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#963
John S Alty
Participant

Taking on board the comments so far, here’s an edited version, with a title change.

The First Time
Two men wearing overcoats followed the nurse down the corridor.
“Florence has quite perked up since you arranged this visit so she should be able to answer your questions. She’ll tire quickly, though, remember she’s over ninety.”
“Thank you, we’ll bear that in mind” said one of the men.
The nurse knocked and opened the door. A woman was sitting hunched in an armchair placed next to a made bed, gazing at a television set bolted high on the opposite wall.
“Your guests, Florence.” Then to the men, “I’ll leave you to it.”
There were two chairs against the wall under the television set and the woman indicated her guests should sit there. She lowered the volume but didn’t switch off the set.
“Florence Watson?” A nod. “I’m Inspector Monroe of the Metropolitan Police Force and this is Inspector Duval of the Police Nationale, the French police. We’d like to ask you a few questions.”
“What about?” A surprisingly clear, strong voice. A hint of mischief.
“You were in France in 1954, with the British army, is that correct?” asked Inspector Monroe.
**
Tramping along country lanes in the rain with a group of colleagues from the military hospital soon lost its attraction and Florence said au revoir and set off back to Paris. Looking for lunch prior to catching her train she came upon a restaurant near the station. Inside it all looked a bit shabby, its best years behind it, but it was to become the start of a delicious adventure and she would forgive it its shortcomings whenever she thought about it later.
He’d intervened while she was trying to order lunch in her appalling French.
“What language are you trying to speak, mademoiselle, if I may ask?”
“Cantonese” she replied with a smile. “Would you care to help me, make sure I don’t order pig’s testicles or something?”
He moved to her table, said his name was Robert and she thought he’d be perfect. His English was nearly faultless and during the meal they made jokey small talk and discovered they were both leaving for Paris on the late afternoon train. Parfait, she thought.
“Well, seeing as our first date’s going so well, how about dinner tonight in Paris?” he said.
“I don’t see why not, I have no plans for tonight.”
“Bon, but there is one condition.”
“Anything.”
“Don’t wear that uniform. I’d love to see you in a pretty dress.”
“As you wish.”
**
Florence had her raincoat collar turned up, a cigarette cupped in her hand to keep it dry and she was not happy. He was late. This was the right place, she was certain of that – corner of rue de bloody something and rue de bloody something else – but she knew she’d got it right. Damn men, she thought, they are so full of themselves, they think they can leave a lady waiting in the rain and there’ll be no consequences. There are always consequences, Robert, my boy.
He hurried towards her, umbrella aloft. “My god, I’m so sorry, I got involved in something and didn’t realize the time. Can you forgive me?”
“I’m cold and wet and very disenchanted. You have a lot of work to do to earn forgiveness.” A smile softened the rebuke.
“Sorry, sorry, so stupid of me. It’s just down here, come on.”
The dinner and the restaurant were excellent. A simple cassoulet in a small smoky den with brick walls and a trio playing blues and jazz. Later, as they sipped brandy with their coffee he suggested they go back to his place for a nightcap. She teased him a while and then agreed, with a look that said she knew precisely what he thought might follow the nightcap.
He lived in a small apartment on the second floor of a block off Rue Foyatier in Montmartre, a short walk from the restaurant. In the kitchen they chatted; Robert was fussing with drinks and Florence was fiddling with a set of knives stored in a wooden block on the counter.
“Voila!” He held a glass in each hand which rendered him helpless to defend himself when Florence drove the paring knife into his groin. And that was the start of a night of exquisite pleasure for Florence. Gagged and bound, Robert did not find the leisurely vivisection pleasurable at all. Death came as a considerable relief.
**
“Yes, Inspector, I’m sure you are fully aware I was a surgeon with the Medical Corp at that time.”
“Do you remember a Robert Evra?” asked Inspector Monroe.
A crooked smile, a flash of something in eyes as bright as buttons, “How could I forget him. He was my first.”