My Brother's Famous Bottom Gets Pinched, страница 1
This is my brother, Cheese. He’s the one with the famous bottom.
His bottom is so famous that we all went on a nationwide tour in this amazing tour bus.
And that’s when all the trouble started…
Jeremy Strong once worked in a bakery, putting the jam into three thousand doughnuts every night. Now he puts the jam in stories instead, which he finds much more exciting. At the age of three, he fell out of a first-floor bedroom window and landed on his head. His mother says that this damaged him for the rest of his life and refuses to take any responsibility. He loves writing stories because he says it is ‘the only time you alone have complete control and can make anything happen’. His ambition is to make you laugh (or at least snuffle). Jeremy Strong lives in Somerset with a flying cow and a cat.
Read more about Nicholas’s daft family
MY DAD’S GOT AN ALLIGATOR!
MY GRANNY’S GREAT ESCAPE
MY MUM’S GOING TO EXPLODE!
MY BROTHER’S FAMOUS BOTTOM
Are you feeling silly enough to read more?
THE HUNDRED-MILE-AN-HOUR DOG
RETURN OF THE HUNDRED-MILE-AN-HOUR DOG
WANTED! THE HUNDRED-MILE-AN-HOUR DOG
BEWARE! KILLER TOMATOES
KRAZY KOW SAVES THE WORLD – WELL ALMOST
LAUGH YOUR SOCKS OFF WITH
My Brother’s Famous Bottom
This is especially for Lily
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
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Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published 2007
Text copyright © Jeremy Strong, 2007
Illustrations copyright © Rowan Clifford, 2007
All rights reserved
The moral right of the author and illustrator has been asserted
Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
1 The Dump Truck
2 Granny’s Magic
3 A Life of Luxury
4 The Big Babies
5 Today Will Be Squidgy
7 What Now?
8 All the Thrill of the Chase
10 Kristal Brings Good Fortune
11 New Pants!
1 The Dump Truck
We were having breakfast when an explosion of noise from outside almost blew us off our seats.
It was a gigantic hooter. Mum jumped out of her skin. Dad yelled ‘Alien attack!’ and vanished beneath the table. The windows almost fell out of their frames and the twins, Cheese and Tomato, burst into tears. Those aren’t their real names, of course. They’re actually called James and Rebecca but Dad nicknamed them Cheese and Tomato because they were born in the back of a pizza delivery van.
‘What on earth is it?’ asked Mum, her eyes on stalks. I dashed to the window and there it was – an alien space cruiser.
Of course it wasn’t, but it did look like one. It was the shiniest, newest, biggest and most splendid tour bus ever. Giant sparkly letters right along the side said:
THE FANTASTIC DUMPER ROADSHOW!
And under that in smaller sparkly letters it said:
AS SEEN ON TV – THE MOST FAMOUS BOTTOM IN THE WORLD
And under that in still smaller writing, but still just as sparkly, it said:
TRY OUT THE NEW BUMPER DUMPER DISPOSABLE NAPPY!
My jaw almost fell off my face, trying to take it all in. Dad and I watched in stunned silence as double doors on the side of the bus slid back with a loud hiss. Mechanical steps automatically unfolded. A trumpet fanfare blasted the air.
PAH! PA-PA-RA-PAH, PA-RAH!!
A big, jolly man stepped down from the bus. It was Mr Dumper, the King of Throwaway Nappies.
‘I said it was an alien attack,’ Dad muttered.
‘He’s not an alien.’
‘If that isn’t an alien then my name’s not Peter Pinkie Plumpot.’
‘Dad, your name isn’t Peter Pinkie Plumpot,’ I told him. ‘It’s Ron.’
‘Oh no,’ cried Dad. ‘You’ve discovered my secret! That must mean I’m your true father! And what do you know, I think that’s David Dumper, disguised as a creature from outer space.’ He waggled his eyebrows at me. My Dad’s as daft as a dog with two tails. He’s great!
‘I wonder what he wants?’ mused Dad, as Mr Dumper hammered on our front door.
‘He wants to come in,’ Mum pointed out. ‘Are you two going to play Dick and Dom with each other all morning or will you open the door for him?’
‘You go, Dick,’ said Dad.
‘How did I know you’d say that?’ I sighed and went to the front door.
David Dumper stood on the doorstep grinning from ear to ear. He threw his arms wide. ‘Ah! My favourite family. Now then, where’s my fabulous bottom?’
‘It’s behind you,’ said Dad. ‘Where else could it be? On your head?’
Mr Dumper burst out laughing and his shoulders heaved like crazy. ‘Always playing the clown, eh, Ron?’
Mum gave a little sigh. ‘It’s not playing, David – Ron is a clown,’ and Mr Dumper’s shoulders heaved with laughter again.
‘You know I mean little Cheese. Where is he? Ah, there you are, and Tomato too.’ Mr Dumper lifted them up, one on each arm. ‘Come on then,
come and see the amazing Bumper Dumper tour bus. Now then, what do you think?’
‘Big,’ said Dad.
‘Shiny,’ I added.
‘Noisy,’ Mum finished off. ‘Your horn almost broke our windows.’
‘I know! Isn’t it brilliant?’ shouted Mr Dumper. ‘I took delivery today and I just had to come round and show you. It’s for a new advertising campaign.’
We wandered round the tour bus, while Mr Dumper pointed out all the special lettering, how big the wheels were and all the different gizmos the bus had. There was satellite TV, pull-out beds, an on-board fridge full of drinks and there was even a chocolate fountain! By this time we had been joined by a crowd of onlookers. One of them was making a great deal of noise and seemed to be doing an excellent i
‘You’re parked across my driveway!’ he shouted through gritted teeth.
‘Keep your hair on, old man,’ said Dad. ‘Oh, you haven’t got any. Never mind.’
‘You’re parked across my driveway!’ repeated Mr Tugg, his face turning purple.
Dad beamed at him and clicked his fingers. ‘You’ve said that twice. Is it the chorus of a song? How does the rest of it go? Oh, I know – the wheels on the bus go round and – no, I can tell by the look on your face it’s not that one.’
‘You’re parked across my driveway!’ screamed Mr Tugg for the third time, hopping about like a frog in a frying pan.
‘Did you want to go somewhere in your car?’ asked Mr Dumper politely.
‘Not at the moment but, but, but – you’re parked across –’
‘– the driveway,’ Mr Dumper finished. ‘Listen, I shall be gone very shortly. I just need to talk to your lovely neighbours for five minutes.’
‘Lovely neighbours?’ choked Mr Tugg, staring at my dad with horror. ‘They’re not lovely. They’re a nightmare. Do you know what they’ve got in their back garden? A goat! And cabbages, and a tortoise called Schwarzenegger.’
‘Schumacher,’ Mum corrected quietly. She put an arm round Mr Tugg’s shoulder and gently helped him towards his own house. ‘The tour bus will be gone soon, I promise. Why don’t you ask Mrs Tugg to make you a nice cup of tea?’
Mr Dumper watched as Mr Tugg disappeared back into his house. ‘Is he always like that?’ he asked and we nodded glumly. Mr Dumper seemed puzzled. ‘Do you really have a goat and a tortoise?’
Mum explained that we grew most of our own food at the back of the house. ‘The goat gives us milk, which we turn into yoghurt and cheese.’
‘And the tortoise? What does that do?’ asked Mr Dumper.
‘Security’ said Dad. ‘He’s our security officer. Top man, too – we haven’t had a single cabbage stolen since he’s been on patrol. Now, what’s this tour bus in aid of? Why have you brought it round here to show us?’
‘And why does it say: AS SEEN ON TV – THE MOST FAMOUS BOTTOM IN THE WORLD on it?’ added Mum.
‘Ah, glad you asked. I have a terrific plan. Ever since your baby Cheese appeared on telly to advertise my nappies he’s become a star. My idea is that we take Cheese round the whole country, appearing in different towns and showing off my new Bumper Dumper range of disposable nappies. It will be like what he did in the TV advert, only more personal. People will flock to see the real Cheese.’
‘Like a model?’ I suggested. That really impressed Dad.
‘You’re right, Nick. Fancy that, my son, a model. Presumably that makes me a model father.’
‘More like a model idiot,’ Mum corrected. A frown passed across her face. ‘The thing is, Mr Dumper, you can’t just drag Cheese round the country. What about the rest of the family? One of us will have to go with him.’
Mr Dumper smiled. ‘Cheese won’t be on his own. The tour is for all of us.’
‘All of us?’ repeated Mum.
‘Even me?’ I asked, and Mr Dumper nodded. ‘Cool! Can we? Can we really go? Will we be staying in hotels and everything?’ My head was bursting with excitement.
David Dumper nodded and stood there watching our faces. Dad looked at Mum. Mum looked at Dad. I looked at them. They looked at me.
‘I don’t see why not,’ said Mum. ‘It’s the school holidays.’
‘I don’t go to school,’ Dad pointed out.
‘Don’t be ridiculous, Ron. I mean Nicholas.’
‘Oh,’ coughed Dad, and he tried to look serious. ‘Yes, of course. Nicholas.’
This was the most brilliant thing ever. A roadshow, starring the whole family! And then my heart went dead. What about our goat, Rubbish? I’m the only one who can milk her, apart from Granny’s husband, Lancelot, who doesn’t live with us, so he can’t do it. And if she didn’t get milked she’d, well, I suppose she’d probably explode eventually, like a four-legged milk-bomb. I sank into gloom. Along comes this amazing chance to stay in hotels and whizz about the country in a flashy tour bus like a superstar, and now I shall have to stay at home to look after a stinky goat.
2 Granny’s Magic
It’s quite calming, milking a goat. It gives you time to think. Your brain goes kind of dreamy and all sorts of ideas pop into your head, at least they do into mine, and I got three ideas for sorting out Rubbish almost immediately.
1. A milking machine.
2. A robot.
3. A babysitter.
I soon realized that Plan 1 wouldn’t work. Any kind of milking machine would have to be connected to Rubbish all the time because there’d be nobody there to fix it on or take it off her. Rubbish wanders about a lot and she also has a habit of trying to eat anything that comes anywhere near her, so I don’t think an automatic machine would last long.
Plan 2 was to build a robot, but how would a robot know where to find the goat? (Note Plan 1 and the wandering.) Sometimes Rubbish was in the back garden. Sometimes she came in the house, and sometimes
she tried to annoy Mr Tugg as much as possible by creeping into his garden and eating his top notch, grade one, velvety green lawn.
‘It doesn’t have a single weed in it,’ he told my dad, very proudly, the other week.
‘But, Mr Tugg,’ my dad answered, ‘grass is a weed. Every single blade of your lawn is a bit of weed. Your lawn is nothing but weed.’
‘You won’t make me get cross,’ Mr Tugg said, gritting his teeth yet again. ‘I know you’re trying to wind me up, but it won’t happen.’
‘Weed World,’ murmured Dad, as if he was talking to himself.
‘La la la,’ sang Mr Tugg. ‘Can’t hear you! Tra la la…’
‘IT’S NOT WEED – IT’S LAWN!’ Mr Tugg suddenly roared.
‘LAWN spelt W-E-E-D.’
I think that Mr Tugg should be connected to the local power station. He produces enough steam from his ears to make his own electricity.
Then there was Plan 3: get a babysitter – well, not exactly a babysitter, more of a goat sitter. Guess what? There’s no such thing. I searched in Yellow Pages, which gives you phone numbers for just about everything. I looked up GOAT and the closest thing was GO-KARTS, which was no use at all. My heart sank into even deeper gloom. Mum tried to reassure me.
‘We’ll think of something.’
‘I’ve tried asking Dad already,’ I moaned and Mum rolled her eyes.
‘It’s no good asking him. You know perfectly well that your dad can’t do Sensible. He can only do Daft.’
At that point there was a rumbling roar from outside the house, which was a sure sign that Granny and Lancelot had arrived on one of their motorbikes. They’ve got three altogether. There are HIS and HERS bikes for when they ride solo, while number three bike has a sidecar attached so they can take extras like me for a spin. They can even fit the sidecar with a double baby seat and they take Cheese and Tomato out sometimes. You should see the twins with their tiny goggles! They look like frogs.
As soon as Granny came in she could see something was wrong. ‘Oh, Nicholas, you do look down in the dumps.’
‘He’s worried about the goat,’ Mum told her.
‘Your coat? You haven’t left it at school again, have you?’
In case you hadn’t guessed, Granny is a bit deaf, but not all the time. It seems to come and go. It usually comes when someone tries to tell her something she doesn’t want to know. However, she can hear perfectly well if you mention chocolate, or a cup of tea, or snooker – which are three of her favourite things.
‘It’s Rubbish,’ I told her and explained everything.
Granny didn’t seem to think there was any problem at all. ‘All we need is a wooden spoon,’ she said.
‘Yes. Ah, there’s one in this drawer. Nicholas, you stand there and keep still while I do so
Granny took the spoon and waved it round her head several times. ‘Nicholas, Nicholas,’ she cried, ‘you SHALL go to the ball!’ She put the spoon back in the kitchen drawer and smiled. ‘There,’ she said. ‘All done.’
I looked at Mum, just in case she knew what was going on, because I certainly didn’t. What ball? I didn’t want to go to any ball – that would mean dancing. Urgh! Mum made faces at me as if to suggest that Granny was going a wee bit mad. As for Granny herself, she just sighed.
‘Isn’t it obvious? That was my Fairy Grandmother’s magic wand I was waving. Rubbish can come and stay with Lancelot and me. Lance is the only other person who can milk her. It’ll only be for a week, won’t it?’
I hurtled across to Granny and threw my arms round her. ‘Granny that is definitely magic. You are the bee’s knees!’
There was a loud protest from behind. ‘Hey there, young man, that’s my babe you’re hugging. Put her down at once. How dare you!’
It was Lancelot, of course, grinning from ear to ear, and I had to hug him too. He’s really nice. You’d never think he is actually Mr Tugg’s dad. He is! Just look at the pair of them! There’s Mr Tugg, who’s forty and practically bald and about as friendly as a cactus with bad breath, and then there’s Lancelot, who is sixty-five, wears a leather jacket with fringes and has so much hair he ties it in a ponytail.
‘Rubbish will have a top time with us,’ Lancelot said. ‘You won’t need to worry about a thing. Anyway, what’s going on? Where are you lot off to?’ We had to run through the whole business about the roadshow.