Barrow race

"Mr. T! Mr. Teeheehee!!"

An awkwardly familiar, feminine voice interrupted the demon barber's thoughts of vengeance and blood.

"I'm not here!" he said, but before he could even blink, Mrs. Lovett entered his room with the force of an F5 tornado.

"Mr. Todd!"

"I'm not interested in whatever you have to…" he grunted, but before he could finish speaking, she grasped his arm and dragged him out of his room, to a point just outside of her pie shop.

"Look, Mr. T. isn't it just wonderful?"

"What? What am I supposed to see?" he snarled, looking for the fastest 'way out'. "That old wheelbarrow?"

"It's not old," the baker objected, "it has been my father's."

Sweeney rolled his eyes, as if 'old' and the fact that it had belonged to her father were exactly the same thing.

"When my sister and I were young, we used to play with it. One of us would sit down in it and the other pushing the wheelbarrow was blindfolded. The one who was sitting gave instructions where to go to the one who was pushing. Our father was always there to make sure we wouldn't hurt ourselves – or others. Both my father and sister died a long time ago, but today I feel like barrow racing again."


"Don't you understand?" she said quickly, as if it wasn't obvious. "I can't blindfold myself and give instructions at the same time, you silly man. I need a team mate!"

"Mrs. Lovett," Sweeney said, with a faked reasonable voice, hoping to bring some of his landlady's sanity back, "you're a grown woman! You can't play the games you used to play when you were a child!

"Of course I can," she replied happily. "I'm free to do what I want."

"Mrs. Lovett, you're free to do what you want, indeed, but you're not free to decide what I want. Now if you excuse me, I have serious things on my mind."

"I thought not," she said, "you need a bit of distraction before you lose your marbles!"

Not even making the effort to answer, Sweeney just walked away.

Mrs. Lovett however, smiled wickedly and took the handles of the barrow. She pushed the thing into the barber's direction and increased speed, thus literally knocking his legs from underneath him. With a loud thud, the barber fell painfully into the barrow.

"You… you… DAFT WOMAN!" Sweeney shouted, but it was no use. Before he managed to climb out of the rather big wheelbarrow, Mrs. Lovett had blindfolded herself with an old piece of cloth and to Sweeney's horror; she drove the barrow straight into the chaotic traffic of Fleet Street.

"What are you doing?!" he screamed, panicking, when the two of them missed a fast driving carriage with only a few yards.

"I'm not doing anything until you tell me where to go Mr. T!" she yelled enthusiastically.

"I refuse to cooperate in this… this… suicide thing of yours!" the barber replied, wondering why he, after all the misery from the past, had a crazy landlady as well.

"That's what you're saying now!"

"STOP OR I WILL CUT YOUR THROAT!" Sweeney yelled, not caring that all the inhabitants of Fleet Street could hear it.

"First make sure we survive this, Mr. T. Now, tell me because I can't see a thing, where do we have to go?"

"I won't say one word to encourage this madness."

Sweeney didn't think he would change his mind, not even when all his attempts to climb out of the wheelbarrow failed miserably. Even when Mrs. Lovett had managed to reach the other side of the street (surprisingly, without killing either of them) and headed straight to Mrs. Moony's pie shop, Sweeney kept his mouth shut.

But when it was becoming awkwardly clear to him that if he wouldn't say anything, Mrs. Lovett would barge into the front of the shop at full speed, thus ruining the building, the barrow and most of all himself, the barber felt forced to break the silence.

"To the left, you mad woman!" he shouted.

"Whatever you say Mr. T," she replied, yelling like an overexcited ten year old girl.

The playful baker made an abrupt ninety degree turn, thus leaving the relative quietness of the side of the street for the chaos of the middle.

Within a few seconds, Sweeney found himself almost face to face with a horse that was pulling a carriage.

"To the right!" he yelled before they would be overrun by the animal (or the other way around).

Mrs. Lovett reacted immediately, as abruptly as before, causing Sweeney to almost fall out of the barrow.

The next obstacle was a particularly bad part of the road, on which the barrow (and the barber in it) would certainly lose balance and fall on the merciless cobblestones.

"To the left, but not so quick," Sweeney yelled, while holding the edges of the barrow now to prevent himself from falling out of it.

Mrs. Lovett did as he had asked and she managed to get past the bad part of the street without getting stuck there.

"FASTER!" Sweeney yelled when a few boys, who were walking randomly on the street, would arrive at the same point on the same time as the barrow if they continued at this speed.

Immediately, Mrs. Lovett increased speed even more and they hurried past the three mesmerized boys, who would've been seriously injured if the barrow would've crossed their path only one second later.

His veins pumped adrenaline through his body and Mr. Todd had to admit that it was quite nice to race over Fleet Street like this; forgetting all his sorrows for a while and just enjoying the wind in his hair and the sensation in his chest, where his heart was beating fast in a strange combination of fear and excitement.

The baker and the barber raced through Fleet Street as if their dear life depended on it, both equally loving the dangerous and slightly immature game: Mrs. Lovett just liked to do something crazy every once and a while and Mr. Todd was curious to see how long the baker would be able to continue running and he liked it because it was a nice distraction for him indeed – just like she had promised him.

After just having almost murdered the boys, the two preventing themselves from being hurt by a few other carriages, they managed to avoid killing a cat (probably the only one that wasn't caught by Mrs. Moony yet) and they succeeded in surviving a few more particularly dangerous corners and holes in the street.

When time progressed, the barber somehow found himself liking the game more and more, and when they almost hit an arrogant looking man who shouted rather offending things to them once he had recovered from the initial shock, the barber couldn't suppress a chuckle.

When he was used to Mrs. Lovett's abrupt and quick way of steering the barrow and when she had grown familiar with his short, snarled comments, even Sweeney had to admit to himself that they were quite a good team together and that it was quite nice to consider Fleet Street some kind of racing course instead of a gathering place for human filth for a while.

After a while, his landlady's breath was becoming very irregular and Sweeney realized he had to stop the game to make sure she wouldn't tire herself too much – she had more pies to bake, after all.

He verbally directed her to a quiet part of the road, about half a mile away from the shop, and ordered her to stop. Unlike last time he had done so, she obeyed now.

While Sweeney climbed out of the barrow, Mrs. Lovett removed the blindfold from her eyes and leant against a wall to catch her breath.

"That was amazing," she managed to say after a while, "I just felt like my eleven year old self again."

The barber looked at her, and he had to admit that he had never seen her so happy before. She was simply radiating with joy and the true mess her hair was now and her sweaty face couldn't change a thing about it.

"Maybe we can kill the Judge like this," Sweeney said, not really wanting to break this unexpected worriless moment yet. "Nobody will think we did it on purpose."

"Mr. T! Are you completely insane?" Mrs. Lovett replied, clearly in shock.

"It was a joke," the barber said, rolling his eyes playfully when he saw the look on his landlady's face, which went from shocked to amused in the few seconds that it took her to realize that the demon barber made an attempt to humor.

"I suppose we should go back," Mrs. Lovett said after a few moments of silence.

"Yes, we should," the barber replied, not really wanting to, but knowing that he had to in order to by ready just in case Judge Turpin would come for a shave.

"It's quite a long way," Mrs. Lovett hinted, "and I'm rather tired now."

"Is there something you want to ask, my pet?" Sweeney asked sweetly.

"Well, Mr. T, could you…" she pointed from herself to the barrow and then to him. "Please?"

"You want me to push you back to home in that thing?" he asked, not knowing if he should be amused or not.

"Yes, I think that'd be really nice."

"Well, alright," he sighed, feigning to be a bit more reluctant than he actually he was.

"Thank you, Mr. T," the baker replied happily.

When she climbed into the barrow, Sweeney inwardly sighed because he was, despite the fun they had had, relieved that she didn't ask him to wear the blindfold. No matter how nice it had been, he didn't want the Judge, who probably would heard of what had happened soon enough, to think that the barber was a complete moron.

"Oh, wait a second," Mrs. Lovett said, climbing out of the barrow again.

Sweeney was afraid that she would ask him to wear the blindfold after all, and despite his initial unwillingness he promised himself that he would let her blindfold him if she wanted to; he wanted her to be happy in return for the distraction her game had been to him.

So when she approached him and reached for him, he didn't prevent her from doing so. In fact, he leant to her to make it easier for her to attach the blindfold.

She came close to him, closer than she had ever been, and she moved her hands to his face. But instead of the cloth of the blindfold, he felt her lips brush against his.

The moment was so short, that he even didn't know for sure if she had actually kissed him.

"Thank you," she whispered in his ear before she removed himself from him quickly, almost as if she feared his reaction.

When she was seated safely in the barrow a few seconds later, Sweeney began walking, bringing her back to her home.

The entire ten minute walk back, it felt to Mr. Todd as if he was floating; both because of the fun he just had had and the memory of Mrs. Lovett's lips against his.