James woke on the settee again not feeling too good. Trying to focus on his phone and realised it was 8.20. He knew he had to go over to the shop at some point for a while, so he had a coffee and went up to his office at home for a couple of hours enjoying the peace. Samantha had popped around to do her mates house to do her hair. James went through a few wedding photos he had taken recently and sorted the good ones from the not so good for a while.
As James was leaving the house, he remembered Harriett’s mobile phone in the draw, so he took it with him and placed it in the glove box in his car with a charger on it in case it rang again. Then he drove over to Meriden.
When he got there, he went through the books. He realised things were not good at all. He phoned a few clients asking for the money that was owed to him.
After a couple of promises from his clients James made his way home about 2 pm stopping at the pub for a couple of drinks, and while he was sitting there, he played with his phone waiting for a call from Harriett. He was worried after their conversation last night about her brother.
James eventually went home and as he pulled up on the drive and got out of his car two men walked up behind him.
“Yes?” James said as he turned.
“DCI Clews and this is PC Ashton!” They held their ID badges up for him to see.
“What’s happened?” he asked
“Nothing Mr Becket, or shall I call you James?”
“James is fine!”
“I was wondering if you could help us with our inquiries James.”
“Yes, yes, of course, come in!”
“Where have you been? You left before I got back!” Samantha asked.
“I’ve been to work!”
As they all went into the front room and sat down James’s phone bleeped and he quickly glanced at it;
“Sorry can’t get down yet. Still hiding because I know they are looking for me. Don’t worry I’m OK and I will see you soon. Text you in the morn! H”
“Sorry work,” James said as he placed in his pocket.
DCI Clews took his notepad out. “Yesterday you dropped a girl at a garage in Meriden?”
“That’s right, yes.”
“Who is she, do you know her?”
James looked around at Samantha glaring at him.
“Sally he said. Why?”
“Have you ever seen her before?”
“No… no never!”
Samantha leaned forward.
“Was that mobile phone hers? The phone you said you found? I bet she left it in your car didn’t she?”
James's heart missed a beat as he looked up.
“The one you had last night!”
“Oh, that one! No, it was on the road outside here by my car when I parked up!”
Do you still have it?” DCI Clews asked.
“No, I binned it; Someone had driven over it!”
DCI Clews wrote on his notepad.
“So... going back to this girl. How come she was in your car then?”
Samantha stood up and walked out the room.
“I gave her a lift to a garage; she said her car broke down.”
“Where did you pick her up from?”
“On the Meriden Road just by the motorway bridge she had her thumb up!”
“Did she talk to you?”
“Yes, she said her car had broken down, and she was going to see her friend a couple of miles away. She told me her name was Sally, and she came from Coventry I think.”
“Did she say anything else?”
“No not really, I dropped her at Meriden Garage, and that’s it! Oh, I asked her if she wanted me to drop her at her mates house and she said no just a garage would be fine.”
“Can you tell me what she had on?”
“Cream dress with faded flowers I think!”
“Did you notice anything about her?”
“No, she was good-looking, good figure, well mannered.”
“Would you say she was pregnant?”
James thought for a while and shook his head “No I don’t think so.”
“And there’s nothing else you can think off?”
DCI Clews closed his notepad and stood up. “If you do remember anything, you’re… wife… sorry partner has a card, ring me anytime!”
“Oh, did she have anything with her?”
James shook his head. “No only her red shoes she was carrying them.”
James shook his head again.
“She didn’t leave anything in your car?”
As they walked to the door, James asked: “What’s all this about then?”
“Well, we believe the car that broke down and burst into flames on the M42 motorway was her car. On closer inspection, we found a man’s body in the boot.
“Honestly?” James said with a surprised look.
He stood by the door as they both walked down the path.
“Think he’s going to get a bollocking Gov!”
“I know, I thought that.” The DCI Clews said smiling.
”He has probably been found with his lens in the wrong place, a Gov! After all, he is a photographer!”
They both walked to the car and got in.
They sat for a while. DCI Clews watched in the mirror and waited.
After a few minutes, the front door of the house opened, and James came out, got in his car and drove off.
To police pulled away turned the car around and they followed him. James pulled into the car-park of the Three Horseshoes and the police drove off. James sat in the pub on his own with a pint of beer trying to find a way out of the mess he had got himself into.
Eventually, James made his way home none the wiser. He opened the front door and went in.
“DID YOU SORT THE MORTGAGE OUT?” Samantha shouted from upstairs.
James looked up “Shut the fucks up will you? You’re doing my head in!”
“YOUR RIGHT!” Samantha shouted. “If I lose my home, I will do your fucking head in! But it will be with an iron bar!”
“I DON’T NEED THIS!“James shouted as he turned and picked his keys up.
“WHERE ARE YOU GOING NOW?” Samantha shouted walking down the stairs.
He slammed the front door and as he walked along the path. All he could hear was Samantha screaming. James sat in the car for a minute on the drive to calm down. Apart from all the shit, he had on his plate he kept thinking about Harriet.
James turned the ignition on and noticed the red light was on and the fuel gauge was on empty as he reversed onto the road. He felt the phone vibrate in my pocket as he drove off. James pulled over to answer it. He turned the engine off to save what little fuel he had and looked at the screen. It was Samantha.
“We need gas; the heating has gone off, the electric meter is bleeping and don’t bye too much beer you will be farting in bed again all night. That’s if you bother to come up to bed!”
James turned the phone off and threw it on the passenger seat then he started thumping the steering wheel in anger. James stopped and started counting. He got to 10 and sat quietly. He realised he was in deep shit! After a while when he calmed down he drove to the Red Lion and sat in the car–park looking at the people standing outside with their drinks, smoking cigarettes, laughing and telling jokes. He was jealous of them having a good time. James pulled out his wallet and the small change he had in his pockets and counted it. He had £16.80.
A loud burst of laughter made him look up at the people by the entrance to the pub under the canopy. He noticed a cash machine behind them on the wall. James locked the car and walked over to it with his bank card firmly in his hand. He started chanting to himself. “Please be there; please be there, please be there!” As he walked past the crowd, he heard someone shout, “Aye James aren’t you coming in for a pint tonight?” James looked up, “No not tonight mate,” he replied, “The wife’s cooking something special!”
He turned away with a nervous smile listening to a roar of laughter. James concentrated on the machine in front of him. “Please let the money be in the bank for the job I’ve just done!” He said quietly. His stomach was churning over and over. James carefully placed the card in the slot and put his code in looking at the screen. It seemed like hours for the numbers to come up. “Please don’t swallow it! Please don’t swallow it!” He kept saying to Himself.
James bent down to look at the screen it said £20 he almost smiled until he noticed the dash in front of it. He took his card and went back to the car deeply depressed. He sat there thinking where he could get some money. The thoughts were flowing through his head. “I need some money fast! Not only the mortgage but also we needed food for tomorrow.” With a long sigh, James reversed back and drove further down the car-park so no one could see him.
He picked up his phone and went all through the list of names of friends and relatives, trying to think of someway or someone to get a couple of grand off to help him out. He scrolled through the names one by one and thought about asking someone for a loan. He stopped and studied the name John and then remembered the grief he had when John wanted his money back. Then he went around telling everyone how he had helped James. Then he came across the name Henry. When he’d asked him for help in the past, he told James he couldn’t help and then told lies about the reason why. James Mom and Dad came up, but they have helped him enough in the past, and he couldn’t ask them for anymore.
Nothing and nobody sprang to mind, so James drove over the road to the shop and parked the car. He walked into the one stop shop with £16.80 and picked up two cans and then he added £10.00 for the electric meter because Samantha will be going to bed soon hopefully she won’t need any gas until tomorrow. James added it up again, and it came to £11.98, so he got another beer from the shelf £12.97. In his mind, he had enough petrol in the car to get back to the house and then the garage tomorrow. So he had a lucky-dip on the lottery. James knew if it came to it he could always get some fuel and pretend he had left his wallet at home again.
“That’s £14.97 please?” the keeper said.
James left there with three cans and happy. He had some change in his pocket and drove home! He sat in the car on the drive for a while because I didn’t want to go in the house.
James looked up and notice Samantha by the window with her arms folded resembling an un-exploded war missile. He walked to the front door and placed a can of beer in one of his shoes on the porch and opened the door.
“Come on I’m freezing in here!” Samantha shouted
“The Fucking gas has gone off that’s why!” she shouted.
“Well, you will have to put the electric fire on the gas card wouldn’t work in the shop. I will have to go to another shop in the morning.”
“Fucking brilliant! Its Saturday night and we’ve got no gas! Did you get electric?”
“Yes, that worked Ok!”
“I see the beer fridge was working too! Where are my Fags?”
“You didn’t say you wanted fags!”
“I always have fags on Saturday night!”
“I’ll have to go and get you some then!” he replied as he put two cans in the fridge.
Samantha opened the cupboard. “Don’t bother!” she said. “I’ve got four left that will have to do. I’m fucking freezing anyway. I’ll have to go to bed early again!”
James looked up at the ceiling. “Thank you! There is a God after all,” he said under his breath plugging the key in the meter. James opened a can and went into the front room and sat down to watch the television and Samantha followed him in smoking with a glass of wine and an ashtray banging them on the table next to her.
“So… what are we going to do?”
“The bills… your work, No money?”
“Like you just said it’s Saturday night! Let’s forget it until Monday, there’s nothing I can do at the moment, so just leave it!”
“It’s no good just leaving it. It won’t go away you know! You can’t just dismiss it like an empty beer can!”
James gave out a loud sigh.
“Work is coming in, and we will be Ok!”
She sat there. James could tell she was working up to something. Then it came like a volcano.
“I Think we ought to knock it on the head! We can’t go on like this it’s not doing either of us any good. We don’t have a life. Not one of our friends asks us out anymore because we are boring. We can’t have them around here because the house is a shit hole and I have no interest in cleaning it. Apart from that, I’m sick of everyone that comes hear saying When are you going to finish the kitchen you stated three years ago?”
It went quiet for about 5 seconds. “We don’t go on holidays; we have no money. We argue all the time!” James took a swig of beer hoping Samantha would give up and go to bed.
“You’re not even listening!”
“I am. You have had a bad day, and you’re taking it out on me! That’s fine I’m used to it. I’ve been doing it for years!”
It went quiet again. James flicked through the channels on the television to find something to take their minds off the situation as Samantha stood up and walked out.
James sat hoping Samantha had gone to bed. With everything going through his mind he wasn’t watching the television. He checked his phone to see if he had a message from Harry, but there was nothing. James knew that when Samantha goes for a walk tomorrow with her mother, he could get back in the loft and start stripping the old copper pipe so he could weigh it in for cash on Monday.
Samantha walked back into the room and banged her glass on the table again followed by the ashtray.
“Oh, 12 months today!” she said and held her glass up. “If any of our friends found out that we where on meters I would die.”
James looked at Samantha and shook my head.
“Who the Fuck cares about them?” He added. “They don’t care about us? You said it yourself; we have no friends anymore. Their all frightened to phone and ask how you are, just in case you ask for a loan.
Samantha went quiet again looking at the television.
“I Still can’t believe they broke into our house with a locksmith and changed all the meters while we were out.”
“Not again please, It was 12 months ago for fuck sake! When we’ve paid all the arrears off, I’ll get them changed back to normal meters.”
It went quiet again, and James was looking at the screen thinking.
Then he asked, “Is there someone else…?”
Samantha turned away and was odd in some way.
A cold shiver went down James’s spine as a loud knock on the front door rattled through the house.
“Who’s that?” Samantha asked.
James Stood up and walked out into the hall closing the door behind him. He opened the front door “Yes?”
A boy that didn’t look old enough to drive stood there wearing jeans and a denim jacket.
"I’m from the TV licensing department.” He said, and he shoved an identity card in James’s face.
“I have reason to believe you are watching the television without a licence.”
“ERR! I think we do have one!” James said.
“Well according to our records there isn’t one registered to this address.
“Oh, so what do I do now then?” James asked.
“We need to fill out a questionnaire.” The boy said
They stood by the door while he asked James questions and then he handed him a copy and said goodbye. James closed the door folded the sheet of paper he gave him and tucked it into his pocket. Then he turned the light off in the hall.
“Who was that?” Samantha asked.
“It was the man over the road asking to borrow my ladders.”
Samantha looked at him with a disbelieving look on her face but said no more.
“Don’t suppose you did the lottery?”
“Yes, I did actually.”
The show started, and James got himself his second beer thinking if he got three numbers and won ten pounds he could go back up the shops. James pulled the lotto ticket out of his wallet, folded it in half down the middle like he always did and placed it on the little table next to him so he can only see the first number. Then he waited while they introduced the machine and eventually pressed the button after telling everyone the jackpot was 1.6 million.
James and Samantha watched the balls rolling around. James prayed for three numbers so he could go and get some more beers. Then he thought about four numbers. “£100 would do the shopping, get some petrol and her off his back.”
James looked at the screen as the first number dropped.
“7,” the man said.
James looked down and there it was 7.
He looked back at the television as the next ball dropped.
“13, unlucky for some!” the commentator said. James licked his first two fingers and slid the covering part of the ticket over a bit more, and he could see the one and then the three so he pushed his finger on the crease to hold it down.
James had a swig as the next ball dropped.
“21, the key of the door,” he said. As James placed his glass down again, he slid the ticket open a bit more, and there was the 2.
A slight smile came to his face, as he thought if this is a 1, I could get some more beer.
He pushed it slowly and there it was.
“Thank you up there!” he whispered and watched the next ball drop.
“22” James heard him say. Gently he pushes the top cover off a bit more and saw a two his heart started beating a bit faster as another two appeared.
“I have four numbers for the first time,” he thought to himself and looked back at the screen as they said 33. James ran his finger along the crease again and had a guzzle of beer and put the glass down as he said, “And the next number you need is 34.”
James turned to see what Samantha was doing. She was staring at the screen in a trance then she stood up and went out the room. James looked over and licked his two fingers again and placed them on the ticket and started to slide it over. The top half of lifted and he could see 33. It was there. He froze and didn’t know what to do. His heart was pumping as he sat thinking five numbers has got to be a couple of bags. James noticed his hand was shaking as he picked the ticket up, opened it and quickly turned it over. He smoothed the creases out rubbing the back of the ticket.
Samantha came back into the room and sat down again with her last cigarette. James was looking at the screen not knowing what to do. “34, is a good number to have,” he said to himself. “34 is a high number, and the odds are less now we are up there in the 30’s and 40s.
James counted the difference on his fingers with his hands dangling over the side of the settee.
James quietly inhaled and held his breath, looked at the back of the ticket and turned it over. Number 34 was there! It looked bigger than all the other numbers. It looked like it was flashing as he stared at it. He could feel his pulse on his face pumping as he sat still in the chair, his heart was pounding in his chest, it felt like it was trying to get out in the open and dance around.
James kept looking at the screen not knowing what to do.
He floated back into the room as Samantha moved her legs off the settee onto the floor. She slid to the edge of the chair and grabbed her empty glass. “No good then?” she said as she stood up. James didn’t know what to do. If he opened his mouth, he could say the wrong thing. Did he want Samantha to know or should he keep quiet?
“Well!” she said.
James looked at the ticket and replied. “Yes we got three numbers, that’s a tenner I think!”
“I’m going to bed then that won’t get us out the shit!”!” she said as she walked out the room and slammed the door.
James waited for a while sitting on his hands. He kept looking at the ticket. When James heard the bedroom door slam, he stood up and finished his drink off in one and went out the room and into the downstairs bathroom. James locked the door, flushed the toilet and jumped up and down with joy. He punched the air with his teeth firmly together. “Yes!” he shouted and flushed the loo again so no one could hear him. James leapt, jumped and jumped some more. He couldn't believe it. He was out of breath after a while, so he put the toilet seat down and sat on it. James thought about the money and all the expensive things he could have. Cars, houses, holidays, in fact, he could have anything but did he want Samantha. He put his hands over his eyes and started crying like a baby and didn’t know why.
Eventually, James pulled himself together and calmed down. He went to the front door and got his last beer from his shoe on the porch and closed the door quietly. James went back into the front room wiping his eyes and tried to watch the television just in case Samantha came down.
He sat in the front room in his usual position looking at the television with a massive smile on his face. then he paced the floor thinking about his new wealth not knowing exactly how much it would be.
James heard the floorboards creek upstairs, and he panicked thinking Samantha was coming down to see what he was doing. He hid his can behind the settee and sat down.
While he was waiting, he remembered the bottle of vodka he hid in the cupboard the other night. As he sat quietly, he heard the floorboards again and then the bedroom door slam. James crept out into the kitchen carefully pulled it from the cupboard and poured a large Vodka and downed it in one. James shook his head as it slid down his throat. James poured another with a bit of tonic and took it into the front room. He thought the best thing to do would be to get drunk and pass out on the sofa. Then he could sort everything out in the morning.
James sat watching the television and flicking through the channels again he found a programme on holidays. James thought it would be a great idea to get away and have a think about his money and what to do with it.
As he sat putting different channels on and off, he thought about taking Harriet with him, so he texts her.
He picked his phone up off the table and wrote: “What doing?” He waited. Then his phone beeped. James fumbled and turned the sound off quickly, so he didn’t arouse Samantha.
“Still awake, I’m too scared to do anything why?”
James read it and text back “Have you found your brother?”
“No, but I have had a message saying Hi I’m OK! I’ll see you soon. It’s strange though; he always puts his initials after his message and his phone is still ringing out. I have left loads of messages for him.”
James had a swig from his glass and typed “Do you have a passport?” His phone lit up almost straight away
“assport? If you mean passport then yes why?” She replied.
“I was just wondering!” James answered and waited for a reply.
“Thanks for your help and understanding last night!”
James had a swig and read her reply then text back. “Are you still coming down tomorrow?”
James waited patiently.
“Yes hopefully. Are you drinking or is your spelling always this bad?”
James closed one eye to reply. “Sorry, I’m pissed!”
He waited again.
“I will be with you around 12! I need to get the train to N.E.C. They are over the road watching the house and my car at the moment!”
After another gulp James carefully text “OK I will pick you up!” Bring your passport. Do you fancy a week in Greece?”
James was finding it hard to see his phone.
“What’s the catch?” James was struggling to see as he dropped the phone onto his lap. He closed one eye again and texts with one finger. "No catch. I have got to go there, and you can hide. All you have to do is enjoy yourself and put up with me for a week!”
James’ hands fell to his side as he almost fell asleep, but the light from the phone brought him round again. He picked the phone up and closed one eye to read the message.
“I think that sounds a great idea. How much money shall I bring?”
James looked almost falling asleep and sat forward on the sofa inhaled and text back
“Your fair is paid. You need some spending money.”
“OK, I will talk to you tomorrow!” Good night!”
With that, James turned the phone off, sat back and fell asleep.
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Vaughan WilliamsWrite a Review