MARTIN MOONE AND HIS IMAGINARY FRIEND SEAN MURPHY ARE BACK! THE LAUGHS ARE BIGGER AND THE ADVENTURES SILLIER.
It’s lean times at the Moone Boy household and all Martin wants is a Game Boy. If he wants a Game Boy though, he’s going to have to work for it. So his imaginary friend, Sean, suggests he get a job…
After failing to find work as a stable boy, cowboy, or homeboy, the Moone boy instead becomes Boyle’s main butcher boy. But Francie Feeley’s Fabulous Fishatorium across the road is luring all their customers away. Convinced something fishy is afoot, Martin and Sean decide to go on an undercover mission to discover the secrets of the mysterious fish factory. But can Agent M double-O N E get to the bottom of Feeley’s slippery schemes without ending up sleeping with the fishes himself?
About the Author
Chris O’Dowd is an award-winning actor and writer from the barmy town of Boyle in Ireland. Chris did some good acting in Bridesmaids, The IT Crowd, Gulliver’s Travels and Of Miceand Men. We won’t mention the films where he did bad acting. He has a dog called Potato and a cat who shouts at him for no reason. He studied at University College Dublin and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He graduated from neither. Chris created Moone Boy to get revenge on his sisters for putting make-up on him as a child. He cowrote the Sky TV series and this book with his good friend Nick Murphy, who is a lot older than Chris.
Nick V. Murphy is a writer from Kilkenny, Ireland. (The V. in his name stands for Very.) He went to Trinity College Dublin to study English and History, but spent most of his time doing theatre and running away from girls. This was where he bumped into Chris O’Dowd, who was out looking for pizza. After college, Nick focused on writing, which was the laziest career he could think of, as it could even be done while wearing pajamas. He wrote a few things for TV, then a movie called Hideaways, before co-writing a short film with Chris called Capturing Santa. The pajama-wearing pair developed this into the comedy series MooneBoy, which recently won an International Emmy for Best Comedy.
Read an Excerpt
The Fish Detective
By Chris O'Dowd, Nick V. Murphy, Walter Giampaglia, Cartoon Saloon
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2015 Chris O'Dowd and Nick V. Murphy
All rights reserved.
FIFTY SLEEPS TO CHRISTMAS
A year is a very long time when you're an idiot.
When you think about it, there are very few things you could do for a whole year. You couldn't spend a year growing your toenails, for example, or you'd require some kind of hacksaw to trim them. You couldn't eat nothing but honey for an entire year, or bees would start growing in your belly. That's a fact — I looked it up. And you should avoid whistling the same song every day for a year or your classmates will eventually turn on you and staple your shoes to the ceiling — possibly while you're still wearing them, depending on the song.
To cope with the curse of the calendar, Martin Moone had developed the habit of dividing each year into smaller sections of roughly fifty days. Give or take a week here and there. These year sections, or "yections" as he liked to call them, helped Martin cope with the vastness of time before him. He even named these yections, as a way of remembering them.
Boxing for Love: St. Stephen's Day to Valentine's Day
Lovefool: Valentine's to April Fool's Day
Fool's Gold: April Fool's to 20th May (my birthday, when I always ask for gold gifts)
Golden Days: 20th May to end of term!
Days of Wonder: summer holidays!
Wonder What Happened to the New School Year: start of term to 5th November
Why Won't It End?: 5th November to Christmas Day
The yection which always seemed to take the longest to pass was from 5th November to Christmas Day. The evenings were long, the rain was extra chilly and there were no birthdays to distract Martin. (It was actually his sister Sinead's birthday on 18th November, but every year one of the things she asked for was that Martin got none of her birthday cake — that was one of her actual presents, that Martin got no cake! — so he did his best to ignore her celebrations altogether.)
It was Friday 5th November in the Moone home, and Martin and I decided to check his yection schedule to see what was in store for the fifty days ahead.
"Hmmm. Not much to get us excited there, buddy," I grumbled.
But the one upside to entering the saddest yection in his made-up calendar was that it was now only FIFTY SLEEPS TO CHRISTMAS. You probably already knew that because you're a maths genius. And, also, this chapter is called "Fifty Sleeps to Christmas." But that had only just occurred to Martin, so he leaped to his feet and rushed into the kitchen to inform his mother. He knew it was unlikely she was aware of the significance of the day because her maths was pretty terrible and she probably hadn't yet read this book.
"Great news, Mam!" the boy blurted. "It's only fifty sleeps till Christmas!" "Did we not just have Christmas?" "What?! No, silly," he chuckled.
"That was over six yections ago!" I told her. Not that Martin's family could actually see me or hear me, but I liked shouting stuff at them anyway. "Keep up, Moones!" I yelled.
"Anyway, not to put the pressure on," Martin continued, "but I was wondering how your Christmas-present-buying was going?"
Debra paused, which was a bit worrying, and glanced at Martin's dad, who was buttering some toast.
"Ahm, good, yeah," Liam lied. "We're torn between getting you new school trousers or fixing the sink in the bathroom. You love that sink, don't you?"
"You're funny, Dad!"
Liam and Debra shared a look that suggested they hadn't been joking at all.
Over the years, Martin had learned to keep expectations low around Christmas. He'd learned this by initially having extraordinarily high expectations (motorboat, diamond-encrusted tennis shoes, volcano holiday, etc.) and always ending up slightly disappointed (boat motor, new slippers, lava lamp, etc.).
"Give 'em the pitch, buddy," I urged.
Martin nodded and laid out his demands to his parents. "I've put a lot of thought into this, folks, and after weeks of having my mind set on some kind of flying carpet for Christmas, my mind is now set on a Game Boy!"
"Your mind seems to set quite quickly," Debra noted.
"Well, before it was only set like jelly, but now it's set like cement."
"Who or what is a Game Boy?" Liam asked.
"It's a magical thing, Dad! It's like having a whole games arcade in the palm of your hand!"
"Are these Game Boyos given out for free somewhere, by any chance?"
"Very funny, Dad. I can't imagine they cost less than a small fortune, but they're so worth it. Trevor at school has one and sometimes he lets me watch him play it. It's really exciting. I can't even imagine how exciting it would be to actually play it."
"The thing is, Martin, money's a bit tight at the moment," Liam said.
"Is it because Mam spends so much on vegetables? Because I've already offered a solution to that."
"We can't just send all the vegetables to hell, Martin," Debra sighed, as if this was a regular argument.
I checked out the dinner Debra was preparing and it actually looked like most of it had come from hell already, so her point was valid.
"Martin," I said tentatively, "I have some bad news about dinner."
Martin peeked into the oven hoping to see his favourite Friday meal — pork shoulder, sausages and meat waffles. What he saw was disappointing.
"Are we having flippin' fish again?" he complained. "We're not sharks, ya know!"
"Imagine if we were sharks though, buddy — living with a creature from the deep with razor-sharp teeth, the personality of a dead-eyed demon and jaws that could rip you apart!"
Just then Martin's sister Sinead entered the kitchen and we realized we already knew what that was like.
"If that bathroom sink leaks on me again, I'm gonna destroy it with my bare hands!" she said, scowling.
"Or your flippers!" I quipped.
"Are we having flippin' fish again?!" she grunted through her gills.
"C'mon now, Sinead," Liam sighed. "We all agreed at the family meeting that we need to tighten our money belts for a while. So that means more cheap fish dinners, and no — I repeat, NO! — casual destruction of bathroom hardware."
As this debate looked set to get violent, Martin and I skulked away towards the safety of the living-room couch.
"Ya know what, buddy," I started, "I think if we really want that Game Boy, we might have to buy it ourselves."
"Well, Sean, I could see how the back-of-the-couch account is looking. We haven't withdrawn from it since I bought those magic beans from Declan Mannion."
"What a waste of money that was."
"How were we to know they were just peas?"
"Bottom line is, buddy, if we want a Game Boy, we can't just sit around relying on the kindness of strangers."
"Or my family, for that matter," Martin added glumly.
"No, there's only one person you can really depend on, Martin."
"You?" he asked.
"No, definitely not me. I meant you!"
"Yes — who loves you more than you?"
"I don't know. You?" "No, definitely not me."
"So I need to rely on my own kindness to myself?"
"Exactly! What we need is a regular wage," I said, as I perched on the back of the couch in prime thinking pose. "Then we can buy all the Game Boys we want! We need to get you a job!"
"Yes! I'm twelve years old for crying out loud! It's high time I got a proper job."
"A real job. For a real man. Making real money. And if we've got enough left over, we can get Christmas presents for the rest of the family too!"
"Let's not go bananas, Sean."
"You're right, let's buy you a Game Boy and let the family watch you play it."
MARTIN'S JOB HUNT
"But why can't I be a bin man?" demanded Martin. "I was born to be a bin man!"
A burly, bearded bin man lifted a sloppy sack from the curb and flung it into the garbage truck. "Well, for starters, you're not exactly a 'man,' are ya?"
Martin looked insulted. "What are you — some kind of boy-bigot? You can't reject me just cos I'm not a man!"
"Well, it's in the job title," grunted beardy with a shrug, as he climbed onto the back of the trash truck. "Bin man," he stated, pointing at himself. "No one needs a bin boy," he scoffed.
The truck moved off and Martin chased after it. "Aw, come on, mister! No one knows rubbish better than me! I love rubbish! Our house is full of rubbish! I basically live in a rubbish dump!"
But the truck soon turned a corner and disappeared from view.
"Aw, balls," sighed Martin in frustration. "Another rejection! I don't know how much more of this I can take, Sean!"
"Don't worry, pal," I reassured him, "we'll find something. But maybe that bin-man boy-bigot is right. Maybe we should stop going for jobs that have 'man' in the title."
Martin nodded glumly. "Well, since I've been rejected as a barman, a bin man and a stuntman, we're running out of man-jobs all right." He furrowed his brow, thinking. "So, what jobs have 'boy' in the title?"
We pondered this as we ambled back down Main Street towards the heart of the town.
"Stable boy?" I suggested.
"Aren't I allergic to horses?"
"Good point. How about cowboy?"
"Same problem really."
"I think I'm already a schoolboy."
"Does it pay well?"
"I don't think that's a job."
"No, but it's what we're after. Just trying to keep us focused here, Martin."
"Good thinking," he said with a nod. Then suddenly he had a thought. "Hey, remember that weird song that Trevor was rapping at us the other day?"
Martin's classmate Trevor had developed a fondness for rapping ever since he'd acquired his rap-loving imaginary friend, Loopy Lou. The awfulness of their "rap attacks" was difficult to forget.
"You mean, about being 'a homeboy'?" I asked.
"That's the one! Maybe I could be a homeboy!"
"A homeboy! Brilliant!" I cried. "What is it?"
"Someone ... who likes being at home?" he guessed.
"That's perfect!" I exclaimed. "You were born to be a homeboy!"
We high-fived each other happily, then stood there for a moment, thinking.
"Although..." I ventured, "are we absolutely sure that's a real job? Trevor's rapping has led us astray before. Remember that time he told you to 'Pump Up the Volume' and you stuck that bicycle pump into the radio and nearly electrocuted yourself?"
Martin shook his head ruefully. "That was a really confusing thing to say."
"Really confusing," I agreed. "No one should rap in riddles when electrics are involved."
Just then, Martin noticed something across the street. "What's that?" he squeaked excitedly, peering through my stomach. He could do this sometimes if he squinted his eyes just right and remembered that I wasn't actually there.
But he was already scampering across the road. He raced over to a sign that hung in the window of News for Youse, a little newsstand shop on the corner.
Martin read the sign with growing excitement. "Wanted. Paperboy!" he exclaimed.
"Wow," I marvelled. "A Wanted poster — like in the Wild West. Is there a reward for this paperboy?"
"What? No, I think it's a job."
"A job! Even better! And it's got 'boy' in the title!"
Martin grinned and straightened his woolly hat. "Looks like everything's finally coming up Moone."
He thrust open the door and marched into the shop.
"Hello, good shopkeep! I'm here for the plum post of paperboy."
A short, round man was slouched behind the counter, slowly restocking a lollipop display. He regarded Martin with mild suspicion.
"Any experience?" he asked in a dull drone.
"No. But I think I'm more than qualified."
"Well, er ... do I need any qualifications?"
"Then I'm more than qualified! Here's my CV!" announced Martin, and slapped it down proudly on the counter.
The shopkeeper looked up from the CV, weirdly unimpressed.
"Tell ya what," he said at last, and handed a newspaper to Martin, "take this paper and let's see if you can push it through that letter box."
Martin saluted. "I'm on it, sir!"
He snatched the paper and ran outside. Then he stuffed it through the letter box as fast as he could. When it dropped to the floor, he barged back into the shop. "How'd I do?" he asked eagerly.
"Yes!" exclaimed Martin, and punched the air.
"Be here at 6 a.m. to collect the papers."
"Oh balls," I murmured. "I knew this was too good to be true. Next he'll probably tell us that our delivery motorbike doesn't even have a sidecar."
"Is 6 a.m. a problem?" the man enquired.
"It's just, er ... I'm not a big 'morning person,'" Martin confessed. "I struggle with mornings, truth be told. I'm cursed with a terrible fondness for sleep."
"You want the job, don't ya?"
"Oh, very much so, sir!" replied Martin. "But perhaps I could deliver the papers a bit later in the day. Maybe in the afternoon?"
"About 4 p.m. would be perfect," I suggested, consulting our schedule.
The shopkeeper frowned at Martin. "But people like their paper in the morning."
"Yes, but we could be different!" Martin countered. "We could be the afternoon newspaper!"
"But ... it'd still be the same paper. Just delivered late."
"Or early!" replied Martin confusingly. "Cos if you think about it, the afternoon is actually earlier than the morning."
"How do you mean?"
"Well, right now is earlier than tomorrow, isn't it?"
The shopkeeper was struggling to keep up with Martin's logic. "But delivering it now would only be earlier if you had tomorrow's paper."
"Even better! I'll deliver tomorrow's paper! Today!"
"But I just have today's paper."
"Then get me tomorrow's paper! And I'll deliver it every day, some time in the late afternoon, probably between four and six-ish — sharp! Do we have ourselves a deal, sir?" asked Martin enthusiastically.
"You're fired," droned the shopkeeper, and went back to his lollipops.CHAPTER 3
CROSS COUNTRY MEATS
"I hear ya, Martin. Finding decent work is tricky in this day and age."
Martin was filling in his best friend, Padraic, on his job-hunting woes. He often looked to his pal for advice on these matters because Padraic was wise beyond his years. Also, nobody else wanted to listen to Martin's boring problems. It was break time, so the boys were walking through the school playground, avoiding various calls and balls whizzing past their dopey heads as Padraic pondered Martin's career complaints.
"I blame Wall Street," Padraic said wisely.
"Wall Street, P-Dog?"
"Yeah, it's that road just outside Boyle that has a bunch of different wall-building companies on it."
"Oh yeah," Martin remembered.
"The local job market has been a nightmare since walls went out of fashion."
"Yeah, it's all fences and hedges these days," Martin agreed.
"To be fair, they are a lot cheaper."
"Yeah, even Dad's got a hedge fund going now."
"Where could you work?" Padraic asked himself, rubbing his pudgy chin. "Who could use a Martin Moone around? It's a tricky one, Martin. I'm afraid I'm fresh out of ideas at the mo-OWW!"
A large marble had just flown past Martin's head and smacked into Padraic's temple with a dull thud.
Luckily the clatter to the cranium seemed to wake up Padraic's thinking jelly and he raised his finger in triumph. "Hey! Maybe I could get you some part-time work in my family butcher shop?"
"Your family owns a butcher shop?"
"Only the finest meats and poultry in Boyle, Right Beside Boyle and Just Outside Boyle!"
"But ... I thought your family were farmers?"
"Well, my dad is a farmer, but his six brothers run an abattoir and my Auntie Bridget runs the Cross Country Meats butcher shop on Grub Street."
"Wow, your family has really cornered the meat market."
"Yeah, we like to think of ourselves as a cradle-to-grave dinner service."
"Ya really think your auntie would give me a job?" Martin asked eagerly.
"Well ... Let's see — do you have any meat retail experience?"
"Are you a hard worker?"
"Do you steal?"
"Are you punctual?"
"Can you lie about all that?"
"Then I don't see why not. I'll set up an interview!"
* * *
After school that day, Padraic took Martin to meet the meat queen. But on their way through town, Martin started to get nervous about the impending interview with Bridget Cross. Nerves always gave him a dry mouth. To counteract this, he had chugged down three cans of Lilt, two glasses of Milt and a carton of Kilt by the time they hit Grub Street.
Excerpted from Moone Boy by Chris O'Dowd, Nick V. Murphy, Walter Giampaglia, Cartoon Saloon. Copyright © 2015 Chris O'Dowd and Nick V. Murphy. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
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