John Fish B.Sc. Publishers of Tenby in Wales (UK)




J. J. Gillum

e-mail: J. J. Gillum










Have you ever wondered where a dog goes when he is lost? Or what adventures he’s had when he finally returns home. Just because he’s covered in mud doesn’t mean that he’s travelled the world. Likewise, if he’s clean, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’d been looked after by an old lady that fed him on Hunky-chunks.

This is the story of Batty, a young Jack Russell pup who had been treated more as a boy than a dog. One day he just happens to destroy his parent’s house. This was no fault of his of course! Batty is sent to Mr. Fluffy’s Home for Happy Pooches whilst the house is being rebuilt. In the home he meets up with Freeway, a big stray mongrel with a heart of gold, but a face as ugly as the Devil Dog of Bridlington himself.

Mr. Fluffy has no intention of looking after Batty at all. His plan is to sell the little dog and pretend that he was lost. However, Mr. Fluffy’s own dog a highly excitable Poodle called Miss Fifi tells the two dogs of the plot by mistake. Batty and Freeway decide to escape from the evil clutches of Mr. Fluffy.

Once free, Batty is told by his friend McGraw the Crow, that his parents have deserted him and gone to Doncaster, the Doncaster in India! Batty is determined to find them and to see why they left him, no matter how far away it is.

So begins Batty’s long journey to India. Freeway decides to go with him, to teach him to fend for himself in the big bad world. McGraw goes too, because the bucket that he lived in had been taken over by a Raven.

Batty, Freeway and McGraw reach the ferry with plan to help of forty revolting pigs. The porkers face certain death once they land in France. The dogs help them escape with the aid of a mouse that is in danger of exploding at any moment. They cause mayhem at the docks when they accidentally release raging bull, which proceeds to partially destroy the harbour.

Through no fault of their own! They initially start a chain of events that eventually destroys the ten thousand-ton ferry which is headed for France. This causes half a market town to be showered with Albanian bull’s giblets. Whilst on their way out of France by way of a secret manure truck they are hijacked by Hans and Franz the evil Mushroom Bandits from Switzerland. They manage to escape, by accidentally stealing the bandit’s getaway vehicle, a motorised kite. This enables them to cross over the Alps and into Italy.

After Batty, Freeway and McGraw encounter a pack of wolves in the mountains they meet up with the insane Doctor Mujeebee. He is an inventor with a passion for vegetables. He is about to send a parsnip shaped, spaghetti powered rocket ship into the heart of Rome. This is to take revenge on everyone thinks he is mad. He locks them in the nosecone and blasts them off towards Rome. Unfortunately he uses too much spaghetti and garlic which makes the rocket overshoot by four thousand miles. Batty and co end up in the Arabian Desert and meet Karmel the Camel.

Karmel believes Freeway when he tells her that they are Humpless Pigmy Camels that are lost on vacation. She helps them, by guiding through the desert. Once again Batty, Freeway and McGraw are struck by bad luck. A massive sandstorm strikes. They and Karmel become separated. They ride out the storm in a cave, but the entrance is swamped by sand. They wander in the tunnels and discover The Great Hole in the Ground, a place where no one has ever escaped.

The Great Hole is very inhospitable. There are terrifying rivers of mud an even more dangerous landslides and mudfalls. They are attacked by giant Mudcrabs and barely escape with their lives. Then they are snared in a net made from plastic bags and soggy rope. This is when they meet Walter Faulter, a pot-holer who has been in the cave for twenty years. He has a pet too! A Giant Seaslug called Daisey who he has fed since she was a little snail. Daisey is Walter’s way out from the cave, because he knows Giant Seaslugs head for the Indian Ocean every twenty years. Daisey is very nearly twenty years old.

Walter with the aid of Batty and Freeway builds a harness and boat to fit on Daisey’s back. When the time comes, Daisey hurtles through the multitude of caves and out into the Indian Ocean. Walter and co end up on a small deserted island with nothing but rubbish on it.

In his determination to reach Africa, Walter builds a huge hamster wheel out of flotsam and jetsam. This is to enable them to walk across the ocean. He didn’t want to make a boat because he couldn’t swim. All is well until a typhoon hits them late at night and sends drifting towards India. Then as luck might have it, a rapidly melting iceberg strikes them. The hamster cage is wrecked and they are stranded on the iceberg. Walter is not deterred. He constructs the world’s first sailing iceberg out of plastic sheeting and bamboo poles.

The wind blows the shrinking iceberg slowly towards India, but an angry giant squid called Screamer suddenly attacks it. She is determined to make something pay for a shoal of Moray Eels squatting in her cave. She rips into the iceberg and it splits into two pieces. Batty and McGraw drift away from Walter, Freeway and a penguin called Yarrk, never to be seen again.

The iceberg is no more than a sliver when Batty and McGraw wade ashore to the coast of India. Batty is directed to Doncaster by a donkey that can only say ‘yes.’ The little dog decides to go the route taken by a railway track. When he gets within two miles from Doncaster he comes across a bridge that has been destroyed by a landslide. He hears a train coming and rushes to the rescue to the passengers on it. In the nick of time he stops the train from certain destruction. Batty who is weak with hunger and a broken leg is taken to a doctor. The whole village soon finds out what Batty has done, he becomes a hero. He and McGraw even get on the television. The whole of India wants to know where he is from, because he doesn’t respond to any Indian languages. Then luckily someone speaks to him in English.

He appears on British television as the dog that saved hundreds of lives. His parents, Honeybun and Hubby are shocked to see him. They were convinced that he was dead. They contact the Indian Embassy to get him back, but to their amazement he has already been claimed. Taken by a certain Mr. Fluffy who was on holiday quite close to where Batty was found.

Mr. Fluffy has no intentions of taking Batty back to England. The little dog was the cause of his downfall. His shady business had failed when the police found out that he was selling dogs for chemical testing.

Batty can do nothing as Mr. Fluffy takes him away in a lobster pot. McGraw can only watch in horror as the fat man steals a fishing boat with intentions of throwing Batty into the sea.





Sample Chapter

Chapter Nineteen

There are two tribes in the Amazonian rainforest that love mud. One is the scruffy Iffymatchoochoo. The other is the dreaded evil smelling Iffymatchoochootoo. Both tribes eat nothing but mud and even wear little hats made from the stuff. The womenfolk make nets from mud and catch big squiggly things that capture little squiggly things that make tasty mud pies. Mud was good! But these fascinating facts never entered Batty or Freeway’s heads as they plummeted straight into the bowels of the earth. Yet someone knew about the tribes, someone had studied the strange facts about their living habits.

As the dogs dropped closer towards the last moments of their lives, a curious thing happened. All the expertise of those distant faraway tribes came into being. Batty and Freeway came to a sudden bone-shattering stop. They were swamped with mud and unable to see. Logs, rotten bananas and flat things with wiggley legs scooted by at a terrible speed. A net made if twigs and plastic shopping bags had snared them. They weren’t aware of this because the vast amounts of mud blotted everything out. Suddenly the net was wrenched away from the mudfall.

Had the Iffymatchoochoo come all the way from Brazil to catch two dogs? Probably not! But there was something around that knew what to do with a handful of plastic bags.

Batty and Freeway struggled violently to break free from the net, but it was too well made. The net closed and was dragged away by an unseen force. Batty’s ears pricked up when he heard the feint sound of laughter through the noise of the mudfall.

"Did you hear that?" he spluttered.

Freeway stared at him dumbly and shook his head to rid the mud from his ears

"Of course I’m hungry," he barked, "But this is no time to be thinking of your belly."

Batty shook his head too, but not because there was any mud in his ears.

Suddenly the net began to drop at an alarming rate. Whatever was pulling the rope had found other interesting things to do. The dogs dropped in a tangled mess towards a belching mud pool. However, just before they hit the mud they saw a man desperately holding onto a rope attached to the net. He wasn’t laughing this time, he was screaming out to his mother for help!

Batty and Freeway had barely surfaced for air when a skinny missile dressed in rags, screaming, "Ahhhhhggg," came plunging on top of them. Vile green mud exploded in all directions as the missile desperately grabbed at them.

Freeway slowly swam himself towards the shoreline. It was extremely hard going because Batty was on his back. Four flatfish, one net and a screaming human were also in tow. When he finally reached dry land, he was exhausted. He struggled out of the net and collapsed in a clump of long grass.

Batty hauled himself onto the bank and lay on dry land for the first in what seemed like years. He raised his head wearily and looked around. His eyes widened. The cave was vast, so vast that mist clouds drifted across small hills in the far distance. There were woods and massive vines that covered deep gorges and treacherous ravines. Palm trees hugged onto steep cliffs and rustled in the gentle breeze. Tiredness overcame him and he began to drift off to sleep. Then his eyes shot open in alarm and he stood up unsteadily. Something was missing!

"Freeway," he barked urgently.

There was no answer.

"Freeway," he called again.

Batty’s head spun round when he heard gurgling coming from a shallow pool of mud. He jumped into the mud and waded through the thick goo to rescue Freeway.

"Take it easy big boy," he barked, "You’ll be alright."

The muddy lump spluttered loudly and belched in response to Batty’s soothing words. The little dog struggled heroically to reach the safety of the bank. Every stroke he took seemed to take forever. Freeway had certainly put some weight on in the past few days. His legs had grown too! Three inches of mud didn’t help much either.

When Batty had recovered sufficiently, he went to tend and comfort his friend. "Freeway," he barked sharply.

Batty licked the mud from what he thought was Freeway’s face. Suddenly, a skinny arm shot out and grabbed Batty the throat. Two crazy eyes stared into Batty’s face.

"A devil dog eh?" the man screamed, "Come to eat the flesh off me bones have you?"

Batty twisted madly to get away from the wirery fingers that were clamped around his neck. He felt himself go light-headed as the blood supply was cut off to his brain. The man threw him in the air as if he had been stung by a flock of killer bees. Batty landed in a heap on the ground. He could hear the man groan in fear. He looked up and saw Freeway with his jaws firmly clamped on the man’s left buttock. The man had his arms outstretched. Freeway shuffled him forward and pushed him to the ground. The man squealed in pain and curled himself into a tight whimpering ball. Freeway stood over him and growled with his teeth bared. Then he looked over to Batty.

"Are you alright Squirt?" he barked.

The man begged for mercy, "Don’t eat me, I’m nothing but skin and bones."

Freeway looked down on the man and took pity on him.

"You’re right," he snarled, "I’ll eat you later."

When the man realised that he was in no immediate danger he uncurled himself and slowly stood up. Then he backed away so he wasn’t within biting distance. He wiped away as much mud as he could from the strange clothes he was wearing. His tattered shorts were made from old potato sacks. On his feet were two left footed seventies style platform boots. A dirty old tank top covered his scrawny chest. His filthy matted hair was done up in a bun. Long braided plats sprouted out of his face where his beard and wispy moustache should have been. And for some strange reason, known only to himself, he had a whole string of onions round his waist. Both dogs warmed to the pathetic scarecrow that stood before them. How could they not? He might have had a really good reason for snaring them in fishing net.

The man inched forward and cocked a crooked finger at Batty.

"Little Pudding," he said, "How would you like some food?"

Batty’s tail wagged at the mention food. Freeway drooled. Maybe this man wasn’t too bad after all.

"Follow me then," he said happily.

He began to squelch his way down a well-worn track and checked to see if the dogs were behind him.

"Come on, keep up. There’s many a beefburger to eaten."

Freeway went weak at the knees. He could almost see the delicious smells drifting into his nostrils. He barked happily and sprinted after the man.

"By the way," said the man, "My name is Walter Faulter. I’m owner of this beautiful place."

Then a fly or something got into his mouth and he loudly spat it out.

Batty hung back behind them, not because he wasn’t hungry. It was because he was never sure of a person that wore two left shoes. Only time would tell if he were right or wrong.

Walter looked back at Batty.

"Here boy," he shouted, "Come and meet my little Daisey. She’s gonna love you."

"You haven’t got a cow down here have you?" barked Freeway.

Walter ruffled the top of the big dog’s head. "I think Daisey will like you even more," he laughed. Then he fished around in his grubby pocket and pulled something out. Then he threw it in the air.

"Here have a Winkle," he shouted.

Freeway launched himself in the air and clamped his jaws around the small snail in an instant.

"Hey! I like this fella," yapped Freeway as the winkle slid down his throat.

Walter led the dogs through a strange land. Most of it was wetland covered by tall reeds and soggy peatbogs. Yet there were sharp outcrops of volcanic rock partially covered slimy red moss. Large bubbling pockets of hot mud belched out gases that smelt of boiled eggs and mouldy socks. Green mushrooms hugged the jagged gorges that led to the massive lake Walter was leading them to. He stopped frequently to stamp on small balloon shaped mushrooms. He squealed with joy when the mushrooms gave off a rude noise and equally disgusting smell.

Batty was content to follow Walter and Freeway at a distance. He cast his eyes up to the roof of the cave and searched for McGraw. There had been no sign of the bird since the mudfall episode. Batty began to worry for his safety.

They reached the edge of the lake and rested for a while. Walter ate three onions from his belt and lay down on the warm white sand. Batty decided to have a bath, so he waded into the cool clear water. The mud soon cleared from his matted fur and he felt like a dog again. When he looked down at himself, he realised that he was black and white. He’d never been that colour for a long while. Freeway plunged into the water to join him, but it was to catch fish, not for a bath.

Walter jumped up in alarm when he heard the dogs splashing in the water, "Come on out of there," he shouted, "There’s things in there that a dog wouldn’t like."

"So what’s new," barked Freeway, "I’ve been eating your rotten snails, and I don’t like them either."

Batty and Freeway ignored him after that. They concentrated on drowning each other.

Somewhere in the dark shadowy depths of the lake, something stirred. It wasn’t because of the noise the dogs were making; a large toothed fish was nibbling at one of its four ears. It was the fish’s last mistake. One moment it was savouring the delicate flavours of a Giant Seaslug’s sticky-out bits. The next, it was wondering why it was swimming in six directions at the same time. Maybe if it knew that the Giant Seaslug had eight tongues, each with a thousand spikes attached to it, then perhaps it would have steered clear and ate a banana instead.

The Giant Seaslug stretched and shook itself down. Great brown clouds of silt billowed around it like smoke. It reared its ugly head and extended its feelers until they were nearly six feet long. The Seaslug sensed, rather than heard the dogs playing in the water. Nevertheless, its fat green belly rumbled at the excitement of a snack so soon after it had woken up. The Seaslug’s massive body slithered over the rock-strewn lakebed as it headed towards the shoreline. Hopefully it was the man that sometimes fed her plastic bags full of rubbish. The maybe it would eat him for a change, instead of the slop he’d served up for the past few years. After that, the slug was determined to get rid herself of the teddy bear the man had strapped to her head, indicating that he was the man’s pet.

Walter gave up on the dogs. Instead he gazed out onto the lake. He squinted and shielded his eyes from the multitude of sparkles that danced on the water. He stared intently for the telltale signs that Daisey was on her way. He panicked for a moment and rummaged through his pockets. He pulled out a piece of soggy paper and checked the scribble that was on it. Then he breathed a sigh of relief when he found that his calculations were correct. Today was very special. Today was the day!

Walter’s boat gently rode the swell on the water’s edge. It was made from thick bin liners and faded shopping bags. The frame was made from old bones and twigs lashed together with dried reeds. Walter squelched across to the boat and cursed his platform boots holding so much water. Then he checked his onions for security and climbed aboard. He began to row furiously to the centre of the lake.

Walter stopped rowing once he was a hundred yards from the shore. He stood up, and cupped his hands.

"Daisey, Daisey, he called out. There was no reply. He called out again, but was greeted with only silence.

Then he knelt down and stuck his head in the water.

"Duddleydaiddley," he blurted out with his eyes staring into the darkness. Walter quickly pulled his head out of the water and gasped for breath. He shook his head in frustration. Drastic measures were needed! So he untied his onion belt and dangled it in the water.

Batty and Freeway swam towards the boat. They were concerned that Walter had decided to drown himself, or at least injure some fish with half a dozen vegetables.

"He may be making very thin onion soup," laughed Freeway.

"He’s looking for his pet cow," giggled Batty, "She must be scuba diving!"

Walter ignored the dogs and continued to wave the onions in the water. Suddenly a slight ripple on the lake attracted his attention.

"Daisey," he whispered hopefully. He threw the onions into the water and scrambled to the back of the boat and grabbed a bag of rubbish.

Batty and Freeway paddled up to the boat, but instead of being helped aboard by Walter, he emptied the contents of the rubbish bag over them.

"He is making soup, but it’s not onion," spluttered Freeway, "It tastes more like dead seagulls to me."

Their thoughts of food disappeared when Walter screamed out in joy, "Daisey, come to daddy."

Batty shook his head vigorously to rid himself of various leaves and grasses that were most likely part of Walter’s soup. When his eyes were clear he saw that the water in the middle of the lake had began to bubble up, quite scarily too! He focused on the top of the waterspout and shook his head again, this time in disbelief. A teddy bear was hurtling towards them, and it looked like it meant business. He was just about to laugh, when the teddy bear rose out of the water. Daisey revealed her massive head. Batty was dumbstruck.

Freeway was unaware that Daisey was coming for breakfast. He was on the other side of the boat chasing a particularly slippery piece of rubbish.

Batty barked to him in alarm," Whatever you do, don’t turn around."

Freeway ignored him and swallowed some more slippery things.

"I wish I had a bigger mouth," he said, "Some of this rubbish is quite nice."

Then he looked up at Walter and wondered why he was jumping up and down. He took a quick glance to the rear. His jaw dropped, and he craned his neck upwards to take in the awful view.

Daisey glowered down at the three of them in disdain. Someone had been eating her porridge, but that was another story. Her nostrils flared and she breathed a disgusting smell of roast fish droppings over them. She stretched her green and white neck to its full length, then slowly bent down to within three feet of Freeway. She studied him with intense curiosity. Daisey had never seen a dog before. Her tongue darted out and tasted the air around him. Her head recoiled in disgust at his revolting doggy smell. Then she blasted out a deafening shriek to let Freeway know that he wasn’t welcome in the lake, or his smell for that matter. Freeway got a good dose of saliva for smelling like a rubbish dump.

"Now, now," said Walter a little nervously, "You can eat them later on. Look what I’ve got you."

He waved a large sack of rubbish her way. Daisey’s eyes locked onto the bag, her head swayed rhythmically to the movement of the sack.

Walter had been waiting twenty years for this moment. When he’d stumbled across the Great Hole in the Ground and got lost, he found Daisey. She was just a little worm then. So he fed her, and she grew and grew. He also found two tattered books on the care of Giant Seaslugs, and Amazonian mud eating tribes. They were wrapped in the arms of a long dead explorer. So, having nothing better to do than grow a huge beard, he read them. The books told him all he needed to know about Giant Seaslugs and how to cook mud. He leapt for joy when he found that on the twentieth birthday of a Seaslug, it headed for the sea. A Seaslug would go the most direct route, driven by an insane instinct to have some little babies. Walter had marked the walls of his mud hut all those long lonely years. Today was the day when Daisey would decide to make that journey. He had spent many hours perfecting a harness that would fit over Daisey’s head. This now lay hidden amongst the waterweeds close to the boat. The seat that Walter was going to use was the boat itself. Daisey was quite used to seeing it, so she would not be suspicious of it at all. Then through gentle persuasion and a shipload of rubbish, Daisey would help him reach the outside world.