Gardenias again

It was past my usual finish time, when I wearily climbed the stairs to my apartment. The Soames woman caught me in the hallway, stepping out of her door.

"Did you come home for lunch today, Mr Harris?  I heard you singing along to the radio. Quite a nice voice, dearie." She dropped a plastic charity sack to leave for collection sometime maybe.

I thought about the windows I once broke caterwauling at the Glee Club, and said "No time for lunch today.  We were closing a big deal and the owner asked us to work through. Said he'd see us all right at the end of the month though."

Mrs Soames frowned, and shook her head at my masochistic attitude to nutrition,  retreating back to her apartment, like a gnarled turtle to its shell.

Someone'd stamped out a half-smoked Black Sobranie outside my door.  "Damn’ postmen ... paid too much these days."  I grumbled to myself. "That and their elastic bands everywhere. Goddamn Sumatra's gone broke 'cos of them." I was really enjoying being a crusty old guy these days.

Opening the front door I realised, must have left the hall light on before walking out this morning.  I hung my coat on the hall stand, dropped my case and headed for the drinks trolley, like a fish looking for water.

“My usual, bartender.”

Funny thing... not like me to leave a drink unfinished, but there was a glass with a half inch of bourbon still hanging around on the trolley. Could I afford to ditch even a half inch of old bourbon? Didn't smell the same when it was left out all day but whatever way you drank it, it was still bourbon. Down the hatch.

After filling a new one with a couple more fingers of the good stuff, I left the old glass in the kitchen for the maid to sort out.

Yeah that’s right... me, the next time I wash up.

I pride myself on my nose. (I know, it's big enough - there, I thought I'd say it before you did), but in spite of having started in on the Woodford Reserve, a pretty fragrant brew in itself, I was sure I could maybe smell gardenias.

"Reminds me of the perfume Jane used to wear". It had crossed my cerebral cortex before I had a chance to stop it.

I hadn't opened any of the windows yet, not even the French ones. So it couldn't be the smell of flowers drifting in. Then, just as quickly, it was gone, like cigarette smoke in an afternoon breeze. I hunted high and low with my famed nose, but no gardenias anymore. I reasoned it was better to have loved 'em and lost 'em than never to have smelled 'em. I'm like that. Pragmatic, all the way down the line.

After a tv dinner and a half bottle of good ole Mister Montepulciano, I went to turn in.  I dunno... all work, and no play these days.

Would you believe the maid hadn't put my spare toothbrush back in the bathroom cabinet after that last work trip to St Louis? There it was on the washstand, like I'd used it this morning. But I hadn't. Weird shit happening round here.

Can't understand this drop in my usual household standards.  I'm usually quite a 'together' guy.

Folks'll be phoning the Good Housekeeping Institute if I don’t clean up my act.

© adewils 2018


The Dean of Gibraltar

Here's an extract from the first story in what will hopefully become a collection about Gibraltar...

The sound was everywhere and he could not get away from it. Perhaps at this very moment the Goths and the Vandals were beating down the front door, while a giant Hun watched and played a wailing monotonous dirge on a handheld keyboard smeared with steaming hot Christian blood. At least that’s how the soundscape unfolding beyond the door appeared to the Dean’s delicate hearing.

He grappled with the massive brass handle and the latch lifted. He yanked the door open, nearly smashing himself in the face with the huge ageing oak. Bearing a look of faint surprise at his own strength, the Dean thrust himself through the door into the Cathedral’s Nave, nearly tripping over in his haste to get his hands round the neck of the heathen desecrating his eardrums.

He yelled at the top of his lungs “Osric. Osric. Is that you?? Osric?!” Then as silence assaulted his senses, he raised his eyes skyward and, with hands clasped, cried out aloud “O sweet Jesus. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” The cacophony had indeed ceased.

A hunched diminutive figure wearing a hooded cowl, lurched round from the high seat, and lowered down at him. The voice, however, belied the man’s looks. “Dean…” it began in a high, timorous voice.

But the Dean broke in, “Speak up, man! I can hardly hear you, after the complete and utter din you were making at the organ just now. What did you say?” Of course he could hear Osric perfectly well, but chose to pretend his hearing had been damaged. Osric knew this was pure theatre, but it was not worth mentioning it just now.

“I said” Osric paused for some noble, but wasted, dramatic effect, “I said… Dean…” But his thin voice dwindled away to nothing, as the Dean cut in again.

“Yes, that is me. I am the Dean of this fair Anglican Cathedral of Gibraltar and you are sullying the peace with your confounded organ playing! What kind of dratted tomfool excuse have you got this time, Verger? I have already told you that I have a beautiful record of some suitably wonderful organ music that I intend to play on Sunday! We do not have an organist of the required quality, and I will play my record! I am the Dean!”

(... and you'll just have to wait for the rest of the stories to be written.)