Embed: to become deeply lodged or assign reporter to military unit

PUP KNEW THAT HE SHOULDN’T be walking around the Roof gardens in his tuxedo and Peyton shoes but his shirt was wet with perspiration and he hoped that a walk in the sunshine, with his jacket slung over his shoulder, would dry it. There was at least half an hour to go. It was stiflingly hot in the Club Room where he’d be performing and he would only go in there when he heard his name announced and his entrance music.

For now he was talking to the four resident flamingos in the English garden. He liked the Moorish flavour of the Spanish garden best but he preferred the flamingos to the lavender, lilacs, roses, evergreens, crocuses, anemones and all the other listed flowers and shrubs.

Pup hadn’t a clue which was which. He wondered whether old people, that could identify all this foliage, developed an interest in gardening when other pursuits became just too bothersome or whether, at a certain age, they just remembered what they’d been told about flowers and shrubs by their parents.

‘Hello Bill, Hello Ben, Hello Splosh and Hello Pecks’ said Pup, saluting each flamingo in turn.

‘Hi Stevo. You could have joined us if you’d had your flip flops on’,   said Pecks, the only one of the four showing any interest in Pup.

‘Sorry Pecks, I have a show to do’

‘Not with that foul mouthed Stormy I hope?’

‘Fraid so Pecks – he gets more laughs than me’

‘Aw – we’ll laugh at you Stevo’

‘Are you alright, Sir?’

Pup turned round to see the questioners. A young man in overalls, kneeling with trowel in hand, looking up, concerned.

‘Ah…. Yes, thanks …. Just having a chat with my manager’ Pup walked on.

*****

THE MORE CHARLIE THOUGHT about her meeting with her Uncle, Sir Nigel, and the angrier she became. She hadn’t been in the right mood to see him anyway what with Dave denying that he’d been in the Royal York Hotel. She was certain it was him.

*****

Magic Stevo (and Stormy) were going down well. Pup was almost on auto pilot, which he sensed might a warning sign to him that it was time to shake up his act a bit. Then again, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and his act had never been better received. The table magic had wowed them and Stormy’s interruptions from the stage had kept them laughing. They were now re-united on the stage and Stormy had challenged him to make a glamorous woman with a lot of cleavage, on the host’s table, disappear into Stormy’s dressing room. Then Stormy challenged him to do some mind reading:

‘OK’ said Pup, ‘You’ve never seen me before, have you, Stormy?’

‘No, Stevo’

Not long to go. After the mind reading with Stormy for laughs there’s mind reading with audience members for effect, then the one big illusion and then the big finish with Stormy’s joke. Seven minutes left. If Charlie could have seen his act now rather than when she did see his act years ago, she’d definitely remember him. Not long now to him seeing her at the Globe. Pup thought he needed a serious telling off behaving like an adolescent when he was a mature, too mature, happily married man. Before long he could hear himself saying to Stormy:

‘….. What the heck do you call this act?’

‘The Aristocrats’ said Stormy

Laughter, loud applause, whistles and, now they’re standing. ‘We did it again, Stormy’, thought Pup. As Stormy and Magic Stevo take their bow, Pup notices a wealthy looking, elderly, black suited, silver haired, rimless glasses wearing, businessman enter the room – it was Nick.

*****

PUP WAS THE LAST TO ARRIVE at the Euston Flyer, the next day. Dave, Nick and Scalesy were standing at one of the high circular tables in front of the big screen watching Sky Sports News. Nick looked like a fish out of water in the pub. He no longer went into pubs – he preferred hotel bars and clubs. It was business class, or preferably first class, all the way for Nick.

Scalesy, Dave and Pup were all pub-goers, although not as regularly as when the Chamberpots were playing cricket together. Then the Chequers, Spoons and The White Horse would see them most days each week and their lifelong friendships were forged. The Euston Flyer was spacious but so diverse in its clientele and so noisy that there was no chance of their looking out of place or of their conversations being overheard.

‘Anyone want a top up’, said Pup as he approached them. They didn’t so Pup bought a pint of Golden Endeavour and re-joined them. He knew that Nick would not have told Dave and Scalesy what he told Pup a hundred feet above Kensington High Street yesterday. Nevertheless there seemed to be a good chance that if Chris was getting Nick to do things he didn’t want to do, then he was doing the same with the others.

It’d be interesting and hopefully, revealing, to see how Dave handled the tensions amongst them. The meeting had been called by Dave. This was the first time in the history of the Chamberpots that Dave had called a meeting and he’d only invited Scalesy, Nick and Pup. Pup expected the unexpected and after a ‘Cheers’ and clinking of 3 pint glassed and a red wine glass Dave launched right into it.

‘I’m not exactly sure what is on Chris’s bucket list or the big finale he’s planning. I do know more than the three of you but I suspect that I don’t know everything you’ve been asked to do. Would I be right in saying that you’ve all been asked to do more than he’s ever asked you to do before?’

Dave looked at each one in turn with his showbizzy smile– it looked as if he was telling a joke – they each nodded.

‘It’s the same for me’, continued Dave, ‘and I’m doing a lot of meetings for Chris. I don’t need to go into it all but it’s at a level we’ve never been to before – it feels like more than just citizen journalism. For example, why did he get me to seek out the old landlord of Spoons? Think of a hobby he had?’

‘He was a thieving bastard; he used to pour cheap spirits into the branded optics’ said Nick

‘Snakes and spiders’ said Pup

‘Correct. Snakes and spiders damage people – so this is new and dangerous to all of us. I’m not going to let Chris do anything that leads to me having a ruddy shit time after he’s gone. I’m proposing is that you all tell me what he’s asking you to do. I can then put the pieces of the jigsaw together – I know Chris’s ruddy warped mind. I’ll stop him and protect us. That’s it. Sup up. Think about it. If you have anything to tell me I’m at the Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, in the Morning Room, the third Thursday, every month, from 2.30 to 4.30 – just ask for me at reception. No jeans and a jacket required. Sithee at the Globe – should be good. ’

Dave walked out of the Euston Flyer. Pup poured the substantial remains of Dave’s beer into his own glass, looked at the other two and said ‘No Way’.

*****

Continue to Chapter Seven

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