Coco pinchards big fat t.., p.4
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       Coco Pinchard's Big Fat Tipsy Wedding: A Funny Feel-Good Romantic Comedy, p.4

           Robert Bryndza

  ‘Um…’ Luckily at that moment Rosencrantz arrived back home.

  ‘Hi mum,’ he said giving me a huge hug. ‘I see you've met the guys.’

  ‘Yes, they’ve been very hospitable,’ I said.

  ‘And I approve of Mrs. P,’ said Wayne to Rosencrantz. Oscar came down the stairs dressed in a tracksuit with wet hair.

  ‘Hey man, how did the interview go?’ He said.

  ‘I got the job!’ Oscar did a high five with Rosencrantz.

  ‘Oh, love that’s wonderful,’ I said proudly.

  ‘Come on Oscar,’ said Wayne. ‘Let’s give them some peace.’ They took their tea and disappeared into the kitchen.

  ‘Shall I show you my room mum?’ said Rosencrantz.

  We went upstairs to a little bedroom with a view of the railway sidings behind the house. A train clattered past. I sat on his bed, which was neatly made with Bitch sitting on the pillow.

  ‘Dad phoned me, fishing for the gossip. So did Nan,’ he said sitting at a little table, which had his TV and laptop on it.

  ‘What did you tell them?’

  ‘That you and Adam had parted company.’

  ‘Well, he dumped me, Rosencrantz.’

  ‘I wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of hearing that… What are you going to do now?’

  ‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘I haven’t got any work on till the book is published next year. I’m off to see Chris’ new play tomorrow night, the one he’s been directing. Do you want to come?’

  ‘I can’t Mum. I’ve got staff training in the evening at Abercrombie & Fitch.’

  ‘I’m so proud of you, supporting yourself,’ I said.

  ‘I could move back home? If you’re lonely,’ he said.

  ‘No! I’m fine. It looks like fun here, you should enjoy your freedom. That Wayne seems interesting.’

  ‘He’s great.’

  ‘And Oscar is gorgeous.’

  ‘I know… I’ve already shagged him.’

  ‘Rosencrantz! I’m your mother!’

  ‘What? I just figured shagging him was the sensible thing to do.’

  ‘How is shag… sleeping with him sensible?’

  ‘There’s no sexual tension now, we can just be friends. I recommend doing it with all your same sex friends.’

  ‘What so I should jump into bed with Marika?’ I said.

  ‘No! I only recommend it if you’re gay. With sex out of the way, me and Oscar can be really good friends.’

  ‘What about Wayne?’

  ‘Oh no we haven’t shagged Wayne. We think he’s asexual. The only thing that seems to excite him is his Royal teacup collection; he’s got the Coronation, Charles and Diana’s Wedding.’

  ‘Isn’t he lonely?’

  ‘We’re all lonely, in one way or another,’ said Rosencrantz looking out of the window. ‘Course, I’m lucky. I’ve got a wicked Mum.’ He leaned over and gave me a long hug.

  On the train home I tried to get my head around it all. I thought I understood what life was all about, but I’m now more confused than ever.

  Friday 26th November 13.14

  TO: [email protected]

  Meryl Skyped me this morning; she pinged into view with baby Wilfred on her lap screaming his head off with a face like a little red beef tomato. I thought she might be calling about Adam, but she asked if I would take a look at Wilfred’s bottom. Before I could say hello, she pantsed the poor kid and held his bare backside up to the webcam. There was a prickly red rash dotted across his skin.

  ‘What do you think it is?’ said Meryl settling the screaming Wilfred back on her knee.

  ‘It looks like nappy rash,’ I said. ‘How long has he had it?’

  ‘A week, ever since we switched him over to pull-ups. How did Rosencrantz get on with pull-ups?’

  ‘Well, we didn’t have them when Rosencrantz was little,’ I said. ‘I’d take him to the doctor if it doesn’t clear up.’

  ‘Do you know how hard it is to get an appointment at our surgery?’ she said. ‘Sometimes I wish I was an asylum seeker in this country. I’d be far better off!’

  ‘I don’t think so Meryl, you wouldn’t want to have to flee from an oppressive regime.’

  Tony popped behind Meryl looking as greasy as ever.

  ‘Morning Coco!’ he said. ‘What are we talking about?’

  ‘Nappy rash and oppressive regimes,’ snapped Meryl. ‘Both of which our government is doing nothing about.’

  ‘Here Coco,’ said Tony leaning toward the camera. ‘So sorry to hear about you and Adam.’

  ‘Yes, Coco, we’re very sorry,’ said Meryl shifting Wilfred to her other knee. ‘He was the first black man we felt like we really got to know, after Lenny Henry of course.’

  ‘Ah yes… I felt very sorry for him, when I heard about the break-up,’ said Tony.

  ‘Adam broke up with me,’ I said.

  ‘Oh yes, yes, no I meant Lenny Henry and Dawn French… Very sad business. Who do you think was funnier Coco?’

  ‘Out of Dawn French and Lenny Henry?’ I said.

  ‘No, you and Adam?’ he said.

  ‘What’s that got to do with anything?’

  ‘Oh nothing, nothing I was just wondering. I thought Adam was rather witty.’

  ‘That reminds me Tony,’ said Meryl. ‘Would you set the Sky box to record The Vicar Of Dibley for me?’

  ‘Right-o! Nice to talk to you Coco, chin up!’ said Tony and off he went.

  ‘You’re so lucky Coco,’ said Meryl. ‘All alone now and rattling around like Miss Havisham in your big house. I don’t get a minutes peace. I’d give anything to be Miss Havisham right now. Of course, unlike her I’d keep up with my hoovering. Byeee!’ and she vanished from the screen.

  I don’t know how Meryl and Tony manage to seem so concerned and disinterested at the same time.

  I’m looking forward to seeing you at Chris’ new play later; shall I meet you outside at seven?

  Coco xxx

  Saturday 27th November 12.33

  TO: [email protected]

  Thanks for your message, asking how I am doing. I went to see Chris’ new play last night at The Blue Boar Pub Theatre in Kennington. It was great to see him and Marika after such a long time. When my taxi pulled up, they were already there, smoking under the canopy at the front of the theatre.

  ‘Thank god you're here,’ said Chris hugging me. ‘I need more friendly faces. The bar is packed with journalists and critics.’

  ‘That's good isn’t it?’ I said.

  ‘I think the play is terrible,’ said Chris in a low voice.

  ‘Well you didn’t write it, Shakespeare did,’ said Marika. ‘Blame him.’

  ‘Oh you Eastern Europeans,’ said Chris. ‘I admire your direct thinking, but it’s the exact opposite with The Bard. He’s wonderful to begin with. As a Director you have to live up to his text.’

  Marika rolled her eyes. ‘Let me see you properly Coco,’ she said giving me the once over. ‘You’ve lost weight.’

  ‘Thank you,’ I said.

  ‘You don’t want to lose it too quickly, you’ll lose those amazing boobs of yours.’

  ‘I do not have amazing boobs,’ I said.

  ‘You do,’ said Marika. ‘I would kill for big boobs like yours.’

  ‘I would kill for your little pert ones,’ I said.

  ‘Ladies can we stop the booby-talk, I can’t cope with this right now,’ said Chris.

  ‘So what’s Macbeth about?’ said Marika.

  ‘You can’t name it Marika!’ I said. ‘It’s bad luck.’

  ‘It’s okay. It’s only bad luck to say it in the theatre,’ said Chris. Just then, we saw the Daily Mail critic Nicholas De Jong walk inside.

  ‘Oh my god, I’m done for. De Jong is going to hate it,’ said Chris.

  ‘You don’t know that,’ said Marika. ‘You’re a great Director.’

  ‘I think I’ve made the mistake of casting my boyfriend Julian as the
lead. He’s too pretty. He’s more Mc Fly than Macbeth. I let lust get in the way…’

  We heard a bell ringing faintly.

  ‘Oh god that’s the fifteen minute call, I’d better go,’ he said. We wished him luck and he moved off through the crowds and into the pub.

  ‘Do you want some crisps?’ said Marika. ‘Feed you up a bit?’

  ‘I don’t fancy food at all,’ I said. ‘I can’t sleep… I just keep checking my phone and wishing…’

  ‘The hospital would call to say Adam’s been involved in a hideous accident?’ said Marika.

  ‘No, just wishing that he’d call...’

  ‘Ah, you’re still at the stage where you miss him. Let me know when you get to the wanting to seek revenge stage. That’s my specialty!’ I gave her a weak grin.

  ‘Come here you,’ she said putting her arm around me. ‘Let’s go watch some Shakespeare and get pissed.’

  The after show party was held at Cathedral private members club in Soho. We commandeered a table in a quiet corner and Chris treated us to cocktails all night.

  ‘I did this play to try to kick start some work for me,’ said Chris after we had sunk a few rounds. ‘My momentum has ground to a halt since I directed Chasing Diana Spencer: the Musical… I should have taken up the offer to stage the nativity play at my niece’s school.’ We both laughed.

  ‘I’m serious. Benenden is one of the top private girls schools in the country. I would have got more exposure directing a bunch of twelve year olds in 'Follow that Star.’

  ‘Well, it's only November,’ I said. ‘Can’t you change your mind?’

  ‘No. they’ve given it to a trainee director from the Royal Court theatre.’

  ‘Well, I thought your boyfriend did a good job as Macbeth,’ I said. ‘Didn’t he Marika?’

  ‘He was terrible,’ said Marika. ‘Nice to look at, but how do you say it in English? He couldn’t act his way out of a bag…’ I kicked her under the table, wishing she would just lie for once.

  ‘A paper bag,’ said Chris. ‘He couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag.’

  We looked over at Julian on the dance floor; he was drunk and dancing on his own, dry humping one of the pillars in a kind of pole dance.

  ‘He losing interest in me,’ said Chris. ‘I think we’re at that stage in the older guy younger guy gay relationship where the Stockholm Syndrome is wearing off.’

  We both laughed.

  ‘I’m serious, I seem to land these young guys and then I have to keep hold of them by buying them designer gear and paying their bills.’ A dark haired young guy danced up to Julian and without much introduction, they began snogging.

  ‘And now I’m single,’ said Chris. ‘Someone say something to cheer me up, please?’

  ‘I had a blind date last Friday with a complete moron,’ said Marika. ‘I slept with him, then didn’t return his calls. Then he turned up on Monday at school as our Head OFSTED Inspector. He’s deciding on the future of my job and the school.’

  Chris and me laughed.

  ‘It’s not funny!’ she said.

  ‘It is, a little bit,’ said Chris.

  ‘You’re right… Let’s forget about all of this crap, go somewhere else and dance,’ said Marika.

  ‘Okay. You two grab a cab, I have to go and dump my boyfriend,’ said Chris, as if he was just popping to the bar for a packet of dry roasted peanuts.

  We moved on to a pub in Soho with a late licence. We danced, drank, and almost forgot our worries until the bar started thinning out, and the staff flicked the lights on. When we stumbled out, we were shocked to see it was light; it was almost six in the morning.

  We waved goodbye to Marika who got the train home, Chris and me flagged down a taxi on Old Compton Street, which dropped me off at the Tesco Metro in Baker Street.

  ‘Thanks hun,’ I said. ‘Will you be ok, after Julian?’

  ‘I’ve got you and Marika, I’ll be fine,’ he said. I kissed Chris goodbye and made a dash inside Tesco to grab a pint of milk.

  Where I ran into Adam. He was fresh from some kind of exercise, showered, and looking in rude health in a red tracksuit. I was wearing last night’s crumpled clothes and the remnants of last night’s eyeliner smudged across my cheek. We stopped for a moment, and stared at each other then he muttered 'excuse me' leaned across and took a pint of skimmed milk. I watched him walk away and go through the Self-Checkout. I was in shock. Rooted to the spot. I couldn’t move. I stared as he dropped coins in the paying dish took his receipt and left without looking back.

  A thought jolted through my brain. He always drinks full cream milk. Since when does he drink skimmed? Who was he trying to impress? Suddenly, I was convinced he was seeing someone else. I dropped my milk, ran out of Tesco, and tried to find him amongst the crowds, but he had vanished. I then set off for his flat and rang the buzzer. When no one answered, I hammered on the door. It opened suddenly, and I came face to face with a middle-aged woman.

  ‘Who are you?’ I said.

  ‘I beg your pardon?’ she said, shocked. She was wearing a towelling pink dressing gown, her grey hair was scraped back in a ponytail, and she wore specs on a silver chain.

  ‘It’s you. Do you drink Skimmed milk?’

  ‘Who are you?’

  ‘Don't play games with me,’ I said and barged past her and into the flat. I stopped short in the living room. It was full of boxes, some wicker furniture, books, and an old PC with a tabby cat sleeping on the monitor. I turned to her.

  ‘Where did you put Adam's stuff?’ I demanded.

  ‘I’ve just rented the flat from Adam Rickard, if that’s whom you mean,’ she said. She looked scared. ‘Whoever you are, I need you to leave. Now… Or I'll call the police.’

  I looked around once more and then ran past her out onto the street. I was cold and tired so I came home and sat in last night’s clothes thinking... Adam has moved? What's going on? I still don't know what to think after all the thinking.

  Although, I should go round and apologise to the woman with the cat on her computer.


  Wednesday 1st December 16.02

  TO: [email protected], [email protected]

  I slept fitfully and dreamt about Adam standing at the top of the stairs in his red tracksuit. I started climbing towards him, but halfway up, the stairs turned into an escalator going the wrong way and as fast as I ran, I couldn’t reach him.

  I woke at five bathed in sweat. I couldn’t face staying in bed, so I came down to make a cup of tea. I flicked the radio on and heard that this is the coldest start to December in twenty years. As it got light, snow began to fall, swirling around lazily before settling on the ground. It carried on snowing and soon the grey streets were transformed. At half nine there was a knock at the front door. Through the peephole, I could make out Rosencrantz with Wayne and Oscar, all rugged up with the snow whirling around them. I quickly opened the door and pulled them inside.

  ‘It’s like London is shut down. There’s no people about, no trains or buses running,’ said Rosencrantz excitedly.

  ‘How did you get here?’ I said.

  ‘A dodgy mini-cab, with a driver who was willing to risk it.’ I took them through to the kitchen. They were all grinning oddly.

  'It’s a nice gaff you’ve got Mrs. P,' said Oscar unzipping his jacket.

  ‘It’s elegant, homely,’ said Wayne unwinding his scarf theatrically. ‘Is the kitchen Ikea? Klöepenklund? Flöngenfart? Skänka?’

  ‘Um, I don’t remember,’ I said. ‘Rosencrantz picked it out for us when he was thirteen.’

  ‘It’s a Conran kitchen,’ said Rosencrantz. ‘And the grooves on the draining board were cut with a laser.’

  ‘That’s really cool,’ said Oscar. I didn’t understand why they’d trekked across London in the snow to admire the kitchen, and Rosencrantz was still rugged up in his huge winter coat.

  ‘Have you had any breakfast?’ I said. They all shook their heads, smir

  ‘Why not put the kettle on mum,’ said Rosencrantz knowingly. I turned to fill the kettle and when I turned back, there was a tiny Maltese puppy sitting on the kitchen island.

  ‘Do you like him Mum? I had him in my coat,’ said Rosencrantz.

  ‘What are you doing getting a dog?' I said. 'Do you know how much work a dog is? And you’ve just gone and got a job!'

  'He's for you,' said Rosencrantz. 'So you won't be lonely.' The little dog stared up at me with eager little eyes and a tiny black button nose. I opened my mouth to say, I can't have a dog, I haven't got time! But, I have got time. Too much time.

  The boys were watching curiously, much like they do when a new animal is introduced into a cage at the zoo. I reached out and the little white pup licked me, and then put his tiny furry paw in my hand. I gently scooped him up. He was so soft and beautiful and he snuggled into the crook of my arm. I started to well up.

  ‘Don’t you want him?’ said Rosencrantz anxiously.

  ‘Yes, he’s perfect,’ I said. ‘I’m just… I haven’t slept much.’ Wayne pulled a lace hanky from his bag and handed it over, Oscar patted my shoulder.

  The puppy stood up in my arms with his front legs on my chest and licked my tears with a tiny pink tongue.

  'He's so cute!' said Oscar ruffling his little mop of silky fur.

  'He's a matinee idol!' declared Wayne clasping his hand to an imaginary décolletage.

  ‘He’s a pedigree,’ said Rosencrantz. ‘His parents are show dogs… Oscar’s Mum is a breeder.’

  ‘We all chipped in,’ said Oscar.

  ‘Thank you boys,’ I grinned. ‘I never dreamed I’d get a dog… What should I call him?'

  ‘We thought you could call him Rocco,' said Wayne.

  ‘In tribute to Rocco Ritchie,’ said Oscar.

  ‘Madonna’s son,’ added Rosencrantz.

  'Hello Rocco,' I said. Rocco sneezed in approval, gave me another lick and I put him on the floor. I made the boys tea and toast, and we spent a happy hour watching Rocco sniff and explore the kitchen. Then they said they would leave me to bond with him.

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