to ringing the doorbell even though it was his own house, because he did not want to walk in on Nanny Piggins and the children in the middle of one of their misdeeds. As a lawyer, he understood that the less he knew about their activities, the less he could be blamed for them in a court of law.)

BOOK: Nanny Piggins and the Race to Power 8
2.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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