As part of my work on Vanguard, I need to do some work in Full Glorious Technicolor. I know, shock, horror, and such like, me doing colour! Anyway, more on that later, for now I want to dwell on what I discovered when I went looking for my watercolour book.
You see, there was a time back in my youth when I wanted to write and illustrate children's books. This ambition has taken a back seat for now, as it requires the promotion of both writing and art skills at the same time, while it is difficult enough to promote these skills individually. Yet there was a time when I thought that all I needed to do was chuck a few pictures and words together and send them off to some agents. This post is about the results of that youthful naivety.
I have spared you a full rendition of the poetry. It... isn't good. The art is also, well, patchy is a polite word; but it is so full of enthusiasm that I could not help but share it with the world. Be forgiving in your judgement, this is a decade old, and I have grown as a person and an artist. Enough waffle, let's get started.
This is the story of Marlypee Monkey and Baal the Bear. They live in a tree. So does a little blue bird, but the bird won't be mentioned again, so don't worry about that.
One day, Marlypee noticed that there was no food in their cupboards. Where are these cupboards? In the boat that is atop the tree. I didn't mention the boat earlier, but that's okay because I didn't draw it in the picture either. Anyway, Marlypee wants to go shopping so drags Baal off with him. They go to a fruit and veg shop.
It would seem they want to buy some peas. I don't like peas, so I don't know if 99p is a good price for peas or not. Did I mention I drew this 10 years ago? Take inflation into account.
Oh no! Pirates attack!
They land their flying ship on the fruit and veg shop and start shovelling the food into treasure sacks. Maybe they are concerned about scurvy. Marlypee tries to stop them, because he is that sort of monkey. By which I mean; blind to his limitations. Did Marlypee not notice the swords and guns? Apparently not.
So the pirates put Marlypee and Baal in a cage. They leave Claire the Cow in the wreckage of the crushed shop, maybe because she would not fetch such a good price when sold to illegal and unethical zoos or something. Don't worry though, she returns in the second sequel, "Marlypee Monkey And Baal The Bear Picnic On Zombie Island."
Anyway, the bad news is that Marlypee and Baal get hung above loads of monsters in the deepest, darkest hold of the ship. The good news is that the keys are just within reach of Marlypee's tail!
Well, that all goes predictably badly. Marlypee gets his tail bitten off and cries about it a lot. He cries about it so much the monsters start to feel guilty and all learn a valuable lesson about respecting personal space. They unlock the cage and help Marlypee and Baal escape.
The pirates are a bit miffed about this whole situation. Especially when their prisoners steal one of their flying life boats. They fail to appreciate the irony of pirates having things stolen from them, and promptly give chase with blazing cannons.
Remember what I said about Marlypee being blind to his limitations? Can he pilot a flying boat? He can not. Crashing ahoy-hoy all round.
But who are these happy little people they have found themselves crashing upon? Why, it is a village of sentient peas, hidden away in unexplored mountains! What are the chances?
The pirates catch up with our reluctant heroes. Baal has finally lost his patience as far as their intrusive behaviour goes, and sets about ladling out the wrath. The pirates realise too late that they put down their guns and swords so they could play tiddlywinks. Too bad for them, me thinks.
The peas are all pretty chuffed with this series of events. The pirates had for years pillaged their village, but now they will think twice about returning.
To show their appreciation, they help their new friends back home. Marlypee and Baal ride an avalanche of peas back down to the lowlands. It is pretty much the best slide ever!
Marlypee Monkey and Baal the Bear are soon back at their tree. They scoop up loads of peas, shove some of them in the freezer for later, and begin tucking into the rest for dinner. I'm not sure how much peas present a balanced diet, but they will suffice for one night before a new shopping trip tomorrow.
A happy ending for all!