Chapter One Beginning of an adventure story in london First-person Interesting characters
|I feel that in order to express the complexities of this tale, I will have to first divulge the complexities of the man it revolves entirely around. The first meeting of him and I may have been the most interesting one to date, excluding the current mishap we are currently in as I jot this down on a piece of old, soggy lined paper. I feel that I may perish soon enough (the pessimisim is well-called for, I assure you) and have decided to write my final words. I managed to save a few sheets from my shoulder bag as it hung freely over Niagria Falls only two short hours ago, before it tumbled to its demise.
I very much so loved that bag, but as my friend and I were sent rushing down the river leading into the falls, I could bare to see it leave my life. The man pursuing us, and his cohorts firing blindly into the water, were not as happy with the outcome. That is quite exceptable considering what we had taken from his vacation home just a few days prior. The likes of which I would not like to disclose until our intentions can seem as valiant as is within reach.
The bag had been through much with me over the years. I was lucky to have secured it for that long while running from various peoples with my adventurous associate.
Having lost my breath from the current endangerment I have been placed in, I do hope that you, the poor soul that has discovered this chronicle, will overlook this entry's haphazard scribbling and follow along best you can. I pray hope, as well, that you will forgive me for taking this long to acquaint myself a bit more properly:
If one were to come across me strolling down the streets of London, I would be near indefinable amongst the other fellows and maidens briskly striding alongside me. Though, I suppose it would not quite be coming across me if you hadn't recognized me in particular, but my incompetent examples are not of the discussion at hand.
Continuing without further delay, I have been defined by my long, brushlike mustache and my fancy of sleek black tophats, though I have been required to have most of them replaced as they have fallen off of cliffs, over the sides of bridges, or shot of with an old-fashioned pistol. (*Specific examples of those happenings can be found in the memoirs 'Deception at Mount Hassin', 'Expelled to the Nile', and 'Luncheon at the Briggs', respectively, recorded by myself.) The latter being caused single-handedly by the fellow alongside me at this very moment of penning this down, though the others occurred while traveling with him.
One would also describe me as a heavy-set man with a belly much like that of jolly old Saint Nick. You would surely find my hair to be quite atrocious from all the wind that pours through it as a scuttle along on many journeys.
I graduated from the acclaimed Oxford University in London 43 years ago in 1924, where I majored in business law and minored in journalism. Taking as many classes as time would allow, I became quite the academic. I had the uncanny ability to work out problems in my head and a keen sense of the landscape around me.
I was never able to apply the many skills that had been etched into me by the strict proffessors of Oxford. That was because four months after I had received my diploma, I bumped into the one, the only, Dr. Jonathon T. Barrows. Quite literally, in fact.
"Oh, pardon me, my dear fellow,” articulated a rather tall man with icy-blue eyes that aroused the mental image of a amiable summer's sky. By that notion alone I took a strong liking towards him.
"I needn't be fluttering around being such a threat to other men’s belongings," he added while bending down to retrieve the books that had spilled from my bag (*The very bag discussed previously) during his and my rendezvous.
I did not speak a word, but marveled at the sight of him inspected my books as if they were ancient artifacts. I found it quite interesting and wondered what compulsed him to do so. I feasibly needn't have spoken because of the offended contortion he and I had now realized on my face.
"Ah, not one for sharing, I see," the man said with a charming wink, returning my books, "well, perhaps it would make the whole situation seem more personal if I introduce myself. My title is Dr. Barrows, but by all means call me Johnaton, John, or My Liege. Whichever suits your fancy."
"Pleasure," I said unconvincingly and began walking down the road once more, "I am-"
"No, no, don't divulge so quickly," said the doctor, keeping my pace in stride, "you haven't given me proper time to guess. I would say that is quite rude if my opinion was bankable, as I'm sure you, a fine gent, believe it to be." He smiled once more, he contained the whitest teeth I ever saw. You, I'm sure, understand that that is quite a feat considering the current location.
You can surely understand my discontent for this man already. His very being could displease any person to madness. I was interested in him, however, and did not dismiss him. Those thoughts were pouring through my mind as I noticed that beside me, he was voicing names. Guessing.
"...Charles, James, Rufus? No, certainly not a Rufus. Too tame to be
If you are wondering if this man is insane, do not be fooled. The answer is, without a doubt, yes. I know not why he chose this way to introduce himself, but I do know that it kept me walking slowly beside him without bustling off to where I needed to be. I was, at that moment, heading back to my flat just a few blocks away where my girlfriend was awaiting me for a lovely evening alone. Just the two of us. We hadn't been able to do so in much too long.
"Jeffrey," I could take it no longer, "My name is Jeffrey. And, I'm terribly sorry, but I have to return home to..."
"Jeffrey!" He shouted, pointing at my chest, staring in my eyes.
I hesitated. "Yes?"
"That is your name, is it not?"
"Well...yes, it is. But seeing as I just disclosed that to you, I am rather unimpressed with your mind-reading abilities."
"Surely you are mistaken, sir," he shook his head, full of pity, "By responding 'yes' when their name was guessed, one could consider that disclosing the information, but as I had already shouted it out without a doubt as to if I was right, it was I who disclosed it."
"I...," I stuttered, utterly abashed. This man was quite intriquing to me.
"No matter, no matter, I will explain my secrets in due time. But as of this moment, I believe you were informing me in the matter of where you must be getting off to..." He looked expectantly at me. "Do tell."
I find this particular point to explain something else about Dr. Barrows. Most people in the past have called him a nosey man, while the more you know him, the more you know it is interested observation. His observations have helped me out of numerous positions where I was not only between a rock and a hard place, but between a rock and a hard place surrounded by yet another rock and an additional hard place. Throughout this reminisence you will see exactly what I mean. In due time, in due time...
"Yes, you are right," I said, "I must be going." I was about to brush him off, but the expectant look on his face softened my intentions, and I explained my current situation.
"How folish of me to think you hadn't an important dinner to attend," he said almost bitterly, and something in his eyes troubled me, "please, feel free..." And he stepped aside for me to walk past.
At the time, I was happy to see past him and set my eyes upon my flat, and I continued to walk once more. But that look. That look he gave me after he realized I had dinner arrangments was almost deserving pity. He looked like a lost dog with nowhere to go, and at that moment I could understand his mannerisms. I then wished I had no plans so we could excite the local pub.
After about ten seconds I identified a faint, airy sound. It was Jonathon Barrows breath as he walked three paces abaft:
"You've spotted me!" He seemed exactic that he had been found. "You've got a good ear, young man. A great ear."
I then dealt with the fact that this man would not be leaving, and for some reason, I felt that I should not make him do so. It felt uncommonly rude to abandon this man as I believed him to have no place to go. It was a notion I received when he so clingingly held onto the conversation. What other reason could there be? Then, of course, I thought of my girlfriend, Maria. We had not had a night alone, and I could not allow a stranger to ruin that. For my sake. There's no saying what she would do to me if I did not show up.
I realized I would probably never see this man again: "Sir, I will have to ask you to disperse. I have an important night to begin!" I had a speech ready to unleash upon him, but as I took a sharp intake of breath he said:
"As you wish, young chap," and abruptly stopped walking alongside me. (Well, that was easy, I thought.)
I smiled as I continued to approach the door leading to my Maria. I felt as if I had warded him off and saved the evening. I could not wait to include my Love in this story. She would be so impressed! Though, in the back of my minid, I still felt sorry for the fellow.
As I approached the door, I reached down into my pocket to retreive my key, when all i felt was the wool interior. I checked the other pockets of my jacket, and then the compartments of my pants to no avail. Where had my key gone? At the very moment that I began to breakdown, I begin to halucinate the jingling of keys. I must be going mad!
But then, the sound grew louder and I believed it impossible to be imaginary. I slowly turned, already knowing what I was going to see.
"There are those ears of yours once again, Jeffrey!" Dr. Jonathon Barrows chuckled.
I had been pickpocketed for the first time, by this man. This seemingly averagely honest, though annoying, man. And when he finally ceased the jingling, so went my thoughts of a quiet eveing with Maria.
A scoundrel! A thief!