Three months later Swetti Nax arrived at the door of George and Edie’s mountainside hovel. After smashing her fist against the door frame several times, George answered her accompanying bellows of greeting…
“By the Saint of All Earplugs.” He exclaimed. “What has brought you all the way up here, sweet innocent Swetti?”
But before Swetti could answer the pink mountain pea farmer, Edie (who couldn’t come out because she couldn’t find her knickers anywhere) shouted: “Who is it, George? If it’s one of them religious zealots, throw him into the gorge without a parachute – or at least one that doesn’t unfold very well, and only fully deploys when the free-faller is a metre above the jagged rocks below.”
“It’s Swetti Nax, dear.” George called back. “The Joyfulette who can actually sing.”
“Who?” Edie managed as her knickers miraculously revealed themselves to be hanging on the drier in the bath tub. “Is that the plain one, with a face that could sink a thousand ships?”
“Yes, that’s the girl.” George said with an awkward smile. “She’s come all the way here from the Museum of Future Technology. By the way, Swetti; what do you want? We’re busy earplugs you know. Busy doing nothing mostly; but busy nonetheless.”
“I want to see Bubbly Salterton.” Swetti answered.
Edie must have heard from where she stood beside the washing machine. “Tell her to go away. We love her dearly and wish her well with her chosen career; but she can’t have Bubbly.”
“That’s right.” George added – rather loudly, Swetti considered. “We’re retired now. Bubbly does all the work. It’s a very busy time of the year right now. You’ll have to come back in the Spring.”
Then, with a conspiratorial wink he added: “He’s up in the snowy pasture. If you run you’ll catch him before he visits the toilet.”
At that point Edie emerged from the hovel…
…and Swetti had to pretend to be angry and storm off – en route (Edie didn’t know it of course) for the snowy pasture.
It was a long and arduous climb up from the snow-free zone to where Bubbly stood surveying the area…
In fact Swetti was so exhausted in the thin air that she didn’t notice the former curator. But Bubbly certainly spotted her, and his heart skipped several beats. And, for a moment or two, he thought he might be suffering a myocardial infarction. Then he called out to her. In an instant Swetti turned to look…
“Bubbly,” she called out, “you’re needed – badly.”
“Needed?” Bubbly said in voice grown suddenly small. “No one needs me – except George and Edie, of course, whose useless sons ran off to the city and left them to farm the mountain all by themselves – the evil swine.” His voice strengthening, he added: “But I digress. Who needs me – and why?”
“I do.” Swetti answered in a heartbeat. “And the Joyfulettes too, of course. Cory Valentine had a bust up with Ootis. Long story short: the Trumptations are no more. Disbanded. The Joyfulettes need a manager. Two of them need a father figure to guide them. And one needs a husband.”
Bubbly felt uncertain. How should he respond? Could Swetti be telling the truth? Of course she could: why else would she take the transfer conduit from the Museum of Future Technology – to Transfer Conduit Station Seven…
…then clamber up the frozen mountainside, only to give him a stupid story about being wanted as a manager, father figure, and finally (gulp) a husband? Obviously no reason at all. Ergo every word the sweet thing was telling him was true.
“Tell me more.” He replied.
“Well you know everything about the museum.” Swetti began. “You were a curator after all. So you’re bound to know all the best places and people to get us bookings. And as regards the father figure…well Blinky and Piper both think that they are the ultimate eye candy, and therefore need a male who can be impartial and tell them where they’re going wrong – like wearing skirts too short or lip gloss that’s too bright. That sort of thing. Someone who doesn’t get his knickers in a twist if he accidentally walks into their dressing room when they’re…well you know…”
And indeed Bubbly did. These past three months working hard on the pea farm had taught him many things: not least that he was no longer a young male earplug and that his girl-chasing days were well and truly over, and had been for several years.
“So who needs a husband?” He asked – rather stupidly, or so thought Swetti.
“Well obviously I do.” She stated bluntly. “A bag of potatoes like me can’t play the field for ever without success you know.”
Bubbly was astonished by this. “Bag of potatoes?” He said. “But surely you can’t believe that you’re unattractive. You have the most fabulous eyes. So large and expressive. And when you blow hard – like following a long dance session or, in today’s case, climbing up a mountain – your lips form the most perfect pout. Swetti, you are no bag of potatoes: you are, at worst, a gold-lined purse of peaches. If it is a husband you seek, you’ve come to the right place: I would be honoured.”
“Yeah?” Swetti said in a delighted tone.
“Yeah.” Bubbly responded.
And so, Swetti and Bubbly returned down the mountain…
…en route to the Museum of Future Technology…
…and looked forward to whatever the future might hold for them.
The End (for now)
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017