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The Implausible Escapades of Captain Custard #1

  • By Edith Carter (aged 10) and Simon Carter (aged 46) – as serialised in The Village Gazette, Calverton, Nottingham, UK. In this episode! The village’s newest (and to be honest, only) costumed superhero makes his first crime-fighting appearance in Calvo’s mean streets.

JIMMY SPINKS couldn’t believe his eyes. He’d had a plan, and to this point the plan had been perfect. He’d followed old Mrs Mallow from the cashpoint outside the Co-Op, where she stopped every Friday night to fetch her bingo money before walking down to the Geordie Club, and then stealthily nipped ahead to lie in wait for her in the shadows of the twitchel off Collyer Road. Then, as Mrs Mallow shuffled past, he’d leapt out from cover to snatch her handbag.

Jimmy Spinks hadn’t reckoned on old Mrs Mallow putting up a struggle. She was a sprightly eighty-two for sure, but certainly no match for Jimmy’s lumbering teenage burliness. This would all be over very quickly. Pounce from behind, steal the bag, scurry back into the darkness before Mrs Mallow had a chance to realise what was happening.

Jimmy hadn’t reckoned on any witnesses being around. At this time of night in this part of the village you’d get the odd dog walker, but that was about it, and dog walkers usually avoided the twitchel because the twitchel was dark and potentially occupied by unsavoury types. Unsavoury types like Jimmy Spinks.

And Jimmy certainly hadn’t reckoned on his attempted mugging of old Mrs Mallow being interrupted by a superhero.

At first, Jimmy didn’t think the mysterious intruder was a superhero. He thought he was a lunatic. The ridiculous-looking individual who’d suddenly appeared in front of him, as if from nowhere, didn’t cut an especially imposing or dynamic figure. He looked completely unfit to be fair, like he could use more trips to the gym and fewer trips to Fresh and Tasty.

And that costume. For surely that’s what it was, a costume. Nobody in their right mind would walk around looking like that unless they were on their way to a fancy-dress party.

‘Fear not, Mrs M,’ said the man in the bright yellow lycra suit, tight yellow underpants and billowing yellow cape, taking a precautionary puff on his bright yellow inhaler.

His voice was muffled because of the mask, but Jimmy could sense unease and nervousness in the tone.

‘Ay up, mi duk,’ responded Mrs Mallow, by instinct more than anything. Her eyesight was rubbish and she couldn’t really make out who the speaker was in the murk, later describing him to police officers as ‘a very kind and well-spoken six-foot banana.’

‘I shall save you, Mrs M,’ continued the man in the yellow suit, raising both his hands towards Jimmy.

‘Don’t think so, buddy,’ said Jimmy, advancing towards him with menace. A moonbeam glinted off the blade of the knife he’d just pulled out of his jacket.

‘Mrs Mallow? Duck,’ demanded the man in the yellow suit.

The old woman did her best to get out of the way as the unseen thug behind her violently flung himself at the giant banana.

A powerful jet of something yellow, gooey and warm took hapless Jimmy Spinks full in the face, temporarily blinding him. Whatever it was, it tasted just like something his nana used to make, which Jimmy thought was strange, as was this new sensation of suddenly hurtling backwards at great speed. Was Jimmy Spinks flying?

The would-be petty larcenist crashed into a tree as the sloppy yellow jets kept on coming, and coming. Jimmy was saturated now. The gunk had soaked into his clothes, his trainers. Every time he tried to stand he spectacularly slipped and fell over, unable to get any purchase in the sweet-smelling liquid slurry. He couldn’t see a thing because it was all over his face, in his eyes. And now, as the slurry began to harden, he couldn’t move.

Couldn’t … move!

Realising at last that Jimmy had been trying to pinch her bingo money, old Mrs Mallow raised one arthritic knee upwards into her assailant’s soft parts, just to help the giant banana out and teach this lad not to mess with her again. Jimmy groaned, mainly in agony but with a generous sprinkle of utter humiliation, then passed out.

Mrs Mallow, grinning triumphantly, turned to thank her hero because it was only polite. But the man was already airborne, already up, up and away. There was a mighty streak of yellow in the night sky over St Wilfrid’s Square.

+++

‘Never seen anything like it,’ said Detective Sergeant Mick Quimby, shaking his head.

It was morning. Jimmy was fully conscious now but they were still trying to free him from what forensics had called ‘that weird giant chrysalis.’

As Quimby scribbled in his notebook, and uniformed officers attempted to extricate Jimmy with hammers and chisels from the bizarre thing which had stuck him fast to the tree trunk, Detective Inspector Geena Dobbs thanked Mrs Mallow for her statement.

‘I think our Jimmy may learn a lesson or two from this, Mrs Mallow,’ said Dobbs, smiling. ‘I don’t think Calverton needs to live in fear of this particular criminal mastermind anymore.’

Jimmy was bang to rights. But what of the ‘giant banana’ of which Mrs Mallow had spoken? Who, or what, was he? Why had he come to Calverton? And how had he managed to disable this numpty with … she reached down and dipped a finger into one of the several puddles of thick, congealing yellow liquid spattered all over the crime scene.

She sniffed suspiciously at the lump of it on her finger. Then, grimacing, she took a taste, just to be sure.

It couldn’t be.

Just like her nana used to make.

Custard.

Quimby yelped, skittering in a puddle and falling down, hard, on his bottom.

  • Next month! Safely back at HQ, Captain Custard checks in with his brave young sidekick and plans his next crime-fighting move. Meanwhile, an old enemy resurfaces, intent on chaos. DAN-DAN-DAAAAAN!