Sir Herald arrived at his condo in good spirits. A walk along the beach with Jackson had done them both good.
“Just let anyone try to stop me taking you to the University with me,” he said and he gave Jackson a vigorous rub behind the ears. The dog looked at him, tongue hanging from his mouth, and exuded pure, uninhibited adoration. After a few moments the Professor noticed the red light on his answer machine blinking. He pressed the message button.
“Hello, Nancy, here. Thank you so much for the invitation darling. I’m very excited because I bought the red gown I’ve been saving up for. I thought to hell with the expense, you only live once, don’t you! The last tranny party at your place was a blast and I’m really looking forward to this one. But I promise not to get outrageously drunk this time. I will be behaving myself and looking very demure. You know how good I look in red don’t you! See you later darling.”
Sir Herald took the phone from his ear and stared at it. It wasn’t true, it couldn’t be true, then his thoughts arrived in a rush. Oh my God, what did Nancy say? See you later darling, he hadn’t sent the invitation to the t-group had he? He couldn’t have made a mistake like that. What would Professor Keen think if he met Nancy? It didn’t bear thinking about. Jackson walked over and nuzzled his master in the crouch, ears standing straight up – a sure sign that someone would soon ring the door bell.
“Who’s coming Jackson? I swear that you’re psychic.”
The door bell rang, and standing with a large box of groceries was Patrick.
“You can thank Gladys for this, she is a very persuasive women. That will be £68.50 please.”
“Of course, come in Patrick. I’m sorry about the misunderstanding at the shop, can we be friends?”
“Umm, you know that I like to be discreet, and you let the cat out of the bag, in front of my staff too.”
“I’m very sorry,” Sir Herald said.
“I suppose everyone deserves a second chance. But be discreet in the future. Okay!”
“Yes of course. Patrick. By the way, have you received an invitation to a t-party recently?”
“Just the one from you, I’m going to wear the black sequins tonight, what are you wearing?”
“Oh Patrick, Patrick, Patrick, I’ve made a terrible mistake, can you help me? I’ve double booked the party; all the most important people from the University have been invited tonight. They can’t bump into our T friends.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Can you call the t-members and tell them the party is off, I’d be eternally grateful.”
“Leave it to me, and don’t worry. We can go late night shopping instead that will keep everyone happy.”
Jackson stopped sniffing around Patrick’s legs and jumped up, paws on his shoulders almost knocking him over and giving him an enthusiastic lick all over his face.
“It’s just his way of saying thank you. He likes you. I don’t know what I would do without him. He even reminds me to take my tablets, but you forgot this morning, didn’t you Jackson. I must remember to take them; I think I’ve forgotten a few days now.”
“Yes, well if you could stop him licking himself in public, he would get on a lot better.”
Patrick left and Sir Herald started to prepare for the dinner party. First things first, he had to prepare the menu…. he was happy, happy… happy.
The first guest arrived early; naturally it was Dr. fat arse Pope. Fortunately Professor Keen rang the bell shortly afterwards. Next to arrive was Priscilla Jacques, tall, curvy and intelligent; she was high on Sir Herald’s list of desirable females.
“I would be most interested to hear your latest theory and how it relates to practice and naturally, to the fruit of practice,” she said,
Sir Herald couldn’t help feeling that he was being sized-up by Priscilla, whom he noticed had exquisite green eyes. A little group of chatting academics circled Sir Herald and a hush fell over the room. Sir Herald looked around and saw that all eyes were on him. Everyone was waiting for his answer but a disturbing thought occurred to him. Maybe they are waiting for him to make a mistake. Maybe their instincts told them that something interesting was in the air, maybe even an intellectual kill? He looked at them again and the circle looked aggressive. For the first time in his life, Sir Herald couldn’t think of an answer, and his mind was playing tricks on him. All he could think about was his tablets, he hadn’t taken them.
A high pitched squeal saved Sir Herald. Every one looked at Priscilla, whose expression was difficult to read. It was a mixture of shock but also pleasure at the attention she had been given by Jackson.
“He has such a cold nose, and you must teach him not to poke it up lady’s dresses, Sir Herald,” she said.
“Ah, yes, but in answer to your question, theory is essential in itself, it can stand alone. It doesn’t need practice or the fruit of practice to justify it.”
“Preposterous,” said Dr. Edgar Pope.
“Let’s go through to dinner, said Professor Keen.
“Good idea, I’ll go and answer the door first, you all go through.”
Sir Herald opened the door and there stood a six foot two inches high blond apparition with a slightly stubbled chin and a red sequined evening gown.
“Nancy, what are you doing here?” Sir Herald asked
“I’m here for the party darling… what else,” she said and swept past him and into the lounge. Jackson rushed over, enthusiastically wagging his tail, he liked Nancy. They were joined by Professor Keen.
“A very good joke Sir Herald, at least I hope it’s a joke. It is isn’t it?” he said.
“A joke, what do you mean? I must take my tablets professor, please excuse me.”
Sir Herald and Jackson disappeared into the toilet; he was there for a long time. Eventually Professor Keen, knocked on the door and Sir Herald came out, closely followed by Jackson.
“That’s better, forgot my amitriptyline again. I’ll be alright now.”
“But what’s this?” said Dr. fat arse. He was holding a sheet of paper. Each one of them was holding a sheet of paper.
“And who is this?” said Priscilla
“I told them I’m your good friend, darling,” said Nancy
Sir Herald took the easiest question.
“Well naturally, that’s the meal we’re having,” said Sir Herald, taking the sheet of paper from fat arse’s hand.
“But it’s a bloody recipe. We each have one on our plates, a very good recipe, but you can’t eat a recipe.”
Sir Herald looked at Nancy and then at Priscilla and slowly at the other faces in front of him. They all looked back at him in what he could only interpret as a threatening manner. Then he looked at Jackson who wagged his tail enthusiastically, head slightly over to one side.
“Let’s go for a walk,” he said.
© Ray Harris