Oleg Vimen: "Good evening and welcome to the programme. There have been no further developments in the hunt for the missing gnomish leader, the self-styled Gerald P Floyd. Police have been conducting house-to-house searches in the Purley area where the gnome is believed to be at large. Despite media coverage and appeals from police and government there have been no confirmed sightings of the gnome for 24 hours.
We have brought some experts on Gnome behaviour together in the studio to see if we can get any idea of his likely next steps. First I'd like to turn to the lovely Ms Charlie Dimmock, who is an acknowledged expert in water features. I take it you've been keeping abreast of developments?"
Oleg Vimen: (eyes riveted to Ms Dimmock's magnificent chest): "Can we expect to see the gnome heading for garden ponds as a familiar habitat?"
Charlie: "Well certainly the gnome is often seen near a water feature—fishing or just standing with a wheelbarrow full of flowers. However, I think we must consider that this gnome has been on a restricted diet—bread and water by some accounts—and may not have fed for several days. He may approach ponds more as a source of food than as a haven of familiarity."
Oleg Vimen: "This is shocking. "Let me get this clear: you are saying the gnome may attempt to eat garden ponds?"
Charlie: (growing increasingly aware of Oleg's interest in her magnificent chest):
Charlie: No, I think it more likely that he will attempt to catch and eat goldfish, frogs, newts and the like, possibly even birds."
Oleg Vimen: Large birds?
Charlie: (snappishly) "What?"
Oleg Vimen: "Er...I meant chickens."
Charlie: "No, not normally.
Oleg Vimen: "What about tits?"
Charlie: (frowning disapprovingly) "What about them?"
Oleg Vimen: "Might he take a tit—a small one obviously?"
Oleg Vimen: "That's his diet then, is it? Just fish?"
Charlie: "Well, frogs and newts are amphibians actually..."
Oleg Vimen: "Yes, but they're not a green salad, are they? Carnivore is he?"
Charlie: "Not at all. Gnomes will eat almost anything you or I would eat. They're particularly partial to fresh fruit in season."
Oleg Vimen: "Like a big, juicy pear, for instance?"
Charlie: (her magnificent chest heaving with suppressed indignation) "Now look! Are you trying to be funny?"
Oleg Vimen: "No...not at all...Well, this is even worse than I imagined. Is there no end to his depravity? I turn now to Alan Titchmarsh, gardening expert and novelist. Alan, have you had much experience of gnomes in your long career?"
Alan: "Oh goodness me yes, when ah were a lad in t’old park’s department, we used to have t’put up electric fences to keep them out of t’display beds. My old gaffer said to me once: ‘Titchmarsh, there’s nobbut so queer as a ‘alibut what ain't seen a gnome on a Tuesday.’ How we used t’laff! But ‘ee were right y’know."
Oleg Vimen: "Thank you Alan—endearing and incomprehensible as ever. Do you think there is any danger from this gnome?"
Alan: "No, we never ‘ad trouble wi’ single gnomes. It’s when they get t’gether in packs that y’need t’worry. One will turn off electricity t’fence and t’rest are in and fillin’ their wheelbarras wi’ beddin’ plants before y’can say knife! Ah remember ma old dad…"
Oleg Vimen (rapidly losing the will to live): "Thank you Alan—fascinating. We move on now to a garden centre owner who has been breeding and selling gnomes for some years. We will call him Mr Smith to protect his identity; his words will be spoken by an actor. Mr Smith what are gnomes like to work with?"
Actor: "Much like people to be honest, there are good ones and bad ones. I used to try to keep back the good ones for breeding and put the rest out in the shop for sale."
Oleg Vimen: "So the gnome at large will be the worst kind of gnome?"
Actor: "Well I suppose you could say that although the selective breeding was paying dividends, they are a lot shorter than they used to be."
Oleg Vimen: "So how do you look after gnomes in a breeding operation?"
Actor: "It's an early start for the gnome breeder, I can tell you. At first light you have to let them out to the ponds, they are jostling at the gate from sunrise, if you leave them too long the weaker ones can get trampled underfoot. Then, once they are all out fishing and gardening you have to clean out the gnome-shed."
Oleg Vimen: "I imagine that must be very unpleasant—do you make compost from the manure?"
Oleg Vimen: "Gnome manure, I imagine it must lie around in foetid heaps?"
Actor: "No, they have flushing lavatories. It’s the crisp packets and beer-cans that need picking up. Gnomes are by their very nature untidy little devils, if you don’t keep on top of it the place can be knee-deep in litter in a couple of days."
Oleg Vimen: "And the breeding?"
Actor: "Well it is a little sordid for a mixed audience to be honest but put simply the brood gnomes are allowed into the main enclosure for an hour after lunch when gnomes tend to retire for a ‘nap’. Once the brood gnome is clearly ‘in imp’—as we say—they are kept completely separate and on a diet of potted shrimps."
Oleg Vimen: "And what is the normal gnome diet?"
Actor: "Er… potted shrimp."
Oleg Vimen: "Do gnomes make good mothers?"
Actor: "Absolutely appalling. You see potted shrimp is like crack cocaine to a gnome, don’t know why but they are off their heads most of the time and as for the rest they spend it desperately searching for their next fix or ‘pottie’, as they call it. It is truly horrible to witness. The imps are abandoned at birth and have to be hand reared by the gnome-breeder’s wife on a special diet of potted shrimp."
Oleg Vimen: "Well, that is a shocking development. That would explain the vice ring they were running in St Neots, then?"
Actor: "Undoubtedly. Gnomes are randy little buggers at the best of times and when they've been at the potted shrimp nothing in a skirt is safe from them, quite frankly."
Oleg Vimen: "Have you ever thought of feeding them something different?"
Oleg Vimen: "A very alarming vision. To re-cap there has been no further news of the escaped gnome and television coverage has fallen back on ill-informed and seemingly endless speculation as a substitute for real content. We are hoping that there will be something really juicy in the next 24 hours. "Meanwhile, I advise all our viewers to make sure the gnomes don't get hold of their charlies."
Charlie Dimmock (from the back of the studio): "Pardon?"
Oleg Vimen: "Tits, I meant tits... bugger... Er.. Other news tonight. The USA has launched a retaliatory attack on North Korea. President Bush says the six hydrogen bombs were a proportional and measured response to yesterday’s obliteration of an isolated quail hunting lodge in Texas. It is understood that British troops were involved in shouting ‘bang’ very loudly to help US marines to prepare for possible nuclear war on mainland America."
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