Some quotes from Day 1 in Millie’s Suffolk diary as she hangs out with the toffs and gets a new job.
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How to eat an egg.
I couldn’t wipe egg off my chin with such a work of art, but if I’d opened my mouth the contents would have landed on the tablecloth. I wiped my chin instead, finished my mouthful, calmed my breathing and said, ‘Sozz but it’s the only way to eat fried egg, and why are you surprised the innocent whore and her boss got the blame? Sounds about typical to me – I’ll wash and iron the handkerchief.’
She reached across the table and took the lacy egg-stained article from me.
‘Don’t be daft. First use it’s ever had. You can’t blow your nose on it. Snot goes through the lace.’
Not better than sex.
‘I think Millie has plans for those eggs. Cut the white off, slide the yolk onto your fork and then in it goes, whole. We always do it that way. It gives a different edge to the word ‘yokel’.’
Vera was baffled. Sid offered further explanation.
‘Saves on washing up as well.’
Vera looked at me and then the plate and then at Sid, standing by her shoulder.
‘Go for it,’ I said. ‘It’s not better than sex but comes near and is definitely safer.’
Vera looked at the eggs again and started removing the white. She then pursued the yolks round the plate a while, not having the courage to hoist them onto the fork, but endangering the delicate membrane that was struggling to retain the bulging yellow mass. I moved my chair to the side of the table adjacent to her, took my fork, scooped the first yolk onto it and headed toward her mouth. She sat there, tight lipped. Just as I thought the yolk would be wrecked somewhere between chin and nose, her mouth opened and in it went. Her eyes widened as she wallowed then swallowed.
‘Wow!’ she exclaimed.
That evening, after work, I was obliged to relay the bits of conversation that Sid had been unable to eavesdrop. It wasn’t much.
‘What’s it all about? You must have an opinion.’
Sid was always quick with opinions, even when not asked for one.
‘Strictly speaking, your honesty and pride as a villager should debar you from hanging out with her,’ she began. ‘On the other hand, the café is a converted orangery and we know how unbearable it can be to work in there if we hit a spell of good weather. So, take the job. What’s the money like? It must be more than waitressing.’
‘‘All she said was, ‘it will be better,’ but as she doesn’t know what we make in tips, how can she be sure she’s offering more? But the issue is, why me?’
‘Why she offered it to you?’
I looked to her for help although after years of friendship, I already knew she usually finished things with a raunchy or lascivious punchline.
‘She’s lesbian and fancies you,’ she concluded, and strolled off chuckling and congratulating herself for causing embarrassment. Sid had no idea how profound her analysis was, but it didn’t turn out to be me Vera fancied.
My Suffolk story, inspired by a visit to the county. I observed a waitress in a café and called her Millie. I imagined her relationship with her boss – a local aristocrat – reduced to making her home a business.
‘The dialogue crackles.’ Alice Wickham – New London Writers.
‘Relaxed, witty, clever and wonderfully cynical at times.’ Dr. Hilary Johnson
‘I walked home with a bursting head. What a day! The village aristocrat has cancelled games and the village Marxist has cancelled vitriol, while the village evangelist sounds like Lenin. Someone tell me what is going on!’