My Brother's Famous Bottom Takes Off!, страница 1
1. Finders Keepers
2. How to Get Into the Big Book of World Records
3. Mum Falls Into a Hole
4. To Infinity and Beyond!
5. New York! New York!
6. Beware of Dipplypokuses!
8. Which Way Do Rockets Go?
9. Mum Ties Herself Up
10. The Very Famous Bottom Family
11. The President of the United States (and his Wife)
12. A Shocking Arrival
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 near Bath with his wife, Gillie, three cats and a flying cow.
ARE YOU FEELING SILLY ENOUGH TO READ MORE?
My Brother’s Famous Bottom
MY DAD’S GOT AN ALLIGATOR!
MY GRANNY’S GREAT ESCAPE
MY MUM’S GOING TO EXPLODE!
MY BROTHER’S FAMOUS BOTTOM
MY BROTHER’S FAMOUS BOTTOM GETS PINCHED
MY BROTHER’S FAMOUS BOTTOM GOES CAMPING
MY BROTHER’S HOT CROSS BOTTOM
MY BROTHER’S CHRISTMAS BOTTOM – UNWRAPPED!
MY BROTHER’S FAMOUS BOTTOM GETS CROWNED!
MY BROTHER’S FAMOUS BOTTOM TAKES OFF!
The Hundred-mile-an-hour Dog
THE HUNDRED-MILE-AN-HOUR DOG
RETURN OF THE HUNDRED-MILE-AN-HOUR DOG
CHRISTMAS CHAOS FOR THE HUNDRED-MILE-AN-HOUR DOG
WANTED! THE HUNDRED-MILE-AN-HOUR DOG
LOST! THE HUNDRED-MILE-AN-HOUR DOG
THE HUNDRED-MILE-AN-HOUR DOG GOES FOR GOLD!
KIDNAPPED! THE HUNDRED-MILE-AN-HOUR DOG’S SIZZLING SUMMER
CARTOON KID – SUPERCHARGED!
CARTOON KID STRIKES BACK!
CARTOON KID – EMERGENCY!
CARTOON KID – ZOMBIES!
KRANKENSTEIN’S CRAZY HOUSE OF HORROR
AND EVEN MORE?
THE BEAK SPEAKS
BEWARE! KILLER TOMATOES
FATBAG: THE DEMON VACUUM CLEANER
INVASION OF THE CHRISTMAS PUDDINGS
ROMANS ON THE RAMPAGE
JEREMY STRONG’S LAUGH-YOUR-SOCKS-OFF JOKE BOOK
JEREMY STRONG’S LAUGH-YOUR-SOCKS-OFF EVEN MORE JOKE BOOK
My family is going to America …
so we can send my brother’s famous bottom into space!
This is for Peter Scott, whose help at a crucial moment during the birth of this story was received with thanks and enormous relief.
1. Finders Keepers
My dad came home with a sheep yesterday. He says it followed him. ‘I was on my way home and there was this sheep standing in the road.’
Mum was unimpressed. ‘Sheep don’t just follow you,’ she told him.
‘This one did,’ said Dad. ‘I think it was because I said hello.’
‘That’s ridiculous.’ Mum turned to me. ‘Have you ever heard of a sheep following anyone, Nicholas?’
‘Er, Little Bo Peep?’ I suggested.
‘That’s a nursery rhyme,’ Mum pointed out.
‘Little Bo Peep went beep beep beep!’ shouted Cheese. Mum and Dad both ignored him.
‘BEEP BEEP BEEP!’ echoed Tomato before bursting into giggles. Mum and Dad ignored her too. (In case you’re wondering why the twins are called Cheese and Tomato, it’s because they were born in the back of a pizza van. It was Dad’s idea, of course. But that’s another story!)
‘Look,’ said Dad, ‘I didn’t ask the sheep to follow me. He just did. His name is Elvis.’
‘Dad! How do you know that?’ I asked.
‘Just look at him, Nicholas. Doesn’t he look like an Elvis to you?’
The sheep was trying to eat Cheese’s slipper, which was lying in the middle of the floor. The other one was probably out in the garden or up a tree, anywhere except where it should be – on Cheese’s left foot. Anyhow, I thought he looked more like a Darren.
Mum heaved a very large sigh. ‘He’ll have to go in the garden,’ she said, scowling at Dad.
‘Well, I wasn’t thinking of putting him in our bedroom,’ he grunted.
‘Ron, what you are thinking is often a complete mystery to me AND the rest of the world.’
They stared at each other until Dad gave a big grin and burst into song:
‘You are the love of my life. And you are the reason I’m alive …’
‘Stop it!’ laughed Mum. ‘You’re such a clown!’ She began pushing him out of the house, along with the sheep.
So it looked like Elvis was here to stay, at least for a while.
‘He must belong to someone,’ Mum said as she came back in. ‘Sheep don’t just hang around on street corners, waiting to follow some turnip home.’
‘I heard that!’ Dad called from the garden. ‘I’m not a turnip. Do I look like a turnip, Nicholas?’
I eyed Dad carefully. ‘If that sheep can be an Elvis then I reckon you could just about be a turnip, Dad.’
‘Well, thank you very much,’ Dad grunted. ‘After all the things I’ve done for you. I changed your nappy when you were a baby –’
‘No you didn’t,’ Mum broke in. ‘You said you couldn’t hold your nose and change a nappy at the same time.’
‘OK, but what about all those other things I did? I cooked his supper –’
Mum shook her head. ‘No, Ron, you tried to cook Nicholas’s supper, but you burnt it, remember? In fact, you set light to a tea towel.’
‘I didn’t do it on purpose. Anyhow, what else have I done for you, Nicholas? I taught you how to blow raspberries. There! I was very good at that.’
‘I know, Dad, and when I went to school the next day we had Show and Tell and I showed and told everyone in class how to blow raspberries and I was sent to the headteacher for being rude.’
Dad held up his hands in despair. ‘OK, I surrender. I haven’t done anything at all for you.’
I smiled. ‘It’s all right, Dad. I don’t mind. You’re the best dad in the world. I bet there aren’t many dads who bring home sheep.’
‘Or alligators,’ added Mum. ‘Don’t forget Crunchbag the alligator.’
‘Exactly,’ said Dad, suddenly perking up. ‘You’re right, Nicholas. There can’t be many dads like me!’ And he grinned broadly at all of us. ‘I should be in the Big Book of World Records for being the, er, somethingest dad in the world.’
‘Strangest?’ suggested Mum, and Dad made a face at her.
‘Silly Daddy!’ shouted Tomato.
‘That’s it exactly,’ agreed Mum. ‘The SILLIEST dad in the world. That fits perfectly.’
‘Thank you very much,’ said Dad, giving us a bow.
So that was that. We now have a sheep in the garden. We also have five chickens (that’s Captain Birdseye, Mavis Moppet, Beaky and Leaky and Poop), two rabbits, Rubbish the goat and Schumacher the tortoise. Mum says that Elvis must belong to someone so she’s going to ring all the local farmers and find out if anyone is missing a sheep.
‘Meanwhile, I suppose he will have to stay with us,’ she said. ‘I hope Mr Tugg won’t mind.’
Mr Tugg is our nei
Elvis the sheep soon made friends with Rubbish. They followed each other round the garden and at night they slept together, with Elvis resting his head on the goat’s fat belly. It was very sweet. Dad said that maybe they should get married and then we could call them Mr and Mrs Sheegoat. Or Mr and Mrs Gosheep. Mr and Mrs Rubbish perhaps?
It was a whole day before Mr Tugg realized we had a sheep living with us and when he did he wasn’t very impressed. He stood at the fence, staring with bulging eyes.
‘Is that what I think it is?’ he snapped.
Dad leaped back as if he’d just had a terrible fright. ‘Argh! The Martians have arrived! Run for your lives!’
‘Very funny,’ scowled Mr Tugg. ‘I said, is that what I think it is?’
‘I don’t know,’ Dad replied. ‘What do you think it is?’
‘A sheep, of course!’
‘Then of course it’s a sheep,’ Dad answered calmly. ‘Well spotted. I hereby award you a first-class sheep-spotter’s badge. You can sew it on your scout jumper.’
Mr Tugg’s face began to change colour. ‘Are you allowed to keep sheep in your back garden in a residential area? Do you have a permit? I shall check with the local council.’
‘Really, Mr Tugg? Must you check everything? Do you have a permit?’
‘What are you talking about? What do I need a permit for?’
‘Breathing,’ Dad shot back. ‘Do you have permission from the council to breathe? Because if you don’t you’ll just have to pack it in, you know.’
‘Will you ever stop talking nonsense?’ growled Mr Tugg. He was getting redder by the second, which was a big Danger Signal. Any moment now he would blow his top and we’d have a Major Explosion on our hands and the prime minister would have to declare our road a Disaster Area.
Fortunately, just at that moment, Mrs Tugg appeared. I like Mrs Tugg. She is round and wobbly and jolly. She looked over the fence and spotted Elvis at once.
‘What a lovely sheep!’ she declared.
Mr Tugg looked at his wife in surprise.
‘Isn’t it pretty?’ she went on.
‘Pretty? It’s a sheep,’ Mr Tugg pointed out.
‘Yes, dear, and a rather funky one. It looks like an Elvis to me.’
‘Mrs Tugg, you are a wonder!’ cried Dad. ‘Will you marry me?’
Mr Tugg snorted. ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’
But Mrs Tugg was shaking with laughter.
‘That’s amazing!’ Dad continued. ‘See, Nicholas? I told you his name was Elvis.’
I just grinned at everyone.
‘You can’t call a sheep Elvis,’ Mr Tugg grunted.
‘Oh? Do I need a permit for that too?’ asked Dad.
‘Stop being such a killjoy, dear,’ Mrs Tugg said, and she gave Mr Tugg a playful tweak of his ear.
‘Ow!’ He leaped back from the fence. ‘I’m going indoors to ring the council,’ he said. ‘What’s more, I would like to know where you got that sheep from. It didn’t come from any pet shop that I know of. They don’t sell sheep.’
‘It followed me home,’ said Dad. ‘Finders keepers.’
‘Pish!’ snapped Mr Tugg and, turning on his heel, he marched into his house.
Mrs Tugg looked at my dad and shook her head.
‘Oh dear,’ she sympathized. ‘You know what my husband’s like. I’m afraid we haven’t heard the last of this.’
‘No,’ agreed Dad. ‘We probably haven’t.’ He turned to the sheep. ‘You hear that, Elvis? You’d better go into hiding. Mr Tugg is after your fleece.’
2. How to Get Into the Big Book of World Records
‘The thing is,’ Dad told Mum later, ‘sheep are very useful creatures.’
‘Really? Are you saying that because you don’t have to mow the lawn now that Elvis is happily mowing it for you, with his teeth?’
‘No I’m not. Don’t be so cynical. It’s not becoming. Cynical people end up with mouths that are twisted downwards and narrow, slitty eyes, not to mention narrow minds.’
Mum laughed. ‘Go on then, tell me why sheep are so useful.’
‘One: you can collect their wool. Two: you can spin their wool. Three: you can knit jumpers and jackets and blankets and bobble hats with their wool, not to mention hot-water-bottle covers. In fact, you could kit out the whole family with woolly clothes.’
Mum thought for a moment. ‘I’ve got a better idea. One: YOU could collect the wool. Two: YOU could spin it. And three: YOU could do all the knitting. How about that?’
‘I’m too busy,’ said Dad, relaxing back in his armchair and pretending to smoke an imaginary pipe. ‘You see, what you have to understand is that I’m an Ideas Man, a Creative Person. I’m a Thinker.’
‘Daddy’s a stinker!’ cried Cheese, poking his head out from behind Dad’s chair.
‘I didn’t say that, you rat!’ shouted Dad, trying to reach behind to grab Cheese, who was far too quick and already by the door, poised to make his escape.
‘Stinky Daddy! POO!’ he yelled before racing upstairs, giggling his head off.
‘I don’t know why you brought up our children to be so rude to their father,’ Dad complained, his face the picture of innocence.
‘ME!?’ cried Mum. ‘Who taught them how to blow raspberries? Who taught them silly nonsense words?’
Dad simply carried on puffing at his non-existent pipe. ‘Anyway,’ he continued eventually, ‘as I said earlier, I’m a Thinker and as such I have been thinking. It’s something that came to me when you said I should be in the Big Book of World Records.’
‘Actually, Dad, you said that, not any of us,’ I pointed out.
‘Really? I said it? Doesn’t that just show what a brainbox I am? I said something even before I’d thought of it. It’s like being awake before you’ve even woken up. Anyway, as I was saying, I should be in the Big Book of World Records so that is exactly what I am going to do. I am going to be a record-breaker.’
‘Really? Wow!’ I was impressed. My dad was going to get into the Big Book of World Records! But what record was he going to break? I had to ask him.
‘I’m not sure, Nicholas. It’s something I shall have to think about very hard.’
At that moment Cheese came zooming back into the room like an escaped balloon with all the air rushing out of it. He hurled himself on to Dad’s lap, shouted ‘Stinky-poo!’ and then he was off again, leaving Dad completely winded.
‘Sometimes,’ muttered Dad, slowly getting his breath back, ‘I think I should have a world record for being The Dad Who Has Survived the Most Attacks from Three-year-old Toddlers.’
Luckily, Dad was saved from any more toddler terrorists by Granny and Lancelot. As Dad let them in at the front door, Mum whispered to me that she thought it was interesting how often Granny and Lancelot turned up at mealtimes.
‘It’s nearly always just before lunch or supper,’ she murmured, giving me a wink.
Granny and Lancelot are great. Granny’s first husband died and a few years later she met Lancelot. He’s got a ponytail and a leather jacket with fringes on the arms and the most massive motorbike, with a sidecar. Sometimes Granny rides it. She used to be a motorbike champion when she was young. Guess where Granny and Lancelot got married? On a bouncy castle! How cool is that?!
‘Hello, Nicholas,’ said Gran. ‘Have you got a kiss for your old granny?’
‘Hey, babe, less of the old,’ said Lancelot. ‘I’ve got a kiss for you any time!’
I looked at Cheese and Tomato, who were watching with their mouths open in horror. I called to them: ‘One, two, three –’
And we all shouted, ‘YURRRKKKK!!!!’ T
Granny smiled and waved a dismissive hand at me. ‘Oh well, ignore your poor old granny. Now what’s for supper? Smells like spaghetti to me.’
‘It is spaghetti,’ said Mum. ‘But I’m afraid there’s only enough for six, and there’ll be seven of us if you two stay.’ She gave me another wink.
‘That’s all right,’ said Gran. ‘Cheese and Tomato can share. They are a bit on the podgy side, aren’t they? They could do with a bit less to eat.’
‘Granny! The twins aren’t podgy at all,’ I told her.
‘I didn’t say they were stodgy,’ complained Gran. ‘I said podgy.’
Sometimes Granny doesn’t hear things properly.
‘I said podgy too,’ I explained carefully.
‘I never said stodgypoo,’ Granny grumbled.
‘Nobody said stodgypoo!’ I tried not to shout.
‘Stodgypoo!’ shouted Cheese, who always picks up on words with ‘poo’ in them. He is only three.
‘Excuse me,’ said Dad, joining in. ‘In fact, all three of you have said stodgypoo, and I just have too, so now four of us have said it.’
‘WILL YOU ALL PLEASE STOP SAYING STODGYPOO OUT THERE?!’ Mum yelled from the kitchen.
Dad pointed at his mother. ‘You see what you’ve started?’
‘Me?’ Granny tried to look as innocent as possible, just as Mum came into the room with the food.
‘I found enough for seven after all, so nobody will go hungry,’ she announced.
Lancelot sniffed his plate of spaghetti and grinned up at Mum. ‘You’re a lifesaver!’ he declared.
Granny shot him a look. ‘She’s a wife flavour? Are you suggesting this spaghetti has a wife flavour?’
‘I SAID LIFESAVER, BABE!’ Lancelot shouted back.
‘Oh, you!’ cried Granny, punching him playfully on the arm. She took a mouthful of spaghetti. ‘You’re always teasing me. Wife flavour! It doesn’t taste like that at all.’