Gaby Book 18 ~ Summery ~ Chapter *37* Promotional Interlude

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*Chapter 37*
Promotional Interlude

 

I've been in loads of these places, this one on several occasions but today is the first time without ‘adult supervision’. There were a few others partaking of the hostility, I mean welcome of the family Foch, we claimed an empty booth and waited for service.

“Heya guys,” Chris greeted, “food?”
“Er yeah,” I confirmed.
“Your rents keeping you busy then,” Con suggested.
“Pfft, family business,” she allowed.
“Tell me about it,” Con agreed.
“Drinks?”
“Sprite® for me,” I requested.
“What she said,” Con added.
“I'll get you some speissekarte.”

Of course, it’s hardly the first time I, we, have bought our own food but doing so in a bar cum restaurant just feels sort of more ‘adult’. Our former classmate returned with our drinks and the ‘mittags’ menus promising to return for our orders in a few minutes.

“This feels weird,” Con stated as she perused the listing.
“Yeah, it’s usually us serving,” I pointed out.
“Think I'll just have the Salatplatte.”
“Hmm,” I scanned the options, “Omelette with ham and the Gemüseplatte I think.”
“I don’t know where you put it.”
“I've got a fast metabolism, you should’ve seen the Spargel I had yesterday, it was immense,” I enthused.
“Not that keen myself.”
I shrugged, “Don’t know what you’re missing.”
Chris joined us, “So what’s it to be?”

“Here you go, ladies,” Eva arrived with our food, “I'm guessing the omelette is yours, Gaby?”
“Erm, guilty,” I allowed.
She started to distribute food, cutlery, condiments.
“I'm glad you’ve come in, Gaby.”
“Oh?”
“Eat your food, I'll catch you afterwards, enjoy.”

“What’s that about?” Con queried as she added dressing to her bowl of mixed green stuff.
“No idea,” I allowed spooning veggies onto my plate – no asparagus but peas, carrots, green beans and cauliflower soon added colour to my plate.
“Pass the salt, ‘s probably another mad scheme you’re involved in.”
“What apart from the kiosk am I involved in?”
“Let’s see, waiting table at the Stube, cheerleading, rent a guest.”
“Rent a guest?”
“They buy you a frock, you go to the wedding.”
“You make it sound quite mercenary.”
“Well?”
I munched through a forkful of cooked egg, “Maybe it’s not such a bad business plan.”
“Only you would actually consider that.”
“A girl has to live,” I stated.

“Done?” Eva queried.
“Thanks,” I agreed, “so erm, what do you want to talk about?”
“I've got a couple more bookings for the crepe stall if you and Amanda are interested?”

Con just gave me her ‘told you so’ look.

“Have you got the dates?”
“I'll write them down for you, you ready for the bill?”

“Fingers in pies,” Con stated as we pushed our bikes across Marktplatz a few minutes later.
It was my turn to shrug, “It’s not like I go out looking for work is it?”
“Which is even more annoying,” Con suggested with a hint of grin.

When you live somewhere, anywhere, the local tourist office isn’t somewhere you tend to visit, I mean, it’s for tourists isn’t it? The Altenahr version is probably quite typical, a few local souvenirs and guide books, racks of flyers and postcards, oh and a hotel booking service. Given our earlier discussion we homed in on the flyers, a mix of attractions not just in the Ahrtal but across the region, the tourist trains at Brohl and Linz, glassworks at Euskirchen, Silverberg of course.

“Alright, ladies?” one of the smartly dressed er assistants asked coming over to us.
“Er just looking,” Con offered.
“Um actually,” I put in, “we were wondering, can anyone have flyers in here.”
“Within reason, why do you ask?”
“Um, we’re opening a kiosk up in Altenahr, we were thinking we could do some flyers, you know for the tourists?”
She looked at us for a moment, “Hmm, when you say kiosk?”
“It’s the old one by the bridge, opposite the bahnhof,” Con told her, “Mum and Dad are refurbishing everything, me an’ Gab are going to run it.”
She still looked a trifle sceptical, “Well it’s not down to me, I think maybe you should have a talk with Herr Bayermann.”
“Who’s he?” I asked.
“The manager for the tourist service.”
“Hey cool, can we do that?”

I think she’d been trying to put us off, probably thinks it’s a wind up. She led us over to the counter and retrieved one of those big desk diaries, Dad’s got one in the office at home.

“Let’s see, he’s here on Wednesday or we’d be looking Friday next week.”
“We’ll take Wednesday,” I requested.
“Ten o’clock?”
“We’ll be here,” I enthused.
“Names?”
“Constance Thesing and Gabrielle Bond,” Con told her.
“Okay, we’ll see you on Wednesday.”

“What was she all about?” Con asked as we rescued the bikes.
“Probably thinks it’s some sort of wind up.”
“Hmm maybe.”
“We should look like proper business women when we come Wednesday,” I suggested.
“Easy for you, I don’t have a suit or anything.”
“You’ve got nice skirts and stuff,” I pointed out.
“I suppose I could borrow a jacket from mum, seems like a lot of effort for a bit of paper.”
“We need to advertise,” I pointed out, “and we need to attract visitors, the locals probably won’t come anyhow.”
“You might be right,” she sighed pushing off.
“We can ask about the Radweg too,” I suggested following her.

“You coming in?” Con enquired when we reached the bakery.
I checked my watch, “Best not, Mum’s back today and I need to finish clearing up.”
“’Kay, see you tomorrow then.”
“Yeah, tschu-uss.”

I whizzed around the corner, if I get twenty kph I can just about coast up to the garage doors. Bit too slow today, I ended up having to heave the pedals around to reach the flat area where I put down the stand and closed the wheel lock – no point in putting it away, we might be riding to cheer later. I did however grab my bag before taking the steps up to the house and round to the kitchen door.

No, this can’t be happening, I know I locked the door when I left this morning but here it is, wide open. Sugar, what now? I flattened myself against the wall and strained to hear anything inside but nada.

Now what, what if there is someone inside? But on the other hand what if there isn’t and I'm stood out here for nothing? I took a deep breath and peered into the kitchen which, of course, was empty, well not empty but devoid of other human life forms. Gathering myself up, I took a deep breath and stepped cautiously inside, creeping past the table towards the hall.

I was nearly there when I heard a thump. My ticker was going nineteen to the dozen, sugar, sugar, sugar, I grabbed one of the umbrellas from by the door.

“Who’s there?”
Silence was the loud reply, I eased my bag to the floor and took a double handed grip on the brolly.
“I'm armed,” I warned moving into the lounge.

No one there, the door to the office was shut as usual and moving further into the room the dining area was empty too. Nothing seems to be missing, telly and music centre still here. Another thump made me jump, they’re upstairs.

I returned to the hall, my heart racing, and started to climb the stairs, an easy task made difficult by the need to keep quiet and grasp my ‘weapon’. Slowly, slowly. Not that I had any idea what to do if I'm confronted by the robber.

The landing was free of interlopers so I carefully crept along to Mand’s room, clear, I padded over to my sister’s open door and looked in, no one there either. Another deep breath, and after readjusting my grip I went back out holding it like a light sabre.

“Aaargh!”
“Aaargh!” I confirmed jumping out of my skin.
“Geez, Gab, you gave me a proper fright.”
“Mum, what are you doing here?”
“I live here remember, what are you creeping about with that umbrella for?”
“Er the kitchen door was open, you weren’t supposed to be home till later, I thought someone had broken in.”
“We made good time, Maria dropped me off, your dad’s bringing my car back later,” she explained.
“Why didn’t you answer, I did call out.”
“Sorry, kiddo, didn’t hear you,” she pulled me into a hug.

A Mum hug is always a good thing, I really miss them when she’s away.

“Come on, let’s go get a cuppa.”

“What were you going to do if you had found a thief?” Mum asked once the tea was mashing.
“Er not really sure.”
“Promise me you won’t attempt any heroics in future, you had your phone, ring the police.”

It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could get hurt or that I should call for help – I really shouldn’t rely on Buffy as my go to hero!

“Yes, Mum,” I agreed.
“So tell me all that's been going on.”

With consummate bad timing the house phone started to ring.

“I'll get it,“I sighed, “it’s probably for me anyhow.”
I caught it on the third ring, “Bond.”
“Gaby, good you’re in.”
“Uh huh,” I agreed.
“I'll pop down with your dress then,” Gloria told me.
“I'll put the kettle on.”
“Excellent, mother has been driving me daft today.”

Maddy Bell © 23.01.17



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