A piano. A pianist. And a con man. Dangerous company.





On the rare occasions she’d been allowed to play it, Janet had felt a special affinity with her aunt’s piano. Playing came relatively easily to her, and her repertoire included Beethoven’s timeworn Fur Elise, the usual Mozart sonatas, Chopin nocturnes, and others, including Grieg and Debussy. But she soon tired of these moved on to Brahms intermezzi and other more challenging pieces, albeit still at a beginners, or at best, an intermediate level.


At one time she’d even considered music as a profession and had had romantic ideas of touring the world with famous conductors and playing in the world’s great venues.


So Janet was overjoyed on the day her aunt died. The piano was hers at last and she felt as if she had the whole world in her hands. And speaking of hands, at one time, after reading an article about some maestro or other, she even thought of getting her hands insured. Just like them. The way professional pianists did. But it was a silly, juvenile and romantic idea, because the premiums were enormous.


In the end, it was just as well she didn’t splash out, because either she was just short of world class or she didn’t have that extra drive and dedication to see it through. Or all of the above. And after those tedious teenage years of regular daily practice, her enthusiasm for the glamour of an internationally recognized artist started to decline.


There were too many distractions. Friends who were keen on her company. A hectic social life. Parties. Alcohol. On the odd occasion the inhalation of strange smoking substances and even chemicals.


Plus there was always a veritable queue of handsome young men with fast cars and fat wallets waiting to gain her attention. Then there was sex, and, to put this in a delicate way, even though it’s not couched in a particularly politically correct manner, not only was she what males would call ‘good in bed’, but she really enjoyed sex for sex’s sake herself.


But she never lost her love for the piano, and, even when David marched into her life, she continued to practice from time to time, and, although she would never play as a career, or for a living, it was still an important part of her life. So it become a hobby, albeit a passionate one, and one that brought her great pleasure as her hands rippled over the antique ivory keys.


So when David arrived on the scene, Janet’s plans of stardom went on the blink. Or to put it more accurately, on the skids. Her hours of practice halved and then halved again. Soon what she’d been doing daily was not even achieved weekly. And eventually the piano became a mere hobby as far as demands on her time were concerned.


David was fityish, tall, well kept, well spoken, well educated and far from handsome. He had been married several times, no one knew how many exactly, a point that had become part of his personal allure and well managed image. And he certainly had a way with the ladies. Everyone he met fell under his spell. Men liked him and women simply loved him.


He bobbed up one day out of the blue and was welcomed into Janet’s young life. He was soon seen escorting her all over the place. Expensive restaurants, the theatre, smart parties and at the races. Usually arm in arm and it was not unusual to see them in passionate embrace. Which raised some eyebrows.


She’d thrown herself at him, some people said, and in no time, he’d moved in with her. There were even those who were even unkind enough to call her a bimbo on account of her died blond hair. But that was all they could find to pin on her.


Their relationship bore no children, but it did bear fruit in other ways. Janet managed their financial affairs very efficiently and David saw to the income streams. Also very efficiently.


David Townsend and Janet Baker had lived all over the world and they had always lived in style. Or until that style was threatened. Because get rich quick money making schemes, which David was very adept at selling, are always built on straw foundations. So, sooner or later their situation would deteriorate as the financial demands escalated and the social milieu grew hotter and hotter.


At which point, usually just before everything boiled over, they’d simply move on and start again somewhere else. With a clean slate, so to speak. And no matter where they wound up, there always seemed to be a colony of suitable and gullible clients with lots of money on hand. And, because most people like sex, or the idea of sex, irrespective of age, there was always work for a gigolo.


David had his finger in several pies, but his main source of income, was from a large client list of mainly elderly and always wealthy, to very wealthy, women. Most of them were on the wrong side of sixty, and he provided what can probably best be described as an accountancy service. David Townsend was an ‘Independent Financial Planning and Investment Advisor.’ Anyway, that’s what it stated on his regularly reprinted business cards.


Janet was used to David’s rather ribald description of his modus operandi. ‘Screwing the unscrewable to gain access to their fortunes,’ he called it. But he never pushed this too far, and on the odd occasion when he thought he detected a tiny mote of jealousy, he’d quickly add, ‘Don’t worry darling, there’s nothing to worry about. I can assure you that none of them looks anything like Demy Moore or Claudia Schiffer. Not remotely. They’re just lonely old crones looking for a bit of cock, and prepared to pay for it to remind them how much they enjoyed it in the old days.’

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