Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Penny and the Mistique “beautiful Bastage!”

“It near be St. Krispin’s day I do believe!” squeeked the lil voice of Ermes Butterswoon.. “Ah can’t help but hope for some horse stained hard candy!” Ye Ole Penny Fathrington come to help all us orphans!” The only thing more distinguishing than Ermes sweet plaintive faith was his lack of hygiene and lazy eye. He was an orphan after all. Every year lil Ermes cockeye, as he was known,would put a radish in his burlap cap and hope for a visit from the wondrous Penny Fathrington!
It’s said that when Penny shakes his head his locks dropglittering angels and the angels drop pennies which Penny Fatherington puts in his pockets. It’s not an exciting story, but that’s what happens! 
This year Ermes had nary a radish. The cruel chants that would ring through Ermes coliflowered  ears “cockeyed Butterspit ain’t got no radish in PIP!” It was true, and it HURT! What Ermes did have was a small potato. It was a potato like any other and he just knew that Penny Fathrington, patron saint of peasants, would understand his sacrifice and accept his offering. It was a confident little urchin that went to sleep that night.
Oh how foolish he was! It was that very night that Ermes dreamt that he could smell horse hair and cinnamon, the tell tale signs of Penny! Unable to sleep any longer the little Butterswoon awoke mouth open and tongue tasting the ground searching for that sweet striped candy. What Ermes failed to realize was that Penny Fathrington was really craving that radish and was sorely disappointed to find a potato, his potato. The potato was nowpartially smashed and looking as sad and dejected as the orphan who had put it there. His lazy eye watered until he cried. He cried until he vomited. And his vomit landed on his potato, ruining it. St. Crispin’s day had truly become St Pissy day.
What would the kids say now? Drowning in a despair as dark as molasses, which he had never even tried, which made his despair even worse, Butterswoon heard a sound! A sound so full of cheer, so full of hope and healing that Ermes lazy eye corrected itself and one ear went from colliflower to mild broccoli! A pure women’s voice whispered into his ear “no need for tears, no more need for fears!” Looking up Ermes saw a face as true as the first snow! Thiswoman was reaching towards him offering him his first ever steamymeat pie, and as if she could read his mind, a hot cup of molasses!As he reached heavenward with the three sausages that he called fingers he smelled a smell….a smell familiar, like a favorite song caught upon the wind…What was it? Horse, cinnamon and…chagrin! Before Ermes could blink the meat pie and molasses weregone and a gruff voice was heard to say “what do you think you’re doing here ya beautiful bastage?” A big red hand, beefy enough to match the voice, was suddenly hauling the kind woman away, with a small push the woman was sent on her way. The real Penny Fathrington, turning his majestic head and spilling angles everywhere looked upon the lil orphan and said “there be only room for one patron in this town and he be me!” With a smile as big as his heart Penny threw a two bit copper dill towards the young orphan and went about his way. Ermes swears to this day that Penny turned once again towards the angelic woman, pointed towards the outskirts of town and said in a voice as true as the northern star “Keep following your feet”….and then a little more quietly, “you beautiful bastage.”

Ye olde bric-a-brac

“But guvnah, last time I…me hand you see!”

Little Pipwilliams Fitzwinkle held up the bandaged stump where his fingers used to be.

“You’ll do it and you’ll be happy for the tuppence you earn at the end of the day”!

Pipwilliams worked in a sooty factory that produces bric-a-brac and assorted widgets for those wealthy genteel members of society that have recently added bric-a-brac rooms in their homes that needed filling. Pipwilliams and the other street urchins were employed because their nimble little fingers were just small enough to clean the broken pieces of widget that often got stuck in the gears and chompers. However, as young Fitzwinkle has learned, sometimes it is dangerous work. Dangerous work indeed, unless of course you think it a mere trifle to lose your fingers one or two at a time until you can no longer spin the slodgepotter or play a game of catch-the-pigs ear with your friends.

“I’ll be back and you had better retrieve that widget piece or you will be paid nothing,” said the foreman, giggling with glee because he had already started planning on buying toffee taters with Pipwilliams’ tuppence.

After Pipwilliams finished wiping away the tears with his stump that had the most fingers left, he got ready to put his fingers into the works. Among the hissing, and clanging and acrid smell of the widget making gears he thought he caught a whiff of, could it be horse sweat and…candy? No thought he. Not here. Then a shadow came over little Pipwilliams. He looked up and saw a man. His face was hard to make out but he thought he caught the twinkling reflection of a bronze monocle.

“Ahoy there young master Fitzwinkle! You canna be putting that stump in there!” 

“But Sir, I must. My sister needs the money so we can buy her a new tooth. You see she needs at least one so she can eat her porridge!”

“Aye. Well if ye must, ye must! Allow me to shake your wee hand. For luck!”

Ashamed, Pipwilliams put his best stump forward. It still had a thumb and ring finger. He was startled when the gentleman grasped it vigorously and shook it all while laughing. “Fear not Master Fitzwinkle, for today is a new day! Let ME give YOU a hand!”

Pipwilliams removed his hand from the man’s grasp and saw a beautiful ruby colored hand that smelled like Christmas morn! Twas a candy hand with 3 candy fingers where before it was but bloody stumps! Immediately he thrust his candy hand into the widget wacker and before you can say “happy day!” there was ribbon candy spewing forth from every machine in the factory! Bric-a-brac shaped ribbon candy! Widget shaped ribbon candy! Ribbon candy in all shapes and sizes! “Huzzah!” cried the children! “Huzzah!”

Pipwilliams immediately stuck his candy fingers in his hand and sucked on them merrily! He turned to thank the stranger but he was not to be found! On the ground there were traces of lint stuck to the factory floor. Thank ye Penny! Thank ye, indeed!