He was a man who had bumped into Abraham many years ago. His wife had died a few years ago, and he was left alone. Because even with children and grandchildren and even with a glowing partner who is frolicking through the house like a young doe or a satyr with small horns, one can feel lonely.
You can then come home with the petanque cup and put it next to that of the championship finches, you can read the columns in Nuus every week, you can count Kim Jong-un and the Pope among your million friends on Facebook, then loneliness can still happen. lurking around the corner.
I had already given him some tips in front of Kruidvat and no, they were not “always surprising, always affordable”: I gave him good advice free of charge and selflessly. So I gave him my golden tip to register at the bowling club, BB or Bowling Boys now, because with only 18 bowling lanes, only the early birds could roll a ball. When I once ran into him at the exit of Carrefour and saw the whopper on his arm, the work of an aggressive wasp, I gave him a cheap, efficient and even handy solution for a wasp sting.
The tone was set, my advice had apparently made an impression because a little later I received a phone call for a house, garden and kitchen problem. However, I had already had the copper plate next to my front door “Always ready for good advice” years earlier, after having read the small, but very fine print at the back of my tax return:
Sign of prosperity : copper plate and bell next to the front door. The copper bell turned into an ugly plastic case and I gave the plate to a goldsmith from Falconplein. He said he was Albanian but I doubt that because he spoke Poperings flat.
In his phone call, the lonely man asked me what I thought: in his neighbourhood, he thought, strange nighttime things were happening. He just didn’t speak of rituals, but he called it dark touring. He got up around 3 for a fixed ritual, well, if you have to perform the quick step to the toilet a few times every night, then there is already a lot in that body that is no longer so fixed. As always, he glanced outside, along the street, and saw his neighbor, a beautiful child and always nicely dressed and very friendly, loading boxes into her little car. At 3 o’clock please. I didn’t say thank you. I also had no reason to say thank you.
My Miss Marple Level went into effect immediately. Only an appropriate search technique could find an answer to this.
Were they big boxes, I wanted to know. Not big, but not small either, he clarified, or rather, he fed the mystery. Could I, Miss Marple, figure out what a lonely old man calls a big box? It would be completely different if he were talking about an old box. And, were all the boxes equal? Were they cardboard boxes? Did she load it in her suitcase or in the back seat? Did she have to struggle to lift those boxes? Miss Marple immediately thought of the components of a long-range missile. If the boxes turned out to be as light as a feather, they may have had Tutankhamun’s toenails stolen from an Egyptian museum centuries ago.
What particularly intimidated him, he explained, was the fact that whenever she brought out a box, she locked the front door behind her. Miss Marple wanted to know at once if it was a regular lock, a keyboard lock, a cylinder lock, a barrel lock, a yale lock. Was there a lock in the door or was that beautiful child who was always well dressed just pretending to outwit any neighbors who pee at night? Miss Marple couldn’t score ready-made answers.
Finally, she wanted to hear where the young woman kept putting that key. In the end, of course, he said rather curtly. Miss Marple took another deep breath to fire off a brand new volley of questions but the lone old man seemed to have had enough and finished with: Yes salut…and Proximus was no longer making a profit on that line.
Exactly one day later he was back, by phone. It’s getting more and more exciting, he said with a laugh. Where his waterways left him alone this time at night, there was now the knocking, thumping, clattering, bumping, pounding at the beautiful child’s front door. He jumped out of bed and immediately had a unique and revealing view of a police combination and two police officers, one very large and one small, a team that had been created very skillfully by authorized persons: the big one rings the bell and the little one shouts through the letterbox : Is anyone home here ? This tactic was well known to Miss Marple because she immediately asked: And, was there someone who shouted that they were not there?
The two officers did not get a response, at most a feeling, the feeling to give up, but first they also knocked on the door next to an old single lady, no longer so beautiful and not so nicely dressed and without a car and without boxes but with a blister of sleeping pills a week next to her bed.
Miss Marple had fallen without question and gradually without breath.
But eyewitness EM, no, not Emmanuel Macron but Lonely Man still had surprises in his scarce textiles. Just as he was about to go to his box spring again, the beautiful child’s door was opened and the two men stepped in, one with 3 steps, the other with 7. Going to bed now, he really thought it was a shame. Because he wanted to spare the varicose veins on his legs, but at the same time enjoy the suspense, he hastened and got a stool in the bathroom. Even if she served them a cool glass, even if they had to fill out pages and pages of reports and reports, even if she showed them how many cardboard boxes she had left, he was comfortable and could sleep in in the morning.
In the meantime I should have put a pillow behind my back to be able to complete my task successfully. But when Miss Marple bit into a case, she got her teeth into it and wouldn’t let go. Neither do I.
Still, I was curious about the sequel. And, I asked, what happened a while later?
I wouldn’t know, he replied, because I must have fallen asleep.
Three days later there was another phone call, right at noon, when I had just started eating. I told him that too but he replied : No problem ! I just wanted to let you know that the beautiful child’s house is up for rent. Tasty !
Hopefully the landlord has good taste and helps such a lonely old man. Perhaps the landlord writes in his contract: Pets and cardboard boxes prohibited.