'What are we doing up here?’ he moaned.
Uncle Wizard sighed.
‘For the hundredth time, this is a look-out post! We’re on look-out duty!’
He gestured around them. They were sat on a magic carpet, flying high above Wizard HQ. Down below they could just make out its endless roof and the towering chimney spurting blasts of magic into the sky.
Bob shook his head.
‘And what exactly are we on the look-out for?’
Uncle Wizard sighed.
‘How many times do I have to say? Lord Wizard fears an attack. We’re on the look-out for Intergalactic Jelly-Monsters!’
Bob spluttered and laughed.
‘You don’t really believe that do you. There’s no such thing!’
Uncle Wizard growled irritably.
‘Lord Wizard gave me this duty. We’re the first line of defence against the Intergalactic Jelly-Monster invasion force! This is important work!’
‘You’ve been had. This is nonsense.’
Uncle Wizard waved him away, then pulled out a pair of binoculars and looked out on the dark and dreary sky. He scanned the horizon, but there was nothing to see.
‘This isn’t nonsense,’ he huffed. ‘Why would Lord Wizard ask me to look out for something that didn’t exist? Now, that would be nonsense!’
Bob shook his head.
‘Well, that’s simple…’
Uncle Wizard’s shriek silenced him in a second. He fixed on a point far to the North, then pointed urgently towards a dark mass approaching them quickly.
‘Intergalactic Jelly-Monsters!’ he cried. ‘Sound the alarm! The invasion has started!’
Bob did not even bother to look up.
‘That’s not an invasion force. That’s a cloud. Just like the last one, and the one before that.’
Uncle Wizard narrowed his eyes and stared into the binoculars.
‘Hmm, well, it might look like a cloud, but it would be just like those Intergalactic Jelly-Monsters to disguise themselves as a cloud and sneak right past us. And that would be a disaster, what with the visit of the Enchanter of Lantern Island.’
‘It can’t be any more of a disaster than the last time he visited.’
Uncle Wizard grimaced.
‘Perhaps I did get a little carried away.’
‘A little carried away!’ shrieked Bob. ‘All you had to do was present him with a Scroll of Friendship. But no, that would have been too simple. Instead you turned him into a tin of tomato soup!’
‘It was an accident!’ pleaded Uncle Wizard.
Bob shook his head, then shivered and pulled his bobble hat further down over his head.
‘And we’re missing the banquet. Just imagine what pies they’ll be tucking into.’
Uncle Wizard folded his arms sternly.
‘Exactly, and we don’t want the banquet ruined by an invasion of Intergalactic Jelly-Monsters, do we? Lord Wizard said it’s vitally important I keep a look-out for the whole length of the Enchanter’s visit and not to return until it’s all over.’
‘But there’s no such thing as Intergalactic Jelly-Monsters! Don’t you see! Lord Wizard made them up. He wants to keep you away from the celebrations. Stop you turning the Enchanter into a tin of soup again.’
‘Nonsense!’ cried Uncle Wizard. ‘This is a very important job and I will do my duty.’
That sat on the magic-carpet in silence, the wind howled and the clouds grew ever darker. A flash of lightning crashed across the sky and rain began to fall. Very soon both Uncle Wizard and Bob were soaked to the skin.
‘Come on,’ said Bob, ‘let’s go home. There’s no Intergalactic Jelly-Monsters out here.’
Uncle Wizard looked to the sky. The rain was torrential. Five hours they had been sat on the flying carpet without a hint of anything even the slightest bit jelly-like. He shook his head. Bob was right, Lord Wizard just wanted him out of the way.
‘Ok, let’s go home then, no point in getting soaked and catching a cold.’
With a tug on the magic-carpet he turned it around and headed home to their wigwam. It was a bumpy ride in the worsening weather, and they were glad of warm towels and a hot cup of tea when they got back.
‘Intergalactic Jelly-Monsters!’ said Uncle Wizard slumping down on the sofa. ‘How did I ever believe that!’
Bob laughed then turned on the television.
‘You won’t fall for that one again!’
The television warmed up and a reporter appeared on the screen. He was jabbering frantically into a microphone.
‘I’m here at Wizard HQ where there’s been a terrible disaster! An army of Intergalactic Jelly-Monsters has kidnapped the Enchanter of Lantern Island!’
Uncle Wizard and Bob stared at the television, their mouths agape.
‘Aah!’ said Uncle Wizard.
‘Oh dear!’ said Bob.
Copyright Richard Anderson 2013