Tell Tale: Stories by Jeffrey Archer


Tell Tale: Stories by Jeffrey Archer

Author:Jeffrey Archer
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Fiction, Short Stories (Single Author), Thrillers, General
ISBN: 9781466874794
Google: kX5EDgAAQBAJ
Amazon: 1250066921
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: 2017-10-24T00:00:00+00:00


B

THE FIRST PORT of call on their trip to the Middle East was Salalah, where they hired a taxi to take them to the souk. They took their time strolling around the crowded bazaar, with its hundreds of colorful market stalls, displaying thousands of different-quality carpets. But Joyce was far more interested in finding the right dealer than the right carpet. Once they’d selected a man who wouldn’t have been invited to give a talk at the Rotary Club, they joined him for a cup of Turkish coffee before the bargaining could begin for an exquisite, thousand-thread silk carpet that the dealer claimed was unique.

An hour later Joyce agreed on a sum, which Dennis paid in cash. The dealer then supplied them with a receipt for four times the amount they had paid for the rare silk carpet.

In Port Said, they visited several emporiums, and selected only the finest pieces of jewelry, including a gold brooch of Nefertiti, a string of pearls worthy of Cleopatra, and a diamond-studded bracelet that Joyce felt confident would be the envy of her fellow lady Rotarians. The proprietors were equally obliging when it came to the receipts. Replacement value for insurance purposes, Joyce explained.

In Istanbul, they purchased an oil painting of a fishing boat on the Bosphorus that Joyce felt would look perfect above the mantelpiece in their front room, and although the price was exorbitant, triple the amount was entered on the receipt.

By the time the Balmoral docked in Southampton, the Pascoes had spent all their spare cash, but they now possessed some extremely valuable merchandise, and Joyce had the receipts to prove it.

Joyce took her time packing everything they’d bought on the trip into a large green suitcase before a porter arrived to pick up their trunk and two other smaller suitcases. When the Pascoes arrived in the baggage hall, Joyce gave a farewell performance worthy of Elizabeth Taylor.

“One large green suitcase, you say, madam?”

“Yes,” said Joyce, “full of all the beautiful things we bought on the trip.” Dennis appeared to be making every effort to comfort his wife, something he was getting rather good at.

After the promise of a reward, several members of the ship’s crew set out in search of a large green suitcase, but an hour later, no one was able to claim the reward.

The Pascoes were among the last to leave the baggage hall, but not before they were convinced there was no longer any hope of finding their missing treasures. A porter placed their trunk and the two other suitcases on a trolley and began pushing it toward the exit.

Dennis and Joyce trudged mournfully after him, and as if to add insult to injury, a recently promoted Customs officer pulled them to one side and asked them to place their luggage on the counter. The porter obeyed without hesitation.

“May I ask if you purchased anything of value while you were abroad, madam?”

“No,” Joyce said, “just a few souvenirs. Nothing of any real value.”

She happily opened the two



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