“Owned, dude.” Dill held up a loose fist but Ada merely frowned. She tucked the book under one arm and took a step back.
“Goodnight boys. Don't do anything I wouldn't...Never mind. Drive safely, Harold.” She closed the door.
Harold stared at it for a moment. “I have the distinct feeling I missed something there.” He turned and, spotting the twitch of net curtain, waved at Mrs Parkes.
“Friend of yours?”
“Not exactly. Mrs Parkes has lived there for years. Nosy Parker, we used to call her, but she'd tell you everyone who'd been to your house if you were away.”
“Mum and me, when I was a kid. Actually she was all right in those days. She used to give me a piece of fruit and a sweet when I came home from church every Sunday.”
“You went to church? You don't seem the type.”
“You'd be surprised. Actually, it was a good introduction to the ways of the world. Laverstone in Microcosm, you might say. You had the ordinary people, the ones who genuinely believed in a benevolent god who went every week and gave to the poor; you had the merchants and politicians who went because people expected them to and you had the people who went there to show off. The ones who sat on the front seat wearing Versace and Armani and who put a fiver in the collection plate because it proved their success to everyone.”
“And you? Why did you go?”
“I got a preferential rate of interest in the after-church Sunday school. 'You can bank on God,' Reverent Sandy used to say. Of course, it turned out he was an angel working undercover who tried to kill me when I got a bit older but he gave me my sense of business acumen.”