Story and illustration by Bertie.
Read by Richard.
Proofed and audio edited by Jana Elizabeth.
Can you solve the April Fool Mystery? Give us your answer in the comments.
To hear the solution to this mystery, listen to the end of Wicked Uncle and the Scottish Shark.
If you met Grandma for the first time you might think she was a bit cranky because she was old.
But her sons, Jeff and Nigel, both insist that this is not the case. In fact, when her granddaughter, Jemima, once said, “Don’t let Grandma bother you so much, Dad. She’s just like that because she’s old.”
Her Uncle Jeff ticked her off. “That’s very ageist off you, Jemima. Grandma’s always been bonkers, even when she was young, hasn’t she, Nigel?”
And her dad, whose name was Nigel, had to agree with a sigh. “Yes, Grandma’s never been easy.”
It was a Sunday, and they were at Grandma’s for a family get-together at the start of the Easter Holidays.
The most tortuous part for Dad was when Grandma started to talk about how the household ‘Gremlins’ were always moving her things around and losing them.
Gremlins are fairies who like to play tricks. Most people don’t actually believe in Gremlins, but Grandma does.
“Don’t pull that face when I’m talking to you!” she snapped at her oldest son, who was now 53 years old.
Uncle Jeff tried not to laugh. “And you can wipe that grin off your face too!” she told him.
The kids were in awe. They had never heard anyone talk to their dad and Uncle Jeff like that before, well, apart from their mother, but that was alright because she was allowed to.
Grandma had been explaining how the Gremlins had stolen the remote control for her TV set. After a week without TV, she had found the remote down the back of the sofa. When she explained how this could only have happened by supernatural means, Dad had sighed and said that TV remotes always get down the back of the sofa, even without the help of gremlins.
“Don’t you think I looked there in the first place?” she asked him.
“Well, yes, but you didn’t see it the first time,” said Dad.
“I’m not blind or demented, as you would like to think. I didn’t see it, because it wasn’t there. The Gremlins had taken it,” she insisted. “They sneaked it back later, just to annoy me.”
That was when Dad sighed, and she gave him a good old ticking off.
It went on for a while. Mum saw the little lines around Dad’s eyes that meant he was getting more and more stressed, but Grandma did not seem to notice. Although she was 83, once she got going, she did not seem to lack for energy.
“All I want you to do is for you to agree with me that there is no normal explanation for all the funny things that go on in this house,” she went on. “You just won’t agree with me because you think I’m a mad old lady. But let me tell you I am 100% certain, that it’s the gremlins who play pranks around here. It was the gremlins who moved the remote. It was the gremlins who broke my teapot when I was out of the kitchen and it was the gremlins who put a stain on the carpet by the window. I’m telling you, there is no scientific explanation for any of these goings-on, and it hurts me that you don’t agree.”
Mum looked at Dad with eyes appealing to him not to be stubborn and to humour Grandma by agreeing with her, so that they could all sit down and eat lunch in peace.
“Okay, okay, I agree,” said Dad finally. But that did not satisfy Grandma.
“No you don’t. You’re just saying that to shut me up,” she hit back. “But I won’t shut up because you can’t explain how these things happened, and my own son should give me the courtesy of believing me when I say that the gremlins took them.”
Dad looked over to his brother for some moral support, but Jeff had quietly slipped out of the room, presumably to go to the bathroom.
Eventually, when everyone, except for Grandma, was completely exhausted by the argument, they sat down to Sunday lunch, which had been in the oven a good 25 minutes longer than it was supposed to cook, and was completely dried up.
“Eat up dears,” said Grandma cheerily, “there’s nothing like a good roast.”
Finally, after coffee, the family managed to escape from Grandma’s house. Out on the street, Dad looked around for the car, but it wasn’t where he left it.
“This is all we need. It’s been stolen. We’ll have to call the police, and the worst part is, we’ll have to go back to Grandma’s and wait for them,” he said with a heavy heart.
But before he could take out his mobile phone, Jeremy came running back along the pavement calling out, “Found it Dad! It’s round the corner.”
“It can’t be,” said Dad. “It must be another brown saloon car.”
“Is there really anyone else who could choose reddish brown as a colour for their car?” asked Jemima.
And it definitely was their car because it had their number plate, and Dad’s keys opened the door, and Jeremy’s football boots were lying on the floor.
They drove back home somewhat mystified. Mum said, “Perhaps it was moved by Grandma’s grem…” But before she could complete the sentence, Dad snapped, “Don’t you start! I think I’ll go crazy!” Which the kids in the back thought was hilarious.
Later that evening, dad took some paracetamol and went to bed early. Mum said, “Well that’s been a tiring and somewhat mysterious day.”
Over the next week or so, Dad, who was very neat and tidy, and had a place for everything, found it hard to find some of his possessions.
It is true that some of us have to hunt around for our keys, or our pen, or our phone, but Dad never did. He was very particular about where he put things - until now, when all of those things seemed to go missing all the time.
“Perhaps,” he thought, “this happens normally, but after that horrid conversation with my cantankerous mother,” (he did feel guilty about thinking such a thought), I just notice this happening when before I would have thought nothing of it.”
For instance, he got up on Monday morning, went to his wardrobe, and couldn’t find a single suit with a pair of trousers. After a lot of hunting around, it turned out that his trousers were hanging up in his wife’s cupboard. How did that happen?
And when he came home from work, he went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, as he always did, but he could not find the teapot. Eventually, he made his tea in a mug, and went to the fridge to get some milk, and found the teapot chilling out next to the butter.
“Liz must have been absent mindedly put it there,” he thought to himself.
And naturally, when he could not find the TV remote, he took all the cushions off the sofa, but it wasn’t there. And later, when Jeremy found it, it was exactly where you would have expected - down the back of the sofa.
And so it went on, throughout the week. There were other little things, that niggled him. He was reading a detective novel, and it was his habit to turn over the corner of the page he had reached before he went to sleep, but each night, he found the wrong page turned over and lost his place.
And every morning his shaving mirror was upside down. It worked perfectly well the other way round, after all it wasn’t as if his reflection was upside down, but it bugged him that the name of the manufacturer was upside down.
A week went by. Dad was a bit bothered by all these strange happenings, but not so bothered as to actually start believing in the supernatural. Oh no, not him. He had a degree in Mathematics and Physics. He was a rational, grown-up, human being.
Unlike his mother, he always slept soundly, and did not have dreams about gremlins and fairies and all the other magical creatures that she used to rave on about.
But he was not quite sure if he was dreaming very early one morning when Liz whispered, “Nigel, Nigel, wake up.”
“What is it?” he groaned, as he opened his eyes. He glanced at his phone. It was 6.30 a.m.
“Look, look over there,” she said.
It was dark and he could not see much, but he sat up and peered towards the foot of the bed. Just beyond it, something was flitting around. Some sort of firefly? No, it was too big. In fact it was too human in shape. It was gone. But now it was back again, and then it darted behind the curtains. Dad sprung to his feet and went to look, but when he pulled back the curtain, there was nothing there.
“What do you think it was?” whispered Liz.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “But whatever it was, it’s vanished now.”
“I know this sounds silly,” said Liz, “But don’t you think it looked a little bit like a fairy?”
“No! Well, yes, I mean, it LOOKED like a fairy, but of course it wasn’t,” he replied testily.
“No of course it wasn’t.” agreed his wife.
It was only when he reached his first appointment of the day, and checked his phone, that he noticed the date.
And I'm delighted to dedicate this story to Rose and Cassia!
What do you think happened?
Was it Grandma’s gremlins who moved Dad’s car? Why did Dad start to lose things? And what was the little creature flitting around the bedroom in the morning?
Visit Storynory.com and write your ideas in the comments. Bertie will read out some of your best ideas and reveal his solution to this mystery, shortly after April the 1st, 2018. So look out for that !
Dedicated to rose and Cassia.
Cassia writes that her family are huge fans of Storynory. Rose’s favourite stories are about Astropup. My favourite stories are about Tick Tock Turkey, Dad’s favourite stories are the World Myths and Mum’s favourite stories are all the originals. We wish Storynory the best of luck reaching their goals.
Thank you Rose and Cassia.
And your mum and dad, Alex and Christine for supporting us on Patreon. We really are grateful for your support
For now, from me Richard, at Storynory.com, goodbye.