Hector P Bagshaw

by Jenny

Hector P Bagshaw

The source of our problems, we agreed, was Hector P Bagshaw.

If not for him, our little community would have been perfect. We liked each other; took turns tending the communal garden, collected each others mail, shared meals in one anothers’ kitchens, looked after baby Daisy when Alison worked shifts...

But not Hector. He lived on the top floor, my floor, and never joined in or did his share. He played his loud, out-of-tune piano when everyone was asleep on a Saturday morning. He smoked in his flat and pretended he didn’t. He even fell asleep running his bath, flooding poor Derek’s living room, ruining his collection of paper lanterns.

In short, none of us liked sharing the building with Hector.

It didn’t surprise us when an oddly shaped box appeared outside his flat, blocking the corridor, his name printed clearly on the top. I had to lift up my bike to pass it.

It was still there when I got home, so I decided that something must be done. I rapped smartly on his door and arranged my features to convey polite firmness. He peered through his horn-rimmed spectacles, brushing matter from his brown, threadbare dressing gown. His hair tufted in white clumps at the sides of his head.

“Hector?” I began.

“Who?” he asked.

“Mr Bagshaw?” I corrected.

“Who’re you looking for, missy?”

“Hector I’m looking for you - there’s a parcel…”

“Sorry, wrong flat. No Hector here.” The door slammed shut.

The next morning the parcel was gone. I was confused, but let it pass.

Until it happened again; Alison fell over it and he’d said the same to her. So we convened in my kitchen - Alison and Daisy, Derek and Mr Thatcher from the ground floor.

“Maybe he’s forgotten who he is - he’s getting on a bit…” posed Derek

“He knows what he’s doing.” Mr Thatcher said. “I’ll wager whatever’s in that box he’s too embarrassed to say is his.”

We peered out. It was certainly an unusual shape and alarmingly large.

By morning, it had vanished. As I wheeled my bike out Mr Thatcher gave me a knowing look. We knew what had to be done.

When another package appeared in the hall, no-one wasted time asking Hector. Together we dragged it into my kitchen and opened it.

“Well” said Derek “I never expected that.”

Mr Thatcher whistled. “Who’d have thought - at his age too!”

I reached down and lifted it out. Suddenly there was a loud banging on my door!

They scattered. Alison grabbed Daisy and hid in the bathroom. I brushed my hair back and calmly opened the door.

It was Hector, veins popping.

“Miss Jones - have you seen…” he peered past me to where his box disgorged its contents over my floor. I had to think fast.

“Who?” I said.

“MISS Jones…”

“Who?” I asked innocently “Who are you looking for, sir?”

“Now look here, that box is mine - you’ve no right…”

“I’m sorry, I don’t know who you mean. There’s no Jones here and that box is addressed to Hector P Bagshaw, who I’m told doesn’t live here.”

I slammed the door in his purpling face.