Luz Lanch de Bairacli Levy


The Silver Fox and other Stories
A collection of
 short stories

by Luz Lancha de Bairacli Levy


daughter of Juliette de Bairacli Levy.
Published online by Ash Tree Publishing


Compensation (part 2)
by Luz Lancha de Bairacli Levy © 2007
...continued from part one

 

The Silver Fox and other Stories - Table of Contents



The following day, my arm was very painful. I walked over to the pharmacy in the village and bought a sling, then I went over to the local pub for a drink.

There he was! He stood by the bar, dressed in his usual grey-blue. He gave me a quick glance as I went over to order a drink.

I took my drink and went and sat at a table by an open window. My arm was painful. I thought of all the untouched work awaiting me at home. I was a freelancer, so there was no one to compensate me for a lost day. When I went over to the counter to pay for my drink, the bartender informed me that my drink had been paid for, “by the gentleman who just left.”

The following day I was busy in my darkroom developing a film when the phone rang. “Mrs. Lancha?” a man’s voice asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“Please. I am very sorry about the other day; please do understand, it used to be my wife’s dog. He will never listen to me nor obey my orders. I am truly sorry, do forgive me, I have great fear of dog fights. Please let me make it up to you. Do I have your name correct? It is Mrs. Lancha?”

“Yes, Luz Lancha,” I replied.

“Please let me compensate you, I am terribly sorry!” he repeated, then he put the phone down.

Well, what was he going to do, send me a large bouquet of flowers?

Again I was taken away from my work by the ringing of the phone. “Mrs. Lancha?”

“Yes.”

“I am from The Traveler,” a man announced.

“Yes?”

“We have a ticket here, an open ticket for you, left here by a Mr. F. Filmar.”

“I beg your pardon!”

“An open ticket in the name of L. Lancha.”

“Open to where?”

“To the destination of your choice, Madam!”

“Please repeat that!”

“An open ticket in your name, Madam, to anywhere in the world you wish to go; this offer includes expenses for ten days.”

“I am sorry, but I do not understand.”

“Then why don’t you come into our office: No. 2 Rainbow Lane. We are here till 7 p.m. Good-day, Madam.” He put the phone down.

Well, that was something! I could not possibly accept that! Whoever he might be, even if he were the owner of a fleet of ships, I could not possibly accept that! Nevertheless, the matter occupied my mind for the rest of that day. By the evening I was all set to go to The Traveler and see what this was all about.

There, I found out that it was true: an open ticket had been arranged for me by a Mr. F. Filmar. The clerk at the travel office would not supply me with any further information concerning this Mr. Filmar, only that I was to make up my own mind as to the time table of the voyage. I was to suit myself.

What a surprise! I said that I would let them know my decision once I had made up my mind.
At home I opened the telephone-directory under the letter “F,” but F. Filmar did not appear in the list of names. I thought to ask the bartender at the pub, but I could not quite bring myself to inquire freely about one of their clientele.

The next afternoon I waited out on my front porch to see him pass by on the beach. It began to rain. I went inside and stood by the living-room window. There was no sign of him.

Ten days, at his expense, to any destination in the world — all paid for by him! I could not believe this! I had to locate him in some way.

The following afternoon was bright and sunny; there he was, passing by as usual. But then my fear of his dog changed my mind immediately about going down to the beach.

Ten days! Where should I go? It kept me up at nights — planning, plotting, thinking it over, again and again. Could I accept or not, and then if I were to accept, where to? the Far East? Hawaii? the glorious sun of the Mediterranean? Malta? the Caribbean? No! The exotic mysteries of the Middle East! North Africa! The list seemed to be getting longer every night.

I completely forgot about the pain in my arm in planning the trip, yet still I was not able to make up my mind whether or not to accept. I passed many sleepless nights, changing my mind over and over again as to whether to accept the offer or not. As for the destination, I was at a total loss.

I went into the village stationery shop and bought a map of the world. I spread it out on my kitchen table, and looked with fascination at the world laid out before me. I even forgot to have lunch. Bending over the map late into the afternoon, I ended up with a strong pain in the lower part of my back, and dizziness in my head. I also had a nasty blood-stain on the sleeve of my new blouse, as I had forgotten to change the bandage on my arm. The final disaster was for my dog — he missed his daily run.

By then I had made up my mind to accept the offer, looking at it strictly as compensation. After all, it was a very unjust, frightening and painful experience, and would result in a nasty scar on my right arm, likely to remain there for the rest of my life. So, that was settled! I decided to accept.
Now the question was “to where?” Lying awake at night, I could visualize myself in crowded streets in Fez, Morocco, walking down narrow alleys, intoxicated by strong, exotic fragrances, my eyes dazzled by the splendor of colors. And then: in the desert, caught in a sandstorm, being rescued by a handsome Bedouin and taken to his mysterious black tent, being received in the true oriental manner, with wonderful food and fabulous gifts. And then: the snowy plains of Alaska, riding a magnificent sled, being pulled by beautiful husky dogs, riding over soft white snow, being caught in a snow-storm, being threatened by an avalanche, then rescued by a helicopter and flown over the white gleaming mountains to safety. Then: traveling to the depth of the jungle, encountering wild animals, having my life threatened by a python and being rescued by a gorilla; I would become acquainted with their fascinating ways of life, and learn to live in the wild. . .

My imagination gave me no rest! I was carried all over the globe in pursuit of adventure and excitement. Finally I made up my mind to go to The Traveler for help; surely they would assist me and provide useful advice.

The following week I was burdened by plenty of work. I spent long hours in the darkroom, working late into the night, being dazzled by the fierce light of my projector.

Finally, one morning, I found time enough to escape and head down to The Traveller. Before leaving, I ate breakfast. Whilst bent over the world map, which began to look rather like a well-used tablecloth, I dropped bread crumbs all over the Middle East, and honey on Alaska.

Before setting out to the village, I rang my brother once more to make sure it was still all right to leave my dog with him. We agreed on two weeks; I would need the extra time for preparations, and then time to adjust once I got back.

It was in high spirits that I flung open the glass door of The Traveler. I introduced myself to the young woman at the desk, and enquired about the man who had served me on my previous visit there. “He will be right back. Take a seat please,” the young woman said.

I sat patiently, my many schemes going around and around in my head in colorful flashes. The man I was awaiting came in. I waited calmly for him to take his seat behind the desk. I felt I had ample time, now that I had decided to accept Mr. Filmar’s offer. The clerk recognized me.

“Hello, Mrs. Lancha. We wondered what had become of you!” he said smiling.

“Well, here I am, finally!” said I, standing up, going over to his desk.

“Good. Mr. F. Filmar has left this for you, in case you happened to come by.” He handed me a box wrapped in shiny brown paper, tied with a gold ribbon. “He understands about the ticket. It was a rather hasty thing to have suggested! Well, here, he left this box for you, with his deepest remorse for what has happened.”

I took the box from him and walked out without saying a word.

At home I opened the box. Amongst the layers of fine brown tissue paper, lay a magnificent, brown leather dog collar decorated with silver studs, plus a matching lead. These were accompanied by an elegant grey business card printed in fine black lettering: “With compliments, F. Filmar.”

 

by Luz Lancha de Bairacli Levy © 2007
for reprint permission, contact Ash Tree Publishing
PO Box 64 Woodstock NY 12498
or write to: wisewoman@herbshealing.com

 

 

Click here for more stories by Luz, daughter of Juliette de Bairacli Levy
The Silver Fox and other Stories - Table of Contents


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