Never On Saturday – part 3
April 22, 2012 § Leave a comment
Back to the closing CU of part 2: Casey in all his indecisive glory.
Shouts she at his side, unbuckling the belt of her mackintosh, “Wharra ya waitin’ for? Ya not made o’ sugar and won’t melt in a droppa rain now willya.”
Casey did not reply and rather than meet the challenge in what he alone now knew was a somewhat different situation to what he had told her, took a moment to figure out another lie. “Listen, luv, I’ve er.. I’ve, I’ve gotta better idea. Wharr, wharra ya doin’?”
“Taking me coat off,” said she quickly and eyeing him as she tossed it over her head and made ready for a dash through the rain to wherever the old or this new idea would lead.
“Getta taxi frum here. We could er.. er go to that hotel you was telling me about in the dance hall. Wharr-whattis it?”
“Taxis don’t come till later. Like after ten o’clock when theys crowding out. Hundreds offem! And that hotel just isn’t your league. Mine neither. Working yeah, stayin’ no.”
“Hey Mo, cut it willya, not my league! I’ve got dough. Toldya didn’t I, six months saved.”
“Twenny quid each, if its a penny. Each, Casey! Forty quid,” and with large demanding eyes added, “not even a brass razoo left when ya come outta there. So.. wharris it, chauffeur quit?”
“Yeah,” he lied, “somethin’ like that, broke ranks..Mind you I don’t reckon on waiting around for a taxi, let’s go back in—”
“Bugger that for a lark, you promised me,” and hooking an arm about his their renewed ardour charged into the night, “There’s a smaller place I know so ya can hang onta ya dough..”
CUT TO: [ Nathanial on the phone to his brother, Merv, the latter somewhat contrite at what he had done, Nat reckoning odds at how much worse things could become should Casey be caught in the storm..]
Merv: “Well, all right, look, I’ll find out where they are if you think I should—”
Nat: “I do. If you can.”
Merv: “Try anyway. There’ll be someone from the factory.. always talking Joe Loss Fridays.”
Nat: “Pretty cool out there. Catch a cold for sure, I’d say. Wouldn’t want pneumonia though would we?”
Merv: “Likely late.. catching up with him I mean.. once he leaves the Palais there’s no—”
Nat: “Better late than never, Merv.”
Merv: “True, very true.”
CUT TO: [ Small hotel room, being an entrance hall with bedroom off. This has a thin carpet to the fire grate below a wide mantelpiece, a chair or two and a blanketed double bed set a foot or so from the wall. Casey stands, dripping wet from the rain, his shoes quelching, drenched trousers stuck down the length of his legs, suit jacket soiled, bedraggled collar turned up and arms — at this point I must confess it impossible to describe those arms :-). Casey is puffed, pale, speechless. OTOH Mo is brighteyed after putting a match to the gas fire and watching it glow warmth. She sees Casey not for how he actually looks, feels, but the object of desire..]
Saying unto him: ” Know what ya look like. Lemme tellya. You look like the male version of that bird – Ursula Undress I think it was in that Bond movie – walking fully dressed from the sea. Everythin on show for Bondie to get hold of. Well, here.. now, I’m Bondie, see. And you, you’re gunna undress aren’t ya?”
Casey: “Can’t, can I! I mean, look at me suit. Stuck to me everywhere. I’m telling you, Mo, it’s not funny. It’s cold.. clammy.. silk’s like that y’know, I’ll have ta dry out with it on.”
“Ohh Toffee leave off. Gerrit orf. On the chair in front of the.. the fire. Eh, what’s this—?”
The flame sputters, dies.
“Shit!” says she to no one in particular. Then “Toffee, ya gotta a shilling?”
“Wharr—shillin—no I aint gotta shillin. Remember, Lost me pocket when I went down in that bluddy puddle. Saved me wallet, lost me—”
“Shurrup,” she demanded, “and come ‘ere. I’m dying for a ki—”
Casey had no time to wonder at the light going out as her arms closed about his neck and she pulled herself up to his mouth. They kissed. And he grabbed at her though not in time to prevent Mo rocking back to her heels and lowering her arms to grip his lapels and tug not so very gently. Whereupon she, departing with both lapels in a firm grip, propelled backward to tip headlong backwards against the bed, slide rapidly across it and bang her head upon the wall.
Casey, confused at this departure in the night, whirled to turn on the light. That done he turned about and caught a glimpse of himself in the wall mirror. “Me lapels!” he whined, “whatya done wiff m’ lapels? Mo, what the hell—what ya doing over there on the floor. And yerve got me’ lapels. They’re the star turn in this silk suit o’mine… and you, ya tore ’em off—”
Mo, bless her heart, was sore in more ways than the obvious. Suddenly her heart throb was no more than a dummie. She let rip: “Silk suit! No more silk than my knickers. Only a muggins like you could believe it was. God knows what else ya tell yerself. Me, I—anyone—could see it was a paper and cardboard job. For dress shop dummies. That’s why that tailor said it was for inside only. Me, dunno, can’t say why, but I let ya carry on with ya toff talk, ya chauffeur—what bluddy chauffeur—never was was he? No, don’t even try.. for another lie.. I’m outta here. No, leave me alone, I’m gone—”
CUT TO: [ A week later. Nathaniel in bed, bedside light on, his wife asleep beside him. He is looking at the ceiling, imagining rain on the roof.. reminiscing and thinking things over again as news has reached him of Casey accepting the army greatcoat from the night porter upon Merv finding his location the week before..]
As boys he and Merv would leave their father to his tailoring in the front rooms of the house and go to the open street markets. One, most people have heard of, was Petticoat Lane. There a favorite stall holder who sold childrens’ wear. A cheerful soul he had a name so long that neither brother could say. Which had them shorten it to Nebu-the-Chad(Neb for short). “And how’s your father,” he always asked at seeing them, “still got that masterful eye and touch with any material? Best cloth man this side of the City. Your dad y’know. Oh yes he is. And I daresay one of you will have it, too. Gottim started I did.”
“Oh yes,” they chirped in unison, “and how did you do that Mister Neb?”
“Simple. Remember this you boys. People have tongues. Give them something to talk about and they will. Told your father to display what he did best. Put it in a window in front of the house and.. watch folks flock inside. I offered him a bolt of good suiting cloth. Proud man, turned it down. Instead he saved five bob and bought a remnant bolt of newsprint. That’s the soft paper for printing on. Took it home, blacked it and cut lengths, shapes, sizes, all himself. Made a model—only a cross with a paper mache head. Stitched it up and voila! ”
Nathaniel recalled how it had stood in the window all the time between WWI and WWII. Later Merv, taking the lead, expanded, and went ahead in retail, factory-making their own brand. The suit – fondly called the penguin after they learned their dad had deliberately left off coloring those cardboard lapels to invite attention – went into the spares wardrobe. Stayed there. A welcome talking point as needs arose. Then, over time, family heirloom.
Finally, ghost, as he related the story to me.
And I for my part thought, though I would never dare say so to either of them at the time or since, that that particular Saturday sale had lost the heirloom and gained the sacred ground of family ties.