Authors: Robert Bryndza
Tags: #Love, #Book Club, #British, #iPhone, #Women's Fiction, #Comedy, #Diary Format, #Chicklit
I am just composing an email to Adam. This is what I have:-
Lovely to see you in IKEA. You gave me a nice surprise in the toilet department.
Here is my address, for the date, the date we talked about;
Three Steeplejack Mews, Marylebone, London NW1 4RF
Looking forward to it.
Coco P. xxx
Monday 22nd June 10:03
Yes, you’re right. The toilet line is open for mis-interpretation and the kisses are too familiar.
Monday 22nd June 10:14
It was lovely to run into you in IKEA.
My son says Thriller: Live! is a great show, lots of dancing, pyrotechnic bombs going off, etc. I can’t wait!
My address is;
Three Steeplejack Mews, Marylebone, London NW1 4RF
PS I Just noticed that your email address is a government one … Are you a Secret Agent? ;-)
Wednesday 24th June 10:33
Nothing from Adam!
Thursday 25th June 09:00
Still nothing. Couldn’t sleep so was up at five. Have been checking my phone
Rosencrantz was up at six, waiting for the post. He has been up early for the last few mornings. It arrived just before he was leaving for classes; he grabbed it off the doormat, rifled through it before chucking it down. He won’t tell me what he is looking for.
Thursday 25th June 22:00
Should I just phone Adam? I have been constantly checking my email. Maybe he thought he didn’t have to reply. However, I asked him a question at the end, ‘Are you a Secret Agent?’ What if he really is a Secret Agent?
I know he can’t tell me if he is, but he could at least tell me that he can’t tell me, don’t you think? Moreover, if he can’t even say that he can’t say he is not a Secret Agent, he could at least confirm our date.
Thursday 25th June 22:34
Sorry, I will shut up and go to bed.
Friday 26th June 09:10
I came downstairs this morning to see a pale and wan Rosencrantz, still wearing his uniform from the bar, sat on the sofa watching The BBC News Channel.
“Michael Jackson died last night,” he said. By the look of the newsreader, she had been up as long as Rosencrantz. As dreadful as the news was, my first thought was that my date tonight is at the Michael Jackson musical. What if they cancel it?
As the screen counted down to the eight o’clock headlines, Rosencrantz turned with tears in his eyes and said, “I can’t believe he’s gone.”
Now call me a heartless cow, but the histrionics seemed out of proportion. I can’t remember him ever listening to a Michael Jackson song.
“How about some breakfast? Maybe a Pop-Tart?”
“No!” said Rosencrantz, as if Pop-Tarts were the most inappropriate food for the occasion.
“Have they said anything about his concerts at the o2? Or Thriller: Live?”
“No,” he said. “And I can’t believe, that all you can think about is your date.”
I was about to protest when the phone went. It was Meryl, she too sounded upset saying,
“Oh Coco, it’s all too much.”
“So you’ve heard?” I said.
“Michael Jackson. Dead.”
“No,” she said. “It’s not that. I’m still at Mum’s, trying to put her IKEA furniture together, it’s driven me out of my mind. Have you got a four inch Alan Key I could borrow?”
I said I didn’t and she rung off. Whilst I was on the phone, Rosencrantz had gulped down a whole pot of coffee and was leaving the house with bloodshot eyes and a silver left hand. He had hacked the end off one of my long silver evening gloves. Not that I can see myself ever wearing them again, unless I am transported back to the eighties, but he could have asked.
Could Adam be grief stricken like Rosencrantz? Will he still want to go on a date? You just can’t tell with people these days, I remember Ethel’s histrionics when Diana died, and she is a Republican.
Would it seem insensitive to phone and check if the musical is on? If not is your friend still in The Lion King? Could he wangle some back-up tickets?
Friday 26th June 09:33
Are you okay? Your reaction to the death of Michael Jackson seems to be without proportion to how it really affects your life. Is this because I am going on a date? Or are you working too much? You haven’t been yourself for ages. Please, let’s have a chat later.
Saturday 27th June 11:36
asleep? You’re not answering your phone. Marika is here and has heard all the gossip.
Adam phoned, just after lunch on Friday. He is not a Secret Agent; he works in Health and Safety for the Civil Service. He only received my email on Friday morning. The Civil Service’s Anti-Terrorist screening software had intercepted it, because I had written the word ‘bomb’ to describe the special effects in Thriller: Live!
It just goes to show, the government is right. Terrorism affects society as a whole, even arranging a date.
was going ahead so he suggested we met for a drink before.
I was beyond nervous. We met half an hour before the show at the Gin Bar near Embankment tube. I dressed in black to be safe, but instantly regretted it. Adam had his work suit on and was nervous too. I kept asking him questions when there was a silence, so it felt like I was interviewing him for a job.
I did find out that he is also divorced, he married Holly’s mother when they were sixteen, but he found her in bed with another woman, so we do have something in common. It’s just a shame we spent what little time we had filling each other in on the baggage of our previous relationships.
The theatre was manic when we arrived. Hysterical Michael Jackson fans with candles, and pictures of the King Of Pop stood vigil outside, and several Television crews were filming.
The show was great, but it was three hours long. Then there were speeches and a minute’s silence at the end so when it finished it was very late. We only had five minutes to talk in the taxi on the way home.
I stupidly set the conversation to small talk, by asking him what he was up to tomorrow at work. Ugh! I also chickened out about inviting him in. When the taxi pulled up at my place, I thanked him, we said goodnight and he was gone.
It feels like I am back to square one.
Sunday 28th June 12:30
I just had a phone call from Daniel. He saw me on CNN News, outside the theatre going to watch Thriller: Live! Holding hands with a tall handsome black guy.
“Who is he?” Daniel demanded. I said it was none of his business.
“I don’t like it!” He said petulantly. “Turning on my TV and seeing you cavorting with some
It put me off my egg white omelette!”
I said I wasn’t cavorting. I was walking into the theatre.
got a girlfriend,” I added.
“Not anymore,” he said. Apparently Kendal’s religious beliefs came between them, she is a Scientologist. He refused to be hooked up to an E-Meter and be de-programmed, so she dumped him. I laughed.
“Oh the egg white omelette, the Scientologist girlfriend. You’re living the American dream.”
“I miss…things,” he said. “I miss you.”
“No, you don’t.” I said. “You’ve hit a bump in the road, and seen me moving on. You’re jealous.”
He asked all about Adam, what he does, and if I had slept with him. I told him where to stick his egg-white omelette. It was quite a nice feeling, after I put the phone down.
Rosencrantz is still on the sofa, still intercepting the post and not talking. I managed to get him to eat some super noodles.
Tuesday 30th June 10:18
I had a horrible shock this morning. I was finishing my toast when there was a knock at the door. I opened it and there stood Christian! He was dressed in his emerald green suit. A tiny trilby with a Mallard feather was perched on his head. His handsome face was set into an odd look of fear and pity.
“You’ve got a nerve showing your face on my doorstep.” I said, only a set of Carmen rollers and a housecoat away from being a character in Coronation Street.
“I haven’t come here to fight,” he said raising a patronising hand. “I just came to give you these,” he handed over three credit cards. I said cash would be better.
“Do you know how much money we spent to get Rosencrantz home? You broke his heart.”
“I’m sorry, truly sorry, about all that happened,” he said, the Mallard feather blowing in the breeze, “but I’m merely giving back what belongs to Rosencrantz.” He turned, picked his way down the path and out through the gate.
I turned the cards over in my hand and there was Rosencrantz’s name, on all of them.
“Why does Rosencrantz have so many credit cards?” I yelled as Christian climbed into a waiting taxi.
“I am sorry Coco,” he said. He closed the door and it drove away.
I’m just sitting staring at these cards and contemplating ransacking Rosencrantz’s bedroom, something I promised myself I would never do.
Wednesday 1st July 11:43
Last night I waited up for Rosencrantz. When he came in from work, he was pale and drawn with huge bags under his eyes. He saw me sat at the kitchen table with the credit cards.
“Tell me what’s going on,” I said. He flopped into a chair and started talking.
Back in April, a couple of young edgy producers from the Carnegie Theatre in Edinburgh came and watched Anne Frank: Reloaded
and offered Rosencrantz a slot for the play at the Edinburgh Festival in August.
They said the show was ‘edgy’ ‘now’ and with the press interest it attracted, it could be a big hit.
Christian negotiated a deal, with himself and Rosencrantz as co-producers. He also said he would design the show. Many successful careers have been launched at the Edinburgh Festival. The only problem was that they had to find five thousand pounds to book their slot at the Carnegie Theatre.
Christian said he couldn’t ask his parents for any money, he had already maxed out credit cards after maxing out his trust fund.
Rosencrantz didn’t want to ask me, because of the money worries I had with the divorce at the time. So, he agreed to apply for a credit card.
In the euphoria of accepting this ‘offer,’ they didn’t think about all the other costs involved, and Rosencrantz ended up putting another
ten thousand pounds
on credit cards for accommodation, advertising, and numerous other fees.
Then America happened, and Christian vanished. Rosencrantz said he tried to keep everything going, but most of the other actors involved with the show were ‘Team Christian’ and jumped ship when Christian did. Rosencrantz has been working flat out just to cover just the minimum payments. He has been waiting for the post most mornings so he could intercept the credit card statements.
“It’s such a mess mum,” he said and laid his head on my shoulder and sobbed. I was relieved I finally knew.
When he had stopped crying I asked him to give me all the paperwork to look at. He came back with a bulging folder. I told him not to worry and get some sleep.
This morning Rosencrantz looked like he had slept well for the first time in weeks.
He asked what I was going to do. I told him I wasn’t sure yet, but when he gets home from classes he should quit his bar job. He hugged me and told me I was the best. When he’d gone I made a big pot of coffee, took a deep breath and opened the folder.
The first receipt was for £7,500, to rent three four-bedroom flats in a building called Palace Apartments. At that price, I had to see them so clicked on Google Street View. Palace Apartments are far from palatial, in fact they are far from anywhere. They are bedsits in a tiny terraced house in Leith, several miles from the centre of Edinburgh. I recognised it as the road Ewan McGregor runs down at the beginning of Trainspotting
I phoned the number on the invoice and an old Scottish lady called Mrs. Dougal answered. I asked how each bedsit could sleep four people?
“Och, they’ll all bunk doon together,” she chuckled. “Actors aren’t shy.”
I apologised and explained I would have to cancel. She told me that Rosencrantz had paid in the knowledge the £7,500 wasn’t refundable.
“How can you justify charging so much?” I said.
“Leith is very cosmopolitan now,” she said. “The Royal Yacht Britannia is permanently moored here. It’s very reasonable.”
She said I should log on to edfringe.com. I did and she was right, she is reasonable. A coffee shop on the Royal Mile is renting out its stock cupboard to the Cambridge Footlights for
Thursday 2nd July 19:58
Rosencrantz went to see Ethel last night in her new flat. He told her everything, and she gave him a thick ear!
When he came home and told me, I phoned her up furious.
“Well someone’s got to give ‘im a thick ear,” she said.
“What exactly is a ‘thick ear’?”
“Well, it was more a clip round the ear, a wallop…” she said.
“You hit him!”
“Is there a mark on ‘im?” she said.
“No, not that I can see.”
“I didn’t do it ‘ard… You think ‘ed dare run up all that debt if you’d threatened ‘im once in a while with a thick ear, a clout or a wallop? I always say, walloped kids are ‘appy kids.”
Can she be right? Rosencrantz did seem happier when he got home. Once the physical violence was over, Ethel had made him his favourite; salmon sandwiches with the crusts off and Angel Delight.
After another day on the phone, I can’t get any of the money back. I have two days to pay off these credit cards before even more interest is added. The APR is 22%