We are next door, enjoying a glass of wine, skirting round the topic of the missing Christmas lights.
A lull in the conversation. The LTLP turns to me, sweetly.
“By the way,” she remarks. “I found some ladies’ glasses in a case beside the bed. Whose are they, please?”
I am greatly taken aback.
I am a rubbish liar. Fortunately on this occasion I have no need to lie, as I really haven’t got a clue whose glasses these are.
Unfortunately, in between me working this bit out and presenting the LTLP with a calm and authoritative denial of any wrongdoing, I allow myself to think quite how implausible whatever I say will sound.
Consequently I go very red, stammer and look shifty as I make weak protestations.
“I guess they might be the cleaner’s?” I reply.
Mentioning the cleaner never improves the situation between us.
“Perhaps they’re the Vegetable Delivery Lady’s?” offers Short Tony. He is the world’s biggest stirrer. I shall henceforth call him Short Tony the Wooden Spoon.
“I doubt they’re the Vegetable Delivery Lady’s,” I reply. “Besides, it was not the Vegetable Delivery Lady last week. It was a man. With a beard.”
I reflect that the man with a beard explanation was all very well, but that it would perhaps have been better to simply point out that the Vegetable Delivery Lady has never been up to my bedroom and removed her glasses. Why must I always over-elaborate???
“Search a bit harder,” suggests Short Tony the Wooden Spoon, highly unhelpfully. “You might find a discarded brassiere.”
“No,” I reply quickly. “She only ever leaves brassica.”
The room echoes with laughter at my clever little joke. When I have wiped the tears from my eyes I look round to find that in fact it was only me laughing and that it is just a very echoey room.
“Well?” asks the LTLP.
“I’m sure they were the cleaner’s,” I state, drawing the line under the subject and moving on, like Mr Blair does when there is nothing more to say about a topic ever in the world again.
The conversation is dropped. But the cleaner does not wear glasses. I am stumped.