Section 118 is on the shortlist
That evening, after an otherwise uneventful day, Vernon revised his list of world famous bears. It was impressive. Yogi Bear and Boo boo, Fozzie Bear, The Berenstain Bears… no that was a long shot, he doubted Émile would have encountered them. Paddington was a favourite of course, and then there was Baloo. Bungle and Sooty were also outsiders; they were hardly bear-like. Suddenly a jingle popped into Vernon’s head like a dislocated shoulder repair on the rugby touchline… ‘Rupert, Rupert the bear, everyone knows his name…’ Involuntarily Vernon danced around the kitchen singing the jingle and shaking a tea-bag ineffectually for percussion.
“It’s Rupert” he declared to no-one in particular. “Rupert the bear.”
Just then the phone rang. Must be Jean Luc, Vernon thought, it’s occurred to him too. It wasn’t however. It was Nsansa.
“Hi Vernon. Remember me? I’m your girlfriend; or do you only call me at work now?” Thankfully Nsansa’s tone was light-hearted. “How’re things darling?” She said.
“Oh they’re okay. As bright as can be for an imminent exile who’s reputation is shot.”
“Whose shot a reptile?” Nsansa quipped and they exchanged an easy banter for a few moments. Nevertheless, a question was gnawing at Vernon whilst he chatted and he heard himself interject into the light-hearted conversation, “Nsansa have you any idea of a Rupert whose powerful in the business world, perhaps in the media business?”
“Uh-uh” came the swift unconcerned reply. “Looking for your next victim?”
Something clicked in Vernon’s brain but he could not bring it to the surface. “Something along those lines. Hey do you fancy coming to stay over sometime this week?”
“I’d love to my sweet but I phoned to say that I have a placement in Wales again till next Monday. Abergavenny or something like that.”
“Have I got any what?” Vernon joked returning the favour. “That’s a shame. I’ll miss you. Can we meet up when you get back?” His desire to see her was genuine and he found himself teetering on the brink of nostalgia for the good old uncomplicated days of Ely and chips. They left on good terms and Vernon promised to email and phone once she had confirmed her arrival the following day.