I have a Geraldine who helps around the place sometimes; she it was who had the misfortune to answer a bailiff’s adamant knocking upon my door yesterday.
It being just noon, I was still foetal under a downie on the chaise longue; a shelled clam of a man, my bulging eyes peeping out on a fearful dangerous world. I listened.
“Is the old devil in?”
(Please God, do not forsake me now. Stop up my ears!)
“You will be; is he in?”
“I’m afraid Dr Maroon is incommoded today.”
“Is he pissed?”
“I really don’t think…”
“No, you probably don’t. Is he fearful pissed?”
“You cannot measure genius by such a yardstick.”
“Oh yes I can. Where is he?”
There was a two second absence of sound, then eager footsteps. Christ, she’s coming this way! Duck! Incoming!
“There you are. Or are you? Why are you trembling?”
“I may feel like it but I hadn’t thought to croak just yet.”
“Yes, très drôle. Your voice, what has happened to it?”
“I have been singing.”
She stared at me an uncomfortable minute then busied herself at the sideboard. There is no finer sound than the preparation of a complex drink by an expert.
“What is it?”
Another uncomfortable minute and perhaps the beginnings of an impish smile.
“Some verse springs to mind.”
“What? ‘The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle, the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true.’?”
“No, I was thinking of ‘…And when the Angel with his darker draught, Draws up to Thee - take that, and do not shrink.’.”
My hand reached out of its own volition.