November 7, 2014 by helenwaldron
In which Writewell is renamed several times
Frau Reppentrop looked fierce from a distance, with her sharp edged glasses, cold eyes and perfect hair. She rose from her desk set deep in deep pile carpet, opened her precision painted lips to speak and then looked even fiercer as she was interrupted by the opening of the heavy door behind her.
“Is that the English teacher?” Happlon barked at Writewell directly. “Come on then.”
“Coffee,” he barked at Frau Reppentrop. “No. Tea. English people drink tea.”
As the secretary glared at her for wanting tea not coffee (even though she didn’t) Writewell sensed that she was in the presence of a man who could destroy any spark of humanity he may come in contact with.
“Now, I’ve got an important meeting in two weeks with some Americans,” said Happlon without any formalities and pointing Writewell to a chair. “I don’t like Americans. They’re arrogant and they can’t talk properly. You’re not American, are you. No, you’re English.”
Writewell, who wasn’t English, didn’t say anything, and waited for her tea.
“I like the English. My ancestors founded the Happlon Group and we learnt a lot from the English. Lloyds, you know. Shipping insurance was developed in London and a lot of our earliest customers traded with the English.”
He gestured towards a series of oil paintings around the walls of his oak paneled office. It was dark and shiny and – yes, like the inside of a ship.
“What did you say your name was again?”
“Writewell? I know the Cartwrights of Leicestershire. The Hooley-Wrights of Northumberland. I expect you know them.”
At that moment the wooden door opened (it was almost indiscernible amongst all the paneling) and Frau Reppentrop entered with a tray of refreshments and an air of offence.
“Ms Cartwright here is going to help me.”
“Julia. Her name is Ms Julia, “ said Reppentrop coldly.
Writewell’s admiration for Speakeasy, who normally tutored Herr Happlon, was growing by the minute.