You can’t find a seat at certain times in Costamuchamoulah must-seen cafe,
in spite of the recession. As I waited to pounce on a spare seat, I observed
the lovely Citronella, proud owner of the newly-entitled Beauty and
the Beast, once named Pride Knows No Pain, gassing away with her bosomy
buddy and colleague, Melinda, the masseuse, or Mimi as she self-
styles. Ella was unaware of the frothy moustache on her upper lip
until Mimi indicated it. Strange, since the lemony one is known to
spot any hint of hirsutism at fifty paces. She licked the tide mark off
with a tongue that was surprisingly not forked.
Do you know, she addressed her sidekick, they are going to create
500 new-builds on brown sites in the town, and that small patch of
land behind us is the first to be excavated. That’s where we put our
cars, so goodness knows how we are all going to survive, unless we
become Amish, or Shakers and Movers and return to horsepower,
like those zipless people in America that took in some UK
students for a steep learning curve in what was supposed to be
a boot camp.
Weren’t they Plymouth Brethren?
No, they’re our locals, but they don’t come into the shop.
You meant the people on that programme where the brats loved
discipline, chastity classes and hankered after rules? queried Mimi.
I quite liked their clothes, actually .
(I was somewhat surprised at this remark from one who
sheds outer garments like a disinhibited chrysalis.)
Yes, that’s the people I meant, Ella explained. I sympathised with
their moral code, but their no make-up policy would be a killer for
our livelihoods….Getting back to the council, though, it definitely
shouldn’t be digging up car parks. It’ll ruin everyone’s business.
But digging up the past’s the latest craze now, Mimi elucidated.
Councils all over the country are hoping to unearth some celebrity
skeletal remains, so they can attract tourists…
who would have nowhere to park when they arrived, Ella clarified.
I agree, Mimi hastened to positively stroke her employer, in the
metaphorical sense only. But- you know what? – I don’t see anyone
wanting to build on that little plot.
Hmm, Ella interjected, but, supposing Sonia’s Phantom Cavalier’s bones
were to be unearthed, he could be laid to rest in sanctified ground and she
might get some peace from his paranormal activity in Royalist House.
Mimi looked thoughtful. I don’t suppose Sonia would agree to selling
that plot, though. She has some rights over it, surely? Access over it is
the only way she can have her bins emptied.
What do you think of those facial reconstructions, Mimi? Ella changed
the subject. I saw that someone from Dundee University made a model of
that Scottish poet’s face, but it just looked like Alex Salmond with a pony tail.
Mimi had never heard of Scotland’s First Minister and so she
affected an even greater confidence:
Facial reconstruction is what you do every day, Ella. These people
are amateurs. You know all there is about peels and dermo-abrasion.
You didn’t need to go to university for those skills.
Well, it’s nice to have your vote of confidence, Mimi. I suppose
that if we have hundreds of new-builds, we’ll have plenty of new
clients. And if the Council uncovers The Phantom Cavalier, there will
be plenty more tourists. Unless Suttonford has a huge feud with
Suttonfield over who gets to keep the bones. It’ll be just like the
Battle of Suttonford all over again.
Oh, breathed Mimi. All those Dogtanian-types will probably require
quite a bit of massage. I know they’re tactile: they wore velvet,
Ella couldn’t understand the non-sequitur but she humoured Mimi
It’ll be all for one and one for all! laughed Ella.
And all out for themselves, I thought. They’d even hogged the spare chairs
by strewing their coats and carriers over them.
I wasn’t going to wait any longer. I went next door to the opposition.
Their attitude to customers is less cavalier.