I arrived early, at 10.50 am, wearing my red rose, and stood outside the Flight Centre so that I had a clear view of who was arriving outside Specsavers, who was dawdling, who was hesitating, in case he, she or they baulked at the last moment and scuttled away.
Woman, fortyish, approached and glanced my way… but walked straight on.
Woman, early sixties, hurried up but continued hurrying past.
Man, old, too old, could barely walk anyway, no.
Mother with baby in pram stopped, turned, and trundled back towards the toilets.
Three teenage girls, talking non-stop, busy not looking at anything or anyone. Then gone.
10.05 am. I was starting to sweat. Would he, she or they turn up?
A man in his fifties suddenly appeared right outside Specsavers and looked around.
It couldn’t be!
I approached him, “Orson Karte?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said, and stuck out his hand.
“But I know you,” I exclaimed, “and your real name! It’s not Orson Karte! It’s …”
“Stop!” he shouted, lifting his proffered hand, now palm forward, into the air, so it faced my mouth.
“Don’t say it!” he said. “I don’t want to be identified. Here or later on your blogs! I insist on being known as Orson Karte from here on, or I leave now, this instant!”
I did not want him to leave. I needed to know. I needed to know why more than who.
I nodded in agreement.
He dropped his hand and immediately offered it back again, at hand level. We shook.
We moved to a bench seat and sat next to one another.
“Well,” I said, “I suggest you start talking – and it had better be good.”
“Oh, it is,” he said. “To start – we know one another well. And that’s why I did what I did.”
“Killed me off, you mean.”
“If you want to put it that way. Legally dead anyway. But the Plan went wrong right from the start. You were too damned quick! But that’s you, isn’t it?’
“So, it’s my fault?”
“In one sense, yes, it is. I intended to speak to you, explain to you, what I had done and why I had done it. But you blew the gaffe. First, the Ministry moved more quickly than I had anticipated and contacted you by email, then you contacted them by phone the same day as you got the email! Any normal person would have talked about it for a couple of days, shown it to friends and family, laughed a bit … but not you. You fired both barrels at the Ministry instantly.”
“So why? You have to tell me why?”
“Because the plan was to convince you to accept their blunder – that you were legally dead – for the glorious opportunity that it was!”
“Yes, opportunity! Together, you and I could have exploited the situation that you were suddenly in and gotten away with it absolutely free. You could not have been held responsible for anything you did from that moment on. Because you were legally dead! You could rob a bank … marry again … break all the road rules with impunity… put in a claim on your Life Insurance policy and become rich … play the casinos… become a playboy … anything! There would have been no end to your adventures and rewards! But you blew it!”
“Why on earth would you assume I’d go along with the lies, and live - forgive the pun - a life of such deceit?”
“We’ll never know. You never gave me a chance to point out the possibilities!”
And I laughed - big, loud, belly laughs. People stopped and stared at me. Some joined in with my laughter involuntarily, in a sane, respectable kind of way.
Orson was not laughing.
“That was Plan A,” he said.
“Plan A?” I repeated. “What’s Plan B?”
“Aha!” he said. “Plan B is why I insisted on remaining Orson Karte when we met up today, and insisted on you not divulging my real name out loud, or on your famous blog page. Plan B is so mind-bogglingly simple. Plan B is me. The day I died …”
“What did you say?”
“… and you are going to help me as I would have helped you, the formerly deceased Lynn John. You will swear to the Ministry that you saw my pale, dead body, my emaciated corpse, when you attended my funeral – the funeral of your best, no, bestest friend, and together, we’ll reap the benefits. Yes?”
To be continued…?
Posted: Saturday 22 April 2023
is there a plan C?Posted: 2023-04-22 17:07 by another best friend
Thank you, my friend, but Handel's words in the 'Lascia ch'io pianga' aria above, translate into 'Leave me so that I may cry at my cruel fate!' What else am I to do?Posted: 2023-04-22 16:53 by Lynn
Lynn, Im still concerned for your safety!
Get out while you can.Posted: 2023-04-22 15:11 by A friend
Well? is it to B or not to B?Posted: 2023-04-22 14:23 by Orson Karte