BOOTLICKER

This is what I write, when given the chance.

2008-06-18



When I was younger, I stole my father’s prize chicken and cooked it. All the while I sang the themes to my favourite chicken fastfood chain adverts. I think it suffices to say I was a disturbed child but I really do blame my eccentricities on my father, his morbid obesity and fascination with plump prize-winning farm animals could spur within even the most level headed child an insatiable desire to consume everything.





I’m sorry Hetty, but this isn’t going to work. To be completely honest, the weirdest thing I ever saw was your face. We’ve been engaged for some time now, and as of late the pressures of my family have been more than I can bear.



They have no objection to your family – indeed the dowry I completely overlooked before I proposed to you amounted to well in excess of 200 pounds, no upright father-in-law could refuse this!



The reason I am concluding our relationship, Hetty, is that your face is flatter than my poor late mother’s gravestone, god rest her. Society demands I release you of our engagement because of your extreme ugliness, darling. My father was threatened with the termination of seven of his coal mines if I married you, and such a tragedy would force what is left of my family into poverty – this I cannot allow.



I have always loved you Hetty, with or without your brick-faced smile, but this can be no more.



Good bye my love.



**



He comes to me every now and then. He leaves me signs so I can expect him. It’s most usually in Polini’s restaurant.



I bring my scarf and my tea-set and sometimes he makes me wait for hours – the Polini’s all stare at me when this happens – it’s lucky we’re such close friends, otherwise they’d tell me to order something or get out.



This time I was asleep at the table, the trimmings of my cushion pressing marks into my face.



“Penny!” He’s always so loud. His voice carries through the restaurant. Despite this, rarely anyone ever hears him.



“Penny!” This time I woke with a start. The teacup I had been drinking from before glowed slightly and instinctively I peered in. The tea leaves in the bottom of the cup had arranged themselves into the shape of some disproportioned beast, with eyes gazing up at me.



It spoke with the same voice, “Penny I have your instructions.”



He is the Almighty Flarg, creator of spacetime and everything. The only reason I really believe him is because I’ve experienced the extent of his powers first-hand. He sends me backwards and forwards in time to alter the course of human history. The only limits to this admittedly extensive ability is that he can only appear to me through my food. I am told this is because he lost a bet with himself while he was still experimenting with his own sentience. I started seeing the Almighty Flarg when I was about 15, when I began to have short conversations with him during Hungry Jack’s commercials and in my breakfast. Slowly but gradually he discovered himself to me, “preparing me for my destiny,” as he said.



He sends me to have meals with people of the past and future, rich, poor, famous or lowly to inform them of things or to receive information from them to better the progress of mankind. At first I only had snacks with ordinary people, or just milkshakes in diners and through these encounters my skills of dinner etiquette and light conversation were critically honed.



Mum and Dad kept the Almighty Flarg a secret from me until I first met him. They too had been his agents, having first witnessed his awesome power through a talking grape in a trifle on their honeymoon.



The Almighty Flarg guarantees you a comfortable life in return for you services. Mum and Dad never have to work again, the Almighty Flarg alters their odds of winning a scratchie whenever they buy one – and the meals you have while away give you excellent cooking tips.



Travelling the cosmos as a time travelling agent of an almost omnipotent god named the Almighty Flarg does come with its dangers. Which is why I am well equipped. I carry with me always my tea-set, which sports a tea-pot that can never empty, which came particularly useful for my escape from a sub-Saharan desert to an oasis where I could only summon the Almighty Flarg again by cooking a very rare desert lizard – my tea-pot sustaining me through those weeks.



I always wear my trusty grey scarf, which straightens into a whip or a cane when flicked – this has saved my life innumerable times, not nearly as many as my mysterious cushion I was also granted by the Almighty Flarg. To me, the cushion appears and behaved perfectly normal. To any other, the cushion is as rigid and massive as an anvil. I have used this cushion to defend myself from thousands of soldiers and guards, throwing or dropping my mysterious implement at them.



All I have to do is hold a knife and fork in each hand and bang them on a table to travel to a meal with a new strategically calculated man or woman to change mankind’s stars.