Friday 15 February
I call in at the warehouse office to pick up my new mailbox key from Dave Gorman. In fact, he simply hands back the old (new) one and tells me it should work. He suggests that the lock is just a bit stiff and, by implication, that I am a shandy-drinking white-collar kind of person. I wish to tell him that, au contraire, I am a silk, ivory and whalebone-collared, Cinzano-drinking kind of chap and that he knows naff all about me. I am also only half-awake and in no position to defend myself, nor can I offer any resistance to Dave’s strange story concerning the occupants of apartment 13 who seemingly wish to change their 'unlucky' flat number.
'But what will they change it to?' I ask, befuddled.
'14' Dave tells me, as if I were mad.
'But what will happen to Flat 14?'
'Well, that'll become Flat 15...and so on,' he tells me, employing a steely logic.
I cannot face enquiring as to whether my own apartment will increase in number, size, or value (unlikely at the moment) or if the odds on good fortune therein will be raised or lowered by this numerical re-jigging, wishing only to return home and check on my unclaimed Valentines. Dave, entering the lobby through the slit of light left by a closing door, comes in on the pretext of checking for sick (none), takes his leisure and then suddenly leans over my shoulder, massaging the air about it.
‘It’s just a bit stiff,’ he says.
‘Naff off,’ I tell him.
‘Someone in particular?’
‘Right then,’ he says cheerfully, tipping his imaginary cap on the way out into bright sunlight.
I stick my beak into the next box along but they haven’t got any cards either.