Portly Gerald Speckle, the middle aged optometrist down the road, on discovering the last crumbs of the enormous glasses shaped cake, sat weeping into his handkerchief. He had worked hard on the dessert and was pleased with his design, a large pair of cake glasses but where the eyes would normally be he had added two cake soccer balls. The whole thing was surrounded by a rectangle of sponge heavily iced in bright green.
He was consoled by Tanya “lightening” Simpson, the stocky freckled 12 year old center forward from first division. She couldn’t understand why he was so upset as the game would go on on Saturday and it was only a cake but her parents had always taught her to be kind especially if someone was crying.
What she didn’t know was that the optometrist had invited Margherita Lambrossier, the local school librarian to the game on the promise he would cut the cake. Gerald had first set eyes on Ms Lambrossier when she had booked in to get her monocle lens replaced after accidentally dropping it into her insinkerator and turning it on. She had been engrossed in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary at the time.
A tall french woman with dark short hair Ms Lambrossier was usually clothed in stylish dresses and an over cloak poncho style mock leather cape which made her look as though she had just ridden in on a horse. She was a far as you could get from the usually frumpy type of librarian described in many books or films. Her blog “Margaritas at 5” was updated daily at 5pm with her latest writings usually on the topic of love and intrigue. her social media followers seemed to be mainly female and aged 16 or 65, the younger set dreaming of their futures and the older ladies fantasising about their youth, mainly because the pickings were slim down at the local bowls club. All of them gushing over the latest plot twists of her main protagonist Hilston Flint, an aeronautic adventurer with a jaw so square it could serve as a bookend.
It was love at first sight as far as Gerald was concerned. The fact that she was foreign was enough for him – she even had an accent. Gerald had never been out of High Bisontee as his anxious disposition didn’t lend itself to travelling and potentially having to catch trains or boats. The thought of just being on the tube in London where he may get coughed on was nausea inducing.
Strangely it didn’t seem too far fetched to him that someone like Ms Lambrossier, a well traveled and exotic woman may decide to come live in the tidy obsessively neat one bedroom flat above his glasses shop at 5b High Street with him and help feed Goldy the goldfish or watch tv for the foreseeable future. But Gerald Speckle had been described as a dreamer in his school yearbook, and it seems that observation had been quite astute.
Ms Lambrossier however was not at the Goldsmiths that night and actually didn’t like chocolate cake but had agreed to take part in the fundraiser as she had just landed a book deal and needed an insight into sports. It wasn’t a book deal so much as a brouchure blurb for an online sports store specialising in soccer boots, but it was a start for the ambitious romantic novelist.
Excerpt from Maggie Goldsmith and The Book of Tunnels by R A Haupt 2018