Once upon a time Jack was supposed to sell a cow. Jack was supposed to show his mother a handful of mysterious, ‘magic’ beans. Jack was supposed to climb the ensuing beanstalk. Jack was supposed steal a golden egg laying hen. Jack was supposed to steal a sweetly-singing harp. Jack was supposed to run from a giant, lolloping…erm… giant. Jack was supposed to chop down the thick, strong, crepe paper beanstalk…..
But all was not well at the cottage, Jack walked to his mother’s house with his hands over his eyes, bumping into the small human-beans strewn on the foremost wooden bench. Jack managed to articulate two lines of perfect prose. The familiar faces of the crows eagerly grinned from across the neighbouring field. Waving, sticking thumbs up, and applauding with animated encouragement. Then the wind abruptly changed and so did Jack’s face. His lip rolled downwards, slowly unravelling until finally flopping with a heavy thump at the foot of a cow-caped child. Jack’s eyes began to melt. Big pools formed on his little podgy cheeks.
His method acting was impeccable. Award-winning, I’d say. The words ‘cow for sale’ must have stirred up in Jack such strong feelings of grief. The mere thought of bidding adieu to his bovine friend was obviously far too much…..
What? Not acting?
Pickle (aka Jack) sobbed. He really sobbed. Uncontrollably. The audience gazed on as he was taken backstage to regain his nerve.
His return was triumphant……triumphantly short-lived.
He snivelled into his snot-laced sleeves as the small human-beans sang ‘One Fine Cow’. He was led down from the beanstalk and onto a wooden bench, where he wallowed, chin on chest.
Pickle’s giant Bolshie bravado had paled at the sight of those familiar crow faces. His eagerness to impress had overwhelmed him. He had tried so hard. But Pickle “sometimes gets scared”. He felt he had “let us down”.
Somewhere deep inside I had a feeling this might happen. I hadn’t talked about the Spring Concert that morning. I knew if I had, Pickle would have plastered on his bubbly, boisterous facade; the one that everybody loves, the one that I know hides his true character. He had far from let us down. He had done a fantastic job, and so had his understudy and eventual successor…. *spits out bitter taste in mouth*.
After choking back my own tears and resisting the urge to hotfoot it onto the stage, trampling small cows and beans underfoot, I felt proud and slightly contented at the fact that he had shown this often elusive, vulnerable side. The rest of the afternoon was spent lifting his downtrodden spirits. He finally went to bed feeling, quite rightly, proud of his efforts.
Hollywood will just have to wait a little bit longer for our freshly peeled Pickle.
[NB: The earlier production was a slick effort…apparently – not counting the nose-picking….* scrapes venom from tongue*]