ALICE AND MAGGIE
“See that legging sticking out of my sleeve?”, whispered Maggie to Alice, as they waddled out of the department store, layered with stolen goods, decorated like a pair of birthday cake elephants. “Pull it out gently! It’s dangling loose, like a white flag, calling for ceasefire. They’ll be after us in no time, thinking we’ve got something to declare.” They both burst out laughing. This was a thoughtless reaction, considering the size of that afternoon’s operation, but Alice and Maggie were by now well enough practiced in their arts, to avoid the smartest of the store detectives’ encounters.
“I’ve no business pulling leggings out of sleeves”, replied Alice in a momentary seriousness, suddenly sobering up herself, though not so much the whole situation, as her reply caused another ripple of uncontrolled corpsing.
“Pull it, you fool! We’re looking suspicious.”, implored Maggie, growing ever more concerned under her laughter shaken dozen of layers of designer dresses.
“No!”, insisted Alice, now in all seriousness. “What am I to do with a loose legging in my hand?!”, said she through her smiling teeth, picking up the pace towards the exit. “Just stomp your way through with all the elegance you can master – it’s too late now to fix the loose screws. Try not to faint!”
As the sweating pair of cocktail gorillas swung open the double door of the department store, they were flushed by the welcome chill of the winter air and the deafening sounds of Victorian London. Their lungs breathed the familiar car fumes and the sense of freedom made them let out a roaring screech of relief, as they ran down Oxford Street, as fast as their clothes could carry them, like two blind hulks, on a sugar rush.
Safety was near.
A little way in front of them, a commotion was gathering in the street. They approached cautiously, weighed under their loot, to see what’s going on. A well-dressed woman was holding a small boy and declaring: “He stole my purse, right under my nose, while I was trying to pay this kind vendor, for the necklace. Little brute!”
Alice and Maggie surveyed the crowd. While everyone was listening to the lady shaking the little lad, three or four other lads were checking the pockets of the by-standers for all manner of valuables. The two old friends looked at each other knowingly. In an instant, Alice whistled loudly, everyone looked round, the pickpockets dispersed, with passers-by after them, having lost interest in the lady and the boy; and now frantically looking for a copper, to help them retrieve their belongings.
Maggie approached the lady, out of breath. “Has he been at it, again? He’s been running away from home lately, uncontrollable little mischief… hanging out with all sorts all hours. I’ve been worried sick. Excuse me, madam; and thank you ever so much for retrieving him. I give you my word this will not happen again. Come along with me now, you little brute!” The confused lady let go of the lad reluctantly, half pleased that someone else will administer his punishment.
By now, the coppers were everywhere – now catching now losing the young pickpockets, the scene had become like a silent movie set, with coppers and robbers playing tag game, on a royal wedding street party, to the sound of the distant sirens.
Alice and Maggie bundled the released young prisoner in amongst their rustling skirts and into a cab, straight to their lodgings in Elephant and Castle.
“Why did you save me?”, asked the boy, nestled in front of a fire, over a mug of hot milk, that evening.
“We need a bellboy, to carry our luggage.”, said Alice.
“On a ship.”, said Maggie.
“On a ship?! What kind of ship?”
“A big one” they said in unison and laughed.
“The one that’ll take us to a better life in America. Wanna come?”
“Yeah! ‘Course I wanna come!”
“We’re going to Southampton tomorrow at dawn. We’re looking for a vessel called Titanic.”
The Extention to ALICE AND MAGGIE
One faintal Sunday evening, 24-hours cycle, they felt a sudden shake of the ship, playing poker on deck; then saw a chunk of ice on their ship. Got a bit concerned, they were at the back of the ship, then they saw one of the poker cards slip a bit and grew more concerned; then went to the edge of the boat, then realized they were sinking by the bow of the ship. Then got a series of worriness spread through them… and in three hours time, they were dead at the bottom of the ocean. Titanic had sunk.