Walter Copper! That is a name to hate your parents for. Individually he had no real complaint. Both his parents were loving, kindly, supportive and quite generous. He was their only child and they gave him all that doting parents might. But, you may have noticed, he was called Walter! Not in itself a particularly unfortunate name, uncommon, yes. He might have found some satisfaction in being named after Walt of Disney fame or that poet fellow, de la Mare, surely there must be others? He had never bothered to look.
Now, as he walked under the canopies of the shop fronts, hiding from the rain and dodging the cascades in their gaps, he wondered why he had never changed his name.
Passing the lit windows that were part-covered in condensation he would catch glimpses of his reflection. The old oilskin cape that shimmered with the streaks of water and refracted the glow off the coloured lights. His overlong trouser legs were tucked into black socks pulled up to his calves stopping the turn-ups dragging in the puddles. He tried to walk quietly but even at this slow pace the hob-nailed soles and steels on toes and heels tapped like a slow dancer, or a bored morse-key operator.
Stopping in the shelter of the corner shop, he leaned briefly against its glass panelled door. It was locked but he pulled away from it quickly as he felt and heard the wooden cross give and crack. Furtively he looked behind him and then peered round the corner. No people out on this wet evening only a few cars parked further up, approximately outside The Jolly Puritan, public house. Then he clipped off the curb and clopped across the road to the awnings the other side and stood for a few moments with his back bathed in the spotlighted window of the dress shop.
Walter felt the eyes of the mannequins staring at him and counted slowly to thirty before he turned and looked back at their rouged cheeks, pouting lips and their bald heads. Their eyes watched him blankly. They stood with arms bent up as if disdainfully dismissing him, handbags precariously slung over cracked joints. Their dresses glittered steely. Sequinned, like chain-mail of glittering blues and reds and golden hues that hung, hard-pointed down past hips and par-crossed alabaster legs. They all smiled at him, fingers minutely moving, encouraging him into their little world. He smiled a little and ruefully shook his head. Looked at his watch, where the hand points and strolled back across the road.
The rain worsened and, decision made, he pushed open the old quarter-panelled door of the pub and stepped into the glowing room. Two heads turned as he entered. The man, nursing a pint of bitter. The woman who had been staring at the scarred wall opposite. And from the other bar, a barrel shaped man appeared and said, “Good evening, P.C. Copper, what a night, what a rotter!”
Wait for the further adventures of Copper man:
Copper Man and the Innuit
Seven Days, Nine Nights with Copper.
Copper gets the Model
The Copper Bottom Deal
Copper catches Gold
Copper gets Rusty