One morning the phone rings and a familiar voice says: “Chreestoff!”
It is my old friend Alistair, who appears in a number of these Tales. For some long-forgotten reason, he has always called me Chreestoff. He is the only person who does.
He cuts the pleasantries short: “Chreestoff,” he says, “I have three items of business.” “Fire away,” I reply. I assume that this is about work.
“First item,” he says, “lunch!” So we fixed a date for lunch.
“Second, I have finished my book on Marshals of Napoleon. I will be grateful to discuss how I go about getting it published.” “No problem at all,” I reply.
“Third, I have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and told I have between two and five months to live.”
I was silent for a while before saying softly: “I don’t like that third item of business.”
Alistair gave half a laugh as he replied: “I’m not too keen on that one either!”