Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Botticelli’s Beauty

The door closed on me, leaving me at one with the wind and the rain. Borth does that to you, I’m told. Lulls you in with a sense of clean beaches and blue skies and as soon as you’ve bought a packet of chips (from Jones the Fish – apparently he’s not a Cthuloid Deep One after all) the heavens open and drown your fried potato until you see the layer of grease on the top. Lovely. Someone up there’s having a laugh, at least.

At least I was free of the mad woman and her flounces and frills. I’ve never seen anyone with so many doilies and antimacassars since Harold was a wee lad and his mum was pretending to like the stuff. She still has it in the front sitting room for the benefit of the cronies she plays bingo with on a Tuesday night.

Why is it that people play Bingo on a Tuesday? I can only imaging that it gives them something to look forward to at the start of the week. That or it encourages suicide.

I felt sick. It was probably the soggy cod and chips on top of the Bara Brith, jam and cream, compounded by the half-pint of assorted shell fish in vinegar. Personally, I blamed it on the antacid tablet.

Either way, as I walked along the high street looking at the trinkets in the shop windows, this was probably the first and last time I would ever come here. I was just passing a house that backed on to the sea, on with great black coach doors, when a woman came out clutching a shawl around her shoulders and a purse. I had to twice. She seemed familiar, past the eyes scrunched against the rain and grey hair curling past the shawl. She was outlined against the sea for a moment and I had a vision of a great clam shell beneath her feet.

“Wotch, Venus,” I said. “What are you doing in this forsaken hole?”

She stopped dead still and looked round. Her whole body relaxed as she recognised me.

“Jasfoup,” she said, not one to forget a tentacle. “I could say the same of you.”

“Were you here in the fifties?” I asked.

“Might have been.” Venus sniffed and poured boiling water into the pot. “Why?”

Do you remember a woman living at the White Dolphin? Half fae with a child of four or five.”

“Maybe I do.” She poured the tea into a goblet. It was wine. “Why?”

“I’m looking for them I think the daughter, Missy, might be attacking my partner. He’s had some queer turns.”

“I’d hope so if he’s your partner. Venus nudged me with an elbow. “Not that I take objection. You likes who you like. Perfectly natural.”

“So do you know what happened to them?”

“There was a man,” said Venus, tucking a strand of grey hair behind her ear. “Not an ordinary man, neither. He took them away with him. I remember him because he had a big black car. Not many people had cars in them days.”

“Brilliant,” I said. “What sort of car did he have?”

“A black one,” she said. “I just told you that.”

Until the morrow. X

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