Short Story Preview: Silver Bells – Gabriela Harding
“I think I’m wearing someone else’s coat.”
The man appears out of nowhere, in such a great state of agitation that the look between Lucien and me goes unnoticed. The swivelling doors are still turning in the nippy breeze, carrying the smell of snow – crisp and fresh like the starched napkins we’re folding for tomorrow.
It’s past midnight, and the streets are glossy with sleet. The spectacular Christmas tree twinkles in the window, decorated in Angelino’s favourite colours – blue and silver. A jazzy carol oozes from the bar, where the American bartender polishes glasses, whistling a merry tune.
This had been happening for a while – more precisely, in the three weeks since I started working at Angelino’s. People left in other people’s coats all the time. Only the other week one of our regulars, Sir Allastair Knight, walked off in his own cousin’s minx fur. They were in the road when they realised, and the pair of them rolled about laughing, finishing off the night with a good snow ball fight that made the countess bleed copiously from a split lip. Then the limo arrived, and the lord climbed in, his stripy trousers around his ankles, a cigar between his teeth and his manhood in his hand while the countess giggled hysterically.
The customers were misbehaving, no doubt about it. Last night I found the cloakroom unattended and several gentlemen having a hoot trying on other people’s hats.
“Sorry!” a young man in a pompous, feathered hat chuckled.
“We’re being naughty!” his friend shrieked, staggering on his feet in a head to toe fur. “Are you going to punish us? You’re not thinking of smacking us with that awful thing, are you?”
I was holding the toilet brush with a special hook …