Notes: An extract from a children's story by the author of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. I just love Dahl's grotesquely comic stories!>>
Grandma Gets The Medicine>>
Grandma sat hunched in her chair by the window. The wicked little eyes followed George closely as he crossed the room towards her. 'You're late,' she snapped. 'I don't think I am, Grandma.'>>
'Don't interrupt me in the middle of a sentence!' she shouted. 'But you'd finished your sentence, Grandma.' 'There you go again!' she cried. 'Always interrupting and arguing. You really are a tiresome little boy. What's the time?'>>
'It's exactly eleven o'clock, Grandma.' 'You're lying as usual. Stop talking so much and give me my medicine. Shake the bottle first. Then pour it into the spoon and make sure it's a whole spoonful.'>>
'Are you going to gulp it all down in one go?' George asked her. 'Or will you sip it?' 'What I do is none of your business,' the old woman said. 'Fill the spoon.'>>
As George removed the cork and began very slowly to pour the thick brown stuff into the spoon, he couldn't help thinking back upon all the mad and marvellous things that had gone into the making of this crazy stuff — the shaving soap, the hair remover, the dandruff cure, the automatic washing-machine powder, the flea powder for dogs, the shoe polish, the black pepper, the horseradish sauce and all the rest of them, not to mention the powerful animal pills and powders and liquids . . . and the brown paint.>>
'Open your mouth wide, Grandma,' he said, 'and I'll pop it in.' The old hag opened her small wrinkled mouth, showing disgusting pale brown teeth. 'Here we go!' George cried out. 'Swallow it down!' He pushed the spoon well into her mouth and tipped the mixture down her throat. Then he stepped back to watch the result. It was worth watching. Grandma yelled 'Oweeeee!' and her whole body shot up whoosh into the air. It was exactly as though someone had pushed an electric wire through the underneath of her chair and switched on the current.
Up she went like a jack-in-the-box . . . and she didn't come down . . . she stayed there . . . suspended in mid air . . . about two feet up . . . still in a sitting position . . . but rigid now . . . frozen . . . quivering . . . the eyes bulging . . . the hair standing straight up on end.>> 'Is something wrong, Grandma?' George asked her politely. 'Are you all right?' Suspended up there in space, the old girl was beyond speaking. The shock that George's marvellous mixture had given her must have been tremendous. You'd have thought she'd swallowed a red-hot poker the way she took off from that chair. Then down she came again with a plop, back into her seat.>>
'Call the fire brigade!' she shouted suddenly. ¡My stomach's on fire!'
'It's just the medicine, Grandma,' George said. 'It's good strong stuff.'
'Fire!' the old woman yelled. 'Fire in the basement! Get a bucket! Man the hoses! Do something quick!'>>
'Cool it, Grandma,' George said. But he got a bit of a shock when he saw the smoke coming out of her mouth and out of her nostrils. Clouds of black smoke were coming out of her nose and blowing around the room.>>
'By golly, you really are on fire,' George said.
'Of course I'm on fire!' she yelled. 'I'll be burned to a crisp! I'll be fried to a frizzle! I'll be boiled like a beetroot!'>>
George ran into the kitchen and came back with a jug of water. 'Open your mouth, Grandma!' he cried. He could hardly see her for the smoke, but he managed to pour half a jugful down her throat. A sizzling sound, the kind you get if you hold a hot frying-pan under a cold tap, came up from deep down in Grandma's stomach. The old hag bucked and shied and snorted. She gasped and gurgled. Spouts of water came shooting out of her. And the smoke cleared away.>>
'The fire's out', George announced proudly. 'You'll be all right now, Grandma.'
'All right?' she yelled. 'Who's all right? There's jacky-jumpers in my tummy! There's squigglers in my belly! There's bangers in my bottom!' She began bouncing up and down in the chair. Quite obviously she was not very comfortable.>>
'You'll find it's doing you a lot of good, that medicine, Grandma,' George said.
'Good? she screamed. 'Doing me good? It's killing me!>>
Then she began to bulge.
She was swelling!
She was puffing up all over!
Someone was pumping her up, That's how it looked!
Was she going to explode?
Her face was turning from purple to green!
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