An Extraordinary Room

Story Posted by Jonty Stern on 21 Jun 2017 22:36.

Mertob Mub finished his hot chocolate. You couldn't really call it hot chocolate. It was more like hot water with just a dash of something or other. His 'plane was in. He made his way across London City Airport into the waiting aeroplane and waited to take off.

20 minutes later he found himself drinking proper Irish whiskey - ah, much more agreeable! - and looking down at the amazing view. The Docklands Light Railway quickly became a little trainset, the O2 Centre just a sweet little tent and the cable cars became nothing but tiny little bubbles making their way up, across and down again way, way below him. Mertob boozed away as England became a lot of green fields and then nothing but white cotton wool. Presently Wales appeared and disappeared through the clouds and then it was the Irish Sea. From the sky it always seems as though each wave of the sea is frozen, thought Mertob.

Soon he would be landing in the Isle of Man. Mertob was very much looking forward to it even if the timing was slightly unfortunate. What the blue blazes the on Earth the heck the Hell the on Earth (oh, we've had "the on Earth" before, haven't we? Sorry) am I talking about? Allow me, gentle reader, to explain.

Mertob was a member of the Democratic Unionist Party, which is a Northern Irish party. His party were currently in talks with the Conservatives, who are a British party. They were trying t form some sort of government for the whole of the UK and Mertob was the DUP's secret negotiator. He was brilliant at avoiding the press and all publicity. He was doing very well and the party were proud of him but he desperately needed a break - just a day or two.

Mertob had another life. He was a member of the Ghost Club. Whenever someone said that an area needed to be investigated the Ghost Club would be called in. Each member would decide what they did and didn't believe and what had happened and write it up in a report.

Only Mertob had responded to the story in the tabloid press that a family living in a remote farm house in the Isle of Man claimed that a rabbit kept talking to them from inside the walls of their house. The idea of going somewhere between the island where the DUP were based and the one where the Conservatives were based and yet which wasn't part of the UK at all really appealed to him. He could be out if it all for 48 hours or even just 24.

Presently the 'plane started to descend. The steam trains of the Isle of Man Railway below grew bigger and bigger as did the museum of aeroplanes, the big ugly factory and the rather plush hotel.

Mertob was met at Ronaldsway Airport by Mr. Dyuskab, the farmer about whom all the stories were being told.

"You from Scotland, then?" asked Mr. Dyuskab. Mertob shook his head.

"Northern Ireland, " he said.

Mr. Dyuskab explained the situation as they walked to the railway halt, waited for, boarded and then travelled on the steam train.

"You have a wider railway gauge than this in the Republic, don't you?"

"Northern Ireland," Mertob corrected him.

The conversation returned to the queer goings on at the farm house all the way until they left the train at Port Soderick. There was a big picture there of Belfast. Mertob pointed at it and smiled.

"Northern Ireland," he said.

The two walked and they walked and they walked. He'd needed the exercise, Mertob though, but not as much as this!

They ended up walking up a stream which had obviously once been some steps hewn into the side of the rather steep cliff that they were on.

"You must get steps like this at home in Wales," said Mr. Dyuskab.

"Northern Ireland," Mertob corrected him breathlessly as they climbed up the stream.

Eventually they reached the top of the cliff. There was a very long farm house. Mr. Dyuskab opened the door. Mertob noticed that it wasn't locked. He was amazed.

He was then even more amazed at the extraordinary room within.

"Northern Ireland!" he exclaimed - no-one in Lisburn lived like this!

Mr. Dyuskab introduced Mertob to the family. There was Mrs. Dyuskab and their 20-year-old daughter Moirrey. They asked where Mertob came from.

"Northern Ireland," answered Mertob, shaking them each by the hand and trying not to be distracted by the room.

Mertob was shown where he'd be sleeping. It was a bed right at the end of this impossibly long room which filled the entire farm house and seemed full of railway tracks. Next to it was another bed strewn with toy rabbits.

"That's my bed next to it," said Moirrey. "I hope you don't mind sleeping there. I do snore, though."

Mertob expressed shock at the idea of sleeping next to a young woman. The family were very surprised but decided to go along with Mertob's strange ways - after all, he wasn't from the Isle of Man - he was From Across and so was bound to have strange ideas.

They agreed for his bed to be moved. Moirrey wasn't offended. She brought her bed keys out of her pocket and pressed them. They made a double chirruping sound and the spare bed came towards them on a pair of railway tracks. The bed was now nowhere near any of the others. Mertob noticed that Mr. and Mrs. Dyuskab's double bed was roughly in the middle of the room. There was currently a table across it covered in good things to eat.

Just before settling down to eat Mertob wanted to use the lavatory. Moirrey got her lavatory keys out of her pocket and pressed them. They made a double chirruping sound and a lavatory came towards them on railway tracks.

Mertob explained that he was used to privacy when he went to the lavatory at home.

"Where is that again?" asked Moirrey.

"Northern Ireland," explained Mertob again.

Moirrey pressed the keys again and the lavatory set off again on its railway tracks and ended up outside the building. Mertob followed it out there and would have been embarrassed about going to the lavatory en plein air but there was nobody else for miles around so he shrugged and used the loo. To his irritation, though, as soon as he had finished he found himself and the lavatory beneath him being whisked back into the ridiculously long room, past the family who were dining and all the way over to a trap door on the other side of the room which opened up over a stream, deposited its contents and sent its occupant into a closed-in bathroom where he could put his things back on and wash his hands in private.

"Northern Ireland!" he exclaimed.

He tried to interfere with the railway track so that the wretched loo couldn't escape from this private bathroom again but suffered an electric shock for his pains.

"Northern Ireland!" he swore.

He left the only sealed-in room in the house. Like the rest of the place it was a wooden affair. The walls were wooden… he noticed, though, that there was a slight hole in the wall. Beyond it he could see an outer wall. Clearly the entire building had two walls with a gap running between them… big enough for a talking rabbit to live in! He didn't believe it, of course, but he made a note of this fact in his book. He knew that many DUP members would thoroughly disapprove of his activities with the Ghost Club but he was being scientific - trying to work out what could be and what couldn't be.

He emerged and joined the family for dinner. When they had all finished the double bed was sent away along its railway tracks, the tray removed automatically, the dishes washed and put away (that bit was done by Mr. Dyuskab) and then the bed was sent back along its track sans tray to the middle of the room.

All three members of the Dyuskab family put on their night things in public. This included a night cap which looked as though it belonged to Noddy in each case.

"Northern Ireland!" exclaimed Mertob, shaking his head. He, too, got changed and got into his bed. He lay there and tried to take the room in. Despite the lights having been turned off there was still a lot of light as there were no curtains in there and the Isle of Man is fairly far north and this was the Summer Solstice after all (not that Mertob believed in Solstices and the like). Mertob noticed the wooden carving of a bunny with a lovely smile carved into the wooden ceiling. He then noticed another… and another… the whole family were clearly obsessed with talking rabbits!

Mertob had only just got to sleep when he he heard a high-pitched voice.

"I've got a lovely snobby bar nar nar nose," said the voice.

Mertob jumped up. It seemed to be coming from the wall. He ran and put his ear next to it.

"I can split the artom! I've got a soft bar nar nar head! I'm extrar clevar! Oh, how LOVELY! I've got lovely long sar lardy eears!I believe in same-person marriages - I'm so in love with MEEEEEE!" the voice continued.

Mertob had an idea. He ran to the closed-in bathroom and shone the conveniently-placed torch that was lying there on the hole that he'd discovered earlier. He put his finer in and pulled gently. A job door started to open. He got his diary out. The gap on the wall would be big enough for a talking rabbit, he wrote… or a young slim woman in her 20s! He suddenly heard a funny noise from the main room and went rushing in.

"Oh, sorry about that," said Mr. Dyuskab. "I must have had a nightmare. Well, good night."

Mertob rushed back to the closed-in bathroom. The secret door had somehow shut itself. He came out to see that Moirrey was lying in bed, apparently fast asleep.

Mertob thanked the family for the stay the next day. He wrote his report the next day - the talking rabbit was clearly Moirrey with her father protecting her.

He travelled back to England later on that afternoon and continued negotiating with the Tories. The DUP were glad that his investigation into the talking rabbit was over.

One DUP member, however, got the wrong end of the stick and wrote in the newspapers that Mertob actually believed that there was a talking rabbit in a remote farm house in the Isle of Man. This party member decided that Mertob must be insane and ought therefore not to negotiate on their party's behalf.

Mertob flew back to Northern Ireland to sue his fellow party member for libel. The case brought out more and more details of the eccentricity of the Dyuskab family and raised questions as to why on Earth Mertob had gone there at such an important time for such a nonsensical reason.

"Do rabbits in the Isle of Man have any tails?" asked the Belfast judge humorously at one point in the proceedings much to an amused audience.

Mertob won his case - he was not, after all, mad and had never believed in the Dyuskabs' tale and had never said that he had.

However while he was thus distracted negotiations between the DUP and the Conservatives broke down completely and a Labour government were returned to office.

  • * * * * *

Mertob Mub finished his hot chocolate. You couldn't really call it hot chocolate. It was more like hot water with just a dash of something or other. His 'plane was in. He was going to leave the island of his birth and fly off to a new life in Jersey.

20 minutes later Mertob sipped his Irish whiskey - ah, that's the stuff! - and looked at the Docklands Light Railway being reduced to toys, at the cable cars being reduced to little bubbles and to the O2 Centre being reduced to a Wendy House and wished… oh, wished… he'd never spent a night in that extraordinary room in a remote farm house in the Isle of Man.

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