This is the hardest letter I’ve had to write. But so much has happened recently and I can’t keep stringing you along. I have to be honest with you, and true to myself. I’m sorry, gin. But it’s over. I’m in love with rum.
There! I’ve said it out loud. It’s going to be devastating for you, but I know you’ll get over it eventually. So much has changed here – the unicorn died, the flying monkeys were stolen, there was a surfeit of spaff – and it was kind of inevitable that you’d slide out of favour, wasn’t it? After all, one can’t align oneself with just one hard liquor for the rest of one’s life, can one?
Now, c’mon, don’t cry. I’ll always enjoy gin and tonic. It’s just… well… rum is so different, innit. Exotic. Spicy. A little bit dirty. It’s what PIRATES drink. And you know pirates are cool, yeah? Especially space pirates. Space pirates with giant lasers. And everyone knows THEY don’t drink gin. No way no how.
People change, the world moves on – you’ll find someone else. Indeed, I hear quite frequently about your myriad of lovers. I never felt like we were exclusive, gin. And that’s not good enough for me, d’y'hear? NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I demand to be treated with a bit more respect. Frankly, you can take your tonic and fark off, till you’ve sorted yourself out and considered the results of your loose ways. Shame on you. Shame.
Anyway. This is not over. You know I’ll keep coming back to you on the odd occasion, desperate for a remembrance of quenching juniper lushness. But this is MY fling, my mid-life crisis. I want a spirit with a bit more, erm, spirit. Rum has promised to transport me to sunnier, sweatier climates. It makes me wanna dance to a calypso rhythm, and feel sand between my toes, and have sex underneath a palm tree. Or something. Maybe I’ll just get pissed quicker.
So this is it. Farewell, gin. Take care. Look after yourself. Work on that image of yours, though, really, I don’t think anything will top space pirates.
[children playing noisily in their back garden. Their voices carry through the bright morning air]
Boy child: There is NOT sharks.
Girl child: In MY ship, under my ship, there are TWENTY sharks and they’re all hungry.
Boy: I’ve got a gun!
Girl: My sharks can beat guns! My sharks can beat guns!
Boy: No they CAN’T!
[screams and general disorder for a while]
Girl: You are NOT A PIRATE!
Boy: Am a pirate! Girls can’t be pirates, anyway. Girls have to be FAIRIES.
Girl: I’m having a drink.
Boy: Where’s my drink?
Girl: I THREW IT OFF THE SHIP! I HATE YOU!
Boy: OK OK you can be a pirate just don’t tell mum.
Girl: I have FIFTY SHARKS now.
We started out in the open,
Sprawled ruggish on the grass.
Eating leaves and chasing ants
And dodging raindrops.
Sunlight spattered our skin.
The baby slipped and twisted,
Sun cream slathered my hands.
She decided to eat her hat.
Packs of kids roamed the land,
A crocodile of the young by the trees.
We threw grass at them.
We were pirate daughters.
Our dark and cool headquarters.
More rain danced a mocking jig.
I had a cup of tea;
Pretended it was rum.
Next, we battled wild dogs;
Fought them off with knives
Clenched the blades between our teeth
And hollered a bloody cry.
Baby wore the canine skins,
I carved them up for supper.
Dusk made us twitchy.
We took to the bushes.
Jumping from branch to branch
The park, the park was ours!
Invisible stars, lowering clouds
And twilight. Our new friends.
That night the pirate baby was feral:
Crawling and pulling and gnashing
And waving and wailing and wiggling.
And eating biscuits.
Until it was time to sleep.
Then we went home.