L’ Esprit D’ Escalier: Part Twenty-Eight. Revenge is Sweet.

by | Jan 3, 2024 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

Are you following?

“So, you’re back from your little excursion to the sticks?” No greeting, straight to the point. Good old Marielle, Lucien mused.

“Sticks?” He started the plan which would eventually drive her and the other two over the precipice.

“You know what I mean. The edge of civilisation,” Marielle snapped back, sounding as smug as ever.

“Oh, you mean Brittany? You are not wrong Mimi. At some point on my journey, I did cross into civilised society.” The Spirit of the Stairs had been well and truly exorcised. Never again would he be short of an answer.

“Don’t be funny Lucien. It doesn’t suit you.” Marielle’s tone lifted an octave, then lowered to a growl. It was a treat to listen to.

“I have no intention of humour. What I am saying is deadly serious.” Lucien emphasised the penultimate word, allowing it to hang in the air like a vulture.

“Look, I have had enough of your insolence. What have they been feeding you up there? Raw fish?” Marielle was warming up nicely, he pondered. He ignored her intended insult and poured oil on the flames.

“How’s Pascal?” Another low punch from the resurgent doctor.

“Pascal? Pascal? Don’t talk to me about that lazy oaf. I’m well rid of him. Anyway, I thought I’d told you.” She was incandescent by now. He could almost feel the heat through the receiver. 

“Oh. yes. He walked out on you. Not a moment too soon in my opinion. Which reminds me. I have changed the entree for tomorrow. To make it easier for you. I shall prepare everything here. ” Lucien’s heart was pounding, adrenaline tingled under his tongue and dopamine sloshed around in his brain.

“I fired him! Please yourself Lucien, Just be on time.” There was a click and the dialling tone extinguished the flames. Marielle never used his full name. Mission accomplished. Now for the other two. He was enjoying this.

***

Lucien selected his next victim from the contacts on his phone – Valery Doumer. He masked his number and imitated the third member of the trio.

“Have you calmed down my love?” He asked in Gaston’s dulcet tones. He knew it would be, sink or swim with the sculptor’s long term admirer.

“Gaston? Is that really you?” Valery had dropped his guard quicker than the doctor could have anticipated. Was this going to be too easy?

“Valery? It’s me, Lucien.” He replied, in his own voice. He left it at that, stringing another of the triumvirate out to dry.

“Is this some sort of wind-up? I heard you’d run off to the country.” Valery’s tone hardened. However, it was too late, the writer had already written his last chapter.

“No, I’m back for good and looking for adventure. I’m sick of pandering to the other two, aren’t you?” Lucien launched the Exocet which would, in less than twenty four hours, find its target. “See you tomorrow.”

He pressed, end call, knowing that Valery would not share the information with the others. His love for Gaston was the rope which kept him dangling from this group. He picked up the cup from the table and inhaled the aroma of Bergamot. His head swam in her world. A world of exotic pasts and uncertain futures. He sipped the brew and tasted the bitterness of decades of regret tempered by the subtle perfume of redemption. Lucien was ready for the biggest test of all, Gaston. 

***

He selected the sculptor’s number without hiding his identity.

“I’ve missed you so much,” Lucien began with a scatter-gun effect.

“Pardon? Lucie? Is that you?” Gaston was off balance but it would take more to floor him.

“Yes young fella, it’s me. The new me. That break has made me reassess things. Life is too short to ignore the inevitable.” He waited to see if Gaston would take the bait.

“Good for you. You know Marielle is furious with you?” The younger man stood firm but Lucien knew the hold he had over him.

“Marielle can go to Hell. Aren’t you sick of that pumped up diva?” Lucien’s mutual contempt for the woman struck a chord.

“Well, I am tired of her constant fawning over me. She thinks she can turn me. Who does she think she is?” There it was, the wobble. The doctor pushed at the open door.

“Exactly, we can’t change nature. I know that now. All these years of regret, my love.” His heart was beating faster than ever. He closed his eyes and pictured Patrice. There was a hush on the other end of the line. Then, suddenly, a sob broke the silence, followed by another. Gaston toppled like a pack of cards. Lucien felt a stab of guilt momentarily, then recalled the decades of misery the younger man dealt out.

“Until tomorrow, my love,” he whispered, then hung up. The traps were set. All he had to do was turn up and watch the fun. He had one more phone call to make.

***

“Pascal, my old friend! How the Devil are you? I see you managed to ditch the old witch. What are you up to? Busy?” Lucien turned on the charm to the elderly butler.

“Doctor Lucien. How good of you to call. I did indeed. She insulted me once too often. I’m good, working in a cafe in the Third. The pay’s not that good but at least I have my dignity.” The joy in Pascal’s voice was palpable.

“That’s great news. Are you still living in Saint Denis? It must be a trek for you,” Lucien replied.

“Yes, unfortunately apartments in the city are hard to come by, and the expense!” There was a waver in the old man’s voice. Lucien’s reaction was both sadness and excitement. He had an offer Pascal could not refuse.

“Interesting. I may have a solution for you. Are you free tomorrow morning?” Lucien awaited his reply, fingers crossed.

“Yes, it’s my day off. I’m intrigued. Where and what time?” Pascal’s voice was firm and positive.

“Shall we say ten? Be prepared for some sous duties too.” Lucien clipped.

“Even more intriguing! See you then doctor Lucien.” He hung up, a warm feeling spreading through him. The last call had given him so much pleasure. Lucien poured another cup of tea, added a few grains of sugar and stirred.

Tomorrow was the day. Judgement day. Now, where’s that quiche recipe? He thought, taking a sip of his new life.

1 Comment

  1. Kenneth Childs

    The Grand Finale. Could this be your first published novel?

    Reply

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