Since we moved into our house earlier this year, with alarming frequency, I have been the fall guy, the butt of jokes, the much-maligned fool for all the household japes. This seems to happen in every sphere of my life so at some point I may have to accept it as my own doing. NOT TODAY. Although otherwise hardy and without flaw, I do have an unspeakable terror of tickling anywhere on the body but particularly on my feet.
Some time ago whilst discussing tattoos, I idly commented that I'd always fancied something small and vague on an ankle, a spot easily cloaked if needed. "Oh really?" Everyone said, with equal antipathy as I am always making such querulous pronouncements and ignoring them is almost essential for an easy life.
"I think I would get a small, trailing flower," I said. "Or is that too gay-looking? Maybe a word, in Latin, to increase it's enigmatic power! No, no, my first born's name! In Latin! With a flower!"
"Oh dear God." Said Kate. "Right, will we draw one on, just to see what it's like?" Dubiously I poked a pen nib into my delicate arch.
"Oooh, no, that's not nice. No thank you."
"Go on, give us a go." Kate said, grabbing the pen. Clodagh looked up; she loves a plan.
"No, I don't think so, I have extremely sensitive feet." I said apologetically.
"Look, how can you stick a tattoo artist if you can't cope with me and a pen? Cop the fuck on."
A short time later, Clodagh was sitting on my left arm and Kate on my right. As Kate began to draw on my right foot, the screams started. I don't know where they came from; as people involved in great trauma often say, it took me a moment to realise the screams came from my own mouth. All I knew was a terrifying, overwhelming panic and fear of I know not what of. Of course, my pain was everyone else's amusement. Laura jumped up to hold my flailing ankles and all three roared with unimagined joy.
"Kate!" I panted, "Please! I beg you! I'll give you everything I own! Please Kate! Friends down do this to friends, Kate!" She bore down with added glee. My mind sank beneath waves of terror and panic as the interminable prodding and scratching of my poor white foot went on, involving hundreds of pounds of females sitting on me and telling me to shut up between their laughter.
"Quieten down, Luce," Clo said, turning to me in a rare second she managed to stop laughing at my yelps of panic. "You're just making it harder on yourself you know."
Painful seconds later, it was over. I was released, and scuttled into a dark corner of the living room to hold my foot and mope. My heart was pounding, my breath was short, I'd walloped my head off something in my struggles. On my foot, extending from toe to the inside of my heel, was a mawkish flower, primitively drawn with rough, tremulous petals. Also the caption: "LUCY IS GAY HA HA HA".
My captors sat round and watched, grinning nervously, for fear I'd start crying I suppose. Hell no. I cry three times a year, tops, unless I get caught watching Trocaire ads. I wasn't wasting my water on these fools.
I steadied myself; looked up and squared my chin. "I hope you're fucking happy with yereselves. I'll have you know that that constitutes foot rape."
"HA!" They three roared.