Pete Wisdom sat opposite Dr Ella Whitby in the bustling pancake restaurant which looked as if it had come straight from the 60’s via a Swiss chalet. Pete clocked the agent sitting in the booth adjacent as well as the couple pretending to be a couple at the table on his left.
“Why don’t you just place signs on them that read UNDERCOVER AGENT?” Pete asked as he shut the menu.
Ella smiled. “I’m just here for a chat Peter, they take care of security protocols. SO, what are you ordering?”
“Nothing!” Pete puled out his cigarettes only to be met with a stern harrumph from the matronly waitress who appeared at their table.
“Smoking outside, eating inside,” she told him plainly. “My name is Ma, and welcome to my place. Drinks?”
“Pint of lager,” Pete muttered as he quietly slid his cigarettes away.
“Only with food, love. And I’m sure my special stack could wipe that sour look off your face.”
Ella chuckled as Pete stared back at her, grabbed the menu and pointed randomly to something. “That and a pint of lager.”
“That! And a lager! Cloth eared…!”
Ma’s interrupting smile was how sharks would smile but choose not too, as she leant in close to Pete’s ear. “Young man, in my house, we use manners. Please. Thank you. May I. Excuse me. If you are unable too or unwilling too, my husband will come out from the kitchen with his pancake shovel and politely insert it up your bottom! Sideways! Then, he will twist your ear purple as he drags you off premise! Now, you may be having a bad day because your dog died or your girlfriend or even boyfriend has called it off but a small, simple courtesy costs nothing and might even improve your disposition. Are we clear?”
Pete was stunned and nodded like a chastised dog. “Yes mum”
“And for you dear?” She turned to Ella.
“Could I have a cappuccino and the two stack please.”
“Course you can love,” Ma said scooping up the menus. “Won’t be two shakes…”
Ella studied Pete’s face and when enough silence had passed. “Peter, you called her mum.”
Ella nodded her head. “So, let’s talk about her, shall we? Your mum…”
“Rather we didn’t,” Pete complained resting his head on the table.
“Peter…” Ella asked.
Slowly Pete sat up and looked her in the eyes. “Call me Peter again, and I will show you first hand what my mutant power is okay? Name’s Pete, Pete Wisdom!”
“Well Pete,” Ella said carefully. “Tell me about her.”
“It’s not HER; it’s Matilda! Matilda Juniper Wisdom.” Pete’s voice wavered. “Naive but pretty village girl marries belligerent police officer with awesome last name. If I had a time machine, I’d go back at stop her ever meeting Harold.”
“And Harold is…”
“My dad. Prick of a man!”
“By changing the past like that, you’d never exist, according to what I’ve read,”
Pete shrugged. “My alcoholic father loved his job more than my mum or me or my sister. He loved it because he got to be a bastard all the time and hide it behind his badge! Hit me, her, everyone...but mainly her. So, if you know of any…”
“Cappuccino, two stack, pint of lager and the rainbow surprise,” said Ma sweeping in from the side placing meals and beverages on the table. “That was everything?”
"Time machine," Ella asked quietly before agreeing that all was in order.
“What is that?” Pete pointed at the kid’s meal made of food colouring, ice cream and pancake in the shape of a rainbow complete with pink cutlery.
“Exactly what you pointed at,” Ma smiled. Pete readied himself to start shouting and ranting when Ma simply turned and walked off leaving him impotently pre-argument. Ella sipped her drink, studying him. Pete grit his teeth and took a hold of the beer.
“Cheers!” He said joylessly.