Charlotte (now referred to as Tom-Tom) and the Brothers Grimm; part II

Well, here’s the rest of the story. As you will remember, Tom-Tom and I were sipping champagne in the little bistro down the road from my chambers. She had promised to tell me all about the Brothers Grimm. I had just refilled her glass and was waiting for her to begin. Tom-Tom looked at me for a while, no doubt to let the tension grow, and then put down her glass.

‘Once upon a time, there were these three friends,’ she said, leaning back in her chair. ‘Thick as thieves they were, and all three considered themselves raconteurs par excellence. Then one evening, after copious quantities of wine had been consumed, a question arose: who was the best.’

‘Like in mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?’ I interrupted.

‘A bit like that. It was agreed that there was only one way to settle this; a competition. And that is exactly what happened. A dinner was arranged in an exclusive club not far from here. As you would have guessed by now, the three friends were barristers on our floor.’

‘When did all this happen?’ I interrupted.

‘About twenty years ago. The idea was that each of the competitors would tell a story after dinner which would then be voted on.’

‘By whom?’

‘Their peers, of course. The whole floor was invited, and a couple of judges too.’

‘What happened?’

Tom-Tom held up her empty glass again, which I quickly refilled.

‘Well, with the passage of time, things have become a little murky, but apparently it all ended in a draw.’

‘How come?’

‘Because each of the stories was so good, it was impossible to declare a winner.’

‘That was it?’

‘Not quite. A floor tradition was born. From then on, the three competitors became known as the Brothers Grimm, and because such a good time was had by all, it was decided to have a storytelling dinner on the first Friday of every month and call it – you guessed it – Grimm Friday.’

‘You’re kidding.’

‘No. Tradition, remember? There are always three Brothers Grimm on the floor. They hold their positions for one year. After that, the positions are declared vacant, and a competition is held to elect three new ones. Anyone can apply. Over the years, things have become a bit more relaxed. Grimm Friday can be a casual lunch, or a get-together in one of the rooms, or impromptu drinks in a bar, but always on a Friday.’

‘You’re not serious. This sounds like boarding school stuff!’

‘You know what barristers are like; you’re one of them!’ she said, giving me a reproachful look. I knew she had me there.

‘Who are the current three?’ I asked, changing direction.

‘Marcus, Cyril and Edgar.’

‘The barristers you’re working for. They were in my room on Friday …I see …’

‘Yes. They’ve held their positions for the last four years.’

‘No challengers? Are they that good?’

Tom-Tom shrugged, a mischievous smile creasing the corners of her mouth. ‘You’ll find out …’

 

Over the years, Tom-Tom and I became good mates. She was full of surprises.  Her sparkling personality, quirky friends – mainly theatre types – and inquisitive mind, made being with her always fun and entertaining. Sadly, a great tragedy cut short her young life. A year after she passed away, I became one of the Brothers Grimm. She would have liked that.

Tom-Tom became the inspiration for one of the central characters in my second book –The Disappearance Of Anna Popov. But that’s another story …

Grimm Friday was a great tradition. It was part of my life for many years, and certainly spurred me on to become a better storyteller and writer. It has been the source of some wonderful material which I’ve used extensively in my books. Over the years, whenever we told one of the Grimm Friday stories, we used to introduce them like this: Once upon a Friday …

So, why not continue the tradition? From now on, all of my post will be released on a Friday, and why don’t we call them our Once upon a Friday stories? All right?

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