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Ronan's report


Friday 18th July, 2008

Laurence Furtlesham stepped into the Mayfair Marauder and peered balefully across the polished marble casting floor at the distant outline of old Cuthbert O'Cuthbert McCuthbertson who was buffing the burnished brass counter of the bar with the amadou tails of his distinctive chamois apron.

He brushed the dust from his tank top and, raising his shoulders from their now habitual streetwalkers slump, began the long slow walk towards his faraway stool.

It had become a daily routine and although he knew he would, all too soon, be making the return journey to the door, he was aware that he had once been worthy of the company in the Marauder and hard times made him no less entitled to enter and take his place at the bar. This he did, without fail, on the dot of opening every evening. And, whilst the Maurauders opulent surroundings reminded him of the man he once was, he nevertheless arrived and left early enough to avoid any contact with the regulars who may be so churlish as to remind him of the man he had become………

He had been tortured by memories of terrible loss, of Trout and Salmon, of Roach and Rudd and mighty Bleak and Bitterling. His suave sheen of bonhomie could not truly disguise the seeping anguish of a vulnerable psyche so savagely scarred by loss after desperate loss. Eventually, with his confidence shattered, his once agile mind a broken reed and no longer able to function in the outdoor life he had loved so much, he had drifted from one sad dead end job to another…. perpetually short of the wherewithal to buy his round and despite his reputation, he had slowly become a pariah in the Marauder and his paying audience had drifted away, one by one, tired of his tales of riverbank, lakeshore and the wilder moments of Jermyn Street sock modelling…… and now, almost beaten, he fished alone…

Approaching the bar, Laurence nervously toyed with the remaining few buttons on the high waistband of his slacks. Closer, he could see more clearly that the wizened old barman held up what Laurence knew to be a ZA PPPP Ltd embossed, dunnock egg blue and cocoa dust coloured envelope. He was drawn on a little faster now, wary of the risk in his growing excitement, that the segs, held insecurely in the mainly Mache soles of his elderly ZA “StrongThi” Canvas Superspeed Ankle Waders, might slip on the shining stone beneath his feet.....he never once took his eyes from the precious letter.

Cuthbert O'Cuthbert McCuthbertson screwed his bottle bottom monocle deeply into his eye socket and he passed the speckled envelope over the shining bar....

“Genullmun left this note for yer Larry” he said in a piratical manner “Paid for a gimlet for yer too”

The single red rheumy eye, for which he was famous, huge behind its glass, fixed Laurence Furtlesham with its strange gecko stare and an odd, faintly paternal, smile played over his old blue lips....

Laurence rested the icy cold gimlet glass thoughtfully against the side of his nose, rolled it over his cheek and held up the priceless missive against the crystalline light from the gilt chandeliers ........

“Well, damn me.....maybe there is hope yet, Cutty old man” ...he said quietly, and read.....

Hey Ho Larry

Long time no hear!! Thanks for the report, Tenner enclosed, ....got one on the pocket pedal autoclave “damp devil” fly drier that we sent you in '91 ??

Sock modelling ?….. dastardly business ....Meet me Tuesday 11.00am at the ZA hub, might have something for you in comms....

Sebba

With the note crushed in one hand and his old SJ held softly in the other, Laurence stood beneath the stained glass cupola that sprinkled shifting colours onto the inlaid casting plate below and looked up….up into the scattered beams of shining light......

His shoulders silently shook and tears glistened like jewels, vermilion and magenta, as they trickled gently down his time worn cheeks.


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