‘But what are you looking for?’ said Freddy.
‘I couldn’t possibly tell you,’ said Corky. ‘Go and find your own story. Goodness knows, I’ve had to tell enough lies to get this job, and I’ve been getting up at half-past five in the morning for three weeks now—’ here he shuddered, ‘—so if you think I’m going to give all that hard work away and let you barge in and steal the glory you’ve got another think coming.’ He regarded Freddy’s dinner-suit with some disfavour. ‘I see you managed to stroll in here with an invitation. Go and talk to your society pals and see what they’ll tell you. But I expect you already know all about it and are keeping quiet.’
‘Keeping quiet about what?’
Corky pursed his lips and wagged his finger infuriatingly.
‘You’d better spill the beans,’ said Freddy, ‘unless you want me to blow your disguise. I don’t know how the Abingdon will take it if they find out one of their employees has been gaily burgling the patrons, but I expect the police will come into it somewhere.’
‘You wouldn’t!’ said Corky, aghast. ‘Why, squeal on a man who’s just trying to earn an honest living? What sort of a rotter are you?’
‘The sort who gets his stories on the up-and-up, without rummaging through people’s underthings,’ said Freddy shamelessly. ‘Now, tell me what you’ve got, or else.’
Corky looked sulky.
‘It’s nothing much,’ he said. ‘Only we’ve had a rumour that snow is falling in high places, if you catch my meaning. These film people fling the stuff about all over the shop, as I’m sure you’re very aware. As a matter of fact, I shouldn’t be a bit surprised to discover you were up to the eyes in it yourself. You have that red-rimmed look about you at times, and some of your copy is quite frankly incomprehensible, especially on a Monday.’