Parasol

Paul couldn’t wait to get going.

Umbrella with the 'Je ne sais quois'

Today was the day:

Proposing do Delia at their weekly dinner date at ‘Frying Nemo’ their favourite fish restaurant.

He checked again his ‘to do’ list:

  • Reserve window table – done that!
  • Ask the headwaiter to bring champagne to the table at exactly 9.15pm – done that!
  • Put the ring in his trouser pocket – done that!
  • Have a single rose in his inside jacket pocket ready to take out with the question – done that!

Now all he had to do was to pick up Delia in time and the scene was set.

It was 6pm; he’ll have to leave at 6.30pm sharp to be on time during rush hour.

Delia was very particular when it came to being punctual.

‘Ding dong!’ the doorbell goes.

‘Bummer, who is that now?’ Paul peeks through the spyhole.

Two men in black suits and sunglasses.

‘Sir, this is Special Agent Smith and Special Agent Miller – can we have a word?’

‘What’s this about?’

‘Could we discuss this with you in person?’

Paul opens the door but leaves the chain in place.

‘Sir, please open the door.’

‘I have’

‘So we can step in’

‘I don’t want you to come in, what do you want?’

‘Are you Paul Malone?’

‘Yes?’

‘Are you not sure?’

‘Of course I’m sure. What do you want?’

‘Did you frequent the fitness club Muscles First this last Monday from 7 to 9pm?’

‘Ya! So?’

‘I detect some hostility in your answer.’

‘Come on! Come on! Get to your point!’

‘Sir, the point now is that your reaction is nothing but hostile to a perfectly legitimate question.’

Slam!

‘Unbelievable!’

Paul goes to the bedroom to get ready.

Knocking on the door.

‘Sir, we know you are in there, please open the door.’

‘Sod off!’

‘Sir?’

Paul is almost ready, but by now he his so angry that he almost strangles himself trying to get his bow tie done.

‘Damn!’

6.25pm

He leaves the bow tie straps hanging to do them later in the taxi.

Jacket.

Take the rose. Paul smiles.

Touch the trouser pocket and feel the ring. Paul’s smile gets wider.

He opens the door.

‘There you are, Sir, finally. Let us come in.’

Special Agent Smith and Special Agent Miller step forward.

‘NO!’

Paul did not step aside and is now nose-to-nose with Special Agent Smith.

The latter tenses up a bit being a homophobic.

‘Get out. Now.’

They do.

Paul locks the door and heads for the elevator.

Impatiently he pushes the call button repeatedly.

‘Once would be enough, actually, Sir.’

‘Don’t Sir me and leave me alone!’

‘But…’

‘No but either, I am in a hurry.’

With a pling the elevator arrives and Paul gets in immediately pushing the ground floor button, repeatedly.

Both men manage to jump in before the door closes.

Special Agent Miller opens his mouth to say something.

‘No.’

With a simultaneous shrug both men decide to stop trying.

‘See’, Paul smiles. ‘That wasn’t so difficult.’

At the ground floor they part.

Paul gets to Delia in time and pops the question. All goes as planned.

Special Agent Smith and Special Agent Miller get back into the elevator.

They ride to the third floor.

At 3A they ring the bell.

An old lady opens the door.

‘Yes, Gentlemen?’ she asks with a smile.

‘Good evening. Are you Mrs. Grenfield?’

‘Yes, dear.’

‘Could we come in. We have to talk.’

‘Oh? I am not sure it would be wise to let you in. With the crime rate going up in this neighbourhood and all. Can I see some identification?’

‘Of course. There you are.’

Both Special Agents take out their identification cards.

‘We are from the Parasol Lottery. You have purchased a ticket last week from a school girl.’

‘Yes, I remember. She was such a lovely girl. I told her that I never win anything but would love to for once.’

‘Well, Mrs. Grenfield, you have won one million Euro today. Parasol Lottery had a special draw with the win going to the person who would meet our somewhat unusual approach with openness and friendliness.

You were last on our list.

Congratulations!’