The Tin Din
TIN DIN flashed a red neon light bearing the name of a haunted restaurant. It was Friday night and as the clock struck twelve this deepest darkest pocket of Kingdom Clock rocked with all manner of mayhem. This neighbourhood lay in the basement of the ticking clock, shielded by a thin sheet of tin that obscured it from the rest of the neighbourhoods in the kingdom. Though this enclave was seldom silent, tonight was a particularly raucous affair and everyone was hellbent on marching to the beat of their own drum. Amidst the chaos of the din an ageing hyena sat slumped on the extractor fan outside the front door. He played a self-made bugle in a herky-jerky manner and hatched a most devilish plan. This ageing hyena was known to have a grand plan or two and indeed he had had many a plan in his time. Nothing, though, was quite as ambitious as the idea he pondered that Friday night, slumped outside of his restaurant tucked away in the deepest recesses of the ticking clock.
ELLIOT The one thing this place needs is a piano.
MIKE I’m so sorry Elliot, would you be a dear and repeat that please?
ELLIOT A piano! This place needs one — don’tcha reckon mate?
MIKE That’s a very good idea indeed mate!
ELLIOT Thanks Mikey, I knew you’d be on board …
MIKE Tip top plan, love it!
Mike the meerkat turned back to the big book and filled out the final row of numbers for the day and shut it closed. The book read ACCOUNTS.
MIKE ‘Ow are we going to get it through the front door tho’ Ell?
ELLIOT You know what Mikey — I ‘adn’t thought that far ahead! *laughs*
MIKE Don’t worry mate, we’ll figure somethin’ out.
ELLIOT We always do, mate. We always do.
MIKE Very true, Ell, we do indeed! Anyway, you got any plans for the rest of the evenin’?
ELLIOT Well as a matter of fact I do! There’s a lovely young bitch awaiting my call across town. Don’t know if I can be fucked though to be honest with ya mate. She’s a fruit loop.
MIKE Is that the spotted hyena you mentioned the other day?
ELLIOT Yeah, that’s the one.
MIKE What’s her name again?
ELLIOT Don’t ask me mate! *cackles*
And with that Mike and Elliot left the office in the basement of the TIN DIN and scampered up the stairs and out the front door of the restaurant.
MIKE Oh no mate!
ELLIOT What’s that mate?
MIKE The lock’s broken!
ELLIOT What do you mean the lock’s broken?
MIKE I mean I can’t lock the restaurant door.
ELLIOT Oh. Well, never mind mate, there’s nothin’ in there anyway.
MIKE Very true mate.
And just like that another day at the TIN DIN drew to a close and the meerkat and the hyena scampered through the alleyways of town playing their fiddles on each and every street corner en route home.
The clock struck twelve on Saturday night and We Can Be Heroes Just for One Day blared out through the hubbub of the neighbourhood. TIN DIN flickered and threatened to stop illuminating the restaurant entirely, though it never went out for long enough to spark concern. Scampering back and forth through the flickering neon of the neighbourhood’s trash-ridden alleyways were Bob the badger and Florence the fox.
BOB I found it! I knew there’d be one here somewhere!
FLORENCE What did you find bobby brown eyes?
BOB There’s always at least one here — standard procedure.
FLORENCE What’s the standard procedure brown eyes?
BOB You’re a dickhead if you don’t know that by now quite frankly.
FLORENCE You’re being MEAN brown eyes! Why do you always have to be so MEAN!
BOB Go and die in that steaming pile of trash over there you filthy whore.
FLORENCE NO! BROWN EYES! STOP IT! YOU’RE GONNA MAKE ME—
FLORENCE *wails uncontrollably*
BOB Good grief — you’re a liability — you’re going to get us caught you fucking tramp.
FLORENCE *regains composure* At least I’m a hot tramp bobby brown eyes …
BOB I’ll grant you that.
Sirens rang through the tempestuous backstreets of this haunted neighbourhood and alleycats meowed with all of their mighty little lungs and Bob chased Florence and Florence chased Bob until finally they rested in a cosy can of trash.
BOB Good call on this can Flo — nice change of scenery.
FLO It’s a nice nest in which to rest bobby brown eyes.
BOB Stop calling me brown eyes stupid bitch!
FLO No! YOU stop it!
BOB Stop what?
FLO Being mean.
BOB Speak up love I can’t hear you.
FLO STOP BEING MEAN.
*sound of sirens ratchets up*
BOB You what love?
FLO STOP. BEING. MEEEAAAN!
FLO *wails uncontrollably*
BOB Goodness gracious me, you’re a mess Flo.
FLO *regains composure* We’re both a mess bobby brown eyes.
BOB Well that’s something we can agree on at least.
And with that the fox and the badger roughed and tumbled and took turns playing an old trombone in the trash can through the night and at daybreak they drifted off in each other’s arms to a gentle slumber.
It was midday in the neighbourhood and TIN DIN glistened in the aftermath of the storm. Joey jumped and skipped through the potholes and puddles — today was his time to shine! A lone wolf, Joey was magnificent and mellow in equal measure. He loved the TIN DIN dearly and on Sundays it was his own. His golden coat shimmered in the midday sun and upon reaching the door to the restaurant he noticed it was ajar and the lock broken.
JOEY What the fuck man! What in the bleeding HELL is going on!
He howled at the top of his lungs and his howling reverberated through this sleepy neighbourhood in the tin-covered base of the clock with the golden veneer.
JOEY I’ve gotta just take five and calm down for a second.
And so the wolf of the golden coat resplendent in the midday sun found a shady spot in the alleyway behind the restaurant and dived into the dustbin where he stored his wares. All manner of materials gleamed before him. There were all of the staples — brass and aluminium among them; the precious metals — gold, silver and bronze. Then there was the toolbox in which he stored those things needed to conjoin the metals — a soldering iron the most important of them all.
JOEY Aight let’s get to work!
And the din that the young wolf made was quite spectacular and it rang throughout the neighbourhood and jigged and shrieked among the puddles and the potholes.
A policeman walked over to the trash can and peered into its depths.
POLICEMAN Well, well, well — what ‘av we going on ‘ere then?
JOEY I’m making a French horn, my brother! What brings you to my workshop?
POLICEMAN Well, young wolf, I’m here to inform you that the lock on TIN DIN is broken.
JOEY Yeah bruv, I know. I’m gonna get to that when I’m done with the horn.
POLICEMAN Well, I suppose everything is alright then. Never mind me!
JOEY See ya bro.
POLICEMAN I’ll be seeing you then.
*soldering and drilling reach fever pitch*
Soon enough the French horn was complete and it was truly a sight to behold only matched by the beauty with which Joey played it.
JOEY Right, time to get to work. Let’s start with the agenda …
Behind the bar lay a post-it affixed to the greasy almond-coloured countertop.
JOEY People have got to start cleaning this place — what the fuck! MAN.
The following note had been left for Joey by the previous evening’s manager, in this case Mike.
HERE IS THE AGENDA FOR SUNDAY
3PM TRIAL SHIFT OF MARC THE MOUSE
5PM ELL ARRIVES FOR STOCKCHECK
7PM I ARRIVE FOR DINNER SERVICE
9PM CLOSE EARLY TO INSTALL GRAND PIANO
PS FLORENCE AND BOB ARE GOING TO POP BY TO HELP US CARRY THE PIANO FROM VIKING STREET OVER TO THE RESTAURANT
JOEY Today’s gonna be a good day — I can feel it!
And he poured himself a glass of apple juice and took it outside to the extractor fan where he sipped it and played his French horn in the afternoon sun.
The clock struck three and the most mini of all the mice awoke from his stony slumber in a quite sophisticated neighbourhood of Kingdom Clock. Cafés sparkled with the signs and sounds of the glitterati sipping their lazy Sunday coffees. All manner of languages melded together as one and the scents of the finest cuisines in all of the kingdom of the clock with the golden veneer sang together as one.
MARC Oh no! It’s already 3PM! I’m going to be late for my trial shift!
And with that he raced through the neighbourhood and then the next one and then another one still, snacking on the vast array of golden crumbs that had fallen from the glistening tables of the glitterati, until he reached TIN DIN.
MARC Sorry I’m late! It’s not normal for me to be late! I promise!
MARC I was due at 3PM for my trial shift!
JOEY OH. You must be Marc the mouse.
MARC Yes that’s me! It’s 1501 and I was due at 1500! I’m so very so—
JOEY SHUT UP.
And that was how Marc the mouse and Joey the wolf of the glimmering golden coat became acquainted. Throughout that lazy late afternoon shift, Joey taught Marc everything he knew about precious metals, playing the horn and the deepest darkest lore of TIN DIN.
MARC Wow! It’s really like that here!?
JOEY Yes, my brother. It’s really like that here — and you’re gonna fit in just fine.
JOEY Yes, my brother. Just you wait and see.
And just like that Elliot made his appearance on stage.
ELLIOT YES MATE.
JOEY YES ELLIE!
ELLIE What you saying Jo?
JO Not much, my brother, just showing little Marc here the ropes.
ELLIE Who’s Marc?
JO The mouse right here of course!
And standing and trembling beneath and between Jo and Ellie was indeed Marc the most mini of all of the mice in the kingdom of the clock with the golden veneer.
MARC Hi! Down here!
ELLIE Oh. Hi there lil’ guy. Pleased to meet you.
JO He’s got a great work ethic, my brother.
ELLIE Is that so?
JO Yes mate. He cleaned the entire restaurant in an hour and we’ve just been jammin’ for the last hour or so. He’s. A. Fucking. LEGEND.
ELLIE It is very fresh and clean in here, I must say!
ELLIE L-L-LEGEND is right … This is the cleanest the place has been in a decade!
And so Ellie and Jo conspired to stock the fridges with bottled bugles of all shapes and sizes, testing them out as they went. Meanwhile, Marc sat atop a tiny little round wooden stall with the longest of legs and nibbled at the delightful delicacies of the TIN DIN.
MARC This is great! I haven’t eaten like this in ages! Thank you so much guys!
JO You love it here already don’t you my brother?
MARC It’s true! I do! Oh, I do, IT’S TRUE.
ELLIE That’s the spirit Marky! TRUTH.
And so Jo, he of the magnificent golden coat ventured out through the rains of the early evening to his sheltered spot in the back alley behind TIN DIN. He jumped into the trash can and rummaged through his wares and made a magnificent trumpet — oh, it truly was magnificent, this narrator assures you! In actual fact, he made three! And the wolf and the hyena and lil’ Marky the mouse formed a band and played the trumpet to their hearts’ content. The clock struck seven and Mike entered the fray to the tune of The Man Who Sold the World.
MIKE Evening gents — how are we?
ELLIE & JO Tip top, thank you very much, mate!
MIKE And who’s this lil’ fella?
MARKY I’m Marky! I bring TRUTH!
ELLIE & JO T-T-TRUTH!
MIKE You bring truth, huh. Well that’s much needed about these parts, so thank you, Marky.
MARKY It’s nothing at all! The truth is Mr Mike, sir, I’ve never felt so accepted anywhere in my whole entire life! I truly feel I’ve united with a band of long- lost brothers!
MIKE That’s music to my ears fella — you’re going to love working here, I’m sure of it.
And with that Mike managed the dinner session with the utmost competence and grace. His composure permeated TIN DIN and for once, it didn’t seem like such a chaotic hell hole after all. C-C-CHANGES rang through the restaurant and all of the animals of KINGDOM CLOCK dined and laughed and cherished the precious moment together, as one.
MIKE Right, time to wrap this up. Boys, I’m going outside to play my fiddle and touch up the paint on the facade. Tonight it shall be painted gold.
AS ONE TIP TOP.
When Mike had finished painting he returned to the fray once more and the final customers made their way for the exit. Jo locked the door, which he had constructed from solid gold to match Mike’s choice for the colour of the facade. Florence and Bob turned up and knocked on the door and Marc dashed across the gleaming wooden floors, which he had varnished in the afternoon, and scuttled up the door to unlock it.
MARC Hi guys! Great to see you! Come join us at the island! We’re playing the bugle!
FLO & BOB B-B-BUGLES.
And just like that Mike and Elliot and Joey and Marc and Florence and Bob sat on the island and discussed whether there was Life on Mars.
ELLIOT There’s a star man in the sky — I know that much!
JOEY True that, my brother, there most certainly is.
MIKE Ya reckon?
BOB Nah, just the moon man at this hour.
ALL AS ONE M-M-MOOOOOON!
Now, there was one more task on the agenda for the band before they could get too comfortable and Mike informed them of the plan.
MIKE We’ll just have to pop over to Viking Street to pick up the grand piano.
BOB The what?
ELLIOT We’re removing this here island and replacing it with a grand piano.
MARC That’s a great idea!
FLO Oh, lil’ Marc — you have blue eyes!
The band marched through the streets of this neon-clad neighbourhood in the depths of the kingdom of the clock with the golden veneer and worked as a team through the night. When Monday morning came the grand piano ushered in the week playing itself so sweetly that the streets would glitter with all that was gold through another working week.