âEwwwww!â winced Badger the Mystical Mutt, burying his nose in his neckerchief. âWhat a pong!â
It was a half past elevenses and all was not well in the lane â¦ or in Badgerâs tummy.
âNot long now till toast time,â he said, patting his gurgling stomach. âOnce I crack my famous smell-removing spell, we can have our morning snack, and all will be well again.â
Most mornings, Badgerâs job was bird-poo patrol. He had to watch his Big Folkâs clean washing on the clothes line, and be alert and ready to bark away the birds with their low-flying poos. But today, even the birds had decided to migrate early, to escape the vile stench of the lane. And now, before he could enjoy his higgledy-piggledy tower of toast, his Big Folk had given him a far bigger task â to get rid of the smell in the lane. An unexplained smell â¦ a mystery stink â¦ a stench of the very worst kind.
To make matters worse, his latest smell-removing spell didnât appear to be working very well.
He held his breath and tried again.
â Charcoal rocks and mouldy old socks ,
Cardamom seeds and corn that pops ,
Mix up together in a cardboard box ,
Take this stink and make it stop!â
He stood back and waited â¦ and waited. His tummy rumbled, the charcoal crumbled, and still nothing happened. He sniffed the air around him nervously. Then his nose wrinkled in horror as he caught an even bigger whiff of the whiffiest kind.
âHow can this be?â wondered Badger, scratching his head. âI followed the spell to the letter, but itâs got worse not better.â
Just then he heard a loud hammering noise in the lane. He trotted to the end of his garden and peered through the crack in the fence. There in front of him, on the fence opposite, was a freshly pinned poster.
The official-looking notice read:
O WING TO A PONG OF THE PONGIEST KIND, THE P ONG P OLICE WILL CLOSE THE LANE AT NOON TODAY FOR STINK ASSESSMENT AND REMOVAL. T HE P ONG P OLICE WILL SPRAY THE AREA WITH ANTI-PONG POISON. NO ONE MUST ENTER THE LANE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
âGoodness!â thought Badger. âI could have fixed this without the Pong Police getting involved. Iâm almost there with my smell-removing spell.â
Suddenly, he heard a hullabaloo in the distance. He looked down the lane and saw the gang, led by Dodgy Dave, thundering towards him in a cloud of dust.
âUh-oh! Who are they after today?â he wondered.
As they hurtled past him, Badger turned to go back to his spell and heard a tiny voice shouting after the gang:
âDodgy Dave! Dodgy Dave! Wait, please! I just want to speak to you.â
âLeave us alone. You stink!â shouted Dodgy Dave.
âIâm getting the Pong Police on to you,â warned Snif.
âIf you get any nearer, Iâll keel over,â whimpered Lennie.
âGo away pooperscoopersmellysnooper!â yelled Pickle, running faster.
âIâve just had my breakfast. I canât bear it!â yelled Pogo Paws, zooming ahead.
Badger watched as leaves swirled and bin lids rattled. Suddenly, the smallest dog he had ever seen went flying past him in a blur.
âWell, that makes a change. Iâve never seen that before; the gang on the run with someone chasing them !â
Badgerâs eyes watered as the rotten air stung his nostrils. He shook his head, thinking, âIf I can sort this spell before noon, I could save the lane from closure. And get my toast!â
He padded back to the spot where his ingredients lay. Sparkles of light twinkled around him as he repeated the spell.
âCharcoal rocks and mouldy old socks ,
Cardamom seeds and corn that pops â¦â
His tummy rumbled loudly again. âAh,â he thought. âMaybe I need my higgledy-piggledy tower of toast before the spell will actually work.â
Even through the smelly yuckiness, Badgerâs nose twitched as he