I was so thrilled with my plan for Madison that I was immune to the passenger warfare on the subway ride home. For once, I emerged from my commute without post-traumatic stress disorder. Playing the part of the debonair boulevardier, I glided on to Park Avenue. I reached the building where I had established my American subsidiary.
Suddenly, I was intercepted by the doorman. He still inhabited his ill-fitting uniform. While his comb over experienced difficulties in assimilating to the climate, his moustache remained firmly stationed on his upper lip.
“How may I help you?”
“Nothing for today, my dear fellow.”
“May I ask who you are visiting?”
“You may certainly ask. The things is, I’m not visiting anyone, as it were. You see my usual residence is in Mayfair, London, but I’m living here through the summer.”
“And you are?”
“Vanessa E. Vasa. We’ve met on many occasions. I pass by you every day and wish you good morning and good afternoon. My Cousin Andrew arranged my occupancy. I’m in unit 66Fbis.”
The final snippet of information seemed to trigger his memory.
“Yes, Miss Ypres’s residence. I’ll announce your visit.”
“It is not Miss Ypres’s residence! I live here!”
“I see, as Miss Ypres’s assistant, no doubt.”
“I’ll have you know that I have never assisted anyone or anything in my life. It has been my life’s mission to insist assistants assist me. Miss Ypres is my lady’s assistant. It’s like being a gentleman’s gentleman, but for ladies. She’s my lady’s lady, as it were.”
“I’m sure she is. I’ll simply tell Miss Ypres you’ve arrived while you make your way to the apartment. Do you need any help getting there? Do you miss, oh, I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name.”
Not wanting to create a diplomatic incident, I did not use my belt to suffocate the man. Instead, I retreated to the flat, which, as I described upon arrival, could double as a nuclear shelter with only superficial adjustments.
Ypres opened the door with the dignity of a scallop.
“Glad to see you home, Vasa.”
“Not as happy as I am, Ypres. Any messages from Cousin Andrew or uncles of any sort?”
“No messages from any of your relatives. Have you been the victim of another incident on the underground?”
“If you must know, Ypres, I was not the victim of an incident on the subway. Rather, the doorman treated me like an unsolicited tradesman. He could not remember my name. The whole situation is lude.”
“Thank you, Ypres. The whole situation is ludicrous. Can you imagine anyone failing to remember my appearance? Especially in this Mont Blanc belt!”
“Indeed, the thought appears fanciful. You have a unique presence few possess or can master.”
“Well put, Ypres. Speaking of possession, would you mind putting on the kettle, or whatever remains of civilisation we have to boil water? I fancy some tea while I tell you about my brilliant idea.”
“Really,” Ypres said, briefly lowering an eyebrow.
I told Ypres all about Madison, lingering on how my new acquaintance thought me an incarnation of perfection. I told Ypres about how we both wore the same belt, and how, being the bigger person (figuratively, of course) I had not let this bother me. I laid out the plan I had devised to help Madison keep her allowance while continuing to see her gentleman friend.
“You see, Ypres, when someone asks a girl to help them get rid of a meddlesome aunt, a girl has a responsibility to help. Luckily for Madison, my mind was in tip top shape. I came up with the plan on the spot: it’s fool proof! No need to congratulate me. After all, we must hold back on the champagne in these times of economy.”
To her credit, Ypres brought in the tea unconcerned that she was in the presence of a genius.
“If I may take a liberty.”
“Please do, Ypres. After all, we are in the land of the free and what not.”
I grabbed a biscuit. One bite in, I regretted it. I hastily made sure what was left of my teeth remained intact.
“What if the aunt does not fall into the water as expected?”
“Aunts are always falling into water. That’s what they do. They point things out and fall into water while noticing the geraniums or lilies.”
“And the gentleman has agreed to the plan? Presumably, he is a strong swimmer.”
“Madison will take care of that, Ypres. No need to fret.”
“Are you certain that the plan does not need further reflection and review?”
I could tell Ypres was anxious. Her eyebrow had made a repeat descent. Evidently, she was not used to not coming up with solutions. I had taken her limelight. The one place she could shine.
“No worries, Ypres. I know this may upset you. After all, I came up with a solution all on my own.” I gave her a warm parental stare. “I’ll tell you what, Ypres. You may come observe for yourself the successful implementation of the operation. After all, it never hurts to have an audience at one’s better moments, does it, Ypres?”
“No, it does not.” Ypres paused, before retreating. “I am sure all should occur smoothly.”
Please do not hesitate to report typos or spelling errors in the comment section below. They will be prosecuted duly under the law.
Vasa and Ypres’s first full-length adventure, Vasa and Ypres: A Mayfair Conundrum, is available on Amazon. If you enjoy Vasa and Ypres, please share on social media. Vasa and Ypres is on Twitter. You can also join over 1390 WordPress followers.
Should you be desperate to part with your money, and, in the process, fund Uncle Edward’s Vasa Assurances, a donation button is available on the homepage. Donations will help keep the Vasa and Ypres project going.