A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

Quilps to the Top part 10


Indigo Quilps was in an awkward situation.

It’s your fault,” bawled an irate woman in her twenties and sitting on the hot bonnet of his car as if that’s what it was there for.

He could hear the hot metal of his bonnet sizzling as it scorched her skirt and quite plainly see the way she wiggled from side to side to avoid too much heat on her rather good looking thighs and buttocks, and he almost felt a wave of sympathy washing over him Almost, but not quite..

Just you get off my car before you do yourself a mischief,” he advised.

I’ve been wanting to have it out with you since you were voted in,” screeched the woman, one Melissa Townbridge who quite clearly had something on her mind.

I’m always approachable,” he told her, soothingly, “you only have to stop me in the street and I’ll give you all the time you need.”

That was, of course, a lie. Indigo Quilps spent most of his time, now that he represented the people of Brumpton in Parliament, doing his best to avoid them, especially if they looked as if they might be miffed about something. And he knew that he stood out from the crowds on account of him perching the tallest top hat the best charity shops could provide on his head, thus creating an image of a very tall man. It was, of course, nothing to do with avoiding people but quite the opposite. He had a firm belief that life in the nineteenth century when top hats were in vogue was better than life in the twenty first century when top hats were nothing but the subject of mockery.

Melissa Townbridge slowly climbed off his car, revealing a mass of rather pink thigh which gave Indigo a lump in his throat as his eyes roamed over it.

What you need,” she said in something approaching a squawk, “is what other parliament men have and that’s a weekly surgery. Then a refined lady like myself wouldn’t have to risk life and limb climbing over your car to get at you!”

The only surgery that Quilps knew anything about was the one at the doctor’s where he’d taken his wife Marie when she was expecting Olive, not that either had much relevance in his life because Maried persisted in following her chosen profession as a w***e and Olive had been donated to a needy French family where she’d reached the age of three by then and would be a total stranger to Quilps should they chance to meet on the street.

I’m not a medical man!” he protested, “so I don’t need a surgery!” He climbed out of the car, which was fortunately on the third floor of a multi-storey car park, and held one hand out to help Melissa Townbridge as she gently tried to rub some form of comfort into her thigh.

Get your hand off my bum!” she squawked, and an elderly couple climbing into the next car in the car park tut-tutted and, when she noticed the top hat and who was wearing it the woman said in a coarse whisper that carried well past Indigo, “that’s him! I told you he was a perv!” and her husband (if that’s what he was) replied “should be rotting in jail, he should,” and he started their engine up and drove off far too quickly as if to suggest proximity to Quilps might result in something horribly catching.

I was only trying to help,” he muttered, “you look so uncomfortable. Now what made you think I was a doctor?”

I didn’t,” she hissed.

Then what made you think I might want a surgery…?” he asked, helping her into the passenger seat of his car where he thought she might be more comfortable and where nobody else would see him attending to her sore thighs should he be moved to rub them.

It’s not only doctors and dentists that have surgeries!” she snapped, “MPs do too. A room where they can hold a weekly session helping any constituents that need help, and I need help right now!”

What a brilliant idea!” he said with a disarming smile, “a room, an office, and a place for views to be shared and problems ironed out! I’ll get one of those, pronto. See if I don’t”

A bit late for my granny,” almost wept Melissa.

Why? Does she want to come too?” he asked.

She would if she could…” As she said those words Melissa’s voice seemed to crack as if it had been caught in a vice and bent beyond breaking point.

You poor dear thing,” he mumbled.

I know,” she said, “and so was my granny.”

Poor granny,” he sighed.

Why? Do you know her. I mean did… did you know her?”

He shook his head. “I know lots of people,” he said, “but probably not specifically your granny.”

You wouldn’t,” wept Melissa, “not since she was taken to the crematorium.”

Quilps was appalled. “She was? By mistake?” he asked, “you can’t mean she wasn’t actually dead!”

Oh, she was dead all right. Dead and cold and miserable,” sobbed Melissa.

Oh, I am so sorry,” he told her, and for a moment he actually felt genuinely sorry for Melissa’s granny. “Nobody’s granny should have to end up like that,” he added, not really knowing how she’d ended up but suspecting it was something terminal.

There was one hell of a queue,” groaned Melissa, “and she and graddad were in it.”

You mean, to the crematorium?” he asked sympathetically, nodding.

You are as daft as they say, aren’t you?” she almost exploded, “of course not on the road to the crematorium! And you can keep your hands well away from my legs! They’re quite sore enough without you making them worse.”

He didn’t like to think he was looked on as in any way daft because he knew he was the brightest star in Brumpton’s sky, but he let it pass because tears are rarely soothed by the weeper being told she’s got something wrong. So he removed his hands from any proximity to the tempting looking thigh that still glowed pink, shook his head and suggested that she explained exactly what was wrong.

Granny and Grandpa were going on holiday,” she said, “they knew it was their last holiday together and it was to be special. So they used all their savings, and I gave them some money too, and set off in their car to have the best time ever. You see, tney’d been to Paris when they were young, in the sixties, and wanted to feel the love and poetry of that city one last time before they passed away.”

What a lovely thought,” he nodded, “My daughter lives in France,” he added, irrelevantly.

But there was a hold up and long queues, miles long I was told, and granny needed a wee…”

Wouldn't anyone?” he asked, not sure how he ought to respond.

You see, she was modest. Old fashioned, maybe, and lovely, and she couldn’t bring herself to get out of the car like other people did and where she would be seen, and have a wee behind the car.”

Very proper too,” nodded Quilps.

So instead of weeing, she died. Out there in a queue near Dover. Desperate to keep decent and dying for a pee. It was her heart, I was told, that eventually gave way, and it broke Grandpa’s heart and he had to take to his bed when he got home. You see, they missed the ferry…”

Dreadful,” he muttered, shaking his head.

You think so, mr Quilps? Then why did you let it happen, you and your mates in London? And why was it, eh?”

Blame the French,” he said, knowing it wasn’t enough.

And it wasn’t. “That’s what they all say!” shouted Melissa Townbridge, “blame the foreigners! When it’s not their fault! I’ve studied it, Mr Quilps, and it’s you rich people who want to get even richer and don’t want special European laws designed to make you pay fair taxes when you use off-shore banks for your ill-gotten gains! You heard it was going to happen, you and your millionaire chums, and you made us get out of the EU as soon as you could, didn’t you? Even told us you didn’t want their laws! And that’s why granny died where she was! In a fume-ridden queue outside Dover, and missing the best holiday she was supposed to have!”

Quilps smiled to himself.

Billionaire chums,” he mumbled, “we’re not all poor millionaires, you know. And I’m sorry your granny died, but she was going to anyway, wasn’t she, pretty soon? That’s what you said, wasn’t it?”

© Peter Rogerson 03.08.22


© 2022 Peter Rogerson

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Added on August 3, 2022
Last Updated on August 3, 2022
Tags: stranger's granny, holiday, queues


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 79 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..