On this particular Monday morning, however, Moose was not there.
In fact, Moose and his family were on holiday in Paris, visiting the Eiffel Tower. They were in a big queue of people waiting to take the leaning elevator in the north leg. Looking up, they could see the complicated, metal, criss-cross structure of the tower looming over them. They could also see hundreds of big, flappy seagulls wheeling about.
The view from the first stage was obscured by the seagulls, unfortunately, but as they went to the higher stages, the views were mightily impressive. Moose and his family spent several hours looking around and then having lunch, before returning to ground level.
As they were walking from the tower, they saw a group of people bunched together, looking up at the tower. One of those people had a big video camera on their shoulder. Another was using a drawing board, sketching a picture of the tower. One wore a beret, and shouted at everyone else in the group.
Moose caught a glimpse of the drawing – it was very good, showing the tower very clearly, but the artist continued sketching. A few minutes later, the artist had added a large animal climbing up the side of the tower. Moose looked back at the tower – nope, no animal there.
Moose was intrigued, so bought some ice creams for his family, and kept an eye on the group of people.
The artist showed the sketch to the man with the beret who raised his hands in the air and sighed loudly, “Yes, that is exactly what I need, but we have no time and no money. How are we going to have a giant hamster climb up the Eiffel Tower?”
Moose had a think for a few moments, before getting out his mobile phone to make a call. “Samuel”, he said.
“Ah, Moose, dear boy. How are things with you?” replied Sammy.
(At this point, its worth knowing a bit about Sammy. He is a very successful entrepreneur in the seaside town where Moose works, and owns several of the businesses there. Full name, Sammy Seagull. Most people assumed that was just a nickname, but Moose and Goose were among the very few people who knew that Sammy was, in fact, a seagull… Don’t ask. Its too complicated to explain.)
“Very well. It’s a great holiday in a great city with my great family on a great day.”
“So, things are great, then?” laughed Sammy.
“Yes indeed. Now, there is an interesting situation in front of me, with an interesting possibility, and I was wondering if I could ask a small favour of you.”
“Of course but, remember, I charge £300 per day plus expenses. Ah ha ha ha. Just kidding. How can I help?”
“Am I right in saying you have a cousin who lives near the Eiffel Tower?”
“That would be Giscard. Would you like to contact him? Where are you right now?”
“By the ice cream van nearest to the north leg of the tower”
“Right, give me 5 minutes. I’d just like to say it is nice to hear from you Moose, dear boy, in case we don’t speak again soon.”
Several minutes later, maybe 5, maybe a few more, there was a big flapping of wings, and a large seagull landed with a thump onto the top of a dog poo bin which was near the Moose family.
“Would you be Moose?”, asked the seagull, in a very strong French accent.
Moose nodded and asked if the seagull was Giscard?
The seagull nodded and flapped agreement. “I am indeed Giscard. I ‘ave the honour to be friend and cousin to Samuel de l’Angleterre. ‘e ‘as only just now called me and asked if I would seek you out. And ‘ere I am. ‘ow may I be of service?”
“Well,” said Moose, “how would you and all your friends like to be in a film?”
“This is a most unexpected and intriguing question. Just thinking upon it is giving me pleasure. Of course, it would be magnifique. I feel I can speak for all my chooms when I say most definitely but yes”.
Moose leaned forward and whispered his idea to Giscard, who nodded his beak occasionally. “And when I do this”, said Moose, hand shading his eyes, he leaned forward and whispered some more. “And then when I do this”, said Moose, raising his hand higher over his head, he leaned forward and there was more whispering. “And finally, after a few minutes, I’ll do this”, said Moose, making a pretend gun with the fingers on his right hand and pointing it at the tower, there was more whispering.
“Consider it done”, said Giscard. “I will need perhaps 15 of your English minutes to arrange zis. I will signal on zis bin when we are ready”. And with that, he flew off.
Moose nodded, bought some more ice creams to keep his family happy for a little longer, and wandered over to the film crew (for that is what they were). He approached the man with the beret, smiling. “Excuse me, but I wonder if I might have a word.”
Before the man with a beret could tell him to go away, Moose continued. “I understand you have need of a giant hamster”. That got the beret man’s attention, alright.
“Why yes, but who are you?”
Moose handed over his business card, which said
Moose & Goose
Private Investigators and Solvers of Tricky Problems.
No problem is too big or too small, too difficult or too easy,
too weird or too obvious.
As the beret man read the card, Moose asked “Would you be interested if I could arrange for a giant hamster to climb the Eiffel Tower?”
“Yes, but when, and how much would it cost?”
“Within the next quarter of an hour”, replied Moose, “The cost would be 600 euros plus 20 kilos of fresh pastries”
The film director (for that is what the beret man was) turned away to his advisors, muttering about how crazy this was and what a waste of time. Between them though, after several minutes of discussion, they decided it was worth seeing what Moose had in mind.
“Ok then”, demanded the film director, “show us this giant hamster.
Moose nodded, and advised them to get the camera ready and pointing at the tower. He walked slowly back to the dog poo bin
Only a very short time later, a seagull fired an enormous poo onto the top of the bin. There was a loud splat, and Moose’s family nearly dropped their ice creams. It was never boring going on holiday with a dad like this.
Moose shaded his eyes as he looked up at the tower. The film crew looked as well, with the camera running. The camera man was about to switch it off when something amazing began to happen. In front of their very eyes, the flocks of seagulls zipping in different directions around the tower all flew in and around the north leg of the tower.
Out of the flapping wings, a huge shape began to form. It was a bit blurry at first, but after a few seconds it became clearer and yes, it was indeed a large animal, and quite possibly a bit like a giant hamster. Looking closely, you could see individual seagulls holding their wings out in certain ways to each make a piece of the giant shape. It was very hard work, because they could not flap easily to stay up in the air.
The film crew gasped. The director screamed at the cameraman to be sure to get all of this on film.
Moose, still shading his eyes, raised his hand higher, over his head. Slowly and clumsily at first, the seagulls shifted position and the shape of their wings, and the giant shape began to move. It was climbing the side of the tower. The giant legs were moving up and down, and the head was looking left and right. It was incredible.
When the giant shape reached the top of the tower, it paused for a few minutes, looking around. Moose made a pretend gun with the fingers on his right hand and said “bang”. Seconds later, the giant animal shape exploded as all the seagulls suddenly flapped off in different directions.
The film crew gasped again. The director whimpered, and asked the camera man if he was really, really sure he had caught all this action. The camera man nodded – he’d kept focus, and it was all captured.
The director stumbled over to Moose, weeping tears of joy. “That was magnificent. And you sir, you sir are a magician of the highest order. We did not have the hamster exploding in the script, but it was so dramatic, so right, so true, so beautiful, we will rewrite the script straight away.”
“Magnificent, magnificent. Now we must pay you immediately. No delay. Here have all my money, and all his, and all his”, commanded the director, pointing at some of his surprised crew. “And and and something else. Hm? Ah, oh yes, pastries. You, yes you”, he said pointing to a different crew member, “run off now and buy all the best pastries you can find and carry. Here take this rucksack. Quick. Run. Sprint. I want you back here 5 minutes ago. Why are you still standing there? Go.”
While the pastries were being bought, the director and Moose reviewed the hamster scene on the camera. It looked fantastic.
The pastries arrived, in the rucksack, in a rush. The director handed them over to Moose straight away. Moose put the rucksack carefully on the ground then jumped up and down on it for a few seconds. The director was calm. Nothing could upset him now. This day was perfect.
Moose picked up the rucksack, undid the fastenings, and poured out the crushed pastries and crumbs on the pavement, scattering them over a wide area, clearing some people (including his own family) out of the way.
The flock of seagulls, which had been wheeling about the tower suddenly dive-bombed the pastries, screaming in happiness. As they all landed, pecked, took off, flapped around and went back for more pastries, the seagulls started showing off. A giant giraffe appeared. Then it was a giant dog. Then a giant horse. Then a giant seagull (now that was confusing).
(from The Moose and Goose Stories)
by Chris Gathercole
published: 01 October 2011
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