A Home For Derek (Part Two)

Derek leapt to his feet as the fairy dust woke him
To get out of the way before the flood could soak him
He climbed to the top of the old display case
Brushing past dolls in their frills and their lace
And without second thought and showing no fear
He jumped straight up to the old chandelier.
It seemed so easy, like he wasn’t even trying,
But he almost fell when he heard the sound of crying.

He wrapped his tail around the old chandelier
And swung there and back, so that he could hear
Who was crying and then he’d work out what to do
Maybe they could climb to the chandelier too.
He wrinkled his nose and frowned in concentration
Trying to find the source of the consternation
Until his ears wriggled in realisation
And he grasped the full scale of the situation.
There wasn’t just one poor toy sitting there crying:
Nearly half of the stock in the shop was now trying
To get his attention with a desperate plea,
To help them to climb and to jump and to flee
From the water which swirled and grasped and rose:
Toys on the low shelves were now getting wet toes.

There wasn’t enough room for all of the toys,
Who were wailing and crying and making a noise,
To sit next to Derek up high on the light,
And stay right up there for the whole of the night.
He needed to find something large that could float:
The toys all needed him to find them a boat.

A Noah’s Ark toy at the back, on the wall,
Was a nice idea but it was clearly too small
To hold all the creatures he needed to rescue
And, even if sailed by the toy soldiers’ best crew,
He wasn’t convinced that it wouldn’t capsize
And, held to its box with so many metal ties,
It would take such a long time before he could prise
It free that many toys would then be underwater
He might even lose as many as a quarter.

He briefly considered constructing a raft
But quickly worked out that it would be quite daft
As he’d have to inflate all the balls he could find
And once they were inflated they’d have to be lined
Up and all tied together with plenty of string
And the upshot would be a precarious thing
On which the toys would find it quite hard to stand
And the toymaker had obviously never planned
For Derek to be able to inflate anything
Or to laugh or to speak or to mutter or to sing
As when she sketched Derek on the table in the kitchen
She decided his mouth would be one line of stitching.

But then he saw at the far side of the room
Under five doll’s blankets and quite a large loom,
He saw, by a compass that was stuck pointing west,
A beautiful hand-painted wooden toy chest.

~~~

The floor was starting to get extremely wet
And he knew he would need to take care not to let
His feet get too soggy as it would stop him running
If his legs became heavy – so he’d have to be cunning.
He swung and waited to get the timing right
Then jumped down to the desk, from the overhead light,
And there he collected a large ball of string,
Which would make an effective, if uncomfortable, swing,
He unwound enough to swoop around the shop,
Without dipping his tail in the puddles like a mop,
And knotted the rest to stop his swing getting lower:
As without a boat he’d be a lousy rower.

He threw the string ball straight up into the air
And it caught in the chandelier precisely where
He’d hoped that it would and from somewhere quite near
He heard several of the other toys give out a cheer.
Derek tugged on the string and swung over the room
His tail fluttered behind him as he headed for the loom
Which he kicked from the toy chest with all of his might
(It ended up in the back room, far out of sight).
As he swung back, his feet caught the edge of the chest
And he pushed the doll’s blankets down, as he had guessed
That the base might have started to become a bit wet
Which he needed to deal with before he could get
The first of the toys safely into this boat
Although he wasn’t sure quite how well it would float.

With a wiggle of his ears, he leapt into action:
He knew that he could only rescue a fraction
Of the toys in the shop, but he had a suspicion
Of who could be safely left out of his mission.
He decided he could leave out anything plastic
(Even though some of them were quite fantastic)
Because the water was unlikely to ruin them
But, for cuddly toys, water was as bad as chewing them.

With his tail round the string, all four paws at the ready,
He zoomed round the room collecting each teddy.
Two brown bears, one called Raby, one called Myrtle,
Martin the dragon, an orange and green turtle,
A brilliant white polar bear known as Bertie
(With fur such bright white he should never get dirty),
Frank Junior was Frank’s son and also Deborah’s:
They were the three members of a family of zebras.
Gordon the giant bear, Valentine the white bear,
Sophia the rag doll with the red dress and blonde hair,
A penguin with a red rucksack strapped to his back,
A little fluffy white Scottish sheep known as Mac,
A mysterious creature with big eyes called Dutch,
Fifi the French rabbit, velvety to the touch,
And finally, Cyril the green caterpillar,
It was lucky someone had bought the huge gorilla
Who could have filled up the toy chest on his own
And who weighed so much it would have sunk like a stone:
But he wasn’t there, he was tucked up in bed
With his new owner, Benny, a boy who liked bread
So much that he wanted to learn how to bake.
Meanwhile, Derek’s tail was beginning to ache
So he swung one last time round the room (and its lake)
To check there was nothing he’d forgotten to take.

And there, way up high on Derek’s old display case
The collectable bear with the friendliest face
Was calling to Derek from inside his box
“Come get me, I can’t wriggle free from these locks!
I won’t be safe even all the way up here
As the drops from the ceiling drip through very near
To my box and if that hole gets any bigger,
The water will topple me – I’ll land near that digger,
And together we’ll sink as the downpour keeps coming
Oh, I wish they’d spent just a bit more on their plumbing!”

Derek swung up beside him as quick as a flash
To see how he could come down without a big splash.
He could tell that the box was too fiddly to open
As his thumbs were too short to be able to cope and
Even if he got in, he knew that inside
The bear’s ankles and wrists and waist had been tied
To the cardboard and plastic – he’d never undo them
And he didn’t have teeth so he couldn’t even chew them.
He looked at the bear with his most calming smile
And stared straight into his eyes for a while
For even though Derek could not say a word
It was almost as though the bear had just heard
Him say, “Don’t worry, it will all be all right,
But you’re going to have to hold on very tight!”
His mouth could not move, no sound could come out
But the collectable bear did not have any doubt
As Derek leapt back to his toy chest boat
Which had suddenly begun to lift – it could float!
Derek stood in the boat and pushed against the wall
The zebras held him so that he couldn’t fall
And slowly they started to move down the shop,
Derek holding the string to steer them round the drop
Drip drop of water which was coming through faster
And gradually taking down the ceiling plaster
Till finally, moored beside the display case,
Derek scrambled back up till he was face to face
With the bear in the box, and he gave him a smile
Before booting him clean off the shelf with great style.
The box went a-tumbling, it turned over and over:
And Gordon then caught it, he was big enough to know the
Best way to catch something that shape and size
He held it up as though he’d just won a prize
And then put it down gently on the turtle’s back
Just in time, as with a very loud crack
The ceiling split open and water surged down
(It felt like enough to submerge the whole town).

Swinging back down to the boat on his string,
Derek landed just in time as, with a loud ping,
The nails that had held up the old chandelier
Came out of the ceiling (they landed quite near)
And, hard on their heels, with a whoosh and a crash
The chandelier hit the water with a mighty great splash.
Derek let the string go, it was of no use now
And, scrambling over the boat to the bow,
He grabbed the display case to keep their boat steady,
While Raby the brown bear and Myrtle the teddy
Held on to his legs, with all of their might:
Altogether it made quite an unusual sight.

Click here to read part three.

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