“I’m sorry,” said a burley man, as he bumped into me on a crowded byway.
I stood up and backed into an open room away from the crowds, but was thrown forward to the floor by an invisible force. “What!”
“Careful,” said the strangely dressed man. “You’ll break the glass.”
The man picked me up, “Yes glass,” he said, tapping on the invisible barrier. “What are you doing, promoting a play.”
“I have no idea, what is this place.”
“Oxford Street. I assume you’re lost, here let me show you.”
From nowhere he plucked a black box and showed me a picture, all lines and squiggles and red dots.
“Here you are. Where are you going? I’ll set it up.”
“I’m here to see King Arthur,”
He tapped the black box, “Ah yes that’s on at the Odeon, just up on the left past the Virgin shop.”
“Uhh thank you.” I replied, a little amazed. “There’s a shop where they sell virgins, how interesting.”
“Sorry?” asked the man.
“Nothing,” I said making my way through the crowed market place, full of people in the strangest garb.
My last travelling spell had obviously transported me to a major town with all these people, but what were those big red square boxes, full of people, moving along the road without horses.
“What’s the matter with you,” said a young woman as I brushed into her. This one was dressed in more respectable clothes of a lady of the court.
“Sorry, miles away,” literally I thought.
“Love the outfit.”
“Outfit? Oh, you mean my clothes.”
“Yes.” she said. “Well Merlin, are you off to see Arthur?”
“Yes,” I thanked my lucky stars to find someone who understood. “Do I know you?”
“No, but the staff and the hat give you away,” she said “I’m Gwen by the way.”
She linked arms and we wove our way through the bustling crowds.
“So, who built these huge castles or are they monuments,” I asked, looking around at the series of immense buildings, stretching into the distance.
“These things? Oh, they’re just monuments to the Gods of consumerism.”
“That’s a new religion to me.”
“I think we might be late if these people don’t get out of the way,” said Gwen. Seeing a massive sea of teens in matching red t-shirts.
“No problem,” I said with a wave of my arms, parting the crowds all the way to the flashing signs.
“Is everyone off to see the king?” I asked as the signs above flashed ‘King Arthur’ at us.
“Where are you sitting?” she asked.
“I normally stand at his right,” I told her.
“No, your ticket. You do have a ticket?” she said showing me a slip of paper.
“Let me see,” I said, taking it out of her hands. I marvelled at the tiny neat symbols on the bit of paper. I waved my hands once more and handed her ticket back, retaining the copy I’d made.
“Oh, very clever,” said Gwen, admiring my sleight of hand.
She led me down an aisle towards an immense white wall and pulled me down into the softest seat I had ever encountered.
“Nicer than the moss and ferns seats we use,” I told her.
“Where do you come from?” she asked, as the lights dimmed and music started.
I jumped up “What’s happening.”
“SSShh, sit down, people are looking.”
“Oh sorry, very different to the ceremonies we have at home,” I told her.
The white wall in front of us turned black, then changed to a scene of rolling hills and in the distance a castle.
“Have I been transported again?”
“What? No, it’s a picture.”
“How did they paint it so quickly?”
“I beg your pardon.”
“Granted,” thinking she had burped.
“Just watch.” she commanded.
I couldn’t understand how they had all these people, battles scenes and fighting, all on what was such a small stage.
Certainly, there was a king of sorts, and some sort of magician, presumably pretending to be me, who made lights like lightening from his stupid stick, turning people into frogs. What a waste of magic I thought.
The temple lit up again and she took my hand directing me out into the open air and pulled me into a smaller temple to a God called Costa, where people sat around sipping at frothy drinks, leaving milky lips each time they dipped into their pots.
She brought me a white pot filled with a hot steamy drink.
“Is this a magic potion?” I asked. I hadn’t tagged her as a witch.
“No, have you never had a cappuccino before?”
Not in our village.” Wonder what awful fate she had in mind. I waved my hands over the drink to dispel any potion she might have given me, but there were no warning bubbles so I hoped it would be alright to drink.
“So, what did you think?” Gwen asked. “Great film wasn’t it.”
“Is that your idea of what it’s like in King Arthur’s court?”
“Well not mine but certainly the people who wrote it.”
“Well they’ve obviously not been there.”
“Of course, would you like to see what it’s really like?” I asked having realised what was wrong with my original travel spell.
“I’ve been to Tintagel.”
“I don’t know that place,” I said. “But I can take you to see the real King Arthur.”
“Really, I’d love that,” she answered, with a sparkle in her eyes. “Where’s your car?”
“I don’t know what a car is, but hold my hands and I’ll take you there.”
“Oh no, wait!”
Too late, the temple dissolved and stone walls appeared in front of us.
“Ah, Merlin there you are,” said the man seated at the head of table. “What kept you and who’s this enchanting maid?”
“King Arthur, meet Gwen.”