Man in Debt
Chapter 6

Copyright© 2017 by Scriptorius

From:
Trask, Blaimire & Co.
Solicitors
1, Haymarket
Lower Newton Godfrey
6 March

To:
Holliday & String
Solicitors
7, Main Street
Chinfold Major

For the attention of Mr Lionel String. Re: Aytuzi Finance Company v King.

Dear Mr String,

Thank you for your letter of 3 March. I am sorry to note that you are not the String I had in mind: he must have been – perhaps still is – an extraordinary man. I imagine you are proud to share the name.

It is perhaps as well that you went through the Newton Godfreys at speed, as loitering lawyers from elsewhere, especially from the Chinfolds, are not always well received by the locals. That is merely a jest, you understand.

I see that you have a thriving social scene in your part of the world. It may interest you to know that while we cannot compete with you in matters of photography, we do have a chess club here, of which I am a founder member, though by no means the brightest star in our firmament.

Were we on closer terms, I would suggest a match – we can produce half a dozen players capable of giving a good account of themselves. My own trifling attainments go so far as to have lasted for forty-seven moves against a man who once managed a draw with Eugene Znosko-Borovski – admittedly in a simultaneous display by the master, who had twenty opponents. Also, though I play only third board, there are those who have confessed to quaking at my Evans Gambit. All in all, I think you would find that we can hold our own in any but the most distinguished company.

Please don’t disturb yourself about the late Eric Blaimire. He had a short life and a merry one. ‘Besser kurz und stramm als lang und schlabberig, ‘ as they say in Germany. I will spare you a feverish search through the dictionary by suggesting that ‘better short and stiff than long and limp’ might do. Dear me, please don’t think in terms of the double-entendre – none is intended. I am simply being literal. The Teutons do have a nice way with words, don’t they? I have often thought that the German vocabulary has much to offer which we could profitably assimilate, but I won’t go on, as you may have a different opinion, on account of your wartime background. Oh, forgive me. I forgot for a moment that you are not the String.

As to Aytuzi v King, the matter is proceeding and we shall see what emerges. Speaking from our side, I can say that we are always open to discussion, though your client does seems to be unusually recalcitrant. Now, we are dealing with the question of tempus fugit, and I have a novel queen’s pawn opening twist which I wish to try out this evening. Please keep me advised of developments in the legal matter which consumes so much of our respective energies – social exchanges must not divert us from the interests of our respective clients.

Yours fraternally,

Henry Blaimire
Partner


From:
Aytuzi Finance Company
Unit 3, White Horse Yard
Newton Godfrey
7 March

To:
Cedric King
Poplar House
Halfpenny Lane
Little Chinfold

Dear Cedric,

Thank you for the letter of 3 March. You are in luck, as I have been out of the saddle for a couple of days, and you missed by a hairsbreadth having to deal with my superior, Miles Garth, who is far less tolerant than I am. In fact, like a certain fictional character whose name escapes me, it could be said of our Mr Garth that the softest thing about him is his front teeth. Count your blessings.

You suggest that I am trying to drive you to suicide. What a ridiculous notion! Your self-destruction could hardly benefit anyone at Aytuzi. You seem to be an intelligent man – have I said that before? – so can surely see that it is in the best interests of all concerned that we should recover what you owe us, without our invoking every step of the legal process? If you cannot, you must be less bright than I have so far supposed.

Cedric, my dear fellow, couldn’t you come up with something better than an ailing aunt? For goodness sake, that one was played out decades ago. In these enlightened times, nobody uses the Aunt Ethel ploy. For one thing, there aren’t enough old girls of that name to go round. I had thought better of you. Are you some kind of ghoul? One could be excused for thinking that of a man who lurks in wait of someone’s decease to make material gain. Try something more original. I am always willing to listen and learn. In the unlikely event that you are telling the truth, I offer my sympathy. It is always traumatic to part company with the near and dear.

I have digested your comments concerning economics and yes, I had not thought about this in the negative way you describe. Now that I have done so, I am even more despondent. You say that a catastrophe is good news in GDP terms. That’s a downer, isn’t it? I don’t want to continue our discussion of this subject, as it is too disturbing. Nor do I wish to take up your suggestion about origami. No doubt that area is open to new entrants. The same could be said of train-spotting or collecting beer mats. Cedric, the idea is to make a living. Do you get it? No, probably you don’t. Any better ideas?

It is true that you have offered a lot of advice, for some of which I am grateful, though the benefits to this side have so far been limited. You may be astonished to learn that I am familiar with the work of Omar Khayyam. However, I consider it mock-nihilistic. Do you not sometimes think that he was a forerunner of Thomas Hardy? The difference is that we know in our hearts that Khayyam was having us on, while Hardy’s gloom was serious. I’ll take Omar any day.

If you were trying to alarm me with your observations about karma, you have come a cropper. Cedric, we are here now and must act accordingly. Maybe you were as noble as they came in some earlier lifetime, but you are not acquitting yourself too well in this one. Anyway, with respect to Buddha I don’t wish to be disrespectful but I wonder how smart he was. I mean, didn’t he claim to have got enlightenment by staying under a tree for a several days? And what did he learn? If you don’t know, I will tell you. He concluded that a life of hedonism was not satisfying. Well, one doesn’t need to sit beneath the green canopy to get that far, does one? What about doing the proper thing at all times? I mean, apart from a few psychopaths we all know the difference between right and wrong. Do you get the message?

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