We stopped mid-afternoon for tea and cakes. Vera was very vacant and morose. She was working something through. I decided it wasn’t the moment to disturb her meditations.
The cream tea was magic. Perhaps now she can be cheered up?
‘I feel sorry for blokes with beards and mustaches,’ I started. ‘I’ve nothing against facial hair, but an inch of scone, butter, jam and double cream must be a challenge too far if you don’t want to look like Father Christmas after a road traffic accident.’
She looked irritated by my simile.
‘Say that again.’
‘The bit about road accidents at Christmas.’
‘Not worth it.’
‘At last we agree on something.’
Ignoring my figure of speech, she picked up on the topic. She was glad to be diverted.
‘Women are genetically better predisposed to cope with cream tea, Millicent. It’s Darwin, I suppose. Natural selection. It’s an advantage for a woman to be able to open her mouth wide, and that has nothing to do with dentists.’
I felt a giggle coming on.
‘How do you work that one out? Why is a woman scoffing cream tea easily, likely to survive better than a woman who can’t manage four layers in one go?’
‘It means, as a rule of thumb, she will be able to eat quicker and will get more to eat, and thus better survive.’
I decided to lead her on.
‘OK. Anything else?’
‘She can talk quicker and louder, so her man will want to get out of the way and go hunting more often. That means he will bring home more food.’ By now we were both convulsed in giggles, knowing what was still to come.
‘Very good!’ I said. ‘But if she talks too much, he may choose not to bring his catch home to her.’
I had an inkling of her next thought, but I didn’t want to spoil her punch-line. Vera struggled to control her mirth and steady her voice. She had several attempts at beginning the sentence. The buttered scone with jam and cream had to wait a while. Vera didn’t notice that in her efforts to control the giggles she shouted.
‘If she has a big gob, she can do good oral sex and her man will forgive her talking all the time and want to come home quicker after hunting. Also, he will be motivated to be a better hunter and bring more food so that she will be more thankful.’
‘Darwin covers all bases again,’ I snorted, with tears of mirth streaming down my cheeks.
I think we came close to be ejected from the tea-room. That would have made the local paper.
The following is an excerpt from Clive La Pensée’s book, Someone Tell Me What Is Going On. A 21st century upstairs/downstairs story. Mystery, comedy, suspense. Mendacity, cheating, murder – and lots of love in all the right places.
‘The dialogue crackles.’ Alice Wickham – New London Writers.
‘Relaxed, witty, clever and wonderfully cynical at times.’ – Hilary Johnson, Editor.
Check out the book in its entirety at Amazon.com.
Clive La Pensée lives in Beverley after ‘emigrating’ from London to Yorkshire, via Germany. He divides his year between the rural tranquillity of the East Riding and the bustle and music, theatre and cabaret of Berlin. See Clive’s books at Amazon.com. Find out more about Clive at Clivelap.co.uk.