Cue music, the Grieg, you know the one, the peaceful, dawn-breaking one……
Come gentles, for morning sunlight is streaming through the shutters, sending stripy shadows over the superb feline curves of our heroine still abed.
We may look and wonder. Indeed, if there be men with blood in their veins among us, then wonder we must, but sshh, all should be quiet as a mouse.
Look, she sleeps on yet…
…Captain Barney, most dashing in sea boots, britches and baggy white blouson, stood one foot upon the scuppers and turned his piercing blue-grey, hazel eyes towards the eastern horizon.
At that moment, a wind, soft as a zephyr from Araby, swept across the bay with the tide. The captain filled his chest, hungrily gulping down the air as a fallen Rechabite might an honest ale.
Still in her shift, Fatmammycat emerged on deck beside him, and as she did, the gentle breeze took her glorious mane of hair and sent it billowing out over the rail as fine as any admiral’s pennant, while its warm insistence pressed the thin fabric of her nightshirt against the contours of her delicious body. The captain turned and took her in his manly arms.
“Oh Barney.” she breathed.
“Oh Cat.” he sighed, “where do you keep your black pudding?
Sound of needle skating across vinyl.
“And I can’t find any HP, don’t tell me you’re out of it.”
“Hennessy! I was having a lovely dream there.” She yawned.
“Oh? Was I in it?” shouted Hennessy, pulling pans from a cupboard with much clattering.
Cardinal McShae pushed back his seat and stubbed out his cigarette. He immediately took another from the packet, lighting it in one fluid movement born of long habit.
He tapped the packet with impatience. From his office high in the basilica, he looked down on the tourists, (they hadn’t had a bona fide pilgrim for ages), as they swarmed over the square waiting for the Angelus.
‘If they knew what I knew…” he thought and shuddered.
He absentmindedly took another cigarette from the packet, Navy Cut Capstan Full Strength, lit it, then realising his mistake, stubbed it out with an oath.
“God forgive me.” he muttered.