by Jim Lawrence
Kaptain Kozmik took his drums to the Women's Institute building next door to his mum's lockup, where she kept her tuba collection.
He had a plan. He would use the WI building, where he was renting a rehearsal space, as a vantage point from which to burgle the lockup.
His mother had banned him from the family home - 'Either those wretched drums go or you do!' So Kaptain Kozmik made his choice, a no-brainer.
The drums were his life. He carried a set of bongos with him wherever he went - work (luckily he was a pro musician), the pub, the shops.
He even took them to the local church's bazaar (a fundraiser for a new roof; someone had stolen the lead again), where he gave a 47-minute
solo interpretation of Let There Be Drums to the fascinated horror of everyone within earshot. The vicar, Rev. Timothy Evensong, was a
part-time Beatnik, so he brushed off complaints with a benign 'Don't blow your cool, daddio, just dig the groove-o-roonie.' Anyway, a lovely
WI lady had her wares spread out on a trestle table for all to see; she had baked 200 delicious scones. There were scones with cream & jam,
scones with marmalade and organic butter, and her very popular 'space scones', whose delicious brandy butter filling was mixed with dope oil.
Well, Kaptain Kozmik clapped eyes on this beauty of the baking tray and fell instantly in love. He had to approach her. He was stiff
in his resolve to win this woman's heart. So he strode up to her table and surveyed the comestibles all arrayed in their farinaceous glory.
She smiled at him and said, 'You look like the sort of adventurous boy who'd appreciate one of these.' She delicately lifted a space scone
onto a paper plate with some very handy but stylish tongs she'd stolen from Ikea, even though they only cost £7.94. She was that kind of
dangerous woman who led men into trouble all too easily with her femme fatale ways, rather like Harriet Harman or the woman in the Special K
ads on telly. Well, Kaptain Kozmik (his real name, btw, was Nigel Kozmik) bit into the scone. 'Very nice, I love brandy butter,' he said.
She fluttered her Boots No.7 eyelashes at him, for she too felt an attraction to this young man. So they chatted about ornithology and the
price of Lego until Kaptain Kozmik started to get high on the space scone. He realised he'd been medicined with a spiked foodstuff. This was
the clincher: he had visions of them spending a stoned eternity together while she listened to him bashing his bongo until the end of time.
The kind of girl who would surreptitiously get the local parishoners as high as kites with Women's Institute baked goods was the kind of girl
to take him out of this one-horse suburb. Who knew, they might even run away to Harrogate!
'Who are you, o mysterious temptress, o my anima animated in real life?' She gazed at him with her big eyes of the deepest blue, eyes that
promised worlds. 'My name's Brenda Thrumm,' she breathed, 'but my friends call me Mrs. Thrumm. I have overly formal friends, unfortunately.'
'Can I call you Thrummikins?' 'I don't know. Can I stab you in the nostril with a stolen biro from Poundstretchers if you do?' This kind of
witty banter was sure to devote him slavishly to her. 'Ok, Brenda it is then. Would you like to see my pocket metronome?' She laughed with
a warm throaty giggle that sounded like silk disappering down a waste disposal machine. 'Never mind this small talk, let's nip into the
vestry while the vicar's in the pub and fuck each other's brains out.' Kaptain Kozmik readily acceded to this suggestion, and so their troth
was plighted up against the vicar's teasmade in 4.7 minutes flat.
As they lay in each other's arms, staring at the signed photo of Thora Hird shaking hands with Gregory Corso on the vicar's desk, Brenda
said, 'I'm a bad girl and I need a man who wants to be bad too.' Kaptain Kozmik thought about this for a moment, then said, 'How would you
like to steal a bunch of tubas and use the proceeds to run away together. Plus it would really piss off my mum,with whom I have an intensely
freudian and emotionally crippling relationship.' 'Sounds just like my kind of action,' Brenda replied, her thighs wide with excitement.
And so they hatched their evil plan together by the light filtering through the stained glass window and illuminating the vicar's bike clips.
Midnight, the WI building next to Kaptain Kozmik's mum's lockup. The felonious punks waited, hidden in the broom cupboard, until the last of
the ladies competing in the most-amusing-root-vegetable-sculpture contest had packed up her parsnips and gone home.
The lights went out and the front door latched: the signal for Kaptain Kozmik & Brenda Thrumm to launch their mission of musical malfeasance.
There was a window in the broom cupboard overlooking the short alley between the WI and the back of the lockup. Brenda gave the Kaptain a
leg-up and he wriggled inelegantly through the window and dropped onto the tarmac outside.Thanks to the many videos on Youtube demonstrating
the techiques for picking locks, for the edification of those who simply want to pick their own locks as a hobby and absolutlely don't
harbour any criminal intentions whatsoever, the Kaptain easily mastered the intricacies of the padlock and slipped inside.
He switched on the light. Arrayed before him was an impressively brassy collection of tubas, tubas that would take him and Brenda to the
high life. It took no little time and effort for Kaptain Kozmik to carry each tuba across to the WI window and Brenda to hook a wire
coathanger, dangling from an old pair of tights that had once seen action in a near-fatal game of auto-erotic asphyxiation with Brenda's
Klingon teacher, around each instrument and pull it up to the window. Eventually this stage of the heist was carried out efficiently. It was
inconceivable that anything could go wrong.
But Fate cannot bear to see hubris succeed. She swore to confound this arrogant criminal enterprise. I think Fate was probably suffering PMT
and so was pissed off sufficiently to foil what should have been The Great Tuba Heist, or Tubagate as it would inevitably have been called
in the newspapers. The cruel mistress Fate had placed a stray turnip, lurking just by the front door. So when all the tubas had been stowed
in a handy set of packing cases in which an industrial quantity of jam had been delivered, and all the packing cases had been loaded onto
an equally handy hand-truck which the WI used for all its heavy lifting needs, the turnip lay in wait. Brenda unlocked the front door and
fired up the getaway Ford Transit van. Kaptain Kozmik pushed the hand-truck towards the front door. But Fate's fickle fuckup face grinned as
the Kaptain trod on the booby-trap turnip. He slid forwards, out of control, his momentum pushing the hand-truck out of his grasp, sending
it hurtling along the crazy paving and through the gate. It bowled Brenda over and one of the packing cases smashed. Two tubas flew into the
air, describing graceful arcs. Brenda watched one descend, in Peckinpah-esque slo-mo, towards her. It fell on her, braining the temptress in
a fatal blow. Kaptain Kozmik struggled to his feet. 'NOOOOO!' he cried. His cry was echoed by the farting noise, caused by the inward rush
of air, of the other falling tuba. As he looked up he was suddenly in darkness. The bell of the tuba had, incredibly, dropped exactly over
his head. He tried to pull it off but it was stuck. He couldn't see and he couldn't run. The noise of this disturbance had stirred several
neighbours, and soon the sirens of police cars and ambulances sang on the suburban air.
So poor doomed Brenda went the way of all bad women in stories such as this: to the mortuary. Kaptain Kozmik had to endure humiliating
surgery to remove the tuba from his head. This operation was made necessary by a fateful turnip. You could say it was 'turnip surgery'.
Epilogue: Kaptain Kozmik is serving 18 months for Grand Theft Tuba in Winchester Prison. He feels very silly.
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Another real-time Twitter story - I was on a roll that week, it seems. The title was supplied by Meg Locsin (@megatonlove).