Thank you to everyone who voted for what the talking bag says next! ‘Other’ suggestions included ‘My mate fancies you Bedcarrots!’ and ‘Do you happen to have a light?’, but 43% of you voted for the bag to be a little bit more sinister than that… I have also taken inspiration for the contents of the bag from a comment from Ben.
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.
A small moment of glory for Gregory Bedcarrots.
“Did you make sure she was dead?” the bag demanded urgently.
Gregory fell to his knees and shook himself, “What’s going on?” he whispered wildly.
“Oi! Idiot!” the bag yelled. “It’s a simple question, is she dead?”
“I hope not!” Gregory cried frantically. “I wasn’t trying to kill her!”
The bag let out an angry growl. “Idiot!” it snapped. “You had the chance to kill her and you didn’t take it!”
Gregory looked at the bag in fright. “Why should I have killed her?” he asked quietly. Perhaps she had been intending to kill him; why else would she follow him into the dark forest? Or perhaps she was a witch. After all, it is not normal human behaviour to own a talking armadillo bag… Gregory waited for an answer, trembling with fear at the idea of a crazed witch being after him.
The bag sat with pursed lips for a while, brooding darkly. Eventually it said, “For as long as I have lived, which began as an experiment on her part, I have longed to be free of her. Day and night I am tied to her side and I’ll tell you why you should have killed her.” The bag took a deep breath and said grimly, “She smells awful.”
Gregory blinked in shock and said quickly, “Is that it? She smells? You can’t wish somebody dead just because they smell!”
The bag shrugged and folded its fabric arms.
“So she is a witch,” Gregory muttered to himself, eyeing the living bag with a mixture of fascination and repulsion. He said nothing for a while, and then asked, “How did she know my name?”
“Oh she knows everybody’s name,” the bag said dismissively. “She goes through all your bins. She knows all your bank details, your electricity rates, and what you all eat for breakfast. She could be rich with all the knowledge in her head. She was watching you particularly closely this morning.”
“So she was following me to kill me!” Gregory said, aghast.
“Course not, Idiot!” the bag said, sniggering to itself. “She wouldn’t hurt a fly, the daft old bat. Nah, you dropped your watch when you started running.”
Gregory put a hand to his empty wrist and gasped. The watch was actually his father’s and he had taken it without permission that morning. It was a rather fancy watch; one of those new ones with a solar powered battery and a compass. It was the kind of watch that makes you walk with a swagger, keen that somebody should enquire of the time in your presence so that you might wave your wrist nonchalantly in their face. His father would be incredibly angry if he found out Gregory had lost it. Mr Bedcarrots was a well-to-do business man who took enormous pride in his possessions. He had taken great pains to choose a watch that singled him out as a gentleman of class and whilst it wasn’t nearly as expensive as this one, which will set you back 25 million dollars, it certainly hadn’t been cheap.
Gregory had intended to show the watch off to Penny but had got sidetracked by the offer of pie. “He doesn’t know I took it,” Gregory admitted regretfully.
“Well anyway, you dropped it,” said the bag with a sniff.
“I didn’t realise… Can I have it back please?”
“I don’t have it,” the bag replied.
“But didn’t the old lady put it inside you? You are her bag after all!”
The armadillo bag shook its head and said snootily, “Oh, there’s not much space inside me. I just use the pouch to keep my sewing supplies in.” When Gregory looked confused, the bag continued tetchily, “I wear my feet out walking— I’m only made of polyester.”
“Sorry,” said Gregory. Then he added quickly, “Where’s my watch then?”
“Well she’s got it, hasn’t she!” the bag snapped back.
Gregory let out a wail and got to his feet.
“Oi!” the bag yelled as Gregory started to walk off. “Where are you going?”
“I’ve got to get that watch back,” Gregory yelled back. “It’s my dad’s.”
“Don’t go back to her, you idiot!” the bag said, narrowing its beady eyes.
“It’s my dad’s watch,” Gregory repeated firmly. He turned away once more.
In a fit of fury the bag lunged at Gregory, kicking at him with its polyester feet and snapping wildly with its zippy teeth. The pair of them fought for a while in the grass. I don’t know if a piece of clothing or accessory has ever lost its temper with you and caused you to have a wild wrestle, but the scene looked something like this:
Eventually, Gregory gave the bag an almighty wallop and sent it flying across the garden. He got to his feet and, breathing heavily, addressed the bag boldly: “I don’t care what you want to do. If you don’t like the old lady then run away! You’re free! I haven’t asked you to come with me! If you want my opinion you’re a rude and ungrateful little bag. That old lady is the reason you’re alive and you want to kill her just because she’s smelly. You ought to be ashamed of yourself!”
The bag looked at its worn paws and said nothing. It looked suitably ashamed.
“Right then!” Gregory continued confidently. “I’m off to get my watch back!” Then he turned his nose up and started striding away. He felt awfully proud of himself because he was usually a rather cowardly boy, avoiding confrontation at all costs. Of course, his smugness was somewhat overstated. His victory was, after all, over a bag.
Gregory marched swiftly down the street towards the dark forest. As he cut through a field and headed for the trees, he turned and saw that the bag was following him. The bag walked slowly, head down with its tail between its legs. Gregory resisted the urge to say something smug; the truth was he was dreading facing the old lady again and was grateful for the company. As they got deeper into the forest, Gregory’s bravado disappeared completely and he began to tremble. He would have to apologise to the old lady, not just for punching her, but also for stuffing her in the tree. He hoped she would be nice and give him back the watch without a fight. Perhaps he could do something charitable like offer to buy her some new clothes or invite her home for tea. Then he remembered that she was probably a witch and he shuddered at the thought. They neared the apple tree and Gregory took a deep breath, peering gingerly to see if the bag lady had awoken. The sky was cloudy overhead and it was too dark to tell for sure if the tree trunk was still occupied. It was the armadillo bag who noticed first. With a little whistle it exclaimed, “Hurrah! She’s gone!”
It was true. The apple tree was empty. Well, almost empty. Gregory climbed hastily into the trunk where he found something small and strange sitting in the bag lady’s place.