When Frankie heard what she thought was her name being called, she turned to see a group of jeering children quickly scatter. . .
Francesca Goldstein is tall for her seven years; dark eyes match her long raven black hair. Her skin is too pale, so Mama has taken to rubbing a dot of pink lipstick into each cheek to give them a healthy glow. Her nose is just a little too large for her face but Mama says, in time she will grow into it. Cherie Berriman, Frankie’s best and only friend at school has the face of an angel with startlingly blue eyes, framed by dark eyelashes, so long, Frankie says they look like spider’s legs. Frankie calls her friend Cherry Berry, nothing to do with her name but because her lips are red like cherries. Cherry Berry wears leg braces which, she explained to Frankie, although ugly are necessary and in time she will grow out of them.
Frankie, having just stuffed a potato latke into her mouth, begins to talk.
‘Empty your mouth first, Francesca – then you may talk’, admonishes Mama. ‘You look hideous, like Wallace Gromit.’ Frankie knew what she meant but didn’t mind . . .
‘Who’s Frankenstein?’ The words leapt from Frankie’s mouth with such force that bits of potato spat out with them landing on Papa’s bald head. ‘It’s what the kids at school call me.’
Papa, scrunching up his forehead, looks annoyed, not about Frankie’s revelation but about the bits of potato stuck to his bald head.
‘There are no ‘kids’ at school, Francesca, kids are goats.’ Trust Mama to miss the point.
‘He’s a monster,’ scoffs Asher, Frankie’s brother.
‘No!’ Papa, picking bits of potato off his bald head, was firm in his retort. ‘Frankenstein was the doctor who made the monster.’
‘He sawed limbs off dead bodies with an electric knife,’ her brother relishes, ‘the same as our one Papa uses for carving the brisket’. Frankie, at first jubilant the goats at school had given her this name, slowly begins to understand why?
‘Asher!’ Mama cries, ‘Enough of scaring Francesca, or no apple cake for you!’
Asher, unperturbed continues to whisper his monster tirade as Frankie folds her arms on the table and lays her head in their crook. Mama’s words fade into the distance, melting like meringues. ‘This always happens when she gets overexcited.’ ‘She’d better not have nightmares, Asher!’.
In her dream Frankie is with Cherry Berry and Wallace, they decide to make a monster out of clay. Cherry Berry crafts the monster’s mouth like Wallace’s, large though it was, she believed it talked a lot of sense. Wallace crafts a nose like Frankie’s, saying it will define the monster’s face in the very best of ways. Frankie models Cherry Berry’s legs, without braces of course. She never sees them anyway. Finally they all gaze upon the monster they have lovingly created and agree – it wasn’t really a monster at all!