A couple of years ago, I launched a small experiment on MySpace inviting others to contribute to the story of a certain Miss Bambi Fancipants. Sadly, after an encouraging start, she died of neglect (but in a most spectacular and tabloid-worthy way).
Now, ever the optimist, I am trying again in the hope that she will have a better fate at the hands of my friends at Facebook, Twitter and http://shemeanswellbut.blogspot.com
It's easy to be part of Bambi's story - just send your suggestions for the next episode following on from the ones given below (the authors of any contributions will be - of course - be given due credit, as they were below):
The Secret Life of Ms. B. Fancipants
As she closed the church door after tweaking the flowers for the Sunday morning service, Bambi Fancipants - spinster of the parish - smoothed out the wrinkles in her tweed skirt and straightened her twin-set as she prepared to face the world.
As she did, her hand brushed against the outline of the suspender belt of the black & scarlet feather-trimmed basque beneath her schoolmarmish apparel. She smiled secretly to herself as she considered how very different she was to the meek and modest librarian that everyone in Holthorne-by-Sea thought they knew...
As she turned to leave, a shout startled her.
"Tart!" cried the vicar.
Bambi pulled herself upright, perfectly still. A thousand thoughts tumbled through her head.
"For the fete tomorrow," he continued. "Don't forget to bring one of your fabulous tarts."
Bambi relaxed and smiled.
"Of course, Reverend" she replied.
"I feat Mrs Miggins' baps will take a lot of beating this year," said the Reverend. "But your tarts should give her a run for thier money in the cooking contest."
As he mounted his bike, he gave her a heavy wink and added: "You provide a wonderful service to the village folk" and peddled off.
Bambi took motionless for a few seconds. A pensive look flitted across her face.
"Could he know?" she wondered.
She shook her head, dismissing the thought.
"No!" she said aloud. "How could he?"
Walking down the High Street, Bambi paused at Barnabas' greengrocers. A prodigious grower, Barnabas was renowned thorughout the country for his massive cucumbers and juicy plums.
"Ah, Miss Fancipants," his eyes twinkled as she entered the shop. "You'll be after my prize fruit again, I'll warrant."
She hesitated a little, chewing on her bottom lip.
"Sunday's fete'll be a good'un" continued the grocer, licking his lips. "I've always been partial to your cherry offerings."
"Actually, I was thinking of strawberries this year," Bambi shyly ventured.
"Even better!" cried Barnabas with a whoop of delight. "There's nothing I like better than a pouty red fruit atop a tart!"
Bambi left the shop puzzled, her pace less brisk than usual. Was it her imagination, or were all the villagers beginning to sound like Sid James on an off day?
No matter. She patted her basket and sighed, absently fingering the punnet of strawberries and Barnanas' carrots and cauliflowers. It was true, the man was a magician with the soil - many was the time she had watched him getting stuck in at his allotment.
As she opened the fornt door to the ivy-clad cottage she shared with her one-eyed cat madrigal, Bambi could barely contain her excitement at the thought of the coming village fete - the event of the decade as far as she was concerned. This year, there would be more than the usual array of home-baked goodies and tombolas to look forward to. This year would see the return of Holthorne-by-Sea's prodigal son - and her first love.
After years carving out a distinguished career in Tinsel Town, Rick River (a.k.a. little Dickie Pond) was returning to open the fete in true Hollywood style. And Bambi Fancipants would be there to welcome him home.
She sighed at the thought of their stolen kisses behind the bike-sheads all those years ago. They had sent a thrill through her that she had never experienced since - try as she might.
If only Dickie's lipstick hadn't clashed so violently with her own modest shade...
There was more, but I think I'll stop it there and see where you will take the saga. Over to you!