Hades, Persephone, Hilda and Dr Pickles are hiding from the evil Dr Hieronymus Mangler. Deprived of an actual scientific laboratory, Pickles has set up in a conveniently nearby barn. Now read on.
‘Is it normal pig behaviour’ Persephone asked, ‘to be flat on the back with trotters in the air, drooling and grinning inanely?’
Hades, Persephone, Hilda, Pickles and the barnyard animals were clustered around a pair of delirious, supine porkers.
‘Not really,’ said Pickles. ‘What’s more, I’ve been telling them about sausages and all they do is giggle. The fact is, I’ve been experimenting on them. Didn’t have any guinea pigs so had to use the full-size ones.’
‘And what sort of experiment involving giggling pigs would be relevant to our predicament?’ Hilda wanted to know.
‘Ah! I’m glad you asked. I think you’ll find this interesting. I’ve been feeding them Mangler’s underpants and this is what happened to them — they came over all zonked.’
‘Say what, Mr Man?’ Hades was not impressed. ‘You’ve been feeding undies to piggies? What on earth is the point of that? Have you run out of useful things to be doing?’
Hilda fixed Hades with one of the hard stares he could feel even from under her burqa.
‘OK,’ said Persephone. ‘You may need to walk us through this because the relevance of daft pigs to a worldwide coup d’état by a dangerously crazed über-loon is eluding us.’
‘It’s all very simple and very evil,’ said Pickles, ‘except for the actual science, which is all very fiendish and extraordinarily evil. I was investigating the properties of these Manglers, getting to know the enemy, hoping to back-engineer and I discovered some interesting things about them.’
‘Go on,’ said Hades watching as one of the pigs appeared to rapture and ascend to another plane of being.
‘First, the pants seem to be alive.’
‘That can’t be good,’ said Persephone.
‘That’s exactly what I said, funnily enough,’ said Pickles.
This is how a novelist might spend his day, imagining stoned pigs, which makes this a fine occupation. The above is an extract from the work in progress, The Underpants Tree.