Her vegetable love should grow

Waking to loud flatus, I felt a pang of nostalgia for the tour bus, but the evidence was unmistakably my own. My gloom barely outlived the throwing open of the mullioned windows, however, for as I trudged towards the bathroom, with that lone can of Hunter’s Dry lying heavy on both bladder and brain, I heard from Lulu’s room a low arrhythmic whistling. Either she was home and asleep or she was home and listening to Guy Mitchell on headphones, but she was definitely home.  

Murk dispelled, breakfast braced me for anger. My headlong flight from Lulu’s entente with Borset could hardly have been construed as polite. Memory’s reddening ghost informed me now that I may also have been howling the words “whores, damnable whores” as I fled, drawing no end of consternated gawps from the good ladies of the Greek Cypriot Cultural Centre and Wool Shop. That seemed to put the case beyond doubt. 

Picture my joyed surprise, therefore, when I found not the scowl and the outthrust lower lip, not the drumming of gnarled nail on bare floorboard, but a gift. It was a clutch of moss, deposited neatly outside the kitchen door. She can be stealthy when she wants to. 

The little gift of moss has become a traditional token of Lulu’s, indicative, I take it, of forgiveness or remorse. I speculated to Alan later about its possible origins in a rudimentary pun on my surname. “Nonsense,” he said. “Lulu’s not that verbal.” He sipped a Tetley’s Green so delicately the liquid could barely haul itself over the rim of the cup. “It’s a visual pun,” he continued. “Moss is plain and shallow and it has no roots.” He sipped again, not quickly enough to bury the smirk.

A rejoinder occurred to me, of course, but being not absolutely certain of the proper pronunciation of lichen, I thought it best to keep my counsel. Alan would know.


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