Thursday, November 06, 2008
Lucy boxed up the seventeen shells she’d found on the beach and wrapped the whole package in brown paper and string and sealing wax, just like the boxes in the attic of Laverstone Manor. She inscribed Ada’s address (22, The Terrace, Laverstone, Hertfordshire) with a black biro (her tongue only slightly protruding from the corner of her mouth) and took it to the post office.
“First class, please,” she said, standing on tiptoes to reach the counter. “It’s for my Grandmother.”
“She’s a lucky woman,” said Mrs. Moffatt, leaning over the counter, “to have such a thoughtful little girl.”
“I’m not little,” said Lucy. “I’m 1.24 meters.”
“Fancy that!” Mrs. Moffatt held no truck with new-fangled measurements. She looked around the shop. “Is there anyone looking after you?”
“No.” Lucy smiled as she put two pound coins on the counter. “Daddy says I’m big enough and ugly enough to look after myself.”
“And how old are you?”
“I see.” Mrs Moffatt picked up the telephone. “Would you like an ice cream? I’ve got to ask a policeman to come and have a chat.”
Lucy’s face fell. “Didn’t I have enough money?”
From his vantage point on the ceiling, an invisible Devious frowned. In his experience, no good ever came of calling a policeman.