Sunday 11 March 2012

As A Parrot

I blame the school.
I’ve never been prone much to illness. I think after the hell of neuralgia until my mid-twenties (whereupon it just plain stopped attacking), and the gout now – which is better because it’s distanced, not in my head – mere sniffs and sneezes gave up on making an impact on me. I’ve lived in a flat so cold that a pipe bursting actually froze itself rather than drip and not a hint of a cold. Flu is what men get of course, or a cold as it’s more commonly known but the point is that for many years sickiness and the common ague were strangers to me. As an aside, stinging nettles don’t bother me either.
But since the sprouts have been in school I’ve suffered the odd one-day night-burns-it-away lurgie. The sprouts too have gained some of that. Certainly when the school is laid low by a sweeping horror they’re in there, wondering where everyone has gone, and enjoying their day like anyone in the first reel of 28 Days Later. Or Day of the Triffids if you prefer, and I certainly do. They sit there flipping through books whilst zombies lurch about, occasionally twatting them with the broom at playtime.
So when on Thursday night my youngest Boswell came down with yuckiness it was to stern denials on her part. Boswell although but five will loudly declare to any mere injury that she is ‘brave and bold’. She never cries, even when bloody and torn. My eldest Catnip whilst more girly than a dozen flower-fairy princesses says no such thing and though will cry at bump or scratch, never for long, and never to a sniffle, which she also never suffers. So Boswell was laid low (and much to her displeasure), and to the extent she denied it all and went to school anyway where as I suppose I should have expected, nearly no one else was. Apart from her big sister, who in between reading by tallow light spent the day planting daisies on the fields of dead. Crows fear her and leave her gifts. When I say she’s like a fairy its worth pointing out that it’s an Unseelie one.
Inevitably Bosswell was not long there and I had to collect her with the aid of a machete and the ancestral shotgun. Muttering and staggering home at a slug’s pace the walking dead fled, and being proper shuffling dead that involved a lot of slapstick falling over. Copious amounts of duvets and never-nice-enough water later and Catnip decides she is also ill, all the time whilst Bosswell denies it, picking at the corpse of a puppy that looked at her in a funny way.
Soon and the world is a sickly place and I... am not. So it’s been a few days of up and down stairs, fetching, reading aloud, all the while being grumbled at for being merely worn out. The village has gone to the dead and somehow the orange juice is, I quote, wrong.
The apocalypse sucks.
Don’t let anyone tell you different.

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