Historical Fiction: Walking Away from Midnight – Sample Chapter 5

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Last Updated on November 1, 2022 by ADMIN-TOM

Walking Away from Midnight
Click on #WalkingAwayFromMidnight to see all available extracts


July 1939 – Basil Shoots the Breeze

It was a long drive and Basil, being Basil, decided he needed to stop as the light was fading. Truth be known, the light wasn’t fading, it wouldn’t fade for another two hours. But Basil being Basil, persuaded himself he needed a drink. That was Basil’s first mistake.

He pulled the car over at the very next village because it housed a decent Café. Basil parked the car, exited the car, and made his way to the Café and one of the few empty tables and chairs outside. Basil, a large man with ample padding in the waist, sat down with a sigh. He pulled out a copy of his two-day old Daily Telegraph and skimmed the front-page headlines.

“Monsieuer, s’il vous plait?”

Basil looked up. “Ah, my good man. A glass of Toni-Kola if you please.”

“Oui, monsieur,” the barman said with a slight bow and turned to leave.

Basil loved to play the wealthy Englishman abroad, but rarely had the chance to do so. Today, and tomorrow was to be an exception. He had until tomorrow evening to return to the Embassy in Paris and though he was supposed to be staying at the Fordham’s holiday home overnight, a quick phone call would secure permission to stay in a Café with a spare bed for the night, and obviously it would need to provide Basil with an ample breakfast, preferably one leaning towards an English breakfast and not one that left one starving.

“Croissant, indeed,” Basil muttered to himself.

That was Basil’s plan. Needless to say, Basil being Basil, things did not work out that way.

As the evening wore on, Basil took to engaging conversation, as best he could with his schoolboy French, with the locals who seemed more than happy to listen to Basil’s exploits at the British embassy in Paris.

The telephone call to the embassy for permission to stay in a bed and breakfast, the delivery of the package and his aplomb in dealing with locals all abandoned Basil, his common sense also took a hike, and the locals were left dealing with a loudmouthed braggard who hated the French, hated his job, hated his boss and moreover, hated himself. The ensuing fist fight between Basil and two local farmers ended in a phone call to the local Sûreté. Basil, being Basil, did not come quietly.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2022
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