It was a normal sort of day, as best Thomas could remember it. All except for that ball.
He could not remember ever owning such a ball. It was nothing special, just a round, furry yellow thing with a grin. A wide, face-swallowing grin. The kind of grin that loonies have. Even now Thomas was wary of it. You see, this grinning ball followed him everywhere. But that’s not all, it kept on repeating the same thing over and over, “take me to your leader.” To be honest, Thomas was a tiny bit scared of it.
The broken kitchen window had been fixed. Thomas had been well and truly told off, something that he was quite used to; he was after all a very naughty boy. For instance, one time when his dad was taking a shower Thomas, slipped into the bathroom hidden by the swirling steam and put a large dollop of chocolate spread in his dad’s clean underpants. A crime for which Thomas was duly punished. He was made to spend a whole day as the poop fairy in the local park. A poop fairy is that mythical beast which picks up all of the dog poop left behind by dog walkers who have cricks in their necks that make them look the other way when their precious pet drops a toffee log.
Thomas looked at the new window, its perfect clarity as a thing of impossibility. Windows were smeary things through which strange grinning balls made their entrance and wreaked havoc upon young lives. There was a gentle bump against his foot. Thomas did not want to look down but his childish curiosity got the better of him. There grinning up at him was the ball, “Take me to your leader,” it said in its tinny robotic voice. Thomas kicked it – really hard.
The ball bounced off the taps, up onto the light fitting, that came crashing down around his heels, then it shot straight out through the new window. Thomas gulped. His heart beat so hard that he thought he was going to explode, just like he knew his mum would when she saw the mess in the kitchen. At least that annoying ball was gone.
Thomas turned and ran. He ran out of the kitchen. He ran out of the front door. He ran all the way to his Nana’s house. He ran so fast that it took a whole minute for his breath to catch up. Thomas was knocking on the door so frantically that he didn’t even notice when the door was opened. Thomas just kept on knocking on his Nana’s apron.
“My, my, my!” Nana said. “What have we here?”
“Not my fault, not my fault Nana,” Thomas dived under his Nana’s woollen skirt and ran into her living room where he tucked himself into one corner of the enormous settee. “That ball did it.” Thomas crossed his arms over his chest sticking out his bottom lip as far as it would go.
“If you stick that lip out any further I’ll be able to put a window box on it,” tutted Nana. “Now then,” she sat down next to Thomas. “Why don’t you tell your old Nana all about it?”
Thomas looked at his Nana, doing his best to keep his sulk going while trying not to smile at the same time. Thomas poured out his heart. He told Nana how the ball had broken kitchen and how it had rolled up against his foot, just as it had done a hundred times since. Through his tears he explained how he had kicked the ball as hard as he could to get rid of it and how it had bounced around the kitchen destroying everything in its path, including the window.
“So where is this horrible ball now?” Nana smiled down at the tangle of red hair in her lap. Thomas turned his head toward the window just as the maniacal grinning ball came crashing through it.
“Right there,” he thrust out his finger accusingly.
“Gracious!” Nana gasped.
“Take me to your leader,” the ball grinned back at them.
“I think we’ll do just that,” Nana slid Thomas to one side as she reached for her shopping bag. “Get in,” she ordered. The ball grinned and jumped into the raffia bag. “Thomas it’s time we went to town.” Just then Nana happened to glance at the newspaper lying open on the table. The head line declared, ‘PM to visit today’. “Then it’s decided,” Nana pointed at Thomas then to the door. Thomas leapt to his feet and ran to the front door.
It was only a short bus ride into town but to Thomas it felt like the journey would never end. Every so often his eyes would be drawn to the shopping bag Nana held in her lap. He couldn’t see the ball but he was sure that it was grinning.
The bus arrived at the stop for Town Hall where a sea of photographers jostled with each other hoping to get the best view of the Prime Minister as he walked down the steps with the lady Mayor and her fawning entourage. Nana pulled her bag open. She reached inside and took out the ball pointing it in the direction of the gathered dignitaries. “There,” Nana thrust the ball out toward the Prime Minister. “The fat one that ate all the pies.”
The ball swivelled around to face Nana and Thomas who was peering bravely from behind his Nana. “Thank you,” the ball rolled from her hand onto the ground and made its way toward the Prime Minister just as he was extolling the virtues of healthy eating.
“Oh dear,” Thomas gripped his Nana’s hand.
“Oh dear indeed,” Nana replied, stepping away from the crowd. The whirring and clicking of a thousand cameras intensified as the Prime Minister waddled up to the microphones. “Oh dear.”
The Prime Minister put a fat hand on the lectern to steady himself. He had been on his feet for nearly ten minutes and was feeling quite tired. Just then he thought he saw a ball bounce up onto the lectern. He glanced around at the at all the cameras that winked back at him like a thousand alien eyes. Then a most delicious aroma filled his fat nostrils. A smell so wonderful it made him quiver all the way from his fat lips to his fat toes. Keeping one eye on the crowd he sneaked a peek at the source of the nasal ecstasy. There, gently steaming on the lectern, right on top of his speech was a pie. No ordinary pie. This one was grinning.
“Ooh, do excuse me,” the Prime Minister blubbered through his fat lips. The Prime Minister lurched forward with such speed that his face took a second to catch up with him, by which time he had already sunk his teeth into the warm, buttery pastry. His tongue flicked in and out scooping out the pie filling like a toad catching flies. When he stood up the pie had gone, all that remained was a long snotty dribble on his big, fat chin. The Prime Minister hastily wiped his mouth with his hanky. Gathering up the remains of his dignity he opened his mouth to speak. “BuuuUUURRRRRRP!” his face reddened.
Some rather rude people tittered, others sniggered, Thomas roared with laughter. Nana dabbed at the tears trickling down her face with a dainty lace kerchief. The cameras turned toward Thomas who was now rolling about on the ground clutching at his sides. “BuuuUUURRRRRRP!” the Prime Minister repeated, only louder. This was all too much for Thomas as he began to howl hysterically. Despite her best effort, which was none at all really, Nana was unable to stop herself from doubling over with laughter. She laughed so hard she was lucky not to lose her false teeth.
“BuuuUUURRRRRRP!” The Prime Minister repeated again. Only this time his tummy got a bit fatter. “BuuuUUURRRRRRP!” his shirt buttons flew off like bullets, one of them struck a bank robber as he made his getaway knocking him clean off his feet.
“BuuuUUURRRRRRP!” “BuuuUUURRRRRRP!” the Prime Minister blew up like a giant balloon his clothes fluttering to the ground. “BuuuUUURRRRRRP!” the Prime Minister floated a few feet above the ground, his little piggy eyes wide with terror. “BuuuUUURRRRRRP!” he rolled over and over slowly expanding until his hands and feet stuck out at awkward angles like a deranged piggy bank. Bewildered, he blinked at the world below as a broad, maniacal grin spread across the huge expanse of his fat behind. With one last impossibly huge, deafening, “BuuuUUURRRRRRP!” this time from his bottom, the Prime Minister rocketed off across the city showering everyone with chocolate spread, never to be seen again.