Trouble with Toads

Adult black comedy satire with a message

Trouble with Toads Trafford Publishing 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4669-8329-8 Hard cover

ISBN: 978-1-4669-8327-4 Soft cover

Writer presentation 11 am. Thursday 23 October 2014. Readings at The Bell Inn at Ticehurst, E Sussex.

Order through Waterstones hub or direct from author 

Denbridgehurst in sleepy, rural Wealden Sussex. Nothing ever happens to disturb the centuries-old calm. Thriving little shops and old timbered cottages. An old pub, not to mention the 14th century church; St Wayne the Celibate? Who? Surely not.

UKRAP, the new Right Wing UK government has been voted in. Council Tax is abolished in rural communities who must find out how to go it alone. Independent villages.

Female tigers 

Step up the tiger women - Penelope 'Pish' McFarquar, bossy, golfing elitist with tyrant potential. Religious fanatic Jo Croak-Roberts and Margot de Vere whose ancestors came over with the Conqueror. And the fourth? Miserable, pathetic, husband-controlling Elizabeth Parker. A felophobe, Elizabeth sits, nightly, at her window, with the muzzle of her air rifle poking through net curtains seeking cat victims.

Power mania 

With the abolition of the County Council, the four women step into  the breach - the power vacuum - and take over the village, operating from Pish's secret underground bunker. But money is the root all evil. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power absolutely. Cliches maybe but Pish and Co are determined to instill changes. Enter the oligarchs, Russian billionaire oil and gas men. There are rich pickings in the shale layers beneath the Wealden countryside and Fracking is the name of the game. Get the village elders onside and the mineral exploiters are onto a winner.

Miraculous event 

The ancient church is up for demolition. Gay, young curate Ed Valence comes up with a scheme to hold up the works. An instant miracle is needed. How apposite that the alabaster statue of the Madonna suddenly begins to weep when sinners kneel before her. The world's media descend on the village.

Toad slaughter

Felophobe Elizabeth causes an almighty row with passionate amphibian conservationists by shooting toads, instead of cats. Her thoughtless act triggers off a train of events that spirals out of control.

Dangerous homeopathy 

Husband Harold slaves away preparing homeopathic remedies under his wife's instructions. His mind turns to dead toad - what a splendid ingredient it would make. And it can be tested out on the wife! Unwitting 'guinea pig' Elizabeth takes the potion and develops overnight hairy hands and facial hair. Taken by her  friend to the alleged Weeping Madonna for a miracle cure, Elizabeth's prayers are instantly answered. 

The tale nears its awful climax as terrorised villagers, bullied by Russian vigilantes, hold a candlelight vigil at their beloved church. Before their eyes, St Wayne's crumbles to rubble. An act of God, an earthquake? No - Curate Ed Valence dramatically reveals that the church has been undermined by illegal mining activities. The mob turns in fury on the power women.

Enter the toads 

The women are not to know that genetically-modified toads, the result of Harold's dabbling with homeopathic remedies, are about to invade the village. Deep in their operational bunker, they cower from the baying mob. But marauding toads discover the secret air shaft. Toads do not take prisoners.  

The God Particle 

The village attempts to return to normality in the absence of the tyrants. Yet they remain dumbfounded by the wreckage of their old church. But fracking is merely a front for a wilder and more ambitious scheme. The search for the God Particle. Read on...

Author's favourite chapter: 

'I especially enjoyed the Rev Wynde-Bag's gentle countryside stroll with his Golden Retriever. Through the morning mists the Rev spies a contented herd of giraffe. And further on, a couple of grazing rhinos. Most sensibly, the good churchman flees for cover of the nearest copse where he is greeted by a colony of orang utans, high in the trees.

'It all takes a lot of explaining and is the unfortunate consequence of Pish McFarquar's desperate overnight drafting in of exotic rare, endangered species into the Sussex countryside - a mad last ditch scheme to prevent a motorway by-pass. Pish's son is in 'import-export' - namely the illegal exporting of arms to despotic regimes and equally illegal importing of exotic species for the private collections of billionaires.

'I hope it all sounds fun,' writes Peter, 'but for all the laughs there are deep issues built into this 'moral' tale. Don't be fooled by the scatty humour and bizarre events!'  

Trouble with Toads - ©Peter Ward - All Rights Reserved