I met her by chance in a very fashionable clothing store where I was wasting time while my friends worked. Some might not be surprised to hear this. For me it was a cataclysmic shock. I tried on some trousers. A gentle young shop assistant looked with pity at my choice and hurried away to find something more suitable to my age and unfortunate shape. She strode across the floor with grace and purpose.
“How much is this dress?” She asked with weary authority. It took me several seconds to wrest my eyes from her figure hugging outfit to see the blue cotton dress in her hand.
“I don’t work here,” I mumbled, “I was trying on these trousers. What do you think?”
“They look like your trousers.”
When the breathy sales assistant returned I bought them and tipped her generously.
“Was Madam a regular customer?” I asked. The sales assistant’s pupils grew so huge her eyes became black and her tongue stabbed the corner of her mouth.
“Madam comes here most days” she whispered.
I left to return to the bosom of my fiends.
(When John deposited me back at my Mercedes and the Lady reappeared I should have known. I should have remembered meeting my first princess. I can only say in my defence that it had been a long time since my skills as an escort and lifeguard had been seen as valuable. The drive that was to come was more than any I had ever undertaken. She somehow beamed at my unfashionable music and the dancing of my german across the lanes towards the suburbs. We sang and laughed. Cameras that ought to have flashed kept their peace. The haughtiest of bus drivers smiled and waved us through. In the seconds before I finally die I know that journey will play over and over in my mind like a desert island dvd. She demanded I take her far further than my orders allowed. We stopped for fuel and fuel on a motorway that could have been anywhere in the world. She drew me to her and placed her mouth against mine. I thought to myself that perhaps she didn’t enjoy our first kiss and she grabbed my head and kissed me again. I was lost. I had fallen for the oldest trick in the book. I had given away the centre. I don’t think I will ever get it back again.)
I might have never returned to see my first princess again were it not for some spectacular timing. I had partied sufficiently to put her out of my head and stole away at first light to return to base. My motorcycle breathed in the cold morning air lustily and purred like a leopard freed from the bonds of motherhood. I had found a way to combine my two worlds. Adventure and duty went hand in hand…right up to the moment an elderly gentleman in a white Datsun pulled out in front of me. As I scaled his bonnet my right shin made contact with his silver wing mirror, placed conveniently on the front of his wing. I leapt up from the soft tarmac and screamed ungenerously at him.
“Look what you did to my bike you…”
“You should look at your leg young man”
I looked down testily and saw my bleached white shin bone blinking at me through a reddened curtain. My new trousers were flayed like a cat o nine tails. I sat down heavily and waited for an ambulance to arrive. 45 minutes is a long time in politics.
Stumbling pethidine fuelled from the hospital with a bandage weeping like a gentle guitar my feet took me back to the shop where I might at least find some more trousers with the few dollars I had left. When I walked in she was standing aloof and imperial in her usual haunt. When she saw me her mask broke and human warmth flooded from every pore. We both knew there was no going back.
She grabbed some clothes that actually fitted me and gave the sales assistant a look that said full price would be paid but a word spoken would be her last. A taxi sped us to the wealthiest part of town. Her confident passed me more pills washed down with pils and I slept for three days straight. By the time I awoke we were the talk of the town…tbc