A couple of nights ago I was waiting to meet some friends at a cosy pub after a writing workshop. It’s thirsty business, this writing. I spied a bone-white leg projecting at a peculiar angle from the top of a nearby litter bin. Curiosity got the better of me and, looking to left and right as I approached the sight (well, who would want to be caught raiding a litter bin?), I yanked it free to have a closer inspection of my find by the light of a department store window.
It was exceedingly long and shapely and tapered off to a slim, perfectly formed foot with toes that looked as if they had had a recent manicure. Very attractive, but what was I going to do with it now? I didn’t want to be seen stuffing a leg back into the bin so I attempted to arrange my coat over the top of it thinking it might be less conspicuous. At that moment one of the other writers walked across the street and spied my antics. Was the third leg really that noticeable? Well, by her extreme reaction to the sight I guessed it was. When she straightened up and rearranged her face into a kind but rather concerned look, she squawked “What are you going to do with that?” I didn’t consider plans for the leg and asked if she had any suggestions.
It was decided that the best thing to do was to walk into the meeting place carrying the leg under my arm as though it was nothing out of the ordinary.
It takes a bit of courage to walk into a pub carrying an extra leg, but I girded my loins, so to speak, and held on while I pushed the door open and walked regally – head held high in the manner of an ancient Egyptian queen, and leg held tight in the manner of some sort of human sacrifice. I don’t know. Did Egyptians do dismembered human sacrifice? Must look that up… Some of the looks I got from those imbibing in strong drink or cheap wine will be etched in my memory – such as it is – for at least a week. However, I marched on and eventually (it was slow motion in my mind) arrived at the table my friends had chosen – which, of course, was at the furthest end of the establishment. A few of them guffawed and a couple of them choked on their fizzy water as they saw what I was carrying.
Did I blush and make apologies? Not a bit of it. They’ve known me long enough to accept me as an individual and free-thinking spirit. At least that’s what I tell myself. I plonked the leg down on the bench between myself and Mary who, after lowering the initial raised eyebrow, continued her conversation with the person across the table. I ordered a double espresso to keep me calm.
The discussion finally got around to the leg and its future. Everyone had a good look at it and someone whose partner is needing a new hip insisted on taking it home to him and telling him to look what she brought him. A great idea, we all agreed. She left the pub later proudly carrying the leg before her.
Now we think that we should share our leg and each person in the company can have a chance to take custody of it between meetings. That way, no one will feel left out of the adventure, including The Leg herself (well, it has to be a her, doesn’t it?).
If anyone who reads this has another suggestion concerning the fate of our leg – yes, it has become ‘our leg’ now, please let me know and I’ll pass it on.