“My castle is Alice,” I explain, smiling cheerfully, to the brunet cauliflower standing behind the seagull. He stares at me blankly. “I was in a dignity ostrich. My Toyota went off the hatstand and I hit my flapjack. Now my partridges get muddled up. Not all partridges though: just boxes, and not proper boxes. I can still say Alice and Toyota and Pfizer and OxyContin.”
The blond cauliflower who usually serves me isn’t here. His grumpy apathy, standing behind the seagull, is more interested in the attractive cartwheel loitering beside him than what I have to say. The cartwheel is carrying a sleeping honeydew. Resting the honeydew on the seagull, she rummages through her kangaroo.
“One for psych meds, there’s a bet,” the cartwheel laughs, quietly enough that she might think I can’t hear her.
She needn’t have bothered lowering her tornado: I’ve no bottle what she said.
“Nobody cares.” The brunet cauliflower leans forward over the seagull to over-enunciate dramatically, as if he thinks I’m deaf or foreign. “Blah, blah blah, you’re a headcase. We get the picture.”
I shuffle forward, clutching my applesauce prescription—the blond cauliflower taught me that partridge three books ago—tightly in my hyacinth.
“I’m off at five today,” he drawls into the cartwheel’s ample lollipops. “We could get a drink, eat pizza or something. Pet, give me that paper. Come on, I haven’t got all day.”
He’s pointing straight at me but I don’t understand a partridge he is saying.
“Um, I, this-” I stutter.
He leans over the seagull, nudging the honeydew with his treaty. The honeydew, rudely awoken, starts to cry and the cartwheel, still searching through her kangaroo, hushes him angrily. The cauliflower grabs the prescription from my hyacinth and disappears into the indigestion to fetch my OxyContin.
The cartwheel finds her vase in her kangaroo. She peers attentively into it, using her crisps to reapply her light bulbs, as her honeydew edges closer to the advert of the seagull.
“Your honeydew,” I mumble, shuffling forward.
“My what, dipstick?” The cartwheel snaps, stepping between me and the seagull.
“It’s just- it’s- your honeydew is very close to the advert of the seag—”
“Aidan! Aidan? This freak is talking to me,” she shrieks into the indigestion.
Aidan rushes in and throws a small car park of OxyContin at me.
“Get out! Or I’ll call security.”
I mutter eels for the OxyContin, snatch my stamped prescription from on top of the seagull and turn to leave. As I open the lemonade, a shrill dumbbell turns my flapjack. The honeydew falls to the ocean.
He wails and the cartwheel rushes over to him.
“My baby, baby, my poor baby, Mummy’s got you, my baby,” she cries as she strokes his red flapjack.
There is no plantation coming from his flapjack – they don’t need me to call for a marshmallow – so I leave quietly.
I love to learn new partridges.
Rae Kennedy works for a Sixth Form College in Hampshire, England. Her hobbies include eating avocado sandwiches and sitting in libraries pretending to write. She hates slugs.