THE WAY IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN… or THE ANAGRAM GIRL

5 Jul

I am the Queen,” announced Amy Ashtree.

And she meant it. She had always wanted to be the boss. It had started when she was really young, an infant one might say, and her mother had scolded her for depositing smelly faeces into a nice clean pair of lacy knickers.

I can do it if I want,” she had announced, and proceeded to force out a further supply of foetid stuff whilst her mum was trying to clean her up.

You’re a naughty girl, Amy!” protested the mother, who slapped her firmly on the legs, making her howl in rage if not in pain. Her mother wasn’t actually a cruel woman, merely harassed and exasperated, and those legs, once clean, seemed a fair target for a slap.

I’ll tell daddy!” screamed Amy, and she did because she was boss.

There was a row about it.

You don’t slap a baby’s legs!” shouted daddy.

She’s no baby, she’s growing up fast and needs to be put in her place!” replied mother.

You still don’t hit a child!” roared daddy.

Then you tell her not to poo on me!” wept mother. “How would you like it if she pooed on you?”

You’re pathetic,” responded daddy.

And a year and a day later they were divorced. Was it the poo or was it the slap? Who can tell.

Mother was relieved, even that she had lost the custody of her only child, and daddy was exuberant. He had his Amy and all was well in the world. For a while.

It’s not good enough, Ashtree,” growled his boss a few weeks later. “You’re an integral part of Snobnose and Company, but you’re not pulling your weight. You’re having far too much time off work, and this is your first warning. Pull yourself together, man, or I’m afraid…”

He wasn’t really afraid.

But a few months later Amy’s daddy was back in front of his boss.

You’re fired,” he was told.

But it’s what Amy needs,” pleaded daddy, “she tells me so, all the time.”

Bugger off,” growled the boss. And daddy made his way out of the offices of Snobnose and Company for the very last time.

Amy Ashtree was delighted. At last she could be boss all day long and not just when daddy returned from work in the evenings. True, there had been carers, a whole retinue of them, one at the time, and they had slapped her legs as required and been dismissed as equally required. Daddy wasn’t going to put up with his precious little Amy being slapped. Not at all. He was dead against any form of physical punishment.

Until he slapped her legs a month or so later.

And when he slapped her legs it was meant to be a once in a lifetime slap. A slap to be remembered. The sort of slap that would enter her mind as a warning about behaviour and responsibility and not being a pain in the backside for daddy, and stay there. Absolutely. It was a particularly hard slap and left a cherry-red mark that lasted for, oh, for almost an hour.

Amy wasn’t ever going to forget that slap.

She told everyone about it, and in the telling what was initially quite an almost painful slap became a huge assault on her tiny legs. By this time she was at school and had already advertised her boss-like charms widely, and everyone (except her teacher, who had got to know the real her), frowned and said how evil it was being beaten like she was, and how the social services should be told.

And the social services were told.

And Amy Ashtree was taken into care.

Daddy Ashtree was angry at first, and then relieved. Amy, he told himself, was a difficult child. She always seemed to need to be in charge. To be boss.

And in her absence he went out to find a job and a boss of his own.

To say that Amy’s life became difficult after this would be to tell a downright ugly lie because it didn’t. She had a series of foster parents, one after another, all of them very nice at first until they slapped her legs, and almost suddenly and completely without warning she was in her teens.

And it was then that Amy Ashtree knew that she was special.

At school, she got a reputation as a tease. Her desire to be in control of everything incorporated the need to enchant the boys (the horny boys, that is, not the still-little boys with their still-little ways and games of conkers) with her own obvious physical charms which she learned to display without displaying anything, and then deny them what they most wanted. Can I be more blatant than this? Probably not. Suffice it to say that her underwear always remained firmly in place though her luscious (and they were luscious by now) lips did the teasing as she said this or that almost naughty and suggestive thing to the more suggestible lads in a most authoritative way. What a card was Amy Ashtree! What an incredibly wicked card!

By the time she went to University she had learned one thing above any others, and that was that to be in charge she must first and foremost ignore everyone else. Other people might claim to have opinions but if they did have any they were of absolutely no importance at all. Not to Amy. And not to her path in life. And though some of her opinions might have been described as crass and nonsense they were precious because they were hers and hers alone.

And by then there was nobody around who would dare to slap her legs, which is a shame because she rather liked them being slapped and anyway a good cherry-red glow might have helped her understand people. She didn’t understand people at all. After all, she was boss and bosses never understand ordinary people.

Bosses like Amy plough their own furrows.

She achieved a moderately decent education at university, mostly in the bars where she held court to a select group of mostly male colleagues whose opinions, though of no importance as far as she was concerned, occasionally coincided (almost) with her own. She enjoyed such gatherings because she was always the boss and they were always her subordinates, and what’s more they knew it.

And liked it. The lads and some of the more assertive lasses saw it as a sure way into her knickers, though it hardly ever was. If she was anything she wasn’t lewd. Not our bossy Amy Ashtree.

And it was then that she decided to enter public life.

She loved praise. She loved the dichotomy of both being in charge and being worshipped. And public life, local politics, promised to offer her that. She had ideas, of course she had ideas, and they would have to listen.

Whoever they might be.

So when it came to the next council elections, who should be a candidate but Amy Ashtree.

So she canvassed in her own inimitable way. Told everyone what was uppermost on her mind, and there was nobody around to slap her legs and tell her not to be a silly self-righteous girl.

And the voting went in her favour. Of course it did. There was no doubt about it. She was a success and she hadn’t said much yet.

And it was then that, out of the blue, she announced “I am the Queen.”

One or two murmured and shook their heads and it was even mooted that she was getting to be too big for her size six boots. There was a queen in London, and everyone loved her. There wasn’t a vacancy for another queen. There couldn’t be, so who was this upstart?

And it was at this point that someone, anyone, should have slapped her legs and told her not to be so silly and that the Queen is someone very different from the Amy Ashtrees of this world, but nobody did because nobody dared to.

The truth is, at last she had reached a point at which the only way forwards had to be via the gift of humility, and that was something she couldn’t understand. She said and did things on this or that committee that once upon a time would have made the young men tense with expectation and be rewarded by a warm feeling in their nether regions. But they were no longer young men. They were portly, balding old farts who smoked pipes. And they sneered when she implied time and time again that she was the boss.

She wasn’t anyone’s boss and she didn’t know how to cope.

With rejection.

With her schemes being ignored.

With having nobody to slap her legs.

I don’t know what happened to her next, though I did hear she’d given up the public life and settled down in a lonely singletons flat with a cat she somehow rather loved. A cat who would never, ever slap her legs. She called it Philip even though it was a girl.

And maybe it was her that served me moodily at the checkout in Morrisons when I popped in the other day to buy a ready meal for one.

Or maybe it was someone else. Anyone, probably.

© Peter Rogerson 05.07.17

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One Response to “THE WAY IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN… or THE ANAGRAM GIRL”

  1. Peter Rogerson July 6, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

    I’ve slightly updated this (even though it’s only a day old) and modified the title.

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