Chicago, 1941

My Spike always gets us nice places to live.

I know this because he always says so.

He says, "Baby, can I pick 'em or can I pick 'em?"

But this time I think he didn't pick this one very well.

Not at all.

Miss Edith doesn't think so either.

My Spike says, "Poodle, what are you goin' on about? Thanks to you setting fire to that Union Boss, we can't be seen out and about for a while until the smoke clears. We have to squat here for only a little while. Anyway, pet, location-location-location!"

Sometimes my dark star isn't very bright.

Miss Edith agrees, 'specially when he says "location-location-location!"

Not that our new lair is a bad lair.

It's a shack.

With a view.

A nice view.

If you like views of the city dump.

Oh well. At least there are lots of lovely spiders.

Too bad my mean old Spike sprayed them with lovely, smelly poison - which made them all lie on their backs and go "kickity kickity – aaaaack". How vexing! This means no lovely spiders for Drusila's morning tea to go with her newspaper and fresh rats.

It's also close to a hobo jungle – which means that we can eat out every night and never have the same kind of vagrant twice.

I 'specialy adore winos; they're always marinated to perfection.

But what is it that Drusilla particularly doesn't like about this new lair?

It's too noisy.

All day, rat-a-tat-tat!

"Rat-a-tat-tat!" on the door.

All day.

"Rat-a-tat-tat!" on the walls.

All day.

"Rat-a-tat-tat!" on the roof.

All day.

It makes it very hard for a black poppy and her beloved to get any sleep with all that banging going on.

We would complain to the owner, but we ate him.

So all day, "Rat-a-tat-tat!"

My dark star held a blanket over his head and stuck his head out the door to look. Then he yelled and flapped the blanket – the banging stopped.

When I put the flames out, he told Miss Edith and me that we had a flock of woodpeckers banging on our shack.

"Peckerwoods?"

"No pet, woodpeckers." My dark star held out his hands, "Big black and white bird with a pointy red head, what clings to trees and bangs away like you and me after a good meal."

"Oooooh, naughty woodpecker, mother wouldn't like that… may I watch?"

"No pet, not that sort of banging! It's some crazy Yank bird. Remember that cartoon I took you to see at the cinema last week?"

"Ooooh, Woody Woodpecker has a family?

My dark star sighed, rolled his eyes and said, "Never mind."

We went back to bed.

All day, rat-a-tat-tat!

"Rat-a-tat-tat!" on the door.

All day.

"Rat-a-tat-tat!" on the walls.

All day.

"Rat-a-tat-tat!" on the roof.

All day.

The peckerwood and his family gave Drusilla a bad headache - which made her cry so our Spike went outside and flapped a blanket at the naughty birds to make them go away.

By now his pretty Brill-Creamed hair was almost all burned away by the wicked sun.

But the bad, bad birdies flew away.

Or did they?

All day, rat-a-tat-tat!

"Rat-a-tat-tat!" on the door.

All day.

"Rat-a-tat-tat!" on the walls.

All day.

"Rat-a-tat-tat!" on the roof.

All day.

Uh-oh! They came back, wickedwicked birdies!

My Spike was very cross with everything.

He gets like that when he has no sleep.

Which means that everything makes him yell so I have to hit him.

A lot.

When the sun went down we went hunting, but we went hunting by our very own selves because he was so very unpleasant.

At sunrise I came home to our nasty little shack.

My Spike was up on a ladder.

He was banging away at the side of our shack with a big hammer.

"What are you doing?"

"I broke into the library and found a book on peckerwooo- I mean woodpeckers, luv. They eat the nasty little wasps what smear mud all over the place for their nests. They bang the nests open like peanuts and eat the grubs. If I squash these nests, the feathered lit'l sods will go away."

Oh.

Drusilla is not sane, but even she knows a bad idea when she sees one all wrapped up in pretty paper and tied with a pink ribbon.

Miss Edith agrees.

This does not look like a good idea.

So Miss Edith and me went into the shack to go to bed.

We left our beloved dark star with his bad idea – they made good company for each other.

Bang!

Bang!

"Bloody hell, the lit'l sod stung me!"

Serve our William right for making his Drusilla stay in a nasty little shack. After all, if he hadn't have made that Union Boss mad, Drusilla wouldn't have had to set the Union Boss on fire.

So there! I hope you get stung by a million trillion billion nasty little waspies in their black and shiny coats.

So there!

Bang!

Bang!

"Gotcha!"

Bang!

Bang!

"Hell, got me again!"

Bang… "Will you look at the size of that nest? It's all made of paper. Dru, pet, you got to see this one!"

Dru did not want to see the big nest all made of paper. It was probably smelly and ugly too.

So she stayed inside with Miss Edith and ate rats instead waiting for the sun to finish rising so that she could go to bed.

"Dru!" my dark star yelled again, "Come watch me deal with this big nest – it's big as a football!"

"Shan't!"

"Your loss pet. Gonna give this one a right big smack, squash the little blighters all to hell in one shot. Then I'll go find out where those soddin' woodpeckers nest and set fire to it!"

Oh dear. My dark star has another bad idea. But Drusilla is too busy combing her hair to warn him. Oh no, not Drusilla. She has better things to do than to save her dear boy from his bad ideas.

"One… two… three!"

BANG!

The side of the shack shook and very much dust came sifting down all over Drusilla, getting her hair and Miss Edith all dirty.

But that wasn't the best part.

Her Spike was laughing the way he does when he's done something delightfully wicked.

Then he started to yell some of his best dirtybadnasty words.

There was a lovely loud buzzybuzzy noise and I heard him fall off of the ladder, whappity-whappity-thumpthump-thud- "Bloody hell!"

Then I heard him run away screaming.

Serve him right for getting his Drusilla and her Miss Edith all dirty.

The buzzybuzzy noise followed our Spike.

It was nice and quiet after that.

It was so nice and quiet that Drusilla got much lovely sleep all by herself in the dirty, nasty little shack that her Spike got for her.

After sundown, our Spike came home.

He was covered with mud and water-weeds.

His face was all big and puffy.

He was cross, but too full of water-weeds and mud to be mean to his Drusilla.

In fact, he slept all night and all day.

Next time, his ripe wicked plum picked out our new lair.

It was a tidy little house with a tasty family living in it.

It had no wasps.

But better yet, it had no woodpeckers.