Thursday 7th July 2011
An unsettling welcome
THIN, upright and fair of skin was person B-squiggle-B. She wore her spectacles in an unusual place: resting on her bosom, attached to a necklace.
“Ar yes. A twin room.”
“I am Virgulle. Hello.”
I stepped forward, ready to extend my hand for the routine examination of health, but her look was one of distance and disdain. She seemed troubled by my feet.
“Er… she… it’s a long story,” interposed Arthur.
We were in a carpeted hallway. There was a large clock on the wall.
“Ten to nine,” I declared, with pride. Arthur smiled.
For a moment B-squiggle-B stared at me, squinting, as if I had offended her in some way. Then she raised the spectacles from her chest, placed them on her nose and examined me again, before turning to address Arthur, with surprise in her tone.
“It’s the girl in the papers! Eye new eyed… oh my gored… the one from… yes, it’s deaf inn it lee you. Eye sore you in the sun.”
Arthur began talking too quickly for me to comprehend. I noted only his repetition of the phrase ‘Big Miss Take’, concluding that he was referring to one of the female giants.
Indeed, the very mention of the name of this figure served to quell B-squiggle-B’s agitation, for she was soon persuaded to part with two keys, in return for a coded message, which Arthur wrote on a sheet of paper torn from a small book of forms.
We ascended the stairs to a room called 2, the door to which Arthur opened with a key. I realised at once that the number on the door indicated the sleeping capacity, for the room contained only two small beds, two small cupboards, a wardrobe, a chair, a chest of drawers with apparatus for making hot drinks on it, and a shelf attached to the wall, on which sat the thing called television.
“No. We talk.”
“Good. I want go outside. See the sky, feel the wind.”
He shook his head, looking first at the keys he was holding, then straight at me.
“Virgulle. I am sorry. I am the one who has made a Big Miss Take.”