The worm slid for cover as the huge dollops of rain spattered on the ground all around him. Sheltering in a tea shop doorway he watched as the drops splashed into an old chewed up trainer, filling it up until an old plaster floated to the surface and sat there bobbing away.
‘You know who that belonged to?’ said a voice.
The worm looked around. ‘Actually I believe I do,’ he said, straining his neck to peer up at the vine overshadowing him.
‘A bloke called Jonah,’ said the vine, with a voice that sounded rather bored. ‘That prophet from Tarshish.’
‘Actually,’ said the worm, who had a rather posh voice, ‘he wasn’t from Tarshish, he was from Israel. Fancy a cup of tea?’
‘Actually I’m more of a cappuccino kind of vine, if that’s okay,’ said the cappuccino kind of vine.
They went into the tea shop. The worm spotted an empty table in the corner and they slid and shuffled over, it took a while to get there.
‘How d’you know about Jonah then?’ said the worm, sliding a ross the table to get a good look at the menu.
Just then a whale came in. It was no easy matter, and quite a squeeze getting through the door, he had to breathe in considerably. But the whale managed it, glanced over at the worm and the vine and nodded at them.
‘Don’t see many whales in tea shops,’ said the worm.
‘Or worms,’ said the vine.
‘Or vines, said the whale.
‘True,’ said the worm ‘we are on odd threesome, have a seat. Are you a cappuccino kind of whale?’
‘No I’m a mocha kind of whale myself, with a shot of hazelnut in it.’
The whale squeezed into the armchair beside the worm. It creaked a lot and one of the arms began to sag worryingly.
‘So what are you chatting about on a wet day like this?’ the whale asked in a high pitched, whiny kind of voice.
‘I thought your voice’d be deeper than that, what with you being a whale,’ said the worm.
‘Well I think that’s a bit whale-ist,’ said the whale, ‘we’re not all the same you know. And you sound a bit posh for a worm.’
‘Lots of worms are posh, my friend.’
‘You two should worry,’ said the vine, ‘I sound like Victor Meldrew.’
And he did.
‘I had to swallow that shoe,’ said the whale nodding towards the trainer, still bobbing in the rain outside, ‘it tasted ‘orrible.’
‘Cause it was attached to a bloke called Jonah and I had to swallow him. He tasted ‘orrible an’ all.
I was appointed you see.’
‘A pointed what?’ asked the worm.
‘No! Not a pointed anything,’ whined the whale. ‘I was appointed by God. To swallow Jonah.’
‘You were lucky,’ said the worm, ‘I had to chew through a tough old vine.’
‘Oh it was your fault was it?’ droned the vine.
‘Was it you then?’said the worm, I thought you looked familiar.’
‘Yes! And you two had it easy – cause I had to die!’
Pause. The worm and the mocha kind of whale stared at the vine. It cleared its throat and shifted in its seat, as much as a mocha kind of vine can shift in its seat. Then it said, ‘I got better though.’
A waiter appeared and they ordered drinks. The worm had a cup of earl grey, which kind of suited his posh voice.
‘Funny really about that Jonah,’ said the whale, ‘I’ve swallowed a few rebellious prophets in my time, but he’s the first one to come out alive.’
‘Not through your bottom?’ the worm said, turning its nose up.
‘No! Thank goodness, wouldn’t want to have to go through that! No, God appointed that I throw him up on a beach in the Mediterranean – so I did. It was relief ‘cause he had been bellyaching a bit.’
‘I was appointed by God to give him a bit of shade from the sun,’ droned the vine.
‘Yea and I was appointed to eat you!’ said the worm.
‘Funny really, how God works,’ whined the whale.
‘What was it all about though?’ said the worm. ‘I mean this bloke Jonah, what was he doing getting vomited by a whale and shaded by a doomed vine?’
‘I heard it was about God trying to get Jonah to be honest about his anger,’ said the whale
‘Huh, I was angry at getting eaten by him!’ droned the vine.
‘Well you didn’t taste great to be honest, you needed a bit of salad dressing really,’ said the worm.
‘I also heard it’s all written down somewhere in a best-seller,’ said the whale.
‘Really? So we’re famous?’ said the vine.
‘D’you reckon they’ll make a film of it?’ said the worm.
‘Maybe. If they do I hope they get their facts right. I mean, I wouldn’t want to go down as a latte kind of vine.’
They all muttered agreement. Then the whale sipped his mocha, the worm sipped his earl grey, and the vine sipped his cappuccino. It was a rather pleasant meeting, until the whale spouted his mocha in the air and drenched everyone in the tea shop.