I kissed the girl from the coconut shy behind a large oak at the edge of the fete. She tasted of Dubonnet. I’d won a bottle of it earlier on the Tombola and we’d shared it sitting together against a root nodule.
It had been a good day so far. Also in the Tombola I’d won a bag of Doritos, a Chinese waving cat, and a pocket Russian phrasebook from 1976. I was substantially up on my investment.
We’d shared the Doritos too. They were cool original flavor. The flavor from which all other flavours of Doritos are derived. A flavour unlike anything in nature.
She told me she liked the way I kissed. That I was gentle yet courageous. I tried not to be too pleased about this. After all, I wasn’t sure she had much by way of comparison. I’d heard from her sister that she’d only kissed one other boy before. That it had been a tryst with the butcher’s apprentice in the cold storage and that it hadn’t lasted long as she’d run off after discovering a piece of liver matted into his hair. Perhaps what she appreciated about me was nothing more than an absence of raw offal.
Before she could kiss me again I decided that I had to ask her the question. The fete was nearly over. It had to be now.
“The pig,” I whispered to her, “how much does the pig weigh?”
Every year, the centerpiece of the village fete was the “guess the weight of the pig” competition. The prize was the pig itself. Every year I entered the competition. Every year I failed to win the pig. I was determined not to let another year go past pigless. This is why the girl was vital. As well as being head of marketing and PR at the coconut shy, she was also the daughter of the farmer who donated the pig. She would know its weight.
She hesitated then gave me the answer. I thanked her, pressed the Chinese cat into her hands, and told her I had to go. She mumbled something about having to get back to the coconut shy. Her pigtails hung limply, and looked nothing like the tails of actual pigs.
As I left I felt a pang of regret sharp enough to pierce the haze of Dubonnet. At the time I thought it was just a subconscious admonition over my cheating, but now I’m not so sure it wasn’t something else.
When I returned later, my prize in tow, the coconut shy was packed up and gone. There were husks on the ground. The girl wasn’t there. I shepherded the hog around the skittles, the duck fishing and the prizewinning vegetables. Nothing. Finally, I returned to the tree where we’d kissed. There was the Chinese cat, waving, golden in the fading light.
Then I saw the her. She was with the butcher’s apprentice. They were by the vicarage. Her hand was in his. As I stared what appeared to be a lamb’s kidney fell from his hair.