It's been all of several hours since he last spent some time and a few pounds discussing the state of play with his good friend Elias Sagtrouser, but, Scrobs was returning home after a hard day's graft, and had to pass 'The Bells' (it is a village pub after all). Elias has a hermit crab existence there, although he does the opposite to that noble crustacean and he jumps out on unsuspecting passers-by like the shambling Scrobs, and lures them into a haven of rest to partake of several pints of 'Old Standfast' - ABV 5.5%, (and that is a misnomer in any red-blooded male's books, I can tell you)!
So, Elias is in his usual station closest to the bar, and his ever-loving-wife, Gloriette, is sitting on a bar stool next to him, and showing a huge acreage of stunning legs. To make matters worse, Meccano (their stupid son), and Toniatteliene, (Meccano's squeeze), are playing bar billiards, and every time the rather gorgeous lady leans over the table, there are several embolisms in waiting with some of the assembled older men, and the same number of similar-sounding experiences from some of the younger ones!
"Scrobs, I want to tell you a story"! says Elias, adjusting his hat.
Now this is a sign that I will be in the same location for at least three pints more, as Elias has a habit of being very generous with his hard-earned (occasionally-tax-free) notes at the best of times, and while I always try to intervene and pay my corner, Elias pronounces the values of Trilbyism, and has a tenner outstretched towards Sharonetta behind the bar, at every twitch of the said Trilby. He really is a generous man to a fault, and I really like him tremendously - even without the beer ticket!
"Scrobs, I want to tell you about my recent visit to Ashford!" He intones gravely.
"Elias, I know Ashford extremely well, having started my career there a squillion light-years ago, when I fancied a girl who was clearly still at school, another girl who clearly had graduated in the bloke section, and another whom I clearly loved eternally, until I met Mrs Scrobs!"
"Scrobs, Scrobs! I need to know that you are not intending to give me your historical love-life story, before I continue"! says Elias.
So it came to pass that the following story unfolded.
"I was born in that town, and grew up there", starts my good friend.
"I recently had to go back there to retrieve some money owed by a customer who lived near a certain address on Beaver Lane"!
Now I know Beaver Lane particularly well, because when I was a squalid, jumped-up spotty little junior rent collector in 1965, I had two cottages to collect from there, and they paid fourteen shillings a week (70p)!
"Elias, that place has changed from the good old railway days now, and business is difficult isn't it"?
"Scrobs, this is so, and I try and help anyone who is even approaching their 'uppers', but my new bank manager says I must do such things; so I do; and while I want to beat him to pulp with one of Meccano's largest spanners, I will retain some decorum on my financial position!"
Now this is the financial realism being experienced by most experienced businessmen, so I immediately cotton on to my friend's new analysis, and also his new story.
"I parked my new car in a public bay there, and locked it securely"! Said Elias. "There is no knowing who might want to enter the car and take whatever they can, but I don't believe anyone really wants an AA map book from 1967, and a bit of old carpet for the dog"! He nods sagely, and so do I, at the same time as Gloriette picks up her Iphone, and calls her manicurist, nodding at some conversation, so there is a certain amount of nodding going on at that particular moment.
(Just as an aside, one needs to focus one's eyes carefully when one looks at Gloriette, as so many parts require short-sight, because they're much closer than you think, others require long-sight, because they're so long and I suppose, there's always the lingering wish of the blessing of hindsight in that one might have got there before Elias, but I digress.)
"Scrobs, will you please pay attention!" says Elias, proffering another large denomination note in a circular motion to indicate refills all round. I take my gaze from Gloriette's amazing fingernails, and focus again, slightly mistily I might add, on my be-trilbyed chum.
"I'm all ears old chap!" I replied, and he continued his story.
"Just as I'd locked up the motor, and checked that there were no small nearby urchins who might attempt to clean it with a wire brush, I glanced across the road, and there was my brother, just standing there staring at me and the car, and looking decidedly down at heel!"
Now it has never occurred to me that Elias had a brother, or a sister, or in fact, any previous family at all. I suppose I've always thought that when Elias was created, there had been some sort of flash of light from the heavens and a 'whoosh', then, after a sullen clunk and a whistle a trilby hat suddenly appeared from the ether, and then, after a short wait, the grey suited body of Elias just metamorphosed from the brim downwards to his shoes, and the resulting body immediately sold three tons of bricks and a pipe wrench to a man walking his dog nearby.
"Your brother, eh!" was all I could say.
"Yes, my brother Stanley! He is not a great person to have around, as he was apprehended several times by Sergeant Shepherd and his mates with bits of metal he'd taken from somewhere or other, and which he hoped to sell to the merchants down the road. In fact there were also periods in his life when he was unable to undertake this pastime, as he was sewing mail bags in Brixton, and became quite good at it after several more terms in that academy! So we never really got on at all, and frankly, I'd forgotten all about him!"
"This must have been a bit of a shock to your system then?" I asked him.
"Oh, I know how to deal with people like him, but he did look pretty lost, and I took a certain amount of pity on him!" said Elias, swirling his beer around in his glass, and beginning to look thoughtful.
"So what happened next then?" I asked him.
"Well, he looked across at me, then at the car, then back a me again, and said "Blimey, you've come up in the world Bro, this is a surprise, but then you always did know how to succeed, you had the best chances too!"
"Now that wasn't true actually," Elias said. "Sid Bucket, my old partner, and I grafted for years to get going, but I still felt sorry for him standing there in a grubby old coat and three day's shaving adrift". He swirled his beer again thoughtfully.
"So presumably, you dropped him a few quid did you?" I said.
"Well, after he had walked across the road, looking like he was going to ask for some help, he said "Elias, I'm a bit short at the moment, I'm also a bit down on my luck, could you give me a couple of quid for a bath?"
"Oh, that's nice Elias, he was probably grateful for some cash to get cleaned up and presentable again! So did you drop him a few notes then?" I said.
"Naaah, I just told him to bring it round to the yard the next day, and I'd have a look at it!"