It was a couple of months later that the Party Animal issue went away. It was the early part of the year, after the Christmas and New Year rush, and before any spring celebrations. There were still events that needed a party, and we were jogging along quite well, I thought. Then out of the blue, I had a call from Angel, asking if I’d heard from Alistair recently.
I thought for a moment and realized that I’d not heard from him for a month or so. In fact, now I thought about it, he’d not returned my call about a week ago. “Let me guess,” Angel said, “You were asking for your last month’s share of the profits.”
Alistair was our bookkeeper, and he generally sent us a share of the profits once a month, but I’d not received any for almost 6 weeks now. I didn’t like where this conversation seemed to be going. “Yes I was, I haven’t been paid for last month,” I said, dreading the answer to the next question. “Have you?”
“I’m going round to his flat,” she said, “Meet me there.”
Alistair shared an apartment on the other side of Edinburgh, and it took me almost 45 minutes to get there. I knocked on the door, and Angel answered. I saw her strained expression, and the pile of letters strewn around the room, but before I had the chance to say anything, she said: “that bastard’s gone back to Australia with our money!”
I automatically corrected her “He’s from New Zealand – what do you mean he’s gone?”
“Tony sweetheart, how clear do I need to be? Our sweet little NEW ZEALANDER has liquidated our assets, packed his bags, and fucked off to who knows where with the money. OUR money, yours and mine hard earned fucking money. It’s gone Tony, he’s taken it, and it’s all gone.”
Angel suddenly seemed to crumble and sank down onto the floor. “And now look,” she sniffled.”He’s making me cry, and I hate fucking crying.”
I stood there just watching her, I didn’t know what else to do. Just then Alistair’s flatmate came in from the kitchen, with cups of tea for us all. He said that Alistair had left a week before, without any prior notice that he was going. He said he was taking a trip around the world before heading home, so there wasn’t even a forwarding address.
I was stunned. Not only had I not been paid, but I had some expenses that I’d not been reimbursed for yet. “Well, we still have the bus, we can carry on,” I said, trying to be as positive as possible. Angel looked over the papers on the floor, found one and silently handed it to me. It was from the lease company that owned the bus. They had not been paid and were threatening to repossess it unless the arrears were paid in 48 hours.
“You see it was dated over a week ago,” Angel said. “Looks like dear Alistair took to the hills when he found his game was up. I don’t know what I’m going to do Tony, I’m in debt, and I needed this money. I’m just too tired to start all over again. Well, at least your Ruby has a steady job.”
I shook my head. Not only had Ruby left her job, but she had also just started in full-time education again. Ruby I knew had some savings, but I just spent whatever I got in, sometimes more. I wasn’t sure how I was going to tell her.