This is the tenth part of a fiction serial, in 1120 words.
Benny had to have a serious chat with Nan. They would need some front money. Even with Noddy fixing up most things free of charge, by using his knowledge of computers, some things had to be bought. They would need a printer, photo paper, and ink cartridges. Plus things you didn’t immediately think of, envelopes. jiffy bags, labels, and of course the postage costs. The buyers would have to pay those on top of course, but some money had to be there already, to pay the Post Office on the day. Then there was the cost of getting the first few VHS tapes transferred to DVD, along with the printed inserts. Ideally, they should have a decent digital camera, one that could shoot video if required. The memory cards for that camera, as well as the costs involved with running around places. Hopefully, the money would soon come rolling in. Noddy thought they could do quite well, at least with the first flush of interest. It was keeping them interested that was the problem. But nothing comes from nothing, and Benny told Nan they would need around seven-fifty at least, perhaps a grand for preference.
He knew she had some savings. She mentioned them often enough, but never let on how much. When he finished telling her what Noddy had set up, and what needed to be done to start off, she nodded her head, and thought for a while, taking a long time over one cigarette. “You can get a second hand printer and camera from that little shop in Hampstead Road, love. No need to buy new for now. If you need running around, go and see Leroy Wilson on the top floor. He drives a cab, and will give you a good deal for regular work. As for the DVD films, I don’t know about them. I will give you six hundred, but I want you to account for it mind. I will go to the bank tomorrow, and get you the cash”.
Feeling really good, Benny decided to celebrate with a visit to Linda. He could be there a while before she had to leave for work. Using his new unlimited phone minutes, he gave her a call. She sounded very happy to hear from him, and said she would make sure to stay in until he arrived. When the door opened, he could see she had made an effort. She was wearing a long black dress made of t-shirt material, and had a fair bit of make-up on too. Her hair still looked like a pineapple, but you couldn’t have everything. Besides, he was willing to bet that she wasn’t wearing anything underneath that clingy dress. She seemed excited to hear his news, and very pleased when he gave her full credit for suggesting he do some online research. Inside, Linda was genuinely touched that he had chosen to share it all with her first. That made her feel special, like they really had something. It didn’t occur to her that he had just been telling his Nan, and Noddy already knew. Other than those two, Benny didn’t have any other real friends to tell.
Linda had her own ideas about how to celebrate his news. The black dress was pulled off over her head, and she literally dragged him into the bedroom. By the time Linda jumped into the shower to get ready for work, Benny’s legs were trembling, and he felt like someone at the finish line of The London Marathon. He was amazed at Linda’s energy. For such a chunky woman, she certainly had stamina. When she was ready, and expecting Sylvia to arrive, Linda came into the bedroom. “No need to rush, love. Take this, and lock up on your way out. You can keep it, if you want. That’s your key now”. She gave him a huge kiss, and shut the bedroom door as she left. Benny looked at the latch key in the palm of his left hand. That had been a surprise, the last thing he had expected. Kicking off the duvet, he stretched luxuriantly. Life was getting better, he was sure of that.
When he got home later, Nan was sitting at the table, wearing her reading glasses. She was surrounded by sheets of paper, all covered in notes written in red ink. That was probably the only colour pen she could find. She was wearing a cardigan over her nightdress, and had obviously not been out since he left. As he entered the room, she spoke without turning. “There’s twenty quid on the hall table, Benny love. Can you go and get some fish and chips? I haven’t had time to get any dinner ready”. When he got back with the food, Nan was still engrossed, and he had to get the plates and cutlery out to dish up.
When they had eaten, and were sitting in the living room, Nan picked up all her notes, and started to tell him what she had been doing. “I’ve been on the phone for hours, love. It’s not easy to track down my old contacts, and as I expected, a lot of them have just disappeared, probably dead. But I have two definitely interested, and three possibles. Val Barker is well up for it. She used to be known as ‘Lady Valerie’, and put on a posh accent too. She’s 73 now, but she reckons she has looked after herself. Trouble is, she lives in Clacton now, and that’s too far away. We would have to put her up, so you might have to sleep on the sofa for a night or two. Then there’s Dolly Bright. I never did know her real name. She liked the sound of it, but wants to talk again, when her husband is out. She only lives in Holloway, so nice and close. I have written down all their names and numbers here, so you better put them on your computer lists”.
Benny was impressed, but Nan was still getting ahead of herself. “That’s great, Nan. I will make a list of them later. But let’s start with you. You already have a lot of people interested. We can expand the site with the others if it takes off. Did you mention money? I hope they are not expecting too much”. Nan grinned. “I told them there might be some money in it of course, they wouldn’t do it for free, would they? But I said it wouldn’t be much, and it would depend on how many people signed up, and bought their videos or photos”. He gave her a big cuddle, and a kiss on the cheek.
“Nan, you’re a wonder. You really are”.
To be continued…