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!


4. Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

"Double glazing?" said the man facing Beth, "Sounds like fun!"

"I would have thought you would be of more use than fixing a doorbell!" remarked Beth,

"Oh, I can," said the man, stepping over to examine the doorbell, "Shall I put on a show at some point? I used to be in the circus."

Beth laughed, "Is it going to take long?" she asked, pointing at the bell, "I've been waiting for an hour, and I have decided that I am not going to leave until I get to ring that doorbell and sell some Double Glazing. Max says that I am way off the mark this month,"

The man turned away from Beth to throw down his tool box and pull out a screw driver,

"Why double glazing?" he said, "No offence, but you are even more annoying than the Indian men phoning up to tell you that you've won a cruise holiday."

"How does that work?" said Beth, raising her eyebrows, "When you believe them, it makes you really happy, but when you realise it's all a scam that puts you in a bad mood for the rest of the day, and there is quite a lot of disappointment to cope with."

"But with double glazing, you know that you're giving them money, so when you realise that you knowingly gave them money, rather than being tricked into it, that makes you feel stupid as well as angry."

Beth laughed, "You know we do actually fit the windows!" she laughed, watching the man take off the plastic cover of the bell. The man nodded,

"Could you give us a hand?" he asked, pulling Beth with one arm whilst trying to hold a wire with the other, "If you hold this," he said, pressing the wire between her fingers for her to hold, "I can cut it and..." he broke off, cutting the wire and quickly switching it to a new one. He fiddled around with the fuse for a minute before finally shoving the plastic cover back on a screwing it up. "You can try and ring it now," he said, stepping out of the way for Beth,

"Thanks, Mr...?"

"Derek," he said, "And you are?"

"Beth," smiled Beth, pressing energetically at the button.

"Hello?" said a voice over the intercom in reply,

"Mr. Sotheby?" said Beth, "May I talk to you?"

"Come in then!" growled the voice, "Zacchaeus let Jesus into his house, so I suppose you'll do. Is the Handyman still there?"

Beth looked back at Derek, stood behind her, picking up his toolbox,

"Yes, he is," she said,

"My boiler's just overheated." said the voice, "I'll let you in." There was a comforting buzz and a beep as the main door was unlocked, "Second floor, first on the right."

On looking up at the building stood in front of them, Beth thought she could just make out the outline of a face, covered by shadow from the city all around, watching them from a second floor window.

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