Jump to Chapter 2
McSorely’s Evil Tea
It all started with an evil tea bag used to make an evil cup of tea. As you know tea is generally not evil in fact it’s considered one of the most wholesome drinks there is. This is true; most of the time.
The evil tea bag was dropped into the rubbish bin. If you listened hard enough you could hear it moaning, ‘Mmmmmmmurggggghhhhhhhhh.’ And if you narrowed your eyes and looked closely, you would see a faint black cloud of steam rising from the bin. It was pure out and out foul nastiness.
The evil cup of tea waited patiently. It sat upon a matching china saucer with a sugary shortbread biscuit resting beside it.
‘Tea’s up Sky,’ said Sky’s mum.
Sky sat down and looked at the evil cup of tea. It didn’t look particularly evil. The tea actually looked quite nice in the white china cup.
She studied the shortbread biscuit intently. Sky bent her head down to sniff the tea.
Hmmmmm … something different, she thought. She pursed her lips.
‘Drink up before it gets cold,’ said her mum. She was busy arranging flowers in a glass vase at the kitchen sink.
Sky picked up the biscuit. ‘Sniff, sniff, I hate shortbread.’
‘Sky,’ said her mum firmly, ‘you love shortbread.’
‘Not today,’ she said. ‘It’s too sunny.’ She sniffed the biscuit again.
‘I wish you would stop sniffing stuff. For goodness sake!’ said her mother, sighing. ‘Go to the press and see what you can find.’
The evil tea slowly swirled around in the cup. If it was herbal tea it would be calm chamomile but with evil stirred in.
The evil tea bag was still seething with anger and malice in the bin. What’s the hold up? Drink the tea! Just guzzle it all down!
Sky dragged a wooden stool over. She climbed on top of the stool and opened the press full of goodies.
‘Yes chocolate chip cookies!’ she yelled. ‘Mum, can I have one instead?’
‘Yes Sky,’ she answered, ‘but just the one.’
‘Thanks,’ said Sky.
‘I’m going upstairs to make the beds,’ said her mum, putting the vase of flowers on the kitchen table. ‘Be back in a minute.’
Brrrrrr! thought the evil tea bag. I’m getting really cold here.
Sky dragged back the stool and sat down at the table. She opened the packet of biscuits and took out five. Sky carefully placed one on top of the other making a tall brown biscuit tower.
‘Mum!’ she shouted upstairs. ‘I took just one!’
‘That’s fine pet!’ her mum shouted back. ‘Be careful on the stool.’
The evil tea bag was nearly ready to burst with impatience. ‘Drink the tea, drink the tea!’
She ate the first crumbly biscuit in one go.
Nice, she thought. Hmmm … I wonder would it taste better if I eat two together. ‘Sniff, sniff.’ I better stop sniffing stuff Mum hates it.
Sky nibbled and crunched away, forgetting about her tea.
What is she doing? thought the evil tea bag. What is taking so long? The evil tea bag wished it could be in the cup again. I love the feel of the spoon twirling me around and the sugar tastes so sweet and so baaaaddd!
Sky’s mum came thundering down the stairs.
‘Jeepers!’ said Sky. She stuffed the last of the biscuits quickly into her mouth.
‘Sky, what are you at?’ scolded her mum. ‘That’s too many biscuits!’
‘Honnnnnmmmmmmm, yum, yum, yum,’ she munched as quickly as she could.
‘Look, your tea is gone cold now,’ said her mum. She picked up the evil cup of tea and poured it down the sink.
‘Nooooooooooooooooo!’ shouted the evil tea bag. But because he was a tea bag it was a very weak cry.
‘What was that?’ said Sky’s mum, looking around.
‘Maybe it was the doorbell,’ said Sky.
Sky’s mother went to the front door and opened it.
To her surprise a peculiar looking man was standing there in a black suit; it looked far too small for him. He wore a shiny gold shirt with a matching gold bow tie. The shirt’s buttons were under enormous pressure to stay in place. He had an oily black moustache and his head was completely bald. His eyebrows made one straight black line across his face. The black eyebrow didn’t move; not ever.
‘Good morrow,’ he said, in a loud lofty voice, ‘dear lady!’
‘Er … hello?’ replied Sky’s mum.
‘My name is Mister Snickering,’ he said. ‘How do you do, do you do?’
‘My name is River Swift,’ said Sky’s mum. ‘Ms Swift.’
She held out her hand, he grabbed it and shook it.
Yuck, she thought. His hand is so wet and icky.
‘Verily,’ he chimed, ‘I am here on a mission of the utmost importance.’
She could smell his breath. Ugh! It smells of oniony rotten eggs. River instinctively pulled away her hand but he grabbed hold of her pinkie finger.
‘I believe you have my finger,’ she said.
She tried to pull her little finger away. He didn’t let go.
‘I represent McSorely’s Tea,’ he told her, ‘verily the finest tea in the world.’ He licked his moustache.
‘Mister Snickering my finger,’ she insisted.
‘Just a minute of your time, that’s all I ask Madam Swift,’ he said. ‘Tehehehehe! Only drink McSorely’s Tea.’ He licked his moustache again.
‘I have never heard of McSorely’s Tea,’ said River.
He smiled and let go of her finger. She fell back, he immediately caught her by the arm. He scratched her with one of his long dirty nails. Blood was drawn.
‘Ouch!’ shouted River. ‘My arm!’
‘O! I’m terribly sorry,’ he said. ‘Let me see you inside and we will fix you up mam.’
He pushed his way in.
Sky was sitting at the wooden table eating more biscuits. ‘Honnnnnmmmmmmm, yum, yum, yum.’
Blood trickled down from River’s arm. She ran to the sink and turned on the tap. The water splashed out everywhere. She quickly turned the tap off.
Sky ran to get the mop. ‘What happened?’
‘He scratched me!’ she said shocked. She watched the blood oozing out of her arm into the sink. River turned on the tap gently this time. She put her arm under the cool water and looked wide-eyed as the bloody water drained down the silver plughole.
Sky was busy mopping the floor. ‘Oh Mum!’
‘Sniff, sniff, yes, yes,’ said Mister Snickering.
He’s a sniffer too! thought Sky. That’s interesting.
Mister Snickering had a good look around. While no one was looking he fished out the evil tea bag from the bin and put it in his jacket pocket.
‘My arm is very sore,’ said River.
‘I can only apologise Madam Swift,’ he said.
‘That’s alright,’ said River. She had calmed down a little. ‘I’m sure you couldn’t have meant it.’
‘I came to give you a free sample of McSorely’s Tea compliments of McSorelys,’ he said. ‘Tehehehehe! Only drink McSorely’s Tea.’ He licked his moustache. ‘Verily, I am their top agent.’
He handed Sky a black wooden box which had McSorely’s Tea printed in gold lettering on the front of it. The end of the letter y curled into a gold leaf. Sky put the box on a shelf.
‘You are so kind,’ said River.
‘Kindness is next to craziness,’ he said.
‘Is that not kindness is next to godliness?’ said River.
‘Whatever you say,’ he mumbled.
‘Sorry,’ said River, ‘what was that?’
‘I must be on my way,’ said Mister Snickering.
‘Let me see you to the door,’ said River, wrapping a tea towel around her arm.
‘It has been of the utmost pleasure, forsooth,’ he said. ‘Remember McSorely’s Tea purveyors of the finest and the most refreshing tea.’ He licked his moustache as he looked back at Sky.
River closed the door as quick as she could.
‘Who was that?’ asked Sky. ‘He was strange.’
McSorely’s Evil Tea
Mister Snickering stepped into a single seater black car which was parked further down the road. His belly rolled out under the steering wheel. A button on his gold shirt popped under the pressure, bounced off the window screen and hit him in the eye. He ignored it.
Mister Snickering pulled a black lever and the car started. He stretched his arms out. ‘Owwwww!’ he yawned. The car drove off by itself. Mister Snickering fell asleep on the steering wheel. ‘Zzzzzzzzzzzzz! … Snort! … Snort! … Zzzzzzzz … Zzzzzzz … zzzzzzz.’
The car stopped at traffic lights and a little boy looked in at Mister Snickering fast asleep. His mouth dropped open in surprise. The car started on its steady way again.
The black car stopped outside a dark and sinister looking building. It was surrounded by red brick Victorian houses. McSorely’s Tea was printed in elegant gold lettering above a black door where the letter y curled into a gold leaf. There were no windows for the curious to peer inside. The building was covered by a gold roof with a large chimney stack. Black smoke bellowed out of the chimney day and night.
Mister Snickering slowly woke up. He had dribble running down the corner of his mouth. He took out a dirty black handkerchief and dabbed his face. He dragged himself out of the black vehicle. His eyes drifted up to the gold lettering above the door. He licked his moustache.
Home sour home, Mister Snickering thought.
He squeezed out a small black key from his tight trouser pocket. Mister Snickering carefully guided it into the gold keyhole. Click! The black door opened a little. He sucked in his stomach and squeezed himself inside.
He let out his stomach again, ‘Ahhhhh!’ He was dreading the next few minutes because he knew what lay at the end of the long dimly lit hall.
Mister Snickering hung up his coat on the single gold hook fixed to the wall. His name Mister Snickering was written in tiny gold lettering above the hook where the letter g curled into a gold leaf.
He looked down the hall and sighed.
Mister Snickering took off his small black shoes. He slowly sneaked down the hall in his smelly stocking feet.
Be as quite as you can, he told himself. Don’t even breathe. Suck it all in.
The worn wooden floorboards were a creaking minefield. The creaks moved all the time to try and catch him out. He gingerly put one foot in front of the other.
‘Blast! I knew it,’ he said. ‘Oh-oh! What will happen to me now. I have woken it.’
‘Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!’ said a voice. ‘Where do you think you’re going?’
‘Just to work Tea Master, just to work,’ replied Mister Snickering. ‘The leaves might need stirring and then on to bed for a lovely night’s kip.’ He began to feel very hot. He could feel sweat beginning to gather at the top of his bald head.
‘I don’t like you,’ said the voice. ‘You and your gigglemug.’
‘Verily,’ said Mister Snickering, ‘I like you very much.’
‘Your sweet tongue will not work for you today,’ snarled the voice. ‘You loblolly!’
‘I meant no offence,’ said Mister Snickering, his voice began to shake. ‘I only want to do a good job.’
‘Did you get the tea bag?’ it asked.
‘Yes,’ he answered. ‘It’s in my pocket.’ To his amazement his hand went straight through his black jacket pocket. ‘It’s gone!’ Eek! What am I to do?
The tea bag had burnt a hole in Mister Snickering’s pocket and escaped.
‘It must be still in the car,’ Mister Snickering said, beginning to panic. ‘I’ll go back and look. Anything you want.’
‘Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!’ growled the voice. ‘Sniff! Sniff! You are too late. The tea bag is long gone. She will not be happy.’
‘You don’t have to tell her,’ pleaded Mister Snickering. ‘We could keep it to ourselves no one would have to know.’
‘Where’s your giggling phiz now?’ said the voice.
As afraid as Mister Snickering was of The Tea Master he still wasn’t a patch on The Tea Lady. He had met her once and it was so terrifying he had put the whole experience deep into his mind never to be thought about again.
Every day Mister Snickering had to report to The Tea Master. He always did his work he felt to the best of his ability but today he had made a big mistake and it wasn’t his first.
‘I know you like bon-bons,’ said Mister Snickering. ‘Pink is your favourite. I have a packet in the car.’
‘Trying to bribe me will not work you snivelling snake,’ it said. ‘Your scum invested tongue will not satisfy me.’
‘Verily,’ he replied, ‘I only made a small error.’
‘A big mistake,’ the voice boomed. ‘You are going to pay.’
‘With pain!’ growled the voice.
‘What type of pain?’ asked Mister Snickering. Sweat was now streaming down his bald head and gathering in his one straight eyebrow. It looked like a glistening black shiny snake.
The voice didn’t show itself too often these days only for special occasions and today was one. It got to inflict pain so it was a special day.
Click! The hall light came on.
‘Please,’ pleaded Mister Snickering. ‘I’ll do anything.’ He looked on helplessly knowing what was going to happen next.
It started off as a tiny black spot. It grew in size and started to spin around in a circle. The black spot grew a black tail which got longer and longer. It became fatter and thinner as if it was trying to find a shape to develop into, but it always ended up in the same hideous form. And there it was.
‘Gadzooks!’ shouted Mister Snickering. He could see the voice in all its demonic grinning glory. It was hideous to behold. ‘Mister Tea Master my old chuckaboo. Let’s not be hasty.’
The Tea Master stood in front of him, took a deep breath and snickered at Mister Snickering.
The old man wore a pair of denim dungarees, a striped shirt underneath and on his feet were a pair of blue fur-lined slippers with gold anchors embroidered on them. He wore a long white Father Christmassy type beard. He appeared quite ordinary, he could easily be mistaken for the jolly happy sort until he smiled and that’s when the evil showed itself. His smile was grotesque and monstrous.
‘Aggghhhhhhhh!’ screamed Mister Snickering. He felt unbelievable pain. ‘What are you doing to me?’
‘I am simply turning your face inside out,’ said The Tea Master. He smiled his black hearted smile.
‘How long will my punishment last?’ Mister Snickering tried to say but it sounded more like, ‘Hffffloegwiffmepunniishmennntlashhhh.’
The Tea Master knew exactly what he meant. He replied, ‘When we have made exactly two thousand more McSorely’s tea bags.’
The Evil Tea Bag
The evil tea bag had made its way out of Mister Snickering’s jacket pocket. It was very glad to have gotten out of there. The pocket was crammed full of old sweet wrappers and dried dusty tea leaves. The tea bag shuck itself to get all the dust off.