How to Catch a ‘Noo-noo’
want a real fairy!” says Jess, stamping her foot. A small piece of Lego pings away.
Her father, Jonathan, is not at all keen on this tone of voice. It is what – as far as he is concerned – leads to a ‘stramash.’
“Claire, you deal with her,” he says. “I’m off to the club.”
“Great,” says Claire.
An hour later, and Jess is sneaking along behind the sofa. She has prepared a Little Miss Sparkle Barbie outfit stuffed on a dolly made of sticks, and to this she has attached a noose with a long, trailing string. The ‘decoy fairy’ is now looking disconsolate at the top of the family Christmas tree – one of those expensive ones, from Fortnums.
In a plump hand, Jess has the string end. She is ready to pull this really, really, really, fast. Fast like a silly kitty when you pull its tail and you laugh a lot! That’s how fast!
“Come on, noo-noo,” she mutters, gap-teeth whistling – the ‘terrible twos’ and the elusive tooth fairy have not been kind.
Five minutes of patient waiting later – which is about five hundred years as far as Jess is concerned – and nothing has stuck its head in the tempting noose, even though the dolly has a smile drawn on it in red crayon, and clearly wants to be friends.
“Dickilus, noo-noo. Dickilus!” She stomps off and returns to add a tiara. This requires an interesting trick, balancing on an antique steamer trunk, a box of toys, and the flatscreen TV. Dickilus! – how many sparkles does she have to add? Stupid noo-noo!
This is much harder than last year.
Finally, there is a flutter of wings; a rustle in amongst the chocolate, tree-decorations (followed by a disgraceful tinkle of foil slipping from branch to branch); and then a snarling fury at the very top of the tree.
Whatever is up there is clearly territorial, and isn’t about to allow some other ‘Jumped up be-atch troll queen spend another second at the top of her tree, thank you very much’.
When the fairy dust is really flying, there is a tempting tug on the string.
Too soon. Jess has made this mistake before and only ended up with a tiny nut-shoe and a smear of butterfly dust.
Now! Jess gives the string a vicious pull. Yoink! There is a puff of fake snow at the top of the tree and then the snarling begins.
The other end of the string clatters through the fairy lights, blunders around the lampshade, dislodges cobwebs, patters – yowling – along the tops of the curtains, but now Jess is reeling it in; her musical fishing rod playing ‘half a pound of tuppeny rice,’ plink by plonk.
Time to fire up the plastic stove and find Mr Bear.
Jess has the noo-noo sellotaped to a Cindy chair, next to the disappointingly crunchy remains of last year’s noo-noo. She is ecstatic.
“Noo-noo want coffee or tea? Noo-noo is Jessica’s best friend! Silly Noo-noo. Okay, mummy will pour.”
The ‘noo-noo’ says nothing – it’s too busy trying to gnaw its way out of a sarcophagus of sellotape. There is only terror in its eyes.