“This is a joke, right?”
“We both know this address, Stan,” I replied,
“So this key you picked up last Sunday . …”
“Which was given to me last Sunday – with a note attached . .. .:”
“Where said attached note now has the address of a bombed-out cinema – our favourite bombed-out cinema – where y’know bloody well we don’t need a key t’get in. Look, Reggie mate, no one loves that place more than I do – y’know that – but, it’s completely daft t’think it’s any kinda place t’rehearse.”
Stan and I were waiting by the curb of our home for the Tippins’ driver and the Bentley to show – with Ian and Jenny inside, hopefully, to take us from there to wherever the key – which I’d shown everyone last night – said to go.
The initial run-through with Jenny Monday evening had worked out as well as we could’ve hoped; she’d reviewed my notes and notations. We were ready.
* * *
“You’re certain this is the place.”
Jenny’s features were understandably quizzical when the Bentley rolled up half an hour later at Stan’s and my favorite abandoned, bombed-out cinema. All our old ways in had now been boarded up and there was scaffolding all around.
“Looks like our old playground won’t be long for this world, Reggie mate.” Stan said, sadly shaking his head.
I wasn’t going to give up so easily. ‘
“Whatever’s meant to happen in the future, we’re meant to be at this place today.”
“Because a note on a key said so?” Ian’s tone was skeptical.
“Because this note, attached to this key said so,” I quietly replied. “Look, all of you stay here while I try to find out what’s going on.”
“And let you have all the fun?”Ian’s eyebrows were still raised, but he was grinning. “I’ve already seen too many strange things happen around you, Reggie. You’re not going anywhere without me.”
“Y’don’t know the half of it, Ian,” Stan chimed in. “If something’s about to happen in this place, I sure want t’know about it.”
Jenny’s eyes were about to “shoot” death rays. “You’re not leaving me behind again! If you’re all going, then I’m coming too.”
I smiled. “Great! Then we’ll all go.”
Ian instructed the driver to wait until he gave the “high sign” before taking off, and we all got out of the Bentley. We circled the cinema, and I grew increasingly embarrassed as we found no door – with keyhole or otherwise – or alternative way in. Stan and Ian wanted to give up, and I was already in the process of professing my apologies, when Jenny cut me off.
“You’re all presuming the door is on the ground floor,” she said.
Ian looked confused. “We can’t fly; where else would it be?”
“We can’t fly,” she replied, “but we can climb.”
“Wot, up th’stone ornaments outside?” I asked. I’d sooner walk a tightrope over the Channel.”
Jenny rolled her eyes. “No, y’plonker – up the fire escape.”
Ian’s eyes grew large. “Not the fire escape – with a quarter of the bolts likely gone and every tenth rung probably rusted through – :
“Jenny’s right!” Stan interrupted excitedly. “We can’t get a good look at street level – maybe the door is up there. Reggie, you’ve the key and you’re smallest. It’s safe enough for you; go up and check.”
“No,” Jenny corrected, “I’m the smallest, and I’m going up first. Reggie, you follow after with the key if I find anything.”
“No,” Ian protested, “you could get hurt.”
Jenny smiled. “You’re sweet, Ian, but that’s my look out.”
With that, she ambled up the rickety ladder.
It was barely more than a minute later when she called out. “Reggie, get up here, there is a door – and it has a keyhole.”
© 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 G. H. McCallum and Duvanian Press, all rights reserved.
The Bluebottle Boys (Volume One) and Walking Backward for Christmas: A Tale of Woe from Soggyhall are each now available from Amazon Books. The Bluebottle Boys (Volume Two) is expected to be available shortly. The next novel of the series, By Good Angels Tenanted, will be available later in 2018.