“You’re going to blackmail me, aren’t you?”
“Yes, of course!” I said.
I remember it well, it was the Evening, the carnival ball on the evening before Ash Wednesday, two years back. After the formal part with much dancing, singing and schunkeln, which was televised, came the best part: hours of chatting and getting sozzled. The best part of carnival and the end of the carnival year.
I don't drink much, I'm permanently drunk from the love of my dear wife. Men usually take the chance to ask me about my job, particularly about some things pairwise. I try to educate them about lovelies, they tell me what sort they would like, I write it down in a secret notebook. Maybe they are embarrassed the next day – I keep my secrets.
He was sitting next to me, a dedicated member of the carnival club, a good man, a single man, a shy man. However he had drunk as much as the others and he told me things.
Mr Parnell told me that he liked lovelies that are pendulous and that are parallel-sided. He told me in great detail – very interesting.
I rang him. “You’re free on Tuesday evening, aren’t you?” Without waiting for an answer I continued “I’ve booked a table for two in your name at Spliney’s Restaurant at 19:15 on Tuesday. Be seeing you.”
My phone rang later on Tuesday evening “Mrs Lewis, take him to the Moonlit Bar in the town square. It’s quite different in the evening, they pull the curtains across all the windows, it’s quieter and they serve cocktails and highballs. Oh, and this week they’ve got a pianist singing jazz in the style of Blossom Dearie. You’ll love it.”
She rang me again on Wednesday morning, was she happy? “I did not know who I would meet in the restaurant, I had to ask a waiter. And it was him, Mr Parnell, who else could it have been. You told me about him, didn’t you? But I was too shy to start a conversation with him, though I had seen him several times at the carnival club. He was very nice, he kept looking at me, one part of me.”
“The food was good, the wine too. And Mr Parnell, he was even better. He asked me if I had been fitted by the famous Mrs Tinge. Of course, I said, rather expensive, but a very good fit… And he nodded, he was too shy to say anything. Tomorrow we’re meeting in The Flask for lunch and then I think we will go up to High Cliff. It’s all your fault, Mrs Tinge. I’m very excited.”