Story Soup 1.8

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Welcome to the newest instalment of Story Soup. If you are need to catch up with the events so far, you can read the whole story in chronological order here. Thank you to everyone who voted for where the wormhole should take Gregory and his gang! With 38% of the vote, there were some really great ‘Other’ suggestions, including ‘Back to his neighbours house 5 minutes after he had just stolen the pie’, ‘to a robot tea party in the future’, ‘to the border of Black’, ‘to Gregory’s birth’ and ‘to the birth of Darren’.

The next instalment will be posted later in the week, but if you want to be reminded, then please subscribe using the links on the top left or by joining the Story Soup Facebook page.

Further sides to Gregory Bedcarrots.

I have used a picture to demonstrate what it was like inside the wormhole.

When they finally emerged they felt rather dizzy. They stood up and looked around. They were in a grey corridor.

“I can hear babies crying,” Gregory said. “We must be in the hall of the orphanage.”

The bag went to peer round the nearest doorway. It came back looking incredibly pale. “This isn’t an orphanage,” the bag said grimly. “It’s a hospital. That woman in there sounds like she’s being murdered.”

Shooting the bag a confused glance, Gregory went to have a look. Keeping low to the floor, he carefully pushed the door open and peered into the small room. The woman in the bed was screaming for drugs.

“What’s wrong with her?” Gregory whispered, thinking absentmindedly that she looked like a slightly younger version of his mother.

“Keep going,” a nurse was saying. “Baby’s nearly here!”

“Baby?” Gregory took a step back.

A man who looked somewhat like his father was slumped in a chair, mopping his brow as though he was finding the birth to be an incredibly tiring ordeal.

“Not long now!” a nurse was saying. “Have you thought of a name?”

“Gregory,” the mother said with a sickening whimper. “Gregory James Bedcarrots.”

Gregory’s jaw hit the ground. “It is my parents!” he said with a gasp.

What followed next was a few more minutes of screaming followed by the nurse encouraging Gregory’s mother to push really hard. With one last push and an anguished scream, the air filled with crying as a small ugly pink thing splattered onto the bed.

“That’s me!” Gregory whispered in awe.

“Yuck,” the bag replied with a sniff.

“This is crazy,” Gregory said in a whisper.

“Can we go?” begged the bag. “This is freaking me out.”

Gregory, who had never witnessed any birth before let alone his own, waved the bag away and watched with staggered curiosity as the nurse scooped up the baby and began to wipe him, weigh him and check him over. “Wow—” Gregory began. A disturbed silence followed as doctor came forward to deliver the placenta.

Eventually the bag hissed irritably, “As moving as this is, can we please leave before I gouge my own button eyes out.”

The birth, particularly the placenta bit, hadn’t been nearly as beautiful as Gregory had always imagined it to be. He gave a stunned nod and quietly closed the door behind them.

“He, I mean the older me, must have written the destination down wrong…” Gregory said, shaking his head.

“Let’s forget about this,” the bag said flippantly. “We’ve got a load of time worms. We can go anywhere! We could go to some robot tea party in the future or back to the very beginning of time!”

“No,” Gregory said firmly. “I (the future me) explicitly told myself to go to Princeton Orphanage, 19th April 1955, get the brain and bring it back to him (I mean the future me) so that’s what we’re going to do!”

“If the future you knew exactly what to do,” the bag said moodily, “why couldn’t he just do it himself?”

“I…” Gregory floundered for a second. “I don’t know,” he admitted finally. “But there must be a very good reason. I (the future me) sounded very sure of myself.”

“Well maybe you lied.”

“Why would I lie to myself?”

“Maybe you’re mean. Or really stupid.”

Gregory glared at the bag.

A terse silence followed which Darren tried to break by rolling over and blowing blue bubbles. Both Gregory and the bag ignored him.

“I’m in charge,” Gregory said finally.

“Why—?” the bag began defiantly.

“Because I’m the human,” he replied simply. “And you’re a polyester bag.” Without another word, he took hold of the bag and dragged him outside into an open patch of grass, Darren trotting dutifully after them.

“Ouch!” the bag screamed angrily. “You’re ripping the stitches on my feet!”

Gregory ignored him and wrote Princeton Orphanage, 19th April 1955 very neatly in the ground. Then he placed one of the time worms on he words and watched in trepidation as the worm began to chew through the dirt. When the hole was big enough, he put Darren on his shoulder, grabbed the bag (who was sulking) and jumped in.

This time they emerged covered in dirt in a vegetable patch. Gregory scrambled out of the wormhole and looked around. They were in his neighbour’s garden. He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “The worms must be broken or something,” he muttered to himself in frustration.

Suddenly the front door of the house swung open and none other than Gregory himself came rushing out with some kind of apple or blackberry pie oozing out of his mouth. This new Gregory took one look at our Gregory and almost fainted in horror. He looked a bit like this except it was a pie, not a frog, which hung from his mouth.

The new Gregory opened his mouth to scream. Without a moment’s thought Gregory punched him and the pie-faced Gregory dropped to the floor.

“Why do I keep doing that?” Gregory cried furiously.

There was the sound of further footsteps so, in a blind panic, Gregory hastily pushed his other self into the wormhole and covered it with dirt. He patted the dirt down, picked up the bag, which was still not speaking to him, and turned to leave.

All of a sudden a shrill voice cried, “Can I have my pie back please Gregory?”

Gregory looked up in shock and found himself nose to nose with his next door neighbour, Penny.

“My pie.” Penny repeated. “I saw you take it.” She put her hands on her lips and pouted at him. Then she added with a teasing smirk, “What are you doing with that stuffed toy? I didn’t know you still played with teddies!”

“What?!” Gregory yelled in alarm, casting a quick glance at the bag who hung limply over his arm. “I don’t!” he muttered frantically, throwing the bag to the floor and making sure to give it a good stamp.

The bag grunted and narrowed its eyes, but Penny did not notice.

“I’m waiting, Gregory,” Penny said impatiently. “Either give me back the pie or show me your secret hiding place.”

Gregory opened his mouth and then shut it again. “What time is it?” he asked eventually.

Penny shot him a scornful stare. “I thought you said you had a new watch? Check the time yourself!” she snapped.

Gregory looked at the mound of earth which covered his old self. His heart leapt in delight. “He’s wearing Dad’s watch!” he said in excitement. “I haven’t dropped it yet, which means the bag lady hasn’t followed me yet… I haven’t knocked her out… She hasn’t sent me on the mission yet!” he gave a shriek of sheer joy.

“What are you on about?” Penny eyed him suspiciously.

“Er… Nothing,” Gregory said casually. “Look, I’m sorry about your pie. I’ll buy you a new one.” He turned away feeling rather elated, in a dizzy foolish sort of way. He would go home and pretend everything was normal. Then he would sneak back in the night, retrieve his father’s watch and go on with his life from here. He was feeling mighty proud of himself when a startling revelation dawned on him. If he wanted to go on as though nothing had happened he would need to somehow permanently dispose of his other self. “How on earth will I do that?” Gregory wondered with a shudder. Would he have to fight himself? Who would win in a fight with himself? And if the case came to trial, who would be entitled to be the true Gregory Bedcarrots? If you are quite happy being one person and then another one of you comes along, does it count as murder to kill the spare you?

Gregory started to feel a little bit sick. He picked up the bag, forced a brisk smile and started to hurry out of Penny’s garden.

“Hey Gregory!” Penny called after him. “What’s that little blue lizard on your shoulder?”

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