A Piece of the Sky is Missing

A Piece of the Sky is Missing
О книге

David Nobbs’ classic is now available as an ebook .Why should up-and-coming, thirty-two-year-old executive Robert Bellamy get himself the sack? What made him draw a caricature of the Exports Manager on the wall of the non-executive gents? Why is he his own worst enemy?Is it because he nearly ran away from boarding school on his third day or because, when he was fourteen, his mother developed a fatal friendship for a man who looked like Hitler? Does his sense of inadequacy stem from his once being mistaken for a draft of 350 men? Or from his failure long ago to do justice to the facilities at Mme Antoinette's Maison d'Amitié (Paris branch)? Has he been too slow with Sonia, too fast with Frances?Whatever the reason, one act of brinkmanship seems to lead to another. Robert finds himself involved in a series of embarrassing farewells and confusing interviews and open and shut court case as he drifts towards the prospect of a stiflingly happy Christmas and an intolerably cheerful New Year.

Читать A Piece of the Sky is Missing онлайн беплатно


David Nobbs

A Piece of the Sky is Missing


1 A Joke Misfires

2 A London Night

3 Early Days

4 War

5 Above the Sex Emporium

6 Joys

7 Sorrows

8 Hopes

9 Fears

10 Just Good Friends

11 Dr Schmuck

12 Trouble at the Mill

13 In Darkest Putney

14 Mixed Company

15 Light Blue Interlude

16 Excellent Opportunities for the Right Man

17 A European Trip

18 Mr Mendel’s Pride and Joy

19 The Shy but Passionate Frances Lanyard

20 The Farewell Party

21 Sonia

22 Kentish Town Miniatures

23 An Important Session with Dr Schmuck

24 The Pre-Christmas Booze-up

25 A Brush with the Law

26 A Dip into the Mail Bag

27 A Traditional Christmas

28 More Interviews

29 A Happy New Year

30 Consequences

31 New Year Resolution

About the Author


Other Books by David Nobbs


About the Publisher

Chapter 1

A Joke Misfires

The caricature began to take shape. He drew with confident if unprofessional strokes. The forehead, redolent of drab efficiency and solemnity. The long nose, absurdly elongated. The concavity of the chin, grotesquely exaggerated. The humourless weakness of the mouth, cruelly exposed. The hint of underlying effeminacy, broadened into a positively offensive suggestion. Here was an executive with a role to play in an expanding Britain. Here was a bachelor over-fond of his mother. Here, on the rough gravelly wall, was Tadman-Evans.

Robert was pleased with his work. He added Tadman-Evans’s telephone number, pulled the chain, and left the non-executive gents.

On his way out into the corridor he met Martin Edwards, a non-executive. Martin Edwards smiled at him and said: ‘Been demoted, have you?’

‘Ours are full,’ said Robert.

Later that Friday morning he met Tadman-Evans in the executive gents and found that the caricature had drained him of dislike. The man’s combination of efficiency and effeminacy no longer got him on the raw. Tadman-Evans smiled, not yet having heard about the caricature. Robert felt ashamed.

The executive gents, like the non-executive gents, had a blue ceiling and blue doors. But here there were individual bars of soap, not a swivelling bulbous container jammed solid with yellow goo. And here the wall was smooth, and somehow less inviting to caricature.

In both the executive and the non-executive ladies the ceilings and doors were pink. Robert knew this, having been in them several times, by mistake and out of bravado. Once, for a bet, he had used the ladies for a week. That hadn’t gone down too well at Cadman and Bentwhistle Ltd. Nor would his caricature.

He thought: ‘I’ll wash it off.’ But Herr Muller was waiting, to eat lunch and talk pumping equipment, and he didn’t wash it off.

As he passed the end of the typing pool that evening Rosie giggled. It’s got around, he thought.

On Monday morning up-and-coming £2,500-a-year thirty-two-year-old executive Robert Bellamy arrived at Cadman and Bentwhistle Ltd. Promptly at nine o’clock. Five foot eleven, beginning to look prosperous and well-fed, handsome, with red hair, blue eyes, a straight slender nose, delicate well-shaped lips, light skin, freckled in summer. An unusual combination of masculinity and softness in his face. Popular with the girls of the typing pool. But nervous now. Caught in the same lift as Tadman-Evans. Avoiding his eye.

The lift smelt of damp coats this wet November morning. They were crowded into it, fifteen of them, the maximum permitted by Messrs Melrose and Oxley of Middlesbrough. He must show that he wasn’t cowed by the situation.

‘Second floor. Accounts, vouchers, canteen and lingerie,’ he said. Rosie giggled. No-one else smiled. Couldn’t expect them to. It wasn’t worth it.

He left the lift at the third floor. As he walked past the end of the typing pool he said: ‘’Morning, girls.’

‘’Morning, Mr Bellamy’, in tones that intimated: ‘Oh, you are a one’. Robert felt himself to be on their side in an endless, unacknowledged battle. He spoke clearly into the dictaphone, didn’t demand the impossible, bought them chocolates after he had lost his temper, and always kissed them at the Christmas party, not lecherously, like Wallis, or jocularly, like Perrin, or officially, like Tadman-Evans, but affectionately, because he liked them and wished life held more for them.

At the last Christmas party he had given Wallis a black eye. Things had been rather fraught in ‘Europe’ after that.

He entered ‘Europe’. In the outer office sat Julie.

‘’Morning, Julie,’ he said.

‘’Morning, Mr Bellamy,’ said Julie.

Every day he worked on her, so that by five-thirty she was calling him Robert. But every morning she called him Mr Bellamy again.

‘Sir John wants to see you at ten,’ said Julie.

Damn. No chance of pretending it wasn’t his work. His style was well-known, his doodles notorious. Sir John himself had never quite forgiven a portrait that had appeared five years ago on an official report about circular saws.

Robert gazed out over the friendly inelegant skyline. He could just see St Paul’s among the office blocks. It was still almost dark, as if the weekend was reluctant to let go. The next reorganization was just beginning. Soon he’d get a new office, his sixth in eight years. The moment one reorganization ended, the next began. There were people whose only job it was to plan them. Soon all the internal walls would be knocked down, new internal walls would be knocked up, and everything would go on exactly as before. And once again the typing pool wouldn’t get a room. They’d get the bit in the middle that was left over when all the rooms had been planned. And there they would sit, like a cargo of rotting bananas in the stuffy, airless hold.

Вам будет интересно