“Rat-a-tat” went Noddy’s door knob. He hoped that it wasn’t Big Ears, the Brownie, he wasn’t ready for company. He’d only just dressed and Big Ears, who’d allways been bossy, was even more so now that he’d been elected Prime Minister.
“Rat-a-tat,” went Noddy’s knocker again.
“Hold on,” called Noddy, before throwing the door open to see Barnaby Monkey. Noddy was not at all pleased to see him. In the past, Barnaby had been a naughty monkey, threatening to cross the floor and saying such silly things that everyone in Toy Town wondered how on earth he got there. Perhaps, he was a present from a deaf relative, suggested one of the other toys.
“Good morning, Noddy,” said Barnaby, barging straight in.
“Good morning,” replied Noddy, stifling a yawn.
“I need your help,” said Barnaby. “It’s about the magic rubber.”
“Ah, that magic rubber which could rub out anything which you stole in Book 9, and then we had to get it back before it fell into the wrong hands, because they could rub out all the wrong things.”
“Yes,” said Barnaby. “That’s the one.”
“Have you lost it again?” asked Noddy.
“Oh no,” said Barnaby. “It’s safe in Big Ears’s drawer. And he’s been using it to rub out everything that Labor did in the past six years – although he’s had a bit of trouble rubbing out that awful Gonski thing. No, it’s perfectly safe. But there’s a problem, and Big Ears wants to talk to you personally so he sent me to collect you.”
Big Ears wanted him to help? How on earth can I help, wondered Noddy, but he knew he’d have to go over. Otherwise Big Ears would be in a foul mood.
“All right,” said Noddy, “let’s go.”
Once Noddy was in his little yellow car, he felt happier. “Parp! parp!” went the car. And Noddy laughed.
“Look,” said Barnaby, “there’s a Greenie on the road, if you hurry, you can run him over!”
“No,” said Noddy. “I know that Brownies like Big Ears don’t like Greenies, but if I run him over, Mr Plod would have something to say.”
“Don’t worry,” said Barnaby. “When Peta the Puppeteer had too much Elderberry Juice, they just let her off because she’s a friend of Big Ears.”
“That wasn’t the reason,” argued Noddy. “It was because…” Strangely, Noddy couldn’t remember the real reason.
“Ah, here we are,” said Barnaby.
Noddy lept out of the car, and ran upstairs to see Big Ears, who was talking on the toy phone. Noddy wondered who he was talking to as this was the only phone in Toy Town, but he waited.
“Ah, Noddy. I was hoping you could help. It’s about this magic rubber,” began Big Ears.
“Yes, Barnaby said that you were using it to get rid of everything that Labor had done.”
“Yes,” said Big Ears, “and it works just fine for that. And it’s worked fine for eliminating our problem with the Toy Boats and any action on climate change. But unfortunately, it’s not working as well when we try to erase our promises. We’ve rubbed them out in Toy Town, but they keep appearing. Unfortunately, it seems that people have kept them in this place called Cyberspace where the rubber can’t reach.”
“Oh no!” gasped Noddy.
“And that debt thingy. We were just going to wipe it out with a touch of the magic rubber, but Joe the Clown Doll thought we could just make it so big that nobody notices it. Sort of like the way we don’t notice the world.”
Noddy thought this strange, but he didn’t say anything.
“Someone suggested that because you’d had experience with the magic rubber before, you might have some ideas. Like, could we use it to rub out people’s memories?”
“Well,” said Noddy, “I’ll do my best. But I don’t think that the rubber was meant to be used that way.”
Big Ears scowled. He didn’t like it when people told him that he was doing something wrong.
“Leave it with me,” said Noddy.
“All right,” said Big Ears. “You solve this for us and I promise you a great big new road just for you and your car.”
As Noddy left, he felt like he may have been better to tell Big Ears that some things just can’t be rubbed out. Magic rubber or no magic rubber. This was not going to end well!