The Letter of Apology

Bennett Delieve

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Flat 510
Oldbury Court.


Dear Frank,

Just a note to thank Anne & your good self. Sheila and I really enjoyed Saturday's dinner party, despite our transport problems. Your local garage rang this a.m. - with a list of 23 faults. Seems we were lucky to get to your place at all, never mind half an hour late!
    Perhaps your policy of making all company cars last another year before replacement errs on the side of false economy. Your local crooks (mechanics) want more than £700 (!) to put mine back on the road again.
    I thought you knew all about my vegetarian leanings - especially after sitting next to me at old Banbury's retirement dinner in September. Perhaps you were distracted by the view - Miss Ashcroft sitting opposite us in that rather startling evening dress. I know I wondered once or twice if sheer willpower was keeping it up!
    Anyhow: Beef Wellington is one of Sheila's favourites; no, it wasn't overcooked; & full marks to Anne for rustling up a cheese sauce to go with my vegetables. The quality of some of today's packet sauces really is first class, & you can reassure Ann that I didn't find a cheese board afterwards at all repetitive.
    I hope your lovely cat wasn't too upset by her ducking - pity it was raining when you had to put her outside - and I hope her occasional sneezes weren't indicative of a feline cold. Pedigree cats can be so temperamental, & who ever heard of a hard-up vet? Perhaps asthma & and inability to coexist with pets should be recorded in one's personnel file as necessary reference data for one's boss.
    I'm afraid you'll have to count me out of the panic of next week's audit. My asthma flared up again after we got home last night. The doctor said stress & the smoky atmosphere of an open-plan office would be unwise for a day or two. & the others might find my wheezing rather off-putting!
    Sheila and I have always been under the mistaken impression that the hallmark of lead crystal is that it bounces instead of breaking. Still, as Anne said, who's going to notice a display has eleven glasses instead of a dozen? & anyone who counts them will assume it's a set of ten plus a spare!
    Carpets are always a problem. If it's not static from man-made fibres, it's stains clinging to natural ones. Pity red wine is so horribly difficult to shift. It was a particularly robust claret, although Sheila & I can recommend the '61 Mouton Rothschild - well worth the extra few pounds.
    Still, if you can rearrange the furniture according to Sheila's suggestions, no one will see the blemish. We're still chuckling over Anne's witty suggestion that it looks exactly like Mikhail Gorbachev's birthmark!
    I always dread living with anything brand new, waiting for the first scratch or blemish. The relief of being past that stage with your cordon-cream, deep-pile must be enormous.
    I hope to be over my asthma by next weekend, when we'll be at Oldbury Hall, visiting Sheila's old man, our revered chairperson. You can count on me to put in a good word for you when Lord Oldbury mentions the headship of our restructured department of the family firm. It's always a pleasure to do a good turn for an old friend.

Regards, & love to Anne,


Tony (& Sheila)

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to top of pageCreated for Romiley Literary Circle by HTSP Web Division, 10 SK6 4EG, Romiley, G.B.
The original story İ Bennett Delieve, 1987. This version İ Bennett Delieve, 2001