Daisy didn't feel like
doing her accounts as it was a hot summer afternoon. Then the phone
rang. “Hello Daisy? Pam speaking.”
Daisy was surprised to hear from Pam, one of her best friends, as
she worked until two o’clock in the afternoon and then had to rush
home and smarten up her house for her children's arrival after
school. “Don't tell me you're free this afternoon!” Daisy exclaimed.
“Yes I am, for a change,” replied Pam, “the kids are both going to a
birthday party and I have to pick them up at seven. I imagine you
are terribly busy?”
“Well yes, I am. I'm supposed to be doing my accounts - but I'm not
going to! You and I are going to my favourite ice-cream parlour to
have a Special. Come on Pam - see you there in a quarter of
“That is a good idea, Daisy. All right, boss!”
It was even hotter than
before and Daisy could see the roses were suffering from the heat in
the public gardens, which she had to go through on the way to
Luigi's ice-cream parlour.
Senior citizens were sitting on benches in the shade, some of them
with books in their hands taking a breather before going to the
nearby public library. To get to Luigi’s, Daisy had to walk past the
library, which was in Church Street.
When she got there, she noticed there was a small removal van with
two men, perspiring freely, busy unloading heavy crates from the
open-top cage of an aerial platform and then sending it up again to
the third floor of the library. It was the first time Daisy had ever
seen an aerial platform on such a small vehicle and she pulled her
mobile out to take a picture of it.
A couple of minutes later Daisy reached Luigi's Ice-Cream Haven
and saw her friend already there sitting at a table.
Pam was fanning herself with a menu. “What a day!”, she exclaimed,
“When I telephoned you I felt I was just about to explode. This heat
really makes you go crazy!”
Seeing Daisy talking to Pam, Luigi came out from behind the
ice-cream counter. He was tall and rather big with one-time fair
hair, now nearly all turned to grey. His rather wrinkled face was
like that of a sailor who had had many experiences in life and had
taken account of them and learned many things.
“Hello Daisy!” he exclaimed. “I haven’t seen you for a couple of
weeks. How are things?”
“Terrible,” answered Daisy, “I’ve got to send in all my bills and
things and some people haven’t paid me yet... oh, well forget about
it! Luigi, please pull me out of my depression!”
Luigi laughed, “Right, SOS received. This week’s Special is
any three types of ice-cream with slices of peaches and melon,
whipped cream and chocolate sauce. OK, Daisy?”
Daisy's eyes said 'Yes!'
“And what about you, Madam?” asked the ever amiable Luigi.
Pam was now studying the menu, “I'd prefer strawberries...
raspberries... and blueberries, with lemon and vanilla ice-cream.”
Luigi soon arrived with two oval-shaped dishes filled with good
things. The two women sat there indulging themselves happily away
from the heat outside.
After a while a couple of teenage boys came in, sat down and ordered
milkshakes with two scoops of ice-cream dropped inside. They were
wearing school uniforms and chatted noisily. “Thank goodness the
fire alarm went off,” said one of them. “I couldn’t stand another
minute of old Parkinson rambling on about the beauty of chemistry.”
“Yes,” replied the other schoolboy. “You know, it was all the fault
of that nerd Simpson. The heat must have got to him and he poured
too much of that... er... what do you call it... powdery substance
into a test tube causing an explosion!”
“Really? I thought it was my guardian angel! Anyway, we are free for
the rest of the afternoon, aren’t we?”
Now a third youth walked in and greeted them. “Hey, there's a chap
who's gone mad in the heat - he’s German or something. They say he
works in one of the offices in Solomon Alley and is threatening to
throw himself down from the fifth floor.” This was obviously great
entertainment for them for they gobbled down their milkshakes and
rushed off with mobiles in hand ready to record the scene.
Suddenly Daisy sat up rigidly, “Pam, did the young man say Solomon
Alley? My accountant's office is right there - Mr. Schroeder!”
Daisy had hardly finished saying this when she stood up abruptly
telling Pam she would settle up with her afterwards and started
running towards Solomon Alley, which was just around the corner, so
she arrived there very quickly.
A small crowd had gathered in the street and were staring up at the
fifth floor. Daisy saw there was a man straddled over the window
ledge. “Oh no, it is Mr. Schroeder!” she discovered to her
horror. “Has no one called the fire brigade?” she asked a man
“Yes, I did, but I don’t think they’ll be able to get through
easily as it’s all so narrow here, there’s barely enough space for a
delivery van! I even knocked on the caretaker’s door but he told me
he had already been up to the office and it was locked from the
Daisy was just going to call up to Mr. Schroeder but had second
thoughts as it might make him lean over to see who was calling and
fall down. “Poor Mr. Schroeder,” she thought, “Something must have
happened to him to make him do such a thing.”
Daisy knew him as a hard-working, conscientious man of about sixty,
whom she could telephone even at seven o’clock in the evening and he
would still be there immersed in his accounts but ready to help her
if she needed some advice. Now he needed help, urgent help.
By now Pam had arrived too. “Pam, I’m so glad you’ve come. It is
Mr. Schroeder up there,” reported Daisy. “The fire brigade hasn’t
arrived yet but I've got an idea. You stay here and wait for me.”
With this Daisy dashed off towards the Public Library where she had
seen the removal van with an aerial platform. One of the men had
just brought down some heavy old chairs.
“Excuse me,” said Daisy breathlessly, “there's someone sitting on a
window sill in Solomon Alley and it looks as though he’s going to
throw himself down any minute. The fire brigade has been called, but
it won‘t get through Solomon Alley easily as it’s very narrow. We
haven’t got much time. Could you come with me with your van - I want
to go up in the platform cage and try and persuade him to come
inside and save his life. I know him, his name is Mr. Schroeder,
he's my accountant!”
For a moment the men just stared at Daisy. She had obviously been
running and was still a bit out of breath. They thought it might be
a joke at first, but when they saw the worried look on her face they
realised she was dead serious.
“Look, this is my card. I’m not making all this up – we may be able
to save a person’s life!” urged Daisy.
The two men looked at each other for confirmation and then told
Daisy to jump into the van. Soon they were heading to Solomon Alley.
The fire brigade was nowhere in sight. Luckily, the van managed to
stop right in front of the building where the accountant’s office
was. In the meantime Mr. Schroeder had changed position and was now
sitting on the window sill with both legs dangling dangerously
Daisy immediately got out of the van and spoke to a policeman who
was trying to control the crowd. She explained how she wanted to try
to save her accountant’s life. The policeman nodded and waived the
people back to make more space for the rescue operation.
“You are still sure you want to go ahead with this, aren’t you?”
asked the driver of the van.
“Absolutely,” replied Daisy. The driver opened the gate of the cage
and Daisy got in. “I want to get near to him but not intimidate him
with my presence,” she explained, “so let’s not go too close all at
once! I'll signal to you if I want to get nearer.”
As the aerial platform went up, Daisy felt a bit shaky and held on
to the sides of the cage, but it was quite safe really, and being
able to see the sky above gave her a sense of freedom.
As the cage reached the same level as the window sill Mr. Schroeder
was sitting on, she noticed he was wearing a white long-sleeved
shirt which was unbuttoned at the neck. It was strange for Daisy to
see him dressed like that, as he normally wore a grey jacket with a
sober tie, which were part of a sort of uniform for him. He looked
very dazed. As he saw Daisy slowly coming towards him, he recognised
her and gave her a faint smile.
Daisy was now a couple of yards away from him. She gently called to
him. “Hello Mr. Schroeder. I haven't finished doing my accounts
yet. I'm not very good at doing them.”
Mr. Schroeder stared at her through his thick-rimmed glasses and
replied hoarsly, “Daisy, go back. I’ve made up my mind. I don't want
to harm you when I...” He bit his lip and added, “Please, Daisy,
don't come any nearer!”
Daisy was by now almost on the same level as Mr. Schroeder.
“Very well, Mr. Schroeder.” Daisy deliberately spoke rather quietly
so that the man could only just hear her as she wanted him to
concentrate on her and not on his plight. “But could you please tell
me of someone who would help me if you are no longer willing to do
“There are lots of accountants,” replied Mr. Schroeder in a
quivering voice. “Now I'm getting on in years and making mistakes.”
Unfortunately the sun had now moved from behind a tall building and
its rays shone right onto Mr. Schroeder’s glasses blinding him for a
moment. He made a sudden movement to protect his eyes and
accidentally knocked his glasses off which fell down and smashed
onto the pavement. Mr. Schroeder let out a sound like an animal in
Now Daisy really had to find some way of distracting him
immediately. “Mistakes? Is that why you are upset today?”
Mr. Schroeder looked downwards trying to see what had happened to
his glasses, but was unable to, as he was short-sighted. Now he
blinked towards Daisy with a desperate expression on his face and
replied, “Yes, I got things all wrong and my clients will have to
pay a hefty tax fine and they’ll be ruined - and, anyway, I'm no
good to anyone any more.”
Daisy understood that making just one mistake could be a terrible
disgrace for Mr. Schroeder. She was at a loss to think of something
useful to say, so she just said the first thing that came to mind.
“Well, even if you've made one mistake you certainly never made any
with my accounts! And anyway I need someone patient like you
who corrects my figures - without you I’d be lost!”
Mr. Schroeder's eyes flickered nervously and seemed to be thinking
of what Daisy was saying.
“Look, Mr. Schroeder, if you like, I could signal to the men to move
the platform nearer to your window and then I could help you get
into the cage from the top.”
The accountant said nothing but continued staring at Daisy.
She smiled at him, “So, is it all right if I come nearer?”
He nodded very slightly. Daisy signalled down to the men with her
hand to get her closer to the window very, very slowly. While they
were doing this, Daisy continued talking, “I'm getting thirsty, Mr.
Schroeder. I'd like a nice iced drink. Would you like one too?”
Mr. Schroeder seemed thoughtful. In the meantime the men below
slowly manoeuvered the aerial platform so that it reached the
window. Now Mr. Schroeder was directly above the cage but looked
hesitant. Daisy realised she had to act quickly. She reached out,
took hold of his legs and pulled him firmly down from the window
sill onto the platform.
Mr. Schroeder fell heavily onto the floor of the cage knocking Daisy
down too. He showed clear signs of being exhausted and didn’t even
try to get up. Daisy regained her balance and signalled again to the
men below to go ahead and pull the platform down. As they did so,
Daisy carried on talking to Mr. Schroeder about what they wanted to
Once they arrived safely below, the two removal men helped them out
of the cage. “Thank you, I’ll be counting on you if anything else
crops up!” quipped Daisy shaking their hands. The two men smiled.
“We’re always in the business of moving things!” one of them
Now Daisy and Mr. Schroeder were surrounded by people cheering and
applauding. Daisy saw that her accountant was in a very sorry state
and could hardly walk, so she asked the policeman to help her take
him to the nearby hamburger restaurant to sit down and recover.
There were people milling around but Daisy and Pam, helped by the
policeman, shielded Mr. Schroeder from the crowd into the
restaurant. A young man brought a glass of water for the accountant
who managed a muffled thanks, even though he still looked rather
under the weather.
Luckily an ambulance arrived shortly afterwards and took him away on
a stretcher. “Let’s go outside and get a bit of air,” suggested Pam
seeing that Daisy looked a bit pale. “Well done,” said a woman with
a pushchair who was standing in the street, “we need more people
Now Daisy was having a nervous reaction and started shaking. Pam
took her arm, “Let's get away from here before any reporters or
anybody else arrives,” she said, “we can go back to Luigi’s,” -
which is exactly what they did.
The next day Daisy
popped into her local bakery where they served quick meals. She had
just put a few drops of vinegar onto her Welsh rarebit when her eye
caught a headline in the newspaper someone had left on the table. It
said: Heatwave drama. Unknown university student saves the life
of a drug addict who had found no more fixes.
Daisy telephoned Pam and told her how indignant she was. “Poor Mr.
Schroeder - a drug addict! How absurd!”
“How can they invent such things?,” Pam commented.
“You know, Pam, they write just anything sometimes. Luckily he
hasn't got that terrible problem but obviously he was suffering from
depression! Mr. Schroeder's such an honest hard-working person. He
thought he had made just one mistake and it seemed to be the end of
the world for him.”
A week later Daisy was
sitting at her desk, frowning and looking rather worried, when
somebody knocked at the door. It was Mr. Schroeder!
“Daisy, you saved me from making a very stupid mistake and I will be
grateful as long as I live. Besides, it would have been all for
nothing as It turned out that it was my client’s fault, not mine.
I won’t bore you with a load of details but they definitely won’t
have to pay a heavy fine any more.”
“That’s wonderful!” exclaimed Daisy, “Ah, Mr. Schroeder, now you’re
here I need to ask your advice about a letter from the Tax Revenue
Office which arrived in the post this morning...”