A Bridge of Letters
“That’s the point,” said the man. “We’re just a sort of post office here, passing
messages to and fro.”
“But I’d like to know where he is so that I can talk to him for a change.”
“We don’t do telephones,” said the man, “just letters and messages. We send them
on via the Diplomatic Bag service.”
“But he’s my father, and I want to talk to him. He wouldn’t mind – he writes quite
often. In fact I’m sure he’d be pleased and surprised if I rang him up. Why can’t
you give me his number?”
“I’m not allowed to, that’s why,” said the man, irritably. “You’ll just have to keep
writing, but you could ask him to ring you or give you his number.”
“I have asked him, but he says he’s never in the same place long enough.”
“There you are, then.”
“So how do my letters get to him?”
“Well, I suppose there’s no harm in telling you, but one of the Queen’s Messengers
takes it to the nearest British Embassy, which passes it on to him. The same thing
happens in reverse when he writes you”, explained the man.
“And you get it and post it on to me, do you?”
“At least I know now why his letters are always posted in London. For a long time I
thought he worked there,” said Peter.
“I’m sure sometimes he does,” said the man.
Maurice was very amused by Peter’s account of this, and not a little proud of the fact
that his son had shown such initiative. For the first time ever, he rang the boy for a
chat, but even then wouldn’t say where he was. Thrilled though he had been to talk
to his father after so long, it turned out to be a unique event, and the regular exchange
of letters was maintained afterwards. His father only ever rang Peter on three other
occasions. The first was to congratulate him on getting into university to study
languages, the second was to congratulate his on being accepted for Army training at
the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, and the third, a year later, was to say how
pleased he was that he had graduated and joined the Intelligence Corp.
He looked at the clock on his digital radio.
ajor Peter Northcot’s phone rang. His mobile.