PARTY DIALOGUE by Liz Eastham
“Great party eh?” the man said.
“Yes, good,” replied the younger woman.
“Charles Fortescue,” he held out his hand. “Pleased to meet you, my dear”.
“And you. I'm Lindi Arvidsson”.
“So, what neck of the woods do you hail from Lindsay?”
“Lindi,” she corrected him and paused. “You say I have a wooden neck - what is this?”
“One of our many English expressions. It means ‘where do you come from?'”
“I see. Today I have travelled from Cheltenham. Before that, Stockholm. My home is in Stockholm,”
“Ah, like that funny radio woman - Scandi Toksvig.”
“What?” “Sandi Toksvig, Not Scandi. And she's Danish. I'm Swedish.”
“Ah - all the same to me,” Charles chuckled. “Blue eyes, blonde hair-like you.”
Lindi knew what Charles was thinking. She was used to leery men. “Yes but I am slimmer than Sandi. And not Danish,” she repeated.
“I should say!”
“So, Charles, have you ever been to Scandinavia?” she toyed with him, knowing full well he hadn't.
“Ah, no. Too damn cold. No light.”
“You British and your obsession with the weather! Sweden is a beautiful country.”
“With you in it, it would be,” was his cheesy refrain. Lindi smiled in response. She was used to flattery. “So,” Charles continued, “what brings you to England, my dear?”
“I am setting up a chain of shops.”
“Shops, eh?” replied Charles.
Again Lindi knew what he was thinking. “Ladies fashion shops. Unique Swedish designs, as you can see.”
“Yes, I can. Very colourful, Lindsay.”
“You keep getting my name wrong. It's Lindi not Lindsay.”
“Oh, do forgive me dear. That is a very pretty dress. The turquoise matches your eyes.”
“Oh thank you. Now Charles, what about you? What is your position?” Charles lifted an eyebrow, “I mean,” Lindi continued “your occupation. Work?”
“I'm in estate management. Country properties. All over Gloucestershire,” he proudly added.
“A real English gentleman,” Lindi replied, and realised she was stereotyping too, but not as much as he was stereotyping her. “Distinguished,” she added, for good measure.
“Like a good tweed jacket,” Charles replied looking down. “Good quality. Keeps out the cold. Like whisky eh?” He saw his glass was empty. “I see your glass is empty,” he said to Lindi. “What can I get you?”
“Another glass of white wine please”.
“I'll be back in a jiffy.”
Lindi looked round the room, hoping she could find someone else to talk to. Someone more her age. As Charles returned with the drinks she asked, “Do you know many people here?”
“Oh yes, quite a few. That fellow over there is my work colleague. Young Freddie. And over there,” he gestured towards a large woman in her sixties whom Lindi thought was dressed in curtain material, “my secretary Peggy. A marvel. Couldn't run the business without her. Let me introduce you.”
As Charles began to walk over to Peggy, Lindi was eyeing up Freddie. “Oh Charles,” she said, “I am so sorry, I have a text message which I must deal with. Please excuse me. It has been nice to meet you.”
“No problem Lindsay. My card-telephone - maybe drink in future, eh?”