Isn’t it curious how two very different aspects of the human character can manifest themselves under one roof, from one family and as a result of much the same upbringing. ‘Ducker’ had a brother called Nicholas who, for some years, thought ‘Ali Money’ was some Arab prince who seemed to know a lot of Hollywood stars. To be fair to him, which is never enjoyable , the penny had dropped by the time he took up his residency as the Vicar at St Anthony’s church in Lower Sadworth; a position he filled quite happily, but without note, for the majority of his life. His career was so colourless that we have no difficulty in dropping him from this tale and we won’t be referring to him again. As his brother said to him, “Nicki, the road to hell is paved with great anecdotes, and you don’t have any”
So back to his younger brother ‘Ducker’ who had qualified as an accountant through luck and bribery and now worked in his local town signing off the accounts of the more adventurous local businesses. He was a popular figure at the bar by reason of his colourful stories and the ability to buy a round. His “sage” advice was repeated with abandon. ”Never make a promise you can’t break”, which he would pass on to any passing ingénue who was lucky enough to cross his path in search of professional glory.
I remember someone asking him how it was he had been so successful with the ladies and yet had no children. He smiled knowingly and winked in that way the world weary pass on their wisdoms. “No forwarding address son”. “Pardon” says the innocent pupil. “Never leave a forwarding address and then they cannot contact you.” Needless to say he was regarded more as a fund of good stories than useful guidance but then the ability to entertain is the new gold in our reflective society don’t you find.
He was one of those people of whom you might say, “Count your fingers before you shake his hand”. His speciality was massaging the figures of local small businesses to prevent any unpleasant conversations about tax. Despite his ‘slack-happy’ approach to deadlines, his ability to overlook a decent percentage of the profits when auditing accounts always kept his glass full at the bar, and a decent car on the drive.
Moving on with reluctance and a man calls up and asks if he can come round for some advice. “Come as soon as you like” says Ducker. It’s one of the curiosities of life that the morally bankrupt enjoy giving advice almost more than anyone else. Anyway, this chap rolls up and settles into the chair opposite Ducker’s desk. He clutches his cup of tea and says. “I have a day job, but I want to start an evening business with my wife offering interior design”. “I’ve been given your name as a person who can set us on the path to a profitable enterprise”. Ducker smiles, which gives him the chance to flash some expensive dentistry, and says. “You’ve stepped in the right door son”. I can give the addresses of quite a few round here who could do with your help.”
“Not me, of course” he said pointing to his purple and orange lamp shaped like a parrot. “As for profits, you make em and we’ll hide them under the overheads if you catch my drift.”. ( More teeth flashmanship) and then he asked. “So what do you do during the day. His young client replies “I work for the Inland Revenue as a tax inspector.”
You really do raise the bar (horrible expression, my apologies) each and every time you pen these short stories, Peter. Characters brought to life exquisitely…a rare talent you have there.
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oh, how cruel! 🙂 One is supposed to check out one’s clients a bit more on such occasions.
Oh my goodness! I would believe that would come under some sort of heading of illegal search and seizure, but no honor among thieves, right?
Ha, ha – or as the youngsters might text: ROTFL! A rollicking good read!
man who thought he was so clever, was outdone a man who truly was clever. great short story.
🙂 Oh, beautiful! I can just see the look of delight on the inspector’s face! 🙂
You tell a great anecdote, Peter. Another brick in the road, perhaps?
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Always clever, darling Peter!
Hope you are well. I miss you! X
I wonder if Ducker will share this anecdote with his pals?!
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Thanks for the read ! I envisioned this character as i was reading – strong writing 🙂
Har… reminds me of a (true) story. A decade or so ago, I was undergoing electrolysis treatments at a school for that profession. There were two clients treated per room, and the person on the next table shared a story with his technician I clearly heard.
It seemed he was collecting unemployment benefits. He also had decided to take the summer off and not look for work. Those two facts do not play well together, at least in the States. It was time for a little fun.
I whispered to my technician I was an investigator/adjudicator of unemployment benefits issues, and that was a true statement. So she shared my story with everyone and whooo, did he scramble to talk his way out of it.
I let him rattle on for a bit before informing him he being a UI recipient in Massachusetts and me being adjudicator in NH, I was just having a bit of fun at his expense.
There was a bit of a lesson for him there, and I hope he grasped it.