15. Not so fast, Macdonald.

Our latest episode of Nicky Tams the King of Nosepipe
as told by Gordon Thorburn and illustrated by myself



Not so fast, Macdonald.

You still haven’t had your Meringue Test.

Macdonald scampered up the alleyway which had all the stacks of bathroom tiles. Even running as fast as he was, he still noticed what yucky colours they were.

Reaching the end of the vile tile pile aisle he turned into the next one, which was given over to free demonstrations of the fingernail care kits which were being sold cheaply that week.

Soon he reached the end of the nailfile style trial aisle and, without looking, ran straight into Offer of the Month, which was garden furniture. He tripped over a sun lounger and dived, spread-eagled, onto a shiny white plastic table with an umbrella sticking out of it. The table tipped and slid him onto a shopping trolley, which rolled forward towards a huge glass-fronted cupboard full of power tools.

Precisely at that moment, a Nosepipe soldier was trying out a cordless belt-sander. He had the button pressed in, the one that keeps it going without the trigger, so when the trolley hit him in the back and made him throw the belt-sander in the air, it was still sanding when it came down and landed on Macdonald’s bottom.

The coarse grade sandpaper was through his light cotton strides and his boxers in an instant, and in two instants it had removed the first five of his seven layers of bum-skin and was accelerating up his back. The pain brought his brain into sharp focus. He leaped off the trolley but ran into a huge stack of ten-litre buckets of Brilliant White vinyl emulsion, matt finish. An avalanche of these fell on his head.


The last picture in his mind as he slipped into oblivion was of Tracy. She was walking towards him, smiling and licking her lips, carrying a small tray. On the tray was a tea plate. On the tea plate were… oh no! Two enormous Meringues!

So, Macdonald thought. Goodbye to all that. Goodnight, Vienna. This. Is. It. And he fell back, dead to the world.

You can’t enjoy a good Meringue Test with an unconscious person and so Tracy wandered off. When Macdonald came to, he was alone. Silently he crept towards the exit, where he pressed the No Sale button on the till. The drawer opened and Macdonald was able to whip enough sponduliks to set himself up in a little business.

He hitched a few lifts up the high road and the low road and across the Wolds to Hull, where he opened a cafe near the docks and set about trying to make a name for himself. He tried all different sorts of food to sell. There was ox kidney coated in white chocolate. Kippers with Edinburgh Rock sauce. Mars Bar porridge chow mein, and his greatest disaster, mashed potato with pickled baby-goat’s eyeballs, which he called ‘Here’s looking at you, kid’.


Then, one day, he got confused while making a minced meat pie. He put the beef through the mincer twice by mistake, then rolled it out flat thinking it was the pastry. He cut rounds out of it with his pastry cutter, then got confused again and put the rounds to cook on a griddle thinking they were drop scones.

Oh well, Macdonald thought, when he saw what he’d made instead of the minced meat pie. It was nearly lunch time, so he found a few salady bits and a pickled gherkin, and put them with this minced beef patty thing inside a big flat bap. He dolloped some tomato ketchup on the meat, closed the bun and took a bite of this most novel creation.

Caramba, thought Macdonald, as he ate it. Caramba.

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