Again, I am so so sorry for the delay. I am afraid now I am back at school you are going to have to wait ages between updates. (Hey, at least I'm still updating this sometimes, it is my most regularly updated fic.) Enjoy.
"Right," she announced, "Time for round 5! The rules for this round are pretty simple. Each team gets 5 old bed sheets. Each team gets a slip of paper with a quote on. Each team gets a slip of paper with a character on, and each team gets a slip of paper with a circumstance on. You will also get a bag with a few props in. You are not allowed to tell the other team what is on your slips of paper. The idea is simple. Make a play, preferably less than 5 minutes in length. You will get 50 points for each given item included, e.g. If you use your quote, you get 50 points, if you use a prop, you get 50 points. Each thing only counts once. The props have to be used as part of the storyline, not just worn as accessories. The bed sheets are for fashioning outfits out of. You may cut holes in them, but I have no spares, so cut carefully. Everyone must be wearing a sheet, lack of sheet will mean points deducted. Does everyone understand?"
The crowd nodded, all struck dumb at the prospect before them. None had ever attempted anything like this before, and the idea was both exciting and frightening.
"Mother," Peggy called, the first to recover, "How long may we have?"
"It is now, I believe, about half past four. You may have all of the hour before tea, then, after tea, two hours before supper. Supper will be at eight, and after supper, you shall have half an hour to prepare, with performances commencing at a quarter to nine. Bridget, you may stay up with the others, so long as you all go straight to bed afterwards. And I mean everyone, with no complaining. Right, just let me go and fetch the props."
As soon as she had left the room, a babble of noise rose.
"How simply marvellous."
"Mother is a genius."
"Nothing could pass the time with this dreadful rain better."
"She wasn't serious when she said we all had to wear the sheets, was she?"
"Unfortunately, Jim, I think she was."
"Sometimes I could strangle my sister."
"Uncle Jim! Don't say that about mother."
"Sorry Peggy, I didn't realise you were listening."
"That doesn't matter. What is Mrs Walker to think of you, saying things like that?"
"Mrs Walker," Observed Mrs Walker, "Entirely agrees with the sentiment expressed by your uncle."
"But Mother, how can you not be excited. It'll be just like a proper play, with costumes and everything. Besides, you're good at acting. You made an excellent Man Friday, the first summer we were here."
"So I did. But Titty, you're not supposed to be encouraging me, you're on the other team.2
"True. I forgot that..."
In the midst of the chaos, Mrs Blackett reappeared, holding two old flour sacks, and a small tin. Calling for order, she bade C. Flint and Mrs Walker to come and stand either side of her, and gave them each a bag. Then she told them to each remove one red, one green and one blue slip of paper from the tin, and place them in their bin bag, without looking at them. Then she sent C. Flint's team up to the bedrooms, telling them they had the whole of the upstairs, and allowed Mrs Walker's team free range downstairs, minus the kitchen, where cook was busy baking.
C. Flint's team settled in the boy's room, shifting the beds to either side and clearing as much floor space as possible. Then they emptied the bag out in front of them. Inside were, as promised, 5 sheets, a pair of scissors, a needle and thread, some props, and the three slips of paper.
A quote: There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.
A Character: The Milkman
And a Circumstance: Trapped in a cellar with no way out.
Mrs W's team had the same, only with:
A quote: One day, we will look back on this, laugh nervously, and change the subject.
A character: The Queen
A circumstance: Riding camels in the Sahara.
Preparation soon began with gusto, scripts were written, characters selected, costumes started being planned and stitched. First run through, second, constant calls of 'Oy, get on stage now,' 'What are you doing? You should be over there,' and 'That was my line, you idiot, yours is next.' The gong was sounded for tea, and the meal was rushed through, no one really tasting Cook's carrot cake at all, in their urgency to get back to their plays. Soon time was up, and it was performance time. Mrs Blacked had converted a room downstairs which wasn't being used for rehearsing into a theatre, shifting in all the dining room chairs in a row, so that the audience could be seated, and rigging up a curtain over the doorway, so that the hall and room opposite provided a backstage and changing room area out of sight of the audience. A coin was flipped, and it was decided that Mrs Walker's team would go first.
Mrs W: The Queen (and narrator)
Peggy: The Camel Owner
Susan: Zoologist researching Saharan Talking Camels
Rodger: Camel Behind
Timothy: Camel Head.
Once everyone was seated, the lights were dimmed (Read: Turned off) and brightened (Turned on again) and the play began.
Mrs Walker entered, her sheet masterfully stitched by her and Susan to represent a royal gown, and a crown on her head crafted out of cardboard and an egg box which had formed part of their props. She spoke, carefully and clearly.
"It was a windy night, many years ago, when I first visited the vast and strange lands of the Sahara. The sun was just setting over the sand dunes, leaving everything looking pale, and blurry round the edges. I was travelling the way all do in the Sahara, on camel back. Well, I'd started off on the camel, but it was too bumpy for my liking, so I walked alongside it. The twilight plays strange trick on your imagination, when you're out there. The things that happened that night, come, I'll tell you."
"It all started so well. I met up with Manuel, the Camel Owner, and as soon as he learnt that I was the Queen, he had no problem lending me a camel. In fact..."
Here Peggy appeared, her sheet wrapped round her like a toga, with a turban on her head made from all the scraps left over.
"Your Majesty, it is an honour. How may I help you?"
"I wish to borrow a camel."
"One? You have no servants? No guard? But you cannot travel the desert alone. It will not do. I shall escort you. Indeed, you shall ride Humphrey."
"My camel. He will be pleased to be of assistance. Humphrey?!" The last was a shout.
Here the curtain seemed to be being attacked, and then, from the other side, burst through the strangest camel ever set eyes upon. Timothy and Rogers sheets had been ingeniously stitched together so that Timothy could stand at the head of the camel, and Roger in the hump, and wire had been used to ensure the body maintained its shape. All the legs moved out of time, and it soon became clear the back half couldn't see anything, for when the front half stopped, the back didn't , and there was a crash. The camel was obviously used to this; it didn't seem the slightest bit phased. The Queen, trying not to laugh, continued her narration.
"I started out the evening trying to ride on Humphrey. It didn't work, though it certainly caused some amusement. After a while I gave up, slid off, and offered to lead Humphrey with the rope." Here she took the string which was dangling from Humphrey's neck.
"We walked on into the desert. Suddenly we heard the sound of panting and running footsteps, and a figure appeared in the distance."
Susan appeared round the curtain.
"Wait!" She called. "Wait for me."
"So we waited, and she caught up."
"I'm looking," Susan informed them, "For a Saharan talking camel, and the locals said you might have one."
"A what?!" Spluttered Peggy (the owner, whom Susan had addressed).
"A Saharan talking camel."
"There's no such thing!"
"Who are you?" Demanded Mrs Walker in her best 'royal' voice, "And what do you mean? I for one have never heard of this creature."
"Neither have I!" Came a voice, and everyone span round. There was no one there but Humphrey.
"Who... Who's there?" Called Peggy.
"You do have one! I knew you would!" Chanted Susan dancing round and cackling with delight. The audience was baffled; they'd never seen this side of Susan before.
"What on earth is going on?!" Demanded the Queen.
"I'm sure I don't know." The voice really did sound like it was coming from Humphrey. The audience were unsure as to whether they were meant to assume it was Humphrey talking, or ignore the fact that it was Timothy's voice speaking.
"Look, I must be going mad. I'm sure my camel is talking." Exclaimed Peggy.
"I told you they existed!" Susan exclaimed.
The Camel danced a silly jig. And laughed hysterically (Rodger...). The audience was in fits.
The Queen was watching with an expression of baffled amusement, and Peggy seemed horrified at the change in her camel. Susan ran forward to hug the camel, but hit Timothy round the head in the process, producing a loud 'Ow'. The Queen took control.
"Okay, would whoever is currently playing tricks on us please reveal themselves. It ceases to amuse me."
Tim's voice echoed from inside the costume.
"You heard her, she's not amused. We should give up now."
"No, she has to say it."
"Say what? What do I have to say?" Demanded the queen.
"Say it. What Victoria always said. We are not amused."
"We are not amused. Are you happy now? Reveal who you are, or I shall have your heads cut off."
Here Peggy nudged her and stage whispered "How can you cut their heads off if you don't know who they are?"
"That is beside the point." The Queen retorted. "Completely irrelevant. Reveal Yourselves" She called, raising her voice.
At this point there was a rustling sound and Roger and Timothy appeared. The audience stared at the camel in astonishment. How was it still standing?
"YOU?!" Exclaimed Susan, outraged.
"Us," Timothy agreed.
"You... You Tricked me."
"You were too easy to trick."
"It was still mean."
"Who cares," Roger laughed.
"Would someone please care to tell me what on earth is going on?" The Queen was growing impatient.
"They tricked me!" Exclaimed Susan.
"You already said that." Peggy observed, "How?"
"They told me where to find a stable in which there lived a Saharan Talking Camel. Then they hid somewhere and talked to make it seem like there was a Saharan talking camel."
"And you all fell for it!"
"That is embarrassing." The Queen stated, and everyone agreed. "One day, we will look back on this, laugh nervously, and change the subject. For now, I want to find somewhere to sleep, so can we forget it, and get a move on."
Here she switched to Narrating.
"And that is the story of our chaotic night in the desert. We eventually found accommodation, the boys (pupils at Susan's college) apologised, and everyone laughed about it together. We hope it has provided you with as much amusement as it has us." The audience clapped, the actors bowed, and the camel fell over, revealing the wheelie chair it had been precariously balanced on. Everyone laughed.
Thank you for reading.
Also, any ideas for C. Flints group? Using the prompts, send me your plot ideas, by PM or in a review. They will be much appreciated.
tic tac toe 03: Thank you for your continued support, it is much appreciated.
Dracones: Good luck with your GCSEs, I'm sure you will Ace them.
Pixel and Stephanie Forever: Love that idea, will definitely name the ship that! thanks for the info.
constantlearner: Thanks for the positivity. I'm taking English Lit, History, Music and Religious Studies for A Level.
TTTHNN: Thank you for your continued support. I will try and get more John Nancy in soon, but due to the rain, and everyone being trapped indoors, I'm struggling a little. There will be more!
SkyeBlue: I updated! Thanks for reviewing, you hurried up this chapter, your review is the reason I'm not in bed now... Sorry for taking so long...
Thanks to everyone who is enjoying this fic! Please continue to support me, and remember, ideas are welcome. Maybe even needed!