Sotheby and Self

Mr. Sotheby keeps his own company. But when a strange figure that looks and acts like him starts prancing into his life, several questions are raised: is this 'oneself' all he is cracked up to be? Who is the woman from another age that keeps haunting him and his other self? Is Derek Sotheby the man he thought he was, or is he the fading shadow of the man that he used to be? - Finished!

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10. To Sell, or Not to Sell

Mr. Sotheby did not answer the intercom when Beth rang the doorbell, as he was expected to. Instead, a rather thick, monotonic Welsh voice blurted out loudly,

"Can I 'elp y'u?"

"Sorry," sighed Beth, "but is Mr. Sotheby in?"

"The Doct'r's just left," the Welshwoman replied, "I'm afraid 'e's not well 'un all. "

"Goodness me!" cried Beth into the dull, plastic coated box, "What's wrong?"

"Pneumonia, they say," said the Welsh woman, "Fever 'n a bad cough,"

"Well, I was here to sell some Double Glazing," sighed Beth, "The Mr. Sotheby in question expressed an interest yesterday. Ought I to come back when his condition has improved?"

"Oh no'h, do'come 'n. His boiler's bro'en 'n he needs all the protection he c'n get. His health's not good 'n all."

"Double Glazing?" repeated Beth, "He wants double glazing?" She was staring in astonishment at the brick wall in front of her,

"He will do when'e's well, luv'. I'll let yu'in." 

A confounded buzz let Beth into the block as it had done the previous day and she hastily climbed her way up to Mr. Sotheby's flat. A small, plump woman with tightly permed hair and whiskers greeted her,

"He won't be speakin' to yu', but 'e's left a note sayin' to buy whatever yu've got to sell."

Beth quickly produced a leaflet,

"Well, here's what he's paying for, and..." she pulled out another small folder, "and all the paperwork's in there."

"No wurries, luv'." replied the Welsh woman, "I'll get it sorted for yu'."

"Can I get a name?" asked Beth, fidgeting nervously, trying to spot the trap which she must be falling into. Never before had someone bought the damned double glazing,

"L. McCarthy," she replied,

"Irish?" murmured Beth,

"No," interrupted L. McCarthy, "My parents were Scottish 'nd I went t'a Welsh boardin' school 35 years ago. I never lost my blasted accent!"

Beth turned and left the grumbling woman of the many clans behind her. She thought strongly to herself that she would definitely stay in Basingstoke, England.

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