Chapter 7: Mrs Trumblebuggins has a Crumpet
Later that day, Mr Trumblebuggins and Mr Catchratter sat at the kitchen table of the Trumblebuggins’s house.
The day had not been a great success. Mr Catchratter had barely escaped from Crackpot Junior School, Mr Trumblebuggins had had a long and difficult conversation at the police station about what had happened at the Corkscrew’s house that morning, and worst of all, as far as Mrs Trumblebuggins was concerned, Olly and Cynthia were still not able to go back to school.
Mr Trumblebuggins and Mr Catchratter sat in silence. Upstairs they could hear the heavy tread of Mrs Trumblebuggins as she put Olly and Cynthia to bed. She was not in a good mood.
The occasional yell or scream could be heard from above. Mr Trumblebuggins was unsure if the noises were coming from his wife or his children.
There was a clatter of feet on the stairs and Olly and Cynthia appeared together at the door of the kitchen, dressed in last year’s Halloween costumes. Ollie was wearing his werewolf mask and Cynthia had vampire teeth, dripping with what Mr Trumblebuggins hoped was only tomato ketchup.
Moments later there was another yell from upstairs and Olly and Cynthia made a run for the front door. Mrs Trumblebuggins had had the good sense to close every bolt and turn every key on the door to prevent their escape. Before Olly and Cynthia got halfway through undoing all the locks and bolts, the shapeless form of Mrs Trumblebuggins rushed down the stairs and grabbed them by their ears.
Mrs Trumblebuggins appeared at the door of the kitchen, a child suspended from each hand.
“This is what I mean, you nincompoops,” she said, addressing Mr Trumblebuggins and Mr Catchratter. “These two horrors are even worse since they got chucked out of that school.”
“Not possible,” muttered Mr Catchratter under his breath.
“What was that you said, Sidney Catchratter?” demanded Mrs Trumblebuggins.
Mr Trumblebuggins looked down at his hands, suddenly fascinated by the state of his nails as Mrs Trumblebuggins advanced on Mr Catchratter, a child swinging from each hand.
She leaned down until her nose was an inch from his.
“Well?” she said.
“Nothing, nothing…” mumbled Mr Catchratter.
Mrs Trumblebuggins stood up straight again.“I’m taking these two up to their beds,” she said. “Where they will stay!” she continued, glaring first at Olly and then at Cynthia. “And then I will come down here and one of you useless men will make me a cup of tea and toast me a crumpet. Do you think either of you can manage that?”
Mr Catchratter and Mr Trumblebuggins nodded silently.
And, with that, she marched back upstairs with the children.
The two men sat in silence for a few moments more.
“Not happy, is she?” said Mr Catchratter eventually.
“No,” said Mr Trumblebuggins. “I noticed that too. I’ll put the kettle on.”