14. The spy who shoved me.
Our latest episode of Nicky Tams the King of Nosepipe,
as told by Gordon Thorburn and illustrated by myself
Can Macdonald pass the Meringue Test?
“I was King Canoe’s batman, manservant or valet, Your Majesty,” declared Macdonald after he arose, giving every word as much weight as he could. “Even as we speak, the King is a prisoner. Outside this very headquarters. He is tied up. In a sack. In the passenger seat of an MG.”
“What kind of an MG might that be?” said King Nicky Tams the Easily Led, who had a knack of going straight to the most unimportant point.
“It is a red MG TC, Your Majesty,” replied Macdonald.
“What, with wire wheels, leather seats and a wooden steering wheel?” Nicky Tams could hardly contain his excitement.
“Exactly so, Your Majesty. It also has a walnut dashboard, proper black knobs and switches, and chromium trim around the dials.”
“Brrrrummmmm, brrrrrummmmmm!!!” said Nicky Tams, already seeing himself touring his new country in this magnificent vehicle and forgetting that there were one or two little difficulties to sort out first.
Time for Tracy, thought Tracy.
She sent two guards to grab the blubbering, sack-headed King Canoe from the MG and had him locked in the Ladies. With a hostile glare, Tracy then turned on the manservant.
“Are you a spy?” she asked, penetratingly, of Macdonald. “Don’t lie to me. We have our own very special way of dealing with liars. We give them…. The Meringue Test!”
“Might I enquire as to the precise nature of…. The Meringue Test?” asked Macdonald, seeming to be very laid back but with his knuckles showing white as he clenched his fists in terror.
“You will be taken from here to a Place of Testing, where you will be given Two Large Meringues!” cried Tracy, her voice shrill with power and peril. “Such Meringues as these are blindingly white, utterly tasteless, and tremendously crisp and fly-away. They are horribly over-sweetened with sugar and saccharine and are filled with disgusting artificial cream.”
“My mother, Queen Scary Mary,” said King Nicky Tams rather wistfully, “used to make really nice sticky meringues. We used to call them Tuesday meringues. She made them on Friday, we ate them on Saturday, and they were still stuck in our teeth on Tuesday.”
“Quite so, Your Majesty,” said Tracy with an irritated little sigh. “But these. These are…. Shop Meringues. Made in Filey.”
The only sound was a deep gulp from Macdonald. Tracy turned to him with a viperous gaze.
“And,” she hissed “the test is this. You have to eat them, both of them, WITHOUT LICKING YOUR LIPS.”
Macdonald turned pale. He trembled from top to toe and his left nostril twitched in fright. His desperate eyes scanned the DIY store for a Fire Exit. He couldn’t see one. With a ghastly cry, like a howling beastie on a midnight marsh, he shoved Tracy out of the way and ran for it.