THE TICKET by David Clark
David Clark is a British businessman, who lived and worked in Bulgaria for 12 years before retiring to Norfolk U.K. He is writing short stories and poems. When he was living in Sofia, he had published stories in different media. A contributor to “Sofia Echo” newspaper. He had received an award for a short story from “Manager” magazine. At the moment he is living in England and sending stories to the expat site Sofia Globe. David is married to Galya, his Bulgarian wife for 16 years. He is a member of Writers Club in Hethersett, Norfolk and publish short stories in local media as „Village people“and others.
We had the pleasure of David Clark attending the celebration of the 5th anniversary of our website at the Czech Center in Sofia on September 24, 2020. The photo to this post was taken at that event.
Today we offer you his first story for this year:
by David Clark
Every Monday without fail, Miss Harper visited her local library and took out two books. One on murder, the other on travel. In her mind, she had visited many countries and knew many details of their history and culture. She could lecture at length, to anyone who cared to listen. Her dark side, was satisfied with murder most foul, but she never talked about that.
On this particular Monday, it was a wet and drizzly day and Miss Harper dressed in her usual thick tweed coat, scarf and woolley hat, had to deal with her umbrella, as well as her usual shopping bag. She always combined her weekly trip to library and supermarket to save time and the expense of another bus journey. Delving into her tidy handbag she opened the purse to find her library pass. Unnoticed, a ticket fluttered out of the open purse and on to the floor.
After she had left, Kylie the dizzy young librarian, happened to go round the front of the counter whilst carrying out her weekly dusting duties. Oh! she exclaimed, ”Miss Harper has dropped something” , The cantankerous old lady was well known in the library. Bending down, whilst taking care not to show her knickers, concealed only by a pelmet of a skirt, she picked it up. I was a ticket for an Agatha Christie play to be performed by the local rep company. Oh I’ll get in her good books, keep this safe for her and give it back when she comes in next Monday she thought. She went back round the counter and slipped it into her wallet.
That night Kylie was flying with her friends on flyaway airlines to Spain for a mad weekend visit to Magaluf. Sun, fun and s-e-x, so the advertisement went. Being a shy young lady she was a bit wary of these claims, but had been persuaded by her friends to go for a laugh. After the rush to the airport and the usual annoying security checks and retail experiences, they were safely crammed on board the flight and off to fun in the sun. On arrival, she and her friends went straight to the car hire desk. They had booked a small car so that they might spend a little time exploring the area. Opening her wallet to show her driving licence, and unnoticed by her, the ticket once again fluttered to the floor.
They had nearly finished their booking when an irate old man with a strong German accent came bustling up to the desk, his car keys in hand. ”Take these key” he yelled at the girl behind the desk, ”I’m late for my flight”. Unbeknown to him he had stepped on a piece of chewing gum whilst entering the airport and as luck would have it he stood directly on the ticket. ”Last call for flyaway flight to Berlin” came over the speakers and he hurried off, muttering to himself and perspiring freely. Luckily his gate was not far and he managed to get there before it closed. Walking out to the plane he was irritated by something stuck to his foot, bending down he detached what looked like a ticket ,from the sole of his shoe. Very interesting he thought, when I get on board I will read this and see what its about.
Soon he was strapped into the tin coffin and whooshed into the sky. The passengers began to relax, he undid his seat belt and took out the ticket from his pocket. Well how unusual a ticket for a play in England this week, I wonder who dropped this? He was very tired after the exertion of catching the flight and he soon fell asleep. The ticket slipped out of his hand and fluttered down under the seat. He was still asleep as the aircraft descended to Tegel airport and he woke up with a start as they came into land. Collecting his belongings he hurried to get off the plane, completely forgetting the ticket.
As soon as the passengers had gone, the re-fuelling bowser backed under the wing and an army of cleaners came on to the aircraft. ” Hurry up” shouted the boss, ”This plane is late and it has to depart for London in 15 minutes without fail”. The cleaners did a quick if not to thorough clean up job, not noticing the ticket still lying under the seat.
The loudspeakers boomed ”last call for flyaway flight no 6291 to London”. Mrs Brown was pleased that she had been in good time after her City Break weekend to Berlin. She was feeling very happy that she had been staying in a very comfortable hotel and taken in all those historic sites. Now with a bag full of duty free, she was safely on board for her return flight.
The thing that really annoyed her about these cheap flights was the lack of anywhere to put your ‘bits and pieces’ , there was nowhere for her book and bottle of mineral water, so these had to be on her knee during take-off, before she was allowed to use the little fold down table in front of her. as the Airbus climbed into the sky above, the mineral water bottle rolled off her knee and on to the floor. ”Oh how irritating” she thought. I’ll have to wait now for the seat belt signs to be turned off”. The flight levelled out and headed for London, the seat belt signs went off and the passengers began to relax. Mrs Brown took off her belt and began feeling under the seat for the water, what was this? Her fingers came across some cardboard object. Being of a curious nature she picked up the ticket. ”Well bless my soul” It’s a ticket for this weeks’ performance of the Agatha Christie in my home town! ”What a coincidence, I’ll take this back to work and see if I can locate the owner”.
Monday morning came, wet and dank again. Kylie shook her umbrella as she entered the library. She was not happy, she’d had a terrible weekend. It had been cloudy, but hot, not suitable for sun bathing, she’d drunk too many sangria’s and she was tired of being approached by leering, drunken young men and of the incessant disco music. To cap it all Mrs Brown, head librarian, was euphoric about her weekend in Berlin. After she had finished extolling the beautiful parks, the magnificent Brandenburg Gate and the lovely hotel, Kylie was thoroughly depressed. A very strange thing said Mrs Brown, just look what I picked up on the plane from Berlin, a ticket to The Agatha Christie this week, someone must have dropped it, leave it on the front desk in case anyone recognises it.
A flash of sunshine lit up Kylie’s morning, she’d been very worried about Miss Harpers ticket which seemed to have fallen out of her wallet and been lost. She’d give her this ticket and no one would be any the wiser. Sure enough at exactly 9.35 Miss Harper arrived for her weekly books. She approached Kylie at the desk ” I don’t suppose anyone picked up a ticket for the Agatha Christie play this week, I’ve lost it somewhere, they’ve sold out, and I did so want to see the murder.
” Here you are Miss Harper I found it on the floor and saved it for you”
Miss Harper inspected the ticket, turning it over in her hands ”Hmpph, rather dirty isn’t it” she said, giving Kylie a black look ”You want to take more care of other people’s possessions young lady!”