A Home For Derek (Part Three)

Far away from the shop, on the north side of town
(Go along the high street and then turn down
The third on the left, the house is on the right:
It’s the one with the blue car by the fourth street light),
In a bedroom with a butterfly stuck on the door,
Another near the light switch, toys all over the floor,
In the bed, fast asleep, lies a curly haired girl,
And shimmering next to her ear, like a pearl,
A fairy is hovering, wings all a-flutter,
She tells her a tale, all whispers and mutter,
Of a flood in the toyshop and a heroic monkey
Who, having decided he wouldn’t be sunk, he
Fashioned a boat from a wooden toy chest
And swung round the shop to rescue the rest
Of the cuddly toys and to keep them all dry:
The story was making the little girl sigh
But she stayed fast asleep as the story was told
(Though she shivered a little because of the cold).
The fairy tucked in her blanket once she was done
And flew away at the first glimpse of the sun.

When the girl woke from her very strange dream,
Red mark on her arm from pressing against the seam
Of her pink nightgown, the one with blue flowers,
She worried about Derek and how many hours
He’d been holding on, keeping his boat safe and dry
And then, rubbing sleep from the corner of her eye,
She smiled as she thought it was only a dream
Till she saw on the bathroom mirror, drawn in the steam,
A boat with a monkey holding onto the bow,
And she ran to the kitchen to find out just how
The drawing had got there, but nobody knew:
Her mother said, “Well, I assumed it was you.”

After ten minutes of nagging and pleading,
The girl stopped her mother, finally, from reading
The newspaper – she agreed they could go
To the toyshop, through the dusting of snow
But only, she said, so they got some fresh air
And to get the monkey dream out of their hair.

The wheels crunched over the snow and the gravel
As they left their driveway and began to travel
To the centre of town, to the main shopping street,
(Cause of empty wallets and badly aching feet)
Where they parked by the second-hand children’s bookshop
And waited for the sleet to ease or to stop.
If they had left the car they would have got quite wet
As the toyshop had not opened for the day quite yet.
The toyshop was directly across the road
But there was a lorry about to unload
Which was blocking their view so they couldn’t quite see
That the view through the window wasn’t what it should be
But they could see the opening times on the shop door
So they waited in the car for a few minutes more
And the girl asked again about the drawing on the mirror
And her mother tried pretending that she didn’t quite hear her.
Neither one of them guessed that it had been a fairy
And they were soon distracted by a man and his hairy
Dog walking past, the lead pulled quite tight,
Man turning left, dog trying to turn right.

And then suddenly, there, at the toyshop door,
Fumbling with his keys, trying one two three four,
The shopkeeper put the fifth key in the lock
But he frowned as he felt he had a wet sock:
He knew about the hole in the sole of his shoe
And that it was probably time that he got a brand new
Pair of shoes but his life was too much of a muddle
And anyway, there wasn’t usually a puddle
On the step of his shop – he wondered how it got there
But he opened the door and the chocolate eclair,
Which had been in his hand, flew right across the street
As the water gushed out and knocked him clean off his feet.

The old toy chest boat on the toy shop’s new lake
Began to bump, and to rattle and shake
As the water was streaming straight out through the door
And even though Derek’s arms had become sore
He still held on and the bears held on to him
With their feet hooked under the old toy chest’s rim
But their feet were much too smooth to have a good grip
And, with all the bumping, were starting to slip
So Bertie grabbed Raby and Martin caught Myrtle
And both wedged their tails firmly under the turtle
Which Gordon then sat on to anchor them down
But as more water flooded out into the town
The boat floated further and further downstream
And a tearing sound came from the dragon’s tail’s seam
So Cyril the caterpillar grabbed Martin and Bertie
(Who, strangely, was still not the slightest bit dirty)
And with other legs holding Sophia and Dutch
And Fifi (who was velvety to the touch)
And Frank Junior, the little baby zebra
And his daddy Frank, and his mummy Deborah
And the penguin and Mac and Valentine:
Cyril was strung out like a washing line.

Derek looked down to the boat and he saw
That it was still moving slowly towards the shop door
It wasn’t that the toys needed to be stronger
The problem was that Cyril was slowly getting longer.
Even Cyril didn’t know that his body was elastic
But the situation was beginning to get fairly drastic.
And so, still with a calm look upon his face,
At long last, Derek let go of the old display case.

Like a surfboard riding the crest of a wave,
The toy chest boat with its cargo of brave
Toys burst out into the unsuspecting street
And, narrowly missing the shopkeeper’s feet,
Skidded and swerved past the faulty streetlight
(Which was on in the day and off all night)
With Derek in the air as a psychedelic kite
And the toys holding on with all their might
Until the boat stopped moving, which ended Derek’s flight,
And they landed in a heap, as a large fluffy white
Snowflake fluttered, twirled and landed right
On Derek’s nose, to the little girl’s delight.

The curly haired girl turned and smiled at her mother,
Who said, “Well, why shouldn’t we just get another
Cuddly toy? A monkey will make a nice change,
Even if his colours are remarkably strange.”
The shopkeeper was pleased to be making a sale,
Before going in search of a mop and a pail,
But the monkey, much to his surprise,
Was held by teddies and he could not prise
Their arms apart so he said, “Take all three –
I’ll throw in these extra two bears for free.”
But a large green dragon and a polar bear
Were attached in turn to the other pair.
And a caterpillar, rag doll, rabbit and sheep
Were part of this cuddly inseperable heap
(With zebras, a penguin, a big bear, a white bear,
A large-eyed thing, and a boxed teddy who was quite rare)
And they all held tight to the old toy chest
So he said, “You might as well take the rest.
I’ve got enough to worry about today
And cuddly toys aren’t selling that well anyway.”

They loaded the toy chest boat into the car
And soon, before they had driven all that far,
The cuddly toys had let go of each other
And the curly haired girl smiled and said to her mother,
“He is my Derek, I’ll keep him forever.”
As her mother drove on through the cold, wintry weather.