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Stories & Scripts

Source: Adults

Author: Douglas Munday

Title: Musings from my conservatory. Part the fourth.

quid pro quo.

Valerie Sackful-Vest was extremely bored. True, she had herself signed up for the weekend poetry workshop in the hope her missing muse would return with a vengeance, but surrounded by a bunch of people she considered to be talentless proles, she had thus far remained entirely museless. Furthermore, if that annoying little oik who was supposedly the guest speaker latched himself on to her one more time over dinner, she knew she would say something rather unladylike to him. 'Lord indeed' she mumbled to herself, nibbling daintily on a slice of lightly buttered toast and admiring her elegant reflection in an ornate French style mirror that sat in pride of place over the mock Adam fireplace, 'how on earth such a scruff bag ever became a Lord, goodness only knows. Ah well, it's commerce over art everytime I suppose.'

"Ah, morning Val me old love," suddenly boomed the gratingly familar East End tones of the very person Sackful-Vest was thinking about, "how they 'anging, you written any decent ditties yet?" "I am still composing," Valerie responded, casting an acerbic glance over the estimable Lord Albert Demarera, "and please, do not call me Val! It's Valerie, or Ms Sackful-Vest if you don't mind." "Very posh I must say," Lord Demarera grunted, his wrinkled countenance looming large in the poet's eyes as he took up station next to her at the breakfast table. "Listen sweetheart, I'm giving a lecture on the swings and roundabouts of the business world tonight, you fancy coming along? I've laid on a few nice nibbles afterwards and I'm a right one for a nice after dinner nibble I can tell you.." "Yes, I dare say you are,' Valerie snapped, rising abruptly from the table and giving the detestable fellow her best autocratic glare, "'I'm going into the rose garden to see if I can drum up a little inspiration, no, no need to get up Lord Demarera," she finished hastily as the silly little fellow began to rise from the table, "I'm perfectly capable of making my own way, thank you all the same."'

"Suit yourself darlin'," the grizzled business veteran replied, wolfing down his fourth sausage and giving an almighty belch, "I was just thinking I might take a wander with you, I'm rather partial to roses meself." "Oh, I had no idea you liked that kind of thing," Valerie stammered, thinking that she had perhaps been a little harsh in her estimation of this seemingly uncouth man "roses are rather lovely aren't they." "Yep, and that little lot out there would sell for at least a quid a stalk," Lord Demarera grunted, giving another loud belch and leering across at Valerie, "we could pick a few and sneak 'em into the boot of my roller if you like. There's a market on in town today and I reckon we could make enough dosh between us for a right old knees up later on tonight, sort of just you and me if you get my meaning." "Oh, you really are the limit!" Valerie snapped, "If you imagine for one moment that a woman of my breeding and background would be interested in a grubby little man like you, then you can think again. Do you never think of anything but how to make money. Have you no soul, no art in you. For goodness sake, just leave me alone will you! I have no idea why the organisers chose you as their guest speaker."

For a moment, but only for a moment, a ruthless, almost feral gleam came into Lord Demarera's flint grey eyes, and instinctively the poet took a step back, knowing, for the first time that weekend she was being afforded a glimpse of the real, the true inner man. The man, who despite all odd, had clawed himself up the perilous and slippery business ladder to become wealthy almost beyond her comprehension. Then, and just as quickly as it had come, the look was gone, and with a throaty chuckle Lord Demarera stood up and took a pace towards the suddenly pale faced poet. "Well, and there was me thinking that I might perhaps offer you a nice little earner," he grunted, picking at a small piece of sausage that was clinging to his lips, "I've read some of your stuff and it 'aint bad at all. Not in the same league as that cousin of yours wot died a few years ago, sometime in the sixties if me memory serves, but still good enough to turn a profit, given some decent publicity and bit of good old commercial know how. Never mind luv, looks like it's back to obscurity for you, don't it."

"Oh, do you really think my writing is good enough for publication" Valerie gushed, pausing in mid flight and giving the grizzled business veteran a suddenly appraising glance, "I had not for one moment imagined that you enjoyed poetry, and, and, you have no idea how much I have yearned to be published." "Oh, I think I do luv," Lord Demarera leered, taking the suddenly furiously blushing poet's delicate hand in his meaty mitt and leading her towards the rose garden, "whoops, sorry about that, it's them sausages, they've made me hands all greasy. Now then, let me explain in just a bit more detail exactly what I had in mind when I mentioned earlier about the two of us having a right old knees up later on tonight..."

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