Recap: John smells; a lot! Mainly from a number of misfortunes including falling into a compost heap. Having spotted a church he hopes to seek help from the vicar but comes face to face with his own mother; who in panic flees as she thinks she's just seen a smelly green monster. Dejected and confused our hero then bumps into the Vicar, who states that he's John father! Oh and he's still no idea where the Yellow Fingernail is!
"You are not my Father" I demanded as he came around after being out for what seemed a lifetime.
"You are not my dad. For one he's got a bigger nose than you, secondly he has brown hair and yours is grey, thirdly you are about 2 inches shorter and fourthly you about 20 years older!"
"Oh". The Vicar paused for a moment, clearly he had got things mixed up. Perhaps it was the green slime covering John that had put him off track? Or that he wasn't wearing his glasses. "Well I know your mother, that's something." He came out with after much deliberation.
"Look I need a wash, I'm lost, confused and have failed in finding The Yellow Fingernail. Can you help?"
"No!" And with that he walked away, muttering under his breath something about wasting his time.
On the way homeCharming I thought.So much for caring for the poor and unfortunate and the smelly! I had wasted an hour with the "not my dad" discussion and the green slime was started to set. I had to get washed, quickly. Clearly there was a road up ahead as mother had made her exit that way. So picking myself up I started down the gravel track. I decided to try and head back to Leyhill and admit defeat to Mr Kiln (The Parish Councillor and all round bigwig). I had brought shame on the village. Rival villages would pour scorn and abuse, we would be the laughing stock of the county and I would be finished (again) as a detective.
False Beards, againI had been following the gravel track, kicking stones for about an hour, head held in shame. I passed what looked like an old man with a white beard sitting by a tree. Saying hello as I walked by. A high pitched mutter cam back in reply. Seemed a bit strange for an old man to have such a high pitched voice. I turned and looked at the old man who on closer inspection looked like a young boy in a false white beard but I couldn't be sure in the dimming light and the hardened green slime. As I was still lost I thought I'd ask him for some directions and whether he'd seen either my mother or a strange person with a yellow fingernail. He mumbled something (high pitched again) and shook his head from side to side. I was about to say thanks when I heard a voice in the distance.
"Son, your dinners ready". And with that the old man sprung to his feet. Rather sprightly for my liking.
"Are you sure they're calling for you old man?" I asked. He nodded and with that he was gone.
My first thought was it that his mum must be at least 100! Confusion then turned to realisation.Was this a devilish trick by the Yellow Fingernail? Using what looked like a decoy to delay me further? Although I couldn't get much more delayed, what with being a day late or was it two? Clearly I was dealing with a master criminal or I was stupid?
The NoteI started along the gravel path once more, not letting the situation get the better of me. I hadn't got very far when I noticed a note a few feet ahead. Maybe the old (young) man had dropped it? I picked it up and read.
Go To ThE baRN at THe End Of thE FieLD near The FaRM
I scanned the horizon for a barn, noticing one across the field in the distance. That must be it I thought. It seemed the hunt was back on. All was not lost. And with that I set off, a slight spring in my step, although the dried compost wasn't helping. The Yellow Fingernail maybe playing games with me but I was up for the challenge.
Coming Soon: Part 9 - Meeting at the Barn.