by Robert Williams
"Tis the season to be jolly, tra-la-la-la-la la-la la-la!" sung Des, for it was Christmas yet again.
"There's nothing to be jolly about round here," grumbled Mick. "Christmas Eve, and Mrs Greasy's just re-opened her cafe after having been closed for two weeks!"
"Well there is that," said Des, as they sat in the cafe waiting for Mrs Greasy to come and serve them (an experience not dissimilar to waiting for the dentist). "I can't even see what she's had done, looks exactly the same to me!"
"What are you talking about, I haven't had anything done, now don't be so personal!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy as she brought their lunch to them.
"I meant the cafe!" said Des.
"Oh!" said Mrs Greasy. "Well haven't you noticed? I've had the whole place fitted out with double glazing!"
"Yes, Mrs Greasy has finally come up-to-date and joined the rest of us in the 1980s," said Mick.
"How exciting," sighed Des. "So why have you suddenly decided to get double glazing then, normally you just put an extra jumper on!"
"Well, this bloke came to my front door," said Mrs Greasy, "trying to sell me double glazing. Anyway, I don't like to turn down a potential customer, so we struck a deal - in return for fitting double glazing to my cafe, I'd cook him up a full meal! That was back in July."
"July?!?!" said Mick. "Why has it taken so long for you to get your new windows then?!"
"I don't know, for some reason after he'd finished eating his entire meal (which is more than I can say for some people!), he got taken away to hospital," said Mrs G. "He's only just recovered, apparently!"
"Whatever," said Des. "Now what's this rubbish you've just plonked in front of me?!"
"Bread pudding, obviously!!" said Mrs G, though it was far from obvious to Des.
"It's not very Christmassy is it?!" said Des. "Come on Mrs G, if you're going to serve us inedible tat, it might as well be festive inedible tat!"
"Ah, now you come to mention it, I have got some actually," said Mrs G. "I made some mince pies back in March, now where did I put them..." She wandered back into the kitchen.
"Hey look, it's started to snow!!" said Des, excitedly. "Isn't it lovely!!"
"Very nice," said Mick.
"And look! Some carol singers have just come to the door!" said Des. "How festive!"
"Not so nice," said Mick. "Look who it is."
"Owww, it's only Clive, Wayne, Mike and Dickie," said Des.
They opened the front door, letting a massive chill in, as well as the carol singers' moaning.
"Oi Wayne, what did you have to stop here for?!?!" complained Clive.
"I'm ''ungry!!" exclaimed Wayne.
"So are all of us, but why did you have to stop here?!" said Clive.
"Look you lot, are you going to give us a song or not?! " said Des. "It's getting cold in here!!"
"Okay!!" said Wayne. He started singing. "We wish you a merry...oh...what was it?!"
"Christmas!!" exclaimed Clive.
"Oh yeah!!!" said Wayne. "We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry...what was it again?!"
"For goodness sake, let's just get inside!" exclaimed Clive. "At least it's warm in there!"
"About time," said Des, whose glasses were beginning to freeze over.
The carol singers sat down and took their woolly hats and scarves off.
"Brrrrrr!!!" said Mike. "It's cold out there!"
"Really?!?!" said Mick sarcastically. "Like it doesn't normally get cold this time of year!!"
"Never mind, we'll all be warm in here now Mrs Greasy's got double glazing!" said Des.
"Sounds nasty," said Mike. "Did she get it on the NHS, or was it private?!"
"Oh ha ha ha!" called Mrs Greasy sarcastically from the kitchen.
"Oi Mrs G, can I 'ave me lunch?!" called Wayne.
"Just wait a minute Wayne, I'm still trying to find these mince pies!!" called Mrs Greasy, who was busy rummaging around the kitchen.
"Look outside, the snow's coming down really heavily now!" said Des. And indeed it was - before long a thick layer of snow was lying on the ground outside. "We can go and build a snowman later!"
Half an hour later, the snow was still falling, Wayne was getting even hungrier, and Mrs Greasy was still searching all over the building for the elusive mince pies.
"Well I can't stop here all day," announced Clive. "I can think of better ways of spending my Christmas Eve afternoon. I've got to go and start my Christmas shopping!! I'm off!!"
"Me too!" said Des. "The 'Chucklevision Christmas Special' is on now!"
They went for the front door - but when they tried to open it, they found it was stuck fast.
"Oh great, look!" said Des. "There's a massive snowdrift blocking the door!"
"Back door!" exclaimed Clive.
They rushed across the cafe, and into the kitchen which Mrs Greasy had turned upside down (not literally) in her fruitless search for the mince pies. And to their horror Des and Clive found that the back door was also blocked by snow.
"OH NO!!!!" yelled Des. "WE'RE TRAPPED!!! WE'RE TRAPPED!! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!"
"Oh do be quiet," said Clive. "WE'RE DOOMED, WE'RE ALL DOOMED!!!"
"What's all that racket?!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy, walking into the kitchen.
"We're trapped inside the cafe," said Des. "We can't leave."
"And you regard that as a bad thing?" said Mrs Greasy.
"YES!!" exclaimed Des and Clive.
"The window!" said Clive. "We'll climb out through the window!"
"You certainly won't," said Mrs Greasy.
Clive tried to open the window - but found it impossible to open.
"It won't open, however hard you try," said Mrs Greasy. "None of these new windows I've had fitted will open!"
"You're having a laugh," said Clive.
"Haven't you complained to that double glazing bloke?!" said Des.
"What's the point?!" said Mrs G. "It's the middle of winter, it's not like I was thinking of opening them!"
"And what are you going to do when summer comes?" said Clive.
"Get some new windows fitted, I don't need double glazing in the summer do I?!" said Mrs G.
Des and Clive walked out of the kitchen, shaking their heads sadly.
"What's going on, what's all the palaver?!" said Mick.
"We're snowed in!!!" said Des. "There's no way out!!"
"Oh great," said Mick. "What are we going to do?!"
"I'll ask Mrs G if I can watch the 'Chucklevision Christmas Special' on her television," said Des. "Hey Mrs G, can I watch..."
"No you can't!" said Mrs G. "I'm not having such lowbrow rubbish on my television! Besides, it clashes with 'The Price is Right'!"
"Never mind that, how are we going to get out of here?!" said Mick. "We could be trapped here for the whole of Christmas!!"
"OH NO!!!" exclaimed Des.
"For goodness sake, what's the problem??" said Mrs Greasy. "I can think of worse places to be trapped! I mean, it's not like you're going to starve, are you?! The place is full of food!!!"
"OH NO!!!!!!!" exclaimed Des.
"There's only one thing for it," said Clive. He picked up Des's uneaten rock-solid bread pudding and aimed it at the front window.
"You throw that through my new window, and I'll throw it at your old head!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. Clive meekly put it down again.
"I know what I'll do, I'll ring the police," said Des.
"What for?" said Mick. "Has a crime been committed?"
"Well...no..." said Des. "I'll try ambulance then."
"Is anybody ill?" said Mick.
"Erm...not yet...not until we've eaten Mrs Greasy's Christmas dinner..." said Des. "I'll try fire then!"
"That's it!!" exclaimed Clive. "We'll set the place on fire!! That'll get us rescued!!"
"Don't you even think about it," said Mrs Greasy sternly.
"Des, you've got the number for air and sea rescue in your phone," said Mick. "Why don't you try them, they must be able to find us a way out!"
"Oh no, not again, that was embarrassing enough last time!" exclaimed Clive.
Des tried the number on his mobile phone - but all he got was the answerphone.
"Bad news," said Des. "They've finished for Christmas - the message asked us if we could hang on until after Boxing Day!!"
"So we really are stuck then," sighed Mick.
"This is very bad news," said Dickie the Vicar, who had been very quiet so far. "If I can't get back to the church I'll have to call off my traditional groovy Nativity!!"
"Oh dear, what a shame," said Des.
"Or will I..." thought Dickie. "Hey - I've just had a fab idea!! Mrs G - have you still got that box of Star Wars figures?!"
"Yyyyyes..." said Mrs Greasy.
"Fantastic!!" exclaimed Dickie.
Before long Mrs Greasy had fetched the Star Wars characters from her spare room and Dickie began arranging them on one of the tables in the cafe.
"Brrrr," said Des. "It isn't half getting cold in here, isn't it?! Hey Mrs Greasy, why is it so cold?"
"Oh no, the central heating must have broken down again!" said Mrs Greasy. "That's typical, isn't it, just as the weather's got cold! Well, I won't be able to get an engineer in until after Christmas!"
"Great," said Clive. "So if we don't starve to death, we'll freeze to death!"
"I don't what you lot keep whining about, you're not going to starve, we're trapped in a CAFE!!" said Mrs G. "The place is packed with home-baked food!"
"I'd rather starve to death, if it's all the same to you," said Clive.
"Mrs Greasy, haven't you got any spare jumpers or something we could put on?" said Mick, who was starting to shiver.
"Not really, I took my old jumpers down the jumble sale last week!" said Mrs G. "Didn't think I'd need them now I've got double glazing! Tell you what, I'll go and have a look to see if I've still got anything."
After a long wait, Mrs Greasy re-emerged, carrying a big box.
"Found this in the attic!" said Mrs Greasy. "Sorry, it's all I've got!"
She dumped the box on a table, knocking over Dickie's Star Wars characters which he had just finished arranging.
"Careful Mrs Greasy, you've just squashed the saviour!" said Dickie.
"What's all this?!?!" exclaimed Mick, as they all rummaged inside the box. "These look ridiculous!" They all started pulling out flimsy, brightly coloured tops, comedy trousers and stupid floppy hats.
"They're costumes for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," said Mrs G. "I forget why I've got them!"
"I remember, I used them for my Nativity play last year!" said Dickie.
"No, that was the one with turkeys," said Mick.
"That's right, I remember some of the audience saying 'That was a right turkey' as they left," said Dickie.
"Now are you going to put them on or not?!" said Mrs Greasy.
"I suppose so," said Des. "It's too cold not to!"
"Okay, now who wants to be Dopey?" said Mrs Greasy.
"That'll be Des," said Clive. Des glared at him.
Eventually, they shared out the costumes between them. Clive was Grumpy, Dickie was Happy, and Mike was Sneezy, Wayne was Dopey and Mick was Sleepy. Des, meanwhile, found himself lumbered with Snow White's dress. Grudgingly, they put their costumes on over their normal clothes, ready just in time for Dickie the Vicar's Nativity!
"Lady and gentlemen!" announced Dickie. "Welcome to this years mega-exciting Christmas Nativity - with a futuristic twist!! Groooovy!!! By the way, great to see a larger than usual turnout this year!!" This was painfully true.
Dickie proceeded to perform his Nativity play using Star Wars figures, with Princess Leia as Mary, Luke Skywalker as Joseph, and R2D2 taking the place of the baby Jesus.
Halfway through Dickie's tedious play, most of the audience were close to nodding off.
"Oh I've had enough of this," sighed Mick. "I think I'll just go to bed."
"Bed, that's a thought!" said Des. "Where are we all going to sleep?!"
"I've only got one spare bed, you know!" said Mrs Greasy. "And you can't all sleep in that! I know the real Seven Dwarfs did, but it doesn't mean you can!"
"So how are going to decide who gets the bed?" said Mick.
"We'll play Pass the Parcel, of course," said Mrs Greasy.
"Oh for goodness sake," groaned Clive.
Eventually Dickie finally finished his tedious Nativity, with Darth Vader, C3PO and Jabba the Hutt having given their gifts, some light sabres, to R2D2. By now Mrs Greasy had wrapped up the Pass the Parcel package.
"Only thing is, we need music!" said Mrs Greasy.
"You're in luck!" said Mike, reaching into his pocket. "I conveniently have with me a copy of Mike and the Mechanics X's amazing new Christmas single!!"
"Fantastic!!" said Mrs Greasy, taking the CD and putting it in her CD player.
"I'll operate the music," said Mike. "I don't mind sleeping on the floor, 'cos I'm HARD!!"
And so followed a game of Pass the Parcel, which contained exceedingly lengthy chunks of Mike's noisy, tuneless cover version of 'Merry Christmas Everybody'. By the time the game had ended, they had endured the song all the way through six times. But even worse - Mrs Greasy was the winner!
"Look what I won!" said Mrs Greasy. "A home-baked rock cake!!"
"I'm glad I didn't win, in that case," said Mick.
"So that means I shall take the spare bed," said Mrs G.
"That is just ridiculous," said Clive. "So does this mean one of us can sleep in your bed?"
"You must be joking!!" exclaimed Mrs G. "I'm not having one of you lot sleeping in my own bed!! Cor, dear!!"
The others groaned.
"So I hope you've all brought your sleeping bags with you," said Mrs Greasy.
"Oh darn, I knew there was something I forgot to bring with me," said Mick, sarcastically. "Of course we haven't got our sleeping bags!"
"I have," said Des. He reached into his carrier bag and took out a rolled-up sleeping bag. The others looked on incredulously.
"I think it'd be best if I don't ask," said Mick.
"So that's me sorted, where are the rest of you going to sleep?" said Des.
In the end Mick, Wayne and Clive were all forced to settle down in an assortment of chairs in Mrs Greasy's spare room, with Mrs G in the bed and Mike sleeping on the floor.
"This is so very cruel," sighed Clive. "If I had to get trapped somewhere, why could it not at least have been in The Dog and Stick Insect? Instead here I am, stuck in Mrs Greasy's cafe on Christmas Eve, dressed as Grumpy from the Seven Dwarfs, having just endured the Nativity performed entirely by Star Wars figures and Pass the Parcel with the most hideous cover version of Slade I've ever heard!! Does life actually get any worse than this?!"
"Oh stop complaining and go to sleep," said Des.
They all soon fell asleep, though it wasn't long before Des woke up again.
"Psst, Mick, wake up!" whispered Des. "I've got an idea!!"
"Oh no," mumbled Mick.
"Why don't we do what we did when we were stuck in Farmer Files's hotel?" said Des. "Ring up Mike, get him to bring round a fire engine and rescue us through the window!"
"Des, there are two fatal flaws with your plan," said Mick. "One - the windows won't open. Two - Mike is at present sleeping on the floor over there!!"
"Oh yes..." said Des.
An hour later, Des woke up again with another plan.
"Mick, Mick, wake up!" said Des. "I've got another idea! Seeing as it's Christmas, why don't we do what Father Christmas does, and get out through the chimney!!"
"Fine," mumbled Mick. "If you want to climb up through the chimney in that dress and get covered in soot, that's fine by me. But I'd rather stay here and get some sleep!!"
"Suit yourself," said Des. He got out of his sleeping bag and proceeded to find the fireplace. He returned half an hour later.
"Psst, Mick, wake up!" said Des.
Mick opened his eyes again and saw a blackened figure looming over him.
"Oh my god!!" he gasped. "Who are you?!?!"
"It's only me," said Des. "I don't think that was such a good idea after all."
Des managed to go the rest of the night without thinking up any more stupid ideas. They were all woken the next morning by Mrs Greasy.
"Good morning everyone!" she declared. "Merry Christmas, one and all!!"
"Merry Christmas, that's a joke," muttered Clive. "This is without a doubt the least Merry Christmas of my life!"
"Ouch, my back feels awful!" moaned Mike, after a night on the floor.
"Oi Des, how on earth did you get covered in soot like that?!" said Mrs Greasy. "Your dress is ruined!!"
"Ummm...well...." said Des, unable to come up with an excuse.
Still dressed as dwarfs, the gang were invited down for breakfast. But there was someone missing.
"Where's Wayne?!" said Mick. "I haven't seen him since I got up!"
"He's outside," said Des. "Outside?!?!?!"
They all peered outside into Mrs Greasy's back yard, where they saw Wayne building a snowman.
"That's impossible!!" exclaimed Des.
They tried both front and back doors - and both were still stuck fast due to the snowdrifts. So they banged on the window and ushered Wayne over.
"How did you get out?!" mouthed Des at Wayne.
"Pardon?" mouthed Wayne back.
"HOW DID YOU GET OUT?!" mouthed Des again.
"PARDON?" mouthed Wayne again.
Des tutted, and turned to Mrs Greasy. "Mrs G, get me a piece of paper and a pen!" She did so, and Des wrote out 'HOW DID YOU GET OUT?' on it, and held it up at Wayne. Wayne then held up a piece of paper saying 'PARDON?'
"Oh for goodness sake," said Mrs Greasy. "We've got to get on, you've got to open your presents!! All cooked by me!!"
"Oh no, I don't like the sound of this," said Mick. They went into the main cafe area where Mrs Greasy had placed their presents on a table.
"This isn't very festive!" said Des. "Where's your Christmas tree?!"
"I haven't got one!" said Mrs G. "I don't normally get it till Christmas Eve, but I've been stuck in here, haven't I?! Actually...I have got an artificial one, which I keep for emergencies."
"If this isn't an emergency, I don't know what is!" said Des. "Go and get it!"
"It's in my old broom cupboard," said Mrs Greasy. "I'll fetch the key."
She did so, and the others followed Mrs Greasy to the broom cupboard, which was next to the kitchen.
"Haven't been in here for years!" said Mrs Greasy, struggling with the lock. "Bit difficult to get the door open!"
Finally she did - and they walked into a nasty musty, dusty small room.
"There's your Christmas tree," said Des, looking at a horrible, dust-covered, squashed old artificial tree.
"Never mind that, look!" said Mrs Greasy, picking up a tray that was sitting underneath it. "Mince pies! What a bit of luck! Yummy!!"
"Urgh!!" exclaimed the others, looking at the mince pies which were even mankier than the tree.
"Never mind that, look!" said Mick. "A window!"
The window of the broom cupboard was encrusted with dust and could barely be seen through.
"I assume this window is not one of those that Mrs Greasy had replaced last week," said Mick. "In which case - it must open!!" He tried the handle, which was a bit stiff, but lo and behold, the window opened!
"WE'RE FREE!!!" yelled Des. "WE'RE FREE!!!"
"YIPPEEEE!!!" yelled Clive. "This might not be such a bad Christmas after all!!"
One by one, Des, Mick, Clive, Mike and Dickie carefully climbed through the window.
"Oi, where are you all going?!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "Don't you want a mince pie?!"
But they weren't interested in mince pies - they were interested in their freedom, which they were to enjoy for a fleeting few seconds. For they had barely managed to finish climbing out of the window when they noticed a police car parked in the road alongside. Immediately some policemen leapt out of the car and started putting handcuffs on everyone.
"What's going on?!" exclaimed Des. "What are you doing!!"
"Gotcha!" exclaimed PC Plod. "Caught red-handed!! Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (well, four of them, anyway) - Tolworth's most notorious band of criminals, wanted for a spate of burglaries in the area!! Ha, ha, this more than makes up for working on Christmas Day!!"
"No, no, wait a moment, there's been a mistake!!" protested Des, as they got shoved into the police car.
"A right Merry Christmas this is going to me," grumbled Clive.
"Dear, dear," said Mrs Greasy, as she watched them being whisked away from one incarceration to another. "Never mind Wayne, fancy a mince pie?!"
"Yummy!!" exclaimed Wayne, as he got tucking in.