There was a knock at the flap of the tepee this morning. Consuela (my Tejana maid) being busy in the scullery, scullering, I answered the knock myself. Pulling back the flap I was surprised to see what appeared to be a UPS delivery man, or something very like one. Let me enumerate the differences for you.
Difference the first:- being the scarlet of his uniform, as opposed to the brown of UPS.
Difference the second:- being the rococo, crowned escutcheon bearing an upright cross upon a small Calvary flanked by a wild olive branch and a rapier embroidered on the left breast of said uniform in place of the UPS logo.
Difference the third:- being the red beanie on his head, somewhat in the likeness of a yarmulke, in place of the UPS cap.
Difference the fourth:- being a heavy silver crucifix on a chain of the same around his neck, this being totally lacking in a UPS uniform.
“Spanish Inquisition,” he announced, holding out one of those hand-held gizmos and a plastic stylus. “Sign here please.”
I choked back the obvious reply to his announcement but did not take the proffered gizmo and stylus. He continued to hold it out, meanwhile looking quizzically at me and shifting his balance from one foot to the other.
“Spanish Inquisition?” I queried.
“Yes. Spanish Inquisition. You are Muzz Marshall, yes?”
“Muzz Marie Marshall, The Teepee, The Sidlaws, by Dundee?”
“Yes indeed, I am she, but I know nothing of any ‘Spanish Inquisition’.”
He retracted and reversed his gizmo and looked at it with some puzzlement. “Yep, that’s what it says here – ‘Muzz Marie Marshall, The Teepee, The Sidlaws, by Dundee; one all-in discount package Spanish Inquisition, including auto-da-fé and execution in effigie’.”
“Well, I’m a little surprised,” I said.
At that he brightened up and held out the gizmo and stylus. “Ah, well, you see, ‘surprise’ is one of the diverse elements amongst our weaponry.”
“Yes I heard that. I also heard that ‘ruthless efficiency’ was another one, but I’m afraid that you’ve rather let the side down in that respect. No Inquisition, Spanish or otherwise, has been ordered at this address.”
His face fell and he looked around.
“Is there another Marshall household in the area?” he asked.
“Not to my knowledge,” I said.
“Another ‘teepee’ perhaps?”
I gestured, and he looked around again at the bare, uninhabited hillside, and at the surrounding and equally bare hills.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “You appear to have had a wasted journey.”
“Okay, Madam. Sorry to have troubled you,” he said and walked off back down the faint sentier that winds from the tepee to the nearest track that will accommodate vehicles. He was staring at his gizmo and talking into his Blackberry. A few words drifted back on the nagging, Sidlaw wind.
“Chief? Cardinal Ginger here… yep… yep… nope, you gave me the wrong name and address… I mean, it’s not bloody rocket science, is it...”
I shut the flap of the tepee and settled down on my chaise longue to watch TV again. I hugged my secret, dark, dangerous heresy to my bosom and smiled a smug smile.