“Bravo Charlie” I brayed, scampering back to the hall mirror, closing my eyes to the deltas of wrinkles spreading out jauntily from every corner of my characterful face, closing my ears to the over-throttled roar of his prized Bonneville echoing up and down the cul-de-sac.
Living with Charlie was like doing the foxtrot with a bag of golf clubs . . . . he was always tripping you up . . . . . Like that business in the hotel when we first arrived in India, Juliet a paler shade of white on account of the kilo she’d been swaddling round her middle since Lima (Mike! . . . I should have killed him back in november when I had the chance) and Charlie, making his bid for an Oscar no doubt, suddenly starts spouting this nonsense about Papa Doc hiding out in Quebec, complete with latin romeo and a done deal with the local separatists concerning their latest terrorist atrocity . . . . . . . Of course I hadn’t seen the black Sierra, nor anticipated the terse verbal tango that ensued with the uniformed custom’s officer who’d quietly crept up behind us . . .
“To the victor the spoils!” Charlie suddenly trumpeted, giving a quick, mock ‘one, two’ to Juliet’s bulging midriff before spinning around to extract a bonded whiskey bottle from our clinking luggage, plying the stunned official with a treble and asking him if he’d brought his x-ray machine with him . . . . The poor guy stumbled out muttering something about crazy yankees.
“Are you still on Zulu Time or what?!” I exploded
“Doorman” he grinned, “On the door, as we came in” pouring me and my traffic light complexion a double double.
Dedicated to Dave Riley