“Hi you! I’ve been baking,” she said brightly.
“Really?” I said. “You’ve been having more fun than me then.”
“Yes,” she said puffing herself up. I’ve been watching that programme on TV. You know, ‘Bake Off’ I think it’s called. My cakes are just as good as the ones those people on the telly make, and I’m going to be famous.”
I looked at her quizzically.
“Anyway,” she continued, “why are you so miserable? I thought you were in Tenerife now. You like it there, don’t you?”
“Yes, I said, we arrived Tuesday. Jacqui and Matt and Me. No Betty – she’s away being retrained.”
And? She asked.
“So what’s the problem?” she asked.
I hesitated. “Cockroaches,” I said.
“What about them?” she asked.
“Thousands of them. Pouring out of the dishwasher, apparently. Fortunately someone had spotted them before we arrived and called pest control. The kitchen looked like a medieval battlefield when I got there. Dead bodies everywhere with a few wounded crawling round the floor in a daze.”
“Yuk,” she said. “I hate cockroaches.”
“Really?” I said in surprise. You’re a fairy, I said. Didn’t you lot evolve from insects?
She looked at me aggressively. I waited to get thumped with the point of her wand.
“Evolve????” she said incredulously. “You are completely mistaken Mr Forester and I’ll thank you to withdraw that offensive remark immediately. Fairykind and insects share no DNA. Well, almost none. Well… it was a long time ago. Anyway, what about you lot and chimpanzees? 90% common DNA I’m told. Are you sure you want to pursue this comparison?”
“Other than that,” she asked, “what are you doing?”
“Reading Kafka, actually,” I answered.
“Really? How highbrow. Why so?”
“Yes I’m reading The Metamorphosis I answered. You know the one about the man who turns into an insect…”
“If you don’t stop talking about insects, Mr Forester, I shall lodge a complaint for racial harassment. That got me wondering. I didn’t know whether fairies were covered by human rights. ‘Better not chance it,’ I thought.
Anyway, I could see her point. I was getting a bit obsessed with the subject of insects. Even Jacqui had suggested that in view of my reading material the cockroaches were obviously a case of creative visualisation. I had assured her that sweeping up the dead and walking wounded at 5.00 am was not exactly the best example I could think of trance induction.
“Let’s change the subject,” she said brightly. “Fancy a sample of my new raisin cupcake recipe?”