Task Force - Chester P and Farma G


I first met Task Force while trying to return a lemon to a particularly aggressive, cat-faced trader down the Goblin Market.  

It’s not a lemon, I said.  

Looks like a lemon to me, said the man, twitching his nose.  

It looks yellow, that’s about it, I said.  

Lemons are yellow, he said.  

The sun is yellow, I said. Daisies are yellow, cowardice is yellow, custard is yellow, a song by Coldplay is Yellow and, apart from the last one, none of them are lemons.  

I like Coldplay, said the man.  

I like lemons, I said, which is why I want you to give me a lemon and take this rock you’ve painted and stick it where the sun does not shine.  

You want me to bury it? he asked.  

Yes, I said through gritted teeth. I want you to bury it very, very deep.  Now, give me the lemon I paid for.  

That is the lemon you paid for, he said.  

It’s not a bloody lemon, I said.

Have you got a receipt? he asked.  

This is the Goblin Market, I said. I’m about as likely to have a receipt as I am to leave here with my innocence intact.  

What are you accusing me of? he asked.  

I’m accusing you of being hit in the head with a yellow rock if you don’t give me a proper lemon right now.  

I admit, I was shouting.  Other market traders had stopped to watch how the argument would play out.  The market trader and I were stood eyeball to eyeball, which is a lot more uncomfortable than it sounds.  Every time he blinked I felt his eyelashes against my iris.  

What’s all this? said two voices in unison.  Two men had materialised from the crowd, one at each side of me.  They were dressed in what I can only describe as an attempt at some sort of uniform.  

The trader stepped back.  Nothing, he said. All’s good here, just a bit of fun with my friend.  

That true? asked the man to my left.  

No, I said. This man sold me a rock.  

I’m guessing you didn’t want a rock?  said the man to my right.  

Of course not, I said. I wanted a lemon.  

Look, said the trader. It’s a common mistake, it’s not my fault. I didn’t know it was a rock, and he hasn’t got a receipt, he could have got that anywhere. I’m an honest trader. I’ve got kids to feed, mortgage payments.  

Give the man a lemon, said lefty.  

I don’t have any, said the trader.  

What’s that pile of lemons, then? asked righty.  

The trader hung his head, wrung his apron in his hands and kicked at the heels of his feet.  He mumbled something to the floor.  

What was that?  asked the two men together.  

Rocks, said the trader.  

Right, said lefty. Cuff him.  

Hands behind your back, said righty.  

Excuse me, I said. But, are you police?  

Not bleeding likely, said the men with laughter in their throats.  We’re Task Force.  

Oh, I said. The market task force?  

No, said righty. Just Task Force. If we were The Task Force we’d get mistaken for some landfill indie band from the early 2000s.  

I was confused, it must have shown on my face.  

Look, said lefty. I’m Farma G. This here is my brother Chester P. Together, we are Task Force. What’s not to get?  

What’s your jurisdiction?  I asked.  

We ain’t got no jurisdiction, said Chester P.  We’re rappers. Listen.  A beat started to flow around the market and the two men in their strange uniforms began to perform The Last Tune from their Voice of the Great Outdoors EP(2000).  

If you are rappers, I asked, how can you arrest this guy?  

What guy? they said.  

I looked around.  The trader and his stall were gone, replaced by a tasteful rockery topped by a smiling plaster gnome. Spinning on my heels I turned all around and found the Goblin Market had vanished.  I was in someone's back garden.  In my hand I held a yellow rock, the paint still tacky.  

He’s tripping, said Farma G.  

Definitely, said Chester P. Let’s get him a cuppa.  Which is what they did, and we’ve been friends ever since.     





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