The shivering man was saying to himself, ‘The house looks like a bank vault, they must have loads of money. I know they have loads and loads of money or valuables.’ This very thought is what led him to their front door.
The Munchin family were staring at him as though he were an alien.
Baby came back with a huge steel mug of tea and a plate with a skyscraper sandwich wobbling about on it. ‘I didn’t know what you would like so I put everything on it,’ he explained. There was indeed a great deal piled in between two slices of bread. Lettuce leaves, tomatoes, ham, chicken, cucumber, potato salad and banana peeped out from between the slices of bread. The skyscraper sandwich was behaving like a quivering mountain of jelly.
The visitor stared at the wobbling sandwich.
Baby said, ‘I’m Baby who are you?’
‘I’m Duncan!’ The burly man said.
Baby giggled. ‘Funny name, Dun can, or Dun can’t,’ he sang. His voice hit the steel walls and bounced back at Duncan. Then silently the wobbling skyscraper sandwich fell first onto Duncan’s lap and then slid piece by piece onto the floor.
‘Two second rule, ‘ Roared Granddad and everyone, except Mother Munchin and Duncan, dived on the food. Within two seconds it was gone.
Mother Munchin apologized adding, ‘I’ll get you a fresh one. Junior take Duncan’s jacket into the kitchen and I’ll clean it for him.’ She ran off to the kitchen to make another sandwich.
They are all batty, fruity and loopy, Duncan decided. He was wondering how he could get to take a look through the rest of the house. If I had mums sleeping tablets in my pocket I could put it in their food. Because the way they eat they wouldn’t notice the funny taste. With them all asleep my job would be easier.
Mother Munchin appeared before him and handed him a neat sandwich saying, ‘You poor dear you look really pale, will I call the doctor?’
Duncan who was staring at Granddad Munchin who was doing his favorite trick, making his eyes spin. Duncan’s stomach was spinning as fast as Granddads eyes. ‘No, if I sit quietly for a while I will be much better, thank you. It is very kind of you to offer.’
Mother Munchin beamed at Duncan. ‘Oh you do have lovely manners. Most men today have forgotten where they put their manners.’ As she was speaking she was glaring at her family. It was her favorite topic – her family’s lack of manners.
Granddad said, ‘Is that the time? I should be somewhere else.’ And off he went.
Father Munchin looking up at the ceiling said ‘Well we can’t let Granddad wander about by himself. I’d best go to keep an eye on him.’ All the time he was thinking, ‘I don’t like this guy, he sounds too good to be true, I’ll check him out.’ And he went into the kitchen to see what he could learn about Duncan from his wallet.
Junior opened his mouth closed it and followed his dad. Because that’s what he usually did.
Baby thought Ducan looked interesting. He wondered what would go wrong next.
Baby’s life ran on disasters. His teacher at school was always telling him this. She said it yesterday as she helped him fish his books out of the school garden pond and last week when they had to wrestle his scarf from the very fat pig called ‘Smoky’ in the school animal farm. Baby’s worst disaster had happened when he was two years of age. Baby was trapped by accident in the fridge. Luckily he had loads to eat.
So as you can tell Baby was experienced in disasters but being flattened was an interesting and new one for him. He decided stayed to watch and learn.
‘Duncan might like to lie down on my bed, Mum.’ He whispered to her.
She stared at Duncan. He was a most peculiar colour green. ‘ Yes. You are right. Good idea. Really Baby what would I do without you. I really don’t know.’
Duncan was gently steered in the direction of the stairs. He was very white faced but happy. This was his big chance to take a look at the goodies in the house.
The house was very bright and very clean. Duncan said so to Mother Munchin.
She beamed at him. ‘Oh thank you, how kind of you to notice.’ She said flicking another piece of imaginary dust from the banisters as they walked slowly upstairs.
Duncan was taking a very good look at this strange house. The walls were not painted, but there was an awful lot of photographs of the Munchin family. All of the photographs had no glass in the frames. ‘Nice photo’s of your family,’ Duncan lied. Then he couldn’t help himself as he said, ‘There is no glass in the frames!’
‘No, people sometimes bang doors and glass breaks.’ Baby told him. What he didn’t say was the people who caused them to break were usually Fred and Baby playing hide and seek or football.
‘Must be a lot of history attached to a place like this,’ Duncan said.
Baby giggled. Mother Munchin said, ‘Well some of it we don’t like talking about.’
‘Especially the donut house!’ Baby said.
‘Baby, it wasn’t Granddad’s fault he loved donuts.’ Turning to Duncan she whispered, ‘The original house was wooden and shaped like a donut. Granddad started sleep eating one night and we woke up in our beds with no roof over our heads and no walls or floors either.’
Duncan’s mouth fell open. He really didn’t know what to say. The silence stretched on for a while.
Mother Munchin’s next words made him jump. ‘I love bright shiny things,’ she was twisting a gold and ruby bracelet around her wrist and didn’t notice Duncan’s strange reaction to her words.
Duncan was smiling. A very strange scary smile, Baby thought.
Duncan was dreaming of all those things he could never afford. ‘This year I’m going to have all of those nice gadgets I see in the shops. He began to list them: a new car, the newest phone, a new camera, computer and laptop, a house and perhaps a nice big very fierce dog, to keep burglars away.
Pulling open the nearest bedroom door she said, ‘Here you are, have a nap and when you feel better we will have tea before you go.’ Mother Munchin was leaving the room and still speaking. She was excited. It was an awful long time since they had a visitor to their house.
She was planning on doing some baking for Duncan. Her mind was full of cream cakes, ginger bread men and scones as she hopped on the banisters and slid down landing with a soft, klump on the floor on her feet.
‘When he wakes up let me know.’ She said as she dashed off to the kitchen.
Baby grinned in admiration. Each time he slid down the banisters he landed on his bottom or his head! ‘Ok.I’ll sit on the top stair and read my comic that way when he wakes I’ll know it.’ He didn’t like the way the man’s eyes grew large and hungry as they looked at his mum’s bracelet. Baby also thought Duncan smelt like a man who was trying too hard to be nice.