The not so secret emails.., p.1
The Not So Secret Emails Of Coco Pinchard, p.1Robert Bryndza
The Not So Secret Emails Of Coco Pinchard
Published by Team Bryndza Books, June 2012
For more information about the author, please visit www.teambryndzabooks.com
Copyright © Robert Bryndza, 2012
Edited by Ján Bryndza
Cover Design by Veronica Licakova
e-book formatting by Guido Henkel
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
For Ján, whose help, encouragement, and sheer brilliance made this book possible.
Thursday 25th December 20:01
TO: [email protected]
Merry Christmas? Mine isn’t. The in-laws arrived last night. Meryl and Tony biked down to London from Milton Keynes on their new Tandem. They had to sit in the airing cupboard with the heating up for a good hour, thawing out. Rather cancels out their boast that they are carbon neutral! Rosencrantz picked up his Nan Ethel from her Nursing Home, and she began with the usual, “this might be my last Christmas,” before inviting herself for Christmas next year, and Easter, and Mother’s Day…
Daniel was working late (the curtain didn’t come down on his Pantomime till eleven) so to inject a little Christmas cheer in to the house, Rosencrantz, Ethel, Meryl, and myself decorated the tree in the living room. Tony spent an age constructing logs and newspaper in the fireplace, which at the touch of a match sprung into a roaring crackling fire. He excused himself when the decorating became competitive. We were divided into two camps style-wise. Ethel and Meryl favoured an all silver display of baubles, whereas I wanted my usual array of multi-coloured baubles, tinsel, and the cross-eyed cotton wool bearded Father Christmas Rosencrantz made from bog rolls as a child. It was an exhausting series of compromises with no one wanting to spark a row so early. They are here for a week. I wish I had the guts to say, “back off bitches!” However, I didn’t so we decorated one side of the tree silver and the other multi-coloured; with an agreement it would be rotated daily. Rosencrantz sensibly joined Tony outside in the garden and helped him oil the Tandem.
Christmas Day seemed to begin with promise. I had been worried about having to cook lunch, but I had a surprising saviour in the shape of our new Sky Plus box and HD Television. If it were not for them, I would have had much more criticism over my choice to serve individual Birds Eye turkey dinners.
Thankfully, the hubbub surrounding the sixty-two inch flat screen, and being able to pause the Carol Service from Kings College, even though it was broadcast live, drowned out the ping of the microwave.
Ethel was further diverted when Rosencrantz told her we had bought them using the advance for the publication of my novel, Chasing Diana Spencer. She couldn’t believe I had been paid for “that rubbish.” Still, it all covered up, quite nicely, the fact that I can’t cook.
My presents were as follows
Marlboro Lights. I don’t know what was sadder, that my son bought me four hundred fags for Christmas, or the fact I asked for them.
A pair of SPANX, which are giant stomach flattening, arse-reducing, thigh-squashing mega knickers. I got quite excited. I’ve heard great things about them from Mr. Gok Wan. Then Ethel explained where she’d ‘acquired’ my present; from a friend at her Nursing Home whose overweight Daughter had just died in a car crash. “She don’t need ‘em now,” she said.
Three pairs of thick black tights/can of Wasp killer, taped together as a set.
“They’re for your varicose veins,” said Meryl in a stage whisper over the airborne wrapping paper.
I presume she meant the tights.
An iPhone. I will come back to this in a minute.
Your gift, The Complete Sopranos Box Set was wonderful, thank you. I told Rosencrantz I would now be able to join in with all the people raving on about how gritty and dark it is.
“Mother, we’ve like, moved on,” he said rolling his eyes. “It’s all about The Wire now.”
Chanel No. 5 from Marika. I still can’t reach Marika to wish her a Merry Christmas. Can you? Phone lines must be down. Slovakia is in the grip of a massive blizzard.
Meryl and Tony gave Rosencrantz, The Dangerous Book For Boys. Which is lazy gift giving if you ask me. It’s point-of-sale in almost every supermarket thus required no effort on their part. Ethel took one look at it and said,
“E’s nineteen years old! It’s not trees e’s gonna be going up,” before handing over her gift, a Durex Vibrations Fun Pack. Meryl looked horrified.
“Well, e’s a good looking gay lad!” said Ethel. “My present will keep ‘im safer than your present!” She had a point.
Tony blushed violently and said he’d fetch more Bucks Fizz.
I gave everyone signed copies of Chasing Diana Spencer, since they’ve been too tight to actually buy it. M + T put on a good show of over-excitement. Ethel just dropped hers in her handbag without a glance at what I’d written inside. She was more interested in the book M + T had bought her, the number-one best seller Window Box Winemaking.
“Did you know, ‘er and Coco ‘ave the same lit-ral agent?” said Ethel pointing to the overly grand cover picture of its author, Regina Battenberg.
“Ooh we love Regina Battenberg,” said Meryl.
“She was a scream on Jonathan Ross last week,” said Tony. “Really gave him a run for his money.”
“Have you met her Coco?” asked Meryl in an awed tone.
I said we had been in the same branch of Waterstones for our book signings.
“’Er queue must have been out the door, compared to yours,” said Ethel with a glint in her eye.
Rosencrantz, seeing the first festive row brewing, suggested we wake up his Dad.
It amazes me that all Daniel needs to do is lumber downstairs mid-afternoon in his dressing gown and he is greeted with such excitement.
“Mum, Sis, Tone,” he said handing them little presents from his dressing gown pockets. Meryl and Ethel were squealing as if they were at the stage door after a David Essex concert. Daniel hadn’t even brushed his teeth.
He gave me a kiss and pulled a little box wrapped in white ribbon out of his dressing gown pocket. It was that certain shade of green which made me think; Tiffany! We’ve met in Regent Street twice to look at the Christmas lights and each time he has guided us towards Bond Street, and let me linger outside Tiffany, raving about a necklace. I whipped open the ribbon, the box fell apart, and nestling inside was…an iPhone.
“A phone?” I said, with forced gaiety.
“This isn’t any phone,” said Daniel. “You can email, listen to music, can’t you son?” He grinned, pulling an identical box out of his other dressing gown pocket.
“No way!” shouted Rosencrantz. “NO FUCKING WAY!”
“We don’t like toilet language,” said Tony, shielding Meryl as Rosencrantz jigged across the living room, narrowly avoiding the Christmas tree — which had been turned on its silver side for Christmas Day.
“You’ll both need your phones to keep in contact with me!” Daniel exclaimed grinning.
“Why do we need to keep in contact with you?” I said.
Rosencrantz stopped jigging. They all looked at my frozen smile.
“What?” I said.
“Whistle Up The Wind,” said Daniel. “It’s a new musical.”
“Don’t you mean Whistle DOWN The Wind?” said Rosencrantz.
“No,” said Daniel. “Whistle Up The Wind. It’s sort of, an unofficial sequel. Nothing to do with Lloyd-Webber,” he added. “I start rehearsals in a couple of weeks…”
They all looked between his joy and my disbelief.
“This is my dream job!” he said impatiently. “Launching a new musical… An American tour too…It’s eighty grand!”
At the mention of money, everyone became animated. Ethel tottered forward and clasped his face saying,
“Oh my clever boy. If yer Dad weren’t dead e’d be so proud.” Grabbing her Bucks Fizz, she made a toast to “absent friends… and lots of dosh.” They all clinked glasses and I left the room. Daniel followed me into the kitchen.
“Do you like your iPhone?” He said.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Come on Cokes, don’t start,” he said. “It’s Christmas Day.”
“You choose to tell me, out of the blue in front of everyone?”
“It was an exciting announcement!” he gestured with his arm. His dressing gown flopped open. He had nothing on underneath.
“What timing Little Danny has!” he grinned raising his eyebrows and looking proudly at his tackle.
“Oh put it away!” I said getting even madder. “You were too scared to tell me, weren’t you? Until you had the protection afforded by having your Mother and Meryl here.”
“I need to be successful too,” he hissed doing up his dressing gown. “You spent all this year writing your book.”
“Why did I have to find out like this?” I said.
“You’d have tried to persuade me against it!” He was surging into a full-on rage now.
“You think I want to conduct the music for pantomimes every Christmas for the next twenty years?”
“It’s great money Daniel, and you’re good at it.” He kicked the Pantry door and stalked around the kitchen with a red face.
“Ok,” I said. “Tell me about it. Do you think it’s a good script?”
“You haven’t even read it, have you?”
“It’s eighty grand! I don’t need to read it,” he said. “Decision made.”
“Really? Wasn’t Metal Mickey: The Musical meant to be fifty grand?”
“Here we go,” he said.
“Rentaghost: The Musical also went bust owing you thousands,” I said becoming shrill. “And when The Lady Boys Of Bognor Regis went into administration I had to get another job to pay off the band’s parking fines!”
“It was you who offered to lend them the Volvo, Coco!” He shouted. “Their instruments wouldn’t fit on the bus!”
“Daniel,” I said. “I would love you to work on a successful musical, but sadly, you sign awful contracts and make awful decisions, usually ones which exclude me!” At that point, Meryl came into the kitchen.
“Sorry to interrupt,” she said. “But Mum just sat on the remote control and now everything is in Spanish.”
Daniel glared at me and followed her out. I was expecting him to come back in and resume our discussion, but after ten minutes I found him sat on the sofa with Ethel.
“Ere Coco,” she said. “Warm up some dinner for my clever boy, it’s nearly time for the Queen’s speech.” Daniel refused to make eye contact.
“I need to talk to Daniel,” I said pointedly.
“Danny is watching the Queen,” said Ethel.
I stalked over to the Christmas tree and turned it round to the coloured side. “You know where the microwave is,” I said.
I grabbed my Christmas fags, came out into the garden, and smoked on the steps by the shed. They should warn you, I thought as I looked out over the London skyline, that if you marry young there is a high chance your loved one might turn into a complete and utter prat.
When it got dark and I’d developed a rattling in my chest I came back in. The Christmas film had just finished and Meryl pretended everything was fine by insisting we all play a game she’d brought called Rapidough. It’s like Charades, but your team has to guess what you are making out of modelling clay.
Meryl divided us into two teams. It was me, Tony and Rosencrantz versus her, Ethel and Daniel.
After several glasses of Drambuie, it was neck and neck…
I just needed to get my team to correctly guess what I was about to make and we would secure victory.
Meryl (the score mistress) offered me the cards and I picked one with the phrase ‘cock and bull story’. Ethel took one look at my face and I saw her murmur to Daniel, “She’s gonna lose.”
I gave her a defiant smile.
Meryl flipped over the egg timer and Rosencrantz began to film on his new iPhone. (I had insisted on playback after some cheating from Ethel.) Feeling the pressure to win, I made the first thing that came into my head; a rather large Bull, and running out of modelling clay, a rather tiny Penis…
The room went quiet. They all looked at the Penis. Then looked at Daniel. Then looked at me.
“So this is my payback?” said Daniel glaring. “Embarrassing me!”
“No! That’s not yours!” I said. “I mean…”
“Now thas’ crude Coco,” said Ethel (This is the woman who every year takes out her teeth, sticks them up the turkeys arse, and makes it talk.)
Meryl stared in horror as the tiny appendage began to wilt by the warmth of the open fire. Why did I fashion it erect? My son was there! She thumped it flat with the copy of Chasing Diana Spencer she was resting the scorecard on. Tony crossed his legs protectively and Rosencrantz being Rosencrantz continued to film it all.
If it ends up on YouTube, he’s dead.
I’m now hiding upstairs in bed with the bottle of Drambuie. They’ve all moved to the music room. Daniel is thumping out Good King Wenceslas on the Steinway piano and the rest of them are singing along. I keep hearing Meryl’s shrill voice saying,
“Where is Coco? We need someone to sing the descant.”
Six more days to go.
Friday 26th December 23:33
TO: [email protected]
I’m sorry you are having such a terrible time with your family. Why do we do it every year? I suppose the threat of your parents dis-inheriting you is kind of a reason. Marika loves to go back to Slovakia because it’s her real home. What’s my reason? I’ve never got on with my in-laws and relations with Daniel are at an all time low… You know what it is? I’m a cheap venue. I’m the only one with enough room for everyone. I should charge them! How much is your family paying for the villa?
When I came down this morning Meryl was cooking bacon on the George Forman grill Tony gave her yesterday, and Ethel was drinking the drained off fat from a tea cup. The Christmas tree had been rotated to the silver side, even though technically it is the coloured side today. I’ve turned it back. It’s war.
Daniel had already left for his first Boxing Day show at 10am. After lunch of sausages on the George Forman grill, we took the tube down to Richmond and saw the matinee. I must give him credit, he’s done a brilliant job with the music; but the script is very far from the traditional Snow White. In this version, Postman Pat lives next door to the Seven Dwarves with a red Power Ranger.
We went backstage afterwards and met a girl called Sophie who played Snow White. She made us all tea, and berated Daniel for his four sugars, which was a tad overfamiliar for my liking. She looks the type who might wake up with seven men in her bed.
We made some small talk. I ignored Daniel. He ignored me. Rosencrantz quizzed him asking him if there was a homosexual subtext to Postman Pat liv
Daniel was at a loss, until Ethel saved him saying, “Don’t be a prat Rosencrantz, everyone knows Postman Pat is married.”
On the way home in the car Meryl said it had spoilt the magic, seeing behind the scenes. I reminded her it wasn’t really that magical on stage, especially when Dame Dolly Mixture sung It’s Raining Men, with too much hairy cleavage on show and the Power Ranger bouncing around in his lycra.
At bed time relations between Daniel and me were still frosty. I kept getting flashbacks of Snow White, stirring his four sugars lasciviously. I tried to initiate make-up sex but the bloody Horlicks Meryl insisted on making him kicked in, and he fell asleep when his head hit the pillow.
We haven’t done it since they lit the Advent Crown on Blue Peter (nineteenth December). I know our sex life is less vigorous now but we usually seem to make up for it around the festive arguing.
I can’t sleep so I’m just out on the landing trying to get my iPhone to synchronise with my computer. I’m not having any luck. Meryl and Tony however, have been synchronising for the last twenty minutes. It’s not very vocal, but the headboard is loud. I wondered why Tony declined his usual Horlicks.
Saturday 27th December 09:44
TO: [email protected]
No. I won’t bring you up a bacon sandwich in bed. I’m not your slave, and I don’t know how to switch on the George Formby grill.
P.S. If you’re coming downstairs, could you bring my reading glasses? They are on my bedside table. The papers have just arrived. I want to see if Chasing Diana Spencer made the Top 10.
Saturday 27th December 18:04
TO: [email protected]
Window Box Winemaking has stayed at number one in The Times non-fiction charts for the sixth consecutive week. Regina Battenberg is on the cover of the Saturday Review with Oz Clarke. In the picture, they are on her balcony in Croydon, enjoying a glass of her Croydon Beaujolais. Regina is wearing a Tiara — who does she think she is?
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