When Sam came home from work he told her even before she’d kicked off her shoes. It went in the face of their agreed condition that no serious discussion would begin until after they’d eaten.
‘He said he didn’t write those lines, Sam.’
‘Mason. Your cleaner. I asked him and he said he didn’t do it.’
‘Did you get rid of him?’
‘How could I? I’d be accusing him of something I have no evidence for. I must have done it myself. That’s the only explanation.’
‘How did he take to your questioning?’
‘I’m not sure. I thought he was a bit full of himself, to be honest. He said something about the lines improving the poem and my other options not being good enough. Cheeky sod.’
Sam raised her eyebrows.
‘But why would that bother you if you’ve just said it must have been you who wrote it?’
He changed the subject.
‘Anyway. How come you’re on first name terms with him?’
‘What would you prefer I call him?’
‘Call him Mister whatever his second name is, Smith or Jones.’
‘I don’t know his second name. The cleaning firm said they’d be sending over Mason, that was all. So that’s what I called him. I couldn’t tell him to call me Miss Bensing. It makes me sound like Lady of the Manor.’
‘No, it doesn’t. I still call your father Mr Bensing.’
‘Only at work. I’ve heard you call him David when we visit at the weekend.’
‘Yes, but we agreed that me calling him Mr Bensing at work is more appropriate because all the other workers call him that. If a cleaner works for you, then they should call you Miss Bensing.’
Sam gave him a look that wasn’t playful.
‘You’re becoming a snob, Dor.’
‘I’m just saying it doesn’t sound right, that’s all.’
‘Don’t like the idea of the working class mixing with their betters, is that it?’
‘Alright, you’ve made your point. I was jealous, OK?’
It brought a laugh from her.
‘Are you serious? He’s twice my age.’
Dorsett recited a line of poetry.
’Years accumulate and they fade, when love appears and then is made.’
‘Did you write that?’ asked Sam.
‘I don’t know, to be honest. I can’t remember.’
‘Well, I don’t recognise it, so you must have done. Yet you say you’re certain you didn’t write that last line of your stanza? Some memory.’
It was a fair point but one that didn’t make him feel better.
‘Or maybe Mason your cleaner friend did?’ he said.