The Hotel up in the mountains where Hercules and Bubblegum lived as Toy Bears was generally a quite place. Contented adults with well-behaved children were part of the happy daily life there. Most families came for a stay of one week, but many would like to have stayed longer. Some older visitors could stay a bit longer, because they did not need to go back to work after a week’s holiday. These older visitors had worked very hard during their working years, and were very pleased to enjoy their later years with a little less hassle and stress! Several of these were regulars and enjoyed the quiet – until certain noisy, and troublesome, visitors appeared on the scene!
An older group of four wine connoisseurs had not read carefully the cryptic warning note attached to their booking confirmation -- that the two weeks in late August were no longer on the ‘safe list’. The ‘safe list’ was a private communication to those regulars who loved to visit the mountain hotel but only when the Terrible Twins were not in residence. The hotel management did not want to banish the family of Tammy and Tommy, because all other visitors liked the parents very much. Actually all other adults felt terribly sorry for the parents of the Terrible Twins, and did what they could to help them without obviously interfering in their lives.
So when Tommy and Tammy arrived with their exhausted parents, Tommy nudged Tammy and pointed out the four old persons napping after lunch by the open windows in the hotel lounge,
“Look Tammy, ‘Grufties’. We can have lots of fun playing with the Ancients”.
You may not know but ‘Grufties’ refers to the inhabitants of the crypts below churches where some believe the dead are enjoying their well-earned rest!
Later that afternoon, Tammy said to Tommy, “I remember these four Ancients from another visit. They are all very fond of fine wine. Not just any old wine to swallow but they seem to get lost in a sea of dreams when they even sniff one of those wines in bottles with elegant labels.” Tommy replied, “ Talking of labels, I have my drawing set and fine paper with me. I think we can make some of our own fine labels.”
Now it was not that far from the Reception Desk close to where the Terrible Twins had been whispering, to the lounge window seat where Hercules and Bubblegum spent most of their lives as toy bears. Hercules opened one eye and nudged Bubblegum, “Have you heard who is here?”
“Not just that,” replied Bubblegum, “I heard all about wine bottle labels!”
Hercules nodded, “Well the holiday is over for us this week if Tommy and Tammy get up to their tricks. Better notify all the house pets and hotel toys on duty this week!”
Without anyone moving or talking, the news about the new mischief of the Terrible Twins had circulated amongst the house pets and hotel toys. Whenever Tommy and Tammy moved about, one eye or another followed them. The house pets and hotel toys were all vigilant. It was difficult to follow them however when Tammy and Tommy moved into the wine cellar. The hotel toys could certainly not traipse down the stone stairs in broad daylight, and it would look suspicious if the hotel pets lined up - down the stone staircase. Luckily the Black Cat could hide anywhere without being obvious, and he watched Terrible Twins get up to their mischief in the Wine Cellar.
“Got a great idea Tammy. Let’s place the fine-wine labels on bottles of ‘plonk’!” laughed Tommy.
It is not that the hotel staff did not know their wine quality. The so-called ‘plonk’ was only there by way of contrast for the fine wine-tasting evenings.
“To give the real wine tasters a taste of the ‘lesser among the greater’”, offered the Sommelier – the official name for the wine master, apparently!
So Tommy and Tammy exchanged ‘plonk’ labels for fine-wine labels. They even invented some of their own labels for when the wine tasting became wine testing.
‘Oh what games do adults play!” laughed Tammy.
Tommy finished new labels for ‘Chateau LaFeet’, ‘Chateau Nine Popes’, ‘Chateau Margot’ and several other jokes invented by Tammy.
The Black Cat reported the wine label changing details back to the collected animals. “What can we do here?” asked Hercules to Bubblegum and the Black Cat.
“Well I suppose we should try our usual ploy in repairing the terror of the Terrible Twins. That is we just substitute back to what things were before, “ suggested Bubblegum.
The Black Cat was not so forgiving, for more than once he had almost lost his tail during Terrible Twins adventures.
Black Cat said,” I suggest we let the whole event happen of the Twins plan at least until the last moment. For that I have a special suggestion. The Black Cat whispered his special suggestion to Hercules to Bubblegum - but cats can communicate outside our range of hearing!
As part of their dinner ritual, the four Ancients were participating in their fine-wine tasting. The Sommelier armed with many bottles and a retinue of bottle openers stood at the ready for the connoisseurs event. The bottles of 'Chateau LaFeet’, ‘Chateau Nine Popes’, ‘Chateau Margot’ stood ready breathing in the fragrant air of the Hotel Dining Room. An elegant sealed envelope stood near the breathing bottles. The envelope was labeled quite simply ‘For the winner of the fine-wine tasting competition!’
Tammy and Tommy were lurking behind the nearest curtain in the Hotel Dining Room as the Sommelier presented the Ancients with their first wine to taste. Tommy was sniggering as Tammy remarked, “What’s that envelope doing next to the bottles? The label is written in your handwriting!”
Tammy’s question was lost in the mass spluttering of the four Ancients. All at the same time there was a mass spraying of ‘plonk’ all over their fine table.
“What’s all this then?” the four asked amid choking.
The Sommelier was speechless but had wits enough to tear open the elegant envelope which contained a note that he read out very loudly, ”With the compliments of Tommy and Tammy!”
This time there was no doubt who had caused what to happen. This time the Terrible Twins could not blame the misdemeanor on someone else. The Terrible Twins sought to blame Jerry and Jenny, their usual scapegoats for any misadventure – but as they were not even staying at the hotel at the moment, this was quite pointless!
Tommy and Tammy’s poor parents once again felt they had to apologize to the whole world for the naughtiness of their offspring. The Hotel Management and all other guests were quite sympathetic towards the poor parents. It was agreed that Terrible Twins would collect all empty bottles and other refuse for the whole week of their stay as some recompense for unsocial behavior.
One day while collecting bottles in the Hotel Lounge, Tommy asked Tammy,
”Who could have known about our label switching on the wine bottles?” Tammy replied, “Well those two toy bears over there always seem to be about when we are planning our adventures, do you think they could possibly…..?”
Tommy sluffed, “Don’t be stupid Tammy they are only toys!”
When they had gone the Black Cat walked up to the toy bears and commented, “Just as well you are a genius with handwriting Bubblegum, I don’t think any of the rest of us could have written that envelope in Tommy’s handwriting!”
Things were quiet for the rest of the week. The toys and hotel pets could all sleep quietly. The four Ancients could enjoy their bottled ‘Chateaus’. Tommy and Tammy’s parents could relax a little as the Terrible Twins tried to prove their new social behavior while collecting refuse in the afternoon. They were routinely accompanied by the two Hotel Watch Dogs -- who did not need to saying anything, although they did growl from time to time when either Tommy or Tammy even thought of misbehaving.