Short Story Preview: Fancy That!

My parents dined out for ages on their daughter’s teenage follies – as parents do, I suppose. Yet, as a student, the particular bunch in my crowd took adventure and danger in their stride. Tomorrow’s future would be in our hands, after all. We must show spirit, be decisive undaunted lateral thinkers who wouldn’t bury their heads in the sand when faced with a crisis.

That summer, Larry and I were floating in the post-achievement euphoria of our tremendously successful Arts Ball. The Nottingham College of Art had raised several thousands of pounds for charity, undeniably by our madcap publicity stunts and brilliant decoration of the ballroom on the night.

The theme of the ball was ‘Twixt the devil and the deep blue sea’ and to publicise this event (opened by the Lord Mayor) we had the Devil (black dinner jacket, green face, horns) confronting Davy Jones and his pirates for trial (I was one of them) on the steps of the Nottingham Council House where an executioner (black mask, leotard) awaited with his axe. There must be some truth in the public’s gruesome fascination with executions – even today – because by the time Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen had toured the town on a flatbed lorry publicising the publicity stunt, a crowd of hundreds had gathered round us.


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