Modern Knights Don't Wear Armour.


Chapter 1


When the party at the Birmingham branch of Trueman & Goodfellow Chartered Accountants entered the backslapping and dirty jokes stage, George decided he was superfluous to the proceedings and took the back-stairs down to the car-park. On the second landing he picked up a sound somewhere between a snore and a sob. Some drunk will have got in again, he thought, must have a word with Security. Can it wait till Monday, I wonder? He looked down on the floor and decided it could. A coat lay crumpled on the bare concrete, one of those modern things worn by hippies, with fur-trim along the edges and embroidery. From one end protruded a pair of female legs from the other a fuzz of auburn hair. George bent down and said:

“Excuse me. This is private property. I’m afraid you’re going to have to leave.”  Two red, swollen eyes peered out through the jungle of hair and a stream of obscenities reached him on a cloud of alcoholic fumes. It wasn’t easy to make out exactly what the girl snarled but the content seemed to include the usual references to deviant sexual activity and dodgy parentage.  Then he realised that she called him Sam, or Sham as her unwieldy lips would have it.

“Sham you’re an absholute shit! Sham, pleashe don’t…” her voice trailed off and her head lolled forward. Her coat slid open and revealed a streak of vomit along the front of her dress.

   George took in the scene with a mixture of pity and distaste. Just my luck, he thought. It never occurred to him to fetch Sam, partner in the firm and a demonstratively happy family-man. Sam’s wife would not appreciate him being summoned from the party to attend to one of his peccadilloes. What on earth did Sam want with a girl like this when he had a wife like Gail? George shook his head and pulled at the inebriated girl’s arm.

“You’d better come with me.” He said, “I’ll make sure you get home safely.”

Taking care to avoid contact between her soiled dress and his best suit, George got the girl to stand almost upright. Wobbling on her platform soles she reached to his chin. He half led half carried her down to the car. She allowed him to close her coat. This had the double benefit of keeping her warm and hiding the stain on the front of her dress, which, George noticed, was quite see-through, offering a glimpse of her bra-less chest.

As he helped her into the Jag, George saw her trying to focus on him. He knew only too well what she would see: a man in his late thirties, with dull indoor complexion and thinning hair, the beginnings of a paunch under his dark suit, a sober tie on a white shirt, a man who’d been waiting too long for life to offer something other than work and duty. And, as if that wasn’t enough, now he’d gone and appointed himself guardian of Sam’s little bit on the side.

“Why me?” he sighed and got into the car.


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