Get Your Laughing Tackle Around this
We left off last issue with my finding the princely sum of £600 on a construction site in the Mayfair region of London. That evening I walked home to my flat in north London with the money in my pocket, still speculating as to its origins. I walked along the busy streets, constantly checking to make sure that bundle of notes was still there. I walked past all the familiar shops that I had gazed longingly into on most other evenings on my way home. I looked again at the felt fedora that I longed for and the silk shirts with the French cuffs that I could not afford and wondered what it would be like to walk into these shops and splash out with my new found wealth.
I sat on the sofa in my flat and took the money from my pocket to count it one more time. I carefully flattened out each note and placed them in piles of 50s and 20s, and then put them all together in an envelope. I looked about and decided that behind the stereo speaker on the top shelf of the bookcase would be a good place to put it. I reasoned that any robber entering my flat would not even touch my cheap Goodmans speakers and would therefore not see the envelope of money.
That evening, I made Hollandaise Sauce and steamed some fresh asparagus for supper. I put on a Bob Dylan record I had just bought at the second-hand record shop on Islington High Street. As Bob knock knocked on heaven’s door, I washed up and went to the pub.
It was a couple of days before Peter, my friend the diplomatic policeman, turned up at the construction site again for his early morning cup of tea. He had been on leave and had forgotten to enquire of his colleagues if anyone had claimed that they had lost a lot of money. He said he would remember to find out and let me know tomorrow. I followed him outside and watched as he walked to the Embassy down the street. “Hello.” I turned to see the woman in evening dress whom I had often seen across the street. She was always welldressed, though perhaps over-dressed for that time of day. She stopped and asked me about the building and enquired about what we were doing. I answered her questions as best I could and offered to show her inside. I somehow could not imagine her in a protective hard hat with her highheeled shoes and her flowing dress. She declined my offer, saying she was in a hurry. As she left I realized that I hadn’t asked her anything about herself and so decided to put that right the next time I saw her.
The next day Peter informed me that no one had come forward to claim the money. He said I should hold onto it for a little longer and if no one claimed it by the end of the week, I should just keep it. Peter finished his tea, and once again I followed him into the street and watched the morning sun cast its shadows between the houses and the pigeons scratch about for scraps.
“What are you so deep in thought about?”
She was back. I walked with her towards Berkley Square, not sure if she wanted me there or not. I watched her walk in her evening dress and highheeled shoes with her red handbag. She was certainly beautiful, and this was making me both self-conscious and hopelessly tongue-tied.
“I don’t know your name,” I finally managed. “I’m Louisa,” she said. “What do you do?” I blurted, immediately wishing I had said something clever instead.
She just smiled and, looking me straight in the eyes, replied, “I entertain gentlemen.”
Perhaps it was the sun moving higher above the rooftops, illuminating and warming the street around us; or maybe it was her pale blue eyes staring into mine. I suddenly felt that this was a perfect morning.
She hailed a cab. “See you tomorrow,” she said. I watched as she headed off into the park, and then I walked back to work.
To be continued…