Ladies and gentlepeople, boys and girls, pull up your chairs, pin back your ears and listen to the story of Punch and Judy.
One morning, Judy was on her way to yoga.
‘You’ll be okay with the baby won’t you?’ Judy said as she left.
‘Oh yes, you bet’ said Mr Punch confidently.
‘Just don’t lose him’ she said breezily as the door shut.
‘As if’ said Punch. He looked at the baby. The baby looked at him.
‘Park’ declared Mr Punch.
‘Push my possum to the park, push my possum to the park’ sang Mr Punch as he pushed the buggy down the pavement past the Vegan Café and into the park.
‘Push my possum past the policeman’ sang Mr Punch as he nodded ‘hello’ to the policeman who was having some very serious words with a group of young boys who had knocked an old lady’s hat into the lake with their frisbee.
‘Here’s some bread. You can feed it to the ducks’ Punch said giving a crust to the baby. The baby threw the crust into Mr Punch’s eye.
‘Here’s a grape. You like grapes’ The baby threw the grape to the ducks.
‘Here’s a ball. We can play catch’. He threw the ball to the baby and the baby ignored it.
‘It’s difficult being a dad’ sighed Mr Punch as he walked off to fetch the ball from the trees.
When he returned, horror upon horror upon horror upon horror, baby … had gone.
He looked around. Where was he? Where could he be?
And then, the baby went past. On a skateboard.
On. A. Skateboard.
Mr Punch set off after him.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, just at that moment, Judy walked past on her way back from yoga.
‘I’m dead’ thought Mr Punch Judy started running after both of them.
A park keeper who was brushing up some leaves saw the commotion ‘Not in my park you don’t,’ he shouted and set off after them waving his brush at them.
Now the baby had picked up speed and was heading for the lake.
Nearer and nearer and closer and closer to the lake when suddenly the policeman, having returned the hat to the old lady, reached out a big hand and grabbed the baby.
Punch, Judy and the park keeper all crashed into each other.
Everyone was in a flap and a fluster. The baby started crying.
‘Bananas. We need bananas, ‘ said Judy decisively and produced a bunch of bananas from her rucksack.
The baby’s face lit up and he beamed a big baby smile.
‘Bananas’ he said. It was the only word he could say.
‘Bananas. Bananas. Bananas.’
But someone else liked bananas. The crocodile that lived in the lake.
And he popped two beady eyes out of the water and spied his favourite fruit.
‘Bananas. I love bananas,’ he said as he lolloped out of the lake wearing his familiar devilish smile.
The baby and Judy and the policeman and the Park Keeper all stood very still as the crocodile locked his beady eyes onto the banana which baby was about to munch on.
Suddenly Mr Punch grabbed the Park Keeper’s brilliant bamboo brush.
‘That is a sensational smile you have there,’ he said.
‘Why thank you’ said the crocodile.
‘Let’s keep it that way’ said Mr Punch and he began brushing the crocodile’s teeth with the Park Keeper’s brilliant bamboo brush.
The crocodile was in heaven. He loved this like a cat loves being stroked or a dog loves being tickled and his grin got bigger and bigger and bigger.
‘That’s the way to do it’ Mr Punch said as he brushed away.
The baby smiled. Judy smiled. You couldn’t move for smiles.
Everyone agreed. ‘That’s the way to do it.’