I could hear the playful cries of the children coming from the pool. I was on a walk around the grounds of the country club, I was a regular here so I knew my way around pretty well. The club was also a hotel with the attendant foreigners this brought.
I was sat at my table when a foreign man I did not recognise came and sat down beside me.
“Martini, stirred, not shaken.”
“I said, Martini stirred not shaken.”
As I looked into his eyes, I could tell he was not someone to mess with. I got up, and headed to the bar to get his drink; as I came back, he had gone, I noticed him sat by the window. I strolled over, wondering what he was doing.
“I prefer the window.”
From the little amount he had spoken I couldn’t work out where he was from.
We were on the top floor, the view was spectacular.
“I can see you are looking out, you scared of heights?”
“No, I said, I am a sailor, I used to be a gymnast. I am not scared of anything.”
“You want to bet ya?”
“Ha, of course, if you want to lose some money.”
“Well, a sailor must know knots ya? Well, I bet you can’t tie all the sheets from my bedroom on the top floor to the bottom.” He paused as if recalling an amusing story.
“If you fall, you will land in the pool, then, with your permission, I will chop off your tongue. If you complete it, you can have my house in L.A, it is a nine-bedroom house with swimming pool.
“What? You can’t be serious?”
“I bet my house for your tongue.”
The man opened his briefcase and pulled out a jar, inside were seven, red, slimy tongues. There was a contract detailing the particulars of the house. I read it for fifteen minutes without looking up.
I tied the sheets together, one by one, the thought of L.A was whizzing round my head. Then the thought of no tongue replaced it. I secured the top sheet to the bed that was nailed to the floor, and threw the rest out, the end dipping into the pool.
“Here I go.”
I dropped, then grabbed, the jerk pulled the sheets tight, the first knot held, then I dropped again, grabbed a bit late, but the next two sheets held.
I looked down, the water was shallow, I didn’t realise how shallow it was.
“I am going to make it, I will.”
Then a slip, then a jerk, I dropped to the water.
“I win,” spoke the voice from above.
by Jacob Sidebottom