Scene Fifty Seven
In which a heist is planned.
This is going to suck, Charlotte thought. Miss Alpha drove a very hard bargain; the people of the town seemed to love the statue.
The town had suffered an almost direct hit from an air to air missile, and everything in the centre square had burned down, apart from the fireproof statue. It wasn’t even a good statue, Charlotte thought, there is a limit on what even the finest sculptor can do with chocolate, and every single member of the family that the statue depicted was cross-eyed. But the people loved it, they brought wreaths of flowers and laid it at the base, it was their symbol of defiance against the world, and more specifically, the parts of it that would be willing to attack them.
Charlotte felt a slightly calloused hand rest on her shoulder; she laid her own hand over it. “Hey Tony Tony” she said.
Tony Tony sat down beside her. “It’s beautiful isn’t it?” he said, he had a kind of Glow about him.
Charlotte brow corrugated for a moment. He couldn’t mean the statue surely, she thought, she let her eyes wander out at bit. “The buildings?” she guessed
“Yeh” sighed Tony Tony, “they get knocked down, and three days later they’re going up again. This village is resilient”
Charalotte was a little more cynical, “Pity about it not being fireproof” she said
Tony Tony made his thoughtful face, “You know I was talking to one of the village elders about that, apparently they’re going to use the spaces between the walls to store water, this time round.”
Charlotte thought about this, “won’t that make it cold in the winter?” she asked
“Hell’s yes” said Tony Tony, “It doesn’t seem to bother them much”
Charlotte let herself rest against him, he smelled like sweat and charcoal. “Anyway” he was saying, “there is one part of the village which is fire proof.”
Charlotte took her head away and looked at him, she didn’t like where this was going. “That statue” he clarified, mistaking her look for a question. “It’s a really silly looking statue isn’t it? But they’ve turned it into such a symbol. I was working on the new town hall and I asked one of the men where the foreman was, and he pointed at the statue! Everyone laughed of course, but I think we’re all glad that the statue is here.”
Charlotte buried her head in his chest, fighting the urge to cry. It wasn’t fair, she thought; if I don’t take the statue I turn back and have to leave, if I do take it everyone will be demoralised and I’ll want to leave. She wrapped her arms around Tony Tony and tried to imagine holding him there forever. He wrapped his arms around her too, she hadn’t cried, she was sure of that, but he seemed to understand. If she had been able to see his face she was sure he would look utterly befuddled.