I was surprised to see a friend’s wife grinning at me this morning. My friend, a retired colonel, was a friendly sort of fellow, but his wife acted as if I were a foot soldier, too junior to converse with.

"How's business?" she asked after the grin.

"I'm not in business," I said, "I'm a …."

"It doesn't matter!" she cried in a high-pitched voice I'd never heard before and which I'm sure had made many a general or other army staff duck thinking a screeching missile was flying by, "You are just the person I'm looking for!"

"Why?" I asked, wondering if the old colonel was watching through his window with a loaded musket.

"Because you need me!" she said breathlessly.

"Does your husband know what you are saying?" I whispered.

"Of course! He's the one who's encouraging me!"

"To talk to me like this?" I asked, flabbergasted.

"You and everybody else. He's started selling insurance! It is very difficult to manage on an army salary, what with the government's ridiculous pay commissions!"

"Ah!" I said, "You're an insurance agent?"

"You need me," she said, coming closer.

"There's nothing much about me worth insuring…" I said, stepping back and looking at my friend’s window.

"You don't know nothing," she said as she came closer again, "do you know Bruce Springsteen the singer insured his voice for £3.5million!"

"You don't say so!" I said, smelling her perfume and even a hint of the colonel's aftershave, "that's a lot of money!"

"And Jimmy Durante insured his nose for $50,000 dollars!"

"His nose!" I exclaimed.

"Yes and Dolly Parton bought her assets for six hundred thousand dollars!"

"Undervalued!" I said.

"That was in the seventies," explained the colonel's wife, "but today Jenny Lopez's assets are valued at a billion!"

"Wow!" I said that's a lot of money!"

"That's a lot of assets!"

"Yes," I agreed thinking of Jlo, Dolly Parton and their insured assets.

I jumped out of my daydreaming as I saw the Colonel peering out of his window, "What are you doing with him?" he asked his wife.

"Selling insurance!"

"Him?" asked the Colonel, looking at me like some sepoy or prisoner- of- war.

"Yes husband, you told me to talk to your friend’s this morning!"

"Not him," said the Colonel, "Don’t waste your time, he’s only a writer! He's got nothing to insure!"

"If JLo can insure her assets and Dolly Parton hers, why not my assets?" I asked weakly.

 “And what are your assets?” asked my friend’s wife.

 “My brains!” I whispered hopefully.

"Yeah!" guffawed the Colonel from his window, "We can see Jimmy Durante’s assets and also Dolly Parton's, but I've never seen yours!"

"My husband is a good assessor!" smiled my neighbor's wife as she left me with the faint smell of the Colonel's after shave..!

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