I’m sat at the bottom of the garden. It’s early evening and Kit is in the shower. My phone is in my hand clenched in white sweat. There isn’t much time.
“Hello, this is Edward Lock from Howel’s Insurance. Am I speaking to Cora Myoko-Smith?” I don’t let her answer, ‘I work for Christian Lake. This is a follow up phone call for the request you made for travel insurance,” I churn out the words like an answering machine.
“Oh, hiya. Good news or bad?” says a female voice that ripples and runs over the drum of my ear like a prostitute’s tongue. My mouth dries up. I try to wet my lips.
“Good and bad. I verify requests for Chris, he’s had a second thought about yours. It’s my job to check for discrepancies in your application. It says on your record that you made a claim for fire damage in the past,” and I have no idea what it was, “could you detail the request?”
“I lived in a flat my parents’ bought me for second year of university. It was shitty and I had a landlord like a pluralist priest so we just had to rely on his good word that everything worked and the alarm was quiet and the oven faulty so… so I had to make the claim,” she says, my heart jumping at every word. I try and compose myself.
“Your parents didn’t have insurance for their flat, but you did?” I don’t even work in insurance and this sounds suspicious.
“My parents are,” she pauses. “Harsh.”
“Right. And the car crash claim?”
“No. That was just an accident. T-bone on a crossing, busy day so we weren’t going at much speed, neither of us could decide who was responsible. We both took out a claim. Was pretty relaxed. I’d give it eight out of ten for the all-round insurance experience.”
“Sounds reasonable,” I stall, thinking of what to say next, “that all sounds fine. We just you need to sign some documents. When are you next available?”
“Just like that?” she says and I hold my breath until she continues, “Sweet. Tomorrow is good. Any time of the day. Should I save this number?” she asks.
“Yes, that’s a good idea. Chris is out of the office so I’ll meet you in the coffee shop opposite Howel’s at twelve thirty? It will only take a moment,” I say, brazenly.
“Sure,” she hesitates, “the coffee shop.”
“Great. Thanks for your time. Goodbye.”
I go into the kitchen through the back-door. Kit is coming down the stairs. Do I own a suit that fits me?