The following is another extract from the soon to be released in paperback second volume of the Falcon Boy: A Fairly Hopeless Hero series, The Brothers Revoltable Travelling Circus and Other Crazy Fun with Special Guests.

Chapter 34 Billy Barone’s Pig and Chicken Treats Ltd©

Without really thinking too much about it Ellis and Davey ducked into the world-famous Billy Barone’s Pig and Chicken Treats Ltd© SnakShak that has stood on the edge of the Panic Two Park since a long time before even I was born.

         Ellis had never tried any of the amazing products being offered, not because her parents had told her how bad they were for her but simply because she found the Billy Barone logo rather threatening. There was something about the cartoon pig holding hands with the cartoon chicken that made her feel slightly troubled. And she wasn’t the only one.

         If it wasn’t for the fact that the company maintained a very high profile in Panic Town by supporting as many charities as it could afford and employing as many local people as possible, Billy Barone’s Pig and Chicken Treats Ltd © would have been run out of town a long time ago.

Originally, there was only one character designed to represent the Billy Barone empire, a chicken and pig-like hybrid homunculus called Mutt the Meat who, it was confidently believed by everyone involved it its design, would capture the hearts of generations of children and convince them to sample the full range of pig and chicken products on offer.

Sadly, however, the designing committee didn’t factor the character’s appeal to children into the design process and the finished character, complete with a long lantern jaw, straggly red hair jutting out at random from chin to crown, topped off with strangely hunched shoulders and an extremely irritating way of shouting ‘Come and Meet the Meat!’ in the advertisements on the television and radio, quickly became the stuff of nightmare and satire.

If children weren’t shouting ‘Come and Meet the Meat’ at each other in comic voices in playgrounds everywhere during intricate games that involved aliens, zombies and anything else considered unheimlich, then they were cowering under their beds in terror and begging for the soft toy version of Mutt the Meat they had just been given for their birthday to be buried at sea, burned in a field somewhere or dropped into an active volcano.

The damage to the company’s image was extensive and almost caused the Billy Barone Empire to collapse before it had had the chance to establish itself. Luckily, however, and just in the nick of time, someone came up with the idea of a children’s competition to redesign the character. It was a brother and sister called Jen and Shaky Shilling who submitted the winning designs.

Given the fact that the original character was so terrifying it was a stroke of childish genius to create two characters from it. Sadly, however, the genius didn’t stretch to the naming of the new characters and so Silly Chicken and Pig the Pig were born.

Straightaway a new softer image was created and even though the sight and sound of two glove puppets squawking and squeaking ‘Come and Meet the Meat!’ at each other wasn’t to everyone’s taste the company was saved and slowly began to expand again.

You only have to step into your local Billy Barone’s to really appreciate everything the have to offer the discerning fast-foodist. Walk through the front door and as you approach the counter look out for the sign inviting you to experience the Billy Barone Mega Meat Experience©.

As you thrill to the heady aroma of boiled chicken skin and pig bones why not marvel at the army of unhealthy-looking people shoveling Tasty Trotter Twists© into paper cones. If these are not to your liking, might I recommend the Packed Pig Parcels©, primed pieces of reconstituted pork stuffed with cheap blue cheese and chili flakes.

Or, if you have a fancy for something more poultry-esque, why not plump for the Double Stuffed Skins©, complete with a side of Billy’s Bestest Beans© and washed down with a glass of Billy Barone’s World Famous Chicken Water or Pig Fizz. (I’m not making this up – well I am but I’m not, if you know what I mean).

Volume One is available now in paperback.


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