Deep and crisp and eeeeeven…
It’s Sunday morning and we find Maroon in his favourite seat beside the stove in the kitchen. Still dressed in his childish tartan pyjamas, he’s on his second kir and has decided to ‘slob out’ this fine Perthshire day. In his little number-crammed brain, he has mapped out a day of wasteful pleasures for himself. The very thought gives him anticipatory butterflies of self-gratification. In celebration, he takes another sip.
Out on the periphery of his senses, way out on the lower boundary, past his self absorption, by the broken fence, where the ground never drains properly, there is a sigh and a metallic ‘clank’.
He continues reading his Sunday paper all about a couple who sold their modest home in Holland Park and bought the Romanian State Railways with the proceeds.
There it is again. A fingernail being dragged across the blackboard of his dreams.
He puts down his Observer to focus on the source of this outrageous disturbance.
Not three feet away, his daughter Sarah is polishing the stove with much sighing and clanking. She is wearing an old apron and her arms are streaked with soot to the elbows. With care, she has applied some to her nose and cheeks as well. The effect is pleasing to the eye.
Maroon wonders where she got the soot.
“I thought you were going into town with your mother…” he begins.
“Stepmother..” she interrupts.
“Stepmother and sisters…” he continues.
“Stepsisters…” she corrects.
“Stepsisters then, to get something nice-to-wear-for-the-Christmas-do-up-at-the-big-house.” he finishes in a rush.
“Oh I’d love to, but there is so much cleaning and mending and drudging and scrimping to be done…”
“Scrimping? Are we still on that? I thought scrimping was last month.”
“You don’t understand,” sighs Sarah and with another sigh continues, “nobody does.”
Before Maroon can answer, the kitchen door is flung wide to admit his two beautiful stepdaughters Footsie and Kimski. I say beautiful, for their beauty is there for all to see. An inner beauty. An unkind misanthrope may remark on the robust strength of their wrists, or their breadth of shoulder but clean country air and lots of hockey will do that to two hearty girls.
* * *
Far, far away, in the cold land of the English, a semi retired fairy godmother is dusting her welsh dresser with her magic wand with the star on the end in preparation to putting her feet up. She too is having a kir.
“Alakazoo and fizzy fizzou and hippity hoppity bop…” she sings as she works.
Her True Love stomps into the room
“You’ll never believe it!” says he in consternation.
“Whatever is the matter?” asks Pat (for it is she).
“My prize pumpkins!” he exclaims, “Three of them. Stolen out the greenhouse right under our noses while we slept abed.”
“Oh my. Oh dear.” says Pat, her singing now on hold.
Pat’s True Love eyes her with dawning suspicion.
“Pat you didn’t! You promised! Anyway, I thought you‘d retired.” He says.
“I’m locum this year,” says Pat, deciding to come clean, “and nobody has pumpkins these days. I had to raid an animal testing lab for the white mice, goodness knows, I hope they’re not infectious…”