Frederick Castley: Let’s be friends
‘Hello General Brennan.’
I ambushed the General on his way from the training facility to his office. His adjutant walked a few paces behind, studying documents. He looked up at the sound of my voice. The General had a frightened look on his face at the sight of me.
‘Viscount Castley is something the matter?’ the adjutant asked. His glasses did not hide the concern in his gaze.
‘No, nothing of great import. If you aren’t busy, I would like a little chat.’
‘I’m sorry Viscount; I have to create the new practice rota…’
He is very resistant, but I kept my expression mild and asked, ‘Ah, how about lunch then?’
My gaze went to his aide, who returned a knowing smile and replied, ‘We could adjust things.’
‘Yes, then we can meet for lunch.’
We made an appointment to meet in the cafeteria at noon, and I took my leave of the general.
I gave him look that said “Do not say anything unnecessary”. Did he understand? Well , even if he didn’t understand it’s okay. Yet…
I headed to the cafeteria at the appointed time. His adjutant reserved a seat that had a privacy screen.He had a keen mind, that adjutant. I want someone like him.
I chose soup and grilled vegetables and took my tray to the table where General Brennan was already seated with a large meal of meat, vegetables, soup and bread before him.
As I sat before him, Volker looked at my meal and said,
‘The Viscount’s meal is small,’ his face was still impassive.
I smiled and retrieved a packet,
‘My daughter is learning how to cook. She made sandwiches for me.’
General gaze was immediately drawn to the package in my hand. Hehe, he is an honest man.
‘But today, I don’t have much appetite. I won’t be able to eat all the roast beef sandwiches.’
General Brenan had a conflicted expression on his face.
‘Do you like roast beef, General?’
‘…I like it.’
It was as though he was reluctant to reply. He remained almost expressionless.
‘Well, I can share it with my friend.’
‘But I do not have any friends because I am disliked by my peers because I am richer than they are. Oh what should I do?’
If someone was overhearing this, they would think an old man like me was propositioning the General for an affair. Let me tell you, I am happily married!
‘…Viscount…’ the general was trying to say something.‘What is it?’ I prompted.
‘Please become friends with me!’ he said in a low but firm tone.
I tried to keep the triumphant grin from my face and replied, ‘To celebrate our new friendship, I shall offer you a taste of my daughter’s roast beef sandwich.’
I carefully placed half the sandwich in General Brennan’s plate.
‘Thank you,’ he said, with a slight lowering of his head. He picked up the sandwich with both hands like it was a sacred item.
‘It is a beautiful sandwich.’
I burst out laughing,
‘What are you saying General?! You are funny.’
After a long laugh, I turned to my meal thinking; maybe we could really be friends.