L’ Esprit D’Escalier: Part Twenty-Two. The Calls.

by | Dec 22, 2023 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

He lifted his face to its light, scattered by the atmosphere of the Breton evening,

Lucien tapped the green symbol on the screen and let himself out of the kitchen door. The sun was setting behind the church in whose shadow the Manor crouched. He lifted his face to its light, scattered by the atmosphere of the Breton evening, and closed his eyes. His retinas glowed red as Marielle’s dulcet tones caressed his eardrums, a brace of sensory delight.

“Lucie, Lucie. Where have you been? I’ve been trying to contact you for two days,” her voice was a mixture of relief and mild agitation. He knew every one of her emotions intimately.

“Hardly Marielle, you called me the day before yesterday – twice,” he replied, still in a chilled mood, which would soon end.

“Really? Oh never mind, you’re here now. Can we meet? Pascal has walked out on me and it’s chaos here.” Her tone was all alleviation now. Lucien allowed himself a thin smile as he pictured the elderly lackey storming out on the hapless diva.

Then it struck him. Lucien hadn’t even considered the old man in his plan. Although his exit was convenient, it made him reflect on how many other holes punctured his scheme. His resolve hardened and was reflected in his response.

“I’m sorry Mimi, I’m too busy to meet. I’ll come and help when I’m back, erm less occupied.” This response was met with a total reversal in Marielle’s composure. She even ignored the pet name and his correction.

“Busy? Occupied? What, you can’t give a hand to your oldest friend? Why are you so selfish? Why do you put those vagrants ahead of us?” Her rant was vicious and relentless. So much so that he cut it off in mid-flow.

“Vagrants are homeless unfortunates. My patients are neither. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have things to do.” With that, he tapped the red symbol, slid the phone into his pocket, and returned to domestic bliss.

He apologised to his hosts and made his excuses. There was much to do if he was to rescue the tattered plot to eliminate the witch and her warlocks. Speaking of which, his phone rang again on the road back to the Gîte. Expecting round two with Marielle, Lucien was shocked to see the name on the screen. Gaston.

He inhaled deeply and prepared for a very rare conversation with the sculptor.Gaston Rebuchet didn’t dwell on formalities.

“What have you done to Marielle? Have you no shame?” The man’s words hit him like buckshot. Subconsciously, Lucien held up the phone in front of his face, as if to prove it was still there. Hello to you too, Gaston. He thought. 

Lucien considered the idea of hanging up and switching off the phone. However, such were the scarcity of a Gaston calls, he hung onto it like an ornithologist with an exotic bird.

“Pardon? I don’t understand.” He decided feigned ignorance was the best policy.

“I’ve just had a call and she’s incandescent. You do know that thieving good for nothing Pascal has deserted her? After all she’s done for him.” Lucien begged to differ, having watched Marielle render her servant old before his time. He decided to deal out the same harsh treatment to Gaston.

“I fail to see what that has to do with me, Gaston.” Lucien fell silent and waited for the fireworks.

“Fail to see? Fail to see? What has got into you man! We are your friends. Isn’t it time you put us first? Marielle is in crisis and you, fail to see?” Just as he suspected, like the night sky on New Year’s Eve. Without another word, he dispatched Gaston as he had with Marielle, and placed the phone in his pocket. He knew it would ring again and he knew who the caller would be.

As he let himself into the sparse apartment, he contemplated how he could just torment his friends to death. Lucien had the upper hand now. Here in this haven of pleasure, he felt immune to their barbed attacks. The phone rang again – Valerie

“You fucking arsehole!” The caller slurred. He was drunk, or worse. Lucien didn’t give him the satisfaction of a reply. He sent the inebriated author the way of the other two and turned off the handset. The perfect end to a perfect day. How often had he said that?



  1. Kenneth Childs

    Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

    • brian

      Yes, Ken. This could go one of two ways.


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