Special Delivery today. Up to Southfork. Old baldie was his usual cheerful self. I came in, gave him the package and was just about to leave again when this voice called out from somewhere inside the house.
“Who is it?”
“Delivery boy,” says baldie.
Delivery boy for fuck’s sake! After all this time and he still doesn’t even know my bleedin’ name!
“Show him through,” says the voice.
“I said it’s the delivery boy,” says baldie, by which he means ‘who in their right minds would want scum like me dirtying up their piss-elegant little palace?’
But the voice just says back, “Show him through.’
So then baldie leads me down this long corridor, all white walls and oil paintings and stuff, and eventually we turn a corner at the bottom of this big staircase and we veer left and all of a sudden we’re in this big white kitchen - white walls, white table, white every bleedin’ thing, and windows like doors looking out over the garden. And there he is, sitting by the table, wearing a white towelling dressing gown, and he’s got his legs crossed and he’s holding a newspaper in one hand and a glass of orange juice in the other and he looks up at me and he says, “Would you like a cup of tea?”
And I say, “Yeah, all right.”
And he says, “So we meet at last.” I am not kidding you, those were his very words. “So, we meet at last,” he says, “I’ve heard so much about you.”
And I smile and say, “Yeah? I bet.”
And he smiles back and he says, “Really, I have,” and he turns to baldie and he says, “Put the kettle on, there’s a love.”
And I’m thinking, ‘Christ! My gran’d be pissing herself if she was here now,’ because she’s a big fan of his. And, thinking of my gran, I almost turn to him and say, “Where’s Shirl?” - Shirl being the glamorous assistant he always has on the show who, for some weird reason, my gran seems to think is his wife or something. But I don’t say nothing. I just drink my tea and I eat a biscuit and he asks me what I do for a living and I tell him I deliver stuff. And he says, “Ah, I see,” and gives me a weird little smile because, of course, he knows the kind of stuff I deliver, and he says, “Anyone I know? That you deliver to, I mean?” And I say, “I couldn’t tell you even if there was. Discretion being the better part of valour and all that,” and he says, “I’m very glad to hear it.” And on the way out he says, “What are you doing a week on Saturday?”
“How’d you mean, I say?”
“I’m throwing a party. A few friends. To celebrate the end of the season.”
I didn’t know what he meant by that until I mentioned it to Max later on and he reckons it’s the end of some show on the telly - The Frankie Fischer Show or Family Funtime or something - I don’t know, I never watch them.
So I say, “I’m not doing anything. Nothing special. But, I mean, you don’t want... “
“Don’t want what?” he says.
And I’m not sure what he’s getting at now, I’m not sure if he’s inviting me to his party or if he’s just having a joke with me or what, so I say, “Nothing. I just meant, I don’t normally do anything special. Not on Saturday. Go down the pub maybe, if you’d call that special.”
“Come to my party,” he says.
I laugh. “Right,” I say, “Me?”
“You serious?” I say.
“Of course I’m serious. “
“OK,” I say, “If you’re serious.”
And anyway, on the way out he takes me into another room - a big room, all white with gold trimmings and a white grand piano off to one side, and he gets this invitation card - white with gold edges - and he writes me an invitation. “Just in case I don’t see you when you arrive,” he says.
And so that’s that. Baldie lets me out and I get the tube back into town.
Don’t think I’ll go. To the party, I mean. Not my scene if you get my meaning.
Maybe I’ll give the invite to my gran. She’d sell her dentures for a chance of going, she would.