There’s a note of exasperation in the journalist’s voice as he poses the question for the third time. “But you are a millionairess, Miss Dillon – you surely have some idea of what you would like to do with the one hundred million.”
The woman in the worn armchair remains impassive. She merely glances down at the cat in her lap and continues to stroke it.
Perplexed, the journalist raises his eyes to the ceiling.
After a moment’s silence, he takes a deep breath and again directs his attention to the old lady.
“The world’s at your fingertips, Miss Dillon, a new house and new furniture, maybe a villa abroad in a warm country like Spain or Greece.”
Daisy’s eyes shoot up at the young man sitting on the settee opposite her. “A warm country? Freezing is a more appropriate word for the place I’m going to,” she chuckles.
The man grins at her humour. “Iceland, maybe?”
She flushes him a smile. “Now that’s a good description.”
The old lady waves a hand at him, dismissively. “Only joking, dear.”
The journalist tries to remain composed – even manages a smile.
Has the old girl lost her marbles?
“How about a boat cruise around the world, that would be nice,” he continues, pen digging into his notebook.
“I’ve already told you,” she breathes. “I haven’t thought it over yet. Not properly anyway.”
“But it’s a week since I’ve been to see you. You have consented to an interview and your photo to be published but, mainly, people want to read about your future plans. It’s not every day someone wins the lottery in a small village. They want to read about your new life and how much you’ll donate to charity.”
At the mention of the word charity, Daisy tightens her hold on the cat. “Charity?” she exclaims. “No, no, nothing like that…” but she stops short at the sound of the cat-flap coming from the kitchen.
The two of them look towards the kitchen door.
Another tabby comes running into the living room.
“Kitty, there you are. Decided to come home for your tea, have you?”
The cat jumps onto the woman’s lap and snuggles next to the other feline. “Now, where were we?” Daisy raises her chin in interrogation.
“Ah yes. Will you carry on living in this house? Where will you move to? Kensington, Hampstead, or abroad.”
“No, no,” she cuts in. “Don’t be silly, I’ll be eighty-five next month. My next move will be to the fridge. Only the undertakers will remove me from this place. I’ve lived here since my teens – both I and my sister have. Why would I want to move at my age?”
“No one’s too old for a life of luxury. Maybe you can celebrate your eighty-fifth birthday at the Dorchester. Surely, you’d like that.”
“Not likely. And anyway…” there’s a twinkle in her eyes now. “I’ve just had an idea. What I’ll do with the money, that is.”
The reporter moves to the edge of the settee. He is only inches away from the silver-headed woman, his pen and notepad ready for action.
“Maybe…” she mutters, looking straight at him.
The journalist nods to encourage her to go on.
“I think I should discuss it with my sister one last time. We decide everything together, Dot and I. I know – I’ll give you an answer tomorrow. Yes, that’s it – I’ll talk it over with Dorothy once more before I go voicing my thoughts to the world. Come back tomorrow.”
The man had no choice but to give up for the day.
“Thanks a bunch,” he mutters under his breath.
“What did you say, dear?”
“Thank you very much. No need to see me to the door, Miss Dillon. I’ll see you tomorrow morning then.”
“Tomorrow morning,” she repeats and watches him make his way out.
She remains seated for a few more minutes then gently lowers the two cats to the floor.
“Now, you wait for me down here, my darlings, I’ll be back for your tea very soon.”
She gets to her feet and slowly makes her way up the stairs.
“How are you feeling dear?” Daisy asks as she enters Dorothy’s bedroom.
At the sound of Daisy’s voice, her sister sits bolt upright in the bed. “Much better. The migraine has subsided.”
That’s good dear. Anyhow, listen, I’ve just got rid of him. He’d enough insisted but I couldn’t bring myself to tell him. I made out I had an idea and wanted to discuss it with you again.”
Daisy reiterated the interview with the journalist.
“What did I tell you? I said keep it quite. Don’t speak to the press but no, you…”
“I know, Dot. I wish I’d listened to you now.”
“If only I was well enough to come downstairs. I would have soon told him about our plans – controversial or not.”
“It seemed a good idea at the time. The thought of having my photograph in the paper gave me a buzz.”
“I never knew you had such an ego, Dais.”
“Now, I realise that people around here would take offence.”
“Of course they’d take offence. After all, what we want to do isn’t exactly normal, is it? Many would find it outrageous, bizarre even.”
“I should have anticipated the press would want to know how we’ll spend the money.”
Dorothy spoke with authority: “Look, it’s our decision, our choice and our money – well, your money. And if Walt Disney did it all those years ago, then so can we. That settles it – we’ll just have to tell them our intentions.”
“What, that we’re going to freeze the money?”
Dorothy bursts into loud laughter. “Good pun, Dais. I didn’t think you had it in you.”
Astounded, Daisy looks at her sister, who is now lying back on the bed in fits of laughter. Then the penny drops and she, too, is in stitches. “I can just see the front page of the paper: Spinster twins win a hundred million on the lottery and freeze it.”
“And their cats are part of the big freeze,” puts in Dorothy.
Still laughing, Daisy heads for the chest of drawers by the window.
She rummages through various letters and papers, then pulls out an old newspaper cutting.
“Here it is, Dot,” she cries and waves it in the air.
Dorothy sits up. “Bring it here, Dais,” she beckons.
Daisy unfolds the sheet and carefully spreads it on the bed.
They read the article for the hundredth time.
Cryogenics: freezing yourself so that you may be brought to life sometime in the far future.
Cryogenics is the experimental application of cryogenic principles to freeze and preserve recently deceased humans.
The hope is that they may be revived in the future through new, as yet undiscovered medical technology.
Written by Nethi Sette
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