At five minutes past one Alan Williams scurried into the restaurant, a look of desperation on his face. He was worried about being late and his bladder felt like it was about to burst. A quick look around the restaurant showed him that his concern on the first count was unfounded; Ray Purvis had not yet arrived. As for the second and most pressing problem, a waiter discreetly pointed him in the direction of the men’s room. With the staccato gait of a man in danger of being caught short, as they say in polite society, Williams hurried off in search of a reprieve.
The Tuscany was a moderately expensive restaurant, located at the end of a small alleyway less than a block from the stock exchange. Little known by the public, the unimposing restaurant was popular with financial market players, who were neither modest nor discreet.
A few moments later, as the shiver of relief raced up Williams’ spine, Ray Purvis and Ralph Fly entered the restaurant. Purvis, his face alight with a beaming smile, strode straight over to the Maitre D, a suave looking gentleman in dinner suit.
“We’re going to make money today, Carlos.” Purvis said, wringing his hands together in sheer delight. “I can feel it, I can feel it. Can’t you?”
“Of course Mr Purvis.” Carlos replied with the smile of a Maitre D. “Your table’s ready,” he continued as he led his customers over to the best table in the restaurant. It was set for three.
“Still one to come Carlos, shouldn’t be long.”
“Yes Mr Purvis.” Carlos said waiting for Purvis and Fly to get seated. “Can I get you a drink while you wait?”
“Nothing today Carlos, we’ve only time for a quick lunch.” Purvis said, smiling at the memory of past lunches that had flowed on Dom Perignon through to dinner and then late into the night.
Inside the men’s room, Alan Williams shook off the last few drops with great care making sure none fell on his trousers, pulled up his fly and walked over to the nearest basin to wash his hands.
No water came out of either the hot or cold tap when Williams turned them on, so he lent over and gave the cold one a gentle thump. Suddenly, a gush of water hit the bottom of the basin and splashed out towards Alan Williams.
No matter how fast he leapt back, there was no way Williams was going to avoid the searching, licking tongue of water. He looked down in amazement as it whacked him fair in the crutch, soaking his trousers. Williams, like many desperate men before him, was galvanised into action.
He attacked the paper towel dispenser and while he was trying to wipe off the water with a handful of paper a young boy of about six entered the room and stood directly in front of the increasingly desperate man whose frantic rubbing had only managed to spread the wet patch even further.
The boy had the face of an angle, but the heart of a devil. “Why you dry your pants mister?” He demanded, with hands on his hips and the look of innocent sadism in his eyes.
“The tap, it just came on too hard.” Williams tried to explain.
The boy did not believe him. “My dad says big boys don’t wee in their pants.”
“Oh go away.” Williams said in exasperation, and the boy turned around and walked across to the cubicles.
The hand dryer on the wall at the end of the bench with the basins offered salvation. By balancing himself on the edge of the bench, Alan Williams found that he was able to direct the hot air onto the wet portion of his trousers with considerable success.
Ray Purvis, an impatient man who hated having to wait for people, surveyed the restaurant for the fifth time. “I don’t like the look of this,” He said to Fly. “Why isn’t he here?”
Without waiting for an answer, Purvis signalled to the Maitre D who sent a waiter to the table.
“Bring the menu will you, and a jug of iced water.” Purvis asked.
In no time, Alan Williams’ trousers were virtually dry. He straightened his tie in the mirror, tidied his hair and walked confidently to the door which he pulled open. As he was about to step out into the restaurant, he felt a tugging at his coat and turned around, propping the door open with his body.
“Forget to turn your tap off mister?” the young boy said, yanking once again at Williams’ coat tail.
“No I didn’t.” Williams said, struggling to maintain his equilibrium.
“Yes you did, I saw ya.”
“No I didn’t,” Williams growled. “Now let go of my jacket you little rat!”
“My dad says big boys turn the tap off before they pull their pants up.”
Resisting the temptation to hit the boy, Williams groaned, snatched back his coat, and then in one flowing motion spun around and stepped out into the restaurant without looking; Just as a waiter, carrying the large jug of iced water ordered by Ray Purvis, was passing the door.
Ray Purvis and Ralph Fly spun around at the sound of the two men colliding, the splash of water and tinkle of falling ice.
“Oh Christ!’ Exclaimed Purvis.
The young boy walked up to a now drenched Williams and stood directly in front of him. “Did ya wet your pants again mister?” He asked innocently.
The Thomas freezer had struck; but once again, Madge was not there to see or enjoy the revenge it delivered and so remained oblivious to the power of her magic.
In the next episode, “Rowing Pains”, Jane and Ruth go out onto the water and Jane gets a feeling for the delights of rowing and the possible consequences.