creativity: The pig, the barmaid, some dandruff and a colonel

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The Independent Online
Dunwutherin: episode two of our interactive soap. The plot so far: Kevin Swillsby, Internet-addicted son of dandruff-ridden Petronella and Colleen (formerly Colin), has left Dunwutherin Farmhouse and headed in the direction of the library in Clinton Eastwood, near Bath, instead of going to the pub, the Soon to be Fallen Virgin. Meanwhile, at the Virgin, Colonel "Toothy" Gate has had his conversation with the rapturously beautiful barmaid, Lucretia, interrupted by the chief librarian rushing in and telling all, including the stranger in the mac, that George is dead. Now read on:

Only a few mourners had gathered at the churchyard of St Anthony's in Clinton Eastwood for George's funeral. And, as the Reverend Dawkins intoned the words "Dust to dust", only Petronella Swillsby was in tears. Colonel Gate, however, was disinclined to comfort her.

"Good God, man," he barked at the vicar, "George was only a pig."

"Even pigs have souls," murmured the Rev Dawkins in a sad voice. And Petronella fell onto the lifeless carcass of the boar, cry-ing "Oh George, George."

Then Kevin appeared and eased his mother away from her porcine embrace. "It's not that bad, Mum," he said. "Look on the bright side."

"What do you mean?" she retorted angrily.

"Your dandruff. It's cleared up." Kevin smiled smugly.

Back in the pub, the librarian, Ralph Spock, was still being interrogated by Inspector Drane.

"It wasn't just the dead pig, you see, there was a book missing from the shelves too. I spotted it as I arrived for work at 14 minutes past nine as usual." The Inspector did not try to conceal his boredom, but Ralph droned on: "1001 Uses for Dandruff it was. Anyway, then I spotted poor old George, slumped over the table in the large print section with a Byzantine Ornamental Goat-Sacrificing Dagger plunged into his back. And he hadn't even eaten his sandwiches."

The startled policeman jolted forwards and grabbed Ralph by his lapels and shook him. "Did you say Byzantine Goat Sacrifice?"

"Can't you see this man is distraught, inspector?" said Lucretia. "Please let him go home and rest."

"It has been a terrible shock for the whole community," said the policeman, "but I'm afraid that Mr Spock still has some questions to answer."

"But there was only me and Vlad, the work-experience boy, in the library all morning."

At Dunwutherin farmhouse, the post-funereal mood was tense. "Oh leave me be woman, and get back to yer pigs," shouted Colin. "What do you know about yon Information Superhighway? Yer livin' in the dark ages." At the touch of a button, he was absorbed in the electronic pages of Practical Trichology for Beginners.

Petronella stomped back through the mud to the pig-pen, a plan forming in her mind.

What is in Petronella's mind? What was her true relationship with George? What sort of work has Vlad been experiencing? Will the porcicidal maniac strike again? All plot contributions will be gratefully received at: Soapy Pastimes, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. A Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore awaits the most useful. This week's winner is Suzy Robinson, with valuable contributions also from Joan Hoult, Anne Nielsen and Bill Armer.

The next episode will appear on Friday 30 September. Next week, normal Creativity resumes with uses for the M25. Meanwhile, we seek uses for an Information Superhighway. Ideas should be sent to Creativity, usual address.