The nine girls were into a clapping game, they clapped hands, they clapped each other, why they played this game I don’t know. It could last half an hour.
I once saw them do the clapping game in the middle of a concert, in the middle of a song. Someone in the audience shouted CLAP: they stopped singing and dancing and started clapping. The band played the same note for twenty minutes; then the girls sang and danced from exactly where they left off – very odd.
A wall monitor showed a picture of three women and announced the arrival of “three uniformed women”. Amy and I went to the door. “Hello Detective Inspector Janet Dienst and Detective Sergeants Anne Grey and Simone Krandle. Please come in.”
“How do you know our names?”
“I’m Amy and this is Jollity.”
“Jollity? We are looking for a Jollity Jackson...”
“Yes, that’s me.” The girls continued their clapping.
“We’ve had reports that Jollity Jackson, daughter of Martin Jackson, has been kidnapped, possibly by 9gals!”
“Yes, that’s right, last Saturday evening in Blackpool, they carried me horizontally out of the hotel. They sang to me and bought me fish and chips, I sang to them, they liked that too. Later we sang together. We came back here in the Wonder Bus, but we crashed into an escape lane near Scarpedale, you’ve probably read about that in the media.”
“So, are you being held against your will? What would the girls do if you tried to leave?”
“Oh, they wouldn’t like that...”
Just then Harlequin, Jimmie and the policewoman entered the room, the three policewomen were surprised to see their colleague at the scene of the crime and...
And Trace realised that there was a problem. He walked quickly up to me and gave me something heavy and invisible. “It’s a guitar, a six-string, electric...” I strummed the strings. “It’s connected.”
I played a couple of Elmore James riffs and launched into You ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog trying to sing like Big Mama Thornton. Trace backed me on invisible bass guitar and invisible drums as two Margaret Thatchers – the three policewomen stared at them.
I stuck my chin out and played Apache and stumbled into I feel Free; then the Sandwich Song. The girls stopped clapping, they hugged the three policewomen and sang.
“I...” It was the only word I managed to say to Jolly, just one word.
“No, I’m sorry, but no. We have decided not to, for the time being. I think we could, that is, we could physically, but we’ve only been on this planet for two years and we’re not ready.”
“OK, we’re not toddlers, we haven’t had a childhood, we weren’t robbed of our childhood, and we’re not going to get a childhood either. Going to Blackpool was fun, but no ersatz childhood. We have decided that we are not yet ready, we think that we will know when we get there.”
“But don’t think that I don’t like you. I think I love you, you are at the top of my list, Jollity. You really are.”
With that she kissed me and wrapped herself around me and went to sleep.