Dave’s wary opening
was greeted by the ripe, pear-shaped form of Ms. Duncan. She looked to be about Dave’s age, and was dressed in a set of pyjamas her daughter had bought her that were intended by the designer to be retro-trendy. Unfortunately the garish combination of stitched pink chrysanthemums and cartoon Cocker Spaniels looked decidedly kitsch on her. Thankfully they were mostly hidden by a large, bright maroon robe that she hugged to her sides. She had a rapturous smile on her face as she spotted Dave’s whiskey-squint in the crack of the door.
‘Hi there, love! I’m Angelica, from upstairs.’
‘May I help you?’
‘Well I was just sitting watching my show, can’t get enough of my Acquaintances you know–oop, I’m a poet, ha ha!–um, when I smelled something delicious coming from your apartment! I thought that I’d come down and see what it was you were cooking, maybe swap a few recipes?’ Her voice faltered slightly at the unblinking eyeball that stared out at her. ‘I’m Angelica, Angelica Duncan,’ she added.
‘Yes, pleased to meet you.’
He swayed silently where he stood while behind him Charlie whispered a prompt, ‘Introduce yourself, you knave! Ask her in, don’t invite suspicion standing there like a criminal!’
‘Would you like to come in?’ Dave dutifully asked.
‘Oh yes love, thank you.’ As she stepped into his apartment, Angelica squealed at the amount of food that had been prepared. ‘Good lord love, is it your birthday or something?’ She looked at his bulging belly, obviously wondering about the likelihood that the feast might be a regular intake. There was only one seat at the dining table, which Dave quickly offered to Angelica while he dragged Charlie over and perched on his edge to finish what was on his plate. Between bites he reassured her. ‘No, Angelica this is a somewhat more sombre.’
Angelic’s eyes immediately filled with concern. ‘What’s that, love?’
Dave feigned holding his head in his hands as he looked down at Charley with a wink and a crooked smile. ‘I have recently learned of the death of a man I knew only briefly.’ Charley soured while Angelica went into full clucking mode, putting her hand on Dave’s arm and comforting him against the grief.
‘Oh, you poor dear, so this is a last supper of sorts is it? What a kind gesture. I feel so horrible for just barging in like that.’
‘It’s of no matter, he would have liked the thought that another could share my grief. Please, help yourself to anything you might like,’ said Dave. While Ms. Duncan did just that, Charley shook his figurative head in amazement. He couldn’t believe it; Dave was pulling the grief play using a man now currently employed as a doorstop in his bedroom. Angelica wasn’t exactly the world’s most alluring lady, but given Dave’s flagellation with the alcoholic ugly stick, he could hardly do better for a bit of slap-and-tickle. And he wasn’t ashamed to try one on the old girl. Even more annoying to Charley was that it was working. Whether it was Ms. Duncan’s insatiable need to mother or the intoxicating combination of flavour that flooded her mouth with each bite of his cooking, she was starting to take a real shine to Dave. Charley firmed his resolve; he was responsible for inviting disaster by insisting Dave ask her in, now it was his responsibility to make sure she got out without disturbing their decomposing guest in the next room.
To be continued next Friday!