Chapter 50 - Finally

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∞ 50 ∞


Valentina rushed to the telephone, getting to it just in time. (She was in quite a good mood. She had just tried the water heater, just on the just-in-case-off-chance and –as if by magic–it suddenly started working again! The washing machine, tried the day before on the off chance, had luckily started working again too and so she was saying her thank-yous up the sky again as she made her way back to the house, when she heard the phone ringing).

«Allô!» she answered rubbing her aching hip that she had just bashed on the doorway in her hast.

«Bonjour?» replied a young sounding voice.

«Oui? Bonjour.»

«[... Ehmm... 'bout that cleaner... You put a notice 'n that, up... You said 50,]» said the uncertain voice in a heavy sounding regional accent. Valentina was thrown by the youthfulness of the voice, but thought perhaps it was someone's daughter, or possibly another cleaner who had been given the task of finding more staff. In any case, she didn't care what the employer sounded like – as long as they paid her. It had been several weeks since she put the notice up and she hadn't had one other call. It was not a time to be picky.

«[Ahh, yes. Yes I made it. What is the type of work you require Madame? Is it that it is just cleaning, or possibly something more?]» Realising that what she said might have sounded improper, Valentina quickly corrected herself: «Uhmm, uhh, excuse me I--I would like to say: I can do other WORK... uhh COOKING for example and uhhh, the management of documents... It is this which I would like to say.]»

The uncertain voice didn't respond.

«[Also, uhh... I can help with animals equally... Uhmm, I want to say that... if--if you have animals. I could do that... FOR THE SAME--uh, for the same money. If it is required... ... ... Madame?]»

«[Ehmm...]» was the only response.

«[Excuse me madame, what is it that you are looking for?]»

«[Someone told me you wanted a cleaner, 'n that.]» replied the voice.

«[Ahhh, NO. No, I do not look for a cleaner. No, thank you,]» Valentina said. She was about to say: "Sorry. Good day," but the girl on the other end hung up without even responding.

Valentina hung up the phone in frustration. Checking the skinned bruise forming on her hip, she went over to make herself a cup of tea. Fabulous! And there was no soya milk left! The phone rang again and she went over with a scowl, imagining it was the silly girl again, having re-dialled her number in error.

«Oui, bonjour,» she said somewhat ironically.

«[Hello. I would like to speak with Mademoiselle Colina please,]» said an older, no nonsense sort of voice, that sounded as though the speaker might have been from Asia.

«[Yes it is me,]» said Valentina, anxious of who it could be and not feeling at all up to dealing with the call. She imagined it was the electricity company, the Mairie's office (or some other government office calling about one of many transgressions)... or perhaps yet another one of Jerremee's women.

«[I see you are offering services as a cleaner. Is that correct?]» the voice said crisply.

«[Yes, yes that's true]» Valentina responded feeling brighter.

«[And you are fluent in English? Is that correct?]»

«[Yes, yes I am fluent.]»

«[Do you have any experience in cleaning Mademoiselle?]» enquired the voice sternly.

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