What I’m finding more difficult to resist is the urge to use up what little money I have by taking a trip to somewhere far away, just to see what happens. New York is favourite at the moment. It keeps jumping up in front of me, like one of those pockmarked steel targets they used to have in fairground shooting galleries, and whispering ‘visit me’ in precisely the same way that ghosts do in fake TV paranormal documentaries (like the one I watched tonight.)
But I imagine you must need lots and lots of money to be in New York just to see what happens. Then again, I might just have a fortuitous chance encounter. I might just meet a woman sidling along the sidewalk, and ask her:
‘Excuse me, madam, do you think you might see your way to directing me to a suitably inexpensive hostelry where I might rest my suitcase while I wait to see just what happens?’
‘Do you think you might see your way to directing me to a suitably inexpensive hostelry where I might rest my suitcase while I wait to see just what happens?
‘Are you nuts?’
‘I expect so.’
‘So why aren’t you in some asylum, howling and screaming and hiding under the bed?’
‘I prefer to remain incognito.’
‘Oh, right. So why me? Are you a stalker as well as a fruitcake?’
‘So why me? Give me a good answer before I call the cops.’
‘You have an interesting face.’
‘An interesting face? Are you kidding me? Don’t you know who I am?’
‘I’m Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.’
‘Gosh. How many of you are there?’
‘Aha, therein lies a tale, you crazy Englishman.’
(The Old World magic is working, and at that point she winks provocatively before continuing.)
‘Tell you what I’ll do…’
And then she proceeds to tell me how lonely she is deep inside where the crowds of adorers and hangers-on aren’t allowed, and how she’ll give me free use of the ten bedroom shack which stands on her estate and is only half a mile from the little mansion itself, and how she’ll pay me $100,000 dollars a year to talk to her once a month – say, every second Wednesday at 2pm for three hours – and how I can have all the soup I can eat.’
I frown and look hesitant for a carefully calculated span of time. She grows increasingly anxious… My response is timed to the millisecond.
‘What sort of soup is it?’
‘Oh good, my favourite.’
‘A deal, then?’
‘I’m twenty eight.’
Then again, I might just get mugged.