Thursday, June 26, 2008
A Stitch Out of Time
Sophia smiled at the strange man. It wasn’t often that people wandered unannounced through her garden though it happened once in a while when they took the wrong path from the park to the Peg stone at the top of the waterfall. “Can I help you?” she said. “Are you lost?”
The man stared at her. He was, Sophia was disturbed to note, in a state of undress. No waistcoat, no tie and a jacket made from animal skin. At least he was clean shaven and had a spark of intelligence around the eyes. His brow furrowed. “Where’s my Murakami?” he asked.
“I beg your pardon?” Sophia stood and got the cabin chair between them. He seemed a bit mad, this visitor. Her new book – signed personally by Mrs. Christie when she was up last week, fell to the floor and closed, losing her page. She reached for the handbell, relieved that the strange man made no move toward her. “I don’t know a Murakami,” she said. “Is he a friend of yours?”
“Hardly.” The man snorted. “He charged me twice the market value of his sculpture.” He pointed to a spot just before the entrance to the hedge maze. “It should be right there. What have you done with it?”
“Can I assist, madam?”
Sophia turned at the steady tone of her valet. “Mr. Jasfoup,” she said. “I think this gentleman is lost. He seems to think he bought a piece of statuary here.”
“Jasfoup?” The man broke into a smile. “I didn’t recognize you. What are you doing in that get-up?”
“I don’t…” Jasfoup paused, staring hard at the man. “I think you’ve dropped a stitch, sir,” he said, standing protectively in front of Sophia. “If you just step backward, three steps and turn to your right?”
“I don’t see…” the man did as he was asked and vanished. Jasfoup turned to his mistress.
“I think you’ll find that was your grandson,” he said.
“My grandson?” Sophia sighed. “I’m sure the nincompoop genes don’t come from my side of the family. I see now why one isn’t meant to see the future.”