Work Header

A drink in which the bubbles go down

Work Text:

The first time they experiment, Meggie does the reading. Elinor had suggested they make some controlled attempts, and Mo agreed under the condition that they choose a safe topic to read about. So, over the next couple of days, they all set about thinking up a good option. They discard any passages about living beings or any objects essential to the plot. Meggie walks out into the orchard behind their farmhouse, Resa picks an apricot and offers it to he. Suddenly Meggie is back in Capricorn's village in Italy, in another world made of memory. She was locked into a room with Darius, and he was telling her how he longed for apricots depicted in an illustration in a book. And she thought food .

The search for descriptions of literary meals turns out to be more difficult and more fun than they anticipated. Elinor suggests Edmund's Turkish Delight, which they quickly discard. The Mad Hatter's tea is reluctantly let go, once Meggie says she thinks it might be risky to transport so many items at once. Finally, they settle on a perfect drink, and not food: frobscottle.

They sit around their notched kitchen table. Mo's calm is like still lake-water, and Farid's sulkiness like thunder on the wind. He had wanted Green Eggs and Ham and felt sore that Elinor had discarded it on the grounds of commonality. Resa's excitement sparkles like the glasses set out in each of their places, and Elinor's sharp eyes remind her that any mistake shall be quickly put to rights. Her aunt has several sheets of parchment tucked into her pocket, describing solutions to any major problems they had imagined.

  Meggie unfolds a single piece of parchment and places it in a pool of sunlight on the table. She spreads it flat, nervously attempts to smooth its wrinkles. It has a passage transcribed from memory, in Fenoglio's handwriting and Meggie has practiced it a thousand times. She suddenly wishes they had chosen something other than Roald Dahl to read.  She is a great fan of him- what if she  fails? Trips over a word, and the bubbles go up, rather than down? It wouldn't surprise her, with the way her pulse jumps in her throat and her mouth is dry as Farid's home desert. Or perhaps the bottle would transport from the height it was at when the BFG held it, and it would crash to the floor and shatter? Perhaps it would not work at all! How disappointing that would be, after so many school lunches spent comparing Surprise Meat to snozzcumbers and wishing her sandwich were one of Willy Wonka's treats.

Resa smiles at her and stills her hands on the parchment. Meggie's returning smile is only a twitch of lips, as her breaths even out and she licks her lips once, almost unconsciously. Then, she reads, letting her voice go a bit silly, as she imagines the friendly giant would speak.

" 'We is now having a swiggle of this delicious frobscottle and you will see the happy result.’ The BFG shook the bottle vigorously. The pale green stuff fizzed and bubbled.
And oh gosh, how delicious it was! It was sweet and refreshing. It tasted of vanilla and cream, with just the faintest trace of raspberries on the edge of the flavour. And the bubbles were wonderful. Sophie could actually feel them bouncing and bursting all around her tummy."

Meggie squeezes her eyes shut, and the last words are not read at all, but spoken from memory. They seem to echo a little, as if they were in a cave and not their cozy kitchen, but it could be her imagination. Everyone is quiet, and Meggie cannot bring herself to open her eyes. Then Mo says:
"I think you should have the first taste, Meggie."

And suddenly there is a glass in her hand, and she sips from it though her eyes are still shut, and the frobscottle tastes fresh and zingy and like her relief and Resa's laughter. She feel brave enough to open her eyes to Mo's proud smile. She turns to Farid and says:

"Remember the gelato in Italy? Just wait until you try this!"