The smell hit him when he opened the hut door. He couldn’t place it. Perhaps it was the smell of gentle disappointment.
No, it’s margarine he decided. Margarine and vinyl table covers.
“Oh Maroon,” he sighed piteously.
Life on the lam was going to be difficult.
He stepped in and dropped his suitcase on the bed…
If "Uncle" Otto Ziegler hadn’t had his stroke and fallen in the pool and if his puzzled audience hadn’t assumed it the highlight of his act then Maroon would never have come. The classified in last week’s Stage had been a godsend;
“Hands on” compere and two
coats required for prestige Devon
sunshine resort. Exp. of mediaeval
knight / serving wench not essential.
Live in all found. Immediate start.
To Maroon, a rat on a sinking ship, every word sang out to him with the tantalising “hands on” and “serving wench” providing the descant.
He memorised the number and while he was out shopping in Sainsburys, he called the agent, one Richard (Double) Dekker. They met later that day.
The interview went well. A formality. Maroon had warmed to the theatrical agent instantly which is always a great comfort to the practiced liar. There only remained the crossing of the "i"s as Dekker put it.
“Let’s see…Can we run through the health questionnaire?”
“Uhuh. Do you smoke?”
“Good Lord no.”
“Any skin disease, dizzy spells, headaches or heart trouble?”
“Thanks. No deafness.”
“That’s very kind of you…”
“Yes, good. Um, alcohol, how many units; in a week say?”
“Some weeks would be less.”
The formalities came to a shuddering halt. Dekker was unable to stop himself looking up. He saw at once the narrow necktie streaked with cigarette ash and the swollen brisket and the purple veins around a nose sharp as a pin. He relaxed and smiled.
Maroon on the other hand, felt the scrutiny keenly and cursed the sun which chose now to shine on his ravaged face and checkered jacket. He cleared his throat running a finger around his damp collar, and asked innocently:
“Well, how much is an alcohol unit these days?”
“I’ll put down 50 shall I?”
“There are seven days in a week Maroon. It’s purely for insurance purposes. Besides, all the best comperes are piss ar…look it’s expected, it’s the biz. Take poor Lennie Bennett: smoked like a fish and thirsty as an Arab Mullah…”
“But he died!”
“Never on stage Maroon, never died with his public, no, they loved him and that’s the point. I’ll fill in the rest, you get yourself down to Devon."
And that was that. They shook hands.
“Give Devon my love and tell them I’ll send the two coats stroke serving wenches as soon as.
Break a leg Maroon.”