Thursday, 5 July 2012

66: Boxing Match

When I got home, I found a note stuck to the front door. It read “Hi Claire, Took delivery of a box for you. Left it on the kitchen table. Don’t forget Saturday. Dave”

I once heard a comedian say that everyone has a friend called Dave. I don’t. Not a friend, not a relative, not a work colleague, nobody. Odds are someone is called Dave on the morning bus from time to time, but commuting doesn’t usually extend to polite introductions. Best you can expect is a nod or grunt from someone else up as early as you, wet from drizzle, trudging off into the city to work too hard for too little reward.

But there is no way any of those potential Daves would have come into my house, taken delivery of a box – which I’m not expecting by the way – and leave it on my kitchen table. There’s no room on it for a start, not unless the box is really, really small. Surely the postman would have poked it through the letterbox in that case. And how would this Dave have got in? I live alone except for a ginger tabby and the spare keys are with my mother and my best friend. Tiddles doesn’t need a key, clearly. (Yes, yes I know it’s a predictable name for a cat, but she had a series a kitten and the name just stuck.)

As I open the door and go in, I can’t see anything that looks out of place. The washing up still needs doing. There’s the pile of unopened bills still waiting for me to muster enough courage to face them. Tiddles is still mewling about her empty food dish. And there on the table is...well, nothing. No sign of a box, big or small. Nothing disturbed as if a box had ever been there. Just normal. Exactly as I left it this morning.
Then Dave comes back. Not that I know it’s Dave then, but I hear a noise at the front door and turn in time to see another note slip through the letter box. I rush to the door and fling it open, in time to see the retreating back of ‘Dave’.

“Hello?” I say.

“Ah. Hello,” he says back. “You saw my note?”

“And the other one. For Claire, about her box. Why did you leave it on my table? How did you?”

“Well,” he said. “I didn’t leave Claire’s box on your table. I left it on Claire’s table. She used to have my flat before me and when this box arrived at mine I thought I’d bring it round to save her coming to fetch it. I have her key for watering her plants when she’s away. We’re friends.”

I say, “OK, that makes sense. But why did you leave a note on my door saying that? My name is Kate and I’ve never lived in a flat. I have no plants that need watering and I’m sure I’d remember giving you a key.” I add, “I don’t remember giving you a key.”

“After I left the box I drove away but suddenly thought maybe Claire would wonder what the box was and just throw it away or something. So I pulled over, wrote a note and drove back to stick it on the door. Just I must have got the street wrong. Claire lives just behind here and you both have blue doors.” He had the good grace to look shamefaced. “She texted me to say was it me had been in the house and I realized I got the wrong street. I was coming back just to take the note back and you’d never know. But when it was gone I thought I’d leave you another note explaining.”

He has a nice face and crinkly eyes, like in films. “Sorry,” he says.

“No problem,” I say. “It could happen to anyone.” Not that I really mean that bit.

“Thanks. Well, bye,” Dave says and sets off down the path to his car. He turns back and says, “Still on for Saturday though?”

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