PART 5 -
Breakfast At The Mill Cafe
Sausages or SOS
"John what did you get from Frank? You're a good judge of character, did you take to him?"
"He was alright. "What's 'SOS?"
"U gooan sit down John, one full wi SOS an one full wi sausage duck, wi two toast each an 2 cupsatea."
"Thanks duck, Is it still ranin aaht there, ah got soaked this mornin?"
"It's flipping sillin it dahn love, so much for rain before 7 fine afta 11."
"Airs ya teas duck, I'll shout ya wen ya brekfasts done. Ahs ya Dad is he alright cheeky bogger. He comes in ere once a fortnight when he does the windas at Speeds, well when is not on is hollideys I aint seen im for a while."
"Yeh he's jusame as that, cheeky bogger. He's not bin back long off is hollidays, they take the caravan to Italy for a couple of months."
"Lucky for some!"
"So what have you ordered me, what's sos and why were you speaking Broad Nottingham?"
"Part of my growing up this place is John. My Dad used to bring me in here all the time. See the phone number on the menu behind you. 9292285. Well they added the extra 9 to make more numbers when they dint have enough numbers. You take off the 9 makes 292285 - I can remember the phone number for 32 Darnhall Crescent Bilborough where I was born. Upstairs in me Mum and Dad's bed. Yo av a guess woritwoz John: 292012
That's why I was talking like that, and SOS is sausage meat with a little secret something. Something you'll never understand!"
"I didn't know you were born at home?"
"It was more common in the 60's, guess where me Dad was?"
"In here having a SOS breakfast..?"
"No ya daft bastard, he was having a new tyre put on the car. That's wot they did in them days."
"The house in Eyam where I lived burnt down. Came home from school and it was gone."
"That's a lovely story, shall we eat us breakfast though now John, da ya want ta try a bit a this SOS?"
"I'll try some.., not that much, not there!"
"Where shallah purit then? E - aR - AV that. Give usasausage then! Fair exchange is no robbery.."
"Why did you ask me about Frank?"
I had deliberately waited for John to bring up the subject of me asking him about Frank. I did have to out wait him. The silence in the heap was deafening as we drove from Bobbers Mill towards town, then onto Mrs Derwent's house in The Park.
We passed the statue of Robin Hood and the phone box where I had my heart broken by the now relegated to Third most prettiest girl I'd ever seen in the whole wide world. That included books, television, and even at the pictures even back then.
"John do you think I look a bit like Robin Hood?"
He didn't answer, just pinched me right under me arm on the soft bit.
"Ahhh that really hurt me, you got me skin that will swell up!"
"That's for the watch, fair pinch?"
Between gritted teeth I had to admit. "Fair pinch.. Cunt!"
"It's here somewhere, here you go, number 27, looks lovely."
I parked the heap and switched off.
John was right on cue.
"You still haven't told me why you asked about Frank - 'Robin'. Before we go further into Sherwood Forest ..."
"I liked Frank from the off John, I've since heard he might have left the Police under a cloud because of being too friendly with Bestwood. But it does't make sense because of his contacts and friends?"
"What's Bestwood? I got all good from him mate? The past is a foreign country Paulie, something you should try and start to even begin to understand! Come on, ring the bell."
I left handedly pushed the rather fine looking door bell exposing my rather fine looking watch, which was well worth a big pinch under the arm.
"I might get one of those Tag F1's, they do one with a stainless steel strap, look really good." Said John, tapping the non scratch mineral glass with his fingernail. I liked the sound of that.
The inside of Mrs Derwent's house was as charming as it was out. Cold but charming.
She welcomed - "Hello JohnP" - into her home like he was an old family friend. I often wondered in my search for the meaning of life whether the connections we all feel from time to time with special people exist because we have met in some other life? Or are some people just in tune with other people on a higher spiritual level? There I go again.
The house was deceptively large, the front door had opened into a large hallway with a room directly either side, two more additional rooms were evident on the right. On the left at the far end of the hallway was an open door which we followed Mrs Derwent through.
The second prettiest lady I had ever seen in all my whole wide world. That included books, television, and at the pictures was standing at a gorgeous Belfast sink filling a kettle. She placed the kettle on top of an Aga stove, turned and made me feel welcome.
"Hello Sophie, this is John P, John P, this is Sophie Derwent."
"Hello John, please sit down I'm making some tea."
But Mrs Derwent had already placed her arm firmly inside John's.
"Come on through John P". She said. "I want to show you the place where I kept the special book before we do anything. I think you will feel the emptiness."
The kettle started to whistle on the AGA breaking the silence between me and Sophie, soon we were sitting opposite each other with a nice cuppa tea.
"She's bewitched with your friend Paulie, have you got any news?"
I was trying to listen to Sophie but something was poking the eyeball of my consciousness! When I walked in, on the wall. Hanging on the wall!
"Sorry Sophie was that.."
I didn't finish my sentence just stood and walked out of the kitchen into the hallway. As I did I noticed that half way along the hallway from the front door the ceiling gave way to three times the height. From the position of the kitchen I could see what looked like a balcony, part of another level reached by a staircase hidden on the left just at the entrance to the kitchen.
Before the hallway ceiling ascended however there was a sparkly Chandelier hanging forlorn in darkness. Sophie had followed me into the hallway.
"What is it Paulie?"
"Can you switch this on?"
I pointed at the dangling crystals on the chandelier above me. Sophie walked back towards the kitchen doorway to a panel of three switches.
The first one illuminated the balcony on the higher level, but the second one lit the glorious downstairs chandelier. The crystal glass reflected beautifully everywhere, as well as vindicating what I thought I knew I'd seen.
I knew but still had to check it was on canvas, It was. I knew it was! I examined it further couldn't find a signature. Didn't matter, it was right, I felt, knew it was right. I estimated it was 1/16 size of the Whitworth Gallery painting I pilgrimaged to visit at least twice a year. It was perfect in front of me, I couldn't breath.
“Grandma calls it Lucie's portrait.”
"Are you OK Paulie?" Sophie stood beside me and touched my arm, I felt warm down to my toes.
"Grandpa Herbert was friends with a lot of artists, writers. His family descended from ‘Herbert of Derwent Water’. You probably haven’t heard of him, it’s way back to the 7th Century. Grandpa was named after him.
“Sophie this is amazing, It’s probably my favourite painting in the whole wide world! I can’t quite believe it.”
“It was painted in the top studio upstairs, apparently it was a study for the final canvas which is enormous!”
“This was painted upstairs! Sophie I visit the ‘final canvas’ at The Whitworth in Manchester as often as I can. If it’s not on display because of rotation they let me see it in the storage area!”
“Oh wow this must be a dream for you then!”
I gave myself the second pinch of the day.
"It's not a dream is it?"
Sophie smiled, when she smiled she immediately became the prettiest girl I’d ever seen in the whole wide world. That included books, television and even at the pictures.
“Would you like to see the studio?…”
Are you ok Paulie?”
“Oh yes sorry Sophie, is that possible? Amazing!”
I love you
“I’d love too!”
“The studio hasn't been touched or cleaned in years. The easel is still in the same position It was in, they used it so often they never folded it down, Grandma won’t even have the room dusted.”
A door behind us opened and Mrs Derwent walked into the hallway her arm still interlinked with John P’s.
“Hello Paulie.” She said touching my arm. “John P’s been telling me about all your hard work, I do so appreciate it.”
She reached for my hand and held it for a few seconds.
“Oh thanks for saying that Mrs Derwent, it means a lot to me, it’s a pleasure really.”
“Your looking at Lucie's portrait. It was painted in the top studio you know. Must have been around 1950. My Herbert had lots of artist friends, they would spend hours up there, painting, writing. They were all captivated by ‘Herbert of Derwent Water’. Just as Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter, and JM Barrie of course had been before them. My Herbert was a descendent which is how he acquired his name.
He acquired a lot more than a name though, and the controversy over his birth right soon dispelled as Herbert silenced any doubts the Holy men may have put forward."
“What do you mean Grandma?”
“He had an amazing spiritual presence Sophie, powers even. Just as his long ago forefather had. Eventually his critics realised this and he was silently accepted as the genetic and spiritual successor to 'Herbert of Derwent Water'.
When Herbert and I first married Sophie, I worked at Marks & Spencers. I loved working there and soon I was dressing the windows which I really enjoyed. If I ever slept in though, it was a very early start in those days, but if I was ever late for the bus. Usually after a wonderful late night at the theatre with Herbert, dinning with friends or at the pictures then on to a party.
We lived further out in West Bridgford then, but if I was ever late for work Herbert would say :
“Do you want me to make the bus wait for you Francis, I’m not supposed to but i’m going to do it!”
“At first I thought it was a joke, but every time he said it, the bus would be waiting at my stop at the bottom of Musters Road, sometimes for as long as 15 minutes!
Also I would sometimes hear him talking to himself, about someone he'd passed in the street that day. He was so empathic he would know just by looking at a person that they desperately needed help, he would feel sorry for strangers he saw in the street!"
"I had to use my powers today Francis, I'm not supposed too but It was unbearable, now she will be happy for the rest of her life."
"Herbert never had to work you see, it was strange for me to come to terms with. He seemed to have an unlimited supply of wealth, he once said that he didn't want me to have to get up early in the morning. It was so sweet. It took him a while to understand that what I got from working at Marks & Spencer was more than just a wage, It was something I enjoyed.
When he died he left that unlimited supply of wealth to me. I have no idea where or how it comes from. It’s strange, that’s why I wish whoever has taken my Special Book had just told me how desperate they were. Because with all the wealth that my lovely Herbert has given me it cannot replace my special book.”
Mrs Derwent looked as emotional as she sounded. John P put his arm around her shoulder and she looked at him and smiled.
“It will be alright Francis trust me. Can you tell me a little more about ‘Herbert of Derwent Water’ though, I’m very intrigued.”
It didn’t surprise me that John P was now on first name terms with Mrs Derwent. I was just pleased that ‘Francis’ had even spoken to me, I too was falling for her charm, every thing about her was genuine, sincere, caring.
“He was a Hermit John, he lived alone on an island in the middle of Derwent Water back in the 7th century. Very Holy times. He lived a complete life of solitude, although once a year he would make a pilgrimage to Lindisfarne to visit a dear life long friend. His death is shrouded in mystery; but the Island was named St. Herbert’s Isle.”
“I’m going to show Paulie the studio Grandma, Lucie's portrait is one of his favourite paintings, he was all of a tither when he saw it!”
“Of course dear, take it as you find it though Paulie, it hasn’t been touched for years. You’ll need the key to open the second stairwell door Sophie, I’ll get it. Shall we all go into the kitchen though, it’s become so cold in this house, at least the heat from the Aga warms the kitchen.”
“It’s never been right since you had the new boiler Grandma, and it was so expensive. He’s supposed to be coming back but we haven’t heard from him.”
I looked at John, John looked at me.
“How long ago was this Sophie, this year?”
“Was it February when he fitted the boiler Grandma? You were staying with me weren’t you? I remember sobbing all of Valentines day.”
Mrs Derwent put her arm around Sophie.
“Oh my lovely Sophie. Yes, he started the last week of January, when the boiler finally gave up the ghost. At least it got us through Xmas and new year. You don’t think he had anything to do with the book do you? He was such a nice young man.”
“Well it’s definitely worth looking into Francis, especially since he hasn’t been in touch with you. Did you pay him all of the money.”
“You held one cheque back didn’t you Grandma, he had 2 thirds of the money but Mr Phillips next door told you to hold one back against nags.”
“Was that snags Sophie?”
“Yes Mr Phillips was a builder, well he built most of the new houses in Nottingham, he was furious Grandma hadn’t let him sort the boiler out for us, I think he has a soft spot for Grandma…”
“Oh Sophie that’s nonsense, and I like to do things for myself. I’ve had to learn to stand on my own two feet since your Grandfather died.”
Sophie’s turn to put her arm around her Grandma.”
“I love you Grandma, so much.”
“It’s strange he hasn’t at least tried to get the final payment, how did you pick the Plumbing Company Mrs Derwent had you used them before?
“It was out of The Yellow Pages Paulie, I’ll show you the advertisement.”
“Arkright & Son Plumbing Co - Family Business since 1971
Let us take the worry out of all your plumbing needs. From ten year guarantees on complete new boilers to the smallest leaking tap….and so on. Full page ad under A.. Looks great Mrs Derwent I can understand why you chose them.”
“Looks great.” Said John as I passed him the Yellow Pages. “Arkright & Son my foot! Have you got the last cheque at hand Francis, can you remember who the cheque was made payable to?”
“I can’t remember but the cheque is in my Bereau I’ll get it for you John.”
Mrs Derwent returned with a blank expression carrying a cheque that had been left blank.
“Oh I remember now, I left ‘the pay part’ blank, he said he wasn’t sure of the payee because they had changed banks, he couldn’t contact his office. It didn’t seem out of the ordinary at the time.”
“Was that on both of the cheques you gave him Francis, even the first one. Would you have written in the stub?”
“No John, I remember now, the first one was definitely made out to someone, let me get my cheque book.”
“Oh this is getting really suspicious isn’t it?” Said Sophie. “Poor Grandma, she doesn’t need this!”
“The first cheque was made payable to Stephen Wright. 2nd February this year. I’m beginning to feel rather a fool i’m afraid.”
“Oh Grandma please don’t think that you did anything wrong. Placing trust in people is not foolsh. I only wish I had been around more to give you some support.”
Sophie put hers arms around her Grandma and they walked together back throught to the warmth of the kitchen.
“Might be time Paulie, lets say goodbye and try and leave on a possitive note.”
“The Next Train To Arrive On Platform 3 Is The 16.30 From London St Pancras.”
“He’s there John, what do you think?”
“Well I can’t see a book.”
“He wouldn’t have brought it back straight away John, would he?”
“I don’t know stolen goods and all that.”
“Well Frank? Put us out of our misery, is it?”
“It was definitely not the book we’re looking for John. I’m 100% certain. It was a newer copy of the first press. There were typo’s in the the very first print, these were picked up and rectified for the next copies. Still First Editions but the book we’re after sounds like the very very First Edition. A personal copy given Placed into the authors hand hot off the press. That is the book the JM Barrie gave to Mrs Derwent on her birthday. It was a very special gift, incredibly special. He must have been a very close friend of the family.”
“Oh you don’t know the half of it Frank.” I said. “You don’t know the half.”
“I’m relieved in a way Frank, anyway here have this on account really appreciate your help.”
John P gave Frank an envelope that he’d produced from his pocket.
“There’s £100 in there Frank.”. “Are you happy to carry on with this?”
“I’m ready for a pint!”
“I bet you are, we are as well, wait until you hear about the day we’ve had. It started off terribly from the off, him and his SOS breakfast with his life story…”
“Shut your face John, don’t think I’ve forgotten about that pinch, it still hurts. You got me right on the soft painful bit when I wasn’t ready!”
“What so I should have said ‘Get Ready For A Big Pinch Under The Arm?’ before I did it?”
“No but you could have said, “Get Ready For Something Painful To Happen! When You Least Expect It!”
“Where are we going anyway.”
“Might as well have one in ‘The Trip’ be easy to park there. You alright with ‘The Trip’ Frank?”
“That’s fine Paulie, anywhere close where I haven’t got to hear you two arguing is fine by me.”
The ’Trip To Jerusalem’ was almost empty. We all drank 2 pints before we knew it. We were trying in turn to get the hoop on the hook in the stone wall. It didn’t happen. We all drank another 2 more pints, collectively smoking our way through a packet of Marlborough, also before we knew it.
“I played your Uncle Kieth at snooker once Paulie. We had an inter division event to see who would represent us in the national Police Snooker Competition. I drew Kieth in my heat, it was best of three.
I broke off, clipped the reds on the left, the white stopped on the baulk line but I’d left a red around a foot from the bottom cushion in a direct straight line to the white.
Well he bleddy potted it. The white hit the pack, I don’t know if he played for it but he was on the black. I thought to meself ‘What have we got here?’
I think he got a 40 break, he beat me 3 nil in the end.”
“Frank how come you didn’t make detective? What were you when you retired? How does it work?”
“Paulie single malt? Frank - Whiskey?”
“Large one John, same for Frank, and get some change for the fag machine.”
“I was a good copper Paulie, I had a gift, call it intuition, but at the same time I was incredibly observant. I could remember details, slightest details.
When I was a kid I was always finding things. Every time I went out I would find something. A purse, a wallet, keys. Then when I got home my Mum would say :
“Frank have you seen the rent book? Or have you seen my hairdressing scissors.”
“I would know where they were straight away. On top of the fridge, or in the top drawer under the big brown envelope for Dad.
Well after school it was the most natural thing in the world for me to join the police force."
“Yes Cheers John, you might as well listen to this as well.”
“Well after I joined the Police Force, I forget what year it was, I’d been on the force about 2 years, I was doing really well.
Then my world just fell apart.
It was a Sunday night, a young couple walking home from the pictures past the arboretum saw someone lying down behind the railings.
It was the body of a 30 year old man, he’d been strangled to death. I was on duty the next morning and there was a big incident briefing.
As soon as I saw the photograph of the dead man I recognised him straight away. I had seen him approximately an hour before his estimated time of death.
I also knew who had killed him.”
“Are you alright Frank? I’ll get these.”
“Sit down Paulie, I’ll get them.”
Frank lit a cigarette so deep in thought.
“Here ya go Frank, I’m so pleased you're working with us, we both are. Are you leaving the heap here tonight Paulie, you’ve got to.”
I ignored john.
“Frank how did you know who had killed the man, where had you seen him?”
Frank swallowed the double single malt straight back and lit a cigarette off the end of the one he was smoking.
“I was in a pub at the bottom of Hockley, I hope I don’t have to spell it out. I was married with two young kids fighting something inside of me.
Go on then, say it, queer, bent, homo what are ya gonna call me I have heard it all behind my back for twenty years!”
“Not from us Frank, never. I can’t imagine what you went through.”
I was so emotional, I think I had put myself in Frank’s situation.
“What happened Frank?”
John had put 3 more whiskeys down on the table and was visibly moved.
“I’d been fighting thoughts/feelings for months, It wasn’t even a sexual thing. That Sunday night was the first time in 5 months I’d been in to that fuckin pub!
The one night, I wasn't going to go God I can't think about it.
I’d actually been talking to Mark, the victim in the pub. We were sitting at the bar he was waiting for his friend Jack Lawson.
I’d seen this Lawson bloke before, I got the sense he enjoyed toying with feelings.
Mark told me he was frightened. This Jack bloke had got violent the last time they met, which was in the arboretum where Marks body was found. Poor bastard. Apparently Lawson knew two loose iron railings that lifted out. Easy access after the park was locked.
When I left the pub that night, get this. I passed Jack Lawson as he was coming in. He held the door open for me and on his wrist was a leather bangle, twisted leather with a silver clasp. Who else would remember that?”
Around lunchtime on the Monday, new information was released in the station about the murder. Apparently the first Policeman at the scene had found a bracelet at the side of Mark’s body.
I was terrified, scared out of my wits, but it was the loneliness that began to eat away at me. I felt so alone.
Eventually I couldn’t stand it any more, I called Sheila at home but she wasn't in. That I didn’t tell her first is still the biggest regret of my life.
I walked across the road and had 2 large whiskeys. I think that association tonight has brought this on.
Do you mind me telling you?"
“Don’t be stupid Frank, we’re in your corner now, you're not alone anymore.”
John P does sometimes surprise me. Asking Mrs Derwent about her book for example, or putting his arm around Frank as he told him he wasn’t alone anymore, bringing a tear to both of my eyes.
“You didn’t get to talk to Sheila?”
“No, Paulie, I tried to call her for over half an hour, but I knew that my statement had to be logged as soon as possible, the later it was admitted the less credible it became.
I just walked into the Super's office, I was on auto pilot. I described the bracelet in detail, details that hadn't been disclosed yet. I told him the bracelet I'd just described belonged to a 'Jack Lawson' and if it matched the bracelet found next to the body, I believed he had committed the murder. Then the details of the evening came out, it had to for my evidence to be credible, my evidence for the prosecution was the whole case!
The defence ripped me apart in court. Next day the papers followed suit. They said I’d been deceiving my colleagues, my family.
It was hell for months. Sheila left me, took the kids to her mothers. My Mum and dad had to move away, they haven't spoke to me to this day.
My 'outing' got more publicity than the murder! I did get a high commendation from the top, for my 'due vigilance', which was the only reason I was able to keep my job...
“What was the verdict Frank was he found guilty?”
“Yes John, he got a life sentence. In the end my evidence was not that important. Three witnesses came forward, identified Lawson leaving the pub with Mark, then someone walking his dog that night identified him in a line up. He'd remembered seeing two men getting into the park. The loose railings how they got in were directly below a street light. The prosecution reenacted the scene before the trial using three different people at the same time of night. This dog walker identified each one every time. He had eyes like a bleddy hawk.”
“But the bracelet Frank? Your conversation with Mark about him being frightened!”
“It was common Knowledge in that pub John. The only difference I made was in the speed of the arrest. Lawson was caught in his flat with a packed suitcase so if I hadn’t spoke up that Monday who knows. Whether it was worth ruining my life is another story.
I was passed by for promotion time after time. But I stayed on the Force because I loved being a Bobby, and a bleddy good one! I eventually made Sergeant. They all used to come to me for advice though. I solved more bleddy crimes than the lot of em, with what I showed em or pointed out; something they’d missed. What I got eventually was respect.
It was tough for me when I retired. I didn't expect anything. I was tricked into going to a community centre by a close mate a mine. When I got in there the room just started clapping. It was full of Policeman from all over Nottingham. I just broke down in tears, but it didn’t matter because everyone knew why. People I didn't remember were coming up to saying how much of an inspiration I was. Then thanks for helping with advice. It was overwhelming."
Frank rolled his sleeve up.
"They got me a gold Omega as a retirement present. That night made it all worth it. The job that is, not what I put Sheila and the kids through.
Anyway I’ve said enough. Shall I see you tomorrow, you can give me that name and I’ll chase it up. We’ll find that little bastard”
We ordered two taxis, and put that day to bed. Almost to bed.
When I got home cat was already on my bed. My room was freezing but the idea of making a fire whilst pissed on single malt whiskey didn’t pass health and safety. I plugged in both of the oil filled radiators I’d ‘borrowed’ from Mum and Dad’s garage.
I looked at the calendar and worked out that the radiators would warm my room by about the beginning of spring. Around the time they found my frozen body.
What would captain Scott do? He would make a final entry in his cold journal of course. Hi lighting where it all went wrong. I’ll do the same.
In the absence of a journal I’ll write a note on this paper.
“If you are reading this I’m frozen dead in my bed. The fault lay not in one area but many. I hadn’t lit a fire when I got in because I was pissed on single malt scotch. I’d left the window open as I always do to let cat have access to my bed and cuddles. This resulted in allowing Goose Fair weather to get in and freeze me.
Additional note for the search party : Oil filled radiators are as useful as a one legged Tarzan in a bum kicking contest, fact! For God Sake Look After my People.”
I’d just finished writing my final log on scrap paper when the door knocked. No way can I deal with Ronnie tonight. He’s probably got 50 bags of gold fish.
It wasn’t Ronnie, it was the prettiest girl, (until Sophie smiled now,) I’d ever seen in the whole wide world. That included books, television, and even at the pictures.
“Your safe it’s not Ronnie, sorry it’s late Paulie is Tom Tom cat in your room?”
“Hello Sarah, yes he was here when I got home. Come in.”
Sarah sat on my bed and stroked her cat. The room suddenly became warm, hot. I gave myself the third and final pinch of the day. I wasn't dreaming.
“Look at you all snug, he hasn’t touched his food today I was just a bit worried.”
“Well I don’t think he’s been eating much for a week or so. But he’s such a gad about town Tom cat I just assumed he was getting fed elsewhere.”
“I did notice his back bone more when I stroked him today, sorry to say.”
“That’s all I need vet bills at the moment, oh I don’t know what to do.”
“Shall I tell you what to do?’ Let me take him to the vet tomorrow, I must own a % of him by now, he is in my possession a lot of the time?”
“Are you sure Paulie, I’m not working at the mo, that would be so lovely. If anything happened because I couldn't afford a vet. Well you know. I’ve got to sign on with a temp agency tomorrow.”
“You were in ‘Billy Liar’ at the Playhouse, I would have thought you were inundated with work?”
“It’s so fickle Paulie, I’ve had 12 auditions this month, not a word back.”
“I saw the play by the way. (twice) Billy Liar has a special place in my life. My English teacher threw a copy of ‘Plays Of The 60’s at me one day in class booming:
“Hallam, you're reading Billy.”
"Really, a production?"
"No it was just a class reading. For some reason I was a really good reader and Mr Clarke must have spotted that. I couldn’t spell, still can’t. At juniors they tried to make me write with my right hand. I would sometimes write my name from right to left. LUAP - but with the bottom of the L facing left.
I'll show you.”
I pulled my final words written in the event of my frozen demise from underneath Tom Tom cat.
“That one thing, just reading aloud the part of Billy was such an inspiration to me. It was the only thing I took away from school. A love of that play, then the film, and finally London."
"I'd have gone to London with Liz, Billy didn't. I wished so much that he had; I suppose my trips and affection for London was for Billy and me.”
"Do you mean you'd have gone to London with Julie Christie, or Liz? You didn’t say what you thought of my Liz?”
'If you are reading this I'm frozen dead in my bed. The fault lay not in one area but many. I hadn’t lit a fire because I was pissed on single malt scotch. I’d left the window open as I always do to let cat have access to my bed and cuddles.'
"Oh my god you're not going to kill yourself are you, I was hoping we might go out for a drink sometime?”
“No!.. it was a silly note, the room was so cold when I got in - It was like a Captain Scott thing...
I’d really like to go out for a drink sometime, a lot.”
“Ok, well, what about Wednesday? If it does go horribly wrong you can always kill yourself on Thursday?”
“Lovely, ok I will. Not kill myself, well hopefully not, I’ll take Tom to the vets in the afternoon tomorrow. I’ll mention it to him just now, but if you could remind him when he gets to yours for cuddles later. Oh have you got a cat carrier?”
“Yes, I’ll leave it out in the morning. Thanks Paulie. Night.”
She smiled. When she smiled she became the highest award winner of prettiest girls I've ever seen. Not just in the whole wide world, books, television and even at the pictures. Now up into space, on into and through the Milky Way to the next universe. Where no prettiest girl as ever smiled before!
“YES, Fuck, Yes. Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from them self. ..Yes!”
I was later either lying awake trying to sleep, or sooner dreaming & trying to wake, pondering on how my feelings for the second most prettiest girl in the whole wide world who became the prettiest girl in the whole wide world when she smiled. The whole wide world as you know included books, television, and even at the pictures. How did these unexpected feelings, which I hadn’t planned or bargained on, these unexpected lovely fleeting moments of closeness to Sophie, miraculously by some magical power happen within 24 hours of Sarah, the prettiest girl i’d ever seen in the whole wide world & now that included beyond the Milky way into the next universe - knocking gently on my door late at night making my heart race, heating my bedroom and later inspiring me to sing a version of ‘On The Street Where You Live’ from My Fair Lady.
I resisted the urge to pinch myself a fourth time. Because what if it wasn't a dream again, how foolish and sore would I feel! Did I feel guilty for feeling close to Sophie? After all my feelings for Sarah were - this is this a dream isn't it? Is it?