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À l’Hôtel Français encore

At the French Hotel once again

Concierge: Bonjour — Ah, Mr James, welcome back! Nice to see you! And you also, madame!

Moi: Plume de ma tante, monsieur.

Belle du Jour: Don’t start all that again, we — Hey! I am not what you just called me! How dare you!

Moi: You’re thinking of Belle de Jour, the film? That’s actually bad French.

Belle du Jour: You’d know all about that.

Moi: You’re Belle du Jour. Beauty of the Day, since you didn’t like Compagnon de la Nuit.

BdJ: Is that supposed to make me feel better? Because it’s not working. I know what you’re thinking, pig.

Moi: Pig is cochon. Get it right. You’re in France now, remember.

BdJ: About time too. I’ve been abandoned in your writing box for nearly six months. I need this holiday.

Concierge: Did you have a good journey?

BdJ: Oh, don’t get me started. He got us to the tunnel with seconds to spare.

Moi: It was a full minute before check-in closed.

BdJ: [aside] Shut up. [to Concierge] We were the last car on the train. And he was so pleased with himself, he took pictures!

Moi: The train wasn’t nearly full. They would still have let us on if we’d been late.

BdJ: You try crashing those barriers sometime and tell me how it went. I won’t be bailing you out of a foreign jail, buddy.

Concierge: You are staying all week, I see. You like it here, hein?

Moi: Yes, we thought that this time we’d venture further afield.

BdJ: If you think I’m going into any fields, you’ve got another think coming. Not in these shoes. [to Concierge] We’ll be visiting Paris. The shops.

Moi: Les grands magasins. Or is it les grandes magasines?

BdJ: The grander the better. And the little exclusive ones. [to Concierge] How early can we get breakfast? Do you know what time the first train leaves?

Moi: Le chemin de fer.

BdJ: Will you stop doing that!

[FX: the sound of a slap]

Concierge: You could take the slow direct route, or go back to Calais and connect with the TGV. That would be faster.

BdJ: Can we fly? Where’s the nearest airport?

Concierge: There may be some charters from Le Touquet —

Moi: Flying’s not really practical if you want to bring things back.

BdJ: Who said anything about practical? If I have too much to carry, they can deliver. Anyway, what I have in mind is small and exquisite. [to Concierge] May we have our usual table for dinner, please?

Concierge: I will see what I can do. We have a new chef, very popular. Did you notice our Michelin star?

BdJ: Yes, well done. Is this the menu?

Moi: We were planning on trying the local brasseries and —

[FX: the sound of a slap]

BdJ: It looks wonderful. I’m going to enjoy this.

Moi: That’s what we’re here for. C’est pourquoi nous sommes içi.

[FX: the sound of two slaps]

BdJ: Give him our passports and let’s get upstairs.

Moi: That’s more encouraging.

BdJ: Don’t get your hopes up, cochon.

[Fin de scène]

All aboard!