At registration, Tracy Roper made the mistake of asking Miss Arkwright if she’d sent anyone a Valentine.
Rearrange the phase, ‘rag, bull, to and red’ and you’ll know how she reacted. She went all stiff and drew herself up. I knew what was coming. Miss Arkwright was not a believer in something called the ‘kitsch commercialism’ of St Valentine’s day–her words.
“Heart shaped chocolates? Give me strength. They’re cheap and nasty and I dread to think of the wastage in packaging. I don’t like red. I don’t like roses. Know how many roses are sent on valentine’s day? 89 million in the USA alone. And they’re all imported and so generate a carbon footprint the size of Belgium.”
No one spoke for a while because Miss Arkwright’s eyes had started to bulge a bit. But then Jenks piped up from the back.
“Wasn’t there this huge massacre on St Valentine’s day, miss? Gangsters and stuff?”
“Yes indeed there was, Lee. Al Capone and his gang ordered the massacre of seven rival gang members in Chicago on St Valentine’s day, 1929. He, too, was probably fed up with being sent silly red flowers and cards with cupids on them.”
We should have known that Ruff was building up to something. He had one of his silly grins on his face when he put his hand up.
“Yes, Rufus?” Miss Arkwright asked.
“That explains why we’ve got a Greek lunch on today then, doesn’t it miss?” Ruff said.
Miss Arkwright narrowed her eyes suspiciously. But Ruff had hooked her and she was helpless as he reeled her in. “Does it Rufus. And how exactly are the two things linked, pray tell?”
“Obvious, isn’t it? The kitchen’s re-enacting the St Valentine’s day moussaka.”
Several people groaned. Miss Arkwright actually laughed. Lee Jenkins watched the joke sail effortlessly over his head. Ruff, meanwhile, smirked for the rest of the day.
You can read more about Oz and Ruff and friends here. The Obsidian Pebble.