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No Breakfast with Tiffany


I’d just seen off David Attenborough and was in a hurry to meet Audrey Hepburn, as you do, when I bumped into Fast Freddie. By the unusually desperate look on his roguish face, I sensed problems. Despite my insistence that I was in a rush to meet the Ms Hepburn he pleaded a few moments of my time. We repaired to the airport bar.

Apart from a couple seated at a corner table, we were the only people in the place. Freddy, regardless of my obvious need to be getting along, ordered a second round of drinks – back in  the early eighties, the barman at Quito airport made a powerfully, mean Bloody Mary. Freddie was rambling on about having problems with some young lady’s father; something to do with her claiming to be pregnant. But I wasn’t giving him my full attention.

I was more concerned that I would be late for my chance  of  a lifetime to meet a real live Goddess. All the while I had also been distractedly looking over Freddie’s shoulder at the couple in the corner. They seemed to me to be in an even more nervous than I was. The man was constantly checking his watch and snatching glances in the direction of the door. The woman was stroking his neck, as though to console him.

I  was about to be firm with Freddy. His problem could wait. Ms Hepburn  would not, and neither would the Mayor of Quito who had invited me, as president of the foreign press association, in Ecuador, to meet Ms Hepburn in her role as UNICEF ‘s roving ambassador.

At that very moment a rather irate woman burst through the door, charged across the room and started a verbal and physical assault on the pair at the corner table. Sifting through her almost incoherent Spanish curses, threats  and other admonishments,  it became clear that the man, un bastardo –her words not mine – had left her and their two children for this pute –her words not mine – and they were attempting to fly of  together into the sunset.

The unfortunate miscreant, after taking some pretty hard knocks from the enraged woman’s handbag, lost his temper, ceased defending himself and went on the attack. The barman, a clever man, kept out of it but Freddy, a true gentleman  from southern Alabama, wasn’t going to sit there and watch a man beating on a woman. Momentarily forgetting his own pressing problems and shrugging off my restraining arm, he crossed the room to remonstrate.

Now Fast Freddy, infamous in the Ecuadorian ex-pat world for the speed with which he could bed a young lady.  –  on one occasion, from the balcony of his flat overlooking the Parque de Carolina, he hailed a female jogger and in a New York minute convinced her that there were more accommodating ways of exercising – was also no slouch  in the art of fisticuffs. But the moment Freddie proceeded to give el bastardo a hands on lesson in good manners,  both the wronged woman, el bastardo and la pute  turned on poor Freddie.

You may ask where I stood in this fracas? Well I’ll tell you.  I stayed at the bar. You see, I’ve been in a few altercations in my time and can’t deny that I enjoyed a couple of them – but one province I never trespass in, is a matrimonial squabble. I admit also to standing back from the battle field because I had a momentary vision of Audrey Hepburn looking at the following day’s newspaper and reading , “International Press President Punches Pute!”

I know nothing and care less of the outcome of  that unhappy ménage à trios. I only know that when two female police officers eventually arrived,  the motley trio wanted to press GBH charges  against Freddie.  To keep him out of jail, I had to vouch for his character and this further delayed me.

Regrettably, the prolonged negotiations to keep him in liberty  made me too late for my breakfast with Tiffany. Fast Freddie, for his part, was in high spirits – as we were leaving the airport  he had the bloody cheek to inform me that he had arranged to meet one of the  police officers for dinner.
BRT
 

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