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YA Fiction - Serial Novels - The Sunshine Time

The Sunshine Time Season 1 Episode 5

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Visiting Drumont’s Bar, a shady cabaret, to listen to the indie folk band Moon-Web and to, hopefully, retrieve her sketchbook from the clowns, Lea Chantry is amazed to run into acquaintances from the train.

“Lady,” said the taxi driver. “Not that it’s any of my business, but I think I must warn you, as one human being to another and seeing that you’ve got these young ones with you. This is not the sort of neighborhood you ought to be in. Not safe, if you know what I mean?”

“We are meeting someone, it’s quite alright,” I said, before Mum could speak.

“If you say so,” said the taxi driver, accepting his fare money. “Just had to warn you, that’s all. Wouldn’t bring my daughters here, that’s for sure. Well, I suppose you have the lad to look after you.” He cast an unhopeful eye on Billy and shrugged. “Well, good luck. I hope you don’t encounter any trouble. I would offer to wait, but no can do. Can’t take the chance. They take the wheels off if we park here too long.”

He nodded and drove off and, immediately, some ragged urchins chased after him, pelting the taxi with garbage. We moved on quickly, in case they decided to come pay us the same kind of attention. Mum cast a glance about at the rundown buildings and looked at me worriedly and said, “I wonder if this was such a good idea.”

“Of course, it wasn’t,” said Billy. “And let me remind you that I already said it wasn’t. It was a damned stupid idea, I said.”

“Why didn’t you just stay home then?” I said.

“What? And have missed out on reveling in your stupidity?”

“Mum!”

“Billy!”

“Aunt Salila!” he mocked, and dodged a shove from me.

“Ohhh. Ugh!” said Jopie Ashton, and paused to examine the underside of her fine black pump. “Dog poo!”

“Could be human,” said Billy. “It’s a classy enough neighborhood. Dip it in that puddle there, but, wait, that might be a human creation too.”

Jopie, who had been about to dip her sole into the puddle, drew back instantly, teetering on one leg, and I caught her arm before she toppled over. Giving him a look, she wiped her foot against the edge of the cracked pavement. Billy clicked his tongue and said it looked like a playground for germs, she had best be boiling her shoe when she got home.

“Billy,” said Mum. “Ask that gentleman if he knows the way to the Fish Market.”

“He might,” said Billy. “And then we wouldn’t be able to turn back and return home because we couldn’t find the bloody place.”

“Excuse me,” I said to the man as he came towards us. “Is the Fish Market far?”

“There,” he said and turned and pointed to the corner ahead. Then he remained right there and stared after us. Quite a few people stared after us. Some even stopped what they were doing to come to doors and windows to stare after us. It was the way we were dressed, Billy said, too fine for the area.

“The next time we go slumming,” he said, “we must remember to break out the dirty, soiled rags.”

“There’s no need to be so mean,” said Jopie. “I’m sure these people can’t help being the way they are.”

“What makes you so sure of that, Psychoanna?” said Billy. “How do you know for certain they are not just a bunch of lazy, no-good losers?”

“How do you know for certain they are?”

“I’m a face-reader,” he said. “Something of a mind-reader too.”

“If you really were,” she said, “you would know that I don’t appreciate being called Psychoanna.”

“I know,” he said. “That’s why I do it.”

“Ass,” I said, and pulled Jopie ahead.

Her nickname was Tavi’s invention. What happens when Pollyanna studies Psychology, he had asked, why, you get Psychoanna, that’s what! Jopie was not amused. Her penchant for persistently trying to see the good in things was not topped by a very massive sense of humor.

“He’s trying to spoil the evening before it even begins,” she said to me now.

“He always does,” I said. “But, don’t worry, we will get Conor Larkin to jump off the stage and have another go at his honker.”

“I heard that, kitten,” said Billy, rapping his knuckles on the back of my head.

Children,” said Mum.

“Yes, Billy,” I said. “Let’s be an example to the natives, not an inspiration.”

He chuckled and fell back in step with Mum. This wasn’t a good idea, he told her yet again. Wading into Mafia territory to recover my daft sketchbook was a daft idea. And wading in to listen to Moon-Web on top of it was even more disastrous.

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