Two Hats Whizz

There is a bulging postbag here at Hooting Yard, and today nearly all the letters contained therein are asking the same question. Is there any relation between Billy Two Hats, the dual-headed cowboy we met on Wednesday last, and Billy Whizz, the high-speed cartoon character whose capers were chronicled in The Beano?

Conscientious as ever, I have looked into this matter on your behalf, and I can now present my findings.

There are important differences between the two characters. Being a cowboy, Billy Two Hats is, to a large extent, horsebound, whereas Billy Whizz is not. He whizzes about on his legs, though so rapidly does he make his progress through the streets and alleys and boulevards of Whizztown that those legs are sometimes rendered barely visible. Nonetheless, it is clear that he is not sitting astride a horse. Also, in all known portraits, Billy Whizz’s neck supports just a single head, never two.

On the other hand, they have several things in common, quite apart from being Billys. To give one example, neither of them is ever transformed, temporarily or permanently, after an encounter with a wand-waving wizard at dusk by the edge of an eerie marsh, into a magic chicken. Or, to be piercingly accurate, there is at least no surviving record of such a poultry transformation, or “poultformation” as it is termed in the literature. Believe me, I have scoured the records and come up with nothing.

One of the letters in the postbag asks, “Can you be quite sure, Mr Key, to the umpteenth degree of certainty, that neither Two Hats nor Whizz, on horseback or at high speed, was aboard the airship LZ 129 Hindenburg when it burst into flames during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst in Manchester Township, New Jersey, on 6 May 1937?” To which I must confess that no, I cannot be one hundred percent certain, because I have not studied, in detail, the passenger manifest. I will say, however, that I think it most unlikely.

This is merely a summary of my findings. For the full report, bulked out with footnotes, illustrations, diagrams, appendices, and a bit of sandpaper, send ten shillings and sixpence to me at the usual address. Mark your envelope with an unseemly stain roughly the same shape as a map of Uruguay, or any other South American country of your choosing, or any other country in one of the other continents, a list of which can be obtained by sending me even more money in the form of non-transferable gilt bonds drawn on an important international bank.

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