Chapter 7

Written by: Suraya Dewing

I can hear Gerard’s voice and I walk through the quaint village station. He is roaring like a lion.  

As I go through the door a piece of yellow stained plaster peels away from the wall and falls to the cracked concrete path. Needs renovating, I mentally note then remember that I have some renovating of my own to do. The bathroom floor where penguins once frolicked is now a gaping gap above my kitchen. Water dripped onto the table and sizzled on the still hot coffee pot. The bath hung by a faucet.

I realise the tremendous lengths Gerard is prepared to go to win my heart. Suddenly, unexpectedly my heart softens and I fall in love with him, deeply, heavily, swooningly.

Meantime, his impossible mother is striding ahead of me, turquoise hat with layers of soft silk wrapped around its brim. Embroidered crustaceans and shrimps are woven through the embellishment. It wobbles dangerously on top of her hair netted head. 

“Gerard, I’m coming to take you away from all of this,” she screams. She reminds me of the camel at its most cantankerous.

Mrs Knight stops, immobilised by the sight before her. Her son in a cell, looking sheepishly through the legs of a camel. The camel is now his cell mate.

“What is that doing here?” she demands.

Gerard fixes obdurate blue eyes on his beloved mother and declares, “I’m keeping the camel.”

I snigger. The look on Mrs Knight’s face is a joy to behold.  Yes, I would not be surprised if her son has lost his mind…with a mother like that, it’s no surprise really… I absolutely adore him!

Mrs Knight turns on me. “And you young lady deserve….” She splutters, lost for words.

Gerard appears not to care. He calls through the bars to the duty officer.

“My mother is here to post bail.”

Open mouthed Mrs Knight turns on her son and gasps… “I did not…” 

But Gerard gives her the look that always wins her over and she waddles down in her sensible cracked court shoes and pays his bail. 

Gerard grabs the camel by the lead. The camel brays like a donkey and tosses its head in defiance. His mother and I stand, dumbstruck. He orders the camel to kneel on its callused knees and he makes it crawl through the door.

“Come on,” he calls to me. “We’ll be late.”

I come out of my stupor deciding to leave my precious Mustang parked up on the curb. It smells pretty bad anyway. It needs a proper, thorough valet. I run after Gerard and the camel, looking behind to see if Mrs Knight follows. She doesn't.

Instead, she stands, hands on hips, face fixed in an angry scowl. She hesitates, takes a step forward then stops as two flamingos unexpectedly descend and perch on her silly hat where they peck at the embroidered crustaceans and shrimps.