Saturday, 30 September 2017

THE NUDE IN THE TREE


It was only when Jake Shudders opened the front door on that fateful winter's morn that he saw the full horror before him: a naked, frozen man perched in the fork of the Dutch Elm in his front garden, blue from the cold and very dead!

He averted his eyes from the rampant indigo appendage, frozen in a last desperate erection like an erotic popsicle and examined the face. Did he know this man? Was there anything even remotely recognizable about him?
As he had no friends he mentally ran through a list of his acquaintances, alright distant acquaintances, to see if he could make a match, but as none of them had a blue face and as he had no imagination, he quickly ran out of steam. Which was not the best metaphor for that arctic morning.
"What we have here is a frozen stiff with a frozen stiffie…" Again probably the wrong choice but Jake was in no mood to bandy words with himself. He had quite enough trouble with his legs.
"…nudely astride the fork of my Dutch Elm."

Faced for the first time in his short hectic life with a blue libidinous corpse sitting in his tree, Jake did the only thing that he was capable of, despite the hanging preposition, he ran back indoors, closed the door, shot upstairs and jumped back into bed.
With only his nose peeping out from the quilt Jake tried to put some sense into the previous scene.
"Okay. Did I just see a dead, naked, frozen chap of azure hue, with a horrendous boner, sat astride a bough of the Dutch Elm in my front garden? True or false? Maybe it was all a dream?" 
He reflected for a mo and then shivered. No, alas it was true and he still had the frozen nose to prove it.
But what had happened? Had the cadaver been planted up the tree (whoops, this time a little too apt), by a person or persons unknown, in which case he would have already been dead -  but why would a p. or ps. unknown go to all that trouble? Could it be one of those distant acquaintances overdoing it in the prank department?
Or did Blue Peter, (again totally inappropriate, what's happening to me?) climb up a tree totally naked and in a state of colossal sexual excitement (maybe he got aroused by trees? Are there Arborophiles? I'm grasping at straws here. Maybe there was a knot hole which he was trying to penetrate) and then die of hyperthermia?  
So either he was a nude suicidal plant pervert or, and this is where it becomes ominous, are we looking for a frozen-blue-nude-aroused-cadaver-up-trees-depositer?

Interesting thought: if you die while having an erection does the member also get rigor mortis? And is that what some types of necrophilia are all about? Especially in the Antarctic?

It was round about here that Jake's never very fertile imagination skidded to a screeching halt as he was assailed by a disturbing notion:
"Oh buggar, has Blue Peter been murdered?" he mused, "And is someone trying to foist the crime off onto me? I must do something."
In seconds flat Jake had debedded, re-slippered, down-staired, door-opened, garden-pathed and up-tree-stared.
Blue Peter was still up there, no dream, alas.
A sparrow fluttered and swooped away chirping from its perch on the recalcitrant organ.
He began a dialogue between himself and himself.
"Do I know this naughty blue ex-person?"
"No, I have never seen him before in my life, I'm sure."
"So how the hell did he get up there?'
"Three possibilities: he climbed up, he was placed there, he fell."
"Ooh, I've got it, he fell out of a passing plane."
"Get real, he would've shattered into tiny pieces. And probably destroyed the tree as well."
"Unless, gentlemen of the jury, he had…a parachute!" With an air of quiet triumph.
"Aha, brilliant! You are cunningly suggesting that there is a parachute thief in the vicinity, who just happened to be passing by, as Blue Peter with his blue peter was dropping in."

He pondered this for a while, then in ponderous succession, reflected, mulled, considered, chewed over, contemplated and finally ended up weighing-up the pros and cons.
"And anyway why do I have to be the one in italics?"
"Oh please! This it totally the wrong time to be childish, I mean is that all that you could come up with?"
"Well your intense air of superiority is sickening and what the hell sort of font is that, anyway?"
"Bauhaus 93 of course. I always use it in times of stress."
"Well it's stupid and totally unsuitable. I hope you realise that this is an emergency?"
"We always quarrel at the worst times, that's why we've never made anything of ourselves."
"You speak for yourself, I am quietly proud of my many accomplishments."
"Probably because you can't remember any of them. Enough of this bickering. Let's get back to basics. Nude man, frozen, blue, woody, tree… oh, and yes I nearly forgot, dead."
"I know! Maybe he was a tree hugger, taking it to extremes?"
"You mean a tree-fucker, don't you?"
"Wait hear me out. Suppose he took it to the next level and fell in love with it?"
"Oh yes great theory, maybe he's Dutch too and they both spoke the same language. For goodness sake get a life."
"Well at least I'm working on it, I don't see you coming up with any ideas."
A shivering breeze tinkled through the icy branches. A soft spume of snow began to blanket the garden. Sounds retreated.
Jake peered up at the dead man's face for a long moment.
"No," he said with finality "I've never ever seen this guy before."
He thought for a while.
"I think I'll call him Randy."
"Stunning! Well that's solved that problem, we can go back to bed now confident of a job well done."
" I just thought I would inject a note of levity into the situation to ease the tension. Why? Because I'm British, that's why, British to the core and proud of it."
"Yes, as quintessentially British as anyone with an Irish Mother and a Rumanian Father can be."
"Again, the bickering. Enough! Come, let us make common cause and get to the bottom of this mystery."
"Alright, but go easy on the jokes, this is no laughing matter. We could be in serious shit."
"Got it! I bet Randy's a terrorist!"
"Whaaat? For the love of Pete why?"
"Bear with me. He might be full of explosives. Like a giant lethal firework!"
"Oh and his dick's the blue touch paper?"
" Seriously, think it through. If you want kill the maximum amount of innocent people you put, for example, a dead naked man, containing a bomb, he's probably an infidel, in a tree. Then you lurk!"
"You…lurk?"
"Oh yes that's the whole point don't you see? You lurk until a big enough crowd has gathered, hopefully some police, ambulance-men, maybe even a few firemen to get him down from the tree and Bang! Piece of cake. Another triumph for religion. What do you think? Don't pull your punches."
"I have to say in all fairness and not wanting to pick holes, criticise or be in any way negative, that that is the silliest, most inane, brain-dead hypothesis I have ever heard propounded."
"Aha, so at least you agree that it's a hypothesis!"
"So is the flat earth theory, dum dum."
"The trouble with you is that you're a…"
"HEY, YOU TWO, SHUT THE FUCK UP, CEASE THIS LUDICROUS QUARRELLING FORTHWITH! WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY ON OUR HANDS!"
"Oh that's all we need, the lawyer's woken up. Let's see what your keen legal mind has to say on the subject."
"DO WE HAVE AN ALIBI? WE MUST BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS."
"An alibi? For when?"
"WHY ARE YOU TALKING IN THAT STUPID LOOKING FONT?"
"Because he's in stress, that's what he claims anyway. I think he's just being snobbish.."
"Pathetic! As usual he's demonstrating his usual total lack of imagination. I mean Italics! Puhlease!"
"You see he can't even stick to the same font. He's all over the place, no wonder we're stuck."
"Do you mind? This is Curlz MT and I only use it for stinging rebukes, so buggar off."
"SHUUUUTTUUUUUUP BOTH OF YOU! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW SERIOUS THIS SITUATION IS?"
"Okay, okay, but please stop shouting, I'm getting a head-ache."
"ALRIGHT, I'LL GO DOWN TO FONT SIZE 10. NOW LISTEN UP…"
"What, suddenly this is an American Movie?"
"I'LL  IGNORE THAT. I REPEAT WHAT I SAID EARLIER. DO WE HAVE AN ALIBI? LET'S ASSUME THAT SOME PERSON OR PERSONS UNKNOWN PLONKED THIS CARCASS UP THE TREE SOME TIME DURING THE NIGHT OR IN THE EARLY HOURS…"
"You are joking aren’t you? You know we went to bed at eleven and slept the whole night through. That's our alibi right there, and it's rubbish."
"I PUT IT TO YOU, GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY, THAT AS RIGOR MORTIS HAS ALREADY SET IN, THE CORPSE, CADAVER OR REMAINS MUST HAVE BEEN LEFT IN THE TREE SOME TIME EARLY LAST EVENING WHEN WE WERE OUT AT THE PUB."
"Why so?"
"BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE TO MANHANDLE A BODY WITH RIGOR MORTIS UP A TREE.  NOT POSSIBLE, LIKE A STATUE, TOO UNWIELDY."
"Are you postulating that last night we actually passed Randy already up in his perch as we weaved erratically home from the pub?"
"SUCH IS MY MODEST SPECULATION."
Well blow me down with a Dyson! Thought Jake. Not a bad theory. "Supposing Randy had got drunk, torn off his clothes climbed the tree and then lost unconscious and froze to death?"
"That's good up to a certain point but then what about the erection?"
'What about it then?"
"I don't want to be a naysayer.."
"Yes you do, that's all you want to be…"
"CHILDREN!"
"Alright, alright."
"…or even a wet blanket…"
"Huh!"
"…but if Randy was so shloshed that later he passed out, how could he have climbed the tree by himself? That's some serious foliage. "
"Good point." Begrudgingly. "You are insinuating that he had help? Mmm, interesting. So let us fantasise a little. Randy and a mate or mates, pissed out of their tiny minds, decide with perfect drunken logic that the best thing they can do to round off a perfect evening of debauchery is to tear off their clothes and climb up a handy Dutch Elm in sub zero temperatures."
"AND OF COURSE THEY HELP EACH OTHER UP…"
"There could even have been three of them."
"However we are about to hit a snag, in fact, several.."
"YOU ALLUDE TO THE LACK OF CLOTHES FOUND IN THE VICINITY?"
"Not only that. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that there are three drunken oafs up that tree. They start tearing their clothes off until they are in their birthday suits."
"You've gone horribly coy all of a sudden. If you mean starkers say it."
"Alright, starkers. What happens then?"
"Oh oh, maybe one of them is a female?"
" That might better explain the boner."
"WE'RE ASSUMING THAT NOBODY'S GAY?"

                        All together
"Not that there's anything wrong with that."
"Not that there's anything wrong with that."
"NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT."

"Let's say that there was a woman aboard, they all tear off their clothes, one thing leads to another and Randy gets a gigantic erection."
"THEN WHAT? ALWAYS REMEMBERING THAT THEY ARE CAVORTING ABOUT IN SUB ZERO TEMPERATURES."
"Let's cut to the chase, why did they leave Randy up in the tree?"
"Maybe they had a drunken quarrel?"
"So, they climb down, pick up all their clothes…"
"… shoes, socks, underwear, jacket, jersey, overcoat, scarf…"
"Maybe even gloves and a ski hat or possibly a balaclava."
"PRESUMABLY THEY ARE EQUIPPED WITH A SUITCASE FOR JUST SUCH AN EMERGENCY?"
"Let's test the story up to date: Randy and a girl friend or friends are inebriated and decide to climb up a large tree in freezing weather where for reasons still unknown they tear off their clothes and hurl them to the ground."
" BUT THEN WHY AREN'T THERE ANY CLOTHES STREWN ROUND THE GARDEN?"
"Aha, a Clothes Thief stole them."
"Possibly related to the Parachute Thief you mentioned earlier? Hey maybe he's moonlighting and doing both jobs?"
"Whatever. Anyway, he's been lurking nearby waiting for someone to throw off their clothes. That's what he does, that's his job, a lot of lurking involved but the rewards can be great especially if Randy and friends are wearing fashionable labels. He could make a small fortune right there."
"Alright, maybe a clothes thief has been lurking and…lurking? What's with that word? Who uses 'lurking' for pity's sake? People don't lurk these days, they hang around. Nobody lurks any more, they haven't lurked for 150 years since the Victorian Novelists..."
"AHEM!'
"Okay, okay. Anyway, the clothes thief lurks and lurks until suddenly he gets a stroke of lurk…-"
"Hysterical."
"…he sees our stocious friends' garments fluttering to the ground so he nicks them and scarpers."
"PROBLEM. WE USED TO HAVE JUST ONE NUDE PERSON NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN WE'VE GOT THREE."
"Well we're not sure about the other two but logic dictates that Randy needed help to climb up so let's say that there's at least one, maybe two new ones and we assume they all got into the spirit of the thing and took their clothes off..."
"SO IF THE TWO NEW ONES ARE ALSO NUDE AND HAVE HAD THEIR CLOTHES STOLEN, HOW DID THEY GET HOME?"
"And why do they leave Randy up in the tree?"
"Got it! They weren't drunk at all! They were shooting a porno flick in the tree, giving, by the way, brand new meaning to the term 'Blue Movie' when suddenly, whoever was with Randy ran away because they thought the police were onto them!"
"I see a tiny snag. What sort of an idiot would write a porno screenplay which takes place in freezing weather, at night, up a large tree? Not to mention where was the film crew?"
"BUT EVEN IF IT DID HAPPEN LIKE THAT, PORNO-WISE, WHY DID RANDY STAY UP IN THE TREE?"

Time did what it does best and ticked by at various speeds, but naturally nobody had the time to notice.

"Oh, thank God," it was a sudden bespectacled young oaf. "I thought 'it', I mean 'he', had been stolen."
Jake regarded the newcomer with suspicion, sensing that whatever he was going to bring to the table would be an anti-climax.
"Are you acquainted with this cadaver?" He enquired, somewhat tartly.
"Yes indeed," he said "'it', I mean 'he', belongs to me."
"HOW CAN A DEAD BODY BELONG TO ANYONE? SURELY THAT'S A LEGAL NO NO?"
"Well yes and no no. I'm a medical student and my parents bought 'it', I mean 'him', for me as a birthday present for the purposes of dissection and in the interests of scientific enquiry. 'He', I mean 'it', no I mean 'he', is normally kept in the freezer at the Medical College, up the street."
"So would you be so kind as to enlighten me as to what 'it', I mean 'he', is doing up my tree?"
"It was a prank."
"A PRANK?!!!"
"Which, admittedly, got out of hand."
"Go on."
"Yesterday was my birthday, by the way my name is Antimone Molecule, well actually it's my nickname, my real name is impossible to pronounce even by the most skilled linguists and name pronouncers.
Anyway a few of my fellow medical students gathered at the Pub to celebrate. They got, how can I put this accurately? I know, very drunk."
"Do you include yourself in this Bacchanalia?"
"I never touch the stuff."
"Oh?"
"No, absolutely never; well. that is, apart from last night. Anyway, one thing led to another and I thought it would be a perfect culmination to a grand evening's entertainment to break into the College freezer and take Herbert for a walk in the gardener's wheelbarrow. Herbert is what we call 'it', or 'him'."
Jake regarded the youth sternly.
"So how did 'it' I mean 'he' get up my tree?"
"I'm getting to that. Everything was going swimmingly. We were trundling Herbert around having a good time when all of a sudden Aggregon Spottigue, my best friend but arrant trouble-maker, spotted the trampoline in the garden next door to you and hit on the idea of seeing how high Herbert could bounce. This plan was facilitated by the fact that that particular garden is much lower than the street.
So, we perched Herbert carefully on the edge of the wall and after wishing him a safe flight, pushed him gently off.
The result exceeded our wildest expectations, he dropped like a stone onto the trampoline, bounced high into the air, arms and legs flailing in a most comical fashion and dropped back down again but this time, for some complex aeronautical reason, no doubt to do with air pressure, wind direction and limb flailage, bounced sideways, shot over the wall and disappeared from view.
You would have thought that it would have been but the work of an instant to go and fetch the recalcitrant corpse. But fate arrived in the shape of an obdurate Police Constable who, despite our most persuasive remonstrations, arrested us there and then for the theft of the college wheelbarrow and marched us off to the nearest Police station, where we spent the night and have only just been released."

Oh, thought Jake, slightly disappointed, is that all it was?

"Er, I know that I have already tresspassed enormously on your good nature but I wonder if you could do me a huge favour?"
And thus it was that Jake found himself in his trusty Ford Transit, chauffeuring the incredibly hungover Antimone Molecule and Herbert, now tastefully clad in a tartan blanket and Jake's old straw hat, back to the college.

The point of this whole story by the way is that after having dumped Antimone and Herbert at the College, Jake, slightly shaken by the whole bizarre episode, failed to see a red light and crashed into a beautiful old red Rover, driven by Barbra Cantabriole, the lady novelist, skin specialist  and explorer, destroying the Ford Transit but leaving the Rover miraculously unscathed.

It was love at first sight.


In fact, Jake bought the car from her the same day.