“Lemony, where are you…? Hello? Hello! Are you there?”
“Yes, Mubla,” I sigh. She still can’t get used to calling me Fig. I don’t know why. We had an agreement.
“What was that?” she asks. “Speak up. Why d’you sound so muffled?”
“Because I’m wearing a face mask,” I retort. “I’m out shopping for Myrtle.”
“Oh,” she says. “So, you’re not swimming in the sea pool then?”
Chance would be a fine thing! And in such perfect weather too. I dream of swimming in that water. It’ll be getting to a nice temperature soon, what with all this sunshine. But no, I’m landlocked and I hate it.
“Of course not, Mubla,” I say. “We’re on lockdown.”
“Yes, I’m well aware,” she retorts. “Come home soon. I have to go. I have a Zoomba call coming in.”
I resist the urge to laugh. “I think you mean Zoom, Mubla.” Zumba is something different entirely and definitely something I can’t imagine her doing…
“Yes well, remember to keep 2m apart,” she says. “Wash your hands when you get back. Oh, and don’t buy Dab Dabs any more cake. He’s been piling on the pounds since the start of all this.”
That’s because she doesn’t let him go out for his daily runs anymore. Not since she saw the images of crowded city parks. The fact that we live in a sleepy seaside town where you can easily jog for miles without seeing a soul was completely lost on her and I think Dab Dabs has lost the will to make her understand.
When I get home, I head straight for the basement, the smell of the disinfectant hitting me from the top step. Mubla has insisted that Dab Dabs thoroughly clean his workroom every day, just in case. Not that Old Mare has had any cases yet. Not officially anyway. But I’m not letting anything go to chance so Maud, Stella and I have all been shopping for the older members of the Old Mare Mermaids, much to Mubla’s chagrin. She’s worried I’m going to run off again. I’d hardly do that given the current situation. And besides, I have those swimming adventures alive in my memories and the Boss has been in touch more than is comfortable. I think she’s lonely.
“Fig,” says Dab Dabs. He’s looking tired and pale. Hasn’t seen much daylight since this all began. I think Mubla’s taking the social distancing thing too far and hasn’t let him, or me, anywhere near her because we have contact with the outside world. She tried it with Jago, but he was having none of it. He’s a cuddly sort of boy.
“I bought you the cake you asked for,” I say. “Was the last one on the shelf, so it’s not your favourite, I’m afraid.”
“Oh, thanks,” he replies, grabbing a slice and wolfing it down, sending a shower of crumbs over his latest client. Not that they’ll mind. They’re dead. “Don’t tell Mubla will you,” he says.
“What on earth’s that noise?” I ask, as clomping sounds threaten to bring down the ceiling above us.
We rush upstairs when there’s a massive thud followed by a low moaning and I’m shocked to see Mubla in a sweaty mess on the floor, clutching at her ankle.
“Mubla,” I gasp. “What on earth are you doing?”
“Zumba, Lemony. Zumba!”
Dab Dabs and I exchange looks. Oh god, I really hope things get back to normal soon…