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Issue 4 - April 1972
Cornflake Estate
Episode one - The Discovery

The sun came up over cornflake estate. It was going to be a good day. Marion looked out of the kitchen window, as she washed her dishes, onto the half-completed Greenshit and Bartlett executive housing estate. She felt a little naughty as she wore her skimpy Gay Paree nightie which her husband Ken had bought from a discreet mail-order firm. As she looked over the garden, she recoiled in horror. The gnomes were gone.

Bunty, Bernie, and his little friends - how would her little Adrian take it? - She turned to her husband. Ken was finishing his cornflakes. A plastic spaceman had stuck in his throat. Fuck, he thought, but did not say it. The Daily Express had got him and, as always, the Guardian remained unread.

She told him the seven gnomes were gone, including her favourite, Bunty, the one with the wheelbarrow. Ken coughed up the spaceman into the orange pulp in his bowl. "Sorry, love, I'm late as it is". He gave her a peck and carefully set the creases on his wide-lapelled Jackson pin-striped suit.

She heard his '72 blood red Ford Avenger rev as she tugged at the ribbon on her mauve nightie. The police - it was the only answer.

They got the message. "Yes, we have had a lot of knicker snatching lately too," said PC Pork, as he added two and two together. His course at Hendon had not been in vain.

Marion was reassured as she put the receiver down. But half an hour later, after she had packed her bouncy powdered-arsed baby, Adrian, off to nursery school, she was alone. The gnomes were still missing. She felt uneasy.

She dressed and set off for the furniturama on the High Street. As she walked in, Mr Grundy was his usual smiling self. His eyes blinked sterling. She told him about the gnomes. "Yes," he said, "We've had a lot of knicker snatching lately too, my wife doesn't know which way to turn."

"How are the mortgage payments going," he said, changing the subject abruptly.

There was a new offer; a free Mantovani LP with every 20 teak clothes pegs purchased. Her bargain pocketed, she hurries out.

On her way back, she saw Mr Jones, the bachelor, and gave a genital shudder. He was dragging along his mangy dog. "He's revolting" she thought. "He never changes that long mac". His eyes darted behind his National Health pink-rimmed wire specs towards her meaty thighs. Ken told her it was a nice estate - she sometimes wondered. Jones crept past.

She got home and locked the door. She had a baked bean for lunch as recommended by her '2001 Bumper Slimming Guide'. She took her tablets and looked forlornly through the kitchen window. She recoiled. A gang of seven workmen were sitting on the garden fence eating ham-filled sandwiches. The gnomes vanished.

Brown, moist, naked backs. If only Ken looked like that she thought as she remembered her Mecca dancing days. But Profit and Gobble Ltd had seen to that. He was developing a paunch.

She sighed and adjusted the Boots reproduction Botticelli which hung limply over the 'Cosi-log' heater. "Another three payments and it's ours" she thought. Too much, the men were still on her mind. She ran up to the bedroom.

BROWN, MOIST, NAKED BACKS. She'd never felt like this for years. Sweater, jeans and bra were floored. She was back in her Gay Paree. She arranged her hair, and stood on tiptoe, by the dresser. Shit! The men had gone.

Sounds of a car. It was five o'clock. "God, not yet". Ken bounded up the path. He opened the door. He was flushed. He shouted up the stairs: "Darling, you'll never guess. The managing director found a gnome in his lavatory this morning. He told me while we chatted about the weekend golf."

He looked up at Marion in astonishment. "Darling, what are you doing still in your nightie?" He looked at her suspiciously. "You're not keeping anything from me - are you?"

Jules and Jim

Next month: 'Crack-up'.