This is what happens when you get up early, do radio, and then decide you will take the day as a relax and chill day – you lose track of time, and it ends up being late by the time you even get virtual pen to paper. Doing the show this morning was good fun. Even though I was doing it as a show to add to our pre-record bank for when we’re short of DJs, one of my loyal listeners was messaging me throughout, so it was good to have some company and a bit of banter. And there were other listeners, too, apparently. I still think Radio Stradbroke should be bigger than Radio 1, in all honesty. We’re simply better.
So, it’s early evening already, and I’ve not yet been for my daily walk. I have picked up A from her first work day of the new football season, and now M has taken her back down to the station because she’s off to a party tonight. I remember having that much energy. I did spend an hour or so updating all the podcasts for Radio Stradbroke, and I must have done at least one hour of Greek lessons, too, to add to the 8 hours I’ve already done this week, as well as indulging in one of my favourite lazy pleasures – lying across my bed on my stomach, and reading a book. I enjoy that immensely. It makes me feel relaxed, decadent, and at peace (even if the book I’m reading, like the one now, is about a disturbing subject matter; in this case a novel about slavery which T, my sister in Germany, sent me).
I shall write Aggie after I get back from my walk. I’ll read what I wrote yesterday, and then let that swill around in my mind until it makes new words for me, or the characters make them for me, which is probably more accurate. I do sometimes ask myself what my characters think of me, the guy who carries them around in his head all the time. Do they look at me from the screen as I transcribe what they’re doing, and shake their heads at the middle-aged bloke who sits at the same desk every day, do they ask themselves why I’m actually bothering with their lives, and do they wish I’d just leave them to get on with it rather than interrupting them with my questions and my thoughts as I’m writing down theirs? I guess I’ll never know. But they’re never just characters, are they? They’re real people.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 171
‘Where do we start then,’ Lilibet says as they’re sitting round the table with their coffees and some biscuits Aggie has dragged out of a tin from a cupboard somewhere. The kitchen is immense compared to her tiny one in Montrose, and she asks herself what the girls might think of it. Such luxury can never be theirs. Nor Aggie’s.
‘Zak and I came up out of the cellar really quite quickly after Anna attacked me before she knew who I was,’ Aggie says. ‘And that’s where I want to start, because perhaps there are things down there that neither I nor Valentine know about.’
‘He must have known about what’s down there, surely,’ Marit says. ‘He lived her. He lives here.’
‘Hang on a minute,’ Lilibet says. ‘I’m confused. Anna attacked you?’
‘While you were Valentine’s monster,’ Marit says, and can’t keep the edge out of her voice.
Lilibet ignores it. ‘So, why did she attack you?’
‘Someone had put out a contract on me,’ Aggie says.
‘Valentine no doubt.’ Lilibet tosses the rest of the espresso down her throat, puts the cup back on the table gently.
‘Perhaps,’ Aggie says. ‘Probably. She doesn’t know. All smoke and mirrors.’
‘And she was wearing one of those black boxes,’ Marit says. ‘Except when Aggie found it, it wasn’t connected.’
‘Did you check the numbers of her smoke and mirrors?’ Lilibet forms the inverted commas in the air with her fingers. ‘Against any numbers in Martin’s phone?’
‘Shit.’ Aggie slaps her forehead. ‘I didn’t think of that.’
‘Text Robert and get him to find out from Anna what the number was.’
‘She hasn’t got her phone any more,’ Aggie says.
‘Perhaps she remembers. Worth a chance.’
‘I’ll call him.’ Aggie gets out the simple mobile phone, presses she shortcut button for Robert’s phone. He answers after a couple of rings. The others can’t hear his voice. ‘No, no problems,’ Aggie says. ‘Everything fine.’ She nods. ‘One thing. Can you ask Anna if she remembers the number that gave her the contract for me?’ She nods again. ‘Thanks. Call me back.’
‘She can’t have anything to do with it,’ Marit says. ‘They’re best pals now, her and Aggie.’
‘Not as good pals as she and Zak are,’ Aggie says.
‘Just lust,’ Katharina says.
‘I’m not so sure about that,’ Aggie says. ‘They blush. Lust doesn’t normally blush when only words are involved.’
‘And you’d know?’ Lilibet says, grins across the table at Aggie.
Aggie blushes. ‘No,’ she says. ‘I know nothing about anything.’ Her phone rings. ‘Robert. She doesn’t? Shame. Well, if it comes to her, just let me know.’ She shakes her head. ‘It’s not vital. It’s just a good thought Lily had.’
Lilibet’s turn to blush.
‘We will,’ Aggie says. ‘And you.’ She clicks off the phone, puts it on the table. ‘No time like the present,’ she says, gets up. ‘The cellar it is. All in?’
Lilibet jumps to her feet. ‘Of course.’ She starts to reach for the gun in her waistband under her short, but thinks better of it when she sees Marit’s stare. ‘Maybe we should leave Marit and Katharina up here. No point putting them in danger.’
Aggie nods. ‘Actually, let’s check the rest of the house first. It feels empty to me, but you never can be too sure.’
‘A bit late in the day,’ Katharina says. ‘A bit slack.’ She winks. ‘I’d quite like a tour anyway.’
‘Stop being so nosy, Nan.’
‘Not nosy,’ Katharina says, and pushes herself out of her chair. ‘Just interested in how my daughter really lives.’
‘Do you really want to know?’ Aggie says. ‘It might not be pleasant.’