Disclaimer: I make no claim on anything that belongs to Mark 1, as usual. The title is a play on words, specifically the song by some hairy, heavy metal band, '666 - the Number of the Beast'. AND - there's load of poetic license shovelled over this - Chelsea, apparently, doesn't have streets long enough for house numbers to go as high as 668... thank you, Carol for that info, but I've got my heart set on it....

668 - The Neighbour of the Beast.

Amanda Birchill

To: The Right Honourable James Bladderwrack,
Conservative member for Chelsea.
From: Mrs. Elspeth Honeysuckle
668 Winton Way

       Dear Sir,

       I'm sorry to trouble you, but I'm at my wits end and I don't know whom else to turn to.
       I am in my 70's and I have lived in Winton Way since the end the War, almost 40 years in total, with the last ten years as a widow since my dear husband passed on. Winton Way is a quiet street; a respectable street. The terraces and the gardens are well maintained and everyone gets along together. I don't think I would be committing the sin of pride to say that my street is a fine example of British community spirit.
       My problem began when my next-door neighbour, Mrs. Blake from 666, passed away about a year ago. Her house was left untenanted, and the garden let go to rack and ruin for a few months before someone moved in. I was happy to have a new neighbour, especially such a nicely dressed, and handsome young man. I hastened to introduce myself, as is my wont with new people. He introduced himself as Bodie, simply that, no other title. Now that's not all that unusual nowadays, many people only have one name, like that singer with the untidy blonde hair, and that tall American woman who was married to that short man, but I digress. I asked him what he did for a living and he replied 'civil servant'. Well, no civil servant I have ever had contact with has behaved the way this man does.
       If he holds down a regular 9 to 5 job I'll be astonished. The comings and goings at all hours of the day and night has to be seen to be believed, and as for the screeching of tyres at his times of departure or arrival, what a din! And speaking of noise...
       This Bodie is, as far as I can ascertain, unmarried but seems to have a constant stream of female companions, some of which look decidedly unsavoury, if not downright cheap. Due to the layout of the terraces my bedroom adjoins his, and - in deference to simple decency I hesitate to commit this to paper - but in all my years of a very happy marriage I have never heard such a sheer volume of noise. In fact it can get so loud next door at times, I can barely hear my television.
       There is also the question of his 'friends' or associates. Mr. Bodie dresses quite nicely at times, but the loutish appearance of some of his visitors gives me pause. A seedier bunch of unshaved and ill-groomed men I doubt I'd see outside of one of Her Majesty's prisons.
       I admit I have my suspicions about how Mr. Bodie makes his money. The odd hours and the unsavoury company he keeps puts me in mind of the sort of people we used to call 'spivs'. Are you familiar with that term? A 'spiv' is a low sort of person, without regular employment, who more often than not dabbles in the illegal.
       And finally, if I had any doubt that this Bodie was a close associate of the criminal fraternity... He carries a gun! I've seen it! I do not feel safe in my own home anymore!
       But the straw that breaks the camels back is that he doesn't like my dog. My Cupcake is the sweetest little Pomeranian you could ever hope to meet, and usually as gentle as a lamb, but he nearly goes berserk barking when he catches a glimpse of Mr Bodie. There have been occasions when I've been walking Cupcake and we've chanced upon Mr. Bodie - Cupcake has repeatedly gone on the offensive and has given Mr. Bodie a good, sharp nip more than once. It is said that dogs are excellent judges of character. I have seen the dark looks Mr Bodie gives my dog when he thinks I'm not looking, and heard his comments. 'Moth-eaten duster' and 'yappy little flea-bag' are not only insulting but quite inappropriate for a full-pedigree show dog that is kept in immaculate condition. Quite frankly, apart from my own safety, I'm afraid for my little pet's life.
       Please could you look into the matter for me?

       Thanking you in advance,

       Elspeth Honeysuckle, Mrs.


To:Mrs. E. Honeysuckle
From: The office of the Rt. Honourable James Bladderwrack, member for Chelsea

       Dear Mrs. Honeysuckle,

       Thank you very much for your recent letter.
       Mr Bladderwrack is always more than happy to try to help his constituents.
       Mr. Bladderwrack has passed the matter on to the local Constabulary as he feels they are better equipped to deal with complaints of this nature.
       Please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Bladderwrack again if you have any further problems.
       Yours sincerely,
       Mrs. Jill Swannson per pro: James Bladderwrack.


To: Chief Inspector Manks, Chelsea Police Station.
From: Mrs. Elspeth Honeysuckle.

       Dear Sir,
       I am writing to you because my repeated phone-calls have not received a satisfactory response.
       I believe my next-door neighbour, a Mr. Bodie at 666 Winton Way, is a dangerous criminal and have asked you repeatedly to investigate. I wrote to my Member of Parliament about it and I received a letter from his office informing me that he had passed the matter on to the police. What are you doing about this man? He has a gun, for heaven's sake!
       If it will make your job easier I have several weeks worth of log entries that I am willing to pass on to you. The logs detail Mr Bodie's coming and goings, and give good descriptions of the people that have visited as well as their car registration numbers.
       I have included a transcipt of the letter I wrote to the Rt. Honourable James Bladderwrack stating my concerns.
       Thanking you in anticipation,
       Elspeth Honeysuckle, Mrs.


To: Mrs.E.Honeysuckle
From: The Home Office.

       Dear Mrs. Honeysuckle,

       Acting on advice given to this office by Chief Inspector Manks of Chelsea Station, I am writing to inform you about the steps taken re: your complaint about the tenant of 666 Winton Way, Chelsea. In short, your neighbour, Mr. Bodie, works for this department in the interests of public safety. The safety of people such as yourself.
       Mr. Bodie's immediate superior, Major George Cowley, (retired) also of this department, will be happy, with your permission, to pay you a visit to address your concerns.

       Regards, Phillip Traunton,
       Under- Secretary for the Home Secretary.


To: Mr. George Cowley,
c/o Home Office.
From: Mrs. E. Honeysuckle.

       Dear Mr. Cowley,

       Would it be too forward of me to ask if I can call you George?
       I am writing to thank you so very much for allaying my fears about my neighbour, Mr. Bodie.
       Although I find it hard to believe that a gentleman such as yourself has men of that sort working for him, I must defer to your obviously superior knowledge of the type of things needed to combat the criminal element in our country. I have to be honest, though, and express my relief that he will be moving out of the house in the near future.
       I'm sorry about Cupcake's unfortunate accident on your lovely coat, but as you could see, he really liked you. And thank you for your comments about my garden, it is always gratifying to have one's hard work acknowledged.

       Yours with respect,

       Elspeth Honeysuckle, Mrs.

© 2001 (September) Amanda Birchill

© 2000 WordWrights

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