The kitchen looked rather modern for the castle, pine furnishings around the walls with a table in the middle. The morning light radiated in through the ancient castle window onto the room, lighting it up. Hans was seated at the table, stirring cornflakes with his spoon. “Are yeh gonna eat them or not?” barked Mervin, who was leaning against the worktop with a slice of toast in his hand. ‘Sometimes I wonder if he remembers that I’m his boss,’ Hans thought as swallowed a mouthful of his cereal.
“I’ve been wondering how yeh managed te buy this place,” said Mervin.
Hans looked up, stroked his chin for effect then said, “Well it’s a long story, but you’re not going anywhere, so I’ve got time to tell it. It basically started when I went to America for a year, and hitchhiked across the country. I’d taken a gap year from university to go with some of my friends that I’d made in the previous year. We ended up in Vegas with nothing to do, so being students we decided to get drunk.”
Thinking he’d heard Mervin say something sounding rather like ‘bloody students’ Hans stopped. In retrospect, it would have been better if he’d carried on, as the pause released a tirade of mutterings about the old days, fancy schooling and the like.
When Mervin finally finished Hans continued. “So I was in Las Vegas blind drunk, and I stumbled into this casino, and rather stupidly staggered up to this Baccarat table and challenged them to a game for fifty million dollars. Most of the men laughed at me, realising I was legless, but there was this one man who decided to take me up. So I ended up playing this game that I’ve never played before for a million times the amount of money I had on me.”
“And let me guess, yeh won,” said Mervin, a little dismayed at the lack of quality of the story.
“No, of course I didn’t win, I’d never played the damned game before had I!” replied Hans, “So I took the next logical step and shouted out ‘Double or nothing’. That time I won, which was a surprise to me at the time. Luckily my friends found me soon after that and stopped me from trying to eat the cheque the man had given me. And that’s how I ended up absolutely loaded.”
“And what happened to your friends?” asked Mervin.
“They died in a plane crash on the way home,” said Hans mournfully.
“And you didn’t?”
“Well, duh! Of course I didn’t. They went by private jet, cos I guess I must have given them some of the money that night, I was pretty drunk after all. Bet they wished they hadn’t now though. I decided not to waste the ticket I’d already bought for the return trip, you’ve no idea how much private jets cost these days!”
Hans was sure he heard Mervin something under his breath, but he didn’t worry, it was plain to see that it was commonplace.
“Dammit!” he shouted as he looked up at the clock, he was going to be late to pick Jane up.