“Eric, your tea is ready!” shouted the voice at the kitchen door through badly fitted false teeth.
The voice calling was Elsie, Eric’s gran. She was calling her day dreaming grandson to come in for her latest culinary delight. Her ill fitting teeth meant that she whistled through them like a boiling kettle much to Eric’s displeasure. The reason they didn’t fit well was because they were someone else’s that she bought from a Car Boot Sale along with an equally useless Scrabble game (that only had three letters in, two G’s and an E).
Eric, though, was only half listening to his gran as he was far more interested in a gold coin he was holding in the palm of his hand, which he had just found in her flower beds. As he removed the soil from the coin, he could just about make out the shape of a Roman Emperor on one side and some writing on the other side.
Eric had a very vivid imagination. He had convinced himself that the coin was magic. Eric tried rubbing it, spinning it and a number of magic words he’d made up to try and get the coin to take him on an adventure… but nothing happened. He sighed, put the coin in his pocket to show his friends later and sauntered towards the back door for his tea.
As Eric sat down at the table, he looked down and saw that his gran had made him beans on toast – again! To make things worse, she hadn’t worn her glasses when dishing out the food so she had missed the plate. Eric looked down at the bean covered table and shook his head. What a a rubbish few minutes he’d just had!
Eric lived with his gran after his mum was taken to a secure hospital following a freak accident in which she collided with a shopping trolley, fell and when she came around thought she was a goat! Eric used to visit his mum in hospital but stopped after she ate his shoes on his last visit!
He had never seen his dad but was told by his gran that he had drowned in a trawler accident on the lake at his local park. Eric had never seen a trawler on the lake though and suspected mass fishing had never taken place there so he suspected she was lying.
“Do you want a game of Scrabble with the board I got at the Car Boot Sale, Eric?” his gran asked.
Eric thought about it briefly but decided that once someone had spelt the word EGG the game would be over so it wouldn’t be worth it.
So he responded “No thanks gran. Anyway my friends Harry and Lucy are coming around soon!”
With that Eric left his half eaten beans on the table while his gran hunted for her glasses!
An hour or so later, Eric and his friends Harry and Lucy huddled together on gran’s garden bench examining the coin Eric had just found.
“I was hoping it might be somehow magic!” Eric told his friends. Harry and Lucy looked at each other, raised their eyebrows and both thought that Eric wants to get his head out of the clouds and start living in the real world!
As Harry took possession of the coin he turned it over to see the Latin word on the back.
“It says Imperator on the back. What does that mean?!” Harry stated.
Before Eric could respond that it actually read ‘Emperor’, a man dressed as a Roman Centurion appeared from nowhere!
After a moment of silence Eric nervously asked “Errr, who are you?!”
“I’m Bruce!” replied the man.
“Bruce is a strange name for a Roman Centurion!” Harry cried.
“My mum named me after Bruce Forsyth!” the Centurion responded.
Eric knew that Bruce Forsyth was old but was convinced he wasn’t around when the Roman Empire was at its most powerful, but thought better of prolonging this particular discussion!
“What are you doing here?!” Lucy asked inquisitively.
“Well when your friend said Imperator holding the coin it was the trigger for me to appear and grant wishes” Bruce replied to the young girl.
“So the coin is magic after all!!!” Eric exclaimed. “And you’re a type of genie!!”
Harry and Lucy, although a little annoyed that Eric’s hair brained thoughts that the coin was magic turned out to be true, thought this may well be fun!!!
“So, do we get just three wishes?!” Harry asked.
“No, there is no limit!” Bruce told the excited friends.
“The only thing is I have to stop at midnight!” Bruce added.
“Why? Would you turn into a pumpkin?!” Eric proclaimed.
“No, I want to catch up with tonight’s episode of Coronation Street!” the Centurion replied with a knowing smile.
So with no time to lose the friends pondered what they would like to do before their wishes run out at midnight.
“I’d love to go to the Leaning Tower of Pizza!” Harry exclaimed.
“It’s the Leaning Tower of Pisa!” the brighter Eric advised his friend.
“Ok then – are you all agreed then?” Bruce asked the young friends.
They all nodded although Lucy wasn’t really that bothered!
Within seconds there was a flash and the three friends and Bruce were stood looking at the Leaning Tower. They all stood open mouthed, marvelling how it didn’t fall down.
At this time the mischievous Harry asked Bruce “Can you make it straight?!”
“I can but are you sure you want me to do it!” he replied.
“Yes!” they all responded.
Bruce pointed at the Tower and within seconds it was perfectly straight much to the displeasure of the visitors and the Pisa Tourist Board.
“Quick we better go! The Eiffel Tower next please” Eric exclaimed and Bruce concerned about the fury of the people around had them transported in seconds.
As the three children and the Centurion came to a shuddering stop they straightened their windswept hair before peering up at the high metal tower in front of them.
“Hold on a minute this is Blackpool!!” Eric cried. “It’s the wrong tower you have brought us to Bruce!!” he added.
“I’m sorry but I’m not allowed in Paris after I granted a wish to move the Eiffel Tower to Norwich fifty years ago! This was he best I can do I’m afraid!” Bruce sheepishly told the friends.
“Only we could get a genie with a restraining order!” Harry sarcastically commented.
“Can you move the Blackpool Tower instead for a laugh then?” Harry asked.
Bruce was reluctant to use wishes for pranks but was tied by his contract his agent Mark Anthony got for him, so sighed “Ok then. Where do you want it moving?”
“Norwich again!” Harry chuckled. Eric and Lucy shrugged their shoulders in reluctant agreement.
So within seconds of Bruce pointing at the Blackpool Tower it was now standing in the middle of the Norwich City football stadium, and Bruce and the kids were sat in the stand watching players trying to manoeuvre around a massive metal tower to play football. The ref lost complete control of the game and he booked the tower in the 65th minute for obstruction much to everyone in the crowd’s amusement!
“Best go!” Bruce advised the friends. “I assume you have more wishes before midnight!” he added.
The friends nodded.
“Take us to London please!” Lucy proclaimed.
“Where in London?” Bruce asked.
After pondering a while, Lucy replied “The London Eye!!”
When the friends got to the London Eye, Eric and Lucy marvelled at the size and scale of the giant wheel. However, Harry seemed less impressed.
“It doesn’t go very fast does it?” Harry cried.
No one responded to it but they knew immediately where Harry was leading to next!!
“Make it go twenty times faster Bruce!!” Harry ordered mischievously.
Tied by his contract, Bruce pointed towards the London Eye and it started spinning around like a Catherine Wheel! This led to people screaming, vomiting and in some cases people thrown into the River Thames.
Harry giggled uncontrollably but his friends weren’t that impressed with the suffering he had caused!
Bruce looked at the mini sundial on his wrist and told Eric, Lucy and Harry that there was just about time for one more wish before midnight.
The friends were tired at this late hour and were struggling to think of another wish as they slowly walked through London with Bruce.
As they passed a theatre Bruce spotted impresario and star maker Simon Cowell leaving a Premiere surrounded by photographers, press and hangers on!
Bruce hated Cowell after he threw him off ‘Rome’s Got Talent’ for his rendition of Nessun Dorma dressed in his Centurions outfit.
Bruce turned to the friends and said “Can I ask a favour please?!”
“Okay!” responded Eric, Lucy and Harry.
“Will you make your last wish to steal Simon Cowell’s underpants and put them on his head?!” Bruce pleaded.
The genie asking to choose the wishes is normally not protocol per say, but Eric and his friends thought this would be funny and so they agreed.
Seconds later Simon Cowell was stood in front of masses of people outside a top London Theatre with a pair of One Direction underpants on his head!
As the friends and Bruce laughed it was time to head home as it was a minute to midnight.
Bruce ensured the children, who all lived in the same street and had earlier made their parents aware where they were, were dropped off safely.
The three friends stood at their doors to say goodbye to Bruce before he disappeared.
He waved and chuckled “Goodnight, its been a laugh, especially finding out Simon Cowell wears One Direction underpants!! I’m going now to watch Coronation Street on catch up! I’ve looked forward to this all day!”
Just before Bruce disappeared Harry shouted “Oh Bruce I forgot to tell you!”
“What?!” asked the Centurion.
“With regards Coronation Street, Peter Barlow dies in the end!!” Harry entered his home amused that he had spoilt the ending for Bruce, whilst the Centurion trudged off disconsolately.
Young day dreamer Eric’s life was just drifting aimlessly until he discovered a magical Roman Coin buried in his gran’s garden.
The coins powers introduced him to a Roman Centurion called Bruce whose magic allowed Eric and his friends to embark on adventures throughout Europe.
These escapades included the straightening of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, making the London Eye spin round at twenty times its normal speed, the moving of a famous tower to Norwich and the theft of a celebrities underpants.
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