‘Who’s ‘him’?’ hissed Victoria, always one step behind.
‘Lucan! You remember, Great Gramps used to tell us all those stories about him, about how he arrived in Antigua in a banana crate.’ Victoria paused, then turned to her older sibling.
‘Oh yes, I do!’ she gasped. ‘Murdered his children’s nanny, then disappeared!’
‘Shhh!’ whispered Sawala, clamping a hand to her sister’s mouth. ‘I’ve been watching him for the past week and I’m certain.’ She started counting the clues on her fingers.
‘Well, for a start there’s the moustache. Look at it – like a dead caterpillar.’ She added a second finger. ‘And that greasy hair, far too black isn’t it, probably dyes it.’ She fumbled to nominate another finger. ‘Ooooh yes, another thing – that side parting, like it’s been cut with a knife. It’s got to be him!’
Victoria was taking it all in, as usual in awe of her sister’s shrewd deductions. She needed to add something of her own, some helpful observation, perhaps another vital clue. She turned to Sawala.
‘His voice, I just heard it and it made me think of something Great Gramps used to say about him.’
‘Oh yeah, what’s that?’ asked Sawala, one eye still glued to the spy hole.
‘Well,’ announced Victoria with huge confidence. ‘He sounds like Devon air!’ Sawala turned to face her, brow furrowed.
‘Not Devon air, you idiot. He used to say that Lucan sounded debonaire!’ She shook her head and returned to the hole, but carried on whispering. ‘You know, how posh folk speak, not like the usual plebs we get here nowadays.’
‘What,’ asked Victoria. ‘like that Richard Branston who come in last week?’
‘Yeah, that’s it!’ exclaimed Sawala, sensing a glimmer of hope for her half-wit sister. ‘It’s not like the old days, is it? Great Gramps used to have to clear up after that Princess Margerita. Now she was definitely debonaire!’
Victoria’s eyebrows rose. ‘Oh, is that the one who used to wear a plastic crown to breakfast and stamp her ciggie butts through the gaps in the bar floor?’
‘So he said, yeah.’ replied Sawala. They returned to their spying.
‘It’s not much to go on, is it?’ sighed Victoria, losing interest and nibbling the corners of her nails.
Sawala shook her head. ‘You shouldn’t do that Vic, they’ll split. Mum said.’ They examined each other’s nails.
‘Yours are so beautiful Sawala,’ said Victoria. ‘Where do you get them done?’ Sawala wiggled them and beamed.
‘Frannie does them for me, she’s got a little place up at the Wellness Hut.’
Angry voices rose from the bar, snapping the two out of their chatter and sending them back to the woodwork.
‘Oh my god, Vic,’ gasped Sawala. ‘Lucan’s ‘aving a go at that American, the fat one with a Rolex on both wrists.’ The argument grew in ferocity, a glass smashed to the floor, a stool toppled and rolled into the pool.
‘What’s he saying?’ asked Victoria. ‘I can’t hear properly!’
‘Something about a gambling debt and …’ Sawala pressed an ear tighter to the crack. ‘Err … twenty grand down last night you bounder and … and … you’ll jolly well pay me or else!’
‘Oh no!’ cried Victoria. ‘Lucan’s picked up a bottle of Jack Daniels and he’s threatening him with it!’ She started wailing. ‘What can we do Sawala, what can we do?’ Her eyes filled. ‘We have to tell someone!’
Sawala shooked her head in exasperation. ‘I know, I know! But who’s going to believe a couple of mongooses?’