Fiction (Stories and Screenplays)

Red Penny

Michael is nearly there now, out of breath, but with a body pumped full of adrenaline. He’ll be the toast of democracy when they find out about this. He cannot believe that no one saw him. Having lost his sandals, it reaches the point where it is finally worthwhile to brush the dirt off his bare feet, now that he is inside. The grey t-shirt he bought yesterday has become home to numerous insects; with just a mere look at them bringing out the itches. The knees of his palatinate blue jeans are complimented by brown and green grass patches. He takes one look at the bloody graze on his elbow and attempts to suck the living daylights out of it whilst walking towards a brown pine door that he guesses to contain a bathroom with taps. It doesn’t, so his throat will have to wait a little longer before it gets some moisture upon its larynx. Some wine wouldn’t go amiss. And a cigarette after all that ducking, diving and scaling of drainpipes.

It feels like a fairytale in the way that he has evaded the powers-that-be in and around the palace (or castle, as he romantically notions to himself). Well, if he wants to meet his ‘Princess’ then he will have to be subtle. He delicately places his feet upon the red carpet and barely registers a muffle with each step he takes as he makes his way to a drinks cabinet. Upon reaching it he is distracted by the sound of snoring up ahead. He tip toes towards the sound which happens to be coming from a room north-west to his being. Its door is quarter of the way open. Standing up against the wall next to the door, he glances at both directions up the hallway before taking a very slow peek through the hinged part of the frame. He takes one last look each side of the hallway before heading into the room. As he does so he sees a person lying on a double-bed, and low and behold, it is Queen Elizabeth II sprawled out asleep surrounded by three dozen of her beloved corgis and a collection of KFC bargain buckets – it must have been some feast. Michael, being the starving dare-monger that he is, walks towards these contents and checks for any leftover food. If it was any other person who had had their grubby mitts on the chicken then he wouldn’t go near it. But this is royalty: ‘surely they’re immune to diseases,’ he thinks. ‘I bet they don’t even have to go to the toilet. I wonder if her local KFC occasionally brings in pheasants to cook and fry specifically for her,’ he continues to ponder aimlessly.

There’s nothing worth scavenging for as it is just batter and chicken bones that are left at the bottom of some grease sodden boxes. Michael begins humming the tune to Sun Arise by Rolf Harris until he hears a squeaking sound which he hopes is a mouse. It’s the mattress. The springs in it must be tired, especially if they had the ‘pleasure’ of holding aloft Queen Victoria for over 63 years (a woman who herself, it can be assumed, would not have been averse to a KFC bargain bucket or 20 had she been alive today). Like Elizabeth, the corgis are stirring – must have had a dodgy chicken wing – which is enough to make Michael stop dead in his tracks for fear of waking her. As he tip toes towards the door in order to exit the room he accidently treads and falls on one of the corgi’s paw’s, which services a yelp from its chops, and then a ‘woof’ followed by another ‘woof’ then another, then another, then another by all the other surrounding furry gold balls, who appear to be re-enacting a corgi version of Alfred Hitchcock’s film, The Birds. The barking keeps on going until finally, Old Liz rises up complaining about the noise. She looks bleary eyed towards the light coming from the chandeliers in the hall. And then with a voice that sounds like she is constipated, she screams, ‘‘WHAT’S ALL THE RACKET?! ARE YOU HAVING NIGHTMARES AGAIN CHARLES? IF YOU ARE, DON’T WORRY, I’M SURE THE BABY WON’T LOOK LIKE RED RUM.”

This is in reference to Camilla Parker Bowles’ pregnancy and Charles’ fearful premonition that his new born child will end up looking like a winner from the Grand National.

‘‘I’VE GOT THE SMALLEST TEETH IN THE FAMILY, SO MAYBE THE LITTLE BLEATER WILL TAKE AFTER ME,’’ she continues to bellow. ”JUST GO TO SLEEP WITH THE LIGHT ON IF YOU’RE WORRIED.”

She soon realises that it’s the corgis in distress so she switches on the lamp that is by her bedside. She screams and recoils in horror at the shadowy figure fighting off the crowd of mutts.

‘‘Hi ya,’’ Michael says as he stands up, greeting the Queen as if she is an old friend that he sees every day. ‘‘Just playing,’’ he proceeds as he kicks a corgi out the window. From there, one by one, he throws the rest of them out of the room and into the hallway. After closing the door he stands up and brushes off the golden dog hairs from his jeans. Lizzie lies upright with her jaw wide open stuttering as much as her famous father, King George VI, did when he would have to order a salty, salmon, non-salmonella ridden sandwich.

‘‘Don’t worry,’’ Michael tries to reassure her, ‘‘I’m here to protect you, to let security know how lax their ‘security’ really is. Once they find out, they’ll tighten it up so that a real nutcase will not be able to get in here and steal your leftover KFC in future.’’

‘Beth holds the bed linen over her little mouth.

They look at each other for a minute or so.

‘‘Nice place you got here. Want some chicken?’’ he says, breaking the silence with a mouthful of batter.

He holds out the box towards her.

‘‘Is there still some left?’’ she mumbles under the covers.

‘‘Yeah, there is,’’ Michael says calmly, reaching for one of the boxes, ‘‘but only the hard bits attached to the bones that no one eats – feel free to have a nibble.’’

Elizabeth slowly takes the bed covers away from her tiny trap as Michael pulls up a chair beside the bed. They then natter inanely about security and fried chicken for 10 minutes.

‘‘I should be thanking you,’’ she says. ‘‘If it was not for you my dear fellow, a few years or even days from now, I would have been sat in this room with a peculiar stranger.’’

Michael has worked his charm.

‘‘Oh no, not at all,’’ he says, leaning back with his eyes closed, ‘‘it was nothing. I’m just glad that I was able to prove that I could get in here and nick your KFC, because I myself hate it when that happens.’’

The Queen grabs a meat free chicken wing and looks at him in contemplative thought.

‘‘You know what,’’ she says, hunching forward gnawing into the bone, ‘‘I’m going to put you forward for a knighthood. You saved my life.’’

‘‘Ha, yeah, you should,’’ Michael smiles.

‘‘No, really,’’ Liz interjects, ‘‘I’m being serious.’’

‘‘But even if I did save your life, aren’t you supposed to do things of importance like killing foreign babies to receive an accolade like that?’’

‘‘In lots of cases, yes,’’ she replies, ‘‘but saving one’s future bargain bucket meals is just as significant I feel.’’

Michael begins to chew like a cow with grass.

‘‘Bit sudden innit’?’’ he says. ‘‘Not sure if I’m worthy.’’

‘‘Nonsense!’’ Lizzie 2 says in an abrupt but friendly manner, ‘‘if one is good enough for Fred Goodwin then one is good enough for a scruffy so-and-so such as you.’’

‘‘You’re not going to take it back off me though are you?’’ he giggles.

‘‘Well, if it makes me appear like I’m showing solidarity with the general public in difficult times then I will.’’

‘‘Seriously…?!’’.

She nods in agreement.

‘‘I’m speechless,’’ Michael says whilst speechless.

She pushes the covers away. Michael can now see what she is wearing. She has a Liberty print dressing gown on that goes down to her knees. She pulls it up – showing a bit of thigh – and looks down at her right leg spread across the bed.

‘‘Sorry about what happened back there, you know, the kicking-the-dog-out-the-window-thing…’’ Michael says.

‘‘Oh, don’t worry about that. I’ve got loads of them.’’

‘‘Right…’’

Michael starts staring at the ceiling all around the room.

‘‘Look,’’ she says, still looking down at her leg, ‘‘I’ll be honest with you…’’

She stops and, giving Michael a quizzical look, asks, ‘‘what on earth is your name? I don’t know your name.’’

‘‘Michael,’’ he says smiling, looking her in the eyes.

‘‘Ah, Michael,’’ she sighed, ‘‘I hate that name; I had an awful affair with a man called Michael. When I met him, he appeared as racist as my husband, Phillip, but he wasn’t in the end, which was disappointing. Still, you seem a rather nice young chap. Now, Michael, even though the public aren’t harbouring me to give you a knighthood, I am going to push it through by telling those specimens who are not fit to be called ‘human’ that you saved my life, OK?’’

‘‘What will you say?’’

‘‘Oh, I don’t know. The general public lap up anything I say so it won’t matter.’’

‘‘That’s fine by me.”

He pauses.

”Bloody hell! I can’t believe I’m gonna be a Sir! This is unreal!’’

He stands up with his hand out ready to shake one of the wrinkly ones of Old Liz who also props herself up to accept his gratitude. They feel like rubber gloves. He bows down to her Royal Highness as one is expected to, but is shocked as she grabs his crotch.

‘‘There is one condition to abide by in order to become a knight of the realm,’’ she whispers in his left ear.

And with this single comment, Michael immediately knows that he will have to take off his pants.

‘‘Do you follow my drift?’’ she says.

‘‘Yes,’’ he mutters sheepishly.

He begins to take off his trousers like an exotic dancer with spinal deficiency as ‘Beth grabs a pair of scissors from her drawer. She cuts through the elastic that holds up his white y-fronts like she would with a ribbon. Michael watches them as they fall down to his ankles.

The Queen steps back.

‘‘I now declare this episode of sex, OPEN!’’

As soon as she finishes the statement, she jumps on Michael and wraps her legs around his waist. They go on to have two minutes of sensuous-free sex together. After they have finished, Michael offers his verdict: ‘‘That was great, but I would go just a little bit easier on the biting…just a little, that’s all.’’

Elizabeth responds with a kiss on his lips and lights a cigarette.

Michael gets up and gets dressed.

‘‘I’ll see you at the ceremony,’’ she says, holding her cigarette upwards, doing her best Mia Wallaceimpression.

‘‘OK. When is it?’’ he asks as he zips up his jeans.

‘‘I dunno,’’ she replies, ”probably New Year’s Eve…”

”Right, I’ll er, hopefully see you then…then.

”OK. Goodbye.”

The Queen switches off the lamp beside her bed and turns on her side with her back to Michael to go back to sleep.

Michael knows his place, bows down and walks out of the room.

Written by Ricky Murray

29/05/2012

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