Biscuits And Wee - Excerpt


Finally there is a rustle of excitement and the news permeates round the room that the Mayoral car has arrived. Mrs Terry is like a dog with two bones, quivering with self-importance and wagging her metaphorical tail. Even the school children are silenced at the prospect of the august arrival. The kitchen staff are ushered in, hastily tying fresh white aprons, and a waft of hot scones adds itself to the medley of scents already at large; wet clothes, hot-house flowers, distressed old people. The press take photographs of the arrival with eye-dazzling flash bulbs. Later, reviewing the press coverage, Mrs Terry will be dismayed to see that in every single picture her eyes are closed.

Mrs Fairlie finds herself placed next to Pinkie. Close to she is even more insubstantial; a mere gossamer of existence.  Her skin is the finest translucent tissue over a tracery of blue veins and grey, bird-like bones.  Her eyes, milky with cataracts, are sunk deeply into her fragile skull, the contours of her sockets as visible as smooth porcelain under their opaque membrane.  Her hair is a diaphanous white wisp of down on the pink shell of her crown. Her hands are skeletal, claw-like, the twin twigs of her wrist bones disappearing into the sleeves of a candyfloss pink woollen cardigan which lies on her chair occupying the space where her body ought to be. The empty cardigan and some brushed cotton trousers in strawberry milk-shake pink, and a rose-pink cellular blanket take up the seat of a substantial wheeled reclining chair which can now be seen to house beneath it a discreet oxygen cylinder and a pouch of some clear fluid with a tube which disappears underneath Pinkie’s clothes. It looks as though Pinkie’s essence is being decanted into the pouch drip by drip.