Friday 4 September 2009

A Match Made in Heaven

That night in the crowded bar of Boyle’s Hotel was the first time they saw each other. Their faces lit up and they just knew. She was Phillumena Tinderwood, daughter of a prosperous, I mean, phosphorous merchant. He was Al Lumette, night club pianist and professional gambler. “Strike a light!” he muttered. There and then they struck up an acquaintance.

Tinderwood Senior, of course, was dead set against the match. He had brought up his daughter to sit in a box at the Opera, not to run with the common pack you find in nightclubs. He had even engaged the services of a matchmaker. He summoned his daughter to him. “I’m not letting you run off with shome hothead,” he slurred, after his third whiskey. “That damn fellow’sh leading you ashtray.”

But she wouldn’t listen. She was a fiery little thing.

There was a fellow called Blaze Carpenter who did odd jobs for Mr Tinderwood. He was a macho type who’d known Phillumena from a little girl and had always carried a torch for her. So when Tinderwood sent Blaze photographs of Phillumena kissing Al, he spluttered with rage. He raced down to the cheap hotel where they were staying and threatened Al. “Be careful!” gasped Phillumena, “he’s a strike-anywhere type!” But Al was a match for anyone, and quickly laid him out. “Who sent you?” Al demanded. “Spill!”

Out in the glorious moonlight, Al waxed lyrical to Phillumena. “Some burn brightly for a little while,” he murmured, “but others’ lives just taper off.”

“Oh, Al,” sighed Philly, “I’m so happy I could burst into flame.”

But Al’s old trouble was flaring up. Safety had to be their first concern: the fast life was no longer for them. They married a few days later and chose for their honeymoon a spa hotel in the mountains where they would not be disturbed – a cool, dry place away from children.

(next time: after this light romance, a lighter romance.)

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