Joanne Wheatley, Zoe Eatherington, Ria Davis, Alice Filardi and Amy Harrison,
Suddenly Daisy saw a sign reading "DO NOT PUSH THE RED BUTTON". In an instant she felt the spaceship rumble and rise. She had a feeling that she would soon learn what the red button was actually for. She darted around as fast as she could, trying to find the control panel but it was nowhere to be seen. She decided it must be hidden beneath the Slug's ugly clothes and dangerous weapons somewhere but she had no idea where.
Daisy turned around to see a large door, as big as the Empire State building. She pressed a button she thought would open the door but it didn't work. Her heart skipped a beat as she realised she was hurtling through space in the Slug's craft, all alone and without a map.
Now this really was an adventure, much better than cleaning, thought Daisy! She had a stroke of luck and finally managed to get the door open by keying in random numbers on a flashing blue keypad. The spaceship had landed and she rushed out as fast as a cheetah catching its prey. Catching her breath she stopped and looked around. She was on the planet Pinkerello. She had actually made it to the pink star.
Her immediate reaction was one of worry. She wasn't scared but she wondered how she could get home. If only Captain Pinash, Pazaz and Proddle were here, she thought. They could invent something to get her out of this tricky situation.
Sadly they weren't. They were at least a million Pinko miles away, fumbling around with old junk as usual. They had believed that one day they would invent something which would gain them a better reputation as inventors, if they just kept trying.
And at least a million Pinko miles away, realising that they had better speed up this process if they wanted to get Daisy back home and win the competition this side of the Pinkerellian millennium, Captain Pinash, Pazaz and Proddle had a brainwave!
Meanwhile, back on Pinkerello, Daisy set about asking the residents how to get home. Unfortunately for her they all spoke Pinko language and she hadn't quite picked up enough to understand them.
However, after much searching, she found a Pinkerellian who spoke English. Her feet were extremely tired and she was feeling rather sleepy so she was extremely grateful, as you can guess for this chance. He seemed a proud and aloof man and after he had told her a very boring and very long story about how he had once worked on Earth and that was his reason for knowing English, he finally cut to the chase:
"I will help you get home if you allow us to win the competition."
Daisy replied "Of course, I'll do anything to get home. What do I have to do?"
"All you have to do is pretend to be a cleaning product and make it known that I invented you," he explained to her. "The Rose Cup Contest will be held tomorrow at the Town Meeting Place."
Daisy pulled a face. "Ok, I'll do it. But only if you swear that you'll take me back."
The Pinkerellian smiled and held out his long poky pinky finger. "It's a deal." The next morning they got her ready to be their invention. She was given a silver dress that looked liked the stars at night and made her look very futuristic. Even though she was made up to look like a robot, she looked very beautiful. Everyone at the competition was both amazed and amused to see a robot cleaner with a Pinkerellian.
There were 39 different kinds of inventions including many brightly coloured ones, mainly pink of course, tall things, small short things, fat robots and thin robots. Daisy was intrigued by them all, but her favourite one was the flower maker, which, in the shape of a flower grew beautiful flowers in the equivalent of two Earth seconds.
She played with the Chocolate Dream Machine. The chocolate was very runny and she thought it was like watching wild water fall splashing into a lake. It reminded her of home and she got into character as the robot which would give her her ticket home.
A splendid-looking Pinkerellian stood up to introduce the contest. But before he could say anything the entire population turned as three wobbling figures staggered into the stadium. It was Pinash, Pazaz and Proddle.
How had they managed that?
© Cheltenham Festival of Literature 1999
last amended 28th September 1999