‘?Who’s on spambort,’ shouted Talika.

‘Dalla,’ I dixed velochy.

‘She’s with a cuzmo.’

I darsksighed. This is why my trav is not fokka. I’m too sicca for sitting on spam for two hours. It’s payning. Infhackers get in all over. Every splay, every inf-lux point, wever lux it is, they know how to crack it.

Then, as happens every day, a zistance chap burst through our barriers. It’s become so normynorm it doesn’t even petriffy me any more, as they’re not violent, just trilly daygolass. This one had sal robes and a ragged darsk. He had no vadderdec at all, and no vadderangle what could be serned. ‘Be afeared!’ he screamed. ‘The nosing stards…feeding you falsinf. Don’t believe any mouthing spit they dix…’ I slipped to the back of the jop to squeeze my fliplarm. You’re nevah meant to touch zistance, it’s insanitary, because they live exo-exo and it’s not sprayed properion there. He threw himself into the street just before the spambort van came. They got him though, one with a Yolt and one with a bortgun. I held cushols over my darskiddensideflappas area, as bortgunscreams are quitenoying. We straightway put our florcuvva in the sinnerater and set the moppa to deepclense to kill the obvion crobes.

The whole flor would be awash with kems so I had a five mint break on the bench, enough time to spray sofner on my spikes. I vlombed them out and rearranged them around my whorl. I have really nice vressis as I always use trilly quality dishner. I watched people drong by. I troobi the rioty of styles.

A couple of men troed in, one wanting to try the new mote-trolled bouncing varectors and the other wantiing colour. I vised the first chap of the new ninety-degree vadderangle, and montred the other one the colour charts on the splay.

‘That one’s sampa,’ he said, bluvponting a dirty green on the H row.

I tried not to say anything. We are told not to question the cuzmo, but sometimes, honestlon, you have to clamp your moufleur. ‘?Have you seen this rather fokka vlu though.’

‘I troobi this H13 better. !Look. It’s got flash.’

‘Hmm, that’s why it’s more spensive,’ I said. Flash is overrated I think, but it is like you’re getting two or three colours in one.

I started mixing the H13green for him. Shame he dinti troobi the vlu, as it would have looked sicca as a frame for his handsome vaddervanilli. I put the long stentions into a tray of H13. I then painted extra green onto his vressis ligently, wrapping each flairlock in voil and tying up the odd thin strand, which we did in silver. He waited, fabling to his friend, who was trying vadderangles with different mote-trolled varectors. They troobied the new angle. ‘It was tellment exo, and now it’s tellment in,’ vlatted the friend, having a little strut and looking into the mirruv at his vanilli ponting straight out.

‘That’s the fashwerve for you,’ said Greenvressis.

‘You’re litters bangup to the mint,’ I said to his friend. ‘In a couple of weeks you wonti see anyone with an upright, they’re like tellment over.’

I started tatching all Greenvressis’ stentions. It took yons as it’s fiddly vail. I siddered the vanilli. ‘You know, these green vressis might go siccon with one of our new vadderays.’

Greenvressis gave a little thrust. ‘Worth a try,’ he dixed.

I vlatted. These two were quite grooty. I troobied their willingness to speriment.

We tried out vadderays. The seventh or eighth reallon hanced his vanilli, splaying exo siccon from its vadderbase, in dark metallic grey. The metal weirdlon flected the shunting colours in the flash of the green. ‘Stylish,’ I cluded.

‘Bang-up,’ agreed Greenvressis. ‘I’ll take it.’

‘Very now,’ dixed his friend. ‘Oh Miley, I’m gonna have to have one of them little mouthers.’

I vlatted, to be polite, even though I didn’t troobi him swearing. ‘Everyone’s gonna want one by the end of the week.’

I stood back and siddered Greenvressis. ‘They might even zire them green vressis too. That whole onsomb might litters be the big shebang.’

Lollos. Thinking back, I realise I had nidea. I was one naïve little scrap. ?Didn’t have a cluebo in hellion, did I. !Nugh. !Easynough to dix that now.

Anyway, Greenvressis’ friend chose a silver vadderay with yellow pulse to montrup gainst his normous dark vaddervanilli.

Talika came over for a darskpeer. She winked her mouflaps. I was pleased, because she doesn’t give much praise.

‘?You want bits, or likes,’ Greenvressis asked.

Bits is obvion more practical but I troobi likes better cos they come back at you more velochy. So Greenvressis and his mate, totally troobiflipped with their purchases, sferred me a dred-and-fifty likes but of course half of that straightdrongs to the salon and half of what’s left pays MileyMuns. So I was left with thirty seven likes. Not kak. Would pay the week’s rent on my partmo.


Private Parts

Kedda's design

Please remember, this is a work in progress!  Still evolving all the time.

If you zire a dictionary, I will supply one.  Thanks for reading!


Chapter 1.

My tretcher turned itself off. My slozerlok opened and tipped til I was standing. I climbed out and peered through my darsk into the mirruv. That moufleur needs a bit of teeyelsee, Kedda, I said to myself. Got in the blowpac for a freshnub dryclenz.

Fitted my lights first, as it’s hard getting them in evenly once the flair’s furled. Then I velochy vlomed and set the vressis into hard spiralling spikes. I don’t have long vressis. One needs to look bislisslike. I alternated a dark grey with a shiny vlu. My lights are simple white. I donti troobi being too flashy. You donti wanti upstage the cuzmos.

No time to tube anything, so I lokapped the partmo and, comdab, took the boo to vail. Two stops only. I’m lucky to live in the sentralzo, where all the trilly fashwerve houses are.

Got to the jop by eight. My first cuzmo was a man ziring a new varector. I montred him our new springy terial. It keeps your vaddervanilli as upright as you troobi, but you can obvion adjust cording to the fashwerve, which changes so fast that this is a portent sideration. Two weeks ago it was bangup to have your vanilli ponting slightly down. Who would have dixed it? Vanillis had always been ponting up til then. But there’s no accounting for fashwerve. This week one is only bangup if they are a ninety degree man.

Then I stood guard over the splays for an hour, pressing spambort. Someone has to, obvion, but why me? Talika often gives me crap travs. It noys me as I am fokka at design and shouldn’t have to waste my talent. One of the timps should do it.

I had a break. I rested on the bench exo. I darskchecked my ins, nothing much, mostly spam.

I vaxed and trimmed a vlady’s moufleur. She didn’t need stentions with her twenty centimetres of flair. I swinefully snipped off her bells, then showed her the dyes. She troobied a darkish pink, almost an urple, and a shiny silver, for vertical stripes. Stripes have been coming back in and why not? Reretro and striking. I tied the tiny bells back on again. They made a plezza tinkly noise as they clattened on chuther. She preciated my ferts.

Talika passed a vlady onto me for advice on her flappyflappy vlips. I had a look. The vlips were unusually large and loose, but were quite fokka in their own way. I said, ‘You know, they’re quite riginal. I wouldn’t wuzzo.’

‘Oh, no,’ she mitted a deep darskamped sigh. ‘They’re too zarre. It’s darskturning. People are stoggaing in the street to darskoo.’

‘Well, you could use vlitox or get them glued; I have some exslish glue. Or, obvion, as a last zort, there’s vergery.’

She went for vlitox. She’d had glue before on her rimeum. It hadn’t lasted and the whole idea of vergery made her want to tubemitt.

For lunch I tubed a berrycoction. Set my timer for teninnits so I could still stroll round the block. I saw Katoline in the street. You can tell Katoline from a long way off from the mess what is her moufleur. Her vressis were tousled, not in a fokka way, and the colour had gone. ‘Come in for some product,’ I said. ‘Sort out those vressis.’

‘Not got no likes, Kedda,’ she plied. ‘Need to be paid. Maybe next week.’

‘?How’s trav,’ I asked.


Katoline manages fifty dells. They trav to hectic deadlines, often being called out with litters teninnits warning.

‘?You had a coction,’ she asked.

‘Yeah, had it,’ I said. ‘Might get a choca though.’

‘Mozapan I’ll send you in three of our fleurs for vampoo-up-vlomb.’

‘?Vressis,’ I asked.

‘Not that long. Xinchis.’

‘Send them early or I won’t have time.’

‘?Share a vlatticube at the kend,’ she asked.

‘Sure,’ I plied. ‘Despo for a fokka vlatt.’

I sferred ten likes to Liza at the corner jop for a chocacoction. She’s still got that big vinehous scuring her vlips. Not sicca. I should tell her.

Dronged back, tubed my chocacoction velochy, and started trav again. A girl of sixteen wanting vattoos. She sent an ix through to my darsk. Arbrus, flars. ‘Don’t want stamps though, zire a riginal,’ she said.

‘No problet,’ I said, jected her with killapayn and started darsketching. Lucklon for her, I am fokka at vart. Some salons donti have a cluebo in hellion.

While she tubed her bloffee I sent her through some quixes. She pulled out her tube, and like snorted through her darsk. ‘?What the blonk,’ she cried. ‘?Have you nevah seen an arbru.’

‘Course I have.’

‘A real one I mean.’

‘?Real.’ I thought ont. ‘No, obvion not a real one. Only ixes.’

‘Yeh, well, that’s obvion. ?You never been exo.’

‘Course. I go exo every day,’ I torted.

Exo-exo,’ she said. ‘Properion exo.’

‘No. I’m…too busy.’ It’s trueinf. I am busy. Exo-exo is far, and ricoloso, so I don’t wanti go there anyway.

She lay back down to darsketch what she troobied. Really good ixes of arbrus.

‘OK, no problet,’ I said. We must never answer back. You just have to do your best to get the likes off of cuzmos.

‘?Where you zire thix,’ I asked.

‘Whorledges,’ she dixed, ‘and monsright.’

The vlady’s moufleur was alpretta quitablowed in vattoos. I pulled her left leg xinchis to the left and her right leg xinshis to the right.

‘?You want the arbrus on top of the dolfins,’ I asked.

‘Yes, just go over them. I’m tellment over dolfins.’

I started to vattoo her ix. She screamed a bit, but it were fake. You can’t feel anything on killapayn. It nums you totally. She thought she was feeling payn, but she was just feeling presha.

She troobied the zults though, sferred me some likes, and troed off.

Hi, sorry! As I have been out of action on the blogging front.

I have however been working ceaselessly behind the scenes to bring you my new story, ‘Private Parts’. Unfortunately, in order to read it, you have to learn a new language, the book, being set thirty years in the future, having forced me to write it in an evolved version of English. Yeah, it’s a right bore. I thought I would give you just one page at a time though (starting mozapan) so as not to freap you out nor nukeyflip your thortpacs…see, not too hard is it?

It is a joy, making up a new language. I remember sitting on the floor in my sister Penel’s room, at 67 Barton Road, opening a blue book of blank paper, and deciding to have a go at it. We must have been about eight years old. Remember we had no telly, and were on a whole different level of naivety than kids these days, or even kids those days. Our conversation went something like this: ‘Hmm, OK, so…what will ‘tree’ be? ‘

Penel pulled random sounds out of her brain to come up with something like: ‘Fligol?’

‘Yes. Perfect. ‘Fligol’,’ (writing down ‘Fligol – Tree’.) ‘And what will…erm…’house’ be?’


‘Yeah. Plotchlotch. Brilliant.’ (writing down ‘Plotchlotch – House.’)

‘What about ….’two’, ‘three’?’

‘Well, we need to start at ‘one’. ‘One’ should be ….’blonk.’’

‘Ok, ‘Blonk’…’

‘And ‘two’ should be….’


‘ ‘Plizza’, of course. And ‘three’ should be….’Ndolik’. Yes.’

My sister read over my shoulder ‘Blonk, Plizza, Ndolik.’

We laughed. Probably for about five minutes. We always made the most of simple pleasures.

‘It’s going to be quite a difficult language to learn,’ observed my sister, gasping for breath.

‘We haven’t finished yet. We need a word for ‘the.’’

‘Hmm. ‘The’ could be….’eekin’.’

‘Eekin,’ yes, OK.’

‘What about ‘is’? We need ‘is.’ How about ‘drippock’ for ‘is’?’

‘So…if ‘big’ is say….’flagganoo’ then ‘the house is big’ will be ‘Eekin…plotchlotch….drippock…flagganoo.’

Unwieldy as it was, with a bit of practise, we got it down: ‘Eekin plotchlotch drippock flagganoo.’

It was dawning on us that we needed all the colours, all the numbers, all the names of all the objects in the world. We entered a state of mild panic. I remember looking around desperately at all the things: the window! the road! the sky! the clouds! the cupboard! and saying something like ‘We haven’t got anything for ‘floor’, what’s ‘floor’? How about ‘shally-gling-gling’? We took turns to write it all down.

‘God, we need a word for ‘word,’ I exclaimed, increasingly appalled at the enormity of the task.

We soon realised we needed words not only for all the objects but also all the concepts. It just got bigger and bigger. We ended up with pages and pages. I wish I could find them now, as I would love a good vlatt, but they are not to be found.

We had of course not understood that a language evolves over centuries, organically, through the need to communicate. The resulting eccentricities, similar to the quirky bends and kinks in a woodland path, formed as walkers wend their way around trees and shrubs, are the fascinating hooks that make you love to learn a language. You can’t really just make one up. It’s too artificial.

Anyway, so now, forty years on, I have, I hope, understood a bit more about language, in order to bring you ‘Private Parts’, the book. I showed the first page to Grampa the other day. He read the opening: ‘My tretcher turned itself off.’ ‘Och! What’s ‘tretcher’?’ he said. He read the second sentence. ‘ ‘My slozerlok opened.’ What’s slozerlok? Och! What does it mean?’ It was getting him in a terrible panic. I explained that the reader has to suspend the need to know what it means, and learn from the context. A few days later I asked him if he had read any more of it. ‘No!’ he said. ‘I cannae face it! It would have to be a labour of love.’

My experience of attempting to learn Modern Greek to university standard in one year was very like this. Every sentence I read had two or three or even four words I didn’t know. I started out very keen, looking them all up in the dictionary and writing them into the book in neat pencil, but it took so bloody long. I started by necessity to hone my not very scholarly ability to suspend my need to know. It meant that I never got that good at Modern Greek, but at least I had partially read the works, and was increasingly brilliant at imagining what they might be meaning.

Please imagine the movie of ‘Private Parts’ as you read.   It will, I think, be fascinating for the audience to try to guess who the actors are for the entire first three quarters of the movie. Then, as the darsks (dark masks, see I’m helping you) come off, they’ll be like ‘Ooh, it’s Johnny Depp! Should have guessed from his vaddervanilli. And Damn! No one struts a moufleur like Meryl. It’s obvious now that you know!’ (By three quarters of the way through, the more language-oriented section of the audience will, of course, be fluent in Keddaling and will, one hopes, be confidently using ‘vaddervanilli’ for ‘willy’ and ‘moufleur’ for ‘vagina’.)

I realise that I wouldn’t have been able to write ‘Private Parts’ without first writing ‘Shardonnay’ and ‘Wantababy’ and even the tits book from 2007, ‘A Breast of the Times’, which broke down my every last barrier to writing down embarrassing things. This new one though is the worst of the lot, and as Grampa says, (although how he can he know, not having performed his labour of love yet?) ‘plumbs new depths’.

First page of ‘Private Parts’ will be posted later today.  Thanks to all my readers!

Hi all!  I have started a new blog, called ‘Fred’s French Phrases.’  Dear Fred is trying to learn French….one phrase at a time.

Please go there and check it out and see if you also might like to learn French with Fred, one phrase at a time.  This new blog will not contain much, if any, swearing, as I think younger people could maybe learn something from it and I would not want to alienate them.

If you like the swearing, you will be pleased to know I am continuing with this blog too, and today will post the first part of my new book, ‘Private Parts.’  It is suitably rude, yes, as you might have guessed.  In fact, it’s the rudest thus far!

Last chapter of Pearly.  I am going to make the whole story into an audio book, with Tabby as the voice of Pearly, and the very best flute players as the musical voice of Pearly and friends! (and a very good oboe player as the voice of Obi.)  Auditions soon!

Chapter 12

‘Yes,’ I thought. ‘That’s me. But how do you know me?’

He picked me up and looked even closer. ‘I can’t believe this. This…this is the very first flute I ever made! Pearly. See the ‘y‘? See the crazy underlining? That happened because I was waiting for an important call, and the phone rang and…she slipped out of the clamp. Incredible!’ he said, ‘ I never thought I would see her again.’

‘Well, she’s going cheap,’ said the flute-mender.

‘Oh, no,’ said Ad, ‘I can’t afford anything, mate, sorry.  You know, we’re broke.’

‘I’m literally saying you can have her for twenty quid, Ad. She still works OK. Got a lot of sweetness of tone.’

Adam put me to his lips. I thought I would faint with gratitude. I was being played. Thank the wondrous sun. We played ‘Syrinx’. I felt like my soul, which had been kept hidden in months, even years of silence and darkness, was pouring its light over the world.

Ad stopped playing. ‘I will have her,’ he said. ‘Georgia’s nearly eight. She’s ready for a lovely, special flute.’ I heard a flurry of notes changing hands.

A gust came in the window and I could hear Pixie and Clarence and Yammy calling, ‘Bye Pearly! Good luck, Pearly!’

While the flute-mender was writing out the bill, Ad played me again. He played a chromatic scale from bottom C all the way to top C and down again. During those lovely notes, I said, on the way up: ‘Goodbye, my dear friends. I hope you find kind homes. I will always think of you and miss you.’ And on the way down I said, ‘Pixie, Clarence, Yammy, cheer up! You’re in safe hands now, love you!’

I was taken to my new home, in a bumpy, creaky basket. We bowled along. Brakes squealed as we arrived. Adam took me up the garden path. He opened the door with his key. ‘Tokki?’ he called. ‘Tokki, you’re never going to believe what I found for Georgie.’

‘What, love?’ said a voice. I couldn’t place it for a moment, but knew I had heard it before. ‘Oh, a flute!’ she said. ‘It’s not like we’ve got any of them!’

I could tell this was a joke.

‘Not just any old flute, though,’ said Adam, opening my case. ‘Look, it’s the very first flute I ever made.’

‘But Ads! Georgie was going to play oboe!’ she protested. I realised the lady was Toccata. But if Toccata was here, where was Obi?

Toccata shouted for Georgie, who came running in. Hers was a quiet, shy presence. She stepped close and picked me up wonderingly. She stared at my engraving. ‘Is this really the Pearly?’ she asked.

‘Yes, Georgie,’ he replied. ‘It’s Pearly. You can have her for your very own.’

‘She’s the very first one you made? The one you were making when I was born?’

‘Yes, she was born at the same moment that you were!’

Georgie started to play. ‘Kookaburra sits in his old gum tree-hee…’ She played fast and neatly, by ear.

‘…merry merry King of the Bush is he-ee’ came a creaky old voice. ‘Laugh, Kookaburra, Laugh,’ we played together.

He struck up again: ‘There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Pearly, dear Pearly,’ he sang. ‘There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Pearly, my dear.’

‘Then mend it, dear Obi, dear Obi, dear Obi,’ I replied. ‘Then mend it, dear Obi, dear Obi, my dear.’

Obi and I, and Toccata and Georgie collapsed into laughter. Dizzy with happiness, we played ‘Ye Banks and Ye Braes,’ then ‘Loch Lomond’, ‘My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,’ then, ‘Molly Malone,’ ‘I Could Have Danced All Night…..’

…..then ‘Doh, a Deer,’ ‘The Hills are Alive, ‘Climb Every Mountain,’ then ‘Chim Chiminee,’ ‘Just A Spoonful of Sugar,’ ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite,’ then ‘Greensleeves,’ ‘Edelweiss……’

….then ‘Circus Pony,’ ‘Wind in the Withies,’ ‘Circus Rag’, ‘Toffee Tango’, ‘Dance of the Street Urchins’, …..

…and we carried on playing, Georgie and I, happy year after happy year, until we could play the Martinu Sonata, the Neilsen Flute Concerto, Bach’s ‘Badinerie’, Rachmaninov’s ‘Vocalise’ and even ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’, but….my best times were always the candle-lit evenings when Obi and Toccata would join us for our very favourite, ‘Dance of the Blessèd Spirits’.

 The End

Chapter 11.

I had to do something. I tensed my core, pulling it into a painful spasm, and flashed an intense bar of light towards Gerald’s eyes. He exclaimed, grimaced and dropped the head-joint.  Yammy gasped thanks as he clattered down on top of me. Gerald was exclaiming in agony, feeling about for goggles. ‘Gerald!’ came a yell from outside.

The man swore and banged the goggles down on the work-bench. ‘Oh darn,’ he said, ‘can’t get a minute’s peace!’

‘What is it?’ he yelled.

‘Gerald!’ shouted the woman’s voice.

‘WHAT?’ he shouted. ‘I’m TRYING to WORK!’

‘Your TEA! You forgot to take your TEA with you,’ she screamed.

Gerald swore and turned the horrible machine off. Grumbling, he shuffled off. I heard what sounded like a front door slam.

Then things happened so fast we didn’t have a clue what was going on. The door to the shed opened with a tiny creak, and a quiet, quiet hand gathered us all up and piled us stealthily back into the sack. Whoever it was picked up the whole sack, making an effort not to clank us. We were moved silently onto the person’s back and he started walking, very fast and very quietly, away from the shed. As soon as we rounded a corner, he started to run. We were jolted painfully about, tangling up keys, wires, tubes. Suddenly we started going extra fast. We heard loud waily scary noises. ‘Oh blimey,’ panted the flute-napper, taking off even faster up the road.

He took a sharp left. We were in agonies, being bashed about on his back. All of a sudden, we were thrown to the ground. Sharp prickles came through the sack. We were on a mass of something horribly spikey. Heavy foot-falls slap-slapped into the distance. The sirens went past. All was quiet. We breathed a sigh of relief. At least we were not going to be melted down.

We lay there, in the prickles for days and days. The sun shone through the tiny holes in the sack’s material. Rain dripped through and soaked us all. I felt my pads swell, and my keys start to stick. One day the wind got up. All the flutes in the sack howled and moaned the trauma of the past weeks. Pixie the piccolo squeaked in sadness as his wood swelled and cracked.

Then there were a couple of calmer, warmer days. We heard the grass being scuffled. Whistling. A dog sniffing around. ‘What you found, Buster?’ said a young voice. ‘Ooh. Yuck. Is it bodies? You ain’t found a body, have you, Buster?’ The kid peeked inside our sack. ‘Oh, phew, not bodies. What is it?’ He pulled out parts of Clarence and Pixie. ‘Oh!.. Clarnets an that. Flutes. You poor things. Someone’s gotta of nicked you from somewhere posh.’

He heaved us onto his back and set off, clanking. After about half an hour of trudging, we heard a bell ring above us as we went through a door. ‘Look, Mister,’ said the boy. ‘Look what I found.’

The flute-mender took us gently out of the sack, piece by piece, exclaiming with sorrow at our state. He set the lad to drying our pads by putting rizla papers in between the pads and the metal and squeezing our keys shut. What a relief to have moisture pulled out of you. The flute-mender turned a little air-heater on, so we would dry out, and laid our poor tarnished bodies on dry cotton, matching up foot-joints with bodies and head-joints. ‘Will you be able to mend them?’ asked the boy.

‘Yes, of course,’ said the flute-mender, ‘and you can help me. All instruments deserve to be saved so they can play again.’

We were so relieved. We lay basking in the warm, dry gusts. The flute-mender picked me up and started to polish my metal. He exclaimed in a low voice: ‘Oh….Pearly…I’ve mended you before! Never thought I’d see you again!’

He showed the boy my engraving and the scratchy line under my name. I tried to glint, but my shine could not get out through its tarnished coating. ‘A silver cloth should do it,’ said the flute-mender. He set to, carefully cleaning around my keys, on my keys, and all of my head-joint. He put an absorbent cloth through me, leaving it there to pull out the rain. By the time he and the boy left for the night, we all felt massively better and could not believe our luck.

The flute-mender worked on us for several weeks, humming. He seemed to be in no hurry, but calmly replaced our wires and pads, working eight hours a day with few breaks. When he finished me, he played a quick two-octave scale. I felt like I was awakening from a long sleep. It was so wonderful to exercise my voice. He put me on one of the little stands around the shop.

Yammy was on a stand near me. I had a chance to ask him about Lucy. What had happened to make Lucy and him be apart? ‘You know the story,’ he replied. ‘You know it already.’

‘I don’t, Yammy. I haven’t got a clue what happened to you. Is Lucy alright?’

‘I mean, you know the story, in the sense that…she…’ he almost choked… ‘she…got a new flute.’

‘Oh,’ I said.

‘A top-range Jupiter. Solid silver body. She was eighteen, going off to the Royal College of Music.’

I felt a rush of delight, that my work had not been in vain, but also pain, that I had not been allowed to help.

Yammy carried on: ‘So, she needed the best…’

‘But…you are, were, the best, Yammy.’

‘No, no…I wasn’t, you see…her mother….she traded me in….for Joopey.’

‘Poor Yammy,’ I sighed.

‘Then the shop sold me to a lady who gave me to her delinquent student son as a present, hoping that music would save his soul. He had no idea what I was worth, pawned me for cash at the first opportunity and that horrible artist man picked me up for next to nothing.’

‘Well, at least we’re not mobiles any more,’ I said.

‘Yes, thanks to you….Pearly, I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘Sorry I was mean. I understand more about life, now.’

The bell tinkled and a chap came in.

‘Oh, Ad, you’ll love my new consignment!’ joked our flute-mender, gesturing around the shop. ‘Forty-five of them, all fallen off the back of a lorry. See what I mean?’

I knew we had not fallen off the back of a lorry, but I thought that it might mean that we had been stolen.

They walked around, talking about all the different instruments. They finally reached me. ‘Yeah, I’ve seen that one before,’ nodded the flute-mender. ‘Came in in a terrible state. Honest, anyone else would have had to do away with her.’

The customer’s face came up close to me. There was an intake of breath and a pause. ‘What?’ I was thinking. ‘What now?’

‘Pearly?’ he said.

Pearly cover

Chapter 10

Melt us down? I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew I didn’t want to be a picture frame, or a candlestick. I felt panicky and helpless.

We were thrown in the back of a van for a journey that seemed to take thousands of bars. Then someone with a limping gait and rather a pungent smell, probably Gerald I thought, trudged down a squelchy path with us, pulled open a bolt with some difficulty, slung us onto a hard surface. I heard crackling and felt heat. He went out again. The atmosphere seemed dusty and smelt of wood-shavings, smoke and turpentine.

I was terrified, I can tell you. Was I no longer going to be Pearly? Was I going to be merged together with the others and become something else? Was I going to die? I held onto who I was, and said to myself, ‘Pearly, if this is the end, you have had a good life.’  I thought of all the things I had done in my life.  The most important thing was Lucy.  I felt a rush of the purest love for her. ‘You helped Lucy.  You knew friendship, with kind Obi and dear Flutty. You heard wonderful stories. You even played the faun, with most of an orchestra. You helped everyone to escape from the Old Man’s Cave.’ But nothing I said to myself helped, as I didn’t feel ready to die. I felt like I had so much more life in me to live, and to give, and knew there was so much music out there that I had not played yet.

Smelly Gerald came back. He tipped us all out on the work-bench. He started up a machine which made a whoosing sound. We could feel a sudden heat coming from it. We waited in fear. The light turned orangey. It was moving too much, it didn’t seem normal. Flickering reds and golds. Oh! I suddenly remembered Silvia’s candle-lit concert. It must be flames. I was so afraid. Suddenly Yammy’s head-joint was lifted away from my side. ‘Jeez! Solid silver!’ exclaimed smelly Gerald with a laugh. ‘God sakes, those idiots! Haven’t got a clue!’

He grabbed the torch thing which had a hot column of fire pouring out of its end. He was just about to start melting down Yammy’s head. Poor Yammy sucked a desperate gasp of mouldy air in to scream a high-pitched scream. He knew he was done for.

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