Chapter 5 Meanwhile….James has an adventure all of his own

Even though it was very, very early in the morning James was wide-awake.

‘I don’t feel very sick’ thought James. ‘I’m going to have some juice and brekkie.’

He got out of bed. Well he fell out of bed really (which he does almost every time) and when he stood up he thought ‘is this what drunk people feel like. It’s not very nice. It must be pretty yucky feeling like they’re in a boat all of the time.’

James finally got his land legs and went out his bedroom door and stood at the top of the stairs.

‘It’s a long way to the bottom’ he thought ‘I wonder if I can slide down on my bum?’

It was 5am. It was still dark outside and very quiet. Nighttime quiet. The sort of quiet that HISSES! The sort of quiet that makes you JUMP! Full of things that HISS and JUMP and BUMP! Things that HISS and JUMP and go BUMP in the NIGHT!

When James got up he made so much noise that everyone else got up too. When James does most things, people tend to notice. He’s the type of boy that makes you notice him and forget about everything else.

James stood at the top of the stairs and even with the light on, he was looking around for ninjas and other creepy, hissy, jumpy, bumpy things. He didn’t see his dad and his brother and sister peeking at him from behind half closed bedroom doors.

‘Sssh! Said dad. Perhaps he’s sleepwalking.’

‘Perhaps he’s an idiot’ whispered his older sister and giggled like older sisters do for no real reason at all. They just like to giggle. No one has ever found out why and probably never will.

‘Let him go’ whispered dad. ‘It’s dangerous to wake up a sleepwalker. They can do crazy things.’

‘But dad. He already does.’ Said his brother. Do you remember the time….

‘I remember.’

James crept down the stairs into the dark abyss of the hall. He fumbled for the light switch sure that he was about to be gobbled up by a monster. He could almost feel its breath. Even as he found the switch his heart was pounding so hard that it almost jumped out of his chest and ran away. The bulb fizzed and popped its light into the hall washing the monster breath away. James felt safe once more.

He went into the kitchen and opened the fridge. He was bathed in a pool of cold blue fridge light. He looked at the juice. The juice looked at him.

‘This wasn’t such a good idea’ he thought ‘I feel strange.’

‘Don’t worry little man’ It was dad. ‘Let’s get you back to bed. That’s enough adventures for one night.’

‘Is mum back yet?’ said James

‘No. She’s with The Wet Bandit’

‘Is The Wet Bandit a goodie dad?’

‘The Wet Bandit is just The Wet Bandit son. But there wouldn’t be a Wet Bandit without your mum now would there?!’

‘My mum….Bubbles. Oops! That was a secret!’

‘Don’t worry son. I know all about it. Now let’s get you back to bed.’

Jack and Jake, the guinea pigs had a peek.

‘Have they gone?’ said Jack.

‘Yes’ said Jake.

‘Ok’ said Jack. ‘Monopoly or I Spy?’

‘What about a go on the wheel?’

‘Ooooooh the magic wheel!’

James slipped into a cosy sleep and dreamt BIG adventures. HUGE adventures about Bubbles and the Wet Bandit.

He snored and burped and rustled and fidgeted and tossed and turned and drooled into a deep, deep sleep.

The Abysinnian chicken pox slept too, unaware of the fate that lay before them.

Meanwhile, the Wet Bandit was drinking his third Shiraz pool of the morning and Bubbles was sitting in the shade gently strumming a lute and singing about James and Trevor the Superstar Spot.

‘Tomorrow we paint’ said the Bandit ‘Today we plan’


‘Si El Bandito!

‘And more wine!’

Chapter 4. Bubbles and The Wet Bandit Finally Hatch a Plan

‘Good Morning Bubbles. I trust you slept well?’

‘Not really. The cats meowed all night outside my window.’

‘That wasn’t cats Bubbles. That was Hernandez practicing his yodelling.’


‘While you slept, yodel interruptus, I was finalising our devilish evil plan.’

‘Our devilish evil plan?’

‘Yes. Evil and definitely devilish.’

‘Why can’t we have an ordinary sensible caring plan?’ Said Bubbles.

The Wet Bandit wasn’t listening.

‘Hernandez! Breakfast on the West terrace pour Balfour and Beattie. And bring the accoutrements.’

‘Si Bandito’

Bubbles looked to the rising Sun. ‘Bandito?’


‘Why are we having breakfast on the shady terrace?’

‘I don’t like the sun.’

‘But you sit in the sun all day, sipping your Shiraz.’

‘Precisely my dear. Precisely.’

Bubbles knew that it was pointless to try to understand the strange logic of the Bandit and with a deft flick of her feet and a loud HURRA! she hopped to the West Terrace.

The Bandit tugged at his thinking cap.

‘Before you think of just knocking at Tim and Kim’s front door and saying Hi. Remember me, I’m Bubbles. Can I have your Unicorn egg? That egg is their insurance. Their nest egg. Hahahahahahahah. Nest egg!’

‘Get on with Bandito and by the way, baked beans and soup for breakfast?’

‘What do you have?’ said The Wet Bandit. ‘Toast and cereal I suppose! How very pedestrian.’

‘As I was saying before being so rudely interrupted, they won’t just hand the egg over. Last night when you were sleeping al yodel interruptus, I consulted the book of Slippiness and the magic puce slidy board and it said…

‘Turn to chapter six and by the way…boat number 7…your time is up.’

‘So I turned to chapter six and do you know what it said?!’

‘How could I’ said Bubbles.

‘Quite right! It said ‘Puce elastic paint.’

‘That’s all?


‘So that’s the plan?’

‘Obviously not!! We have to take the wisdom of the great book of Slippiness and apply it! That’s what we do Bubbles. That’s the voodoo that we do so well!’

‘As in apply paint’ said Bubbles a little excitement creeping into her voice leaving it croaky like a frog on helium.

‘Can we slide on elastic paint Bandito?’

‘Yes we can’

‘Then all we have to do is…’

‘Precisely. Find a way to paint Tim and Kim’s house with elastic paint and then we can slide undetected to the safe and secure the Unicorn egg and cure James!!’

‘But can we tone down the puce? Perhaps lavender with a hint of puce?’

‘For you……anything. Lavender with a dominant hint of puce’

‘Merest hint Bandito!’

‘Ok. Merest. You always get your way Bubbles. You can play me like a Sousaphone.’

‘Then what are we waiting for Bandito?!’

Chapter 3. The Wet Bandit Hatches a Plan to Hatch a Plan

‘So Bubbles is a mummy. A mummy with a sick kid. Time changes a lot of things’ thought The Bandit.

‘But it sure was nice to hear her voice again.’

He slipped his feet out of his striped slippers, sprawled out on his wooden slatted sun bed, sipped the last of his Shiraz and put his on his favourite purple thinking cap and promptly fell asleep.

Meanwhile Bubbles tucked the guinea pigs up in bed, put the cat back on his wheel and put James out for the night.

‘Whoops! Silly me!’ thought bubbles. Once she had everyone where they should be and doing what they should be doing she packed her bag and chanted the magic mantra ‘UM’ and poof! She disappeared!

‘Mr Bandito! Mr Bandito! Wake up! El visitori!’

‘WHAT!……is my laundry ready? Has the volcano sprung a leak? Is this a dry state?’

‘Hi El Bandito’


Their eyes met. ‘Too close Bandito!’

‘Sorry Bubbles!’

‘You’re looking rather fetching in your thinking cap’


‘No. Not really.’

‘Cuttingly honest as always Bubbles. How’s the sprog?’


‘A spotty sprog.’

‘And the Superstar Spot?’

‘Getting bigger.’

‘Then we haven’t much time. How much time is, of course, a matter of some conjecture, a cause for some debate, the subject of…


‘Sorry. Do you remember that rather chic couple from our days in MI5, Kim and Tim? The water skiing spies?’

‘Of course I do. What have they got to do with a cure for Abyssinian chickenpox?’

‘Remember I told you about the Unicorn egg? They have the Unicorn egg. The very last in existence. It is the key to the cure.’

‘How?’ said Bubbles. ‘What has a Unicorn egg got to do with anything?’

‘Not the egg Bubbles but a Unicorn kiss. The only cure for this pox is a kiss from a newly hatched baby Unicorn’

‘Aw. That’s so sweet Bandito!’ gushed Bubbles.

‘Sweet but tricksy ’ replied The Bandit

The Bandit picked up a megaphone and shouted


‘Si El Bandito?’

‘Bring me the Book of Slippiness and the magic puce slidy board!’

‘Oh. And top up the pool with another 70 gallons of Shiraz’

‘Si El Bandito. Just like ze old days!’

‘And stop the phoney accent!’

Hernandez jumped onto his trusty scooter and fell off. Then he jumped on and fell off again…

‘Hernandez has been trying to master that scooter for over 20 years’ said The Bandit. ‘He’s a trier. A very stupid trier but he makes the best scrambled eggs on the planet!’

‘Enough of this nonsense! Let’s see if we can hatch a plan!’

‘And a baby Unicorn?’ said Bubbles.


‘What are you’re thoughts Bandito?’

‘My thoughts are complicated Bubbles. I’m faced with so many dilemmas, so many unanswered questions, which recycling bin to use, what….’

Bubbles left The Wet Bandit rambling by the pool, hat at a jaunty angle, sipping his new batch of Shiraz. She retired to bed.

As she hovered between wakefulness and sleepiness she thought of James and the Giant Spot and hoped that the Bandit’s plan would work in time.

Chapter 2. Bubbles tells James a Secret


‘Yes Mum?’

‘I’ve got something to tell you…. a secret.’

‘Oh MUM! I hate secrets!’

James looked for a way out but because of his mum’s hatred of Feng Shui, all the exits were blocked.

‘I know you don’t like secrets James but this one is very special’

Mum sat James beside her on the sofa and said

‘You know that Mum has met The Wet Bandit?’


‘And you know that The Wet Bandit has an assistant called Bubbles?’

‘Yes. Everyone knows that!’ said James.

‘Well….I’m Bubbles’



‘But you’re just MUM!’

‘I can be Mum and Bubbles can’t I?

‘I suppose.’ Said James. He looked at his mum. His mum, Bubbles. He thought for a moment, then asked

‘Does that mean you’ve got superpowers?’

‘Yes. I have Super Slidy powers. And lots of other secret ones. But I haven’t used then in such a long time and I’m a little out of practice.’

‘And did you and The Wet Bandit have lots of adventures?’

‘Lots and lots! Some day I’ll tell you about them.’

‘Has dad got superpowers too?’ asked James.

‘Of course he has! Just not slidy ones. Or the other secret ones. He has Daddy superpowers.’

Mum put her arm around James and hugged him tight. James snuggled into his mum’s mohair jumper and it tickled his nose.

‘James. Mummy has to go now and find The Wet Bandit to see if he knows how to find a cure for your Abyssinian Chickenpox.’

‘Can’t I just go to the doctor?’

‘Not with Abyssinian Chickenpox darling. It’s pretty special. It’s magical’


‘Yes darling. Magic spots.’ Mum said softly.

James curled up in his favourite corner of the sofa. The corner with his bumprint and thought ‘My mum’s Bubbles! Wow! I’d love to tell my friends but it’s a secret.

A stupid secret.’

Bubbles went to the garage. Underneath some old broken crates of mouldy, mushy satsumas was a small metal box marked ‘top secret and slidy’ She opened it and took out a strange looking sooper dooper phone. She pressed a secret combination of numbers and listened as the phone connected.

‘Hello?’ said a gravelly voice. ‘Bubbles. I hope that’s you.’

‘Hi Bandito. I need your help.’

‘Well hello to you too Bubbles. I’m all ears. Well I’m not really all ears. I have other bits. I mean it would look silly if I was all…’


‘Sorry.’ Said The Wet Bandit ‘I’m listening’

‘What’s that slurping sound?’ asked Bubbles.

‘I’m just finishing off this pool’

‘Are you still drinking swimming pools of Merlot through a straw?’

‘Nope. It’s Shiraz now. Any hoo. What’s the problem?’

‘It’s one of the kids. James. He has Abyssinian chickenpox.’

‘One of the kids? One…of… the… kids?!?’ The Bandit shook his head in silent disbelief.

‘Yep. I’ve got three and a husband. a cat, two guinea pigs and an assortment of nervous tics….’

‘My oh my oh my! Bubbles the mummy!’

‘Stop it Bandito! You had your chance in ’57.’

‘Ah the summer of ’57!’

‘So. The kid?’ said The Bandit. ‘Sick you say?’

‘Help me ooby dooby Bandito. You are my only hope’

‘Cute Stars Wars homage Bubbles. Any hoo I know of a cure.’

‘I knew you would Bandito! What do we need?’

‘A Unicorn egg.’

Bubbles visibly paled. She almost hung up the phone.

‘How much Shiraz have you had to drink?’ she asked rather hand on hippidity.

‘A lot. But you know Bubbles that The Wet Bandit has an enormous capacity for wine.’

‘And just where will we find a Unicorn egg?’ In a Tesco? Down at the market? Should we get barn fresh or organic?’

‘I detect a hint of sarcasm Bubbles but my skin’s thicker than water. I can take it. The truth is…there aren’t any. But I know how we can get one!’

‘You do?’

‘Of course! Now I have to go and adjust my hat to a more jaunty angle. Wait for my signal.’

‘We never had a signal!’

‘Times have changed Bubbles. It’s not the 1930’s now.’