“About those mice Pat, do you have to keep them in the kitchen?”
“They like the warmth.”
“One of them looked at me funny…”
But Pat was on her fairy cell phone and held up a hand.
“Gotta go.” she said, and in a trice had made the secret sign with her wand.
She was gone, leaving a sensation of glittering motes in the air.
“I hate it when she’s on call.” he muttered, and went to feed the mice some weetabix.
While he was fishing in the cupboard for the packet, Pat was arcing through the firmament to a thin girl called Mandy in Nuneaton.
“Here we are lads, make you strong,” he said, as he dropped the cereal into their box. They really were the strangest little creatures. He could swear they were listening to him, especially that one with the ear. He examined the box. There was something stencilled on the side.
H Hutton Life Sciences S.A.
She was back in the room.
“Young gels today, such a poverty of ambition.” Pat declared, slumping into an armchair, “Do they want the gilded coach drawn by six white chargers? Do they heck as like! They want a stretch limo like Puff Daddy. They want bling and belly rings and butterfly tattoos on their bare backsides, well not on my shift Dearie! I told her! Here, be a darling and pep this up, will you?” she paused, handing her kir to Her True Love.
“ ‘I wants, don’t get.’ I said,” she continued, warming up, “ I said, ‘it’s the tiara, the glass slippers and the coach or you stay in and do your A level revision.’ That sorted her out! ”
“So she’s doing her algebra tonight then?” he asked, handing back the kir, now fully pepped up.
“Oh no. She turned on the waterworks didn‘t she? Niagara. So of course I relented. Gave her the full Monty.”
“Butterfly tattoo?” he asked.
“Even that. I warned her, mind. ‘Be home by 4 am’ I said, ‘or that butterfly will fly off and your clothes will transform.’ ”
“Back to rags?”
“No, into a sensible tweed skirt and twin set. She looked terrified.”
* * *
Maroon, painfully aware that the day is no longer his, sighs himself, and putting his paper down, rises to answer the door.
It is his neighbour’s manservant, ‘Buttons’.