‘Burp. Vmpph. Glugg. Boqqqq. Frixxx.’
The eructations went on for half the night. Zlink’s wife could take it no more. She sloshed out of their cave, and went to gather some posidonia. She’d make him a tisane, and hopefully, he’d fart his gas instead of belching it.
It was the night of the perigee-syzygy moon – when the moon was the closest to Earth, and the brightest, for the last 60 years. Zlink had done The Selkie Thing, and had gone celebrating, with his cronies. He had returned to the Cave slightly green at the gills… this was to be expected, seeing that he did indeed have gills, and his scales were iridescent green.
The wife knew that he had, usual, overdone it. He had not taken kindly to her new job, but after his, accident (long story!); he had already become used to the idea of staying home while she brought in the wampum.
Never in a nixert years would he have imagined the wife would go into modelling. It had been happenstance. A woman’s magazine had been caught by the breeze and deposited on the surface of the sea, where it floated enticingly.
Glaffa had to wait until it had become saturated enough to sink gracefully to the bottom – it would not have done for her to reach out a feeler and snatch it, because the hunters who called themselves Scientists and Conservationists would have been out in force.
Glaffa devoured the written words before she wolfed down the publication itself. All of it, that is, except for the centrefold – which she saved to re-read a dozen times before deciding whether or not to take the bait (in a manner of speaking).
“Envious eyes curse a building and its inhabitants. No one is immune to the Evil Eye.” This drivel went on for several paragraphs, and mentioned such ‘remedies’ as salt thrown over the left shoulder, pimento-like charms, herbs, upright palms of hands, blessed water and more.
The upshot of the advertorial was that the firm of architects taking out the advert wanted a model for the one corbel holding up the corner of the northern balcony, and for the one gargoyle that would be allowed on the façade of the building to house the new Houses of Parliament.
The carvings, of course, were intended to be apotropaic, hence the verbiage. Glaffa had won a couple of modelling contests when she was still a child – before childbearing and gravity and time took their combined toll on her.
At the ripe old age of fifty brinhs, she rarely bothered to de-scale her armpits anymore – go figure imagine posing for any artiste. Yet she found the whole set-up intriguing. She resolved to do The Selkie Thing and see what gave.
Glaffa was the eldest wannabe at the auditions. And she got the job, because what they wanted were size, shape, and weight – and an abysmal lack of poise.
Whereas glamour photographers usually yell at models to “smile, flirt, twist, wink”, Glaffa was told to snarl, put out her tongue, make the corna, the fica, and the digitus impudicus, and cross her eyes… and all these gesticulations were photographed and filed. She drew the line, however, at showing her boobs. She lied about wearing a padded bra, and for good measure, she said that she did not want her descendants to consider here a mere Sheela-na-gigg. The sculptor said he’d meet her halfway, and as a compromise she’d have to waive a fraction of the fee.
The idea was to have Glaffa’s poses transmogrified into three creatures, one atop the other, for the corbel and the matching gargoyle. The topmost one was a bare-breasted woman with her hands flat on her head so as to create a flattish surface, and the middle one was a feline creature peeping out of her navel. The woman stood on a multi-coiled snake with the face of a platypus. For the gargoyle, water came out of its beak. The effigies were supposed to be so repulsive that passers-by would look away in disgust.
For ten sittings, Glaffa got as much pelf as Zlink would earn in an earth year. The Exchange did take a commission, but the whole caboodle was well worth it.
Where was I, though?
Oh. Zlink. When the Clinic opened, he and Glaffa made their way there.
After a frin-test and a biopsy, doctor removed his pince nez and bit his upper lip.
“Lay off the beer and pizza. You have Coeliac Condition.”