Continued from part 1.
The church clock began its chiming and Scratchit patiently counted the striking of the hours until it reached seven. At last he could go home. He closed the ledger that he had been working on and placed it in its correct position within the pile on his desk, before taking the whole heap and placing them carefully in the cupboard. He turned the key in the lock and then shuffled across to the door of Smooge’s office once again. He tapped on the door as though he was afraid of it being answered.
Smooge must have heard the clock as well, because the door was flung open at once.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Smooge demanded as he always did at that time of day.
“Its seven o’clock, Sir. It is the end of the day.”
“Damn your eyes, are you robbing me again?”
“No Sir.” He pointed a shaking finger at the clock that hung on the wall above the fireplace. Its hand confirmed the hour. Scratchit offered Smooge the key to the ledger cupboard.
“Very well. If you must go home to that brood of yours. What time will Mrs Scratchit arrive?”
“As soon as she has finished cooking my meal and put the children to bed, Sir. I should say about nine o’clock.”
“Good. Tell her not to be late.”
“I will, Sir. Can you tell me why she is visiting, Sir?”
“It’s another fitting for my new curtains.”
“Well, bless me. I had no idea curtains required so many fittings. This must be at least the fourth.”
“Fifth actually. She must get them right. I’ll not brook any bad workmanship.”
“I’ll wish you good night then, Sir, so that my wife may be here all the quicker.”
As soon as Scratchit had left the building Smooge went through the evening routine of securing his premises. He triple-locked the front door and threw the dead bolts at the top and bottom. Heavy bars were placed over the windows and padlocked into position. Finally he let himself through the inner door to the foot of the stairs before locking it carefully behind him. At last he was able to climb the bare wooden stairs to his private rooms.
The contrast between the ground floor and the first could not have been greater. Where the downstairs was dark and dingy the upstairs glittered with gas lamps and candles. Coals burned brightly in all the hearths and cast a cheerful orange glow on the walls, which were decked in brightly coloured coverings. Rich, deep carpets covered the floors. The furniture was the most fashionable that Messrs Dee, Eff and Ess could provide.
Smooge’s housekeeper had left food warming in the oven of the most modern kitchen that Smooge had been able to purchase. The aroma of meat and gravy caused Smooge to salivate as soon as he walked into the room. First things first, however. Smooge went into the bathroom to run himself a nice hot bath.
The bathroom was his pride and joy. The walls were tiled from floor to ceiling in marble. Mirrors sparkled, reflecting the light from the gas flamed chandelier. Gold taps and fittings adorned the bath, the sink and the toilet. He allowed himself a small sigh of appreciation as he put the plug into the bath and let the steaming water run into it. He splashed a scented liquid into the jet of water and suds began to form, filling the steam with the rich aroma of exotic plants and spices.
Later he dressed himself carefully in a velvet smoking jacket over rich, red pyjamas. A knock came at the side door to the apartment. He had timed it perfectly.
Peering through the spy hole Smooge smiled as he saw the rosy round face of Elisa Scratchit silhouetted against the night, shivering at the top of the iron staircase that led to the door. He turned the key and let the wife of his clerk into the apartment.
“Ah, Mrs Scratchit. Right on time. Are you ready for my curtain fitting?”
“I am Sir.” Elisa unbuttoned her heavy Winter coat. As she opened it wide Smooge staggered in a mock faint, clutching at his heart. Elisa giggled as she removed the coat, then struck a pose.
She was a striking woman. Her twelve pregnancies had left her with a figure that was best described as ‘statuesque’. Her curves undulated from her shoulders to her knees, shown off to their best advantage by the tight basque that she wore above white silk stockings. No burlesque dancer could match her at that moment.
Smooge reached out to grab at the large parts of her that were thrust towards him but Elisa took a step backwards, wagging her finger at him in mock scolding. “Now, Now, Ebenezer. Food first. You know I can’t fuck on an empty stomach.”
To be continued…
Robert has always been keen on writing and has tried his hand at various projects over the years, but the need to earn a crust had always interfered with his desire to be more creative. After serving with the RAF, working as a logistics planner for Royal Mail and as a Civil Servant with the Ministry of Defence, Robert took up writing full time writing in 2012 and produced two works of fiction in rapid succession. In truth these had been “works in progress” while he had still been in full-time employment and just needed finishing off. Since publishing these books on Amazon he has focused on a new book. The Girl I Left Behind Me which will be published by Ex-L-Ence Publishing Ltd in December 2014, to be followed in the Spring of 2015 by a sequel.
In his spare time Robert enjoys playing golf, is a member of a pub skittles team and is trying, unsuccessfully, to learn to play the ukulele. To find out more about Robert Cubitt and his books or to read his weekly blog please visit his website robertcubitt.com or ‘like’ his Facebook Page. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org