While endeavouring to stamp down the cracked & buckled lino in the first floor corridor I heard voices from Mrs Decateur’s old room, number 121. When I put my ear to the door, they stopped. It was Tuesday, & the wind was rattling the balconies on that side of the building, bringing with it the sound of a siren, the faint yellow wail of a saxophone from one of the Parton Street bars. Flipping the cover off my uncle Maria’s tarnished old silver hunter, I turned it so that its dial caught the forty watt light: exactly eight thirty-two. Ah, I thought, so the rumours are unfounded. The Theory Cadre was back.
I made my way quietly down to the lobby & later sent Fleur, the girl who works in the back bar, up to 121 with a bottle of sixty year old British sherry & as many clean glasses as she could find. At midnight the lobby phone rang three times. I let a minute go by, then picked it up and said, “Hello, Alice.”
photo: C Phillips