Treacle and Ink

April 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — adrian @ 5:02 pm

Jacques was remarkably curious yesterday after my attempt to smash the mirror. I probably should have answered his questions more fully but I was too angry and disturbed.
“But,” he said, “what ‘appened?”
He’d been crouching down at the crucial moment, had seen me swing the hammer but hadn’t seen it go through the mirror.
I quickly flicked the mirror face-down on the dresser.
“I missed,” I said.
He blinked at me.
“But, where is ze ‘ammer?”
“I… maybe it went out of the window?”
He looked at the windows, all tightly shut and clearly not shattered, then looked back at me and raised an eyebrow.
“I do not think so, n’est pas?”
I frowned, feigning ignorance myself.
“Hmmm,” I said, “yes, I must have hurled it into that pile over there.”
I pointed at a pile of junk – rolled up bedspreads, chairs, boxes of old pictures and books – stacked up in one corner of the room. It’s sufficiently muddled that anything could be lurking in there, but Jacques still looked uncertain.
“I did not ‘ear it fall…”
“Ah… probably all that loud music you listen to Jacques.”
I hurriedly covered over the mirror with a cloth and put it into a drawer of the dresser.

“But,” he said, as I was ushering him out of the store-room, “why zis sudden passion? Why do you wish to destroy zis mirror?”
“I just don’t like it, alright? My mother always said black mirrors were bad luck. But, I suppose I can’t just go around destroying Hattie’s possessions willy-nilly.”
“Hmmm,” said Jacques.
Eventually, I distracted him with a Spotted Dick, and he was so delighted with “your English ridiculous names” that he forgot all about it. At least, he seemed to.

I slept late this morning. Really late. Like, into the afternoon. I’ve been doing that more and more lately, but at least it was proper sleep not the drugged-dream kind.

When I got up, and after I finished writing my post for you, I found that Jacques had opened up the shop and had been serving customers.
Bless him, I thought, he’s a good sort really.
“Bon après-midi Alice!” he said as I stumbled downstairs.
Hmm, I thought, he’s uncharacteristically cheerful.
“Would you like some tea, Alice?” he asked.
Ah, I thought, Bella has clearly been treating him well.
“No thank you Jacques,” I said.
“I ‘ave some wonderful news for you, Alice,” he said.
I stopped and looked at him. Was the tube back? Was it right again?
“I ‘ave made you much money, and solved your problem, all with one stroke!”
My stomach turned over.
“What have you done, Jacques?” I said, trying to keep my voice calm.
He pulled from under the desk a large brown envelope and poured out several neat bundles of £50 notes, grinning.
“’zis is just your half. I mean, your 75%.”
“What have you done, Jacques?” I said.
His smile faltered just a little as he noticed that I wasn’t smiling at all.
“I ‘ave got rid of ze bad luck,” he said. “I ‘ave sold ze mirror.”
“Who to, Jacques?”
“To… a customer of mine.” He was still trying to smile. “He is called ‘The Doctor’.”

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