Pour Some Gravy On: Hammersmith (twenty)
Piggott came to sit, next to Hogben, settling into this chair with a luxuriant spread of knees and elbows, and motioning to the waiter attending them.
“Give me a slab of that roast…pour some gravy on. Think I’ll have a bite after all.” He winked at Mossbunker.
The next half-hour went as forecast by these signs. Even Aimee, who was feeling the strain of her stays, nodded to a few more potatoes, a last roll. It was something to do. Piggott ruminated over his plate. Curach, filling their two glasses from a carafe, began a private chat with Vic.
“And so…the note she left said, I’ll be getting that you had in mind.” Curach cocked his head. He prompted further. “But she said also…”
“Also,” Vic began… Here, he shot Aimee a glance. His face looked to her somewhere between hangdog and caught-red-handed.
“Also.” He straightened in his chair, and under her eye gave this patent role a better essay. “She wrote down, I will let the customer know we don’t give extras.”
“And she may well do.” Curach sighed. “Ah, but room enough, Mrs. Bard, to hear Vic describe it, for a young married couple to share the premises. June, now, may feel a filial obligation…”
“What! Is June thinking of marrying?”
“I doubt she can be.” Curach answered this too.
“If it helps you at all, Minnie’s mother was on the stage.”
“Born Leybourne,” Hogben put in.
Since they were throwing hints at one another, it was fitting Mossbunker should—showing a sudden keenness—wake to their table-talk, and take charge.
“Indeed, these foreigners like to make a channel, for all their relatives to float in upon. Yes, I am never surprised to hear of a houseful of jabbering…Leybournes, we will say.” Mossbunker expressed a second laugh. He took up the envelope, and what he drew from this was a clutch of images printed on card stock. “Hogben, have a good look at these. Comment, if you choose. Then I will put a question to you.”
With every evidence of a desire to bolt—another inch of clearance added between himself and the table, two quick glances in succession darted at the door, a third seeming to take the waiter’s measure—Hogben accepted the photos from Mossbunker.
He murmured, perusing, “That’s the professor.”
“You don’t deny it.”
“Looks like the professor. Looks a lot like him.”
Pour Some Gravy On
More of this piece on Hammersmith page
(2017, 2018, Stephanie Foster)