Man in Debt
Chapter 2

Copyright© 2017 by Scriptorius

Aytuzi Finance Company
Unit 3, White Horse Yard
Newton Godfrey
10 February

Cedric King
Poplar House
Halfpenny Lane
Little Chinfold

Dear Mr King,

Communication at last! I suppose we must accept that even a nasty letter is better than total silence. You’re really quite vituperative when you get going, aren’t you? However, you are in error on a number of points and while I am under no obligation to refute them, I will do so.

As to this office being air-conditioned, my facilities comprise an inadequate convector heater and an even less satisfactory cooling fan. With regard to the sumptuous limousine of your imagination, you may care to note that I do not have a car of any kind. In fact I travel to work by bicycle, which at this time of year in particular can be hazardous. Only two weeks ago, I was forced off the road by a young tearaway, driving what I took to be one of the company-provided vehicles which so arouse your ire. That incident did the same for me, especially as I fell into a ditch and suffered a severe head wound.

You are also wide of the mark with your comment about a concessionary mortgage rate. My wife and I rent a small flat, so there is no house-loan involved. My firm does not provide special rates for staff and the truth is that I cannot afford to buy a dwelling of any kind. Yes, that startles you, doesn’t it? Here I am, working six days a week – sometimes Sunday afternoons, too (the mornings are for church) – and owning a property is for me pure dreamland. Sad that we live in one of the dozen or so wealthiest countries in the world, yet passably skilled people (I hope you will agree that I qualify here) who work as much as sixty hours a week but cannot get into the mainstream housing market. You don’t know how lucky you are – or have been until now. By the way, unlike some of us, I do pay all my bills – promptly, please note.

Your plethora of blunders continues, in that you refer to ‘my’ cigars and – albeit metaphorically – pipe. I can tell you that the former are beyond my purse, much as I would love the odd Cuban job at times. I did try a pipe, but could never keep it alight for more than three minutes. If you know the secret, perhaps you would let me in on it and I will have another go. The truth is that I am in the throes of quitting cigarettes. I never liked them, but got into the habit as a result of the stress involved in working here. It is no easy matter to pursue recalcitrant borrowers. However, I don’t wish to exaggerate. Bearing in mind that I was made redundant from my previous position two years ago, I am now doing as well as a man so recently consigned to the scrap heap might reasonably expect, and have some hope of renouncing the weed in the coming months.

As for your animadversions regarding respectively firearms and heaps of skulls, it pains me to continue combing through your howlers, but if you insist on setting yourself up as an Aunt Sally, you are sure to attract a few missiles. Permit me to lob a trio of them.

First the western scenario you envision implies that I would be using a large-calibre handgun, most likely a .44 or .45. If I were to plug you from the rear, you would almost certainly land with your face down, not up. Second, my weapon would be a revolver, which would not have a safety catch, but would be secured by my allowing the hammer to rest on an empty chamber. That is why the good old six-shooter was really a five-shot job. I guess some revolvers still are, but don’t quote me on this. As you are apparently a western buff, I shouldn’t need to draw your attention to anything so obvious. Third – it is almost embarrassing for me to point this out – the man with all the skulls was Tamerlane, who came along a little later than Genghis Khan. Oh dear, you seem to be equally ill-informed in matters of the Wild East and the Wild West. If you wish to bandy words, perhaps you should do the necessary research. I am disappointed. Still, it is clear from your comment about payment in kind that you understand the concept of reimbursement. Judging from your record with us, one would not think so.

With reference to the office here, you might like to know that the ‘Sid’s Garage’ you mention would be a welcome change. This place is situated above a retail electrical outlet and the din from below is enough to drive a man to distraction. It’s all pop stuff, molto forte, with a thunderous bass that throbs like a major headache. I can’t differentiate between one alleged song and another. It’s just a continuous racket. I’ll bet you wouldn’t care to swap.

As for the suggestion that I slump in front of the TV, you are once more adrift. It is true that my wife and I tend to view on Saturday and Sunday evenings, but for the rest of the time I attend night school three times a week – learning never ceases – and my wife is very active here, in that she runs a play-group for children of pre-school age and works for the Samaritans by telephone. Furthermore, we have our own two young ones, so by the time we have done our respective duties – a concept which I suspect may be unfamiliar to you – we have few opportunities for lounging.

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