29. Too many Lovely Legs

29. Too many Lovely Legs

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



It was tea time in the Bingley household and `Rona was staring at her son in horror.

If I’d known that following a woman through the streets of Brumpton would lead to me watching an old man die I would never have taken the job on, and you can tell Spooks that. When I told him this afternoon he thought it was a joke. I ask you, mum, a man dies, and it’s a joke!”

He’d already explained the shock he and Jennifer had experienced when they realised that, far from admiringi Marion Girdler’s legs as revealed by an ultra-short skirt Percy Condor (for that was his name) had sought refuge in the hereafter, leaving his mortal remains slumped under a blanket in a wheelchair.

It must have scared you rigid,” sympathised his mother, “I know it would me, walking with your pretty girlfriend in a park, she is your girlfriend, isn’t she? And that happens right before your eyes. It’s a wonder you didn’t collapse from shock yourself, and end up in hospital!”

When the ambulance came the paramedic said the old man looked as if he’d been living on borrowed time, but that was no help. Jennifer was a marvel, though. You’d think she’d been dealing with dead bodies all her life, yet she said she’d never seen one before.”

If she was wearing one of her own frocks it’s probable that a double dose of pretty young legs was enough to stop the old man’s heart,” observed Rona.

What do you mean, mum?”

Well, you’ve certainly noticed, Darren. She’s got long legs and likes the world to see them,” replied his mother, “mind you, I’d have been the same if I’d had legs like hers, but I never did. Still, I did have a few short skirts for my sins.”

The police came, too,” said Darren, continuing the account of the morning’s misadventure. “They asked a few questions, but it was pretty clear that the old man died because his time was well past being up,” continued her son, ignoring her personal wardrobe explanation because he’d seen her, some years earlier when fashions dictated it was perfectly all right to display female thighs.

I might look out some of those old things of mine bearing in mind how warm the weather’s turned,” murmured Rona Bingley, “I’ve still got them, you know, gathering moths I wouldn’t wonder.”

Then Norma Grouch came by,” continued Darren, hoping the moths had done a thorough job in his mother’s wardrobe, “her husbands in Westminster, an M.P. for his sins.”

Harry Grouch’s wife?” asked Rona, “what’s she got to do with it?”

Well, it turned out that the Member of Parliament runs a refuge for lonely old people,” explained Darren, “and the dead man belonged to it. They provide a home for friendless and lonely pensioners, and Percy was one of them. He was known to have a twinkle in his eye for a pretty girl, as Norma put it, but had been a life-long bachelor. Always on his own, he was, and that’s sad to start with. So they arranged company for him.

That is sad,” nodded Rona.

Anyway, they employed Marion, or who been Girdler but was now Bissett, to be a companion three mornings a week. It was mostly sitting in the park this weather, and he loved it. At least she said he did. And the Marion woman was told to wear cheeky outfits so that, in his last few years, he could enjoy the company of an attractive young woman. Only if we take her legs out of the equation she isn’t what I’d call a real beauty.”

And this is all arranged by our M.P? I didn’t know he was so caring!” declared Rona. “And I’ve heard things about that wife of his, things I wouldn’t care to share with a young son of mine…”

Well, we caught her snogging Marion Bissett,” grinned Darren. “She was picked up by Mrs Grouch, and when she got into her car they had a right snog!”

It’s the kind of thing that people whisper about,” his mother said hesitantly.

We even took a photo! Mrs Grouch always picked Marion up from a house where she changed from Marion Frump to Marion Legs. The house belongs to her husband and is used by his charity for things like that. It can hardly be worth them owning it, if you ask me.”

Rona gave him a sideways glance. “These M.P.’s have many a fiddle going,” she said, “if you look into it you’ll probably find that he’s got some way of offsetting the cost of it against something or other, I don’t understand all the shenanigans they get up to, but mark my words, they make all the laws in this land so that they benefit!”

Darren was used to his mother’s cynical attitude towards what she called the powers that be, and he ignored her. Instead, he announced that he wanted to check on Jennifer, who’d had the same shock as him.

What had she got to do with it, anyway?” asked Rona.

It was her dad’s car that took us there,” replied Darren as he went out of the door, “but she was driving”.

Jennifer was in her deckchair, reading a book and frowning when he arrived on her garden path.

Come over here,” she said, “I want you to look at this,”

What is it?” he asked.

It’s Keats. A poet of yonks ago. When he was young, and he was only ever young, he wrote about his fear of dying. Look: he wrote a poem about fearing to cease to be…”

I did that at school,” Darren told her, “but I didn’t take much notice.”

Boys don’t!” she taunted him, “anyway, I got to thinking about our dead man today. He was old, probably nearly a hundred, and I wonder if he had fears that he might cease to be, as Keats put it.”

Probably everyone does at one time or other,” replied Darren thoughtfully.

Quite. So how old was John Keats when he actually ceased to be, do you know?” asked Jennifer.

I don’t know. I didn’t take much notice of poems when we did them… in his eighties, I suppose. After all, it’s older people who fear death most, I suppose.”

Then you’d be wrong,” explained Jennifer, “he was twenty five! Think of that! He feared dying, and he died. Of tuberculosis. T.B, at the age of twenty-five. It makes you think, doesn’t it? How lucky we are to live in an age when T.B. is very much a thing of the past, and all because of medical science? But back when Keats lived he had every right to fear that he might cease to be, as he put it, because an awful lot of people did.”

I didn’t know.”

Which puts our Mr Condor into some kind of perspective, I suppose,” she murmured.

He died because his time was up,” said Darren, and he grinned, “and possibly because he could see far too many lovely long legs.”

You were wearing your shorts, don’t forget!”

So I was. And so I am. But my legs are miles away from being like your legs.” He had the grace to blush when he added, “your legs are …beautiful.”

© Peter Rogerson 28.05.21


© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on May 28, 2021
Last Updated on May 28, 2021


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..