Get Your Laughing Tackle Around this
I was working at The Grand Hotel in Frinton-on-sea, a quaint seaside resort town on the south coast of England. I ran the bars, the restaurant, and the function rooms. Most of the time, the weather was calm and the sea splashed effortlessly between the breakers onto the golden sands. Gentlemen escorted their lady companions along the promenade in the evening as they laughed and discussed matters of triviality. He would stretch out his arm so as to reveal his watch or, if he was of that certain class distinguished from the ordinary folk by dress and manner, would remove with a flourish the pocket watch so discreetly placed in his waistcoat.
“My darling,” he would whisper, “we have a table at The Grand.”
And, taking her arm, he would cross The Esplanade to the dark oak doors that led into The Grand Hall.
One evening, I observed a woman standing in that hall, looking up at the long elegant staircase. She carefully took a silk lace hanky from her sleeve and pressed it to her lips. Her companion, a short rotund man in a dark suit, was standing a short distance from her.
Addressing the gentleman, I inquired, “Do you have a reservation for dinner?”
“We are meeting another couple. I think we may be a tad early,” he replied, opening a silver cigarette case, taking out a cigarette, and placing it between his lips.
He offered the woman one, but she shook her head and said nothing. I took the lighter from my pocket and held the flame towards him. He bent forward and lit the cigarette, inhaling deeply.
I showed them through to the bar, and sometime later that evening, I saw them together with the other couple having dinner in The Palm Room. The gentlemen were arguing about a football result while the two women sat in silence, pecking at their food and sipping champagne. Most evenings ended with at least one table wanting to continue well into the night, and this evening was no exception.
“They want another bottle of bubbly,” the waitress said.
“Let them have it. I will see if they want me to order them a car.” I walked over to their table. “May I inquire as to how your evening has been?”
“Absolutely the tops,” the rotund gentleman replied.
“Are you staying with us tonight, or would you like to have our chauffer drive you to your hotel?” I asked, picking up the bottle of champagne from the ice bucket and pouring some into their glasses.
The taller gentleman of the company said, “What do you think ladies? Shall we stay here?”
The next morning, I didn’t have to be up too early, as it was Sunday, and apart from breakfast, the hotel would be quiet. The sun was flooding into my room. As I lay there, pulling the covers over my head, I could hear a woman’s voice on the balcony below. “Don’t come near me! Leave me alone!” And then she let out a terrible scream. A door outside my room slammed, and I could hear people running. I heard someone on the balcony shout, “Call an ambulance quickly!”
The corridor on the second floor was crammed with inquisitive guests. As I pushed my way through, I suggested that people should all go down to the dining room. The short rotund man was sitting on the bed with his head in his hands. “What has happened to us?!” he wailed. On the balcony, lay the woman. There was a pool of blood beside her head. In her hand, she had a long pointed knife.
“Ambulance and police are on their way,” a voice behind me said.
Suddenly, the lifeless woman lying on the balcony jumped up and declared, “Well, that went rather well! It was all just research for my book, ‘A Hundred Ways to Kill Your Spouse’. I’m perfectly fine!”
And that, dear readers, also concludes ‘A Hundred Ways to Write the Past Rubbish Of My Life’ into a column. For this is the hundredth publication of Laughing Tackle in this here distinguished linen draper.to celebrate, the first person to write to me at laughingtackle@gmail. com and tell me why you like to read my ramblings, gets a free seat at the next Dancing River Sprite feast.