The Lucky Numbers
The Dream Can Become Real
Jude notices Paula has left the bed and hears the front door before noting to himself that it’s the doorbell having finally stopped after having been rung for some time and it made him open his eyes and sit upright in bed. He and Paula both fell asleep after the fantastic lovemaking but in the middle of the night Jude woke with his brain in a whirl. There were flashes of thoughts of the fun things he could do and buy, but it was mixed with a lot of thoughts about what to do right now. Paula had a troubled sleep as well he recalls. The smell of freshly baked bread sees him getting out of bed, putting on a bathrobe so as not to risk appearing in just pyjamas in front of Susanna, and heading towards the bathroom.
Leaving the bathroom refreshed by a shower it is clear to Jude he would like to keep working to some extent, but he has to quit his current job. With his new social status he can’t work as a receptionist. But what should he do? He has only basic schooling and although he now probably is just as good as high school graduates in writing correctly due to his many years as secretary he has no experience in formulating texts of his own. These thoughts see him take his phone from the bedside table even before start dressing. It’s twenty past eight so there will not be anyone in the reception until just before the office opens at nine so decides he will have to call the private number of his boss. His boss is of course very surprised on being told why he resigns, but Jude prevents him from starting to talk about how much trouble this will cause by saying he will forego any salary he is owed and even pay extra if there are costs involved in getting a replacement. It is as if this suddenly makes his boss realise what Jude has become and he asks him if he would like to invest in the company. Now Jude has to consider for a moment before he tells him that he is a local guy and it’s a local company so he will consider it very seriously. Jude ends the conversation by saying that he will pay the office a visit to say goodbye to his colleagues and sign any necessary paperwork. It will before two o’clock today if he has the time, and then perhaps he can learn more about the future plans of the company. His boss says “see you” and congratulations.
Breakfast is ready in the living room and Paula is awaiting him. As Jude seats himself Susanna brings hot coffee. She is a lively and bright looking redhead but not especially pretty, which to a certain extent explains why she hasn’t yet received offers of marriage, although looks don’t matter much in daily life. Jude sips the strong coffee frequently while enjoying a slice of fresh home baked bread. He takes a break before start eating another slice and his mood improves even more than from the taste of the bread as he looks more closely at Paula. She looks as happy as ever, but he can also see that she is back in the correct meek role of before yesterday evening wanting to say something but as a woman won’t take the initiative.
Jude doesn’t ask her to speak but instead says “This is wonderful fresh bread. I assume Susanna has been up very early to please us?”
Paula says “Yes, I have to admit it’s better than the bread I make. It’s of course to pull us towards hiring her for at least a month, but it’s also to demonstrate that she actually has one of the skills that both her mother and Martha praised her for.”
Jude answers “If it is her own initiative and not coming from her parents she deserves big credit. Try to find out about that, perhaps from Martha. Why not test her more? We don’t know how long the meeting with the counsellor is going to take and perhaps you have to be involved. Let’s get her make the dinner; I don’t suppose we can’t take out an hour or two of the time for the house cleaning. Also remember me we have to compensate her family in some way of the expense of making the bread. Although it’s a very small amount we shouldn’t get the reputation that we are millionaires but have others pay what we consume at home. What would you like to say?”
In a little insecure voice Paula says “You didn’t object last night when I suggested that I go with you to the clothing store to hand in my notice for me, and I also said that while there I could perhaps get some new clothes. It would make the owner protest less over me leaving without any notice at all if we make a larger purchase. I would like something more modest, especially for going to church.”
Jude tells her “Our new social status says to me that you should be one of the best dressed women of the town. If I’m right in thinking that all the women except for the upper class Reformists get the large majority of their clothes from your store then of course we should support the local trade. If there is something you need they don’t stock perhaps you can have them order it. Anyway, to start renewing your wardrobe locally is just fine. If you stay below five hundred pounds I won’t question your decisions.”
A shocked Paula almost shouts “Five hundred pounds? You say I can buy clothes for five hundred pounds? I guess that is more than my entire current wardrobe has cost. Just using half of this I think is more than any customer has spent at one time in the store since I have been working there. If you allow me to spend that much money I am sure that there won’t be any complaints about the notice.”
Jude answers “Clothing, and especially women’s clothing, is a significant part of any household budget. Even for us now five hundred pounds is a significant amount but it’s not every day, perhaps not even every month, we are going to spend that much. By the way, I’d better get some new clothes as well, so we’ll also pass the gentlemen’s outfitter on our trip. Is there anything in my current wardrobe I don’t need to renew? I assume you know what sizes I use. We got to have new shoes too, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Have you told Susanna what to do while we are away? Are you ready to leave as soon as possible?”
Meanwhile they have both stopped eating.
Paula answers “All your current clothes are fine. As the underwear isn’t seen you don’t need to renew that. I just need five minutes both to get ready and to instruct Susanna.”
Jude says “Fine. I’m practically ready. Start informing Susanna and then send her to me.”
Jude pours another half cup of coffee while thinking ‘shoes.’ There is so much to be done and think about after this. Being a millionaire isn’t a life of idleness.
When Susanna enters he tells her “We would like you to prepare dinner for us tonight so you have to spend some of your time preparing that and go out shopping for whatever you need. I’d like a traditional Sunday roast meal with three courses even if it’s Wednesday. I want beef, the best the butcher can supply. The starter and dessert you decide for yourself but the dessert has to be sweet. I would prefer if you could stay to serve dinner as well even if it means your workday will be over twelve hours. Is that alright with you?”
Susanna answers “Mrs. Russell has already informed you want me to make the dinner and that the main course should be beef. I have always hoped to get a job at a family as a maid, cook or both so I’m prepared for long workdays Mr. Russell.”
“Very good. By the way your bread was very good. I have an appointment here at three o’clock where I want you to serve tea. This means you’ll have to do your shopping before that and be back here no later than half past two. You’ll have the key of my wife and her cash card because we might not be back before half past two as well. Have you understood and can you manage all that?”
Susanna answers “Yes certainly Mr. Russell, it’s not more than any housewife has to handle almost every day.”
Jude tells her to follow him.
Paula is waiting, already veiled, at the front door.
Jude says to her “Susanna has to have your key and borrow your cash card for shopping.”
Jude goes into the bedroom to fetch his phone. Back with the women he gestures for the cash card and holds it to his phone.
On handing it back to Susanna he says “This card now holds a hundred pounds so be careful with it. Buy some extra of the fine meat for your parents to compensate for your father paying for our bread this morning. You can drop off the meat as you pass your home on your way back from shopping. Remember sales tickets for everything.”
With a deep curtsey Susanna says “Thank you so much Mr. Russell. I’ll take care.”
They walk to the bank in less than ten minutes. When it’s Jude’s turn at the desk he holds his phone showing its electronic balance in front of him and says “Hello Pete. I want a word with your boss for a meeting in an hour or so.”
Seeing the amount an almost whistling Pete exclaims “Ten grand! What did you do? Rob a bank?” then adds “Follow me please.”
When Jude follows Pete, Paula remains at the desk. Pete knocks on the door of the manager’s office, and when he after a loud ‘Yes’ opens the door. Jude steps inside and after briefly greeting each other shows Mr. Greenwood, his phone.
“I assume I’m speaking with Mr. Russell. I was just about to look into why the system came out with this unusual transaction warning. Are you here to inform me?”
“I am Mr. Greenwood. The lottery service informed me something like this would happen and advised me to come and see you as soon as you opened.”
Mr Greenwood offers Jude a seat. “No, thank you, I won’t sit down now, and please I want Pete to hear this as well. I won a very large amount in the EuroMillions lottery yesterday evening.”
Mr. Greenwood says “Congratulations Mr. Russell. Yes ten thousand pounds is a substantial amount. Do you want to have us to invest some of it for you? In stocks or perhaps real estate?”
Jude notices Pete has turned pale after he has said the word ‘EuroMillions’ and Mr. Greenwood noticing it as well now nods to Pete for him to nearly stammer “Sir, I play the EuroMillions as well from time to time and I especially noticed the result yesterday because it said the winner is from Staffordshire and there was only one winner of the pool from all over Europe. The amount was more than thirty million pounds sir.”
Mr. Greenwood stares with disbelief at Jude who says “Yes, it’s me Mr. Greenwood. It has been electronically confirmed by the lottery service. The winning prize pool was more than thirty-four million pounds. We need perhaps an hour for you to tell me about the money coming to my account in your bank and about my customer status from now on. Certainly I want to hear what you have to offer regarding investing some of the money. I will certainly invest some of it through you, and the better your offerings the more it will be. I only have one requirement so far: I want Pete as my contact and to handle my affairs for as far as his qualifications allow. I have a couple of other things to do that I estimate to take about an hour. I hope this is enough time for you to find out how to handle all this?”
Mr. Greenwood tells Jude “You are now a first class customer of course Mr. Russell. All of our other customers having a relationship of this size with the bank have this as part of running some sort of business so you are special, at least right now, but of course we’ll find the right way of taking care of your money. We also have a wide range of quality investments to offer through our affiliation with I think the best investment company in the North West, perhaps in all of Britain, The Lincoln Brothers. I’m quite sure I can have one of their top men come here even in one hour. Come back any time it suits you from in an hour until about three o’clock.”
They shake hands and both Mr. Greenwood and Pete escort Jude from the office. As Paula joins them he sees that she has had a good time as an upper class man is waiting to apparently see Mr. Greenwood and he has a velvet cone by his side. Paula gets a small bow from both Mr. Greenwood before Mr. Greenwood give the man a nod and then asks Jude “May I ask why you want Pete as your contact?”
Jude answers “Pete and I were classmates in grammar school and ever since I got an account with you I have gone to him, even waited or returned another day if he wasn’t in. I trust in him and I’m sure he is capable of handling the majority of my requests. By the way I would like him to present at our meeting as well to be into my case first hand.”
Mr Greenwood says “You are completely right about Pete. He is a local boy, we are a local bank. One of our strong points is a much better and much more personal customer relationship than the large nationwide banks. I’m looking forward to meet you again soon Mr. Russell.”
At the gentlemen’s outfitter the shop assistant widens his eyes when Jude says he wants to have a look at their best trousers, shirts and jackets. When three pair of trousers has been laid out for him the shop assistant gets an even bigger surprise when he asks Paula if they are all suitable for him. She nods and, when there is three of each on the counter, he asks for black socks, of which he takes a dozen pairs, to finally select three ties approved by Paula as well.
For the last minutes apparently the manager has followed this unusual affair and when they return to the counter Jude addresses him to ask “I assume I can have all of this fitted to my measurements? Can you have at least one of each ready within ninety minutes and delivered to the women’s clothing store? And I want the rest delivered to my home. When will that be possible? Today preferably.”
The manager takes a professional look at Jude and then says “You are close to the model used for manufacturing. I would say we can fulfil your requirements, at least for one of each Mr. Russell.”
Jude has deliberately made his phone show the balance while he gets it ready to pay and does it in a way to be sure the manager sees it. While the payment is transferred he says
“I have just won a substantial amount in the lottery as you can see Mr. Dalglish, so both I and my wife need new clothes and I’m sure I’m going to come here much more often.”
Both Mr. Dalglish and the shop assistant bow and Mr. Dalglish says “Congratulations Mr. Russell. If you have half a minute more the tailor to fit your clothes can be here himself to take your measurements and assess if the usual measurements suffice.”
Jude nods and almost running shop assistant leaves.
To pass the time Jude says “It’s not the hour for many customers here but am I right you extended the shop not so long ago so business is good I guess?”
Mr. Dalglish answers “Yes its good times for a small local store like this. The general conservatism and modesty means fashion for men changes even less than it did previously and so it’s not so attractive to go the larger stores in the cities because they have about the same selection as we do just in larger quantities. We made an extension in the yard at the end of January when sales are the lowest.”
Jude says “Aha, so you won’t be doing any new investing for a number of years even if business keeps improving?”
Mr. Dalglish answers “It is not out of the question. I would have liked to make a somewhat larger extension but there is no more space here. I keep an eye on some of the larger shops here in the main street, and if one of them goes bankrupt or gets so successful it has to move to expand I’ll look into it.”
As the tailor appears Jude says “You have my number. Give me a call if you need investors.”
The tailor is fast to take the measurements having the shop assistant take them down and when finished he says “You can be sure to have your first delivery in ninety minutes as requested Mr. Russell. My work day ends at four o’clock and I’ll have the rest ready by then to deliver them personally to inquire if the first delivery isn’t to your full satisfaction as it appears to me if you intend to wear this in a couple of hours.”
Jude simply nods and shakes hands with the tailor and Mr. Dalglish and then both of them and the shop assistant see Paula and Jude to the door.
The women’s clothing shop has a front room where men can pay. Men have to ask if they want to enter the shop itself for looking at the selection. Jude just says his name and asks the lightly veiled female shop assistant to take him to Mr. Shaw, the manager, and have the female floor manager come as well, for a very important business proposition. Jude had met Mr.Shaw when negotiating and signing Paula’s employment contract, and the floor manager is an older woman who interacts between him and the all female staff and if necessary the female customers. The shop assistant goes to the entrance door gesturing Jude to follow; for males the way to the manager’s office is through a door next to the shop leading to a number of other offices as well. Jude says to Paula he expects to be back here for her in about ninety minutes then he follows the shop assistant and Paula enters the shop.
Jude waits outside the door to Mr. Shaw’s office while the shop assistant tells the manager that Jude wishes to speak with him.
Mr. Shaw fortunately is not busy and appears in the doorway and says “Mr. Russell please come inside. You are the husband of one of my shop assistants, right? I wouldn’t expect a business proposition from someone needing an income from his wife.”
Jude is gestured to sit in the guest chair and when seated tells the manager “Yes, my full name is Jude Russell and my wife Paula works for you. I wouldn’t expect I could do business with someone having a working wife either. But our financial position improved dramatically yesterday. Before we start talking business I’ll tell you what happened, but I would like to wait a short while for your floor manager to be present as well, as her hearing the first of what I have to say will make her understand what my wife is about to do.”
During the lasts words the door is knocked and Mr. Shaw calls out loudly ‘enter.’ As his wife, who is the floor manager, closes the door he says to her “This is Mr. Russell, husband of Paula, who has a message for both of us. Please let us hear Mr. Russell.”
Jude explains how he plays the EuroMillions every week and that yesterday his numbers came up. “I am now a millionaire, or to be more precise, a multi-millionaire. This means I’m now a businessman and as you have just said Mr. Shaw the wife of a businessman doesn’t work so I want to give notice for her from this moment, or tomorrow, it doesn’t matter which as Wednesday is her day off. I think the law says that if you quit without warning you lose any outstanding pay. Today is the twenty-first so it’s quite a number of workdays you have got for free but that’s fine with me. I would very much like it if we can settle the paperwork right away. Then, as you can see, my clothing up till now doesn’t match my new social status and I’ve just come from your colleague Mr. Dalglish’s shop. My wife of course needs a new wardrobe as well, so I’ll leave her here while having another meeting, for her to select from the best you have to offer. I have told her she may use several hundred pounds. Do you want to discuss new business or resignation first Mr. Shaw?”
Mr. Shaw’s expression only has changed to a moderate level of surprise and he stands up, reaches over the desk to congratulate Jude.
As he seats himself again he gestures the floor manager to leave, then he says while starting work on his computer “Quitting for you is quite simple Mr. Russell. I retrieve the employment contract and add the words ‘Terminated without notice on Wednesday 21 May 2069 at 10am by Jude Russell’, you hold your phone to the computer and then I send the altered document linked with your signature file to the contracts database. Then, within a week, you’ll receive a final statement with the items added up, which in this case should say we have nothing outstanding with each other. Here it is, and if you can confirm I have written what I’ve just said please press Send. Thank you, I’m sure this will make your wife happy. Most people agree a woman’s place is at home. On to new business then?”
Jude says “Yes, I don’t know yet in which business I will put most of my dedication, but I have started looking into investment because capital is my primary asset now. Selling clothes appears to me to be a growing business for a number of years, especially for the local stores like yours. Am I right Mr. Shaw?”
Mr. Shaw answers “Yes, the Reformist lifestyle of women not leaving their local area on their own being prevalent means shopping trips to other areas, for example the cities, are rare so they get almost all of their clothing locally. Internet shopping is not a major competitor, firstly because clothing is something you want to see for yourself and perhaps try on, and secondly, with being at home most of the time a short trip passing the local clothing store is the sort of variation from staying at home all day which is acceptable to most. Do you have something particularly in mind Mr. Russell?”
Jude answers “I have an idea for you to consider. You and Mr. Dalglish have no overlapping business I assume, but you are both into clothing so you have something in common. Do you have a good relationship with Mr. Dalglish?”
Mr Shaw replies “I know him in person of course. We are both members of the main street business association. We haven’t done any business together, but you are right I don’t see him as a competitor.”
Jude continues “As you know he has just extended his store, but he told me he would actually have made a larger extension if he’d had room. As I haven’t been inside your store I have no idea if it’s getting too small, but at a point in the coming decade it might very well be considering local clothing sales are on the rise. Mr. Dalglish told me is keeping an eye open to see if any of the shops here in street that are a little larger than his current store to see if any become available. I would imagine you are looking for the same, but as the stores here are quite similar in size there are very likely other kinds of stores wanting to expand a little as well and so not only is it rare a store of the right size becomes available but then there might be considerable competition for getting it. I suggest you and Mr. Dalglish instead get together and look for a building large enough to contain both of your stores. The competition for a much larger building will be much smaller and there is the alternative that you can acquire two or more buildings next to each other and merge the ground floors or tear it all down if it’s old and build a single new large building. Your mutual interest is that if a husband wants new clothes he might very well buy this while taking his wife and other family members for a walk and then the likelihood of the women taking a look at your store next door is increased. Conversely if the wife or daughter is allowed to buy new clothes the husband can’t be with her in your store and so he very likely will pay Mr. Dalglish’s store a visit. My part in all this is that I am a local boy, I have been living here all my life and I intend to keep living here, so the money I have I want to invest locally. Being just me and not a part of an investment company or affiliated with a bank I don’t have large expenses for employees and large offices to be covered by the interest of the loan so this can be lower. I’ll leave you to think about it Mr. Shaw. It’s not something I expect to be started now or even this year. I don’t intend to do anything drastically after becoming rich so I expect to be able to invest in projects for many, many years.”
Mr. Shaw says “I’m surprised you’re so good at thinking business Mr. Russell and have come up with these ideas so soon after your lucky moment. They are certainly worth considering.”
Jude says “I’m surprised by myself as well I have to say. But despite not being born with a silver spoon in my mouth I have managed to get myself a decent stable, although low paid, job and find a wife I love and who sincerely wants to share life with me for better or for worse. But it is in many ways unknown territory for me I’m entering. For instance with my new social status I don’t think my wife should do basic cleaning and it showed when someone in the neighbourhood had a daughter for the job, but when it came to the details I needed an employer registration. You are an experienced employer so I wonder if you could tell me how or where to achieve this?”
Mr. Shaw says with a smile “Yes of course, it will only cost you a half percent lower interest rate if I decide to have you as investor in the future. No, I’m just joking, but beware that others may take advantage of the fact that you are green to have you pay for something which is essentially free. You just have to fill in a form on the county website. I can help you doing it now – employer registration, yes here it is. See you just have to document that you have assets to pay for the number of employees you are hiring for three months, your account details and the current balance, and that you have employer insurance in an approved company. Can you transfer this information from your phone?”
Jude says “No regrettably. I have the money, but I don’t have the insurance yet. If you would transfer the link to the form I would be most grateful. I’m sure we can do business at some point Mr. Shaw. When having to work, my wife has been happy working for you and this is a major reason for making me interested in doing business with you. Well, I have much to be done and I already have an appointment coming up so I have to leave. I’ll return in about an hour though to your front room to fetch and pay for my wife. I fear a little and I guess you rejoice in how much a woman can spend in a clothing store in such a long time span.”
They get up and Mr. Shaw quite rightly so shows delight on his face while they shake hands.
Nothing unexpected happens at the bank, but Jude gets what he came for. They have found out that the full amount he has won will be at his disposal Friday morning and he is informed on the interest of his deposit and various ways to pay others from it. He is encouraged by the man from the investment company to buy shares in the bank and immediately buys a thousand pounds worth of shares. The man from the investment company also tells Jude what they can offer and why he should choose them. Jude says again that he is a local man and is most interested in projects within the municipality but he would also like information about projects in the rest of Staffordshire. The man promises to send such information on both short and long term projects. Jude closes the meeting by saying he got valuable and interesting information. They say their goodbyes and Jude asks Pete for a cash card with a limit of two hundred and fifty pounds that he can give to Susanna so she can purchase anything she needs without bothering him.
Back at the women’s clothing store it isn’t the Paula he left walking towards him in the front room. She has put on some of her new clothes. Even Jude can see that the dress is of a much better quality. It also has a higher, tighter neck and is so long that it doesn’t show her shoes are old, and the black cotton gloves are thin and delicate while still completely opaque. Finally the black tulle wound around her head and neck is so dense that Jude can only vaguely see the features of a face, but not its expression. Shortly after Paula’s arrival the floor manager and a sales assistant come out of the store, the latter holding three full large plastic bags in each hand and a smaller one in her left hand that Jude can see is from the gentlemen’s outfitter.
Paula says to Jude “This is Glenda who my best friend amongst my former colleagues and who has agreed to carry our purchases home.”
Jude says to the floor manager “How considerate of you.”
To Paula he says “With someone else to accompany you I can go directly from here to my old workplace to say goodbye. I intend do that by having lunch with them as usual at the local pub and to pay for everything. So as you do not have to eat alone why not invite Glenda for lunch. I’m sure the floor manager won’t mind that Glenda’s lunch break goes a little over time on this special day.”
The floor manager nods to first Jude and then Glenda and then shows him the bill. £432 makes him think Paula is a good and economical wife; he had expected £499.
On arriving at his former office Jude finds out there is already a new man to take over his job. He thinks his former boss must have good connections. They quickly settle the resignation and the boss is happy when everybody, including the new employee, is invited for lunch as this ensures he’ll get acquainted with his new colleagues quicker and in a friendly manner from the beginning. The lunch break goes over one hour but Jude has anticipated this to have the office number redirected to his phone and it brings fun to the lunch table the three times he has to answer, especially when he says the boss is out of office at a business meeting.
Coming home Jude takes a shower and puts on his new clothes. He calls Paula into the bedroom to let him know if they fit him, which she says they do. Jude cannot help but notice that she is still wearing her new clothes as well.
When Jude disputes this she says “Susanna has cleaned in the living room where we will be greeting the man from the lottery to my full satisfaction. The kitchen is spotlessly clean as well and she doesn’t need an extra hand for preparing the tea, with her freshly baked homemade sandwiches by the way. I will change if she needs a hand to prepare dinner. Moreover I have to say it feels so wonderful having these fine fabrics caress my body and constantly reminding me that I am now a real housewife and married to the millionaire I love.”
Jude leans forward and kisses Paula on her cheek and she kisses his lips. He tells her “I love being married to my favourite housewife. Of course now your duty is more to supervise and check that the household chores are done without necessarily doing them yourself, and it seems you have everything under control. I’ll have a word with Susanna now.”
Jude knocks the kitchen door and when Susanna sees him she reaches out and holds a couple of sales receipts towards him. With a small nod he takes them and puts them in his pocket.
He hands Susanna the cash card while saying to her “This card will let you do the shopping as necessary without bothering me over the coming days. I want you to prepare dinner Thursday and Friday as well for Paula and me, both for us to assess your cooking skills and for Paula to be able to fully enjoy what has happened to us. You decide both menus. Furthermore always ensure there is always enough food in the house to serve four people, plus yourself, for lunch or dinner. A good initiative with the homemade sandwiches for the counsellor by the way, incredible that you had time for that”.
Turning to Paula he asks “Do you have anything to object to or add darling?”
Paula says “No. My favourite is salmon pie, but we can have that another day, perhaps when going to a fish restaurant.”
Susanna says “To be honest Mr. Russell, making sandwich bread was an idea I got at the grocer’s. I bought a bag of flour and said to my mother when giving her beef as you had instructed that I would like her to make bread in return.”
Jude says “It’s fine that you use others for being able to serve the best when we have guests, but they should be paid the same as you are. The beef was for this morning’s bread, so now we owe your family again. Perhaps you can make a favourite of your father’s for Thursday or Friday and then again buy sufficient to give your mother of the most expensive ingredients.”
Susanna says “I’m sorry Mr. Russell. I got your point. Please understand that me succeeding here means even more to my mother than it means to me. She would gladly work here along with me for free if it would increase my chances of getting a longer engagement.”
Jude says “It’s alright Susanna. All good mothers are like that. Please come and sit down Paula.”
As they take their usual places at the coffee table, Jude says “Your mentioning of salmon pie gave me an idea. Why not do as my grandparents did and take a trip to Blackpool to celebrate the win? I can hire a taxi from the company we used last night. It’s much cheaper to hire the taxi for a full day and we can have a steward along as well. Enjoying the seaside and having lunch at a fish restaurant would be just the right way to start enjoying our newly found financial freedom. Do you agree?” Paula nods her head as Jude continues “We’ll need the coming days to get our new life settled so I figured Saturday?”
Paula answers enthusiastically “Oh how wonderful Jude. Walking along the Promenade while enjoying the sea views will be so romantic. Make the reservation right away please.”
Jude calls the taxi company and makes an appointment for half past eight with no set return time then he says to Paula “Tomorrow we are going to get new shoes and go to the hairdresser’s. Do you want me to make an appointment?”
Paula answers “Yes please call Diana’s Hair Studio for an appointment at eleven so I can buy my new shoes first. Tell them I want the full treatment by Diana herself.”
Jude asks to speak to Diana, then he asks her for the price of the full treatment and then he says he would like to transfer the amount, rounded generously up, immediately if Paula can get an appointment at eleven. She can.
He then asks Paula “Did you have a nice lunch with your former colleague, Glenda if I remember rightly?”
Paula answers “Yes it was just the right thing to do, you are so considerate. She was shocked and saddened by my leaving as she felt much closer to me than any of the others. At the lunch table I started telling her I intended to keep seeing her because I saw her as a close friend too and then Susanna served some wonderful things to make her cheer up and we chatted like we have always done, her arguing a little that I had in some cases not chosen the best in her opinion. I’ll go and visit all my friends in the coming days to ensure them I like our friendship to . . .”
The doorbell sounds to make them both get up, Paula goes to the kitchen and Jude goes to answer the door.
“Mr. Woodrow I presume, Jude Russell. I appreciate very much that EuroMillions has this service you represent” Jude says by way of welcome.
Mr. Woodrow answers “It’s to the benefit of both parties Mr. Russell. People winning millions and then unwisely squandering it all and going bankrupt and perhaps end lower than before they won is a good story for the press but very bad press for us making people doubt winning is good and then refrain from playing.”
Jude says “I totally agree with what you say Mr. Woodrow. I own this house because when my grandfather was in his thirties he won a prize in the lotto just large enough to fulfil his dream of owning a house of his own. All that was left was just enough for a week in Blackpool with his wife.”
They have reached the coffee table and Jude gestures Mr. Woodrow to sit down.
When seated he says “Before I go on I would like your wife to be present within hearing range if it’s not against your beliefs. Much of the advice I intend to give goes for her as well, and by her hearing it directly from me there won’t be anything lost by you forgetting a part of what I say and she hears it the way I have long experienced in informing about these things for maximum perception.”
Jude says “We are not extremists, just normal supporters of Reformism, and your request is well-founded. Just a minute.”
The kitchen door is ajar so Jude just pushes it fully open and repeats the words of Mr. Woodrow. Paula gestures veiling and quickly goes to the bedroom. She enters the living room a few seconds after Jude with her head wrapped in the new dense lace veil and seats herself at the coffee table behind Mr. Woodrow, who says as Jude is seated again
“This is going to be an easy job for me Mr. Russell. Even though I have only been in your home a few minutes I can see that it is well maintained, clean and tidy and hearing that you have taken good care of it for two generations tells me you are not going to squander this extremely large sum of money away but use it wisely to live without worry for the rest of your lives, and being able to offer possible offspring a much better life, at least financially, than you have had yourself so far.”
Susanna brings a tray with tea and sandwiches. They drink and eat for a minute before Mr. Woodrow continues his speech.
“Very delicious I have to say, please pass on my thanks to whoever made them. Despite coming from a gambling company Mr. Russell the first thing I always do is to warn against gambling. I mean not using two pounds a week to play EuroMillions or a few pounds betting on your local team winning or betting with your friends and colleagues. I mean betting large amounts, playing large amounts on horses or hounds and such. We and our competitors are experts in setting the bets and it means the average player looses. Both you and your grandfather are extremely lucky having won many times more than you have ever used on lotto, and you have used so little that it wouldn’t significantly change your social situation even if you had never won. Simply don’t use any significant part of your fortune on gambling, it is almost certainly going to make your financial situation worse. Be aware of that when it gets about that you have become a millionaire, and it’s impossible to avoid this in a small town like this, you’ll get many more friends and some of them are solely interested in your money. You will get many financial offers and business opportunities as well, most of them will be respectable but not necessarily especially good, and some of them will be sheer fraud. The projects of banks and investment companies do not bring the highest yield, but it’s quite safe in that you’ll on average earn reasonably or they will not be competitive. If you don’t know an independent financial advisor you trust I recommend using your bank for this, at least until you have got some experience yourself. Regarding getting a happy life you know that there are many things money can’t buy. Although until now have had few worldly possessions compared to a millionaire you may very well have had a life just as happy or better. Research shows the best thing to in a situation like yours is to go on living your life as before and use the win to one time investments such as a new house or one time luxuries like more expensive holidays. You can’t do that Mr. Russell. You have had a low paid job and millionaires do not work as receptionists; you can now easily own your entire company. The daily life of your wife is going to change significantly as well I assume as most women only work if absolutely necessary. But outside working hours you can both keep on living the same as before by doing much the same. Have the same visitors and visit the same friends, mostly without offering exceptional meals or drinks or handing out expensive presents. If you just tell them that you still see them as friends not to make them feel inferior they will stay, because as I said earlier, with your money everyone will want to be your friend. Keep going to football on Saturdays; if it’s always with the same guys buy season tickets for you all. Visit the same church on Sundays and take the same walk or whatever you usually do on Sunday afternoons”.
“Although the size of this house is just fine for the two of you, it is a little on the small side for raising children although many have to do so or with even less. Besides millionaires don’t live in terraced houses do they? Everyone who can afford it wants a house with garden on all sides, larger rooms and more rooms than you have here. For example future children, especially as they get older, prefer to have a room of their own. Because of this it is evident you have to move. This leads to two pieces of advice. First stay in the neighbourhood or at least in town if you want to keep your current friends. Even though they want to stay as your friends it won’t be possible if they have to hire a taxi or travel by public transport for long distances to visit you as I assume most of your friends do not own a car. The other advice is about this house. It seems to me you are so attached to it you might have wanted to stay despite its size, also in a way to stay level with your friends and keep living close to them. I think you should keep this house, which you can easily do. It is better to rent it out than just to let it stay uninhabited as a memorial for your grandfather where you come to have tea or lunch once in a while. Your doubts may be that unknown tenants would not keep the house and maintain it to your standards. This is well justified and why I advise you to rent it out to family or friends. It is a win-win situation. You get a rent which may not cover the taxes or maintenance costs but is more than you would get if it is uninhabited. You can do to a member of your family or a friend what your grandfather and father did to you to by allowing them to live in a house larger than they can afford normally by taking the same rent as they pay today, and then you get a tenant you know and trust and won’t neglect your house.
Well, that’s about it. Do you have any questions or comments Mr. Russell?”
Jude says “Well, I’d like to have a minute to think about what you have just said as it’s a lot to take in. Why don’t you have another sandwich?”
While reaching for the dish Mr. Woodrow answers “Yes, thank you. These are some of the best sandwiches I’ve tasted since my childhood when my grandmother did her own baking, and that is so long ago that it very likely is just in my memory my grandmother’s have grown to be comparable to these. Home baking reminds me perhaps Mrs. Russell has a question?”
When Mr. Woodrow has eaten half his sandwich without Jude saying anything Paula comes up to him to start whispering in his ear. After a few seconds Jude turns his heads to face her and says “It seems to be a rather long and complicated question. I think you’d better ask it directly to Mr. Woodrow so he fully understands what you are asking.
Paula then stands at the end of the coffee table, her face looking at the floor and says “Mr. Woodrow, I understand that using some of the winnings for investments means that our capital in the long term is going to decline less than our annual spending, and because of that we can, for the rest of our lives, afford such fine clothes as I am now wearing and a much larger house with three or more rooms for children and guests, separate living and dining rooms each much larger than this room and a matching garden. So as I understand it this means that if we stay here and cut the clothing expenses our capital will grow. Could you tell us something about how long we would have to stay almost at our cost of living up till now to be able to live the right Reformist life with me dressed in velvet for a decade or two?”
Jude thinks Paula has really changed. She has never spoken for so long to a stranger, and her question is a good one.
As convention requires, even though he is answering the question of a female, Mr. Woodrow turns to face Jude before replying to Paula’s question
“Such a bright wife explains the cleanness and tidiness of this house and promises a good future for your marriage and life with your win being managed sensibly. You believe like a lot of other people that to live the true Reformist lifestyle you have to be an aristocrat or in the management of a big multinational corporation and own a mansion with wings and several dozen rooms. However you can do it with much less. That said that I feel that after your recent financial windfall you would be surprised to discover that you have more money than many of the aristocratic families. Any new house need not to be much larger than the one your wife sketched in her question and it has to have a small annex or isolated part for servants. As you know a true Reformist wife has to have a guardian, and as the guardian spends all of her time assisting the wife, at least one combined cook and cleaning woman is necessary as well. Finally the budget for clothing, especially for your wife, has to be five to ten times as high compared to the new clothes you have just bought. But if you manage your assets sensibly, most importantly spread your investments and avoid those with high risk, you can certainly afford such a life.”
Mr. Woodrow’s conclusion makes Paula raise her head and directly face Mr. Woodrow. She is probably swinging between disbelief and ecstasy. Jude as well had the impression you had to be at a much higher social level for this. After some moments of silence he says
“Mr. Woodrow you have just told my wife that the dream of her life can become reality. I would like to thank you and EuroMillions deeply for this meeting; both for the advice and information you have provided. Some of the financial advice was known to me but it’s very reassuring to hear it from a specialist as well. You have a car outside so I guess you can return without my help in anyway. Perhaps I can offer you to take the rest of the sandwich slices with you. It’s a refreshment no drive-in restaurant can compete with.”
Mr. Woodrow says “As I started saying, this was going to be an easy pleasant afternoon for me, and it has been, even more than I expected. It’s not a long drive back and I’m completely filled, but the sandwiches are fantastic so I will gladly accept your offer to have something exceptional for my wife and me at tea time. Perhaps I can have the recipe as well?”
Paula rushes out to the kitchen while Jude and Mr. Woodrow get up.
As they slowly walk towards the front door Mr. Woodrow says “This house is maintained so well it’s almost as good as new Mr. Russell. Although I advise people about almost incomprehensible amounts it’s just an ordinary white-collar job, and when I retire in ten years time I will only be able to afford something like this, which as I said earlier is just fine for two. As I would like to spend my retirement quietly in a small town like this I hope you’ll permit me to copy your details privately so I can inquire in ten years if this house is for rent then?”
Jude answers “Certainly Mr. Woodrow, I see you just as trustworthy as the friends I’m going to ask soon I hope. Let’s exchange personal information then I’ll make a note on my phone to call you if the house has to have a new tenant in eight to nine years.”
Susanna is awaiting the end of their conversation to, with a curtsey, hand Mr. Woodrow a box and a hand written note. He nods to her and then shakes hands with Jude.
Jude finds Paula in the bedroom where she has removed her veil and takes her back to the coffee table. Her face shines like a small girl on her birthday.
Jude, standing right in front of his wife, says before they sit down “Mr. Woodrow is right you are bright and a good housewife but what matters most to me is that I love you. Now we know what we want to do with the win; we want to use it to live the Reformist lifestyle. You are going to get your dream of being completely covered in velvet fulfilled. We know the first pieces needed for a Reformist lifestyle: what kind of house to look for and we know that we need at least two servants: a guardian and a cook / cleaning woman. In my view, but I’m not a woman, we have the right one for the latter position in the kitchen right now. But it’s you who for the most is going to tell her what to do, supervise her and have her around during the most of the day. You can say ‘No’ right now, or you can wait until Friday evening before making up your mind. In my view Susanna is the right one. Can you please go and fetch her from the kitchen for her to hear me call Brendan and invite him and his wife for coffee on Friday afternoon for drawing up the contract. Furthermore, if she behaves as a servant should, I won’t terminate the contract before six months even if you stop liking her.”
Paula takes a step backwards from Jude and says “I might as well right away get used to not doing the physical household chores and leave the actual cooking to another woman. In less than twenty-four hours I have gone from being an ordinary housewife and almost become an upper class housewife with a full-time servant. Jude I love you.”
Paula leaves for the kitchen and Jude reaches for his phone. Coming back with Susanna Paula takes her usual seat just as Jude has done.
Facing Susanna he tells her he is about to call her father.
Once the phone is answered he speaks. “Hello Brendan. Yes, it was good you came over, just as much because celebrating with only one couple wouldn’t match the occasion. I have Susanna here listening to our conversation, I would suggest letting your wife listen in as well if she is around” there is a short pause while Brendan calls to Martha. After Brendan says that Martha is listening Jude continues “I have had several meetings today. The last was with the counsellor from EuroMillions; a very nice man and a rewarding meeting. From these meetings I’m quite sure I’m able to make up a contract with you by Friday afternoon for employing Susanna and fulfilling the requirements for getting her out of the nuns call list. I have also found out that we are going to need servants permanently so I have also decided to offer you an open ended contract for Susanna, meaning that most likely she will never become a nun”. He listens patiently while Brendan thanks him. “Three ‘thank you’s’ is enough Brendan. It’s rather Paula’s sister Rachel you have to thank that it becomes possible”. There is another short pause while Brendan speaks to his wife. Jude says to Brendan “So your wife is sobbing and has tears of joy running down her cheeks? It’s the same here. Susanna has dropped to her knees in front of Paula and put her face in Paula’s lap. It’s quite alright. She is part of our household now I think you can say even if she has to spend the nights with you until we have bought a new house, so we share her joy, and especially Paula. Do we have an appointment for contract negotiations on Friday at three o’clock Brendan? Yes, it’s okay to bring Martha as well for tea and what your imaginative daughter comes up with. No, no more ‘thank you’s’. See you.”
Paula gently gets up taking Susanna with her. Paula slowly pulls her towards the kitchen. Halfway to the doorway Susanna pulls away from Paula to go and kneel in front of Jude and say red-faced “Mr. Russell, I know I am a good cook but I promise to stay with you as long as you want me no matter if I get better offers, or you can sack me without having to give a reason and me making the slightest complaint if I just get the six months that takes me of the primary call list. Dinner will be served the minute you want it Sir.”
Jude says “I warned Paula before she agreed hiring you that I won’t terminate your contract before six months even if she would like it, so if you behave properly you have my word. Serve dinner at half past six please.”
Susanna curtseys and leaves with Paula. A couple of minutes later Paula returns but instead of joining Jude at the coffee table she goes to the far corner to kneel down and start praying. Jude starts reading news on his phone, but after about fifteen minutes puts the phone down to go and fetch his grandfather’s old printed bible. At dinner Paula shakes her head when Jude starts speaking and so he only sits enjoying her happy face and the exquisite meal being happy without conversation. The only words he says is at the end of the meal when he summons Susanna to praise her food and ask her which ingredients made it special.
During tea they watch television. After about half an hour Jude starts thinking more about what will happen when they go to bed. He imagines for another half an hour before turning off the television.
After he has been in bed for ten minutes Paula comes wiggling into the bedroom in a new nightdress. Her old nightdresses were white cotton, this one is off-white satin. The modest nightdresses most women use are a sort of sack closed at the bottom which is why she wiggles. This one has clips at the elbows and wrists to hold the arms and hands to the body, and if used prevent the wearer from removing the nightdress herself. Paula has clipped her left arm. Her right hand, which is inside the fingertip long closed sleeve she holds up to the root of the nose to hold out an integrated sleep mask elastically attached to the full hood of the dress. Her old nightdresses only had an open face hood. A front zipper from waist to under the chin holds it closed. The full hood is pulled over the head to fully enclose the wearer by its lower edge containing an elastic band to hold it tight around the neck of the body part. But what surprises Jude the most is not the details of the new nightdress itself but that the circular mouth opening of the hood is filled by a white ball gag held in place by a strap around the head on top of the hood. Women in general rarely speak in public, including Paula, but even then it’s normally only upper class Reformist women and maidens who are muzzled to make it impossible for them to speak. Paula has ball gags, which she uses in church, but she has never used them at home. When Paula has climbed onto the bed she takes her right hand from her nose to her thigh making her blind and taps the full length of the arm against her side to indicate she would like Jude to clip this arm as well, which he does.
Now she is quite helpless, unable to take the nightdress off, mute and blind to be dependent on another person who can undo each part separately if he likes. Jude thinks Paula would like to try all the ‘features’ of her new nightdress and leaves her blind and mute. The new nightdress has a slit at the crotch like the old ones, and although Paula is now forced to be more passive than normal Jude enjoys making love to her. It is not nearly as good as yesterday but it gives a twist to kiss her lips fixed around the ball gag.