It was the first day of the year, it was very cold and there was this strange knock on the door.
“Hello, can I come in? I'm the Matron from the home.”
She was not shy, she could have been thirty-five, she could have been forty-five. She held two, very flashy suitcases.
“You had to leave the home?”
“Yes, all the girls have gone, there is no money, so I came here.”
“Oh, there was a nice pamphlet on the notice board, Copper House Hotel...”
I groaned, “You'd better come in, warm yourself up in the kitchen and drink a mug of cocoa. It's traditional you know.”
She was not real. Her hair was held in place with invisible copper wires, it looked so impossibly perfect. Her shoes were so shiny, with chrome and gold stripes.
She wore this expensive looking three piece suit, like a high class robot. Her breasts were pushed up and out, nothing wrong with that, but flattened at the front – important people don't have nipples.
She certainly was not my sort of woman, but my tastes were obviously not important.
Her jewellery looked like an airport at night, glinting in all different colours. A whole bottle of perfume? And her face – two hours of make-up. And as for her voice and behaviour – judge for yourself!
She drank the cocoa, I took her cases to her room. No, she didn't want that room, she wanted my room, because it was bigger or grander or whatever. And surprise, she wanted me in it.
There were no girls in the home, there were no girls any more in Copper House, and no, she was not interested in talking about the girls or the home. She was interested in talking about me, especially me being Mayor of Brasslans. She was interested in me, I had no choice.
She looked so perfect, so I had to look perfect. Jean Lans and she spent hours with me and without me finding the right outfits for me. You've got to look good for your image as Mayor of Brasslans, you and I represent Brasslans, you've got to look good too.
Oh, how she loved her work as First Lady of Brasslans, we were invited to so many events.
She ate me. I suppose I liked it.
“Peter, why don't you stand for Mayor of Brasslans? My current term comes to an end August next year; I've had enough, time for a change, you always wanted to be Mayor.”
“No problem, I got rid of the no-second-job rule, years ago. The job is part-time, the rule was just a trick. Think of it: Peters Lans as Mayor of Brasslans.”
She left me. I told myself, now you are really on your own, the home is closed, no more girls, no more being Mayor; being by yourself was what you always wanted to do.
But my other self disagreed, you don't want to be by yourself, you want a woman. And this time you are going to go and find yourself a good woman. No more waiting for one to knock on the door. Get yer coat and go find one.
I looked at myself in the mirror, yes, I looked older, but I did look better, almost elegant, nice haircut, nice clothes. Time to look around.
“Oh, hello Mrs Matlock, how are you?” “Good, fine too. I have a problem, I'm invited to the Grand Circle Annual Dinner tonight and I do not have a partner...”
“You mean the Grand Circle, the elite of Bigtown, I'd be delighted to accompany you.”
“Good, good, I'll pick you up at seven. How's your business doing?”
“Very good, the ladies always need new clothes and Mrs Tinge still works her wonders in the underwear department, you must have heard of her.”
“Not just heard, I've seen her in action.”
“In my shop? You must be a very brave man.”
“So you're the Mayor of Brasslans, Yudi?”
“Was. I was the Mayor for twelve years, that's why I'm invited. Over there is the Mayor of Bigtown and next to him is John Cairns, his Financial Officer, and coming towards us is Peter Lans with his wife Jean. He's the new Mayor of Brasslans, he is giving the key speech tonight.”
“You know, Yudi, I was brought up in Brasslans, Peter Lan's father was in charge then...”
“I like you a lot.” “Me too, Yudi.”