Sunday, 6 May 2007

Chapter 87

Alan and Yolanda were good hosts, in the end. They seemed to leave whatever tensions they had back in the flat, Danny noticed, with relief. To fill the time before they’d agreed to meet up with Harry, they took a whistle-stop tour around the main sights of the capital, cruising down the Gran Via past the cinemas with their huge advertising hoardings, swinging round to see the huge Palacio Real, and stopping to wander for a short while in the Sabatini gardens next to it. Danny liked the hustle of Puerta del Sol best.
“I thought you would!” Alan exclaimed. “More your age group around here.” And it was true, this was a place were younger people seemed to gather in impressive numbers.
“Remember, Danny – it’s early yet. The place doesn’t really come alive until after ten. But I’m sure Harry will show you that!” he said.

Yolanda sat in the back seat on their tour. As he turned around to catch an extra glimpse of one sight or another, she would occasionally smile at him.
“So, Danny,” she said at one point. “You like Madrid?”
He liked what he’d seen so far.

“Well, maybe we can find you a nice Spanish girlfriend, then you could live here, like Alan!” She was joking, of course, but Danny caught what looked like a tiny wince on Alan’s face as she said it. He tried not to blush as he replied: “Well, it’s an idea, I suppose”.
He checked his watch. They would be meeting up with Harry in half an hour or so, he thought. He was starting to feel hungry – wondered what they had in mind for eating that night.
Alan might have been reading his mind. “We thought we’d go to a place near the station to eat, Danny. But that won’t be ‘til nearer ten. Let’s stop off for some tapas somewhere, shall we?”

Maybe Alan McFry wasn’t such a bad sort at all, Danny thought, as he nodded his agreement.


Ana thought a friend of hers from work might know someone who worked in the Department that was tracing the bond owners. She promised Harry she’d find a contact and, if it was at all possible, they would try to arrange a meeting before Harry flew back to England. “But it’s the weekend, Harry – you never make things easy, do you?” she smiled.
Harry had something else on his mind just now. Ana thought their ‘business’ was over. She took a sip of her drink and looked to try to find the Harry she once knew in his eyes.

“I think Alan has told you all about …” she said, hesitantly. Harry was roused from his thoughts, saw what he thought looked like unease on her face, wanted to save her the embarrassment of any messy ‘explanation’. She had been right – people change, they move on. He had no right to think he could just walk back into her life and think she mightn’t be with someone else.
“Yes, yes,” he responded, cutting her short. “Let’s not talk about that now. I just want to enjoy the magic of being with you, Ana.”
Sometimes Harry’s attempt at charm was just so way off the mark. And this was one of those times.

She seemed to be getting more, not less, huffy, he noticed.
“You didn’t come here to see me at all, did you Harry?” Her face had the sadness he remembered from the times they had argued before they split up – or, more accurately, from the time Harry had walked out on her. “You came to see me on ‘business’. You didn’t come to see me in five years!” Her voice was sharp, but low, and each word felt to Harry like a cup of iced water being poured down his back. He shuddered at the description of his having ignored Ana, even though he hadn’t seen it that way, had often thought of her in the years since they parted. But there was that word ‘business’ again, and it looked like a lifebelt to him just now.

“I needed that paper translating, Ana. I guessed it was valuable, and couldn’t trust it to just anyone. I knew you’d help me.”
“Like I said, Harry. You don’t keep up with the news. Or if you do, you choose to ignore it. You’re just stuck in the past. Even historians have to live, you know – and that means in the present, in the now.” Her words continued to sting him, and he squirmed as he lit another cigarette and sat back in his chair, trying to gauge whether she’d do one more favour for him.
“Well, there’s something else, Ana,” he said. ‘Pause, Harry – give her a chance to absorb it!’ the voice inside him was saying.

‘Something else?’ Ana thought. Maybe, after all, Harry had found a shop that sold sensitivity and had stocked up sometime?
“I want you to organize a DNA test for me,” he said. He watched – alarmed – as her jaw fell, and she started shaking her head, slowly, from side to side. Her eyes seemed to catch fire.
“No! Why should I do that for you, after what you put me through? I just don’t believe you at times, Harry McFry! Only you would think…”
Harry rushed to defend himself, to calm her down again. He hadn’t a clue what nerve he’d touched, but he was beginning to think Ana might be a bit unstable these days.
“Look!” he exclaimed. “It’s an emergency. I wouldn’t ask you, except I need the results by Monday. It’s all wrapped up with the bond.”

Whether it was his tone of voice, or what he said, Harry noticed that Ana seemed – at least for a moment – to calm herself. She wondered, though, if this was some kind of game Harry was playing with her.
“I told you – it’s the weekend. It’s almost halfway through the weekend. Who gets emergency DNA tests done, anyway?” Even Harry laughed a little at the idea, thought he could imagine a day when you might get ‘DNA results while you wait’ while you got your shoes re-heeled and had a couple of spare keys cut.
But Ana was thinking.

“I have a friend in the Technical Park at the university. Maybe if I ring her tonight? But you know Harry, this will be expensive for you, I think.”
Harry had folded the bond away and slipped it back into his shirt pocket. He smiled at Ana, grateful that she’d agreed to help him and that she’d seemed to relax again. He patted his chest: “I think this will handle it!”
And with that, he called the barman over and ordered another drink for them both. Things were starting to slot together nicely, he thought.


the domestic minx said...

Oh Harry, you big emotional dunderklumpen...

(I do hope he can get an emergency DNA test...)

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

Harry had an emotional bypass sometime before they became fashionable. Think of him as stupid, and you'll know where Harry's coming from....

Thanks for reading, domestic minx!

Kind Regards


Fanton said...

Crikey! Things are rattling along now.I am really enjoying this. A lot.

Great stuff, Mr. Hamburger.

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

Thank you, fanton. Your comments are always welcome.

Kind Regards

the domestic minx said...

I am addicted.

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

Thank you, domestic minx ... I had better make sure I write some more Harry soon, then!


Theresa111 said...

Harry McFry is endearing! Whenever a book is this top notch, and I do not say that lightly, I absolutely immerse myself and only come up for air every now and then. Pressure off. I really want to read more…but it takes a connoisseur time to weave a tale such as this. You have a huge hit on your hands and if marketed properly, perhaps one day, a movie too. I can see it in my mind and imagination is key. Well done…truly. Warmest regards and waiting patiently. THH

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

Thank you so much, THH - comments like yours are a great encouragement to me to plough on with my ponderous tale. It's all just taking me a little longer than I anticipated. All being well, there'll be some more Harry tomorrow.

Kind Regards


Theresa111 said...

You are a marvelous writer. Have you written another book? I could read whilst you're working on Harry.

70s teen said...

Harry has to let go of the baggage he has built up and his dreamy ideals and go for reality and all that it throws at him ........... but who am I to comment I am still a teen ( and I know Donny is the one for me :-))

More Harry please :-)

the domestic minx said...

Where is Harry?

I am simply devastated by his continued absense...

HARRY! Come Back!

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

Theresa - this is my first attempt at fiction, so I'm sorry I can't offer anything else to read while I continue Harry.

70's Teen: Sound advice that Harry may need to bear in mind!

domestic minx: I think he's around somewhere and I will twist his arm to re-appear just as soon as possible!

Thank you for your encouragement.