Story by Big M
Big M awoke in a narrow little bed that seemed to be in a tiny room. There was a tremendous knocking. ‘Oh, Christ’. He thought.’ Not Foodge and Granny again?’ The knocking seemed to continue, and, this time wasn’t associated with cries of pain, or ecstasy, that seemed to emanate throughout the upstairs rooms of the pub at intervals through the night. He suddenly realised it was coming from the door. “Please come in and stop that infernal knocking.”
A very ebullient Manne bounced into the room. “Have yer worked out a plan?”
“What, to get rid of this headache?” Big M had probably imbibed a little too much IPA, and had had very little sleep.
“Well, with a head like that, why wouldn’t it ache?” Manne cheerily replied. He didn’t really know what it meant, but his father used to say it to him when he was a kid.
“What time is it?” Big M shovelled a couple of panadol into his mouth.
“Sparra’s fart”Manne grinned.
“Why so fucking early?” Big M was searching his toiletry bag for some Zantac.
“Early, no I’ve been doin’ some jobs for Mr Merv, getting’ the kitchen ready for Granny.” Manne absent mindedly picked at a dirty fingernail. “Anyhoo, I reckon we need to get some sheila, I mean, lady to impersonate a Lady in Waiting on Foodge’s phone. You know, to explain the blood test.”
“Fiendishly clever, Mr Manne, he would see straight through a letter, but a phone call would instantly appeal to his Royalist tilt. He’ll probably think he’ll be getting a knighthood!” Just then their conversation was interrupted by a tremendous knocking, each knock accompanied by cries of….you get what I mean. “Oh shit, let’s go and have some breakfast.
A couple of hours later Big M sat back in his chair, having consumed multiple cups of black coffee, a Thai omelette , wedges with sweet chilli sauce, and Atlantic salmon. “Manne, when did the menu become so, um, er, international?”
“Well, Granny needed a break, so I’ve been doin’ some of the cookin’ You know that I grew up in Thailand, and me Dad was a chef? Manne cleared the table. “Do you think you may appreciate the hair of the dog? I mean, you look a bit peaky.”
“I was about to say that I didn’t realise you had grown up, let alone in Thailand. Excellent idea, young Manne, I mean about the beer, and the cooking.” Big M had loosened off his belt a tad, but left his button done up. ‘I mean, Christ.’ He thought. ‘Yer not on the Newcastle train now!’
Manne appeared with a pint of Granny’s Best as Foodge seemed to emanate out of nowhere. “Ah, Foodge, good to see you, Old Son!” Big M enthused as he struggled to his feet to shake our Dear Boy’s hand. “How the hell are ya’?”
“Fabulous Uncle M. You look well, how is Aunty M?” Foodge sat opposite Big M and motioned Manne to pour a second canoe. “Manne, would you be kind enough to prepare a six egg white omelette on sourdough, mushrooms, tomatoes and a side of chipolatas?”
“So, the usual Mr Foodge?” Manne shuffled off to the kitchen.
“Big day today, M.” Foodge eagerly drank the first half of his pint. “Off to the cordwainer.” Foodge motioned to the shopping bag on the floor. “Might have a poke around the Queen Victoria Building while I’m there.”
“Cordwainer, what’s a bloody cordwainer?” Big M shouldn’t be surprised at Foodge’s outlandish pronouncements.
“A cordwainer is a shoe maker. These brogues aren’t going to resole themselves!” Foodge skulled the last of his pint, and was already eagerly looking around for someone to proffer another.
“Oh, so you mean a cobbler?” Big M was also looking for another pint.
“No, I mean a cordwainer. A cobbler is simply a shoe repairman.” Thankfully Manne had placed two pints of Granny’s Pale Ale in front of them. “Besides, I think my left foot may be changing shape, so may need to have my last adjusted, or even remade.”
“Last, what fucking last?” Big was lost in the discussion.
“You know, when the cordwainer makes a shoe he makes a wooden model of your foot called a last. What does your cordwainer do?” A plate of eggs and mushrooms had appeared at his elbow. “Ah, eggsellent!” Foodge never tired of this little joke.
“I don’t have a cordwainer. I can’t afford custom made shoes.” Big M was growing exasperated, but his headache had settled.
“Don’t have a cordwainer? Next you will tell me you don’t have a tailor! Although you do have that off the shelf look about you” Foodge was searching the table for some Tabasco sauce. “Ah.” It was right there with the salt and pepper. Just then Foodge’s phone rang. “Hello, yes, Foodge here. Yes. Lady in Waiting to whom? …You want to what? ….Family tree? ….What?… Present from my pals at the Pigs Arms? …You want to what? …Blood taken?” Foodge was suddenly sitting up very straight. “I could be a Minor Royal? …Yes, of course, I’ll get the blood taken…Thank you, Your Majesty. No, Oh, thank you, your Lady…I’ll get it done today..” Foodge put the iPhone away. “Big M, you’ll never guess…”
Big M already had a syringe and needle in his hand. “Which arm. Foodge?”