That pure Cane Spirit since 1848.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

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?”
“Of course.”
“Smoke?”
“No thanks.”
“Uhuh. Do you smoke?”
“Good Lord no.”
“Any skin disease, dizzy spells, headaches or heart trouble?”
“No.”
“Deafness?”
“Wha…no”
“Thanks. No deafness.”
“No.”
“Drink?”
“That’s very kind of you…”
“Yes, good. Um, alcohol, how many units; in a week say?”
“Oh,14.”
14?
“Some weeks would be less.”
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?”
“50?”
“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.”

21 comments:

savannah said...

how exciting, sugar! an adventure...

Sarah said...

that's why i love you Maroon, (like a perverted uncle) but it's love, nonetheless.

PI said...

You've got a swollen brisket and you're going to Devon? Blimey!
Why not pop in? I won't tell anyone.

inkspot said...

"What's a unit?" Exactly! Doctors aren't scientists, despite their pretensions. The BMA is nothing more than a professional organization; that is, it looks after the professional interests (= self interest) of medics. They can't define the word unit and the whole business of 21 units a week was invented on the basis of no evidence whatever.

The thing to do with briskets is not to look in an unfamiliar mirror. This is Gore Vidal's advice, and it's good.

Dr Maroon said...

yes savannah, an adventure. Old Bogger hits the skids and comes up smelling of raspberries and mint sauce.

Sarah, you are too kind. Yet I wouldn't say but you're right! Perverted uncle, that's me. At your service. Is it so obvious?

Pi. will you put a packet of OMO in the window so I'll know which door to knock?

Steady Inky. Some of my best friends are doctors' daughters. But you are right too! Units? Units? It's metric madness. Time was you could get a nip and that was a quarter gill, a glass was a half gill, ie a double. hence the scotch term half meaning a whisky, but you know that. Nowadays you get 25cc which is the same as a gnat's piss. Gore Vidal's shampoo gives me dandruff.

inkspot said...

Funny that "doctor" and "daughter" seem so cognate. It's a philologists' plot.

You're thinking of Siegfried Sassoon, author of Memoirs of a Horsehumping Man. Look where it got him.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Exceedingly well written. The swollen brisket description was masterful.

Scarlet-Blue said...

I do a good turn as a serving wench, Dr Maroon. I like Devon too.
Sx

Dr Maroon said...

Scarls! Hi-Di-Hi! Would you darling? Have you the attributes? More to the point, can you make them heave? V important in the wenching game. I think you would be the most excellent wench if you could keep your mitts off the drinks. Here have this White Russian on account. Ho-Di-Ho!
Ax.

Jimmy you are too kind. Swollen brisket? All i did was look in an unfamiliar mirror. The mirror was fine, it was me that was unfamiliar. I am in my 51st year now and it's weird. My father was tres handsome, I am an ugly old bastard.

Dochter. Hey! I see you point, Only in our native tongue, Inky.
I think you aught to take me to the New Club. I am not at all clubbable but I can drink like a Scotchman. It'd be great.

Mrs Pouncer said...

So, that's where you are! I thought you had left the country. Jayne-Marie has been in a prolonged sulk since you disappeared, saying she has a bone to pick with you, and she'd like to see you try and stop her mouth this time. I would also like to know whether the following are in your possession: my Smythson Cervo, containing two bottles of Emva, a signed photograph of Alma Kogan, £700 in Liberian dollars, a tube of Gibbs SR, the Mario Lanza CD, my Platinum Amex, one pkt 50 Mebaral, the Boys Big Book of Knowledge and the Torah carved on a grain of rice.

It will be the work of a moment to track you down, Maroon. I suggest you cover your ass. No, really, I do. Quite literally. Cover it now.

Dr Maroon said...

You see far Clarrisa. Too far. Do NOT listen to a word J.M. says. Not one word. There is a want with that girl.
Alma Kogan gave that photograph to my poor father, who had he lived, would have been incinerated by now.
The other items: I couldn't possibly say. I do know that when I tried to find the geld (to pay the milkman) your delightful niece was in the act of replacing it in that ostrich skin bag of yours. It was most embarassing. And you might want to check with that Jennifer girl, she saw it all, as did I. The whole thing was troublingly evident, hence my sudden departure.

PI said...

You do know of course that you are muddling your Gores with your Vidals. Knew him when he was an apprentice and he never could cope with my hair.

Mrs Pouncer said...

I am on your tail, Maroon. Tonight finds me at the Hotel Fous de Monde, Torbay, and I have been given a good lead by the sous chef, believe me. I can almost smell you. Mint sauce, Tom Ford, a benzedrine inhaler. Had my father lived, he would've been in his 81st year and turning in his grave. Revolving. Poor darling, like a dervish, I tell you.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Will you be having to indulge in larky patter with Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees? I hear they have them ripping up the cinema seats in Ottery St. Mary.

PI said...

Mrs P: we stayed at that hotel once and they served us sliced white bread
cut into dainty triangles with the soup. There's posh.

Scarlet-Blue said...

Blimey, it's all going on in Devon...
Sx

Mrs Pouncer said...

Jayne-Marie and I have checked into the Hotel Barnsley at South Zeal. Jayne ordered a quantum of sausage for breakfast, saying that's what she always gets from you, which doesn't sound very kosher, but I'll let it go. This hotel was recommended by Mr Musgrove and is very disappointing. Full-board, all in, use of cruet, shared facilities. The bathmat shows the still-wet imprint of the previous bather's feet. It is absolutely not what we are used to. Gaining on you, Maroon. We shall be with you by teatime tomorrow: I will take two lumps and a sponge finger, as per.

Dr Maroon said...

Kev Darling, Rudy Vallee!
My God. The man who claimed his sexual organ was his voice. And he was saying that in his seventies. He was fucking sprite right enough. Cherrrist. I thought I was the only one who even knew of Him. Bugger me with a fishfork. I'm putting you in the front row Kevin Musgrove.
You and me are going to get on A1.
We MUST do America. We gotta. Let's start saving right fucking NOW!

savannah said...

america, sugar? i do have friends in new york and hollywood. say but the word...
xoxoxo

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