Paternoster Tales: Chapter 5

Totally Wicked

On the subject of wicked things. And this time not in the bad or just a bit naughty or led astray sense – breakfasts of bacon, sausages, beans, eggy bread, mushrooms, tomatoes and buttery wedges of toast look totally wicked. You see … ‘totally wicked’ … I do keep up with the times. In lingo terms … lingo, hah! Is lingo one of mine? Or is it yours?

When I was young enough to eat full English breakfasts, totally wicked meant something entirely felonious or vagabondy or deadly. Not anymore. I wonder why they are called full English breakfasts. Perhaps, it’s because they fill you up, fuller than a pig in a swill trough. Or because they comprise ingredients entirely from England. Or because only the English would cram so much onto one plate. That I only get to see it and smell it and watch it being eaten is … totally, totally wicked. The bad, sad, mad wicked. Or could I say ‘totes’ wicked? Or would that make you sick? The old fashioned meaning of sick …

‘Enough!’ Paternoster says, ‘Enough.’ He thinks I should stop playing with words and get on with storytelling. So, here goes. I hadn’t actually strayed that far; the story does involve a full English breakfast.

You see … or rather you don’t, I guess. Because I haven’t told you where this story happens. Where, on that Monday morning, Agatha stamped her feet and Lucretia spotted her red wellingtons. Agatha was hopping, skipping and stamping as she and her mother crossed Paternoster Square, in the shadow of St Paul’s cathedral, in London, England. That’s the place we – Paternoster, Molly and me … and Lucretia! – had temporarily made home. Why? – four walls of windows that become opposing mirrors; people – lots of people; pigeons to tease; a sense of history that we feel comfortable with; pavement tables and chairs where we can watch breakfasts and lunches and dinners and dream of food; ping pong tables; and well, because it shares Paternoster’s name. He thinks he had the name first. But I’m not sure.

As I have said several times already, Agatha stamped her wellingtons and ‘saw red.’ I know that usually means getting angry but in Agatha’s case it meant she saw Lucretia. And when she saw Lucretia her eyes almost popped out of her head.

Agatha had never seen anyone quite like Lucretia before.

She’d never seen anyone quite so colourful and tattered and fluttering and difficult to focus on as Lucretia.

And she’d never seen anyone fly.

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