This modern cafe provides people with coffee, fresh from Klatch, Quirm and Howondaland and, as well as normal coffees, they also sell specialities from around the Disc, allowing a truly cosmopolitan experience. Owned by Jack Bank, who can normally be found behind the counter serving the customers, this exclusive place is very popular and fashionable. Hanging on the back wall is a menu detailing the drinks that are sold.
There is one obvious exit: east.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley is sitting at a table and Jack Bank is standing here.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley looks up from his newspaper as the lady arrives and smiles a greeting.
Tippy Toesies smiles back at the gentleman and slips into a seat at an empty table and orders a coffee.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley turns a page in his copy of the Ankh-Morpork Times, and makes a note on a small notepad with a pencil.
Tippy Toesies pulls out a small notebook, which is clearly a ledger or something, and starts making small ticks in it. Her coffee arrives and she takes it absent-mindedly, nodding to Jack as she does.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley politely asks: I have a feeling that I have seen you somewhere recently, miss. Am I being horribly rude in not remembering where?
Tippy Toesies turns around, looks at your face, and then shakes her head. “I don’t think so, I’m pretty sure I’d have remembered you.” She smiles.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley chuckles lightly. “Pray tell, perhaps you frequent the Filigree store, miss?”
Tippy Toesies oohs. “Oh I was just employed there. OH! Of course, I met you there once. I am so sorry. I forgot!” She laughs, a slightly nervous giggle. “You see, I was very tired that day and I was just there for a few minutes.”
Tippy Toesies asks Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: How do you do?
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley asks you: Aha! We are collegues after all, then! I am quite well — yourself?
Tippy Toesies smiles warmly. “Never better.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: My wife does have a lot of young ladies employed. I do wonder where she finds you all.
Tippy Toesies giggles. “Well, we all answered the advertisement I think. In the New Woman journal.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley looks amused. “There is a New Woman journal? Clearly there is a market which has eluded me. I should branch into this.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley politely asks Tippy Toesies: I trust my lady wife is paying you well enough to meet expenses?
Tippy Toesies pulls out a slightly tattered magazine with a blonde woman on the cover and hands it over to you, half-apologetically. “Sorry it’s a bit bent and stuff.”
Tippy Toesies says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: Very well thank you. It’s the best pay, everybody says so.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley inspects it with professional curiosity, looking at the front page and the index page in turns. “Fashions and society, it appears. Goodness.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: I am glad to hear it. One hears dreadful stories of young ladies having to work several jobs to make ends meet.
Tippy Toesies turns around in her chair a bit so she can see you a bit clearer. She picks up her coffee and blows on it before sipping. “Mm, and they’ve other stuff too, some random advice, beauty tips, silly things really. The things they think girls love.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: Relationship advice and dating advice as well, I imagine? I have been considering dating advice for the Green Slab, actually, but Agatean courtships are very different from what we are accustomed to here.
Tippy Toesies chuckles and blushes at your earlier statement. “Well, I do have another job I guess, but only cause I want a place of my own sometime. Sometimes it can take years and – and sometimes you have to get married and stuff.” She nods, and considers this. “Well yes, definitely. But I think since the Green Slab is an international paper and has an office here in the city you can definitely market your articles to both countries.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley politely asks: We do try, but in fairness, there are several competing papers here in the city as it is. May I inquire as to your second occupation? You are a reporter, perhaps?
Tippy Toesies smooths down the pleats of her short skirt and shakes her head, the blush deepening. “No, no. Nothing like that.” She sips her coffee. “Just some other stuff.”
Tippy Toesies laughs, again, with the nervous giggle.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley returns the magazine to its owner. “Dear me, I did not mean to pry, miss.”
Tippy Toesies takes the magazine and stashes it in her bag. She shakes her red curls. “No no you’re not prying, I promise.” She smiles.
Tippy Toesies bites down on her lower lip and then, with a rush, she says, “I’m actually an escort, but please don’t fire me, I really need this job.” She gazes at you over her coffee. “I promise I won’t bring any clients into the shop or anything.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley places a slender cigarette etui on the table and takes a cigarette from it. Lighting it with a match, he looks up and then laughs softly.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: Goodness me, Miss — Tippy, isn’t it? That is hardly for me to judge.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: I am a professional murderer. I have my own ghosts in the wardrobe.
Tippy Toesies sips her coffee, wrapping her hands around the mug for warmth. “It’s hardly a respectable job, I know.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley adds with a small smile, “Besides, my second wife had that profession as well.”
Tippy Toesies’s eyes become very large. “Well.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley confides with amusement, “It was quite the scandal in society, back in the day.”
Tippy Toesies crosses one leg over the other. “I know we’re supposed to be really honest and stuff with our spouses but when I get married I want a clean slate. I won’t tell him all this part of my life.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley nods his understanding. “There are questions that I never asked. A man does not need or want to know everything.”
Tippy Toesies nods, and takes another sip of her coffee. “But not everybody’s as understanding as you and if the man I love was to see me differently, why I don’t think I could bear it.”
Tippy Toesies softly says: I am not even telling my parents really, and they just live on the other side of town.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley nods and draws on his cigarette. “It is a profession with a lot of stigma attached, as I understand it. I speak purely from the bystander’s point of view, though. The only time I actually hired a seamstress, ’twas to help me bathe a runaway girl aged fourteen.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: It did not seem appropriate for me to hold her under myself.
Tippy Toesies raises an eyebrow. “Fourteen? Surely that is old enough to bathe, why I could bathe alone at age six or seven.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley looks amused at the memory. “She was a… bit on the wild side, that one. Ended up marrying a Fish priest and moving off somewhere. Dated my younger brother first, though. And almost everyone else.”
Tippy Toesies says: And hopefully she can have baths on her own now.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley nods goodnaturedly. “I suspect that I was attempted seduced and missed it, to be honest.”
Tippy Toesies giggles. “By a fourteen year old? Sounds like trouble.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley asks: Oh, quite so, quite so. Some young ladies come with built-in trouble, have you noticed?
Tippy Toesies finishes her coffee and puts her mug down. She shrugs. “I guess I could be one of those although I never gave trouble to anybody else.” She thinks for a second. “And plenty of young men come with built-in trouble too, even worse, in fact because they affect other people too.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley stirs his coffee then raises his spoon and shakes it like a finger. “No, no. Young men do not come with built-in trouble. Young men, at least the ones with money, -are- trouble.”
Tippy Toesies shakes her head. “No Sir Andrew, you don’t need money to be trouble. You can be trouble when you’re poor too.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: The difference there, my dear, is that poor men -can- be trouble, but wealthy young men almost inevitably are.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: The boys in Cobra House, goodness, I think they consist of ninety percent hormones, eight percent rebellion, and two percent common sense.
Tippy Toesies looks doubtfully at Sir Andrew d’Ackerley as she doesn’t know any wealthy young men such as the ones you allude to. “Well I suppose.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says to Tippy Toesies: I may be biased, managing a flock of boys aged eight to twenty.
Tippy Toesies says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: It does sound like hard work.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley shakes his head. “Not so much hard as… Let us say that one gains a certain understanding of just how much young boys can be driven by their desire to show off and their desire to meet girls. I dread to think that I was once one of them myself.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley may speak like a sixty-year old but from the looks of him, he’s actually just in his mid-thirties.
Tippy Toesies laughs as she picks up her ledger. “Well, you know, I think it’s sort of hard to look back sometimes at yourself.” She smiles, a little shyly. “That’s why I want this part of my life to disappear completely when I’m ready to move on to the next bit.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley asks: Quite, quite. Pray tell, would it be extremely rude of me to inquire as to which part of society you take jobs in, so to speak?
Tippy Toesies blushes. “Well, right now I’m sort of going freelance a bit.” She fidgets, her hands in her lap. “I mean the guild’s all very well but I don’t really want to give a percentage of my pay away and I can take care of myself. I’m sort of aiming for Ankh really. I’ve only had one job and it was from there.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley looks interested. “Ankh, aye? Perhaps we shall meet on formal occasions, then.”
Tippy Toesies sighs, noting your look of interest. “I suppose so.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley chuckles softly. “I meant that you might be accompanying others, Miss Tippy.”
Tippy Toesies laughs. “Oh thank god.” She chuckles. “I do like your wife a lot, and really to be honest, if she can’t keep her husband faithful with that face, there’s no hope for the rest of us.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: I have absolutely nothing to complain about in that regard, indeed. My wife is also good intellectual company and well educated.
Tippy Toesies smiles at Sir Andrew d’Ackerley. “You seem well matched I think.” She flexes a shoe-clad foot as the postman talks to him and giggles to herself.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: I believe that it is quite common for unwed gentlemen to proposition a professional lady to escort them to social events, however. One is taught to think of it somewhat as them learning how to behave in preparation for their eventual marriages.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley politely thanks the postman and sends him on his way. Can carry my own shopping, thanks.
Tippy Toesies folds her hands on her lap and nods, listening attentively. “Yes that’s true, I think that’s the reason for a lot of it.” She hesitates slightly. “Of course you know it’s not only about the escorting, they like to call you an escort but you’re also really – well, they pay for your time, let me just put it that way.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley politely says: Oh, yes, I am quite aware. My father’s family has always sported a surprising amount of young ladies with no actual family affiliation, if you will allow me to put in such a fashion.
Tippy Toesies tries to make sense of what he means. “You mean your father played the field?” she offers at last, hesitantly.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley mildly says: Let me put it like this: There are at least eight people of roughly my age in our home town who look remarkably like me.
Tippy Toesies looks uncomfortable. “Oh I am sorry.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley shakes his head. “Don’t be. It is quite common for nobles to be, ah, promiscuous.”
Tippy Toesies sighs. “Common but it’s not acceptable. At least it shouldn’t be.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley steeples his fingers. “I suppose that is for society to decide. Personally I find that one woman is more than enough for me. I do take an interest in the activities of younger members of my family, though.”
Tippy Toesies says: But since society is just a larger representation of people, people like you and me, then I guess whatever we feel we are also society.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says to Tippy Toesies: Aye, but while we can lead by example, we cannot always order others to cease behaving in ways we find inappropriate..
Tippy Toesies shakes her head. “That would be a dictatorship. Or a meritocracy?” She creases her forehead trying to remember the word; she’s clearly someone who went to school for as long as her parents could afford to send her and actually listened in class. “Anyway, it’s been really nice to run into you like this.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley asks: And you, Miss Tippy. Perhaps sometime we can sit down a bit and talk about society?
Tippy Toesies smiles and laughs. “Yes that would be nice. And you’re buying the coffee next time.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley adds with amusement, “I am, and I promise to not try to hire you.”
Tippy Toesies laughs as she gathers up her things. She gives a tiny wave. “Alright well I’ll see you at the shop later.”
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley returns the wave goodnaturedly. “Take care, Miss Tippy.”