When Tony announced that Flat Tony would do a 2010 World Tour, I volunteered to billet him. After all, it’s not every day that I can have guests, even paper ones, from Tasmania. And despite a slight weakness for alcohol and a tendency to be accident prone, in all other respects Flat Tony is an excellent guest, always affable and ready for any adventure.
My greatest worry was my computer: it sometimes “loses” my e-mail, and it hasn’t been able to connect to the printer properly in years. Would Flat Tony arrive safely?
On Saturday morning, still wondering when — or even if — Flat Tony would arrive, E.g. and I went out early to take some photos of a brewing storm. On the way to the parking pad, I noticed a poppy bud shaking ominously in the wind. We’d better hurry before the clouds open.
Open they did, but not until we were half an hour from the house. We decided to avoid the worst of the torrent by stopping for a leisurely breakfast before hitting the supermarket.
When we finally got back, Cuca was waiting for us on the stairs. “Mother? Baby Tracy would like to speak with you.”
“What is it, Baby Tracy?”
“Front porch! Front porch! Oh, I hope it not too late!”
We had parked in the drive and come in the back door with the groceries. Now, E.g. and I rushed to the front door and flung it open.
There was Flat Tony in the petunia planter, soaked and shivering, a poppy bud cover still plastered to his forehead. Because of my faulty computer, his electronic trajectory from Launceston to Saint John had defaulted into the front flowerbed, and the wind-tossed bud I’d noticed earlier was actually Flat Tony trying to free himself from its still-folded petals.
Having once broken out, he had crossed the lawn in the downpour, mounted the porch steps, and climbed into the planter, hoping he might reach the doorbell before his index finger turned to papier mache.
“I take care Flat Tony!” Baby Tracy squealed.
“Are you sure you can handle it?” asked E.g.
“Sure! I baby nurse!” Baby Tracy explained.
And I’ve gotta admit, the ministrations were both comforting and effective.
With a warm towel, a soothing spot of sherry, an interesting picture book, and a new friend, Flat Tony recovered in no time.