Lucy of the Antarctic
Lucy was a blonde-haired, blue eyed angel of a creature, everybody said so. She was the darling of the Seaside Bar and Bistro, with the staff, and the customers alike. Dressed in her yellow mac and blue wellies she was always to be found playing on the shore near the Bistro, with her faithful friend Patch, a mismatched loping hairy brute, who took on all the minor roles while Lucy played the hero.
Today, Patch was Captain Oates as the two of them trekked across the Antarctic wilderness of the summer beach. Evil eyed seagulls served as watchful penguins, and other holiday makers were unknowingly cast as Amundson and co in the race for the prize.
“Isn’t she just adorable,” cooed one American lady over a watery coffee.
“Mmm,” said Lucy’s mother.
“She’s so pretty, a little angel – you must be so proud.”
“Mmm,” said Lucy’s mother again. ‘More coffee, Mrs Asley-Robinson?”
When Patch jumped up and muddied Lucy’s yellow mac with sandy paws she was a picture of childish annoyance, tapping the dog on the nose and scolding him, hands on hips. A collective “aww” rose from the watching diners.
Of course, when she came in later that day for her lunch they all made a huge fuss of her. She smiled and blushed and giggled, chatting to everyone and making them all fall a little in love with her. She reaped a handsome reward for all these efforts: sweets, a handful of shiny coins, even some paper money. She stashed it all in a tin beneath her bed and practiced her curtsies and glances nightly at her dressing table mirror.
“Where’s your little dog today, Lucy, my love?” asked Mrs Astley-Robinson.
“You mean Captain Oates? Oh, he had to go outside, he said he may be some time…”
And everyone tittered and said how clever and pretty she was and Lucy revelled in it.
Just the other side of the cliff, hidden from view was a little caved, tucked into the rocks. And dangling dejectedly by the rock from a length of rope was a large, hairy mismatched dog. His eyes bulged and strained, bloodshot and sightless, his tongue hung limply from his mouth.
He was quite dead.
Meanwhile, little Lucy stood demurely at the Bistro, hands meekly behind her back to paint the perfect picture of childish innocence, or perhaps to hide the harsh red rope burns on her darling little palms…