I opened the door to a large man, about forty, graying temples, somewhat overweight, with a friendly face. Frances must be right: an off-duty repairman.
“Denis?” he asked.
“Yes! Good. Well. Come in, come in,” I said, eagerly, then led him to the padlocked phone. “There it is.”
“Right – the phone? On the blink, is it—?”
“Don’t see many like this anymore—” He picked up the phone and examined it.
The guy seemed to know what he was doing, so I left him alone and moved back to the kitchen. Frances was still standing in the back doorway, looking down the street.
“Denis, look,” she said, calling me over. “That car there.”
I looked at the parked car, saw two women, shrugged, and turned back.
“Look, the older woman. She looks just like your Aunt Flo.”
I went outside for a better look. I saw a youngish woman and a stately, older woman. I walked slowly towards them. The older woman started laughing and waving at me. She did look vaguely familiar.
“Oh, my God. Aunt Mary!” Grinning, I waved back, then quickly legged it back into the house. The large guy with the friendly face was still holding the phone.
“Sorry, mate, but this phone is buggered!”
“Are you my cousin Ken?
“Kevin,” he said, rather casually. “I thought you’d twig it eventually!”