Piggy Heights

by Robert Williams

"So where are we all going on holiday this year then?" asked Mick in the cafe one morning.

"It's not my turn to decide this year," said Des.

"Thank goodness!!!" exclaimed Clive.

"It's my turn!!!" declared Mrs Greasy.

"OH NO!!!!" exclaimed Des, Mick and Clive.

"Don't tell me you've booked us a fortnight in your cafe!!" said Des.

"No, of course not, don't be ridiculous," said Mrs G. "I'm not having all of you lot cluttering up this place with me waiting on you hand and foot for two weeks!"

"Phew!" said Des.

"I've booked you three weeks!" exclaimed Mrs G.

Des gasped.

"Only joking!!" laughed Mrs G. "Had you going there!!"

"Don't do that, you nearly gave me a heart attack!" said Des.

"No, I've booked us all in at a swanky new hotel that's just opened!" said Mrs G.

"Oh no, it's not going to be one of these half-finished hotels on the Costa Fortune with a magnificent view of the car park?" said Clive.

"Well no, it's not quite that far away," said Mrs G. "But I can guarantee that's been fully built! In fact the building's been standing for years!!"

"Are you going to tell us where it is then?" asked Des.

"No!" said Mrs Greasy. "It's going to be a surprise!"

"Oooh, I like surprises," said Des.

"I don't," said Mick. "I've got a bad feeling about this..."

"Anyway, you lot had better get packing, we leave in half an hour!!"

"Half an hour?!" said Des. "That doesn't give us much time to get ready!!"

"Or to get the money together!" said Mick.

"Don't worry, it's only going to cost you £1.50 each!" said Mrs G.

"£1.50 each for two weeks?!?!" said Mick. "I've got a very bad feeling about this now!"

"Look on the bright side," said Des to Mick. "At least we get out of having to eat Mrs Greasy's cooking for two weeks!"

Thirty minutes later Des, Mick, Wayne, Clive and Mrs Greasy gathered outside Des's house, with their bags packed, ready for their summer holiday.

"Right, I'm driving!" said Mrs Greasy.

"No way, you're not driving my car!" said Des. "For one thing, you've only got a moped licence, you're not legally entitled to drive a car!!"

"Details, details," said Mrs G.

"Have you ever actually driven a car before?" asked Mick.

"Well no," said Mrs G. "But I'm sure it can't be that much different from driving a moped! After all, they've both got wheels."

"Mrs Greasy," said Des. "I refuse to let you drive my car. It's unsafe and illegal!"

"Well you can't drive, you're wearing a blindfold!" said Mrs Greasy.

"No I'm not," said Des.

"Yes you are!" said Mrs G, suddenly tying a blindfold round Des's head and then round everyone else's heads.

"What's this for?!?" complained Mick.

"I want our destination to remain a surprise until we get there!" said Mrs G. "Now hop in everyone!"

Mrs Greasy grabbed Des's keys from his hand, and everyone started fumbling around as they tried to get into Des's Fiat 126 blindfolded.

"Oh for goodness sake, take your blindfolds off and then put them on again once you're in!" sighed Mrs G.

Des took the front passenger seat, Clive and Mick got into the back seat, while Wayne was relegated to the roof rack, clutching onto everyone's luggage.

"Blindfolds on again, and let's go!" said Mrs Greasy.

Mrs Greasy started the engine and the car jerked forward.

"Me driving blindfolded would be less dangerous than letting Mrs Greasy drive," moaned Des.

"What's this stick for that's poking out of the floor?" asked Mrs G.

"That'll be the gear stick!" said Des. "It's for changing gear!"

"Oh that sounds a bit technical, I'll leave that alone," said Mrs G. She drove the car out of Des's drive and onto the road where it started swerving all over the place.

"I hope it's PC Plod's day off today," moaned Mick.

"It's exciting though, isn't it!" said Des. "I wonder where we're going to end up!"

"Hospital," said Mick, "if Mrs Greasy carries on driving like this."

"It's like the Magical Mystery Tour!" said Des, launching into song. "Roll up!! Roll up for the mystery tour!! The Magical Mystery Tour is coming to take you away!! Coming to take you away, take you today!!"

"I wish it'd come and take you away," groaned Mick.

Eventually Mrs Greasy got the hang of driving in a straight line. But they had barely got going when, the car came to a sudden halt. Luckily all passengers had their seat belts on – and Wayne had been clinging onto the roof rack for dear life.

"I'd rather you didn't turn the engine off when you've still got your foot on the accelerator," said Des.

"Sorry," said Mrs G.

"Why have we stopped?" said Clive.

"We're here!" said Mrs Greasy.

"Already?!" said Des. "But we've only been driving five minutes!"

"And it took three of those just to get to the end of our road!" said Mick.

"I'm taking my blindfold off!" said Clive. He did so, gasped and immediately put it back on again. "I'm going to pretend I didn't see that!"

"What are you talking about?" said Des. He took his blindfold off, gasped and immediately put it back on again. "Me too!!"

"Oh for goodness sake, what's the matter?!" said Mick. He took his blindfold off and gasped. They had stopped right in front of a sign which read 'PIGGY HEIGHTS HOTEL'. He immediately put it back on again.

"What's wrong with you lot?!" said Mrs Greasy. "Take your blindfolds off!"

"I'm fine thanks," said Des.

"Come on, it's only Farmer Files's new hotel!" said Mrs G.

"Exactly!" said Des. "Take us back home!"

"I can't, I've just given all your money to Farmer Files," said Mrs G.

"Ooooh arrrrr!!!" said Farmer Files, who evidently was there. "Thank you Mrs Greasy!! Welcome to the Hotel Piggy Heoights!! Such a lovely place (such a lovely place), such a lovely face! Plenty of room at the Hotel Piggy Heoights!! Any toime of year (any toime of year), you can foind it 'ere!!"

"Good grief," sighed Clive.

"Ooooh arrrrrr!!! Feel free to be takin' your bloindfolds off everybody!"

"I'd rather not, if it's all the same to you," said Des.

"Oh come on you bunch of wet blankets," said Mrs G. "This could be heaven..."

"...or this could be hell," said Des.

"Definitely hell!" said Clive.

They all reluctantly took their blindfolds off and got out of the car.

"Why on earth has Farmer Files opened a hotel anyway?!" said Mick.

"Ooooh arrrrrr!!!" said Files.

"Because, despite our valiant attempt at helping Farmer Files with our charity record Pig Aid," said Mrs Greasy, "Farmer Files is still skint. So he's turned his farmhouse into a hotel in order to raise some cash!"

"He's hardly going to raise much cash when he only charges his customers £1.50 for two weeks!" said Des. "If I was running a hotel I'd charge much more than that!"

"Shhhh!!" said Clive.

"Ooooh arrrrrr!!!" said Files.

"Farmer Files has fully assessed all the financial implications," said Mrs Greasy. "They'll become clearer as the weeks go on."

"And why's it called Piggy Heights anyway?!" said Des. "It's not exactly very high up, is it?!"

"Oooooh arrrrrrr!!!!" exclaimed Files.

Mrs Greasy shrugged her shoulders.

"It's more the 'Piggy' bit that worries me," said Mick. "Come on, let's collect our luggage and get this over with."

They turned to get their bags from the roof rack, but they were alarmed to find that they were nowhere to be seen.

"Wayne! You were supposed to be looking after our bags!" said Mick. "Where are our bags?!"

"Err, well, sorry Mick, I dropped 'em!" said Wayne. "You know, when Mrs G started drivin' all over the place!"

"That doesn't narrow it down much!" said Des. "We'd better go and fetch them, quickly!"

"Oooooh arrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "You not be goin' anywhere! We 'ave everything you be needin' roight 'ere!"

"Oh no," groaned Des.

"Now come roight in!!" said Files.

They followed Files inside the farmhouse, where the cramped hallway had been converted in a hotel lobby, with a table shoved in at the side, masquerading as the reception desk. Files went behind it to check everyone in.

"Oooooh arrrr!!" said Files. "Your name please, sir?!"

"You know my name!!" said Des.

"Oi 'ave to do this for legal reasons!" said Files.

"It's Des!" said Des.

"Ooooh arrrrr!! It's Des," said Files, writing it down. "That be an unusual name! Insoide leg measurement?"

"I'm going to sit down while I'm waiting," sighed Mick. "I think this is going to take a very long time."

"Oooooh arrrrr!!! That'll be costin' you £3!" said Files.

"What?!?!" said Mick.

"£3 to use that chair!!" said Files.

"Is it a special chair or something?" said Mick. "I think I'll stand!"

Eventually, after they had all checked in, Files called the bell boy to show them to their rooms. 'Bell pig', however, would be a more accurate description.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!" said Files. "Would you be showin' our guests to their rooms?!"

The pig, which was dressed in a bell boy's suit and hat, scurried up the stairs. The others followed him. When they reached the landing the pig oinked at Des and Wayne and then oinked at one door. Then it oinked at Mick and Clive, and then oinked at another door.

"Des and Wayne are sharing one room, and Clive and Mick are sharing the other!" said Mrs G. "There's only three bedrooms, and Farmer Files has the other one!"

"How on earth does Files expect to run a hotel with only two rooms?" said Mick.

"He's got an extension planned," said Mrs G. "He just needs the money first!!"

"So hang on a minute, where are you going to sleep, Mrs Greasy?" said Des. "In fact, why didn't you need to check in like the rest of us??"

Buts Mrs Greasy had already disappeared downstairs.

"Who cares?" said Clive. He and Mick walked into their room, and were alarmed to find it completely empty, even down to the bare walls and floorboards. Des and Wayne walked into their room, and found the very same thing. They all rushed back downstairs to complain.

"Farmer Files, our room's empty!" said Des.

"So is ours!" said Mick. "Where are we supposed to sleep?"

"I thought you said you had everything we need!" said Des.

"Oooooh arrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "Oi do!! Now what exactly be you requirin'?!"

"A bed would be nice!" said Des. "Two in fact, I'm not sharing with Wayne! And we'd like two bedside tables, a carpet, a light..."

"'Old on a minute, let me just wroite that down..." said Files. "Roight, two beds, that'll be costin' you £25 each per noight...two bedsoide tables, £11.50 each per noight, a carpet, that'll be £55.60 per noight..."

"This is outrageous!!" said Mick. "I want to leave immediately!"

"Ooooh arrrrr!!" said Files. "You can check out any time you like - but you can never leave!!"

Ho continued to note down the guests' requirements.

"Ooooh arrrrr, oi'll be 'avin' it all sent up your rooms immediately!!" said Files when they had finished. "And oi'll be invoicin' you when you be checkin' out at the end of the two weeks!!"

Des's heart sank when he saw how much he had already been invoiced.

"Ooooh arrrrr!!" said Files. "Now oi reckon you must all be feelin' very 'ungry! Whoi not come into the dining room and order your tea?!"

They all went into the dining room and sat down at the tab le.

"'Ere comes your waiter with the menu!" said Files.

Inevitably, the waiter turned out to be a pig in a waiter's outfit. Files picked up the menu off the pig's back and gave it to the guests. They made their orders, which Files noted down, and then put the orders on the pig's back, which scurried into the kitchen.

A few minutes later the pig emerged from the kitchen with each of their dishes. Files picked them up off the pig's back and placed them on the order.

"What's this?!" said Des. "I ordered mashed potato!! This is just a slushy mess! It looks like it was cooked by Mrs Greasy!!"

Files grinned.

"Oh great!" said Des. "Just great! No wonder she was so keen for us to come and stay!!"

"Ooooo arrrrr!!!" said Files. "That be roight! Mrs Greasy will be delioghted to cook your every meal for you for the next two weeks!! 'Ere be the bill."

"Are you out of your mind?!" said Mick. "I'm not paying for this muck!!"

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files angrily. "Oi'll be addin' it to the invoice!!"

"Thank goodness I smuggled some choccy biccies in my pockets," whispered Des to Mick. But nothing gets past Farmer Files.

"Oi'll have those!!" he exclaimed. "This establishment be full board only! No self catering!!"

Files whipped the biscuits out of Des's hands.

"I don't like it much round here," said Des. "I'm going to go and sit down in the lounge. Coming?"

Wayne, of course, continued to tuck into his meal, while the others moved into the living room, hotly followed by Farmer Files. As soon as they sat down on the settee Files started a stopwatch.

"What's that for?!" said Des.

"Oooooh arrrrr!! Sitting on the settee be costin' you 50p per minute!!"

Des, Mick and Clive heaved a huge collective sigh.

"At least there's one advantage to staying here," said Des. "We don't have to go to Dickie's boring disco."

"That's right!" said Dickie the Vicar, suddenly poking his head round the door. "Because Dickie's boring disco is coming to you!!"

"And admission will be costin' you £7.50 each!!" said Files.

Before long Dickie had set up his record decks in the living room and was boogying to the sound of some farming-orientated songs, such as 'I've Got a Brand New Combine Harvester' and the greatest hits of The Singing Sheep.

"This is the pits," groaned Clive. "Can I get a drink round here?"

"Oooooh arrrrr no!!" said Files. "We 'aven't 'ad no spirits 'ere since 1969! (Well, apart from coider, of course, and oi be keepin' that all for moiself!!)"

"Oh great," said Clive. "Okay then, what about this pool table it says you've got in this leaflet? !"

"Ooooh arrrrr!!! That be roight!! Come this way!!"

Files and Clive walked out of the room, followed by Des and Mick who were extremely keen on not having to suffer another minute of Dickie's Farm Disco. He led them out to one of the farm outbuildings.

"Is this supposed to be funny?!" said Clive as they looked at a children's paddling pool with a table sitting in the middle of it.

"Oooooh arrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files.

"I'm going to bed," said Clive. "Assuming I've got one now!"

Des, Mick and Clive went up to their rooms, which had been magically transformed and were now fully furnished with all their requested items, including wallpaper and carpets, and to Des's surprise, even his requested poster of Bobby Davro.

Des was fast asleep in his bed, wearing the pyjamas that Files was charging him £8.75 a night for, when Wayne noisily barged into the room.

"Oi Des, are you asleep?!" said Wayne loudly.

"Not any more," groaned Des, wearily. He looked at the alarm clock. "What time do you call this?! It's 2.00 in the morning!!"

"Sorry Des, me and Dickie were 'avin' a great time at the disco and we lost track of time!!" said Wayne.

"Good grief," sighed Des. "Well I'm glad someone's having a good time. Frankly, I've had quite enough of this, and I don't think I can stand another two weeks of it. I want to go home!!"

"Me too!!" said Wayne. "Who's Frank Lee??"

"We'd better leave now, we'll never get past Farmer Files in the daytime," said Des. "Come on! And be quiet!!"

"OKAY!!"" said Wayne.

Des and Wayne crept out of their room and down the stairs in the dark. But when they got into the lobby they were alarmed to see the silhouette of Farmer Files standing behind the reception desk.

"For goodness sake!" whispered Des. "Does he never go to bed?! Come on, back upstairs!"

They went back up into their room.

"We need a plan," said Des. "And luckily I've got one!"

He reached into his trouser pocket which was laid on a chair, took out his mobile phone and rang Mike the Manic Mechanic.

"Hello Mike, hope you don't mind me ringing you at this time of night," said Des.

"Yes I do mind," said Mike.

"Mike, is there any chance you could get hold of a fire engine?" asked Des.

"No probs," said Mike. "When do you need it?"

"Now!!" said Des.

Across the landing, it wasn't long before Mick and Clive also began hatching a plan of escape.

"Typical of Mrs Greasy to book us in somewhere and then go home herself!" said Mick. "Just because she's an employee!"

"That's it!!" said Clive. "We should get jobs here, then we can go home ourselves"

"Don't be ridiculous, that's the kind of idea Des would come up with," said Mick.

"Oh thanks," said Clive. "Come on, we've got to get out of here – and now!"

The two of them took a torch, crept out of their room and down the stairs. As they walked into the lobby they were surprised to see Farmer Files standing behind the reception desk.

"For goodness sake!" whispered Clive as they backed up the stairs again. "Does he never go to bed?!"

"Wait a minute – something's not right here," said Mick. He shone the torch in Files's face. "It's a mannequin with a beard!! Come on!!"

Meanwhile Mike the Manic Mechanic had arrived at the farm.

"Over here!" whispered Des, leaning out of the window. Mike drove over to window and then activated the fire engine lift. Des and Wayne carefully climbed out of the window and onto the lift. Then Mike lowered the lift back down the ground level.

"Brilliant!!" said Des. "Thanks Mike!"

Unfortunately Mick and Clive had chosen that exact same moment to escape. As they touched the handle on the front door it set off an ear-piecing alarm.

"Ooooh arrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files, sitting bolt upright in his bed. He looked out of the window and saw the fire engine. "FOIRE!!! FOIRE!!!" yelled Files. He started running round the farmhouse. "EVERYBODY OUTSIDE!! FOIRE ALARM!!!" Unbeknown to him, everyone else was already outside.

"Oh well done Mick and Clive," said Des. "Just as we were about to escape! Now we've been rumbled!!"

"OOOOH ARRRRR!!!!" exclaimed Files. He was surprised to see Mike the Manic Mechanic sitting behind the wheel of the fire engine. "Oh, 'ello Mike, oi didn't know you'd joined the foire service!!"

"That's right, I'm a reserve fireman," lied Mike.

"Ooooh arrrrr!!! Well are you goin' to be puttin' the fire out?!?!" said Files.

"Done it already," said Mike. "No messing about!!"

"Well oi must say oi am impressed!!" said Files, looking up at the farmhouse. "Very prompt response, and oi can't even see any foire damage!!"

"Thank you Farmer Files..." started Mike, but then he was interrupted by Des whispering something into his ear. "Err, right, the only thing is, I'm afraid you're going to have to keep the place evacuated for at least the next two weeks, you know, to let any residual fumes subside!"

"Well fair enough, if that's what you be sayin'!" said Files. "Sorry Des, Mick, Cloive and Wayne, oi'm going to 'ave you let you all go 'ome!"

"Brilliant!!" exclaimed Des. "Bye!!" The four of them leapt into the fire engine and Mike drove them away.

"Ooooh arrrr!!! 'Ang on a minute!!" said Files. "Oi haven't 'ad the chance to invoice you all!!" He started running after the fire engine.. "You still 'ave to pay for the whole two weeks you know!! Des, you be owin' me £4,143!! Mick, you be owin' me £3,789!! Oi, come back now!!!"

Copyright © Robert Williams

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