by Lynne Parkin and D. M. O’Connor
The day of the street party had finally arrived. Poppy Lewis was dressed immaculately, with the assistance of her partner Avril Jones.
“You do look rather fetching, Poppy,” complimented Avril.
“Well, let’s get out there and party, Avril.”
The purple door on Parker Street opened and out toddled Poppy Lewis, with her walking stick in one hand and her Finishing School Bible in her other. Poppy paraded down Parker Street with a satisfied smile.
Meanwhile, over in the green house on Parker Street, Monica was frantically getting ready. She swiftly moved down the corridor, making a tapping sound with her heels, and brushed the top half of her red sleeveless dress in front of the mirror.
“You look absolutely fine, Monica,” Sean assured her.
“Just fine?” Monica replied, raising an eyebrow.
Sean wrapped his arms around Monica’s waist. “Monica, sweetheart, you know exactly what I mean.” He playfully kissed and nibbled her ear.
“Ok, ok Sean,” laughed Monica, as she freed herself from Sean’s grip, holding his hand and looking up to him in an amorous gaze. “So, are we ready, Sean?”
“Si, mi amore,” replied Sean in his pigeon Italian.
The door to the green house on Parker Street, which was decorated with red and white tinsel, opened. Monica and Sean stepped out hand in hand. They turned into the street and saw Poppy and Avril.
“Hi, Poppy, hi, Avril!” shouted Monica. She wore a wide smile while waving.
Monica and Sean went over to check on the Italian food that Monica had prepared before she got changed.
As Monica took the covers off the hot plates, Audrey was distracted from her conversation with Justin and Jamie, the couple from the blue house.
“Ooooh, Monica, what is that? It smells absolutely gorgeous,” said Audrey.
“This, Audrey, is my special ‘Fettucini Bolognese’.”
“I’ll have some of that please, Monica.”
“There you go, my lovely, what a beautiful day it is as well.” Monica liked to emphasise the bright side of life.
Sean and Jeff were having beers; they seemed happy to relax and act like lounge lizards.
Justin and Jamie were in fits of giggles with Poppy while stuffing their faces with muffins, from Fortnum and Mason, don’t you know.
Avril was sat with a gin and tonic in one hand while simultaneously crossing her arms and legs and exhibiting the facial expression of someone who had bee exposed to horse manure.
“Poppy is just having fun without me,” Avril thought to herself.
Monica and Audrey were having quite an animated conversation about pizza, Brexit, the Geneva Convention and Britain’s Got Talent, seemingly all at once. Audrey felt slightly intimidated by Monica. Monica wasn’t aggressive. Nevertheless, Audrey had caught Jeff staring at Monica a few times throughout the party and she was starting to feel angry. Audrey’s silent anger was broken by the sound of Sean laughing wholeheartedly about the size of Justin’s platform shoes.
In the hall mirror Poppy looked divine, her pale blue linen trouser suit, silk scarf and silver horses head walking cane oozed luxury and taste. It was the day of the street party and excitement flowed through her body like a freight train. She needed to catch up with Monica and Sean, they seemed to be the ones at the helm of this wonderful event. Glancing at the stairs, she smiled. She would leave the Grinch, her pet name for Avril, to get ready for Fortnum’s to arrive.
Taking a deep breath, she stepped into the fresh air and at once spotted Monica.
“Monica darling, how are things coming along?” she called.
Monica’s smile could not be missed as she replied “It is coming along really well. How about you and Avril?”
Poppy knew that Avril was looking forward to Monica’s Italian something but would wait for Avril to tell. It was a long time since they’d had a street party.
“We are waiting for the Fortnum and doo dah to arrive. It will be ready to serve. She explained. “Oh! I’ve purchased fireworks as well.”
Monica’s face paled at the thought, and Poppy noticed, she didn’t miss a thing.
“It will be ok” Poppy reassured her. “All wonderful parties end with fireworks. Don’t you know.”
A rumbling from the other end of the street interrupted their chat. Poppy squealed with delight and clapped her hands together. Avril opened the front door and smiled too. A vehicle the size of a removal van came trundling towards them and pulled up outside the purple house. Tray after tray after tray went from van to house and lastly the largest crate of fireworks Monica had ever seen.
Poppy strode toward her front door as Monica raced to find Sean, desperate to tell him about the fireworks. She almost ran him down as she glanced over at the crate.
“Hey what’s up?” Sean asked, taking hold of her shoulders to steady her. Come on now it can’t be that bad.”
“They’ve bought fireworks,” she blurted out. “Lots and lots and even more!”
“Who have?” he asked calmly.
“Poppy and Avril, that’s who.” She replied resignedly.
Sean looked at her and smiled. “That’s all right then. If you’d said the family with those bloody kids, then I’d be worried. However Poppy and Avril know what they are doing.”
“Well I hope you are right.” Monica sighed under her breath,” I hope you are right.”
Poppy and Avril sat on their all-terrain chairs and watched the comings and goings of the individual households. Avril having been thrust a rather large burger from Iceland, not the country she realised, squirreled it away under the table. She replaced it with a bowl of Italian bolognaise. Lovely. The music, some of David Bowies greatest hits mingled with her thoughts and added to the pleasant atmosphere.
Suddenly their thoughts crashed….
The air filled with anger as Jeff snarled “What was that? My burgers are what?”
Splat. Poppy glanced at her bosom, it was covered in tomato sauce and bits of burger.
“What the….” She began.
“Sorry” Sean shouted, that was Jeff.
Poppy sat there serenely. Avril shouted, “How dare you, Jeff, you two legged pig!” Avril grabbed a couple of Fortnum and Doodah muffins. “Take that” she shouted as she slung them towards Jeff.
Jeff looked towards Monica again. At this moment, Audrey’s Jealousy got in the driving seat of her head.
“You’re looking at her all the time, aren’t you!?” She hollered as she picked up a bowl of jellied eels, launching them in a ‘Hail Mary’ fashion in the 15 metres between herself and Jeff.
Predictably, the eels didn’t just hit Jeff. A couple of rogue jellied eels had caught Monica flush on the chin.
The pretty, witty and charming young lady all of a sudden tensed up. Her eyes widened, her jaw dropped, her fingers were outstretched. She brushed the jellied eels off her chin and screamed loudly in incoherent Italian.
She grabbed pizza and bowls of fettuccini and lobbed them in all directions in a fit of Mediterranean passion. By this time, Sean, Jeff, Justin and Jamie joined in slinging all sorts of food.
Now, everyone at the party had food on them and were actively using pizza, pasta, jellied eels, ice cream, jelly, muffins and all the rest of the edibles from Fortnum and Doodah’s as missiles in a smorgasbord of infantile violence.
Poppy glared at Avril as they slid under the table. Avril on the other hand smiled.
After a while they both peaked out from behind the table leg. Splat, a piece of cold pizza slid down.
Poppy tired of being under the table decided enough was enough. She rose and cheese hit her cheek. Wiping the cheese from her face, her anger rose like a volcano. She banged her horse’s head cane on the table.
“Right” she shouted, reverting to her best northern twang.
“Just….just stop this doo dah!!”
Everyone, in slow motion it seemed did just that. They stood and stared, like naughty children who had just been caught with their hands in the sweetie jar.
“Everyone, sit down, anywhere you like and be quiet.” They all did as they were told.
Avril took out her phone and began pressing buttons. A phone call? A message?; No the beautiful sound of Handel’s water music followed by sounds of pop pop, whoooosh. The most beautiful fireworks filled the darkening sky.
Sean stood in awe with his arm around Monica, who had managed to lighten up and get back her smile. Audrey rested her head on Jeff’s shoulder while Jeff held her hand in a show of reconciliation. Justin and Jamie had big grins on their face, staring into the sky.
Avril smiled at Poppy. Poppy hugging Avril said “Told you, Grinch, fireworks are always the best way to end a party”.
“Yeah there was lots of different fireworks today” Avril replied.