The not so secret emails.., p.10
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       The Not So Secret Emails Of Coco Pinchard (A Romantic Comedy), p.10

           Robert Bryndza
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  Thursday 9th April 15:56

  TO: [email protected]

  Yes, it was me. I was set up. Chris has been here answering the phone. People I haven’t spoken to in years have been ringing saying they recognise me. This is offensive, considering the picture. Even Regan Turnbull rang! She gets The Daily Mail in Spain. One positive thing is she has taken the awful picture of me off her Facebook profile.

  Rosencrantz just asked where I’ve put his Suitcase. With all that has been happening I forgot he and Christian are off to see Daniel tomorrow in Los Angeles. Meryl also phoned to arrange the collection of Ethel for Easter. Tony hates driving into London, so has asked if we can meet at Junction 23 of the M25 for the handover. She didn’t mention the article; she only gets The Daily Mail for the Sudoku, which she does whilst her egg boils in the morning.

  Friday 10th April 21:24

  TO: [email protected]

  I dropped off Rosencrantz and Christian this morning at Heathrow. When they were queuing up for check-in, a group of pensioners in front started to whisper and nudge and a little wizened old man came shuffling over.

  “Yes, it was me in The Daily Mail,” I said irritably. However, he pulled a copy of Chasing Diana Spencer out of his coat and asked me to sign it. I blushed and apologised, scrawling my name, but my happiness was short lived. When he tottered back to the group, I heard him say,

  “See I told you it wasn’t Margaret from The Apprentice.” I must get rid of these glasses, it happens every time I forget to put on makeup.

  “Enjoy yourself with Dad,” I said as I gave Rosencrantz a goodbye hug.

  “We’re just going for the free accommodation!” said Rosencrantz cheekily. He kissed me and skipped off to security.

  “I’ll look after him,” promised Christian and he hugged me goodbye.

  I drove home then came straight out again with Ethel. She didn’t want to go. It is, apparently more fun at my house. At Meryl’s, there is no Sky, strict bedtimes and meals have to be eaten at the table. Her face went white when Tony pulled up at the motorway services. He had brought the Hearse. He said Meryl hadn’t come with him, as the only way they can legally carry a third passenger in a Hearse, is if they are lying in the Coffin. Ethel was relieved. She has been put in the Coffin on previous journeys, and even with the lid off it’s not comfortable.

  The house feels so empty. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I think I miss Ethel - just a little bit. I’m just watching a repeat of The Apprentice. I look nothing like Margaret Mountford. It must just be the glasses.

  Friday 10th April 23:00

  TO: [email protected], [email protected]

  I came out of the shower to a missed call. A Literary Agent called Angie Langford from the BMX Literary Agency had left a message. She saw The Daily Mail article, which prompted her to read Chasing Diana Spencer. She would like to meet after Easter for a chat about representation! I just Googled the agency; they are HUGE. They don’t call today Good Friday for nothing.

  Sunday 12th April 10:47

  TO: [email protected]

  Happy Easter love. I am pleased you are having a nice time with Dad, and that LA is hot. I think you needed a bit of time together after all that’s happened.

  I haven’t done much since you left. Chris and Marika came over for pizza last night and we watched Britain’s Got Talent. We had quite a heated debate about one of the contestants, Susan Boyle. Marika believes that Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan, and Amanda Holden must have known that she could sing beforehand, but Chris said they all looked genuinely shocked.

  I was inclined to agree with him. I remember watching Amanda Holden in Cutting It, and acting was never her strong point.

  I have a meeting with a Literary Agent on Tuesday!

  Tuesday 14th April 12:43

  TO: [email protected], [email protected]

  I went to the BMX Literary Agency this morning. Angie Langford has an office with an amazing view over Shaftesbury Avenue. The Palace Theatre dominates the window behind her desk, so when Angie was sat in her chair the big white stiletto for Priscilla Queen Of The Desert looked like it was balancing on top of her head. She is very short, very tough and dresses head to toe in designer suits.

  The first thing she did was offer me a cigarette. When I took one and lit up, she looked delighted. She said that she only works with smokers, and she cannot be friends with non-smokers either.

  “What’s your brand?” she said. I told her Marlboro Lights. This seemed to delight her even more as her brand is Marlboro Red.

  “That’s good, you won’t be nicking my fags when we’re at award ceremonies. What’s your emergency brand?”

  “I’m sorry?” I said.

  “What do you buy when you’re skint?”

  “Raffles, Richmond, occasionally a John Player Special.”

  “Good,” she said. “We can help each other out then. There’s nothing worse than no spare change and no bloody fags.” I think I passed her test. She sat back and put her feet on the desk. She was wearing the tiniest pair of Jimmy Choos. Then we spoke about Chasing Diana Spencer.

  “I loved it,” she said. “Genius. Ignore those bastards at the Anne and Michael Book Club. She is an alcoholic.” I said I was shocked to hear this.

  “They had to scrape her off the floor with a fucking snow shovel at the end of last years Costa Coffee book awards … and it wasn’t cos she was drinking Costa coffee.” I asked why everyone was so protective over her.

  “Anne and Michael are The Mafia of the book world,” she said. “No popular fiction, or non-fiction becomes a best seller without his or her say so. You’re lucky all you lost is a book deal… “

  I had visions of Anne and Michael Brannigan creeping into my house with a torch and putting a book about Horses in my bed.

  “So,” she said. “You got another book in you?” I said I had, and I opened a folder I had brought full of ideas.

  “Put it away,” said Angie. “Let’s have a glass of Champagne to celebrate. You can deliver me an outline in three weeks … I’ll tout it around and get us a nice fat advance.” As the cork popped, I felt shocked. Should it be that easy? I have an Agent! I must get cracking on the new proposal.

  Friday 17th April 17:45

  TO: [email protected]

  Thank you for your postcard. I was amazed you put pen to paper, how retro! Your Nan didn’t have a fun Easter. Tony slipped a disc helping her up the stairs on Good Friday, and was laid out on a plank for the rest of the week. This meant she was stranded upstairs.

  They had a funeral on Easter Monday and with all the staff on holiday, Meryl had to take over embalming the body as well as basting the Turkey for lunch, which apparently tasted horrible.

  Meryl only stayed for ten minutes, her and Ethel were sick of each other, and she’d left Tony on his plank with only a bowl of soup with a long straw to keep him going. She has offered to pay for the hire of a Stair Lift for Ethel whilst she stays here.

  Tuesday 21st April 12:43

  TO: [email protected]

  Dear Stair Lifts 2 Heaven,

  I am furious! Furious! FURIOUS! Firstly, why do you have no helpline? Aren’t the majority of your customer’s elderly? How many old biddies are online? I had an Engineer appraise my staircase on Monday, who promised to try to get me a cancellation appointment, which he duly did for 10am today.

  I had to take my Mother-in-Law (for whom the Stair Lift is intended) to her rehabilitation so I let your Engineer in, trusting him to complete the work. I said, “We’re off now, the kitchen is through there. Help yourself.” Meaning he could make himself a cup of tea, if he wanted.

  I came home to find, not a Stair Lift up to the second floor, but a Stair Lift installed from a door in the kitchen, which leads six steps down to the cellar. Your Engineer had left, no card, no note.

  Did he leave his brain at home? Does he regularly install Stair Lifts for
elderly serial killers who need an easy access option to their victims in the basement?

  I would like your assurances this will be dealt with urgently, and corrected TODAY!!!

  Wednesday 22nd April 15:46

  TO: [email protected]

  Dear PC Scudders,

  Just to inform you that further to your visit this morning, I can confirm the new Stair Lift has been installed and the incorrectly installed Stair Lift has been removed.

  If you need further proof that a vulnerable old lady is not being kept in the cellar, you can come over today at your convenience and see the old lady quite merrily riding up and down on said Stair Lift, whilst listening to her grandson’s iPod.

  I also have a written apology from the Engineer at Stairlifts2heaven, who initially contacted you.

  Yours truly,

  Coco Pinchard.

  Thursday 23rd April 16:19

  TO: [email protected]

  I have writers block. I am trying not to worry about it. Well, it’s not so much writer’s block, but I have been doing everything I can to avoid getting down to business and writing this book proposal. The house is spotless, the washing basket is empty. I even had a bash at baking. As Ethel was chucking away her piece of flapjack, she asked if I was okay. I told her I was blocked and couldn’t do anything. She disappeared and came back with a laxative sachet.

  “Ere love,” she said. “Mix that with a cup of water and you’ll be doing something every fifteen minutes.” I told her I was blocked creatively.

  “What a load of rubbish!” she said plonking me down with paper, pen and a coffee. “The only blockage that ever stopped me from working was when I cleaned the bogs up the Police Station. All you need do is put one word in front of the other!”

  That was just after lunch. I am still staring at the empty paper.

  Friday 24th April 12:19

  TO: [email protected]

  I got my contract through this morning from the BMX Literary Agency, which has ramped up the pressure. Angie included a packet of Marlboro Lights in the envelope and I went out in to the garden and smoked a couple in a row. I can feel spring in the air. Everything is starting to burst into bud. Rosencrantz is back tomorrow. He has asked if Christian can move in! It looks as if things are getting serious. Should I say yes? I do love his company and he has transformed Rosencrantz from a morose teenager into a pleasant young man.

  Rosencrantz has bought you and Marika each a souvenir Cher fridge magnet, from Las Vegas. Did you know Cher is only nine years older than Ethel? I told her this at breakfast,

  “Yeah but she’s twenty-two years older than you,’’ said Ethel. “ That makes us both old trout’s who’ve aged badly.’’

  Saturday 25th April 18:04

  TO: [email protected]

  Is your phone on? I have just tried to ring you. I am at the Pick Up Point by Terminal 2. Marika and Chris came over for a beauty evening and I have left them with Ethel, they are perming her hair. With her hair plastered to her head and all the hairgrips sticking up out of the curlers she looks a bit like Pinhead from Hellraiser.

  P.S Christian can move in! We will discuss the house rules, looking forward to seeing you both


  Saturday 25th April 19:17

  TO: [email protected]

  Love, when you get this, can you call me? Chris just phoned, he says it’s showing on Teletext that your flight landed nearly an hour ago, is the baggage slow?

  Saturday 25th April 19:55

  TO: [email protected]

  I keep ringing you. It’s over two hours since your flight landed. Where are you? I am worried.

  Saturday 25th April 20:57

  TO: [email protected]

  Are you still in LA? I am at Heathrow. Rosencrantz didn’t get on the flight to London. I came into the Arrivals Hall to see Christian leaving with a very smart, severe looking couple, which I assume where his parents, they whisked him past and he just mouthed ‘sorry.’ I rushed after them, but they got into a waiting car and sped off.

  Virgin Atlantic is saying that Homeland Security at LAX Airport detained Rosencrantz. He was arrested for drug possession.

  Saturday 25th April 22:47

  TO: [email protected]

  Dear Meryl

  There is a problem with Rosencrantz getting home from America and I have to fly out to him tonight. Daniel has only just boarded a plane to his next city for Whistle Up The Wind, and won’t land for several hours. Could you take Ethel to yours tomorrow morning? Chris and Marika will be with her tonight. I am at Heathrow trying to buy shoes. I drove here in Slippers.

  Saturday 25th April 23:11

  TO: [email protected]

  Thank you so much, and thank you for the offer of 45,000 Nectar points. I am not sure they are quite the same as air miles and I’ve already booked my flight. Give my best to Tony.

  Saturday 25th April 23:45

  TO: [email protected]

  I am on a plane. It’s a miracle I still had my Passport in my handbag from our weekend away last year. It was a choice between a flight now, or wait three days. Ironically, I have been upgraded to First Class, Economy was overbooked. I’m standing out in my old pink tracksuit and no makeup. I bought shoes from the only place still open. Well, I say place, it was a dodgy guy with a holdall full of Jelly Shoes.

  I’m trying to keep it together. Questions are whirring round my brain. Why did he have drugs? Did Christian know? Why Rosencrantz and not him? Where were the drugs? Did some dog sniff them out? It hardly bears thinking. I thought I knew my son. I have to go, we are taking off. I will keep in touch, and thank you again.

  Sunday 26th April 01:15

  TO: [email protected]

  I have no idea about the weather or what LA looks like. I am still in LAX Airport. Getting through Customs took two hours. It seems everyone has difficulty getting in, even the Americans. I got talking to a woman from LA.

  She told me not to joke with Homeland Security.

  “They’ve got the power to do anything,” she whispered. “My late husband, a joker, was cute with one of them and they did a full cavity search. And I mean full, they had him in there for half an hour.”

  “Oh dear,” I said.

  She asked if I was on vacation. I said I was meeting my son.

  “Me too honey,” she said. “Maybe we can share a ride downtown?” Luckily, I was called to the desk before I could answer. I was electronically fingerprinted by an intimidating woman and asked why I wanted to enter the United States. I leaned forward, mindful of the queue behind, and whispered,

  “My son is in custody here. Rosencrantz Pinchard?”

  She leaned into a microphone and shouted, “Primary Caregiver of drug suspect 4463 is here.”

  The woman behind took a step back. A tall thin man in a grey uniform appeared and took me off into a dingy side room. When he closed the door, the background noise stopped, like a radio being switched off.

  I sat at a table. He clicked on a single lamp, and lit from below, his features seemed to elongate. Slowly he shuffled through some paperwork.

  He asked what I did for a living and being nervous I launched into the plot of my book. After a few minutes, he held up his hand.

  “Your son is being held until we charge him,” he intoned. He sounded a lot like one of those Speak and Spell computers Rosencrantz had as a child.

  “Can I see him?” I said feeling the tears begin to prick my eyes.

  “Ma’am,” he said. “We have a ninety-two hour turnaround. Please be patient.” He stamped my Passport and opened a door opposite to the one I had come through. The noise from the Arrivals Hall broke the silence.

  “What do I do now?” I said as he spirited me out.

  “You wait,” he said, closing the door behind me. So, that is what I am doing. Waiting… It’s weird having no luggage, no hotel to go to, and no excitement about being away.

  Sunday 26th April 03:50

  TO:[email protected],[email protected]

  It’s been nearly three hours and no one has been to see me. The crowds have thinned out to just the weirdos. In my pink tracksuit and Jelly Shoes, I am blending in.

  I tried to get back through to the border people but the shutters were down. I have wandered through to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. It’s collosal. The lights are dimmed and a sea of travellers is sleeping under blankets. I have curled up by the British Airways check in desk, which feels strangely comforting. The cash machine won’t take my card. A nice couple of British backpackers came to my rescue and swapped me $10 for the fiver I had in my purse. America really is the land of plenty; there were four different kinds of Snickers to choose from in the vending machine. I hope Rosencrantz isn’t scared. Knowing he is somewhere here and I cannot help him is killing me.

  Sunday 26th April 13:48

  TO: [email protected], [email protected]

  I felt drool down the side of my face and a hand shaking my shoulder. I opened my eyes and it was light. A young all-American girl in a business suit and trainers was stood over me carrying a briefcase and a pair of high heels.

  “Mrs. Pine-chard?” she said. The busy Terminal came into focus. The travellers sleeping under blankets had gone and I was the only person left lying in full view of a queue by the BA desk. She held her hand out and introduced herself as Tammy Oppenheimer from a company called Bond-a-Bail.

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