Graham the Good Gremlin was born on Christmas Day.
Do you know what a gremlin is, dear reader? A gremlin is a creature that often gets blamed when things go missing, for example socks from the washing machine. When the electric fuses blow, and then blow again, and no other reason can be found, a grown-up will often state that it's the gremlins. You get the idea.
Although, grown-ups do not actually believe in gremlins at all. It is just their way of saying they do not have any other explanation. They think they made up the gremlins. But grown-ups are not always right. Just think of how many grown-ups do not believe in Santa Claus. Now we all know the truth of that, but people, as they grow out of childhood, sadly lose the magic that they had as children. Not all of them lose it, but most of them do.
Anyway, gremlins, whether or not people believe in them, are very nasty creatures who love to make trouble. They do bad things on purpose to have fun. They are very naughty and they do not care about getting in trouble. It is hard to get in trouble if nobody believes in you, after all.
But Graham the Good Gremlin had good magic in his heart, because of his Christmas birthday. The good magic of Christmas made him into a Good Gremlin instead of a regular Bad Gremlin. But that did not mean that everything he did was good. It just meant that he always tried to be good, and he never wanted to be bad, but like everyone else is prone to, dear reader, just like you and me, he often made mistakes.
When Graham the Good Gremlin first appeared that Christmas Day, he wondered where he was and what to do, and he was hungry too.
He could smell something very nice and following his nose, he detected that the wonderful aroma was coming from some little shiny figures dangling on pretty threads from a large green something in the corner of where he was. So he scrambled up the green thing and discovered that the shiny stuff came off the outside of the figures and inside was the lovely smelling whatever-it-was that had led him to it. He cautiously licked the nice smelling thing and discovered it tasted as good as it smelled, so then he bit it. The piece in his mouth melted deliciously sweet and smooth, went down his throat, began to fill his tummy.
Now that he had discovered chocolate – for of course we know that the figures were chocolate decorations on the Christmas tree, although he did not know that yet – he stripped the tree of all of it. Unwrapping every last shiny figure one by one, he ate them contentedly then fell asleep hidden in the branches of the tree amongst the other decorations that were on it.
Suddenly, sometime later, Graham the Good Gremlin was awoken by a very loud and unpleasant noise. He peeped out from the tree, frightened, and saw two large creatures, much larger than himself, although one was twice the size of the other one. The larger one was where the noise was coming from.
“Don't lie!” yelled the man (for of course the creatures were humans, although Graham the Good Gremlin did not know that yet). “You ate all the chocolates! Are you trying to tell me it was the gremlins?”
The smaller creature was cowering, and made a smaller noise in reply. “I didn't! I didn't!”
The man shook his large head and made another large noise. Another human came into the room and the man told her about the chocolate. She made another noise and the boy (for of course he was the son of the man and woman) left the room with wet things coming out of his eyes and trickling down his face.
Graham the Good Gremlin wondered what it all meant, but he didn't think that it was good, and he felt not quite right. In fact he felt sad but he didn't have a word for that yet.
Graham the Good Gremlin crept into a hidden corner and wondered about life.
The next morning, Graham the Good Gremlin woke up and sunshine was streaming through the window. He crept into the attractive brightness and it felt nice and warm.
He scrambled back into his safe corner though when the man came into the room. The man sat on the sofa and fiddled with a little box in his hand, and a large flat square thing came alive with noise and movement. The man stared at this thing and occasionally made noises, but they were not loud unpleasant noises like yesterday, so Graham the Good Gremlin stopped feeling frightened of the man. He observed him with interest.
Dear reader, we would find it quite boring to watch somebody who is watching television, but we must remember that to Graham the Good Gremlin everything was quite new, and so to him it was fascinating. Graham the Good Gremlin had a lot to learn as we will see.
The boy came into the room and sat with his dad. Bobby liked Toon Time just as much as his dad did.
Graham the Good Gremlin decided that he liked Toon Time too.
Toon Time finished and a man on the television announced that it was time for The News. Graham the Good Gremlin did not know what The News was, but he hoped he would like it as much as Toon Time.
But Dad did something with the little box in his hand, and the screen went blank and quiet. Dad and Bobby left the room.
Graham the Good Gremlin decided to investigate on his own. So he scrambled up onto the sofa and picked up the little box that Dad had used. We know it was a remote control, but Graham the Good Gremlin didn't have a word for it yet.
Graham the Good Gremlin found buttons to press. Graham the Good Gremlin turned on the television. Graham the Good Gremlin decided that The News was boring. Graham the Good Gremlin played with the buttons. Graham the Good Gremlin switched channels – a lot. Graham the Good Gremlin turned the volume up and down, and up and down, and up and down, and switched the channels, and finally decided to stick with a soap opera, although he didn't have a word for that yet.
Graham the Good Gremlin watched the soap opera, and he learned a lot about humans and how they live, and about dogs and cats and fish and other animals that humans keep as pets, and about gardens, and other places where people spend time, and Graham the Good Gremlin learned words for all of those things.
Graham the Good Gremlin heard footsteps coming back to the room, and he had learned that he should probably stay hidden, at least for now, so he scurried back to his safe corner.
Bobby's mum came into the room and stopped in the doorway. Then she called back to Dad and Bobby. “How many times have I told you two not to leave the TV on?”
“I switched it off.” called back Dad.
“Well, you can't have.” replied Mum. “I've just come in here and it was on. You going to tell me it was the gremlins?”
“Well, I can't understand it.” said Dad. “I definitely switched it off.”
And Bobby agreed “He did, Mum.”
But they didn't get cross. They were just puzzled.
A while later Mum, Dad and Bobby all went out of the house. They got in their car. Graham the Good Gremlin watched from the window. He knew from watching the television that they would be gone for a while since they used the car.
Graham the Good Gremlin decided he would like to watch some more television. He found a cookery show that was making use of leftover Christmas food.
“What a good idea!” thought Graham the Good Gremlin. “I'm sure that I could make Bobby and his family something nice.”
Graham the Good Gremlin had not watched the whole show. Graham the Good Gremlin wanted to get on with his lovely surprise for the family. Graham the Good Gremlin went into the kitchen and looked around. Graham the Good Gremlin looked inside the refrigerator. Graham the Good Gremlin found lots of Christmas leftovers.
Graham the Good Gremlin found Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, mince pies, cheese straws, cooked turkey, stuffing, brussels sprouts, cream, chocolate mints, shortbread, chocolate rum truffles, satsumas, crisps, peanuts, wine, salad, ham, pate, cheese.
Graham the Good Gremlin knew it was all good food. Graham the Good Gremlin thought that it would make a lovely big Leftovers Special Treat for the family.
Graham the Good Gremlin chopped and mixed and poured and mixed. Then he left the big bowl of Leftovers Special Treat in the fridge for the family to find when they came home. The fridge door wouldn't shut as the bowl of Leftovers Special Treat was so big, but Graham the Good Gremlin thought that was OK as it was for such a lovely surprise.
Graham the Good Gremlin was tired. Graham the Good Gremlin went back into the lounge and fell asleep in his safe corner, happy that he had done something nice that the family would enjoy.
When the family returned home, Mum went to put the kettle on. Entering the kitchen, her foot slipped a little and as she righted herself her face showed shock and horror as she saw the mess in there.
There was cream splattered over every surface. There were crumbs and little bits of things scattered everywhere. There was a dirty knife on the counter and a dirty spoon too. There was a trail of mess that went to the open fridge door.
“Derek!”, Bobby's mum yelled. Dad came into the kitchen and stopped, looking amazed at the mess. “What have you done?” he asked his wife.
“Me?” she replied. “You think I did this? Oh come on, we've only been back five minutes. I think we've been burgled.”
She sounded upset and she would have sat down, except the kitchen chairs were in too much of a mess.
Mum and Dad checked the house to see what had been stolen, but nothing at all seemed to be missing.
“Maybe we left a window open”, suggested Dad, “and a squirrel or a cat or a raccoon got in. Or through the catflap. I wish I'd nailed it up already.”
“I expect that's what it was.” agreed Mum.
Bobby had come to see what was the matter with Mum and he privately thought that no animal could have used a knife and spoon, for a start, but he couldn't imagine who could have got into the house and made all that mess. And when he saw the fridge and what was in it he was absolutely sure that something much more strange had happened. But Mum and Dad hadn't thought of that, and Bobby wasn't about to say anything. He wanted to find out more for himself.
“I can be a detective.” he thought.
Bobby fetched his new big magnifying glass that he had got in a detective kit for a Christmas present. Bobby put on his false moustache and his special detective hat that were both also in the kit. But he left doing fingerprints until later. He wanted to solve the mystery.
It was easy for Bobby to see little messy prints along the floor leading to a dark corner in the lounge. But even though he shone his special detective torch into the corner, there was nothing there to see.
Graham the Good Gremlin watched Bobby from a hidey place in the Christmas tree. He had seen Bobby come into the room and rushed into the tree from his corner when he saw his trail being followed.
Bobby wondered where whatever-it-was had gone from the corner. He decided to look at the tree next to the dark corner. And Bobby saw something move just a little bit. Bobby looked through his special detective magnifying glass into the tree where the movement had been, and Bobby saw two large eyes staring at him. Bobby didn't know what to do, but he had seen detective shows on the television and that gave him the idea for what he did next.
“You're under arrest!” Bobby said to the eyes in the Christmas tree.
Graham the Good Gremlin didn't know what he was, but he didn't think he was under anything except for a tree branch. Graham the Good Gremlin hadn't seen any detective shows yet so he didn't know what under arrest meant.
Graham the Good Gremlin didn't know what to do now that he had been seen. Bobby didn't really much know what to do either.
“Come out.” said Bobby to the eyes in the Christmas tree.
Graham the Good Gremlin knew it was good to do as he was told, so he obediently crept out of the Christmas tree.
Graham the Good Gremlin and Bobby stared at each other.
“Cool!” said Bobby.
Graham the Good Gremlin thought that meant something good. Bobby looked happy.
“Hello.” said Graham the Good Gremlin. “Can I help you?”
“You can talk!” exclaimed Bobby. “And I bet it was you who ate the chocolates, and put the TV on, and made all that mess in the kitchen too, wasn't it.”
Graham the Good Gremlin agreed that it had been him.
“Look,” said Bobby “We mustn't let the grown-ups see you. Can you hide under my jumper and I'll take you to my room and you can live in there while we work out what to do next. I'll make sure you're safe.”
“Who are you talking to?” asked Mum, entering the room.
“Erm, I'm just playing detectives, mum” answered Bobby. “and I've just arrested someone, and now I have to go and lock them up in prison in my room, ok.”
Graham the Good Gremlin huddled inside Bobby's jumper and Bobby took him upstairs to start their new friendship.
Graham the Good Gremlin was to live in Bobby's room from now on and he still had lots of things to learn and lots of adventures to come.