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Johnny Depp 2, 2011.jpg

Scheherezade and Tiger-Lily were still on their Easter break from school.

They’d decided to go to their favourite coffee shop, Costamuchamoulah,

to be seen and to give autographs to any members of the Lower School

who might happen upon them.

But suddenly-Aaaaagh!!! Did you see who that was? shrieked Tiger.

Yeah, I think that was him, verified Sherry, hot-footing it down High Street

as fast as her Ugg boots would permit.

Johnny Depp had reputedly bought a house in The New Forest and several

local publications had printed “evidence” of his having graced local sylvan

hostelries in his quest to quench his thirst with some grog.

If all these sightings were to be summarised then they would far outnumber

the multiple venerations of the True Cross in Medieval Europe and would,

no doubt, be as authentic.  It was fantastical to think of any unities of time

or place in these much vaunted protestations of having witnessed a real

presence.

No, mum, I swear it was him, hyper-ventilated Tiger.

Maybe it was a doppelganger, teased Carrie.

What’s that?

A double, someone who looks like him, suggested Carrie, peeling some

potatoes. She wondered if Keira Knightley peeled vegetables and what

hand cream she would use if she did.

Sherry added: The Daily Mail reported that it might have been Johnny Depp’s

son who was with him, although the boy spoke perfect English.

And what would that sound like, man? laughed Carrie.  I thought that the

prescriptive idea of language was old hat. Everything in linguistics is organic,

like these potatoes!

I bet his son’ll go to a private school, said Tiger dreamily.

Anyway, interrupted Sherry, two reporters from The Suttonford Chronicle

cornered him- Johnny, I mean, but he made a getaway by going into Tesco

Express.  He came out carrying a 12 pack…

..of beer? asked Carrie.

No, Andrex. Actually it was a 14 pack, as there’s a special offer on at

the moment and you get 2 rolls free. 

I wonder what the reporters were asking that so annoyed him?

mused Carrie, making a mental note of the special offer, especially as

she had a double points coupon that needed to be cashed in by the end

of the month.

They had got a little confused, explained Tiger, taking the peelings to the bin,

in an uncharacteristically altruistic action which was completely for Sherry’s

benefit.  Sometimes Carrie felt that she was expected to be Edwina

Scissorhands with all the domestic chores with which she was

burdened when the cleaner was on holiday.

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Johnny wasn’t the only skilled thespian on the planet. Tiger wanted

to look good in front of her friend, so she put on an Oscar-worthy

performance of a dutiful daughter.

They thought he was a Somali pirate and that they had some sort of Channel

4 scoop, she elucidated.

Carrie typed in “Depp” and “Suttonford Chronicle” and sourced the article on

her tablet.

Oh look, she commented, they can’t spell Caribbean! Ah…they say

that he also has a thirteen year old daughter called Lily-Rose.

I bet she’ll be coming to our school, breathed Sherry.  She’ll probably be in

the year below us.

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Well, said Carrie astringently, he’d have to be a Somali pirate to afford the

increase in fees.  If George Osborne has anything to do with it we will all be

walking the financial plank over shark-infested seas. Let’s hope Captain

Sparrow has the vital pieces-of-eight.  Oh, it says that he is going to return

  to the role in 2015.

Wow! enthused Tiger that means…

Yeah, interjected Sherry, that kohl, bandannas and hoop ear-rings are

going to be mega!

Tiger regained the conversational floor: And everyone will want to go to

Somalia for his/her gap year.

It’s not in the Caribbean, lectured Carrie.  Honestly, what did they learn in

Geography now?  Pupils seemed to be out and about doing street surveys

on celebrity sightings, but most of the kids couldn’t distinguish one

international shopping mall from another and didn’t know if they were in

Dubai, or Doncaster. They seemed to know as little about location as

most of Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer’s clients.

On second thoughts, she didn’t think the students she knew would be

familiar with Doncaster…

She had seen past articles in The Guardian and The Sunday Correspondent  on

Captain Pugwash, where journalists affected confusion over the names of

cartoon pirates and simply fabricated the facts- and were sued.  (Maybe

Boris Johnson had learned a trick or two from them about sexing up details.)

She sincerely hoped that the girls would be able to distinguish fact from fiction.

But, as Pilate said, What is Truth?  And he had had its prime example standing

right in front of him.  Still, veracity was an educational objective, surely?

Who could tell? Had it been Johnny Depp in Suttonford, or was it a case of

mass hysteria and mistaken identity?

Hogwash/Pugwash?  Nowadays it was increasingly difficult to distinguish

the two!

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