Harry’s Hairy Hospital
(A story for Jen)
“Harry’s Hairy Hospital is easily the bestest animal hospital in the whole wide world”, said Sticky.
Sticky was a stick insect. He was also a junior doctor. He and his twin brother, Slippy, were new to the hospital and had got a little lost wandering up and down the corridors looking for their ward.
“Indeed, it is”, replied Slippy. “In fact, I would say it is the bestest animal hospital in the whole universe!”
Sticky looked sideways at his brother.
“What’s the universe, Slippy?”
“You know. It’s in space, like you see at night. It’s where the moon and the stars are.”
“Oh, right”, said Sticky, wondering what space was. Mind you, he didn’t know what moon and stars were either. Lord knows how he ever became a doctor.
Just then, a chimpanzee in a white coat came around the corner.
“Good morning, good morning, good morning!” shouted the chimpanzee, “And what a fine morning it is, eh?”
It was Doctor Chimpy.
“Oh, yes Doctor Chimpy, it certainly is” the twins replied.
“You two had better get on with your rounds, don’t you think? These patients won’t heal themselves, you know. Come along lads, chop, chop!”
“Come on”, said Sticky, “if we don’t get our rounds done soon, we’ll miss breakfast.”
And with that, they disappeared through a door with a big letter B on it.
Doctor Chimpy walked along the corridor and turned into a side room.
Then he turned into a sideboard.
And then a side order of fries.
And then he turned back into a chimpanzee.
“Stupid Blaine’s Disease”, he thought.
Doctor Chimpy had caught Blaine’s Disease as a child, when he was bitten on the bum by a wild magician that had escaped from the London Palladium.
He had never really got over it, but the time he spent recovering in Harry’s Hairy Hospital after the incident, had made him want to become a doctor.
“You can stop that right now!” bellowed a voice.
Doctor Chimpy turned around, and there stood Nurse Jentoo, hands on hips, with a frown that would kill an otter.
“You’d better get your act together, Doctor Chinky. There’s an emergency coming in. It’s little Billy Hedgehog and he’s in a bad way.”
“It’s Chimpy. Doctor Chimpy.”
“Sorry, Doctor Chintzy”, she said. “Just hurry up and get your stupid magical monkey arse down to A&E.”
Nurse Jentoo was beautiful. She was a kindly soul, the finest nurse in all the world, and when she was happy, her eyes sparkled like stars. But when she was angry, the fire in her eyes would have put the depths of Hades to shame.
And, for some reason, she could never remember Doctor Chimpy’s name.
It was, it must be said, a little unusual for a penguin to become a nurse. Growing up in the Antarctic had been hard and there were no medical schools.
Granny penguin had always told her stories about the hospital. None of them true, but the thought of working with sickly animals was just too much of an opportunity to pass up.
When she was eleven years old, Jentoo said goodbye to her penguin mummy and penguin daddy and made her way to Harry’s Hairy Hospital to become a nurse.
Doctor Chimpy had a lot of respect for Nurse Jentoo and he felt like a small child when she scolded him.
Nurse Jentoo and Doctor Chimpy raced down to A&E where they were greeted by the sight of little Billy Hedgehog being carried into the hospital on a stretcher, accompanied by his mother, Mrs Hedgehog.
“Heavens to Betsy!” cried Nurse Jentoo.
“Lordy, lordy!” cried Doctor Chimpy.
“Lol!” cried some fool on their phone.
...Billy’s head was missing.
“BILLY! OH, MY BILLY! WON’T SOMEBODY SAVE HIM? SAVE HIM! SAVE HIM! PLEASE! AAAAAAAARGH!” screamed Mrs Hedgehog, all crying and stuff.
Rushing Little Billy into the place where they put you when you go to A&E, the porters put Little Billy Hedgehog on the bed.
“Nurse Jentoo, could you please take care of Mrs Hedgehog while I see to Little Billy?” asked Doctor Chimpy.
“Certainly” she said, and her eyes began to blaze.
With that, she delivered the most severe slap to Mrs Hedgehog’s face that she could muster.
“Now, please sit down and we will take a look at your lad.”
Mrs Hedgehog immediately sat down, struck dumb by the ferocity of Nurse Jentoo’s hand delivery.
Doctor Chimpy stood looking at the headless hedgehog, which was now sitting upright on the bed and scratched his arse, in the way that chimpanzees do. “Now then, Mrs Hedgehog, what seems to be trouble?”
But Mrs Hedgehog, didn’t reply. She had a look on her face that was reminiscent of a giraffe that had just down on a long metal spike.
“Oh, for the love of…” muttered Nurse Jentoo. “His flippin’ head’s missing. Look, you simian twat...legs, arms, body, shoulders…”
Doctor Chimpy, however was busy sniffing his fingers.
“DOCTOR SKIMPY!”, shouted Nurse Jentoo, “WILL YOU PLEASE CONCENTRATE!”
“Um, er, yeah. Sorry ‘bout that. Now then, no head, eh? Any idea where it is? Where did you last see it?”
“It...it...he had it on when he went to bed last night and when I went to get him up for school, it was gone!” said Mrs Hedgehog, shaking uncontrollably.
*Note from the author: At this juncture, I should point out that Billy Hedgehog is alive. He’s just missing his head. He can still walk and everything. So, you know, just stick with me on this one.
Nurse Jentoo peered into the hole where Billy’s head should have been.
“A-ha!” she said. “There’s his head. It’s gone down inside his body. Here, Doctor Stinky, take a look.”
But Doctor Chimpy didn’t reply. He had turned into a garden gnome.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake. Do I have to do everything?”
Nurse Jentoo lifted Little Billy Hedgehog of the bed and stood him on the floor. “Right, Billy,” she said, “I know you can hear me, so what I want you to do is bend over this chair, hold on to the seat and stay very still for me. Can you do that?”
“Mmf, mmf mmfmmf” came Little Billy’s reply.
Little Billy Hedgehog grabbed the seat and bent over. Nurse Jentoo backed away from Billy to the other side of the room.
“Ready, Billy?” she asked, “Don’t...move...an...inch…”
Her eyes suddenly blazed the colour of a ginger wig on fire and a wicked grin appeared on her beautiful face. And with that, Nurse Jentoo sprinted across the room and swinging her right foot, she booted Little Billy Hedgehog right up the arse!
There was a loud pop as Little Billy flew over the chair he had been holding on to, followed by a dull thud as he hit the wall opposite.
Mrs Hedgehog rushed over to retrieve her son. “BILLY! BILLY! ARE YOU OKAY? OH, MY POOR BABY!” she cried. She lifted him up and lo, and indeed, behold, Little Billy Hedgehog’s head had returned to it’s rightful place.
“Yes, I’m fine, mama” said Billy. “My bum hurts but I’m fine. Now please stop fussing, it’s embarrassing.”
“Yes, sorry about that,” said Nurse Jentoo, “You’ll probably have some bruising, but at least your head is back. Oh, and so is Doctor Limpy.”
Doctor Chimpy looked around and wondered what had happened. He also wondered why he was holding what appeared to be a miniature fishing rod.
“A-ha!” he exclaimed. “Good work, Nurse Jentoo. Kick up the arse, was it? Splendid stuff!”
Nurse Jentoo smiled and her eyes sparkled. “Now, Little Billy,” she said, looking him straight in the eye, “What I would like to know is how your head got stuck inside your body in the first place. Can you tell us?”
Little Billy Hedgehog turned his head, avoiding her gaze, and blushed so hard that a passing homeless Anteater stopped to warm his hands on the heat from Little Billy’s face.
Billy didn’t reply.
“I think I know,” said a disembodied voice. It was Doctor Sticky.
Little Billy Hedgehog looked mortified. “Can we go home now, mama?” he asked. “Please?”
“No, no, no ,no, nooooo,” said Doctor Chimpy. “If we don’t know what caused it, we won’t know how to help young hedgehogs, like yourself, to avoid this sort of thing. Please, by all means, Doctor Sticky, do go on.”
At this point, Little Billy Hedgehog curled up into a ball.
“Well,” began Doctor Sticky, “What with Billy here being a boy and being of ‘that age’ and, you know, hitting puberty, he probably engages in a bit of the old ‘tail-yanking’ at night. If you know what I mean.”
“I reckon what’s happened here is that he’s gone to bed, decided to have a quick yank and pulled it too hard. As we all know, a hedgehog’s tail is directly attached to the brain, which is why yanking is such a pleasurable pastime for the males. However, if you pull a hedgehog’s tail really hard, you can pull the head down into the body. In theory, if you pulled it hard enough, you could turn a hedgehog inside-out.”
“All he has to do, is lay off the yanking and when he fancies a quick tug, just don’t be so enthusiastic about it.”
Mrs Hedgehog stood up and said “Right then Billy, hadn’t you better say thank you to Nurse Jentoo for helping you?”
“Thank you, Nurse” said a frightened little voice.
“Now, let’s get you home. And no more yanking, d’you hear?” she said, wagging her finger at her son. “Little pervert. The sooner you get a girlfriend, the better. I wondered what the mess on your sheets was. You said you had a runny nose.”
“Thank you ever so much, Nurse, it won’t happen again”.
“It’s quite alright,” laughed Nurse Jentoo. “You behave yourself, now, Billy.”
And off they went, Mrs Hedgehog still telling off her son.
Doctor Chimpy looked at Nurse Jentoo.
“What would I do without you, eh? Always there to pick up the pieces, always there when I’m…”
...and he turned into a big print version of the King James Bible.
Nurse Jentoo sighed, picked up the book and put it on a shelf.
“That’ll be good for a laugh” she thought.
“Come on, Doctor Sticky,” she said, straightening her dress. “Let’s get some breakfast.”