In which Tony tolerates Sir Fred Godalming and Allen Stanthorpe working in his kitchen.
I was watching ‘The Wolfman’ with Lon Chaney Jr. on my little black and white portable. I only ever stayed with it for the part where he changes into a werewolf, as I found the rest of the story implausible. Tonight though, I could hardly let implausibility trouble me as there were members of an underground banking organisation working in the same room.
“Take a letter Stanthorpe,” said Godalming. The Texan took a seat in the new office chair I’d found discarded in the street earlier.
“Don’t you have offices yet?” I asked. It wasn’t that I minded them working in my kitchen but I thought a third party business might conflict with the terms of my household insurance policy, if I’d ever bothered to get one.
“Indeed we do,” said Godalming. “However, our chambers are in a state of unreadiness at this precise point.”
“They’re gettin’ painted,” said Stanthorpe, his excitement at the prospect clearly visible. “Blue!”
“Bernard, comma,” continued Godalming, as Stanthorpe did his best with one finger typing. Unfortunately, as he did so I noticed that the office chair, which I had manhandled to a height that would suit his robust frame, had slowly begun to sink lower. Stanthorpe didn’t seem to notice and continued typing.
“We have received the necessary papers and will now proceed with phase two of the operation, full stop. Arrangements are in place with your captors for your imminent release. I suggest you pack a woolly jumper or two, as the climate here may be a little inclement for your rich blood. The food, too, is a trifle bizarre, so I hope you like trifle.
“Mr. Boaks has been extremely co-operative, malleable even, and I think you will agree has been an excellent choice of patsy. I should mention that The Order are very pleased with the latest developments and that at the next gathering I shall be making a full presentation. Or at least a Powerpoint.”
By this time, the office chair had sunk to its lowest position, very close to the floor, but Stanthorpe soldiered on regardless, his arms raised above shoulder level and his neck stretched so he could just see above the table-top. Now I knew why it had been discarded.
“In conclusion,” said Godalming, “we look forward to scheming and conniving with you soon. Till then, yours, Freddy. Sign and print.”
“Gotcha,” said Stanthorpe.
I suppose I should have felt slighted by some of these comments but the truth is I didn’t much care. I was used to clients taking appalling liberties, making no attempts to disguise their contempt and generally hanging around my kitchen bothering me, so this was nothing new.
After the boys finished their cocoa, Stanthorpe helped Godalming with his cape once again and the duo prepared to leave.
“Can you bring in some milk?” I said. “We’re running low.”
“Certainly,” said Godalming.
“What flavour do you want?” said Stanthorpe.