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Away Laughing on a Fast Camel, Page 2

Louise Rennison

  Honestly, I am like a part-time game warden and careworker for the elderly mad. I should get a net and a badge.

  mr. next door’s garden

  10:40 p.m.

  Mr. Next Door was sensationally red as he tried to shake Angus off the end of his stick.

  He said, in between wheezing and coughing, “This thing is demented, it should be put down!!”

  Oh yeah, fat chance—Angus nearly had the vet’s arm off the last time he was in surgery. The vet has asked us to not come back again.

  However, I used my natural talents of diplomosity with Mr. Mad. I spoke clearly and loudly. “You need another broom to beat him off with.”


  He said, “There’s no need to shout, I’m not deaf.”

  And I said, “Pardon?”

  Which is an excellent display of humoristy in anyone’s book. Except Mr. Mad’s. In the end, I lassooed Angus with the clothesline and dragged him home and locked him in the airing cupboard. Dad’s “smalls” (not) will be in tatters by morning, but you can’t have everything.

  sunday march 6th

  Dreamed about the Sex God and our marriage. It was really groovy and gorgey. I wore a long white veil and when I was at the altar, SG pushed it back and said, “Why…Georgia, you’re beautiful.” And I didn’t go cross-eyed or speak in a stupid German accent. I even remembered to put my tongue at the back of my teeth to stop my nostrils flaring when I smiled. The church was packed with loads of friends, and everyone looked nice and relatively normal. Even Vati had shaved the tiny badger off his chin, and Uncle Eddie had a hat on so that he didn’t look quite so much like a boiled egg in a suit.

  The choir was singing “Isn’t She Lovely?” and for some reason the choir was made up of chipmunks and Libby was in charge of them. It was sweet, even if the singing was a bit high pitched.

  And then the vicar said, “Is there anyone here who knows of any reason why these two should not be joined in matrimony?”

  I was gazing into the dark blue of Sex God’s eyes, dreamy dreamy. Then from the back, Jackie Bummer (smoking a fag) shouted, “I’ve got a reason: Georgia has got extreme red-bottomosity.”

  And Alison Bummer (smoking two fags) joined in, “Yeah, and the Cosmic Horn.”

  And I could feel myself getting hotter and hotter, and I couldn’t breathe. I woke up crying out to find Libby sitting on my nungas with Charlie Horse singing, “Smelly the elepan bagged her trunk and said goodguy to the circus.”

  8:15 a.m.

  It’s only 8:15 A.M. On Sunday. I want to sleep forever and ever and never wake up to life as a red-bottomed spinster.

  8:30 a.m.

  Maybe if I made a special plea to Baby Jesus for clemency, he would hear me. If I promise to put my red bottom aside with a firm hand, he will send the SG back to me.

  8:35 a.m.

  I can’t pray here—Baby Jesus won’t be able to hear a thing above Libby’s singing. Maybe I should make the supreme sacrifice and go to God’s House. Call-me-Arnold the Vicar would be beside himself with joy, he would probably prepare a fatted whatsit…pensioner.

  9:05 a.m.

  What should I wear for church? Keep it simple and reverential, I think.

  9:36 a.m.

  My false eyelashes are fab.

  9:37 a.m

  Maybe I shouldn’t wear them, though, because it might give the wrong impression. It might imply that I was a bit superficial. I’ll take them off.

  9:38 a.m.

  It has taken me ages to stick them on, though. Anyway, if God can read your every thought because of his impotence ability, He will know that I really want to wear my eyelashes and have only taken them off in case He didn’t like them. They didn’t have false eyelashes in ye olde Godde tymes so it is a moot point.

  Perhaps He will think they are my real ones.

  9:40 a.m.

  But that would make Him not an impotent all-wise God, that would make Him a really dim God. Who can’t even tell the difference between real and false eyelashes, even though He has been watching someone put them on for the last half an hour.

  And I say that with all reverencosity.

  Anyway, surely He is looking at the starving millions, not sneaking around in my bedroom.

  in the loo

  9:50 a.m. Is He watching me now? Erlack.

  in the street outside my house

  10:10 a.m.

  Quiet, apart from Mr. and Mrs. Across the Road’s house. As I passed by, there was loads of shouting and yowling. I hope Mr. Across the Road is not ill-treating Angus’s children. He looks like a kittykat abuser to me. And he has a very volatile temperament; the least thing sets him off. He’s like my vati. He appeared at his kitchen door as I went by to God’s house, shouting and yelling. At first I thought he was wearing a fur coat and hat until I realized the coat and hat were moving. He was completely covered in Angus’s offspring.

  Naomi as usual is not taking a blind bit of notice.

  She is a bit of a slutty mother; mostly she just lolls around in the kitchen window enticing Angus with her bottom antics.

  Last week the kittykats, who are ADORABLE if a bit on the bonkers side, burrowed their way under the fence and were larking around in Mr. and Mrs. Next Door’s ornamental pond.

  I said to Mutti, “I didn’t know the Next Doors had flying fish in their pond.”

  And she said, “They haven’t.”

  The flying fish turned out to be goldfish that the kittykats were biffing about in the air. When the mad old next-door loons noticed and came raging out of the house, the kittykats cleared off back under the fence. I don’t know what the fuss is about; they got the boring old goldfish back into the pond. Even the one caught in the hedge. Anyway, as punishment, the kitties were caged up in the rabbit run. Not for long it seems.

  Mr. Across the Road was trying to get the kittykats off him, but they had dug their claws in. They are sooo clever.

  He shouted at me, “They’re going, you know. They are going.”

  Rave on, rave on. I bet he loves them really.


  Call-me-Arnold was alarmingly glad to see me. He kept calling me his child. Which I am clearly not. My vati is an embarrassment in the extreme, but he is not an albino. Call-me-Arnold is so blondey that his head is practically transparent.

  I really gave up the will to carry on when Call-me-Arnold got his guitar out to sing some incredibly crap song about the seasons. Why can’t we just sing something depressing like we do at school and get on with it? I even had to shake hands with people. But I must remember this is God’s house and also that I am asking for a cosmic favor.

  At the end, after everyone was filing out, I noticed that some people were going to a side chapel and lighting a candle and then praying.

  That must be the cosmic request shop. Fab! I would go light a candle and plead for mine and Robbie’s love.

  I went up and got my candle and lit it, ready for action, but an elderly lady was kneeling right in front of the display thing. I could hear her mumbling. She had a head scarf on. On and on she went, mumble mumble. Bit greedy, really. She must have had a whole list of stuff to ask for.

  Ho hum, pig’s bum.

  I knelt down behind her because I was feeling a bit exhausted. I had, after all, been up since the crack of dawn. (Well, eight fifteen.)

  I was holding my candle and thinking and thinking about the Sex God and our love that knew no bounds and stretched across the Pacific Ocean. Or was it the Australian Bite? Anyway, our love was stretching across some big watery thing.

  I think I might actually have nodded off for a little zizz, because I came round to see a small inferno ablaze in front of me. Oh hell’s teeth, I had accidentally set fire to an elderly pensioner! The end of her head scarf was blazing merrily and she hadn’t even noticed.

  I started beating the flames out with my handbag. I was trying to help, but she started hitting me back with her handbag. Befor
e I knew it, I was in a handbag fight.

  11:45 a.m.

  I did try to point out that long dangly scarves on the very elderly could be considered a health hazard around naked flames. But Call-me-Arnold wasn’t calling me his child anymore and he didn’t ask if he would see me next week.

  Which he won’t.


  I am exhausted by trying to get along with the Lord.

  monday march 7th

  back to stalag 14

  As a mark of my widowosity, I wore dark glasses and a black armband. Also I found a black feather from Mutti’s sad feather boa that she wears if I don’t spot her first. I stuck that in the side of my beret, which I pulled down right over my ears.

  I was walking along with Jas and I said, “Even in the depths of my sadnosity I think I have a touch of the Jacqueline Onassis about me.”

  She said, “Why? Did she look like a prat as well?”

  A quick duffing up showed her the error of her ways.

  Oh God, oh Goddy God God, a whole day of Stalag 14.


  Our revered and amazingly porky Headmistress Slim rambled on about exams and achievement and said wisely, “Now, in conclusion girls, I would say, it’s not all about winning, it’s how you play the game.”

  What game? What in the name of Ethelred the Unready’s pantyhose is she talking about? As we filed off to the Science block, Hawkeye was in a super-duper strop for some reason. She made me remove my armband and she was marching up and down looking at people like a Doberman, only much taller. And not a dog. She alarmed a first former so much that the first former fell into a holly bush and had to be fished out and sent to the nurse to calm down.

  I said to Rosie, “I think widowhood has toughened me up. If Hawkeye gets on my case I am going to say to her, ‘Hawkeye, sir, when you have suffered the torments of love like I have, you will not give a flying pig’s bum about your Latin homework. Romulus and Remus could have been brought up by ostriches for all I care.’”

  Rosie said, “Yeah right, well, let’s see what happens when she gives you double detention.”

  “Do you know what I saw on TV the other night? Ostriches fall in love with human beings. On ostrich farms they go all gooey and even more dim when humans come to feed them. They try to snog them.”

  “Ostriches try to snog humans?”



  “Mais oui, mon petit idiot, c’est vrai. It is very very vrai.”

  “How can they snog when they have beaks?”

  “You are being a bit beakist, Rosie.”


  The ace gang are going on and on about the teenage werewolf party. Jas said, “Tom and I are going to wear matching false ears!”

  And then she had an uncontrollable laughing spaz. I said, “Jas, when was the last time you saw a teenage werewolf with false ears?”

  That made her stop snorting like a fool. She was all shuffily on the knicker toaster. “Well…it’s, well…I mean…”

  Rosie—who is in an alarmingly good mood now that Sven is winging his way home on his sleigh—slapped me on the back and said, “What do you get when you cross a mouse with an elephant?”

  We all just looked at her and she put her glasses on sideways and said, “Massive holes in the skirting board.”

  I feel like a bean in a bikini, tossed around on the sea of life. Set apart from my mates because of heartbreakosity. I love them but how childish they seem, chatting on about false eyebrows. I may never wear extra body hair ever again.

  3:00 p.m.

  We should be having Hawkeye for English but she is too busy torturing people, so Miss Wilson is the sub. She is a tremendous div, so English will be more or less a free period.

  Oh, what larks! We are doing MacBeth as our set play. Although Miss Wilson says we are not allowed to say its name; we have to call it “The Scottish Play.” Because it’s bad luck to say its name. As I said to Rosie and Jools, “Hurrah! A play about blokes in tights talking in Och Aye language for a thousand years.”

  We’ve all been dished out parts and, tragically, Jas is going to be Lady MacScottishplay. Rosie, Jools and Ellen are the three witches and I am some complete twit in tights called MacDuff. Nauseating P. Green is my wife, Lady MacDuff. She is thrilled and keeps mooning over at me.

  I don’t see how I am supposed to be a bloke, because they are—as we all know—a complete mystery.

  On the way home Jas was looking at her hand and going “Out damn spot.”

  I said, “It’s not the spot on your hand you have to worry about, Jas, it’s the huge lurker lurking on your chin.”

  That shut her up and got her feeling about.

  Actually she hasn’t got a lurker on her chin, but if she goes on fingering it long enough she will have.

  home (ha)

  5:00 p.m.

  Oh brilliant, Angus has gone into my wardrobe and found some of my knickers to attack. He was ambling out of my room with his head through one of the legs like some sort of Arab sheikh. I kicked out at him but he dodged out of the way. He was purring really loudly; he loves it when you get rough with him. He is a good example of the benefits of rough love. I should really give him a good kicking every day.


  5:30 p.m.

  Oh yum yum and quelle surprise, we are having le delicieuse fish fingers and frozen peas for our tea! I am sure that I am developing rickets, my legs look distinctly bendy. Vati came in in an hilariously good mood. He kissed me on the head even though I tried to dodge him. I said, “Father, I need my own space and frankly you are in it.”

  He just laughed and said, “I’ve just seen Colin and he and Sandy are having a Lord of the Rings party, and we’re all invited.”

  Mutti said, “What a hoot.”

  I said with great meaningosity, “Vati, I will never—and I repeat, never—be wearing an elf’s outfit in this lifetime, and for the sake of any sensitive people on the planet—that is, me—I beg you not to consider green tights.”

  He just smiled and said, “I know you are secretly very thrilled, Georgia.”

  He and Mutti laughed. And Libby joined in with a very alarming sort of laughing. Like a mad Santa Claus and pig combined. “Hohohogoggy-hoggyhog.”

  I don’t know what they teach her at nursery school, but it’s not how to be normal.

  only 6:30 p.m.

  I wonder what time it is in Kiwi-a-gogo land?

  They are twenty-four hours ahead of us and it’s Monday here, so it must be Tuesday there.

  6:35 p.m.

  Does that mean that SG knows what I will be wearing for the teenage werewolf party before I do?

  Not that I will be going.

  Will I?

  I will be the last to know as usual.

  Oh Baby Jesus and your cohorts, please make something really great happen. Otherwise I am going to bed. But I will wait for half an hour because I trust in your ultimate goodnosity.

  7:35 p.m.

  It’s not much to ask, is it? But oh no, Baby Jesus is just too busy to make anything interesting happen.

  in the loo

  Sitting in the loo of life contemplating my navel.

  My navel sticks out a bit. Is it supposed to do that? I hope it’s not unraveling. That would be the final straw.

  Vati keeps books in the loo. How disgusting is that? Pooing and reading. What is he reading? It’s called Live and Let Die. How true.

  8:30 p.m.

  No one has bothered to ring me. I wonder why Dave the Laugh hasn’t phoned me? I could phone him, but that would mean he might think I am keen on him.

  Which I am not.

  8:45 p.m.

  Vati’s book is about James Bond, who is a sort of special agent–type thing. Vati probably thinks he is like James Bond. Which he would be, if James Bond was a porky bloke with a badger attachment.

  9:00 p.m

  I am in the prime of my womanhood, nunga-nungas poised and trembling (attractively).
Lips puckered up and in peak condition for a snogging fest.

  And I am in bed.

  At nine P.M.

  Not alone for long, because my sister is now in bed with me. She has got her nighttime book for me to read to her. Heidi. About some girl who goes up a mountain in Swisscheeseland to live with some elderly mad bloke in lederhosen, who sadly for her is her grandfather.

  I know how she feels. At least my grandad doesn’t wear leather shorts. Yet.

  9:15 p.m.

  So far Heidi and Old Mr. Mad of the Mountains have herded up goats and eaten a LOT of cheese. A lot. They are constantly eating cheese.

  9:20 p.m.

  Even Libby was so bored by the cheese extravaganza that she nodded off to sleep and I slipped downstairs to phone Jas. I did it quietly because there will only be the usual tutting explosion from Vati about me using the phone if he hears me.

  I whispered. “Jas?”

  “Oh, it’s you.”

  “What do you mean?”

  “Well, I’ve got my jimmyjams on and I was reading my book about the wilderness course that Tom and I are going to go on.”

  “Oh I am sooooooo sorry, Jas, soooo sorry to interrupt your twig work, just because I am all on my own without the comfort of human company and my life is ebbing away.”

  There was silence at the other end of the phone.

  “Jas, are you still there?”

  Her voice sounded a bit distant.


  I said, “What is that cracking noise?”


  “You are actually playing with twigs, aren’t you?”


  How pathetico.

  She said all swottily, “Look, I have to go. I’ve got my German homework to do.”

  “Don’t bother learning their language; they are obsessed with goats.”

  “What are you talking about?”