Tag Archives: bag

Story Soup 1.21


Welcome to Story Soup! If you 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 what the bag pulls out of his pouch. ‘Other’ suggestions included a ‘tiny tin penguin’, a ‘lucky penny’ and a ‘memory wiper or time stopping device’. But with 44% of the vote the winning choice was an Umbilical cord.

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

Gregory Bedcarrots: the truth is out of the Bag.

If you have ever woken up in the middle of a dream and wondered where you are, you will understand a little of how Gregory was beginning to feel. He rubbed his aching head and pinched himself as he watched the bag pull out nothing less than a grey slimy umbilical cord from his pouch. At the sight of the living bag, Mrs Bedcarrots let out a scream and Mr Bedcarrots reached for a spade. Penny’s mother fainted and her father began to swear. The policepeople, who were most comfortable dealing with pesky youths and speeding motorists, had no idea how to respond to a talking armadillo bag with an umbilical cord and simply took off their hats and scratched their heads. Penny did her best to appease the grown ups by saying sensible things like, “We can explain,” and, “Don’t jump to conclusions!” But this just served to make the grown ups more irate.

“Is this meant to be a joke?” Mr Bedcarrots exclaimed in fury, sparks of spit flying off his tongue.

“Who’s controlling that bloody puppet?” Mr Parsnip demanded, pointing an angry finger at the bag.

“Is he holding a snake?” muttered P.C Henry, the former bag lady.

“This isn’t good for my nerves,” Mrs Bedcarrots whimpered, sinking miserably to the ground.

With a shriek of frustration, Penny ran between them and stomped her foot. “This is all getting rather out of hand,” she said sternly. “Now then, unless any of you think yourself clever enough to deal with talking bags and time worms and the brain of a dead scientist, I think you all had better calm down and listen to me.”

The grown ups exchanged affronted looks but none of them were brave or foolish enough to protest further. With disgruntled snorts they fell silent and gathered round Penny.

With the grown ups temporarily at bay, Gregory turned to the bag in horror and indicated the shiny umbilical cord. “What is that?” he muttered.

“It’s yours,” the bag said slyly. “Well, mine now.”

“What do you mean?” Gregory asked in confusion.

“I got it on the day of your birth.” The bag gave a strange grin.

“Don’t be stupid,” Gregory said irritably. “I was there. You wouldn’t even look, you were so scared.”

“I don’t mean then,” the bag said with a chuckle. “I went back another day.” He started to fumble deeper into his pouch and then let out a smug “Ta da!” as he flashed a handful of time worms.

“Where did you get them?” Gregory demanded.

“Oh, you know,” the bag gave an airy sigh. “I had to find something to do during all those long days in the summer when I was cooped up in your room with nothing but the playstation…” He unzipped another compartment from inside himself and tipped the contents onto the ground.

Gregory’s jaw hung in shock. “Those are my first shoes!” he said, nudging a pair of pale blue booties with his foot.

“Yes,” said the bag with a nod. “And this is your first tooth… And your first pencil…” He pawed through his peculiar treasures, naming each item, much to Gregory’s shock and revulsion. “This is from your ninth birthday,” said the bag, waving a yellow candle. “And this is a lock of your wife’s hair.”

“Wife?” Gregory went white with shock. “You’ve seen my future?”

“Oh yes!” the bag gave a chortle.

Penny looked up from her lecture with the parents, a look of fright etched upon her face at the mention of Gregory’s wife.

This made the bag chuckle even more.

“This isn’t right!” Gregory said angrily. “How dare you go through my life like this!”

But the bag ignored him and handed him a piece of brown wood. “Now this is special,” he said with an eerie whisper. “This is from your coffin.”

Gregory dropped the wood in fright.

“Strange isn’t it,” the bag said with a shrug. “What is life but fleeting moments in which we prepare to die? And oh, how we might live differently if we could see it all in a flash…” He gave a deep sigh and itched one of his polyester feet. Then he reached deep into himself and pulled out Einstein’s brain. “Gee, this thing is really getting on my nerves. Not as exciting as Shakespeare’s brain, I can assure you!” He reached into himself once more and pulled out a second shrivelled brain.

“Where did you get that from?” Gregory asked, aghast.

“Oh, just on my travels,” the bag replied nonchalantly.

Gregory looked at him in confusion. “Who are you?” he muttered.

The bag said nothing for a moment and then gave a cough as he began to stretch the umbilical cord between his fingers. “Watch this,” he said to Gregory with a grin.

As the cord was pulled and stretched, Gregory felt his stomach churning inside him. He rubbed his eyes in dismay, gazing in confusion as the garden appeared to bend and distort before his very eyes. “Stop that!” he snapped angrily.

The bag stopped abruptly and then began to pluck the cord instead. “Look at them,” he whispered, cocking his head towards Penny and the others.

Gregory turned and gasped. At the striking of the umbilical cord, Penny had begun to shrink, their parents were growing older and older by the second, and the three policepeople had turned into stone.

“What are you doing?” Gregory hissed.

“It’s not my fault,” the bag said with a shrug. “The whispers of time are going to their heads.”

Within seconds Penny was the size of a hamster and their parents were so old and wrinkly that they had almost turned inside out.

“Stop it please!” Gregory begged, shaking from head to toe. To see his parents disintegrate so rapidly was highly distressing, not least because they themselves seemed not to have noticed a change.

“A bit nippy today, isn’t it?” the elderly Mrs Bedcarrots was heard to remark nonchalantly to her husband.

“Is that a mouse?” the frail old Mr Bedcarrots remarked in reply, swiping for the miniature Penny who began to sob.

“Please!” Gregory appealed to the bag. “Who are you? What are you doing?”

The bag gave a smug sniff, pulled Gregory’s blue baby booties onto his polyester feet, shoved Gregory’s first tooth into his threaded mouth and swung the umbilical cord over his shoulder. Then he closed his eyes, muttered something under his breath, and clicked his scratchy fingers together. In an instant he began to grow and stretch. His button eyes fell off, making way for real dark human ones, and orange hair began to grow where brown stitching had been. Gregory gawped in horror as the bag transformed into a half bag half ginger human hybrid before his very eyes. When fully transformed, the bag man gave a twirl and let out a satisfied sigh. “Well, aren’t I handsome!” he said with a chuckle.

“Who are you?” Gregory repeated dumbly.

“I’m anyone I want to be,” the bag man replied. “In any place and any time. Right now, I am a little bit bag and a little bit you.” He patted Gregory’s umbilical cord and grinned.

“Wh-what?” Gregory spluttered. “Who, I mean, how—? I thought you said the bag lady made you?”

“She did,” the bag man said with a grin. “She made me in the middle of a wormhole. It had broken down somewhere between Athens 5BC and New York 2050, and she used the opportunity to experiment with threads of time from the wormhole. But seeing as I was created outside of time and space my fate does not hinge on hers. I simply exist. I am not tainted by time like you mere mortals!” The bag man paused for dramatic effect, but Gregory was far too stunned to speak and said nothing, so the bag man continued mournfully, “My only regret has always been that the daft old bat made me a bag and not a human; whoever wanted to be a bag? So when you and Penny temporarily abandoned your mission in favour of selling alien pencils to the tourists, I took advantage of all the spare time worms sitting unused in your desk drawer and set about putting things right. I began collecting bits of your life in the hope that I might be able to form an identity as a man. Humans have certain privileges that bags cannot enjoy— housing benefit and free health care for example. Now that I am a man, I can be truly free!” He gave a delighted cackle and then added flippantly, “Oh and Gregory, I hope you don’t mind but I intend to call myself the Right Honourable Lord Greg B. Carrots. What do you think?”

Gregory fell to the floor, clutching his head in confusion as he began to cry.

“Wait,” the bag man’s voice sounded softer. “Don’t be frightened, Gregory.”

“But, but,” Gregory began to stammer. “What’s going on? What will you do to me?”

The bag man said nothing for a moment, and then gave a smile. With all the audacity of a street rat on a flying carpet, he held out his hand and said softly, “Do you trust me?”


Story Soup 1.14


Welcome to Story Soup! If you 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 what Gregory should reply upon being caught by the orphanage director. ‘Other’ suggestions included, “I’m your worst nightmare” and ‘Penny saves the day’. But with 43% of the vote the winning choice is below…

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 of the site or by joining the Story Soup Facebook page.

Use your brain, Gregory!

Gregory turned to the orphanage director and said urgently, “Never mind me, he took Einstein’s brain!”

To this, Professor Harvey made a noise which was somewhere between a splutter and a snarl. “That’s absurd!” he exclaimed. “I did no such thing!”

“Yes you did!” Gregory yelled furiously. “You stole it and you want to implant it inside the head of a child—!”

The two began to argue loudly, Professor Harvey growing redder and redder and Gregory shouting at the top of his voice as he exposed the full extent of professor’s plans.

“You only want to adopt that girl so that you can put Einstein’s brain inside her. But she will hate it and grow up desperately unhappy!”

“Please,” Professor Harvey begged the director. “Please don’t listen to him!”

The orphanage director, who was looking incredibly fraught, turned seriously to the professor. “Sir,” he said in astonishment. “Do not think for one moment that I hold any credibility to this child’s ridiculous claims!”

Professor Harvey opened his mouth to speak and then closed it again.

“Of course you didn’t take Einstein’s brain!” the director continued. “Who could fathom such a deed?”

“Quite right,” Professor Harvey said briskly, shooting Gregory a livid stare.

Gregory narrowed his eyes and started to retort but was interrupted by the orphanage director who enquired angrily, “Who are you anyway? And what do you mean by trespassing on my grounds?”

Gregory felt his face grow red as he racked his brains for a reputable excuse. He wondered if he should give a false name but before he could reply, a voice behind them sang out merrily, “Gregory Bedcarrots! There you are!”

Gregory spun around. To his utter relief, there stood Penny.

“Penny!” he said through his breath.

“Please forgive my brother,” Penny said smoothly to the astounded director, in her ridiculously fantastic fake American accent. “He’s a little bit backwards.” She shot Gregory a toothy smile, brimming with all the purpose and charisma of a courageous Rescuer.

Gregory didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Somewhere in the depths of his heart he felt as though it should be he, not she, who played the role of knight in shining armour, but he was so frightened of the orphanage director and Professor Harvey that he could not help but take Penny’s hand when she offered it.

“We’re new to the area,” Penny continued confidently to the stunned director. “Gregory wandered off while we were all busy with the moving van. Please accept our sincere apologies. You are sorry, aren’t you, brother?”

Gregory nodded dumbly.

The orphanage director, now looking at Gregory with a mixture of pity and trepidation said politely, “Oh, that’s quite alright. No harm done.”

They were about to walk away when Professor Harvey exclaimed loudly, “That’s my bag!”

Penny turned in mock horror, glancing at the large brown bag that hung clumsily over her shoulder. “What this?” she asked innocently.

“Yes!” the irate professor snapped.

“Oh, I am very sorry,” Penny continued courteously. “I found it whilst looking for my brother and assumed it had simply been abandoned. I’m a collector of bags, you see.” From over her other shoulder she presented the armadillo bag, who was doing a very good job of appearing to be nothing more than a toy. “I found this one in a smelly ditch!” She gave a little giggle, knowing full well that the bag would get her back for this later.

Gregory, in his nervousness, could not keep himself from giggling too. And once he’d started, he could not stop. Like a school child under strict instruction not to smile when being shown a sex education video for the very first time, he felt the ripples of laughter sliding through his face and causing his lips to quiver. He knew that he ought not to laugh; that their situation was far more desperate than that. But he simply couldn’t help it. This helped him greatly with his efforts to seem a little backwards.

The professor snatched his own bag from Penny’s outstretched arm and said rudely, “Insolent children. They should all be shot.” When the director looked alarmed he added quickly, “Except for the darling that I’m adopting, of course. Is she ready yet?”

The director cleared his throat and said politely, “Perhaps you’d like to come back inside while I fetch her?”

“Wait!” Gregory exclaimed. “Check inside his bag! Check for the brain!”

“There he goes again!” the professor snapped, holding the bag tight to his chest.

“Oh, brother!” Penny said with a little titter. “Don’t be absurd!”

“But Penny!” Gregory insisted. “We have to stop him. He’s going to— Ow!”

Penny had nipped him on the arm. “We’re going home, Gregory!” She pulled his arm and tried to march him away.

But Gregory shook his head and cried urgently, “The brain!”

“Perhaps you ought to open your bag, just to show him that he’s wrong,” the director suggested gently, shooting Gregory a pitying smile.

The professor, who was looking sicker and angrier by the minute, tried to protest but the director would have none of it. “Come on, Harvey! Just show the boy that’s he’s mistaken and he’ll be able to go home in peace.”

Seeing that he was cornered, the professor opened his bag very slowly and deliberately, keeping it turned towards himself. Fear turned into horror as the inside of the bag came into view. “It’s empty!” he said, aghast.

He looked at Penny in dismay but she simply shrugged and said briskly to Gregory. “I told you not to be absurd, brother! Now let’s go!”

Finally taking the hint, Gregory gave a quick nod and then followed Penny down the path, breaking into a sprint as soon as they neared the edge of the grounds.

Turning at the gate, Gregory stole a glance behind them and saw the professor staring furiously after them whilst trying to maintain formalities with the orphanage director who was beckoning him back into the orphanage building.

“Penny!” Gregory exclaimed breathlessly as they turned a corner at the edge of the street. “You’re amazing!”

“Thanks,” Penny said graciously. “I was hiding in the bush when you threw his bag in!”

“That’s fortunate!” Gregory said. Then he stopped and asked anxiously, “Then where is the brain?”

Penny gave him a sly grin and cocked her head at the armadillo bag swinging over her shoulder.

The bag raised an eyebrow and a little glint shone in his button eye.