Valentines runner-up

An honourable mention to the runner-up in our February competition.

Public Holiday

by James Edwards-Smallbone

“But he can’t be sick, it’s his busiest day of the year! And besides, Cupid’s an anthropomorphic representation of an abstract concept, he can’t be anything.”

“That’s rich coming from you, to be sure.” Brogued St Patrick.

“Oh ditch the Irish crap Patrick, we both know you’re Italian.” Even in irritation August’s warm sea-and-sand voice echoed with the anonymous shrieks of a thousand delighted children.

“Well what about Valentine?” The saint suggested. “I know he’s retired but can’t we ring him up and bill him to accounts as a consultant?”

“He’s on a golfing holiday with the Equinox, they won’t be back for another month.”

Patrick shrugged “I’d suggest the Bunny but you know how my Management” (the capital M was clearly not an authority to be gainsaid) “feels about all that chocolate nonsense.”

August whimpered softly and tugged at his sun-bleached hair, revealing an embarrassing tan line across skin burned red as roses.

“May will have my guts for garlands.” The yelps of glee on his sea breeze voice became fraught and hysterical. “You remember what happened to Swithin? He’s stuck in meteorology and the Twenty-Niner only gets out of the warehouse once every four years.”

“Look, calm down” St Patrick said, patting August’s candy floss shoulder reassuringly. “Something will come up.”

“Hey Paddy,” the sudden voice was the chuckle of bells and the guffaw of harlequin colours, “do we have any more toner for the photocopier, I used the last of it inside St George’s helmet.” Her laugher was gleeful and harmonic.

“In the cupboard.”

“Thanks honey.”

A breathless second of understanding passed between Patrick and August. Love makes fools of us all…

“Hey April, are you busy today?”

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