A Lovely School for Ugly Pickpockets

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Enter the Lecturer

Ten minutes later I was back inside and had made my way through the chattering crowd.

I had said it the first time I had entered, and I repeated myself as I re-entered. I hadn’t seen so many attractively dressed ladies and refine, posh dressed males since the last BAFTA awards party I had been dragged too!

Not that I was complaining mind you, for I am just as much an appreciator of such a view as the next bloke. Especially in my line of business!

So I guess that is my excuse for not quite successfully keeping my focus on the task at hand that was inadvertently before to me...

But I finally managed an approach up to the long scarred oaken bar, after weaving my way amongst the countless numbers of mingling guests, all dolled up for the evening.

Once at my destination, I Ordered an old fashion (with rye ), and looked around.

He was still in his seat at the end of the bar, looking a bit more toshed, his hair and clothes a bit more hardscrabble.

Taking a long gulp of my drink, I carried it over and sat down on a stool next to him and said pleasantly.

” How is it going, Mate?”

He had been studying the dance floor, but with my greeting sighed and pulled himself away to look me up and down with a rather suspicious eye.

I met his gaze squarely, still smiling, avoiding the impulse to stare at the lit cigarette dangling from his lip. Being a pipe man meself , I was a wee bit opinioned when it came to sloppy cigarette smokers, especially those who left the bloody things dangle cheekily in their mouths at all times.

“Wotcher,” he said, a bit snidely I thought since I was just trying to be friendly.

“Do I know you then, Guv?” He quizzically added.

“ Sorry, Thought you looked like a bloke I knew up Manchester way,” I said apologetically.

“Not from there am I, guv !” He stated rather dismissively, as he then took his attention off of me and planted it back onto the dance floor.

I steadfastly plowed on…

“Well, one can’t always be right, can one?”

Then after no reaction, I finished my drink (easily downed, weak as it had been made )and placed the glass down, signaling the Keep.

“Just getting a drink, I see yours is out, whatcha be having then?” I asked as the bartender came up to us.

“Highball,” he said smartly, sneering at me, before turning back away. For some reason, I was not surprised at the bloke’s drink of choice.

If I had not had been given a job to do, and under different circumstances, I would have told the bartender to get him a ‘shirley temple’!

Instead, I placed the order, asking for an Irish whiskey, neat, for myself. I needed support!

I looked back at the man-boy sitting next to me.

He certainly was most interested in the goings-on the ballroom dance floor!

We were served our drinks.

He picked his up with taking his eyes off the dancers!

I took a long, gloriously settling, sip, letting the warmth settle right down to my stomach.

That’s better I thought, letting out a sigh, a bit too deeply probably, but my new acquaintance, with full attention still on the ballroom dance floor, paid my comments no heed.

He hadn’t asked me my name, which was fine by me, kept me from having to remember the one I would have had to make up.

Nor did I care to know this blokes name either, though I was harboring a pretty good guess that it would be a rather recognizable one, either mentioned from the telly or last weeks’ fish and chip wrappers.

But I could see I was losing the chap’s attention!

I caught the Keeps eye and indicated a refill was in order for my new found ‘mate’.

“Pretty,” I said following his gaze as I pointed my glass out towards the dancers

“What ’s pretty ?!” he stated sharply, still not diverting his eyes.

I noticed that they were a bit shifty, his eyes, like a sly, watchful fox, and that they moved with a rapid constancy. Think a young Trevor Howard with Peter Lorre’s eyes, and you have the chap to a T!

“The dancers, mate” I answered, “this lot is dressed rather elegantly tonight!”

He peeled his eyes off the dancers twirling and swishing about and turned slowly to me, a bit scornfully, “what did you expect guv, its full dress tonight, that’s why I have this bloody uncle’s monkey suit on, taint it?”

“Indeed sir” , I said agreeably with what I hoped was a winningly sincere voice.

Though down deep, to be honest, I felt this prig deserved anything but politeness.

Still, I carried on, trying to be friendly, remembering that if this was played right, the endgame would be a most satisfying one!


Next Up

Chapter 3

School is in session

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