At length we ran downstairs again, collapsing into the chairs alongside the dining table that stood adjacent to the grand stairwell.
We declared it the Grand High Hallowed Hall of the Mad Magnificent Order of Magenta Mandrakes for the Royal Realm of Rodicargum.
We visualized all of this being carved into a great stone as one entered the hall, though to get all of it in would likely have required a stone the size of one of the pillars at Stonehenge.
“But what should we call ourselves?” Ian asked.
“Thought we’d just settled that,” Stan replied.
“No, Stan, not the roles we do – but us, ourselves,” I said. “With what that we’ve gone through – the way we’ve all stood up for and stood by each other – we’ve become a brotherhood. And we need a name for it – for what the three of us have become.”
Stan became keyed-up as the concept sunk in.
“A band of brothers forever – never to be dissolved!”
We all felt his excitement. Each of us was an only child, and though our parents all loved us deeply and did everything that they could to make our lives complete – even down to a pair of ersatz elder sisters, in Stan’s case – a void remained. There were roles that parents just couldn’t fill, where we needed contemporaries; somebody who’s also going through it, has just been through it, or is about to go through it. And no one’s there. “Borrowing” or “creating” a sibling at these moments would fill a great deal of this void.
“One for all and all for one!” echoed Ian.
“Faithful forever!” I said, throwing my tuppence in. “But what shall we call it?”
“‘The Iron Brotherhood?’” Ian threw out.
“Sounds a bit fascist, don’t y’think?” I replied.
“‘The Edgbastonauts?’” Stan tossed out.
“Too busy,” I replied.
“And impersonal,” added Ian.
“‘The Holi Band?’” I suggested.
“Sounds like an order of monks,” said Ian.
“St. Cecilia keeps us safe,” I countered, “how about ‘The Cecilians?’”
“Same problem,” Ian replied.
“But you are getting warmer, Reggie mate,” Stan said. “It should relate more to us.”
“What about The Goon Show?” asked Ian. “We’re all like junior members – maybe we should call ourselves ‘The Goonies.’”
“Oh please!” Stan and I moaned in unison.
“What about one of the recurring characters in the show?” asked Ian.
“Like Eccles,” I said. “‘The Ecclestones.’”
Stan sighed and shook his head. “A bit better, but it sounds like the name of a vocal group, not a brotherhood.”
“What about Bluebottle?” I said. “He’s the only kid character on the show. Why not ‘The Bluebottles?’”
“Not quite there,” said Ian excitedly, “but close, real close. How about ‘The Bluebottle Brotherhood?’”
“Too many syllables” Stan said. “What if we streamline it a bit, call it ‘The Bluebottle Boys?’”
“That’s it!”Ian exclaimed, more excited than ever. “That’s the name! We’re ‘The Bluebottle Boys!’”
“Works for me,” I said. “I think we’ve a winner.”
“Then follow me!” declared Ian, striding back down the hall towards the lounge, but ducking into a room about halfway there. Stan and I followed, and found ourselves in what was clearly Mr. Tippins’ study.
© 2017, 2016, 2015 G. H. McCallum and Duvanian Press, all rights reserved.
While you’re here at my website, click on the “Home” tab and leave your first name and email address at the opt-in box; you’ll receive my new ebook “Alice Pleasance Liddell (4 May 1852 – 16 November 1934): A Tribute to the Girl From Wonderland.” Many people don’t know that there was a real girl who inspired the stories; many that do don’t know the whole story, which can be full of amazing surprises. Get yours free today!
The Bluebottle Boys (Volume One) is now available from Amazon Books. The Bluebottle Boys (Volume Two) is due out this autumn.