Once upon a time, there was a little boy called Lumpy, whose parents took him to St Giles' Fair in Oxford, which is a very posh affair indeed, with nary a chav in sight, as is evident from this photo of this year's event:
Little Lumpy can be clearly seen in the bottom left, wearing his very fetching white bonnet and smock, which he likes to don for such public perambulations, carried by Mrs Badger in her second-best hat (the best is saved for weddings and contract killings). While they were perambulating through the throbbing crowd, Lumpy's eyes fell upon an intriguing silhouette in the distance. Bobbing jauntily in the air above everyone's heads was the most magnificent creature Lumpy had ever seen, with flashing amber eyes and bright green skin, delightful black claws and row upon row of razor-sharp teeth.
"This is a fellow I simply have to meet," thought Lumpy, dragging Mrs Badger towards the tantalizing stranger.
Formal introductions were obtained. Terrence, it soon became clear, was a man-eating Tyrannosaurus Rex, with a hunger for fresh blood. Lumpy was entranced, and insisted that this new friend come to live in the Badger household immediately.
Soon, Terrence was comfortably installed in the living room. He behaved impeccably, only occasionally nibbling on the cats' tails and gnawing Mr Badger's ankles (which is no worse than most of our house guests, it must be said).
Little Lumpy was delighted with his new best friend, and would spend hours lying on the floor, tugging on Terrence's restraining string, squealing with delight as the extinct cold-blooded killer bobbed above him.
"I love Terrence," he declared. "When I grow up, we will move to London together, take a set of rooms, and rampage around the town. What fun it will be!"
Lumpy, you see, did not yet understand the vicious prejudice that exists against such love, and innocently believed that such a dream could be translated into reality. For it was the love that dare not speak its name -- that between man and dinosaur -- a love which society refused to accept. Alas, he also did not realize that Terrence's days were numbered. For with each and every day that passed a little more of his lifeblood (the mystical helium) escaped, leaving him a sagging, wrinkly shadow of his former fat and shiny self.
His tail withered and went floppy, his claws shrivelled up until he could no longer gouge anyone who came near, and eventually his head, with its once mighty razor-like teeth, began to droop, hanging down until it was impossible to savage people any more. Yet little Lumpy still loved his Terrence as much as ever, not caring if he bobbed a little less buoyantly above his head or seemed a little skinny.
But despite Lumpy's ongoing love, without the ability to gouge and savage, Terrence felt his life to be over. And so he hatched a plan. He would cast himself to the wind, break free, become a hostage to fortune in the sky. It was a suicidal plan, certainly, but perhaps that was all that was left to him. Better to die in the wild winds, than wither away to a wrinkled nothing, until the little Lumpy no longer wanted to play with him, and cast him cruelly into the bin.
And so Terrence waited. And then one day his opportunity came. Lumpy and Mrs Badger were busy packing up the car for a trip to the place they called Devon (a trip which, Terrence noted dejectedly, they had not asked him to join). They had all of the doors to the house flung open, and were too distracted to notice what Terrence was up to. He shuffled closer and closer to the open door, feeling the pull of the open sky calling to him. And then the breeze grabbed him, and he was gone.
Returning to the house after overseeing the cramming of the last essential items into the car, Lumpy let out a wail of anguish. Terrence was gone! Mrs Badger searched the house for him -- could he be under the bed? Down the toilet? Could a cat have eaten him, taking revenge for the weeks of tail munching? But he was nowhere to be found.
And then their eyes fell upon the open door, and the true horror of what had occurred began to dawn.
They both rushed outside and stared desperately up into the sky, searching for a dinosaur-shaped silhouette. But there was none. Surely Terrence could not have gone, so quickly and so completely? He could barely even float any more, let alone fly. But it was true. He was gone.
Comforting the bereft Lumpy, and making rapid plans to purchase a replacement novelty balloon at the first opportunity, Mrs Badger walked around the side of the house, to the front door. And then her eyes fell upon a remarkable sight.
Could it be? She rubbed her eyes and looked again.
It was! In his daring escape attempt, Terrence had been caught. So sad and saggy was he that he couldn't even get the lift to outrun a bike. And a locked one at that. They untangled him and marched him back into the house, but even Lumpy's excited babblings at being reunited with his tyrannic friend could not lift his spirits, any more than it could make his sinking, shrivelled body fly again.
Terrence sank into a deep gloom, refusing to savage anyone or anything, even when tempting limbs and tails were held directly in front of his mouth. And every day he sank a little lower.
The only hope for Terrence now is a helium transfusion. But that is a dangerous and expensive operation. Can you help bring Terrence back to life? Do you know any comically-shaped helium balloons that would be prepared to give their life to save another? If so, please tie a note reading "I will die to save Terrence" to them, take them outside, and let them go. They will find their way here, God willing.
Thank you, all. With your help, we can let Terrence savage again.