Michel Wasn’t His Name

I found an envelope from somebody I didn’t know called Maria to do with Michel Dupont I’d last seen on St Margaret’s Road when I was taking a look at trees the council had felled. I hadn’t seen him for some time before because, as I thought, I’d said he shouldn’t’ve been receiving full pensions credit if he was earning, as he said, £10,000 a go at Glastonbury. I thought the wording of the envelope could only portend death although he was ten years younger than me.

I phoned Maria who confirmed he was dead and had wanted me given first choice of his books. I couldn’t get access except by clambering over a gate and walking a dividing fence illegitimately to bypass the plastic roof he’d had installed from the gate. I could see an open window. I rephoned Maria who lived down the road from his fortress flat and she let me in, staying on an excuse while I looked through piles of books. I took a few before wearying.

His name wasn’t Michel she said though not, she also said, remembering his name. He’d had prostate cancer he never told me of and it had spread to his liver. She’d found a will and the beneficiary was Eddie Tombs. “Michel told me he was dead.” To Michel he was dead she said. He wanted to be buried in Tenerife. She had a letter in Spanish she couldn’t read. I knew somebody who could translate it and asked Adrian would he. He would.

I waited in for Adrian who phoned Maria since I don’t have a phone. She came over and the letter was translated. Michel’s name wasn’t Dupont but Abab. He wasn’t French but Spanish. Maria was showing us his passport. His name was Jose Louis – the one name he retained – Hernandez. He had five brothers in Tenerife who Maria would have to tell of his death. I now think he stopped frequenting me, not from fear I’d tell the tax and pension authorities but because I was questioning inconsistencies in his lying. Some things were true. He did perform on stage since Maria confirmed he had fallen off one and he did have sex with lots of young women, the one thing I’d found inconceivable and still do.


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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