High Society: Joe

high society

“I say it’s awful cloak and dagger all this isn’t it?” Charlie said down his phone as he arrived at the old dilapidated Waterloo railway tunnels. Despite being just a stone’s throw away from Waterloo main station he could barely hear a thing anymore. It was cold too. “Where are you old boy?” he asked shivering. But the reception had gone.

Charlie suddenly felt scared. Why had he come all the way to Waterloo, to these abandoned tunnels to meet a stranger? Well he’d come to find out where his family pocket watch was that had been swindled from him by a man he’d thought was his friend… but this was all beginning to feel a little dangerous…  Just as he went to turn back he saw it. A light. Right ahead. It hit his face and he covered his eyes. Then the light crept down his torso, trousers, shoes… then it was moving along the ground. Charlie chased after it like a dog chasing a ball.

Thirty seconds later Charlie stumbled out into a clearing. Twenty yards away, leaning on a pallet, a dirty-looking man… it was Joe…


Joe was in no doubt that Charlie was a moron. The puppyish eyes. The way he walked on the balls of his feet. The fact he came all the way to this seedy place on the promise he’d get his family’s pocket watch back… No wonder he’d been conned out of it so easily in the first place. Despite Joe being determined to get this watch back, he couldn’t help feeling irritated by Charlie’s presence. In his old life, Charlie would have been such easy prey to con… But he had to snap out of such thinking…

“Sorry about the secretive nature of our meeting” Joe offered.

“Yes it is all a bit, er… you know…” Joe guessed Charlie could not think of another word to describe how he felt. Charlie had already used ‘cloak and dagger’ and now ‘secretive’ had been taken too… Joe let him search for a few more seconds. “… Yes, yes, yes… very much so… hmmm, yes…”

“There are reasons for such a clandestine union” Joe said finally.

Charlie stared at him blankly.

“I tracked down your friend.”

Relief hit Charlie’s face immediately.

“Fantastic! Brilliant stuff! Gorgeous news! Although he’s not my friend anymore. A royal tinker, complete fucker.”

“He’s currently living in the mansion of a celebrity actress that he also conned.”

“Oh really? Who is she?”

Charlie loved celebrities.

“Her name is…”

As Joe said her name a train rattled past above and Charlie didn’t hear. As this happened Charlie was drenched in dust from the arch above his head. He stepped further into the clearing and shook it off his Saville Row suit. He looked irked once again.

“Anyway enough of this, you found him yes? Does he still have the watch?”

“He does. But not for long. As tomorrow he is taking it to an auction where he plans to sell it.”

“The absolute fucker! I’ll go down and get it! Yes that’s what I’ll do. That’s it. What auction? Doesn’t matter, I’ll find it! Nothing will stop me now.” He turned on his heels then –

“Begging your pardon Sir but I have another idea.”

“Oh. Yes?” Charlie stopped immediately.

“Well, it might just be possible for us to switch the watch in a more discreet fashion. But in order to do this we would need a replica copy. I can do this but I have only seen the watch briefly. Do you have any photographs of it? The rest you can leave with me.

“Photograph? Why yes! I have the photograph of me and my old man with Mummy at the races.”

He took out a photograph and showed it to Joe.

“Look he’s wearing it! Look!”

Joe seemed mesmerised as he stared at the golden watch on Charlie’s dad’s large chest.

“So he is. So he is.”


Written by Gareth Brown | @GarethBrown26

Check out Gareth’s Youtube Channel and Booksie Page for his films and short stories.


Next Wednesday: Melody


Chapter One

Part 1: Charlie Malbery

Part 2: Albert

Part 3: Ernest Malbery

Part 4: Ingrid

Part 5: Dalton

Part 6: Melody

Part 7: Marion


Chapter Two

Part 1: Albert

Part 2: Melody

Part 3: Marion

Part 4: Ingrid

Part 5: Dalton

Part 6: Charlie


Chapter Three

Part 1: Denny Rogers

Part 2: The homeless man

Part 3: Albert

Part 4: Melody

Part 5: Dalton

Part 6: Marion


Chapter Four

Part 1: Charlie