I regret that I have abandoned this.
I realise that this sort of thing should start with ‘it was a dark, stormy night’, but it wasn’t. We’d just seen ‘Wicked’. The show, not the vernacular, and the plan was to hit a pub, but they all had queues too long to be inviting…
We, well, girlfriend at the time. It couldn’t last, for reasons that I think will be perfectly obvious before the prologue concludes.
So, we were walking back, behind the theatre, and lo and behold, there he was, just a walkin’ down the street… sans his toupe, open neck shirt, slightly tinted glasses despite the darkness.
“Mr Newton?” He turned to us, smiling. It wasn’t the fake plastered smile I expected, it was genuine. Or it seemed genuine, and given his background in ‘the biz’, it’s hard to be sure. “Can I get your autograph?”
Now, normally, I wouldn’t bother celebrities if they are walking the streets. I’m sure that most of them like the faux anonymity, that they like getting about their business like regular people, but this, this was Bert Newton.
“Of course.” He responded. It was like it was still a bit of a novelty to him.
I patted down my pockets for something for him to sign, and to sign with. Came up with the black sharpie I tend to carry.
“Ah,” I said to my companion, “the tickets.”
She giggled like a school girl and started sifting through her vacuous handbag. I think, when they reach a certain size, they should probably stop being called handbags…
She dislodged a book towards the top, and it fell to the ground. With surprising speed, Mr Newton picked it up. He turned it over in his hand.
“’New Moon’ huh?” Was there just a hint of disdain? “Well, at least she didn’t get the werewolves as wrong as the vampires.”
“What?” Said my companion.
“Well, they don’t sparkle, and they certainly do have homoerotic overtones.” He smiled that beaming smile again.
He signed her ticket, and she wandered down the street a bit.
“Are you saying werewolves exist?” I ventured as he signed my ticket.
“I didn’t say that.”
“And you meant real werewolves, not crazy people based around the lunar cycle, werewolf werewolves – lycanthropes?”
He gave me a look I couldn’t read, maybe it was a ‘why do you know that word?’ look, and handed me back the ticket.
“Thank you.” I tentatively offered my hand. He took it, his grip was firm and strong.
“You’re welcome.” That smile, that never seemed very far, returned to his face.
I could feel his eyes watching me as I walked away. Well, at least that is what I imagined.
It was two days later, I’d dumped the girl for reading ‘Twilight’, when I noticed something. I’d found a frame for the ticket, it was going straight to the pool room, but on the back was a sequence of numbers. It was in the same hand as Mr Newton’s signature, the same pen.
It was in code, and it was a message.