Jimmy, The Glue Factory and Mad Mr Viscous

Mad Mr Viscous, the owner of a glue factory, is hell-bent on making his fortune from selling glue made from his secret ingredient - horse. Determined to stop him, Jimmy, and his best friend Eric, set off on a fantastic adventure; discovering a world of witches, warlocks and animalistics that up until then they had no idea even existed.


3. It happened one Saturday

“Jimmy, are you up?” his mother called out from the bottom step of the stairs.
Jumping out of bed, Jimmy lied, “Yes, I’ll be down in a tick.” Grabbing hold of his jumper, he pulled it hurriedly over his head. It stuck; his head was stuck halfway in and halfway out of the hole. “Drats,” he hissed, wishing his head was not so large, or the hole in the jumper so small. Recalling his mother once telling him that he had a German head, whatever that was supposed to mean, Jimmy wished it not so. Tugging harder, with all of his might this time, Jimmy finally managed to get his head through the opening. That being done, he pulled on his trousers, buckled his belt, splashed a few drops of waters onto his face, then opening his bedroom door, dashed downstairs, two steps at a time. “Morning, mum,” he said cheerily, brushing his hair backwards with the palm of his hand. 
His mother loved his hair – it was so incredibly black, the same as his father’s hair. “Eat up your oat flakes,” she said. “It’s cooked, today.”
Tucking into his breakfast, with all of his usual gusto, Jimmy began scoffing it back like there was no tomorrow.
“Slow down, you’re not in a race,” she chided.
“Sorry, mum,” he replied. “It’s just that I’m meeting Eric at nine-thirty,” he explained.
His mother, laughing at his innocence, pointed to the clock on the wall, saying, “In that case you had better hurry, because it’s already twenty-five to ten.”
“WHAT?” Jimmy hollered, eating, finishing his breakfast so fast his spoon became a blur. Jumping up from his chair, he dashed down the hallway and grabbed hold of his duffle coat and gloves. Pulling the door closed behind him, he called out, “Bye, mum.”

“You’re late,” said Eric, when Jimmy finally arrived at their meeting point, the corner of the next street.
“Sorry,” Jimmy replied, “had a bit of a problem…”
“You did?”
“Yes,” he explained. “Mum let me sleep in, didn’t call me until nine thirty. I almost jumped out of my skin when she told me what time it was.”
“Ah, well,” Eric answered, with an air of complacency, “you’re not that late. And it’s nothing special.”
“Nothing special?” Jimmy barked. “Are you kidding? The Circus of Grotesques is in town, and you say it’s nothing special!”
“I meant our meeting,” Eric explained, feeling as if he was in a hole, digging himself deeper.
Pulling a flyer advertising the circus from out of his pocket, Jimmy waved it in front of Eric’s eyes. “Look!” he said. “Go on – read it!” he barked.
Taking the flyer, Eric pretended to read it. He had no need to, though; he had read it so many times he knew every word printed upon it. “The Circus of Grotesques – It will change your life forever,” he said.
“And you don’t think that’s important?”
“It’s only a circus…”
“Only a circus?” said Jimmy, flabbergasted by his friend’s nonchalant approach to the matter.
“To be quite honest,” said Eric, suddenly becoming goosepimply all over, “I’ve been thinking…that I don’t like the sound of it.”
Jimmy was now in a quandary, for they had been saving up to see the Circus of Grotesques for ages, so he asked, “What’s changed your mind?”
“I, I don’t know…” Eric mumbled.
“You don’t know? Is that all you can say? Have you no idea how hard it was for me to save up enough money for the ticket?”
Becoming defensive, Eric replied, “I had to save up for it also, you know. And it wasn’t easy.”
“Hmm, I suppose you’re right,” said Jimmy, calming down. “It’s just that I’ve been looking forward to it – for ages.”
Although Eric was taller than Jimmy, he felt smaller, incredibly smaller, a cad who had rained on the parade. “Okay,” he said, “I’ll go. But I’m not sitting in the front row!” he warned.
Smiling, happy again, Jimmy said, “Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go purchase our tickets!”
Arriving at the village green, where the Circus of Grotesques had set up shop, Jimmy said, “You know, I have always wondered why they call this a village green.”
“You have?” Eric replied, admiring the huge circus tent before them.
“Yes,” Jimmy answered. “It’s been an awfully long time since South Shields was a village.”
“I suppose so,” said Eric, his mind on other matters, namely the circus.
“Look,” said Jimmy, “that must be the ticket kiosk.” He pointed to a small grubby looking tent to one side of the marquee.
Giving it a disapproving glance, Eric said, “I don’t think anyone is there.”
He appeared to be right, for there was no standing behind the counter, despite the fact that someone had hung a sign above it, saying open.
Not so easily discouraged, Jimmy said, “Come on, there must to be someone in there.”
Approaching the tent, the boys stared through the opening above the small counter, to see if anyone was actually there. Standing on tiptoes, resting his arms on the counter, leaning across it, Jimmy called out, “Hello, anybody there?”
“What are you doing?” Eric asked, mortified by his friend’s unruly behaviour.
“Seeing if anyone is in there, of course,” Jimmy explained.
“Can I be of assistance?” a creaky old voice suddenly asked.
Caught off guard, frightened by the sudden intrusion, Jimmy lost his balance and fell to the ground, landing with a bump.
“Can I be of assistance?” the creaky old voice asked them again.
 Then they saw her; they saw an incredibly old woman, staring out from behind the counter.
“W, where did you c, come from?” Eric spluttered, believing she was most surely a witch, at having appeared, so.
“I was always here,” she replied, lifting her hands expressively as she spoke.
“B, but I never saw you!”
“Were you looking, really looking?” she asked rather cryptically.
Pulling himself up to the counter, not at all bothered or interested in where the old woman might or might not have come from, Jimmy said, “Good morning, we would like to purchase two tickets for this afternoon’s performance, please.”
 Her eyes staring into his, not at them, but burning right into them, the old woman asked, “You are not easily offended, are you?”
Gulping hard, Jimmy replied, “Me? Nah, I am as tough as nails. Tough is my middle name!” On hearing this, Eric raised an eyebrow.
Strolling away from the kiosk tent, the two friends, trying to forget about the old woman, and whether or not she was a witch, holding their tickets proudly, triumphantly, had some time on their hands, to kill, before the afternoon’s performance commenced.
“Let’s go to the cinema,” Eric suggested, “I’ve just about enough money left for a ticket…”
Shaking his head, Jimmy replied, “No, mine’s all spent. Recalling how hard it had been for him to save it, he said, “Have you any idea how hard I worked, to scrape the money together?”
Nodding, Eric replied, “I do, old mate. I can still see you, in my mind’s eye, with those sacks of flour perched high on your shoulder, running errands for those crabby old women, at a penny a time.”
Dusting his shoulders, imagining some flour residue was still there, Jimmy said, “I know that you also had to save up, but it was much harder for me, because I had to give most of the money to mum. She needs it, you know.” Shaking his ticket, he added, “But I did it – we did it, and we’re going to see the Circus of Grotesques this very afternoon!” On hearing this, a shiver of dread ran down Eric’s spine.
By mutual consent, Jimmy and Eric decided to go for a walk along the estuary, to watch the ships as they passed by, on their way in and out from port. They never tired of this activity, and each time they did it, they imagined they were grownup, members of the crew on at least one of these ships, heading off to some far-flung, exotic destination – and adventure. 
 “Look at that ship!” Jimmy said excitedly. “It’s registered in Liberia. See the flag! It’s the star and stripes! That is a flag of convenience. It’s easier – and cheaper – for the ship owners to do it that way.”
“There’s another,” said Eric, pointing to a rusty old relic.  
Nodding, Jimmy said, “Yes, that’s a tramp steamer. By the look of her, she could easily go down in the next storm.”
The two boys, sitting on the grassy banks of the estuary, watching ship after ship pass by, were enjoying it so much they almost forgot about the circus.
“Eric!” said Jimmy, quite in a panic, “What time is it?”
Looking across to the clock tower of the nearby church, “Eric said, “It’s ten to three.”
“What?” Jimmy answered. “The circus starts at three! Come on, Eric, run!” They did, the two best friends tore away so fast anyone watching might have thought their lives depended on it.



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