Those Daft Soap Suds (Issue 1)

Down at THE VITREOUS ENAMEL, landlady and would-be owner, Olive Lamp, and her closest friend, Vera were wringing their hands in despair. They are both rubbing the polish on anything that can shine in an attempt to take their minds off the darkness enveloping them.

Vera brings up the subject of Olive’s daughter, Sunlight who has just returned from a successful course at RADA. However, Sunlight has fallen under the greasy charm of one of the notorious Bleach Boys, a twin set of unethical thugs that aim to boss the area with a velvet shotgun. Vera would rather lose Sunlight to the stage than to a villain, but love is blind they say, and lust is even less insightful and Sunlight is at the emotional laundrette waiting for her smalls to be twisted in another turbulent cycle.

After four hours of record-breaking wailing, Olive sits at the box and watches the balls go jingle-jangle. One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, and the last little cosmic testicle makes its indifferent way down the tube and, lo and behold, Olive realises the improbable – she’s won the lottery, and with the first ticket she’s bought in years. She stopped when deciding to save up to send Sunlight to RADA. Now, after such sacrifice, her halfarsed prayers had been inexplicably answered by a god she barely believed in. The pub would be hers now, and no mistake. Her whoops of delight traumatised the parrot, whose only words thereafter would be: “Pieces of eight.” And “You’ve gotta be in it to smell it.”

Meanwhile in Frew Saga’s luxury suite, he and a henchman gloat over the fact that he holds all the aces as he intends to buy the pub and evict Olive and her family. Saga is a self-made industrialist who dragged himself from the dirt and cleaned up in the Dot Cotton boom. “Dosh for old rope.”

Vera calls out for her son, Tarlu, but Vera reminds her that he is out at The Tub – a local, infamous nightspot- playing chess and indulging his other passion of watching paint dry. She laments her plight, weeping profusely, bubbles forming in her eyes, getting herself into a right lather. She walked up and down, up and down, until the brasses were clean and sparkly. Vera got a little worried when Olive began to incant: “Out damned spot.” But Vera calmed Olive with one of her home-spun homilies. “Rub those hands any harder and you’ll lose your lifeline.”

Frew Saga, upon hearing the news, was heard to exclaim “BEXLEY HEATH; the lucky cow!” and in a more philosophical mood he bit the head off another of his prize whippets. “The cosmos is an irritating sud. I’ll have to think of another way of making that woman pay for washing her hands of me.” His henchman, Dope-on-a-Rope to his numerous detractors, was showered with Saga’s wrath until he could take no more, so he decided to remind Saga of his ownership of the brewery and wholesale suppliers that served Olive Lamp’s pub. Between gritted teeth, Saga began a somewhat cliched laugh: “SWEET AS A CASHEW.”

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