The queen who became Brenda for the day

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


Just a bit of silly fantasy that popped into my head

Submitted: October 29, 2017

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Submitted: October 29, 2017

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THE QUEEN WHO BECAME BRENDA FOR THE DAY

 

‘’Oh sod it, that bloody phone again, there must be a sensor somewhere that tells people I am right in the middle of developing my last photograph, OK, I’ll just leave it in the fixer while I get this call, if it’s another stupid bride to be wanting to know how much I charge to perform at her nonsense wedding, then I will tell her like it is.  Don’t bother, just shack up with him, save the money for a deposit on a new house, bring the illegitimate offspring up to have the same values, they will all turn out to be drug addicts, muggers or prostitutes anyway, so why bother, have none, save the money and have as many drunken holidays as you can, much more rewarding’’.

OK, my rant over, stop, smile at the phone, deep breath, ‘’Hello Roxby’s studio can I help you?’’

‘’Is that Gerry?’’

OMG, I know who this is, that voice from a mouth filled with plums could only be one lady.

‘’Yes Ma'am, Gerry speaking’’  I seem to have lost the will to stand, do you think she will mind if I remain standing, or should I be kneeling with my head bowed waiting for her to give me the command to lift it and gaze into the face of the most amazing lady in the land.  My Queen.

‘’Gerry, please excuse me calling you without warning’’  Why do people say this, if they were going to warn that they would call, then they would have to call anyway and still disturb me.

‘’Maam, I promise you could never disturb me, to what do I owe the pleasure of your call?’’

‘’Gerry, please excuse me saying, but you are the only commoner I know, we have met a few times and you have never once been overawed by being in my presence, by muttering, fidgeting and pretending to be important, you always look straight into my eyes which has always impressed me, so I think you might help me with a small favour’’

Now I am confused, the queen, her majesty, her royal highness, is calling me and asking me to do her a small favour, OK I am sure it is the lady herself, I would recognise that voice anywhere, but why me?

And what favour could little ole me ever hope to do for the most powerful lady in the land, one click of her fingers and she can command anything from anyone at anytime, now be careful, I know she hates the prime minister, perhaps she wants me to assassinate him, or that toad who impregnated her daughter, dirty little sod, he wanted his five minutes of fame and he has certainly earned that.

‘’Yes Ma'am, anything, please just ask and if it is within my power to comply, then I most certainly will’’

‘’Gerry, thank you and I can assure you will be able to comply with this simple request, but I cannot speak about it on the telephone, you have still got your security pass to enter the palace I presume’’

‘’Yes Maam I still have my pass’’  As if I could ever lose this, the highest security pass ever given to a civilian. 

‘’Are you free to come to the palace tomorrow so that we can discuss my simple request?’’

‘’Yes Maam, please say a time and I will be there’’  As if I would be stupid enough to refuse.

‘’Would 10am, be suitable?’’

‘’Of course Maam, 10am, tomorrow morning, I will be there’’

Now that was a turn up, a call from my queen, how amazing is that and I can’t even ever talk about it because no one would ever believe me.

‘’Thank you Gerry, I look forward to meeting you again and Gerry, can you please not mention this to anyone, not today, or ever after tomorrow, I would be most grateful.  Thank you and goodbye’’

The phone clicked down and left such a silence in my ear I could have been floating amongst the stars.

So the following morning, freshly scrubbed, teeth sparkling with that little star that appears with a loud ping when you smile, my best deodorant under my arm pits, every hair on my head and beard exactly the same length, I drove through the back gates of the palace to meet my gracious Queen.

Doormen opened doors for me and guided me towards the private quarters, gosh, I really felt like someone very important and not just your average photographer.

The valet stopped in front of an imposing set of doors and turned towards me.

‘’Her Majesty has requested that you are to be shown straight in’’. And with that he gave a gentle knock on the door and opened it at the same time, not bothering to wait for a response.

‘’Ma'am, your guest has arrived’’ He stood to one side, nodding his head to me and with his right hand in a sweeping motion, bade me to enter the room.

For a moment, it felt as though someone had super glued my feet to the floor, the message was being sent from my mind to my legs to move, but nothing was happening, my legs were refusing to obey my instructions, come on legs, do as your bloody told, then with a last attempt of my mind over matter, the glue suddenly released my feet and it seemed as though I was launching myself towards my Queen.

The valet realising my predicament made a gentle grab for my arm to steady my sudden forward motion and saved me from falling flat on my face, I managed a croaky ‘’thank you’’ before resuming my new freedom with working legs into the room where my Queen had stood ready to receive me.

She gave a slightest of nods to the valet who withdrew closing the door with a whisper to leave his Queen alone with this slightly dysfunctional idiot who had forgotten how to walk.

‘’Welcome Gerry, please do have a seat, tea will be here in a few moments and then we can get down to business’’ 

Now what, should I do as I am bid and take a seat, or wait, until my Queen has sat down first.  I gave my perfect ‘PING’ smile and hoped it did not dazzle her too much and chose a chair.  She nodded her approval at my choice and returned to her seat at the other side of the small table.

I waited until she had seated herself and slowly lowered myself into my chosen chair.

“I have given instructions that we are not to be disturbed once tea has been served, which should be any moment now, ah, here it is” 

With that, the door opened and a valet wheeled a smart very silent, rubber wheeled trolley, laden with, pots, cups and plates of carefully crafted sarnies, minus the crusts, But I love the crusts, best part of the sandwich, I just hoped that they were not Tuna, I hate Tuna sandwiches, disgusting smell and even worse taste, YUK!!.

“Thank you John, don’t worry about serving, we’ll just help ourselves”

“Thank you Ma’am”  John very gently lowered his head and shoulders, took about three steps backwards before turning and leaving the room as quietly, like a ghost, the way he had entered.

“Now then Gerry, please do excuse me being so informal and please say if you would rather I used your given name of Gerald, I should have asked you first.”

Now I really am becoming confused, the most powerful lady in England asking me if she can call me ‘Gerry’, She can call me Mary and would not hear a word of protest from me.

“Ma’am, I am honoured that you should even know my name, so please, Gerry, is how I am known to everyone and to even hear my name being spoken by you, I consider to be an immense privilege.”

“Good, I am so glad that is settled, now tea, the staple of British courtesy, do you take milk and sugar?”

“Just milk please Ma’am, but please, allow me”  And as I was saying this, I reached across for the most delicate looking piece of porcelain I had ever seen, you could almost see the tea through its almost transparent thin and delicate fabrication.

I managed to reach the teapot, but could feel my arm and hand shaking.  What was happening to me? Gerry, a small town professional photographer about to serve, her majesty, the queen of England, tea, in her own drawing room, was this real?, was I hallucinating?, how did I get here?.

The handle of the teapot felt so brittle that I was almost too frightened to try and lift it to pour the tea, suppose it snapped off and poured scalding tea all over my queen, would I be sent to the Tower, to be hung drawn and quartered? Treated like an assassin? Never to see the light of day ever again?

Just to be on the safe side I reached across with my left hand and supported the bottom of the pot, OH boy, it was bloody hot, but somehow the pain brought me back to reality.  I really was here, serving tea to my queen, so sod the pain, I needed it.

“Thank you Gerry, you poured that really well and you knew that I prefer to add my milk to the cup before adding the tea, clever research from your side, well done”

“Please help yourself to any of the selection on the tray, it should keep you busy whilst I explain to you what must have been a surprise call yesterday”

“Ma’am, surprise is a slight under exaggeration, I think shock, would be more appropriate”

“Yes, well, then allow me to try and explain, but before that, I need your solemn promise that not one word of this conversation can ever leave this room, I must have this solemn promise from you, you can never, ever speak of this to anyone ever, at least during my lifetime.  Can you give me that promise?.

“Ma’am, when we were at school and made a promise we had to cross our hearts and hope to die if we did not keep that promise, so yes, I will cross my heart and hope to die.  I promise that whatever you are about to ask will never be repeated to anyone ever”

And with that promise made I remembered our childhood movements and with my thumb I made an X over my heart and said the words to cement my promise to my queen.

“I am so glad that I chose you to make this strange request”  said my queen as she sat back in her seat, visibly relaxing and gave me a gentle smile, she took a very genteel sip from her cup, seemed satisfied that it tasted as it should and prepared herself to reveal whatever deep secret that was troubling her.

“Now Gerry, please humour me for the next five minutes.  I have had the privilege to be the queen of this magnificent country for more than forty years, everywhere I go, people bow down, touch their forelocks and hardly ever have any eye contact, handshakes are so delicate as to be almost a tickle, I am treated like this gentle piece of porcelain and I really want to know what it must be like to just be a normal person for just one day.  Do you know I have never Bought a pound of tomatoes, I have never eaten a hamburger or a hot dog, never been on a London bus, crossed a street without twenty policemen stopping the traffic.  I really want to be a normal person for just one day,  I really want to go shopping, to queue and pay for my purchases, to sit in a cafe and drink normal coffee from a heavy mug, have an ice cream and just experience what it is like to be a commoner for one day, but of course this would be impossible and this is where you come in”

Suddenly, it felt as though someone had poured a ton of cement down my throat, I just sat there totally speechless, here was my queen, the most privileged lady in the country seemingly desperate to be a commoner and actually wanting to join the masses in their daily struggle to survive, wanting to join a queue in Tesco’s and pay for a pound of tomatoes or whatever, to sit in a greasy spoon and drink rubbish coffee from a chipped builders mug and actually choosing to eat a disgusting hamburger, probably even a huge whopper containing goodness knows what rubbish that passes as meat and a slice of yellow rubber that they call cheese.  OH boy and she wants me to help her.

“But Ma’am, how can I help, you have the most recognisable face in England, we, would never get away with it for more than ten seconds, pray tell me what you have in mind and together we can try and work out a plan to bring your fantasy to reality”

“Simple Gerry, You must know a few ladies who have a similar build to me, a pair of plain glass glasses, I will arrange my own hair and apply a small bit of makeup and off we go for a jolly good day out.  But of course we will need another name, you cannot keep calling me Ma’am, can I be your favourite aunty for just one day, what name shall I have”?.

I was still in shock, now my queen is asking me to pretend that she is my favourite Aunty for a day, which will mean I will have to be on more intimate terms, hold her arm crossing the road, crikey, I can see my long term residency of the tower looming closer by the second.  OK, a new name for my queen.

Caught on the hop I just blurted out, “Brenda, Aunty Brenda”

My queen jumped in her chair like an excited teenager clapping her hands and obviously very excited with her new persona.

“Gerry, you really are amazing, Brenda it will be, does the name have any meaning?”

“Yes Ma’am.  ‘BE READY for an EXCITING, NAUGHTY DAY AWAY’

Still clapping and jumping in her seat the queen was acting like an excited teenager, the hugest grin seemed to stretch from one ear to the other.

“Oh Gerry, I knew I was right from the very first time we met, you really are an amazing clever man, you have made me so happy, I know that we are going to have such an exciting day out and that you will really look after me”

“OK, Aunty Brenda”  I needed to try out her new name to see if I really could feel comfortable calling my special queen anything other than Ma’am, I really hoped I could carry this off.

“First we need to change a few things.  One, you really are going to have to try and change your voice a little bit, any shopkeeper worth his or her salt will recognise you instantly no matter how much you try and alter your appearance, just from your voice, so a few normal speak, elocution lessons, try this, repeat very slowly after me.  ‘So I said nite to me trouble, nipped up the apples, took off me daises then me uncle ned, on the weeping willow and went a Bo peep.”

“Which literally means.  ‘I said goodnight to my wife, went upstairs, removed my shoes, went to bed, put my head on my pillow and went to sleep”

“But dear Aunty Brenda you will ‘AVTA’ speek a lot slower to try and lose the plum unda yer tongue”

“OH dear Gerry, perhaps if we just pretend that I am dumb and just use some silly signs between us as it is only going to be for one day, what if I carry a small notepad and jot a few things down, so you have to speak for me?, because I really did not understand one word that you have just said”.

“OK, a good idea Aunty, that could save a lot of trouble, a notepad it is, now, when is this major expedition into the unknown going to take place and how will you explain your absence for a whole day?”

“Gerry, I am the queen, if I request a day of not being disturbed, then that is what will happen, I will demand no visitors and no interruptions of any sorts and that is what will happen, but surely you also will have to plan a day away from your office, Please, as you are being so kind in agreeing to this madcap plan, you sort a day when you can escape and let me know, it will make me a lot happier”.

“OK, Aunty Brenda”  Now that I had started using this new name it was becoming easier every time.

“I know that I have a fairly busy week or two coming up, I will be with your lovely mum on Wednesday with the Irish guards, then Friday over to the Senelager ranges in Germany, with the Duke, could you do me a small favour please aunty Brenda, one of my customers knows that I am going to Germany, her son is in the regiment that the Duke will be visiting, her son is being presented with a medal and has asked if it would be possible to have a photograph of just her son and the Duke, I realise that protocol would not normally allow this to happen, but locally it would make her so happy and boost my standing as we can put the photograph in the local papers and local TV news”.

“Gerry, after all that you will be doing for me, I promise that my husband will single you out and arrange it for you, so, for now I have taken up too much of your time today and you have a very busy business to attend to, I must say a huge thank you for your very kind assistance and let you get off, please let me know when we can arrange my Brenda day out, I am so looking forward to being a commoner for the day, you have been very, very kind”

And with no more to be said, my queen must have pressed a secret button somewhere, because at that moment the door behind me opened admitting an almost silent footman, who seemed to glide next to me, bowed to his queen and then shock horror to me at the same time.  OMG! no one has ever bowed to me before, perhaps he must be thinking that I am some important dignitary having such a long and very private audience with his queen.  So, cue taken, I stood, bowed as he had done, took the regulatory three steps backwards hoping not to bump into anything, said my goodbye’s, turned and followed my guide from her presence.

To this day, I can still not come to terms with all that had just happened, my background from the day I was born, just did not allow people to have such amazing experiences.  On the way out, the footman stopped at a small office and was given a small envelope which he handed to me and told me that this was my new pass that her majesty had ordered for me, that whenever I needed to gain admittance to the palace to place this inside my car window and I would never be stopped.

WOW, I really was reaching greater heights than my mind could ever have imagined.  It goes to show, that honesty in your life really does pay off.

“Two weeks later, using the secret number that my new aunty Brenda had given me, I called to arrange the Brenda day out.

I had managed to arrange three separate dates to try and make things easier for my new aunty, she had answered before the phone had rung twice and had said that she would need to call me back, that she was in a meeting.  Two hours later, a day and time was arranged.  I would arrive at the palace in a taxi, having parked my car in a National Car Park, my aunty Brenda would seemingly wander casually through the back staff gate, get in the taxi that would take us straight to Oxford street which was where she had asked to go to start her naughty Brenda day away.

After we had left the taxi she insisted on putting her arm through mine, she said for support as she was so nervous.  She was nervous!,  I could hardly walk I was shaking so much, here was this simple small town photographer, walking arm in arm down Oxford street with the Queen of England.  Sorry, Aunt Brenda.

“Well dear Aunty Brenda, here we are, I need some fortification, have you ever been in a typical English pub and had a pint of beer?.  Well maybe not a pint, but perhaps a small glass just so that you can add the experience to your memory scrapbook.”

“No, never, but it is on my list for today and the small glass of beer, lead on Gerry, my naughty day out is about to start getting interesting”

The rest of the day just seemed to vanish in a blur, we had to try everything including a McDonalds, that was the real highlight, sitting in McDonalds with the queen trying to hold an enormous triple decker and bite into it with the hugest, happiest grin on her face, like a child on her best ever birthday party.

Then a few supermarkets, Marks and Spencer to try out some clothes as well as a quick visit to Ann Summers where she at least had the grace to be very embarrassed at some of the items on display, whispering in my ear to ask if people actually purchased and used such items, then grabbing my arm, she very quickly dragged me out of there and almost collapsed laughing on the pavement, saying that she could imagine the dukes face if she produced any one of those toys from under her pillow.

I’m not sure about her, but I was completely whacked, it had been a huge whirlwind of a day, I’m pretty sure that a few shopkeepers and staff thought that they recognised my aunty Brenda, but obviously dismissed the thought as being impossible, but to give her, her due, she carried the day off amazingly well, she was so excited to be able to mix and fit in so well with her ordinary subjects.

I now get birthday and Christmas cards from my ‘Aunty Brenda’ and my wife keeps asking me who is this mysterious aunt that I had never mentioned before, that has suddenly cropped up and why can’t I invite her to tea sometime?  Now there’s a thought, would Aunty Brenda like to travel to Bath one day and come to tea? 

One day I will ring and ask her, oh in case you were wondering, yes she did keep her promise to get the Duke to pose for a separate photograph with Lance Corporal Jones, which made him the envy of the regiment, his dear mum the envy of the town and bumped me, who had organised it to the top of the ratings and a bit of a local celebrity.

So, all’s well that ends well, maybe one year I might get the letter advising me that I have been mentioned in the new year’s honors’ list, now that really would be something to crow about.

Remember, ‘PROMISE’ is not just another word, it should be made from your heart and soul.

 

 


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