Saturday, 28 July 2012

89: Six

Derek saw them too. They weren't as scary as that boy's but they were there nonetheless. Usually they were quite ordinary, like Mrs Johnston from his nan's street who'd wanted to say sorry she'd gone in such a hurry and that the dog was with her.

Sometimes there were useful messages, like the woman who'd wanted her daughter to know that the spare key for the jaguar was in the biscuit tin from Great Aunt Mary. Or the chap who'd forgotten to tell his wife where the insurance policy was and who would think to look in a Look-In annual from 1979 with Abba on the cover? True, it may have been the year they got married, but the poor woman needed a clue where to start looking.

Then the famous ones started. They were much more fun but Derek couldn't really help them in the same way. He could pop along to the family of Mrs Johnston and pass on her message but if the visitor was a former matinee idol or rock star gone in a haze of drugs, it was much harder.

When the Hollywood contingent realized he couldn't help pass on their messages, most of them went on to find celebrity contacts who appeared on cable shows, but Charlie Chaplin came regularly. Usually he just wanted to sit and chat, although of course he wasn't used to saying much. Derek did most of the talking whilst Charlie exaggerated his movements and lifted his hat from time to time.

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