Friday, 1 June 2007

Chapter 98

Alan McFry always enjoyed visiting the flea market. It sprawled all down the hill behind the Retiro Park, full of bustle and life and just a perfect microcosm of everything he liked about Spain, and about Madrid. The locals were dressed against the relative chill of an early February wind, so that the tourists were even more conspicuous.

Now, as he wandered slowly past the stalls with Danny Longhurst by his side, his thoughts were pre-occupied by Harry. He’d guessed he might have ended up at Ana’s – so much was predictable. But he’d been alarmed to learn that Danny had been unceremoniously jettisoned by his brother so early in the night.

“If I’d known what Harry was up to, I would have taken you out myself, Danny!” he exclaimed, as he paused at a bar to order up two short coffees. Danny, however, was clearly being philosophical about the evening that had passed – Alan could sense he wasn’t nearly as upset (offended even) by Harry’s behaviour as he should have been.

“It’s OK, Alan,” Danny said, “I had a good night on my own, anyway.” But a bit of him was thinking maybe he would have enjoyed the company, at times.

“So, what did you get up to – a young lad like you on the loose on a Saturday night? I didn’t hear you come in until after five…” Alan was wearing a ‘you old rogue, you’ smile, but Danny didn’t seem to want to rise to the bait.

“Just a few bars – a couple of clubs. I like it here,” was all he volunteered.

“Well, he was out of order doing that. And when I see him, I’ll tell him. What’s he got lined up for you later?” As he spoke, Danny noticed Alan’s eyes wandering, and followed them to a young girl sat in the corner of the bar. He wondered if Yolanda had to be as observant of her partner’s wayward gaze…

Danny wasn’t sure about the rest of the day. He remembered Harry’s pledge to make it up for him on Sunday, thought perhaps he was intending to spend some ‘quality time’ with him, but the truth was, he didn’t know. When he got back to Alan’s flat that morning, there was no sign of Harry, but he’d found Lillian’s bond on the bathroom floor, and penned his note to Harry in the hope that he’d get it before whatever business he was transacting got underway. He didn’t much feel like hanging around to wait for him, so Alan’s suggestion of a visit to the market was taken up with pleasure.

“Hey, Danny…” Alan said, when he’d finally turned his attention away from the girl, “did Harry ever mention much about Carrie – my ex-wife?” It was a lightly-enough phrased question, but Danny still felt a discomfort welling up. He was getting used to that, with the McFry’s.

“No. Not really. I got the impression they see each other regularly. Didn’t he pick your son up from the airport this week?”

“Yes – that’s Adam. He was over here visiting,” Alan explained, pausing to down his coffee in one gulp. “So … you don’t think there’s anything going on between them? Don’t feel embarrassed about saying, will you?”

‘Ye Gods!’ Danny thought. ‘This family just gets more complicated by the minute.’

“I couldn’t say. He never mentioned anything, if that’s what you mean…”

“Oh, well. I expect it will all come out in the wash. Come on – let’s move on. There’s a great bookstall just up the street,” Alan said, doing his best to make it sound as though he wasn’t interested, one way or the other. That just left Danny wondering how dirty the McFry linen really was.


Fanton said...

Excellent as ever, Mr. Hamburger.

I'll be away from internet-land for the next few days, but I can't wait to return to see how this all pans out.

Keep up the good work, sir!

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

Thank you, Fanton. I'll keep an eye on your blogs and water the plants ever now and again while you are away. Have a good time.

Kind Regards

70steen said...

erm? I feel the McFry's love to air their laundry for all to see but have an acute abilty to actually pretend they are being discreet?
What a conundrum? & what a position to put Danny in? It's about time the McFry bro's had a brotherly heart to heart.

Excellent Tom as ever!

the domestic minx said...

It sounds as if the Domestic Minx needs to get in there and sort out that dirty laundry!!
What a convolution!!

Loving it!!