Chapter 14 - TRICKED!
"Constantinople?" said Wizard, looking puzzled. "What's a... a Constantinople?"
Mr Mouse laughed. "It's not a thing, barkboy" he said. "It's a place - used to be the capital of Turkey in the olden days, only now it isn't... the city's still there, but it's changed its name. It's called Istanbul now."
"OK, OK, Mr Top at Geography" said Wizzie crossly (he just hates all those weird names Mr Mouse keeps making up for him.) I mean... "barkboy"... actually that's quite funny!
Oops! Please don't tell Wiz I said that - he'll pretend I'm a tree and lift his leg on me, like he did when I laughed that time Mr Mouse called him "hairymax"!
"Constantinople... Constantinople... I'm SURE I could do that" said Dot excitedly. She loves spelling. "Now... let's see... C-O-N-S-T- "
"Dot - " said Mr Mouse.
"A-N-T-I - "
"DOT!" said Mr Mouse again.
"Dot will you LISTEN!" roared Mr Mouse. "Shee! Going on and on!"
Look who's TALKING everyone! Mr Mouse, biggest chatter in the business! Sometimes I think we should have called him Mr MOUTH!
"What?!" said Dot, feeling quite cross herself. She was sure she'd nearly got it.
"It was a trick question, for goodness sake!" said Mr Mouse. "Remember what Brian Mallow asked: "CONSTANTINOPLE is a difficult word. How do you spell it?"
"Yeah, so?" said Dot sulkily.
"Well what's the word the guy's actually asking you to spell?" asked Mr Mouse.
"Constanti - oh!" said Dot. She felt a bit silly.
"Exactly!" said Mr Mouse, shaking his head. "He goes: how do you spell - IT? So, that's what we all really had to spell - IT!! I - T !!"
"So... who got it right?" asked Wiz. It seemed a bit of a mean trick - OK for a game in the playground or whatever - but not this.
"Oh, Cousin Esure was cool again" said Mr Mouse. "He's smart - see, he's been hanging out with all those insurance people at esure.com a while now. And they get people trying to play ALL kinds of tricks on them - saying stuff's got broken or stolen or whatever so's they can get esure.com to pay to get a new one, or repair it or whatever. Later, I was talking to this top man called Adrian Webb at esure - neat guy! BOY, the stories he told me - you wouldn't believe it!"
"But that's - that's CHEATING!" said Dot, going pink. "It's not fair!"
"Yeah, and it means everyone else who gets their stuff insured so they can get help when they REALLY need it has to pay more, 'cos the bad guys have taken money that could do good things for other people" said Mr Mouse. "It's dirty stuff. Stealing!"
"Who else won the spelling competition though?" asked Wizzie. (He likes you to get on with stories!)
"Well, Samantha the singing guinea pig got it OK. But the Astounding Rixman most certainly DID NOT!" said Mr Mouse with a chuckle. "He TOTALLY blew it - lost his cool and started shouting at old Mallow that it wasn't a fair question, it was a trick, went on and on, yabbayabbayabba. So - BBF! Big blue flash and he was gone! Old Mallow just goes "That was a nice easy decision" and that was it."
"What about you?" asked Dot with a smile. She was pretty sure she could guess!
"Yeah, well" said Mr Mouse looking uncomfortable. "Spelling....you know... not my thing! But I was OK 'cos we were already down to three 'cos of Rixman blowing his stack like that. So there we were - Samantha, Cousin Esure, and me."
"And then?" asked Wizzie, yawning so his pink tongue came out in a big long curl.
Mr Mouse started twirling his whiskers again. "Well then - well then... suddenly - no warning from Mallow at all - the classroom just vanished - pfft!! - and all our little flying saucers landed with a bump on this kind of big cliff. Only, the top of it was tiny - no bigger than your table here Dot."
He gulped. "And when we looked over the edge of the cliff - we couldn't see the bottom - it just went down and down and DOWN AND DOWN!!!"
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