I'm a coaster not a roller he announced, peering at us through his fish eye lens.
And I'm a jester not a joker, Annie replied, quick as a silverfish in her sequinned jodphurs and faded cheesecloth.
Aha, a spar! he aimed an imaginary lance in her direction, dropping his monocle as he did. Let the scales fall from mine eyes: he flourished a tawdry bouquet from his sleeve; I see you are a queen in our midst
Adjust your scales - Annie was getting into her stride - Not queen but mermaid. She twirled and her jodphured legs were suddenly skinned in a gleaming lurex tail.
So that explains the fishy smell.
She looked at me, as if fishing for a clue, some information that would tickle her trouty imagination. I could furnish you with poisonous spines, she offered; You could be urchin, or anemone. Don't say it! She wheeled sternly back to our interpreter: Who needs friends like a fish needs a etc etc. She leaned in and plucked a coin from behind his ear. Sailor's gold, or pirates? She wondered, holding his beard tight in her left hand. Which fleet do you belong to?
The fleet of maritime magicians, miladymermaid. Can I invite you to our Friday supper?
Hunger gulped a silver globe in my belly
You can invite me!
It's the feast of the seven fishes: A travesty of turbot, followed by a pyramid of poached puffas; ictheus sorbet, shock of shark with jus of clam and lime, anchovy - the gentleman's relish, fish, chips and mushy peas and to round it off jellyfish and icecream. Shall we go?
And he linked an arm under each of our finnys and swam us up the bright staircase to the dining car.