The bell binged but where was the bong? There should be a bong. There was always a bong. It stands to reason: bing bong, bing bong. He must be still holding the bell. Uh oh! Suddenly Jonathan discovered himself in the hall. He would rather have discovered penicillin or a beautiful, mysterious woman in his bed when he woke up. Sheer funk had a firm grip on him. He hadn't, of course, meant to be in the hall. He hadn't thought it that far through. But here he was surrounded by hall. And there was that man—or, to be fair, his silhouette against the crazy glass with the sun behind him. But no bong.
When did this hall get to be so flamin' long? he thought as he edged his way towards the door. Fumbling with the chain like a woman's bra strap, all of a sudden he felt very exposed. But then his flies were undone. And it's not the done thing to meet strange men first thing in the morning with your flies undone. Whether or not they have your milk hostage is beside the point. So he hastily buttoned himself up and with a weary heave opened the door to Destiny. Only it wasn't.
Wait a minute, didn't he know this man? This man standing—well, leaning actually—bold as brass, leaning against his doorbell, cradling Jonathan's gold top in his free arm. He knew him. He was sure of it. But where from?
"Mr Payne?" began the man, to which answer came there none. "Mr Payne? Mr Jonathan Payne?" He sounded like a policeman too. This did not bode well. He nodded numbly. "Excellent!" Bong! "Do you mind if I come in a minute?"
And he was in, before you could say, "Now hang on a darned cotton pickin' minute," which would not have been Jonathan's first choice of something to say at that juncture. He was in, gold top and all, like a character from a Monty Python sketch, but not like the angel of death. He was in the kitchen and if you concentrated, the sound of him pouring himself a cup of coffee could almost be made out.
"Got any Java in?" came a disembodied voice from the bowels of Jonathan's flat.
Jonathan had somehow found the wherewithal to actually close the door. "Er, all I have is Java, I'm afraid." Why was he apologising for goodness sake?
"Ah, yes. Sorry. Should've known that. Just joshing actually. You know they make it from these great big yellow beans?"
Yellow beans? Was it his imagination or did he sound like Eric Idle now?
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