Let’s Put It This Way
“Minor emergency, Miss Froop. Could you spare a moment?”
“Of course, Mr Notch. What is it?”
“I have to go out for the day shortly, but I must deal with this first. You’ve heard that Fenella Grossbeak died yesterday?”
“Well, old Tom Billingsworth phoned me a few minutes before you came in. He still edits the local rag, you know, and he wants us to produce a quick obituary. He needs it this afternoon. Now, am I right in thinking that you and Fenella were once good friends?”
“We were acquainted, but never close. In fact our paths haven’t crossed for eight years and eleven months.”
“Ah, yes. That would be since the ... er ... thing with that South American racing driver. I believe your three names were linked.”
“That’s something I no longer think about, Mr Notch.”
“No, of course not. Do forgive me. I didn’t mean to rush in where angels fear to tread.”
“Please don’t concern yourself, Mr Notch. It’s a thing of the past, long forgiven and forgotten. Just a dim memory. How can I help?”
“I’d like to whip out a few words, just as they come to me, and make use of that wonderful decoder in your mind to put it into sensible English. Sort of employ your facility for simultaneous translation, eh?”
“Certainly. If you’d like to dictate, I’ll take it down and do what is necessary.”
“Excellent. Let’s get going.”
Sprawling back in this chair and steepling his fingers, Notch speaks. Froop writes.
Notch: How shall I start? Yes, I think I have it. Fenella Grossbeak was a thoroughly modern socialite, at home in the smartest of sets, yet not too proud to show herself in some of the less fashionable spots.
Froop: She was a latter-day courtesan who would gatecrash anywhere, but was most comfortable in the demimonde of cheap fleshpots.
Notch: Although gregarious enough, even perhaps a trifle boisterous at times, Fenella didn’t seek the limelight and was, especially in recent years, reticent about exploiting her social connections.
Froop: Owing to her loud-mouthed vulgarity, she was gradually excluded by anyone who mattered, and became more accustomed to snakes than ladders.
Notch: Fenella was a warm, loving, even passionate person, comfortable in the company of both sexes. Her women friends often commented on her sparkling wit, while men seemed to see a more profound meaning in her repartee.
Froop: Promiscuity came as naturally to her as breathing. Women went in constant fear of her toxic tongue, while almost everything she said to any man amounted to a come-on.
Notch: Fame spreads quickly nowadays and Fenella’s name was familiar to many people in South America, largely through her intense interest in motorsports, which she did much to promote, as she was closely associated with morale-building of teams below the Tropic of Capricorn.
Froop: She was equally notorious on both sides of the Atlantic, having shacked up with at least half a dozen car-crazed men before she made the Hispanic continent too hot to hold her.
Notch: Shortly after returning from the southern hemisphere, she continued her family’s long association with the armed services – her grandfather was a naval officer, her father a long-term army man. She visited troops all over Britain, doing much to keep up their spirits.