Flashback: Last Monday

Monday, 21 January 2008, nine am.

The workers around the park seemed a little less tolerant of my presence on Monday morning. Maybe they didn’t like the idea of starting a new week without getting a weekend. Maybe they finally decided that I was nothing but bad news. Either way, my little hobby got a lot harder.

Old Patrick gave me a good tip, and I felt obliged to follow up on it. The movies tell you that these guys aren’t interested in anything but money, but they have more pride on the line than money. They have more pride than money, period. On any given day, I was more accountable to the old man than to my clients. And, honestly, I need him more than I need any one of them.

So I strolled once around the fence that surrounds the park. On an ordinary day, I could use my key and just walk right in. Today, big guys in fluorescent vests were milling around every gate but the west one. And that gate was in the wide open, making me feel like a rat in an empty lot next to the home of a bored insomniac with a .22 and a sniper’s citation from his soldier days.

Worse yet, one of the dowagers from the neighbourhood was tottering down Pembroke with her grandson in tow. These two watched the park like they had a marijuana plot inside, and for all I know, it was their little party getting underway. They doddered up to the same break in the trees that I was looking through, and stopped.

I said hello, but they must have thought that I was a part of the scenery, possibly some tree branch that the groundskeeper forgot to prune.

The old woman made a strangled clucking sound and started to educate her get on the situation before us. She had an accent that sounded like she was raised by a Victorian English lady on one side and a culchie shepherd on the other. My elbow practically rested on her shoulder, but I could only make out about a quarter of what she said.

“They’re just interested in the money and they couldn’t care less about what that monstrosity will do to the lawn,” I managed to hear. “No sense in those people.” That was good news. If she gave me trouble, I could easily satisfy her sense of common courtesy. But I wouldn’t learn anything from her today; if I spoke, she’d probably jump right out of that blue cashmere coat and hit me over the head with her cane on the way back down.

Without a reason to delay any longer, I opened the gate and walked through. As I carefully closed the gate, I caught a look of total astonishment from the Duchess of Richmond. She was probably wondering how I could have a key — after all, she’d never had tea with me, and I wasn’t wearing a yellow safety jacket.

1 Comment to “Flashback: Last Monday”

  1. Dave said...
    31 January 2008

    Was this the look she gave you?