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Sebastian and Olga
by Jilliana Ranicar-Breese

Magical Martin lifted Sebastian's black linen cassock revealing a small perfectly formed dormant unexpected pinky wax penis.

He was pleased with his purchase from the trendy Oxfam charity shop in Westbourne Grove. He had seen Sebastian in the shop window with his companion Olga. Martin only bought the priest in his painted shoes and shiny black hair which framed his white porcelain wax features. A steal at £25. He had quickly gone to collect transparencies at Flash for our photo library 'Retrograph Archive' and had not brought much cash out with him.

I loved and approved of Sebastian. A priest fitted in perfectly with our eccentric Edwardian house and was accepted into 'dummylandia' supervised by Baden a life size ventriloquist dummy complete with his green cap and whistle.

Ours was a magical house full of books, dexterity puzzles, conjuring tricks and apparatus, games, magic lanterns, pierrots, Mr Punch and his friends. A majestic pastel portrait of Jilliana cradling the American radio dummy Charlie McCarthy by the artist Jo Brocklehurst famous in the 80s for her punk pastels hung in the lounge overseeing Baden!  Not to mention Rhumba and Tango our inseparable resident cats who added character to the ambience.

But Sebastian had been removed from his companion Olga. Left in the Oxfam window he heard her cry! Dressed in a décolleté royal blue velvet long gown, with brown hair and a leather neck that flopped making her look spastic, Olga gave the impression she could be an opera singer. Martin had described her through his eyes and she was reduced down to £20, the icing on the cake!  Sight unseen I agreed she should join our family.

She was not a wax figure but cruder, made of painted papier mache. I took an instant dislike to her. Her face was large and, in my eyes, ugly. Her head was not in proportion to the rest of her body. Perhaps Sebastian loved her for the sounds she emitted in their silent world.

Sebastian lived safe and sound in Martin's office watched by Tango on a small chair. But poor Olga didn't fit in  anywhere. She ended up in the laundry room off the Biba kitchen banished, rejected and forgotten.

One fine day my Parisian artist friend Lise le Coeur came to dinner as she was having an art exhibition at The Frances Kyle gallery in Mayfair. Observant, she noticed Olga on her way to the loo and fell in love with her potential, perhaps linked to her art. Who knows but off Olga flew to Paris in a black rubbish bag the only mode of transport that evening!

Not long after a postcard arrived from Paris addressed to Sebastian at 164 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2 ER.

      'Dear Sebastian, I am in an artistic studio hanging, like a marionette, from the ceiling. I have had an operation on my damaged neck and feel fine now. My mistress Lise cares for me. I am learning French. She has painted our portrait on a Tarot card and framed it. It will arrive soon as a gift from Paris. Amities Olga'.

Today the painting of 'Olga and Sebastian' hangs in its glory gracing my Brighton lounge, frozen in time. A memory to cherish. I know the whereabouts of Olga suspended in time in Paris but Sebastian has disappeared forever and Martin is no longer with us.

The lingering question. Where do wax priests go?

Written in my Brighton lounge gazing at the painting 'Sebastian and Olga'  while listening to the George Benson 80s hits in November 2016.

Read out at West Sussex Writers meeting on 9.11.17


Google - Lise le Coeur
Google - Jo Brocklehurst