“Right ho! You may read your notes, Ypres.”
Lanky Ella, Uncle Edward, Ypres and I (I think I have the me v. I things under control) sought refuge after we had been shooed away from Regent Street by the crimson menace. One does not stay long in the presence of a man who is bent on impersonating the Commandatore from Don Giovanni. Especially one with a menacing upper lip.
We ended up establishing operational HQ in a fashionable yet discreet bistro between Hanover Square and Bond Street. Once we were seated, making it clear to the waiter that I was in no away related to the uncle standing nearby, despite a passing resemblance, I appointed myself chair. Before we delved into the whole nefarious affair of kisses with tongues, gropes, and shopping expeditions, I felt a refresher of recent events was needed. The astute reader will remember that Ypres was tasked with note-taking. She brings a front row undergraduate’s passion to the task.
“You have the floor, Ypres. You may start from the point where Ella and Uncle Edward were rightly thrown out of the Longchamp store.”
Uncle Edward interjected that Ypres and I were thrown out as well. Ella seconded Uncle Edward’s confabulation in cheery acquiescence. I interrupted Ella’s approbatory nodding by countering that Ypres and I merely chose to exit the store at the same time that she and Uncle Edward had been thrown out. Ours was an insouciant exit. Indeed, they had been thrown out sans something. I asked Ypres what the appropriate something would be. In the end, with her help, I settled on sans artifice. They had been thrown out sans artifice.
The apéritif came, which allowed Ypres to dive into the note reading while the rest of us one percenters graciously nibbled. Ypres began with the sort of solemnity one finds in Christmas addresses delivered from Buckingham Palace. One could almost smell the corgis. Her face was all placid resolve.
“The store manager at Longchamp pointed a finger in the direction of Miss Vasa, Mr. Vasa, and Miss Lanesbury. He asked all to leave the store. Questions were raised on whom the store manager was referring to. The store manager repeated his request. Miss Vasa insisted that the store manager ‘name names, as it were.’ The store manager stated that tongue kissing, groping, and making spectacles of one’s self before throwing luggage down from the upper floor were contrary to the mission statement of the store. All present had to leave.
The aforementioned descended to street level. At the entrance, Miss Lanesbury commented that this was an outrage. She added, ‘You won’t get away with this, Buster!’ While leaving, Miss Lanesbury’s swift motion to close the store door behind her nearly crushed an elderly woman. A siren was heard in the distance.
Miss Vasa, Mr. Vasa, and Miss Lanesbury rapidly left the scene on foot. A pair of police constables were spotted patrolling the street. Mr. Vasa said, ‘Quick!’ in a loud voice, startling Miss. Lanesbury. Mr. Vasa pushed Miss Lanesbury, Miss Vasa, and myself, down a side street into a bistro. He claimed, ‘we must avoid detection.’
Miss Vasa informed the maître d’hôtel who was seating the group that she was not related to ‘that man,’ despite what may appear to be a fleeting resemblance. Miss Vasa, Mr. Vasa, Miss Lanesbury and myself sat down at the table which had been assigned to us. Miss Vasa instructed me to read my notes.”
Ypres paused. There was a small moment of silence as I believed we were unconsciously waiting for the national anthem. As chair, I assumed a position of leadership and intervened.
“As chair…” I was interrupted by Ella who claimed that it was impossible for me to be chair as I was on a stool. The maître d’hôtel had seated us at a high table. This was a minor inconvenience, but it allowed me to showcase my legs. Ypres had discreetly informed me that sitting on a high stool in a kilt surrounding by onlookers might prove a courageous enterprise. I had dismissed her concern, as I now dismissed Ella’s.
I adopted a chairman of the board pose. “I have been getting rather good at observations. As such, I can state with confidence that an observation was made, rather despite myself, at the Longchamp store on Regent Street. As the clock struck the hour, Uncle Edward kissed Ella with tongue, and proceeded to grope her south of the border in plain sight. This was done, I have been informed, in exchange for company, the odd bit of advice, and muscle power for bag transportation. All while on Regent Street shopping expeditions.” I was content with the delivery. A pinstripe suit might have helped, but I had no time to change. This was an urgent matter.
Uncle Edward, unable to leave well enough alone, intervened. “Not quite. One fact needs further detail.” I released a frigid, “Oh, yes. Which one?” The reply came. “I was not the grope initiator.”
I did not exactly fall off my chair, or rather stool, but my balance was affected by the relative’s information. The rest of the revelation pushed the inner ears’ ability to maintain equilibrium to the breaking point. “Your friend Ella felt a kiss with tongue was a bit much in exchange for my presence at her side on Regent Street. It tilted the balance too much in my favour. She felt a grope on my behalf would put us both on an equal footing.” Ella chimed in. “What can I say, Vanessa, I appreciate a firm grip.”
For a moment, I felt as if the laws of gravity had been suspended. The sort of thing that happens when the Houses of Parliament throw legal precedent out the window and start from scratch. I was straining to maintain the stiff upper lip. The notion that Ella would desire to be groped south of the border, in what was thought to be the Dutch Antilles, by Uncle Edward, tested my world view. I started to twitch involuntarily by the time Uncle Edward delivered the coup de grâce with no grace whatsoever. He leaned across the table, and, in a tone half way between a whisper and a declaration, shared an unconventional discovery.
“Between you and me, Vanessa, I think one of Ella’s buttocks is bigger than the other.”
Chapter XIII will be published Monday, 21 March 2016, at 12:00 EST 17:00 GMT. If you enjoy Vasa and Ypres, please share on social media. Vasa and Ypres is now on Twitter! You can also join over 550 WordPress followers.