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To a Casual Observer

by Nick Allen

To a casual observer the scene would be as follows: To the left of the street, a nice clapboard house painted yellow with a pretty front garden and nice car in the driveway. The observer would notice the regular comings and goings of an average family that were doing rather nicely for themselves thank you. The observer would also notice a young girl wearing red pyjamas who, every day, sits at her bedroom window looking out onto the world.

On the other side of the street, the casual observer would see a rather ramshackle house covered in scaffolding with four rather short, stocky, and — let’s be honest — plain ugly men working on the roof. And he would see them there from early morning till late at night.

But if the observer were to walk to the tumble-down house and enquire as to what was going on, he would be surprised to learn that the workers were not men at all, but gargoyles. He would learn that the demolition of the local church had resulted in the unfortunate quadruplets’ (for they had the same inauspicious mother) having to find a new roost. This house had come so highly recommended that they felt entirely unable to go anywhere else at all.

But as any observer, casual or otherwise, might be aware — gargoyles are not renowned for their hard work or industrious nature. Yet these four inexplicably work harder than any mortal man. How could the casual observer account for such an anomaly? Could he perhaps suspect that their master might be somewhere in the vicinity?

And then he might remember the girl across the street watching, the one in red pyjamas, the one who has two tiny bumps on her head, the one who is careful not to remove her shoes when in the presence of others.

Copyright © 2009 by Nick Allen

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