Inspired by reblololo

Is this real Beluga caviar?” Lady Sinclair has the blini pinched between her elegantly wrinkled fingers. She continues, her eyes only just making enough effort to meet the waiter’s: “Because I only eat real Beluga caviar. I might just break out into a horrid rash if I put anything substandard in my body.” Jared or, as he’s referred to by even his regular customers, Young Waiter, has seen this all before. There isn’t an item on the over-priced, 3-Michelin-star menu that his over-priced clientele haven’t queried. Without so much as a flicker of an eyelash, he gives his retaliation. “In fact, it was delivered from the Caspian this morning.”

Instantly, Lady Sinclair starts gorging herself on the impotent little blinis. With validation in place, they are simply no match for her lust of decadence. Her feverish feasting is interrupted only by a sip of champagne. Real champagne, of course, not something that tastes like champagne and has bubbles in it.

Lady Sinclair, so titled because her husband was honoured for his contribution in accounting during World War II, satisfies herself and considers her surroundings. “Pleasant enough people here today,” she thinks. “Décor could do with an overhaul, but I can’t mind it all that much if I’m here once every week.” She’s woken from her reverie by Jared who asks if she would like anything else. She doesn’t like the tone of his voice and decides not to tip him.

Cloaked and gloved, the madam waddles to the door. There, Jared is waiting in his customary statuesque stance, holding the woman’s black umbrella and the open door. Without making any kind of eye contact, Lady Sinclair stops next to him and offers her palm. As he deposits the brollie, he guilefully leans in to her pearled, aging ear and whispers: “They were American paddlefish.” The words roll from his tongue like warm custard off a ladle. He gives them a few moments to seep their way in and returns to his position.

Only after a step towards the street does Lady Sinclair blink. She registers the severity of his statement and all formalities lose form. Hand on chest and forcing coughs, she spatters her way out the door. She had the look of someone choking on their own vomit. But it wasn’t the low-grade caviar that killed her. It was the marble bust of Alistair Bromwell – incidentally, and as luck would have it, millionaire magnate and once-time lover of Lady Sinclair. He slivered his way into Society by being a ruthless business man, his greatest monopoly in the trade of the most expensive pre-birth receptacle, otherwise known as caviar.

The bust came heavy and fast from the apartment above Mon Plaisir, being hoisted by movers into Mr Bromwell’s latest lover’s residence as a reminder of him, while he’s off with the wife on birdwatching expeditions.

The next sensation Lady Sinclair had was warm and wet. She was enveloped in a comforting soup. Nothing urged her to open her eyes. She felt safe and looked after.

When she finally does open her eyes, Lady Sinclair finds herself suckling on a furry belly. As odd as this may seem, she suckles away relentlessly. Peering from her peephole eyes, she notices small furry blurs on either side of her, but falls into a deep slumber again.

The next few days, which really felt like weeks, Lady Sinclair falls in and out of consciousness. “So much sleeping!”, she thinks in her waking moments. “And still the suckling. How strange.” She is jerked out of her internal debate by a pliable plank that appears from seemingly nowhere and covers her in wet. This definitely has a sobering effect on the dame, because she notices a strange, swaying sensation in her bottom she hadn’t been aware of before. “And the smell!” An intense, right-in-her-nose volume of… dog. And milk. She’s certain there is milk mixed in with the dog. So intense is the smell that she could’ve sworn a four-legged, tail-wagging, slobbering blob had crawled right up her sinus cavities. At precisely that moment, the proverbial penny plonks. She reluctantly whips her head around to confirm that the furry blurs of before are, in fact, puppies! With the fear of God in her, she sneaks a peak at the body attached to her upper-crust brain and faints.

For what seems like months, Lady Sinclair finds herself in a pool of depression. She watches as one by one, what she assumes are her brothers and sisters, disappear from their cushy corner home. Her only solace comes from feeling the suppleness of her new, younger body, replacing her unwilling, wrinkled one. Well that and, of course, Owner. “What a wonderful man he is,” she remembers in her darkest moments. She can’t for the life of her help but feel a torrent of joy every time he arrives home from work. There’s a deep connection she feels when they meet one another’s eyes. She is sure that he knows something, because every time she needs to relieve herself, she desperately runs to him and he lets her out into the garden.

What a story that is! Of all the adjustments she’s had to make, doing her business behind a bush really takes the cake. And no bog roll either! She quickly hides her shame with a few sharp kicks of dirt. This seems to please Owner because on her return indoors he lovingly strokes her and makes that noise he often does:“Bbb-ee-t.” “Is that my new name,” Lady Sinclair wonders. “Bet? Doesn’t ring a bell.”

Oh, this is an adjustment,” her haughtiness thinks to herself. “But, all things considered, it’s not all horrendous. I have a warm place to sleep, I’m fed every day and I’m free to wander around a house that could very well be a St John’s Wood number – Wilton carpets, a few tasteful works of art and, impressively, three-tiered cornicing on the pressed ceiling. A Victorian home, no doubt. Oh and it’s such a treat when Owner has dinner parties. He has the most stylish of friends and they all adore me. No, for now, this shall be my life and if it means accepting my current physique, so be it.”

These were not the last of the changes Lady Sinclair would have to accommodate. Fate was not finished toying with her yet. It was Winter when it came calling to play.

At the door, small suitcase beside him, Owner bids farewell to Lady Sinclair. His voice is dear and comforting and she feels certain he won’t be gone for long. That comfort left her rudely that evening. Lying in her basket, her ears sprung to life with the sound of shattering glass. Lady Sinclair erupts in a fit of rage, barking, as she runs to the source of the disturbance. “What, who could that be?” How dare anyone harm this home of hers?

She is so intent on getting to the kitchen, where the glass met its Maker, that she doesn’t see the stick coming at her. From the shadows, the thing hits her so hard that she’s flung off the ground, letting off a tremendous yelp of shock. Panic and fear very quickly replaces the anger she felt moments before and she’s a tangle of long legs and tail on the floor. She aims for the safety of the lounge, but a second insult comes from above and she is forced to head out the now open kitchen door.

Adrenaline rushes through the lady’s bruised body and all she thinks to do is run as fast and far she can from the danger. It’s icy outside and her breath quickly turns to huffs of white. She runs until she notices she doesn’t know where she is. So intent was she on escaping the horror, that now she is in a neighbourhood she doesn’t recall. “And what to eat,” she wonders to herself, as her body complains of hunger.

Her nose finds her food in an alleyway. But the sweet aroma of sustenance comes from a bin, full to the brim with thrown-away leftovers. As much as she wants to appease her stomach and eat the fear and angst away, she can’t bring herself to touch the grub with her debonair mouth. Instead, Lady Sinclair finds shelter in a neighbouring doorway and lets exhaustion veil the pangs.

Garbage bag in tow, a scrawny man bursts through a nearby door and wakes the canine. She snaps herself upright, sitting silently, eyeing his movements. He notices this elegant dog and calls her closer, but Lady Sinclair is weary, still shaken from the beating. He leaves her and disappears again behind the haloed door. Before long he’s in the cool air again, carrying a plate of food. He gently puts it on the ground between him and the waif and heads indoors again.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Lady Sinclair is at the plate of, what her palate could only describe as “brown”. With lupine fervour she laps up the food, appeasing the hollow inside. “What about Owner? What about our home?” Her mind is a tumbleweed of troubles. A few seconds is all it takes for the porcelain plate to sparkle and she returns to her lonely refuge to rest.

At the strike of twelve, the back-lit door flings open again and the scrawny man emerges. He’s wearing a long trench coat and clutches his white, collared shirt and bow tie in his gloved hands. He heads for the main road, only to stop in his tracks as though he’s forgotten something. The man squints down the alley and his eyes fall upon the sorry sight that is Lady Sinclair. They ogle one another, man and dog waiting for retort, until man surrenders and summons the animal. “It can’t get any worse,” Lady Sinclair justifies and she follows him home. “There’s a strange familiarity about him,” she muses beside him. Perhaps he reminds her of Owner.

Up a narrow flight of stairs and into a cluttered, little apartment he leads her. It’s a far cry from her St Johns Wood abode, but with a great sigh of relief Lady Sinclair accepts her new haven, even just for the night. It’s warm inside and she feels a calm wash over her.

The scrawny man lays down a few blankets in the corner of the lounge and the dame takes her cue. He fills a bowl with more leftovers and presents it, as gracious as before, to the desperate soul. “What a turn of events,” thinks Lady Sinclair as she indulges in the welcome offering. “Curious indeed.” Between mouthfuls of “pink” and “white,” she peers up at this new person. He takes out a carton from the cupboards and a little glass jar from the fridge. “He must be hungry himself,” she empathises. She watches as he takes spoonfuls of tiny black pearls from the jar and puts them on thin, crisp bread. “What a kind, young man he is,” she thinks. “A kind, young man indeed.”

The End