Some years ago, I ran a small company, working on and installing commercial fire and burglar alarms.
One of my customers was a firm of accountants, operating in a small town, just outside Manchester. They had contacted me to repair a fault that had developed. During my journey to the accountants, my thoughts turned to the, luscious Lucy, the very attractive receptionist. Although Lucy was a quite a few years older than me, I was smitten, she had lovely blue eyes, a beautiful smile and the sexiest voice on earth. Sort of a breathless Marilyn Monroe (COPD, perhaps?). Always, we flirted and Lucy, always brought it to an end by smiling and pointing to her wedding ring.
Flirting over, I asked how my other favourite staff member was, the lovely cleaner and tea lady. I couldn't remember her name, but she was a lovely little old lady. Whenever I saw her, she would say, “Oh, hello love, it's lovely to see you. Would you like a nice cup of tea. Come to the canteen and we'll have a little chat”. She would speak of her Son, Daughter and Grandchildren. She loved her Grand kids. Lucy said, “Oh, do you mean, Agnes”. “Yes, I think so”, I said. “She died, it was about six months ago, now”. My mood immediately flattened.
The fault was on the third floor, the fire escape door adjacent to the canteen. It was a quick repair and I had just packed my tools away, when the canteen door opened and out walked, Agnes. In an instant my mind raced. “Please God, make it go away. I promise, I will never ever flirt with a married woman ever again. I'll stop drinking and smoking and swearing. I'll go to mass every Sunday. I'll be good from now on, promise, I promise...... All my pleas went unanswered. Agnes noticed me hiding in the corner and said, “Oh, hello love, I haven't seen you for ages. Would you like a nice cup of tea, come into the canteen, we'll have a chat”. I had three options, (1) Pretend I couldn't see her, (2) Run off screaming, like a twelve year old school girl or (3) Be polite and go for a cup of tea and a chat. I decided to go for a cup of tea. Well, I'm rarely rude and you never know what a ghost might do. I sheepishly followed Agnes into the canteen and sat at a table. Agnes said, “Are you OK, you look a bit pale”. “I feel a little pale at the moment”, I said. “Well a nice cuppa will make you feel better”, she said.
We sat opposite each other at a table. She talked, as usual, of her children and grandkids. I must admit, I didn't really listen, I just keep thinking over and over again. “What the hell is going on here”. We finished our tea and she said, “Well, I must get on, it's been lovely seeing you, don't leave it too long next time”. “I won't”, I said. “Bye, bye”, she said, as she walked through the door, I don't mean “through” the door, she did open it first.
I made my way back down to the reception and Lucy said, “Are you all right, you look like you've just seen a ghost”. “Funny you should say that”, I said. “I've not only just seen a ghost, I've just had a chat and a cup of tea with one”. Lucy looked at me with a puzzled, half smiling face and said. “What!” I said, “I've just had a cup of tea and a chat with Agnes, the dead cleaner”. “Was she wearing a blue overall”, She said. “Yes, she was”, I said. Lucy started to laugh and said, “That's not Agnes, that's, Beryl. We had two cleaners, you know”. Sounding a little too much like Frank Spencer, I said, “Ohhhh”. Lucy must have felt a little sympathy for me and blew a kiss as I made a swift exit.
“Dear God, why do I always make a fool of myself in front of beautiful women”. God replied.“Because they are usually married. Just teaching you a lesson”.