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The Ballerina

This is a condensed version of the Novella “A Big Fat Hairy Canary in a Coalmine”, which is based on the Novel, “A Big Hairy Scary Canary in a Coalmine”, which was a rip off of the children’s’ story “A Big Hairy Scary Canary and a Fairy”, which was loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

Chapter 1 – Three men and a coalmine
The sound of metal on stone reverberated through the cavernous mine. Water trickled down the black walls, shimmering from the lights that sat atop the bulbous heads of the three men who laboured at the coal face, like cougars at a 21st. Lester, Harold and Johnny had been working tirelessly on a beautiful black seam of coal all day and the thought of a refreshing cold iced tea to wash the black stuff from their throats lingered in their minds like a fart that stays with the body of the farter long after the fart has been evacuated. As they worked, they sang Kylie Minogue’s “Better the Devil You Know” in perfect three part harmony.

You couldn’t get three more different men together in the one place if you tried. Harold was quite small in stature, with one leg shorter than a duck’s, balding, and rotund in the way that round things often are. He was a former politician, who, after a tragic accident rendered him incapable of hyperbole, withdrew from the world and into the dark, murky world of coal mining. Lester was tall, over six feet, and extremely muscular. He had been a former Mister Universe, but found the constant glare of the paparazzi too much for his sensitive skin. Johnny, … well Johnny defied description, constantly refusing to answer even the simplest questions about the shape, colour and size of various objects and people. He was thin and bug eyed, with enormous ears and dangling nipples. Yet they had three things in common. The first was unusually large heads. The second was a love of the world of e-commerce. The third, and most important, was the fact that each man was drawn to the dark, forbidding, yet chocolatey world of the coal mine.

As they hacked away at the rock face, each was lost in his own thoughts. Harold reminisced about his days in Canberra. At his peak, Harold was known as a master orator and a skillful parliamentarian. Lobby groups would be constantly at his door, for notwithstanding what portfolio he held, he had the ears and eyes of all his fellow ministers, and he would hold them to ransom until he got what he wanted. He truly missed those halcyon days.

Lester, on the other hand, shivered, wobbled and whinnied as he thought of his past. While his sheer physical presence had swept him to the Mister Universe crown, it was not a part he played well. He could only see a hideous creature when he looked in the mirror, and soon he began wearing the burqa. This may have been a temporary fix, but for Lester it seemed to work. That was until he started his affair with Miranda Devine, who demanded that he remove the one of item of clothing that he had come to rely on so much, while requiring that he keep everything else on. After that relationship exploded in his face because of Miranda’s denial of the simplest scientific concepts, Lester sought out something that would give his life meaning. After dabbling in various religions, cults, drugs and water colours, he discovered coal mining and never looked back.

As Johnny worked he imagined himself as the King of Sardinia, all resplendent in robes and oily skin. Of course, Johnny was unaware that there was an autonomous region of Italy actually called Sardinia, and so imagined that he was the King of some small fish. Still, it brought him great pleasure.

Their thoughts were suddenly and violently interrupted as the roof of the tunnel allowing access to the chamber they were in collapsed, spewing up dust and grit and bits of other stuff that lodged in their nostrils. “Good Lord” cried Johnny. “Fuck a duck” screamed Harold. “Mumpph” muttered Lester, spitting black coal dust from his mouth. “What happened? Has the mine caved in?” asked Johnny. “Well not all of it you cock knocker”, replied Lester. “We’re still standing up. But it looks like the tunnel has collapsed. I think we might be trapped”. With this revelation, Johnny began to whimper, which soon grew into a cry, before breaking out into song with a rendition of Do-Re-Mi from the Sound of Music, only to be stopped on “La” by Lester kicking him in the nuts. “This could be a difficult situation” Harold said with unusual understatement.

Meanwhile, up on the surface, the idyllic Sunday morning brunch had been rudely interrupted by the collapse of the tunnel as dust spewed from its mouth. The mine foreman, Fred Savage, instantly stopped playing “Tinkle my Winkle” and raised the alarm, before putting it back down again, plugging it in and turning it on. People came running from all directions, in various ethnic costumes, some on all fours, colliding with each other, causing immense confusion. However, once the panic had died down, Savage made sure that it started up again by claiming that a giant squid had blocked the mine entrance.

Once it became clear that the mine entrance had collapsed, and that the imaginary giant squid was unlikely to return, Savage was savagely beaten. Yet that hardly solved the problem of what to do about the three, so-called men, trapped in the mine. The assistant foreman, Johannas Bannanas, crawled out of the mouse-hole in the wall in which he lived and scurried around looking for cheese, until it became apparent to him that in Savages’ enforced absence, he was in charge. “Ms Hartwell” he shouted at the wall, trying to get the attention of Savages’ secretary. Ms Hartwell, a 90-year-old former Peruvian dictator, gracefully entered the room in a one wheeled wheelchair. “Ms Hartwell, I’m afraid there may have been an accident” said Johannas. “Never mind” replied Ms Hartwell, “You know you always have a spare pair of slacks in the bureau”. “No Ms Hartwell, this is much more serious than a slightly soiled pair of pants. It looks like the mine may have collapsed!” Just as Johannas delivered the shocking news, Ms Hartwell’s one wheel sprang off and shattered through the office window which looked out over the Indian Ocean, causing a mighty gale to dislodge the numerous post-it notes stuck on various items in the room, all with the word, “conjugal” written on them in childlike handwriting. “Whatever will we do?” cried Ms Hartwell. “The only thing we can do, Ms Hartwell. We’ll have to call in the Ballerina!” mumbled Johannas, so quietly that Ms Hartwell was forced to say, “What?” “I said, we’ll have to call in the Ballerina!” roared Johannas, which caused Ms Hartwell’s wig to spin on her head for nigh on 7 seconds. “Oh dear!” said Ms Hartwell, as she removed the massively askew hairpiece from her head and vomited into it. “Oh dear!” “Should I make us some iced tea?” queried Johannas, as he pushed out a clearly lost Sherpa that had wandered into the office. “Oh that would be splendid Johannas” replied Ms Hartwell. “That would be just splendid” she repeated, for no apparent reason. But Johannas had left the office to put out the wheely bins which were due for collection that morning, and had failed to hear her.

Who is the Ballerina? What will happen to Harold, Lester and Johnny? Did Johannas get the bins out in time? Find out in Chapter 2 …

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