“So how many’s that?”
“Five this year.”
“Yes, well. That’s the way it goes. This is the way it goes.”
Wordsworth looked down and gestured for me to look down with him. We were high, seriously high.
“I’m not sure I like it up here.”
“Come on then. Let’s go inside. You only need to ask.”
Inside was reached through a door which seemed to have neither lock nor handle. The furnishings were a settee and a wooden dining chair. The chair was on the settee.
“Make yourself comfortable.”
I wasn’t here to carp, so I sat on the settee, removed the chair and put my feet on it. I wouldn’t want to over-egg this, but I was profoundly uncomfortable; almost in pain. The settee fabric was surely designed to relieve itches and the colour was there to make whatever mismatched outfit you had chosen look fantastic.
“I don’t think so.”
“All right. Thanks.”
He left and returned within a minute. He offered me a large glass of red. In his other hand he had a Lidl carrier bag.
“You got one in there have you? Is it – hang on!”
I stopped myself. The wine was unbelievably good. Not only above my expectations – but seriously delicious.
“Not bad, eh. Twelve quid a bottle from the bloke next door.”
“Does he – is he – does he know - ”
“Yeah, he’s a vintner. Just part-time now, like, but he still knows the way to a man’s, you know.”
I drank some more and he shook the bag. I finished my glass and he shook the bag again. I leant forward and put the glass down on the chair, next to my right foot, and felt my hamstring getting annoyed with me. He shook the bag in my face.
He put his hand in the bag and brought out what would surely be number six. I licked my lips and made some noises which were new to me.
“I had one, but not like that. Not quite the real McCoy, but not terrible either. Made by a reputable company but not what Peter Tynan would have had. Not what you’ve got there.”
“Lad in my class. He had all the best gear, authentic stuff. Walkman. Not one from Tandy like me. He had all the proper outfits, all the accessories. Scuba diving, camping, polar expedition. He didn’t do the Blue Peter making stuff. He bought – ”
“Shut up a minute. You’re getting on my nerves. I want you to make a choice now. Clothed or naked?”
The last one had been naked as far as I could tell, so I stuck with that.
“Correctamundo. Let’s do it.”
I followed him down the corridor, back on to the balcony. He took the plastic figure and placed it on the ledge. He knelt down so his eyes were level with Action Man’s.
“I was going to save you, but this fucker’s got murderous intent.”
And he pushed.