Wonkas easter story, p.1
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       Wonka's Easter Story, p.1
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Wonka's Easter Story
Wonka’s Easter Story

  Copyright 2014 Madeleine Masterson

  Easter had arrived. That four day pageant of dying and rebirth mixed about with eggs and hot cross buns. That seemed to be the main message from the supermarket I now favoured. Have I to send cards this year I pondered as my gaze fell on the yellow chicks and crosses. Luckily in this fairly small shop compared to the vast maze like suburb that called itself Your Store, I did not need to tramp half a mile to consider the card thing. Wonka said I was obsessed with the other shop, going miles out of my way to avoid it when it was handy and practically on my doorstep. ‘And…….?’ I countered, dragging in fresh supplies of luxury cat litter and out of range chicken.

  ‘Just saying.’ Wonka cheeped and rolled over for a tummy tickle. I obliged.

  As per, me and Wonka were looking forward to some good films on the telly and there was always my Zulu DVD as a fallback. The time of reckoning for Baba had crept up been faced up to and dealt with. No more listening to his sneezing or tracking him by it, no more waiting for him to recover from a dream biscuit, and no more hiding his ghastly ablutions.

  Baba had joined Golly in heaven.

  Wonka swung between enjoying being the only one. The only very spoilt only one, and missing his lopsided smelly friend.

  ‘Get off!’ he shouted when I over cuddled him, for I needed to spend my Baba love somewhere and it was Wonka who was nearest. Now I had quite a collection of ashes in boxes with plaques on the top. Why I asked myself, did such a peculiar cat catch my heart in a trap and so I have a pain in it when I think you’re not here anymore; while I was debating this I found the right spot for Baba’s box. ‘You’ve never left it in the shed!’ challenged Wonka when I told him. ‘ Well I………….’ Wonka stomped off muttering about where he would want his box when he gets one. Meanwhile I checked out the shed window. There in the corner was Baba’s ashes box with a little lily on top. He adored it in the shed and I hadn’t forgotten that terrible time when half recovered from cat flu I had let him out and lost him for the night. Of course he had hidden in the shed. The pain in my heart came back, and I went to find Wonka.

  ‘What about’ I said to Wonka, ‘what about another story to brighten us up?’

  Easter was such a funny time we needed a story to ground us really. It was not the beginning or end of the year, and it all centred on this breaking down and dying thing only to suddenly all spring back to life again.

  Pleased with the success of his Christmas story Wonka was impatient to tell another. ‘Yes I said, if it was my story no one would be queuing up to read it! But if you tell it, they fall over themselves!’ I could feel anxiety rising and a possible heartburn attack. This was happening more and more and forced me into buying those small white squares of peppermint. I had to have them by the bed and in the kitchen, in my bag but not yet in the glove compartment of the skylark..I had to fend off anything that made me feel old. Ugly and daft I could deal with.

  ‘Well,’ said Wonka ‘we just need a story that can be enjoyed on many levels, not just for children or just for adults.’

  ‘I know’ I offered up,’ one of my Dad’s old stories that he used to tell me and my brother?’

  ‘About?’ quizzed Wonka, as he pushed the curtain aside to inspect the yard.

  It was about a boy with magic powers called Duffel. ‘That sounds like the Easter story we need ‘said Wonka after I’d given him the lowdown. Not much point me telling it, not with Wonka being such a performer. ‘I’ll chip in with bits of it when you get stuck.’

  I quickly suggested a title thus: Wonka presents Duffel and Sam!

  And provided some of my best cartoons to illustrate it. This one was a draft I reassured Wonka, ‘a work in progress.’ He did like me to personally develop.

  Are you ready? Wonka had settled in his best storytelling position, on the sideboard and me at the table. ‘Then I’ll begin.’

  Duffel opened his eyes. He’d counted to ten, slowly like he was holding his breath under water, and then let out a whooshing breath. He looked straight in front of him. It wasn’t what he was expecting.

  ‘You’ll have a map of course, an A – Z of the city, but there shouldn’t be any mix up. Besides, you can reach us anytime on the mobile.’ As Duffel remembered these instructions, he reached automatically into his coat pockets. No map. No mobile. Just what had gone wrong and why was he facing a row of ordinary looking houses – when he was told he would be opposite his old school. ‘Okay,’ thought Duffel ‘this is part of the test, telling me one thing and doing another.’ Rubbing his chin and smoothing his hair back (it stuck up even more) Duffel moved slowly down the street. It was late in the year, a strong wind was blowing against him and it was coming on to rain.

  Several people had seen Duffel arrive in the street, and one of them, still peering through the curtains wondered whether to dial 999. Did the police deal with strange young men appearing out of nowhere, at 7 am in the morning and staring quite blatantly at the houses?

  And why did he keep going in his pockets? A description was already forming in Mary Parker’s head. 16 or 17, about 5’ 7 – what if they wanted metric? Short dark blonde hair – that sticking up style (that looked so ridiculous in Mary’s opinion) and a fresh complexion. Couldn’t see the eyes but surely the most distinguishing feature about this young man was – he’s wearing a duffel coat!

  Now when was the last time I saw anyone in a duffel coat? ‘If that isn’t suspicious I don’t know what is.’ As Mary Parker was considering this, deciding it was a good idea to ring the police, Duffel finally moved out of view.

  Duffel had been here before. On planet Earth that is, but not for many years now. Much of what he remembered was a sort of romantic fuzzy sequence of events and of course it was always Summer. The clouds above him now were grey, dark grey and charcoal all racing each other across the sky. As the first spots of rain hit Duffel on his upturned face he pressed on to the bottom of the street. There was a track running along the bottom and he immediately spotted the sign.

  ‘There’s the sign, and it does say St Francis High, with an arrow pointing right. Funny I don’t remember this track, or that street.’ What had the Quest Co-ordinator said again? He was a new member of staff and new to the job of returning people to Earth.

  However, Mr Watkins was confident about Duffel’s quest telling him it was ‘a breeze’ and to ‘chill out’. ‘You just look for the Caretaker at the School because he found Sam and kept him. You get Sam and bring him back. Simple. A simple quest for a young man like you Duffel! Been back a few times myself laddie, and beat the deadline’. The deadline, as Mr Watkins called it, was 24 hours. This never changed no matter what the Quest involved. If you were not ready to return within this timespan – ‘what happens if I’m late?’ Duffel wanted to know, ‘What happens if I can’t find him?’

  ‘Same as happened to him – you’ll have to stay on Earth until the time is right and we can get through again.’ Mr Watkins smiled cheerily over at Duffel.

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