Thunderbolt’s Waxwork – extract

Making the waxwork took the best part of a day.

Benny hung around his father’s workshop and borrowed a suit someone hadn’t paid for, Bridie contributed a pair of her Uncle Mike’s boots, and Thunderbolt managed to snip some hair off the tail of Jasper, the bad-tempered horse in the stable below.

And while Bridie and Thunderbolt stuffed the suit with straw, stuck a broomstick through for a spine and pummelled it all roughly Dippy-shaped, Benny set to work on the head.
The wax was easy to carve. He excavated two holes for eyes, and put the wax he’d dug out aside to make a nose with. Getting the eyes to look right took a long time, and still he wasn’t sure it looked exactly like Dippy, not exactly; but then it needed a nose, after all. He reached for the wax he’d taken out, and found it was gone.

He knew where to look. Sharky Bob was licking his lips.

‘It might be poison,’ Benny said hopefully.

‘It’s nice,’ said Sharky. ‘I likes that.’

Benny sighed, dug a lump out of the back of the neck to make a nose with, and carried on. After an hour of squeezing the head and pulling it, of smoothing it and rubbing it and squinting at it through half-closed eyes, of trying to shove horse hair under its nose for a moustache and bits of broken china into its mouth for teeth, he reckoned it was done.

‘There,’ he said proudly.

The others clustered round.

‘Hmm,’ said Bridie. ‘He looks as if he’s going to puke.’

Benny shut the mouth. At once the head took on the pursed-up expression of someone who’s just swallowed a caterpillar.

‘He’s cross-eyed,’ said Thunderbolt. ‘He looks as drunk as a fish.’