Faintly dizzy, Adam sat slowly back into his chair, careful not to spill his drink, and let out a louder than expected fart. He chuckled childishly for a moment, then, slightly embarrassed, looked around for witnesses. The immediate vicinity was clear, but a figure crossing the bridge caught his attention. Thin, wearing skinny black jeans, a tight fitting black t-shirt, and a red baseball cap, the bearded man brought a smile to Adam’s face. Despite the disguise, the man’s silver-topped cane and familiar purposeful stride immediately gave away his identity.
After crossing the bridge, the man headed straight for Adam, and except for a subtle tip of his cap, remained silently impassive behind his mirrored sunglasses.
“Good to see you again, John,” Adam said, holding back a belch. “What’s it been; about 300 years, give or take a decade?”
“But … but … how did you see through my disguise? I spent all of yesterday researching your time period, you dirty wanker.”
“Well, you need to lose the cane, and stop marching … and did you just call me a wanker?”
John Langdon Down, the eminent Victorian physician, who described and gave his name to Downs Syndrome, looked around nervously, like an enemy finding himself deep behind enemy lines.
“I am cutting the crap, Adam! John exclaimed, hands on hips. “We are just two fuckers jawin’. Later on, we will sink some alcohol, and get rat-assed! Hmm, or is shit-faced the correct term?”
A passing jogger, dressed in a pastel pink one-piece running suit, nearly tripped over his own feet at John’s crude outburst. Shocked, and shaking his head in disapproval, the jogger continued along the promenade.
“There’s no need for that kind of language,” Adam said.
John leant forward and whispered.
“I am simply trying to fit in with your 20th and 21st century environment … you grubby little shit.”
Adam spent the next few minutes convincing John that excessive swearing was not a feature of everyday conversation, despite the ‘evidence’ of a few late 20th century crime movies that apparently served as the basis of John’s research.
“You know, that is quite a relief,” John admitted. “I feel rather soiled having used such foul words. It is a blessing that Mary is not here. I trust this will stay between us?”
“Forget it. You were only doing your job … badly. Pull up a chair.” Adam pointed to a stack of folded wooden chairs nearby.
Stephen Ayres: Copyright 2016