It was the autumn of 1989. Jonathan Blul, the peripatetic surgeon from America had just bought his Sunday Times, then crossed the road hoping to sit down with it while keeping an eye out for his female friend. It was nine-thirty or closer to ten perhaps. He was lucky, cutting through Covent Garden most eateries were closed but La Coupole, a French-style brasserie near Bow Street’s Magistrate’s Court had already opened its doors. Looking through its plate glass windows he spotted a handful of patrons reading and munching away, but not apparently saying much--- like everywhere else, Sunday morning slow going here. As for Dr Blul, he was up and about only because he hadn’t slept well. Twelve hours earlier Kay-Kay, his obdurate Chinese lady-friend and travel companion had put on a vanishing act. The chance of finding her here were nil of course but even supposedly clever and disciplined surgeons can be irrational; the trick is to avoid people in this mood and the night before it was exactly what the tai-tai, a Chinese woman of certain standing, had done. But who knows what hides behind the tranquil façade of many a Sunday morning coffee-sipping client, putting on airs of unprepossessing innocence? And who could have guessed the doctor was the type of man who would perpetrate a small self-mutilation to have a woman he cannot have, dote over him? Yet this also was precisely the case, the blood-stained bandage round his left wrist visible proof of his sorry indiscretion, the long term effect of which only diminished through some equally dramatic show of contrition. But first things first as presently Dr Blul entered the establishment. His head throbbing from the previous night’s mess, he picked a table near the front-door from where he could peer back out over the pavement in the hope of catching his oriental friend. He didn’t pay particular attention to other patrons there but did notice they all looked foreign, forced out of their cage so to speak, especially the chap with a Panama hat nearest him.
Certainly Dr Blul had gone too far with Kay-Kay, half expecting to be rebuked by her, though hardly in this fashion. She had strutted demonstratively out of the room they shared in a nearby hotel, harshly shutting the door behind her, expressing her independence with staggering clarity. Not that she isn’t free to come and go as she pleases, but in a new country, a new city, out alone all night: where on earth could she have gone?
It was slowly getting bright out and warmer too, the rain long stopped. The doctor wondered what to do about his Chinese paramour, even though she would never refer to herself in these terms. But with her flying the coop after he had pulled that messy and admittedly youthful prank, shouldn’t he go talk to the police, find out where she had run? The stains on the white rug, the blood in the room were his own, not hers. He had nothing to fear but everything to worry about. He sighed, his head ached from hitting the town after she had left him and he now also got a sharp jolt after his wrist involuntarily hit the side of the rattan and glass table when unfolding his Times. So that frankly speaking he was in a bit of a state, this late October London morning approaching the end of a century already somewhat turbulent.
Want to read the rest of this fascinating story?
Please place your order before the First Edition is sold out.