GREAT-AUNT SOPHIE VISITS THE ECUADORIAN EMBASSY

by hollytannen

29 June 2012

Dear Emma:

I apologize for the names I called you when you expressed unease about my spending your inheritance in defence of Mr. Assange.  I have always been extremely conservative in my expenditures, and the trips to Sweden and Australia can be written off as business expenses.  Rest assured you will get the amethyst pentacle I promised you.

I have been thinking about poor Vaughn Smith, who may lose the twenty thousand pounds surety he put up for Mr. Assange. We were shocked last year when Mr. Assange liberated Mr. Smith’s organic pigs. Gertie said Julesy was a very naughty boy and should be spanked, then chortled and spewed ginger beer on the ottoman. We are worried about Gertie, and I made Maud promise to keep the brownies hidden.

To help Mr. Smith and his family, we have decided to form a band. I retrieved my glockenspiel from the attic (did you know I was second runner-up in the 1959 All -Yorkshire finals?), Maud had her viola bow re-haired, and Gertie is putting a new head on her bodhran. We agreed there were too many Irish bands, plus with our arthritis we can no longer play as fast as we once did. Gertie loves reggae, but Maud refuses to sing anything that glorifies a male god, and I don’t want to do that to my hair.

Maud showed us a scene from Aguirre, The Wrath Of God, which she watches every Sunday, and suggested we play music of the Andes. She read Anthropology at Cambridge, and has offered to write the lyrics. She has finished a second draft of Ecuador, Mon Amor, and is up to verse fifty-three of El Corrido De Los Subversivos Internacionales. I riffled through the piano bench and found the sheet music to From The Indies To The Andes In His Undies. I shall sing lead, while the girls sing harmony, if you can call it that.

I stopped by the Ecuadorian Embassy on my way home from Harrod’s. The protestors fed Nigel almonds and raisins and were quite pleasant. I wish I could say the same for the constables. One blocked my way and asked for identification. I told him I was older than his mother, and if he did not show me the respect proper to my age, I would turn him into a newt. Slipping Nigel into my purse, I strode up the front steps.

It was a hard slog with my shopping, the pies, and the iguana. I pressed 3B on the intercom and was answered by a Spanish-accented female voice. When I mentioned the pies, she buzzed me in.

I wondered how I would find Suite 3B, having misplaced my glasses again yesterday. I needn’t have worried. In front of the door on the left was a pile of pizza boxes and two weeks worth of The Guardian and The New York Times.

I waded through the flotsam to the door. How could I work up the courage to knock? What if Mr. Assange himself opened the door?

I called out to the Great Turkey Goddess. “Give us this day protection from turkeys,” I cried,  and knocked three times.

Down the stairs galumphed a large balding man with a gray pony-tail, wearing nobbut a white Knightsbridge Racquet Club towel. He kicked the pizza boxes and pounded on the door of 3B.

“ASS – ANGEL,” he hollered. “PUT DOWN THE MOBILE, GET OFF THE LAPTOP, GET YOUR FUCKIN’ FINGER OUT. ONE OF YOUR GROUPIES IS HERE. SHE HAS SOMETHING FOR YOU.”

At the  word “groupies,” Nigel leapt from my purse, scuttled across the hall, and fastened his jaws  around the pony-tail man’s big toe. Pony-tail dropped his towel, and believe you me, it was not a pretty sight. Nigel hung on, undeterred by the curses of his victim, and I only succeeded in detaching him by offering him a bit of whipped cream from one of the pies.

The door opened an inch, and a red-haired woman peered out: Julian’s assistant, sweet young Sarah. She looked at the man scrambling for his towel, at me with my African basket, and the iguana. I introduced Nigel and told her of our concerns for Mr. Assange and our hopes for the success of our band, Las Assangistas Del Norte.

Sarah thanked me for the pies and assured me Mr. Assange was well cared for, as the kitchen included an airing cupboard filled with seventeen varieties of potatoes. Sadly, she was unable to invite me in for tea, as the Embassy has a long-standing no-iguana policy because of the guinea pigs.

Afterwards I took the tube to Hampstead where I picked up maracas, two sets of panpipes, a rainstick, a charango (a mandolin made from a hollowed-out armadillo) and a tambourine. For our first gig next month, we are going busking at the Farmers’ Market in Halifax.

What to wear? We have reached consensus on short red skirts, lace-up leather boots, and white peasant blouses with bare midriffs. Eddie and Freddie from Hebden Bridge have agreed to make a video and upload it to Youtube. Maybe the WikiLeaks movie site will feature it! Gertie has read that Mr. Assange prefers younger women, but she chalks that up to inexperience.

We have a rehearsal in half an hour, so I have to pluck my eyebrows and put on my lipstick. Don’t worry about the inheritance.

Love and kisses,

Sophie

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