Dowis was up early that Saturday morning because she had new facial hair to sculpt. Goatees were out, and those moustaches that villains from old movies who used to tie women to train tracks until they were saved by the hero were definitely in.

Facial grooming wasn’t the only reason she was up early, she had spent a fun packed few hours with her Mum scoffing cheese and burping into Barry’s face. How they cackled when Barry, half asleep, tried to flap the cheesy stench away from his nostrils while garbling: “Snnnffft… grrrrffftt, stinking… feet… giant… mice… xxxxjjjjjttt…”

Dowis hummed the new number one song: ‘Shark Attack Sandwich – the mayonnaise remix’ and thought about her and her Mum’s top secret, never to be revealed, well actually it will be revealed in the next few pages or no-one would ever discover just how awesome and mean they were, hairy nostrilled plan.

“Dowis, you beautiful beast, Barry won’t know what has hit him! Make sure you take your disposable camera and an empty plastic bottle to catch his tears so you can drink them later.” She told herself, as she put the final touches to her moustache, making sure the curves at each end were the curviest any one would have ever seen.

Barry had not slept well that night; he’d had dreams of stinky feet and of being chased by giant mice who had accused him of stealing their cheese. It hadn’t helped that the angry dog had had one of its dreams where it’s at the local bowling alley, scoring strikes for fun – its paws were flapping all over the place, he was growling and Barry was pretty sure he even heard the angry dog woof: “strike!” at one point.

He rubbed his eyes, stepped over the twitching mutt and stumbled to the wardrobe to get dressed.

“Where’s our bweakfast / breakfast?” screeched the troublesome twosome in chorus from downstairs. Barry, despite being so tired he could have eaten an apple, wouldn’t let anyone or anything dampen his mood.

He sambaed down the stairs, sambaed while making breakfast and sambaed out to the car, all the time humming ‘I’m going to the bubble wrap factory’ to the tune of ‘I’m just a love machine’ – Barry’s fave ever tune.

Doris and Dowis stood at the window watching Barry do head spins and triple jumps in the garden. “Little does Bawwy know what we’ve got in store for him,” Doris chortled. Then they spent two hours having a ‘who can do the most evil laugh’ contest.

Barry was just setting up a high jump in the garden when the two scoundrels came outside, clicked their fingers and climbed into the car.

He immediately dived onto the roof and started tying himself to the roof rack – he wasn’t allowed inside the car because it had too many cool things like seats and buttons and a clock.

The journey was going to be quite a long one; Barry knew this because he’d bought a map of Britain just to look at the route. He knew it off by heart as he’d looked at it every night before bed.

He’d even bought one of those love heart necklaces that you put photos in, got the map shrunk down and lovingly placed it inside it.

Trouble was, as soon as they left the cul-de-sac, everything looked different to how the map looked. Barry was expecting lots of coloured lines going in all directions, symbols instead of buildings and no traffic, but it was the complete opposite, everything was just so, well, 3-D.

“Grrr,” Barry grrrd to himself, “I’ve no idea where we’re going, oh well, I’m really tired so I’ll take a nap and before I know it I’ll be at the bubble wrap factory.”

With that, he settled down and had trés funky dreams about making friends with the angry dog and building up the courage to ask him to teach him how to ten pin bowl.

Before long, the car was pulling into the car park of an imposing factory shaped building. Barry was still catching some zeds and dreaming about high fiving the angry dog after a strike, so he had no idea that the Nasty Nellies in the car had not driven him to the bubble wrap factory at all, oh no, they had driven him to…

South Chiddinton’s largest cheese making factory!

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The circus had been on the village green for four weeks before Barry and Gilbert actually remembered not to spend their last shiny pound coins in Mrs Décay’s sweet shop everyday and ventured over to the great flappy tent door.

Barry and Gilbert’s hearts were beating that summer’s blockbuster number one hit: ‘I’m Just a Love Machine’, a remix by ‘The Heart Surgeons’ it was great, all beats and pumping and sounds that made your liver tango with your kidneys.

They were pretty darn excited, let me tell you. Barry was singing: “Ich bin ein liber machine…” and flipping his pound coin up in the air and catching in his belly button.

Before you could say: “human beat box,” the boys were flim flaming to their seats and wolfing down some blue candy floss.

The circus was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. There were women with shaved faces; lions taming dinosaurs; weight lifting ants and trapeze artists. On the way out you could even buy some of their art work, as I said just thirty six words ago:

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

The visit to the circus had really got Barry in the mood for tomorrow’s long awaited trip to the bubble wrap factory in Greater Chesterton.

Every day over the last weeks of term, Barry had constantly talked of his trip to see how bubble wrap was really made. “How do they get the bubbles in the wrap?” He’d ask anyone who’d listen. No-one knew, so he was looking forward to his first day at Trench Foot Secondary School as he’d be REALLY POPULAR due to his bubble wrap knowledge.

“Oh yes, Barry,” he’d chuckle to himself, “you’ll probably be made prefect in the first week, head boy in the second and headteacher by the third.”

On the way home from school, Barry and Gilbert popped into Mrs Décay’s sweat shop but they soon realised they weren’t working that night so went next door to her sweet shop instead and bought oodles of sugar covered sweets and bubble filled pop.

“BURP!” Burped Gilbert, as he polished off his second can of Dr Braithwaite’s delicious mixed fruit flavour fizzy pop. “BURP!” Burped Barry in reply.

“These are the best sugar covered swee…” Gilbert was stopped mid sentence as he turned the corner and came face to face with a fabulous, humungous red and white stripped circus big top on the village green that they hadn’t noticed when they walked to school that morning.

“Oh Mine Got!” Barry exclaimed in really bad German (he always spoke very poor German when he was EXTREMELY EXCITED). “We’ve got to go to the circus right this minute!” Agreed Gilbert.

The two rowsterbouts emptied out their pockets and were engulfed in a cloud of torn tissue, homework sheets, moths and belly button fluff. “Tulips!” Gilbert shouted, “We’re out of cash!”

Barry got a look on his face that said: ‘hang on a minute, fellow rowsterbout, I’m having a bit of a think, and before you know it we’ll have some cash, and we’ll be in that red and white stripped circus big top, in fact we’ll have so much spondooler I might buy one of those snow globes that has a miniature red and white stripped circus big top in it just ‘cos I’ve got so much cash.’

After a twelve hour shift making towels in Mrs Décay’s sweat shop, Barry and Gilbert emerged blinking into the summer sunlight, each holding a shiny one pound coin in their hands. “Top plan, Barry, let’s get into the circus big top,” Gilbert said with an: ‘I can’t wait to get into that whopping great tent’ smile.

To their dismay, the huge sign on the flappy door of the big top said: CLOSED! But make sure you come back or else I’ll set my Dad on you!

“Yowzer!” Yowzered Barry, “they’ve even got a talking sign we MUST come back after school.”

On the way home from school, Barry and Gilbert popped into Mrs Décay’s sweat shop but they soon realised they weren’t working that night so went next door to her sweet shop instead and bought oodles of sugar covered sweets and bubble filled pop.

“BURP!” Burped Gilbert, as he polished of his second can of Dr Braithwaite’s delicious mixed fruit flavour fizzy pop. “BURP!” Burped Barry in reply.

“These are the best sugar covered swee…” Gilbert was stopped mid sentence as he turned the corner and came face to face with a fabulous, humungous red and white stripped circus big top on the village green that they had completely forgotten about since this morning.

“OH MINE GOT!” exclaimed Barry, “we totally forgot about that amazing circus and we’ve just gone and spent all our money on this great grub again.”

2

Barry’s home life isn’t quite as ordinary as his school life, you see, Barry lost his parents at a very young age.

His Aunt Doris told him that his parents went off to sail around Bermuda but got trapped in a giant triangle which Barry thinks is really weird because everyone knows that hexagons are the most dangerous shape.

Anyway, Barry lives with his Aunt Doris who is a burly, hulk of a woman with a great ginger beard and a wooden arm.

She doesn’t like the fact that she has to look after a little squirt like Barry and boy does she let him know it, “I don’t like the fact that I’m having to look after a little squirt like you and I’ll let you know it!” she’d often say when letting him know that she didn’t like looking after a little squirt like Barry.

There is also a daughter, Barry’s cousin, Dowis. Aunt Doris had wanted to name her after herself but she can’t pronounce the letter r, instead it sounds like a w, so Dowis it was.

Luckily, her ten year old daughter does not have a beard like her mum, just a fashionable goatee which is all the rage in their village. Bushy beards are out, goatees are in – that’s what it says in the weekly church bulletin and how can you argue with that? At the Sunday sermon, there is always a gaggle of girls with new styles of facial hair based on what the church bulletin says.

Barry is not treated well by Doris and Dowis; in fact you could say he is treated badly. Every week after church, he has to judge the ‘I’ve got the longest nose haircontest’ while trying to prepare a slap up Sunday Roast.

All he ever ends up with is scraps from their plates and the prize longest nose hair to floss the food out of his teeth.

His room is hexagonal in shape; this is incredibly unnerving for Barry, his pillow doesn’t have luscious goose feathers in it to make it goosy plump and great for pillow fights, no, it has Aunt Doris’s old tights in it. Some nights Barry wakes up with a cheesy feet odour in his nostrils that is so strong he never touches the stuff.

Turns out it isn’t her old tights that whiffs up his room but the two terrors he lives with eating great chunks of cheese then burping into his face.

They decided it was a brilliant idea because they know it makes Barry’s stomach turn when he thinks of cheese and this is their favourite snack food.

Playing tricks on the poor fella is their favourite pastime, some of the more dastardly japes include:

1. Clingfilm over the toilet seat leading to wet feet.

2. No towels in the bathroom.

3. No bathroom in the pile of towels.

4. Coffee granules in the gravy jar (although this back fired as they’re the only people in the house who eat gravy. Or drink coffee).

5. Swapping his pet dog for Transformer stickers so they could complete their sticker album.

6. Swapping the Transformer sticker album for a new, angry dog that they put in his bed.

7. Swapping the bed, his new friend – Angry Dog – and his secret stash of towels for a hexagonal packet of Smarties.

8. Taking his nametag out of his school jumper and replacing it with one that says Michelle Migginton.

9. Swapping his PE kit for a pair of Aunt Doris’s massive bloomers and a beard grooming kit.

10. Telling Barry he is having a delicious packed lunch when all they’ve really put in his rucksack is a water pistol (Doris’s), the new issue of      Beano (Dowis’s) and half a PE kit (Angry Dog’s).

Barry often sits in his room, staring out his window at the night sky and wonders if there is more to life. “Surely,” he sighs to himself, and the new angry dog, “there must be more to life than being picked on more times than a snot filled nose.” The angry dog just looks at him, bares its teeth and continues eating Smarties straight from the tube.

Little does Barry know that on these lonely nights when he stares into the shimmering sky, as the stars have break dance contests and the moon judges the best moves, that something really quite funky is afoot. So funky, in fact, that I can hardly believe it myself, but it is gonna happen and gonna happy pretty soon too.

Why So Glum Barry Boggin?

Roland Whemes

1

Apart from having a bit of a silly name, Barry Boggin is an ordinary boy. He goes to school which he likes some days and dislikes others. He enjoys sports he’s good at and avoids ones he’s rubbish at; he doesn’t like girls, and he has the best friend in the world EVER – Gilbert O’Dishwater.

Barry has an ordinary face: two eyes with matching eyelids, two ears with matching ear wax, crooked teeth hidden by smiling lips and a whole bunch of freckles spattered all over his face for good measure.

His flame red hair always points in different directions no matter how many times an adult licks their hand and tries to pat it down in the belief that their spit is some kind of magic hair gel. Mrs Décay, the sweet shop lady, really loves trying to stick down his hair. “Ooooh look at your hair, young Barry, I’ll soon fix it.” She says as her sand paper tongue runs over her palm leaving bits of wham bar and spittle which were soon in Barry’s hair. It seems most adults in Barry’s village believe they have this super power yet not once has it worked, his hair was uncontrollable. Even Juanaldo, the village hair dresser and one time boyhood Venezuelan salsa and plate spinning champion, couldn’t fix Barry’s hair.

Barry doesn’t seem to have much luck at school, he is always being shouted at for telling the teacher he is having a packed lunch when all he has in his rucksack is a water pistol, the latest issue of Beano and half a PE kit. For reasons Barry doesn’t understand, this causes his teacher to turn a shade of red that could only be matched by a fire extinguisher. Teacher flaps around barking: “You’ve done it this time Boggin! I’ll have to go and see her in the office and you know how she hates the register being wrong.” Her in the office does not like the register being wrong, that was true, but worst of all she doesn’t like being bothered, especially by children, especially by poorly children. The office is a place of mystery and horror, it is rumoured that a child was late returning the register once and he is still being used in there as a foot rest. Barry and Gilbert avoid the place at all costs. Gilbert even ignored a rather severe worm bite, in which he lost 12/27ths of a finger, just so he didn’t have to go there. Being the good friend he is Barry only calls him Four Fingers Gilbo or Stubby behind his back.

Other than that, school is an ok place. Someone, usually the same person, stands at the front of the class talking about numbers, words, places and all other kinds of things. A couple of times a day the kids are chucked outside to run around; chase one another or pretend to be things like alligators, packs of cards or ostriches. If there is no food in your bag for lunch, a tall man with a hunch, a sneer and greasy hair slops what looks a little bit like food onto a tray which has compartments. These compartments are meant to keep your grub separate but you are guaranteed to have semolina with your peas and meat with your sliced banana.

Then there is Headteacher. She is tall, slim, wears a power suit and likes to do stomach crunch exercises in her office. She often gets kids, parents or teachers to punch her in the gut to prove how rock hard her stomach muscles are.

Barry has very little to do with her, but does suffer with a sore hand when the weather gets cold after being asked to wallop Headteacher when being shown round the school before starting in Reception.

That was many years ago as Barry is now in Year 6 and looking forward to the summer holidays, a special trip away to the bubble wrap factory in Greater Chesterton, and the move to Trench Foot Secondary School that followed.