Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Zelly Restorick

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Nick slammed the Centre’s front door behind him. “I don’t bloody believe it. A piddling ten thousand quid.”
“Ssssh, Nick. He’s still outside with the camera crew.”
“I don’t care if he does hear”, Nick muttered and turned his head towards the door and shouted “because he’s a FRIGGIN’ MISERLY MILLIONAIRE.”
“They’ll have probably recorded that.” Julia picked up one of the bottles of champagne.
“It’s our own fault. Getting our hopes up so much. Drink?”
“Just give me the bottle.”
“We should be happy really,” said Julia.
“We can still do a lot with ten grand.” Nick glanced his eyes across at Julia, stared at her and then turned his gaze back to the champagne bottle.
“Talk to me. I know you’re upset.” Nick, shifted slightly in his seat, but remained silent.
“Your mouth’s giving you away. It matches the conversation that’s going on in your head. Just now you must have said something very aggressive to someone. You bared your teeth.” Nick swallowed. His nostrils flared. Julia wondered if he was trying to hold back tears and began examining a strange stain on the table.
“I thought he was going to give us enough money to make some real changes,” said Nick through gritted teeth.
“I know. Me too.”
“All those frigging cameras. Being filmed 24/7. Pretending to be getting on with our ‘normal lives‘. All the intrusion into our personal space. I thought it was going to be worth it, Jules.” Nick went to stamp his fist on the table, but stopped himself. He knew the table would more than likely collapse.
“We’ll have to tell everyone.”
“Leave it till after New Year.”
“But everyone knows. Today was the day we’d be hearing the words, ‘you’ll be shocked to learn that I wasn’t here as a trainee housing worker . . .’, pause for dramatic effect, roll of drums, ‘I’m a millionaire’. As if we didn’t know.” Nick’s lip curled as he glared at the empty champagne bottle.
“And then we thought he’d hand over a magnificent cheque,” said Julia, “and leave us alone to do what needs doing.”
“Not filling out frigging funding bids and wondering about whether we’ve got a job or not.” At that moment, a shadow appeared at the door.
“Oh, hello Edie,” said Jules.
“Is the Centre going to be rich then?”, asked the duffle-coated woman standing in the doorway, her face appearing out from a halo of scarf and over-sized woolly hat.
“He gave us ten thousand quid,” said Julia.
“We’re a bit disappointed.”
“Ten thousand quid?”, said Edie, pushing her hat back to reveal a tiny bit more face.
“But that’s TONNES of money. If I had ten thousand quid, I’d be able to set myself up properly somewhere and have a home that’s mine, not some room in a hostel.” She retreated into her woolly cave.
“I suppose we could always have a massive ten thousand pound party,” said Nick, “invite everyone who’s anyone to watch the programme with us – and then ask for more donations.”
“We could ask for help that isn’t money too”, said Julia. “It’s not everything you know.”
“I’ll mend the doorbell, so’s you can hear people arrive,” said Edie. “I won’t charge you.”
“Save these for the party then, eh?”, said Nick, picking up the crate of celebratory champagne bottles donated by Michael Chester, the millionaire, and sliding them into the stationery cupboard.
“Group hand-hold?” asked Edie, offering a hand each to Julia and Nick.
“We don’t need no stinkin’ millionaires,” she grinned and retreated back into her woolly sanctuary.

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