Dulltown, Europe: Today’s cumulonimbus is the one shaped like a pencil sharpener.
I received an email with an attachment this morning. It was from Veronica Crush, writer from the glory days of the Hull Surrealist League, now living in New York with tall tree surgeon and heir to a multimillion dollar fortune, Monty Tick. The attachment was one of her ‘stories’ which she said I could, if I wanted, share with the world via my ‘blog thing’. Apparently she and Monty recently went to the White House for tea and biscuits with the Obamas and she was asked to read her story out as they sipped and munched; she says that it seemed to go down quite well, but confided that she suspected that the President and First Lady were possibly just being polite…
Rachel Gill-Gull slid the boomerang from under her coat and held one edge up to her best eye in the manner of a joiner checking a piece of timber for straightness. She pointed it around the reading room, peering over the length of it at each of the desks in turn.
Gill-Gull observed: the blue suited thick man with the sparkling thick glass spectacles and a fat white rose in his lapel; the gaunt man in the Isambard Kingdom Brunel costume, his stovepipe hat on the desk beside a thickish etymological dictionary; two skinny pale goth girls communicating by subtle up and down movements of their mothy dark eyelids and their fleeting black white tooth smirks; an elderly grey nun staring at the ceiling, four books of similar size dealing with beige pottery open on the desk in front of her; an old sparse lady sporting bright deep-set eyes, a bed linen coat and a wuff hat, fiddling and flicking at something heavy and round on a fine honey-gold chain; a studious teenage ginger lad writing tiny things in two graph paper books with an inch of pencil, he is sucking on toffees from a noiseless paper bag; a stinking goblin from the netherworld resting his great thick scaly arms across the desk and casting his baleful gaze this way and that around the unfamiliar room; a red-cheeked whiskery homeless man vigorously chewing on an empty mouth (Gill-Gull had noticed and patted the grinning Jack Russell tied up near the steps outside); a vacant table, but with two medium-sized cardboard boxes on it which seem to contain living things which are making scuffling sounds, and causing the flat sides of boxes to vibrate; Mr Paisley-Payne wearing a red and white baseball cap and twiddling a bright yellow pencil between his fingers, as a rock drummer might toy with his sticks in the quieter passages of the song where his services are not required; raven-haired gorgeous Jennifer behind her enquiry desk going after two zigzagging flies with a green transparent plastic ruler; two uniformed, wide as buses, hats off, bald policemen standing looking down and pointing with thick fingers at an open thesaurus; pop star teen Tim Ragged squatting open-mouthed at a sturdy shelf of drab leather encyclopedias, he is wearing silver sneaky-boots; in the middle of the desk to the left of the entrance, a grey squirrel sits, nibbling on a tattered red bookmark, it glances around anxiously every few seconds; on the desk to the right of the entrance, an almost completed jigsaw puzzle depicting a colourful aerial view of the reading room itself with a…
Rachel jumped as a slim fingered hand suddenly appeared from her right and grabbed the drooping end of the boomerang and waggled it up and down vigorously. Startled, she looked up to see pop star teen Tim Ragged standing over her.
‘Hello Miss Gill-Gull… Don’t you recognise me?’
Rachel said that she didn’t.
‘You were my semaphore teacher at school, don’t you remember?’
He nudged her with a pointed elbow on her soft shoulder and said, ‘You were right Miss Gill-Gull, libraries really are great places. Have you spotted the squirrel yet?…’
Veronica Crush. 2015.