Friday, April 13, 2012

BLEAK SPOUSE: Chapter 7 – On the Firm’s Time

WEDLOCK HOUSE, which by a strange coincidence happens to be next-door to Grim Grange.

From her attic window, Lady Virginia’s au pair Elena Brezhnev watches through tearful eyes as a Bentley Continental pulls up on the drive outside. She is upset because, not for the first time, she has just had to fend off the amorous advances of Sir Basildon. That man has the hands of an Octopus she thinks.

A debonair figure steps from the Bentley. Elena recognises it as Edgar Venal, a frequent social visitor to Wedlock House.

On this occasion however, Edgar has come on business. He would not normally travel to the home of a client on business, but he makes an exception for his most important client. Besides, he can charge the travel expenses.

Lady Virginia shows Edgar into the drawing room, where they are soon joined by Sir Basildon. Edgar notices that Sir Basildon appears to be annoyed about something, and his clothes are slightly dishevelled.

"Do you have any news about BigWad123?" Asks Sir Basildon, straightening his tie.

"I certainly do." Replies Edgar. He glances across at Lady Virginia. He thinks he sees her face tighten.

"Go on." Says Sir Basildon, adjusting his jacket.

"I have discovered BigWad123's real identity." Announces Edgar. Lady Virginia's expression hardens.

"Who is he?" Asks Sir Basildon impatiently, as he smoothes a crease out of his shirt.

"Larry Lizzard." Replies Edgar. Lady Virginia's eyes widen.

"Lizzard!" Exclaims Sir Basildon. "That fool. He lost everything though his own silly fault, not because of any advice I gave him! I want you to sue him for every penny he's got left!"

"I'm afraid that won't be possible." Replies Edgar. Lady Virginia looks quizzical.

"Why ever not?" Asks Sir Basildon angrily. "I want him to pay for the damage he's done to my reputation!"

"I'm afraid he's dead." Responds Edgar. Lady Virginia lets out a gasp. She and Edgar stare at one another for a moment. Edgar thinks he sees a hint of guilt in her eyes.

Oblivious of this exchange, Sir Basildon asks Edgar what happened. Edgar describes the sad scene he witnessed at Dilapidated House. He does not, however, mention anything about Larry's laptop.

Sir Basildon's anger subsides. "Well," he says, "at least he won't be defaming me any more."

Lady Virginia shows a little more compassion. "So the poor man died alone?" She asks.

"It appears so, My Lady." Replies Edgar.

"And... there was nothing with him that mentioned anyone else - family, friends, perhaps?" Enquires Lady Virginia.

"Not that I was aware." Says Edgar, noting Lady Virginia's interest. "The flat was a complete mess - nothing there but rubbish."

"So... there was nothing there of value?" Asks Lady Virginia.

"Nothing." Lies Edgar.

"In that case," interjects Sir Basildon, "he wouldn't have been worth suing anyway."

"Quite." Says Edgar.

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