A nervous shiver rippled briefly across his shoulders as Dunstan peered over the balcony, it was a long way down from his penthouse suite he guessed, shrinking back from the handrail... at a rough guess somewhere between the upper observation deck, Eiffel-Tower, Paris, France and lower basement mezzanine at Miss Selfridge, London, England... and Dunstan was terrified if heights.
It scarcely seemed anytime at all really since he'd relocated to his new and upwardly situated des-res, yet for all that he could hardly recall living anywhere else, once you'd seen one, well... you got the idea, after a while they all looked pretty much the same, you just had to be able to haggle, but for now at least he was obviously safe enough where he was, sunning himself on the balcony watching the world go by as he scribbled down a shopping list... but lunchtime was almost upon him and then all hell was sure to break loose.
Having finally determined to put down roots and raise children of her own, his mother Elvera, finding herself in the family-way had wasted no time at all in tearing several well thumbed pages out of her mother's book, then taken both Dunstan's father and his gene-pool straight to the cleaners, just to keep them, so page three informed her firmly in the family... so Dunstan grew up knowing a great deal about laundry and dry-cleaning, but very little about his father, just the occasional anecdote cast to the wind like so much bird seed, about their early courting days and how they'd both wanted him to grow into a strong, healthy lad and do well at school, climbing the corporate ladder, so-to-speak and go to Boy-Scouts every Tuesday evening just like his father had done before him... and learn all about knots, but Dunstan had vertigo and couldn't tie knots for toffee.
All hell was certainly dead set on breaking loose that lunchtime, or rather Houdini were they to continue and remain on first name terms... and there was nothing Dunstan loved more than a captive audience. Reflecting deeply and never wanting a repeat of the previous week he studied the hastily bound swaddling, perhaps the odd tweak here and there just to be on the safe side should ensure the safety of his dinner guest for the remainder of the afternoon. As Dunstan snipped the final thread he considered that simply nothing was too much trouble where todays 'entree was concerned, he now sat before Houdini smacking his lips in anticipation, quivering in the front parlour waiting for the dinner gong to sound, the Sunday lunch however, now in a mounting state of frenzied agitation continued bouncing around on the embroidered tablespread.
Dunstan could never understand what the fuss was all about... I mean, it wasn't as though his dinner guest hadn't been invited, he argued and that for the umpteenth time, as he reached for the carving knife and steel, he simply wasn't going to take no for an answer, leaving his dinner guest still bouncing about, insisting that he'd merely dropped in for directions... and that he, The Great Houdini, currently billed at The London Hippodrome for the remainder of the season had a far more pressing dinner engagement elsewhere, with a diary for the foreseeable future distinctly at odds with those of his host... leaving Dunstan so he hoped, far behind and in no uncertain doubt that not only had he been left hanging in stickier corners than this one, but had every intention of extracting himself from being principal dish of the day before third curtain call... and having done so, wish Dunstan a very good day and remit his professional fee by return of post.
Meanwhile, insisting that his guest needn't feel obliged to dine elsewhere when they could both enjoy a really splendid one right here, chewing over happier times together, although should Houdini wish, then Dunstan felt confident that his dinner guest was more than capable of punching his way out of as many wet paper bags as he liked... and just what were the Marquis of Queensberry Rules anyway... so encouraged, Dunstan continued sharpening the knife.
"Well really", thought Dunstan... 'and without so much as a by-your-leave' carefully examining the damage to his new lace tablecloth, torn in Houdini's haste to depart, he really must be careful as he rummaged for his darning needle, not to fall through. It had been the shortest dinner party in living memory, Dunstan sighed, it simply would not do, what would all his neighbour's think, he'd never hear the last of it, his reputation they would whisper, well... it would all end in ruins, mark their words it would. Dunstan's tummy rumbled, he'd been filled with nothing but anticipation that day and very little else, but other than a torn tablecloth and superfluous items of Houdini, shrugged of in his bid for freedom, no one would be any the wiser... having said that, Dunstan would have to make do with a cold repast for luncheon instead, hanging quite still in the larder.
... ... ...**
A work in progress. 831