Tuesday 24th January 2012
Arrangements made with the author’s teacher
EVEN though at a loss to comprehend how Arthur had so swiftly been made aware of my latest move to new premises – among the parcels and paraphernalia of Rose Postie’s van – I was nevertheless filled with much happiness to hear once again the voice of my teacher, of the friend with whom I had had no contact since the night of the flight from the fierce-faced B-squiggle-B.
“Virgulle, listen. You must stay hidden. The giants think you’re dangerous. They will be trying very hard to find you. Even phone calls are risky. They may be listening. I’m going to come and get you. Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.”
“Thank you, Arthur. Did Tom tell you my message?”
“No. I’m looking after his mobile. But I’ll let him know what’s happening. Right now, Virgulle, I must talk to Rose again. Please.”
Crouched among the sacks, I heard little of what Rose said to Arthur, but her frequent repetition of ‘yeh, yeh, yeh’ implied they were in accord with regard to whatever arrangements were being made.
Shortly after their conversation ended, Rose again stopped the van in order to deliver more letters.
“I’ve told Arthur where Colin’s flat is. Eel be there around four. Take you back with im this evening. That all right?”
“Yes, thank you, Rose… but, please… the man on the motor bicycle. He entered the van. Is he your friend? Does he try to find me?”
“Ah, Dave Johnson. Local plod. Blind as a bat and not as intelligent. But he did say they’re all out looking for you. So we’d best get on, get you to Colin’s place. You’ll be safe there till your friend comes.”
Whereupon we proceeded to the appointed royal tree, which was not a tree after all, but a hostelry, where we were met by Colin, who also drove a van – white, with ladders affixed to rails on the roof – and listened to his mother’s instructions without quibble or question, while gawping at me with eyes like those of the jester in the fable of The Hending Maiden and The Wanderie Clown.