Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Perfect Crime.

Mrs Bell was the last long-term resident in the Windermere Hotel, Surbiton. She had a small room, well away from the sales reps, filled with dust, lily of the valley talc and Readers Digest. She received no mail, talked to nobody, wore small black hats, tired cardigans and had continuous trouble with her spectacles. Her sole pleasure seemed to be tormenting whoever was waiting on her at dinner. She always sat at the same corner table, eyeing even the cruet with suspicion.

David, on his gap year, had drawn the short straw and Mrs Bell’s table. He brought her the day’s hors d’oeuvre.

“What’s this?” She poked at it with umbrage.

“Egg mayonnaise,” explained David.

“I don’t want this muck on it.” She poked at it again.

Under her baleful stare, David returned reluctantly to the kitchen where the chef, a malevolent chain-smoking Scottish dwarf, snarled and bustled.

“Mrs Bell doesn’t want the mayonnaise, chef,” he croaked.

MacLeish stared at him like a cobra with heartburn and then seized the plate. He pushed aside Fidel at the cleaning station and, clamping a nicotined hand over the contents, thrust Mrs Bell’s egg mayonnaise under the soapy hot tap, sluicing the dish back to three dark lettuce leaves and a severely hardboiled egg. He flattened out the lettuce, now steaming faintly and smelling of lye, and crushed the egg halves into their centre. Then he handed the plate back. “Give the old bitch that fucker,” he ordered.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, David sleepwalked his way back to Mrs Bell’s table, and placed the dish in front of her. She inspected it closely, sniffed at in, and prodded it with her fork.

“That’s much better,” she snapped.

David floated back to the kitchen; he was now a made man.


Vito said...

Scorsese could do no better!

Patricia said...

Is this what awaits us all?

Word verification is "bless". Life is too ironic. No need for adornments.

Chips said...

Egg mayonnaise a gateway to the afterlife? Possibly.

Mrs Bell is long gone. From the Caernavon Hotel, Ealing Common, where I worked (hah!) as a waiter in my youth. We used to stand round the chef while he cooked teh staff meals, his Senior Service pillars of ash bobbing precariously above the frying pans.

I think any such hotel residency will have faded away along with "companions" and "expectations" before the decade is out.

Anybody know what's so sheltered about sheltered accomodation? Forewarned is forearmed.

Oscar Grillo said...

The Caernavorn now is a three stars hotel called The Ramada London Ealing.

Barbu said...

sic transit gloria mundi