Friday 12th December
It has now been over a week since Jason was confirmed as being murdered. In that time I have avoided Agatha and Naz has avoided me. I’ve come to suspect the Starkies’ neighbours, Fat and Buff, even more. They scare me a little, always giving away strange looks to people as they pass. They’re very active in the estate these days after what seems like an eternity hiding from everyone. I don’t think I’ve ever known them be so out and about. It might just be my imagination, like in the book I’ve just finished, To Kill a Mockingbird, with the strange house that the kids dare not go near.
More snow came and went, much to Mei’s mum’s delight. She never sees snow back home, and it’s something of a rarity in England these days.
Right now it’s raining.
Mei’s mum has been a delight to be around. The food has been great but the cups of teas are becoming a bit of a nuisance. Who will drink Harold’s tea if she continues to do this to me?
In the news was another bout of information regarding Jason’s murder: they say he has been dead since Saturday 29th November and it happened in the afternoon sometime between one and five. If I remember correctly that was the day after Harold’s lights were stolen. Everyone knew about it so for all I know the whole road could have done it. Anyway, enough. It’s not up to me to play detective.
The news also mentioned an earring found close to the scene could be a clue. They showed a picture of it: yellow gold with a dangly diamond, or fake diamond. I couldn’t understand the reporter fully as we were all talking over food.
I did, however, manage to find Mei a Christmas present. An all singing and all dancing Samsung tablet. It was on offer as a newer model had recently come out. It should complement her driving lessons well as the best combination of gifts ever. I’m sure to be repaid nicely, if you know what I mean. Wink.
It seems like Agatha has to say or do something to me on a weekly basis these days. Like I said, I’ve managed to avoid her all week, but today? Today I have to train someone on the Longton run. A new driver. Her name is Amy. She is almost forty with blonde hair and has what my friends call a yummy mummy body. I’ll leave that to your imagination. Let’s just say that her husband is a lucky man. If she has one.
She’s wearing tight jeans and a brown leather jacket that make her look tasty. If I wasn’t taking her out on a round I would be perving over her with sideways glances from behind a newspaper.
Training someone always makes me nervous. Does it mean my job is in jeopardy? I think I’ll try and get some information from her during the round.
We head to Longton and I’m nervous the entire time. I’ve heard stories about certain women who lie about things happening when they’re alone in cars with men. How do I know she won’t say I touched her or something?
Yes I am cynical.
I have a new client in Walmer Bridge, a small village on Liverpool Road that runs from Longton.
Twelve years ago I lived in Walmer Bridge when I still lived with my parents. It was nice. We had helpful neighbours and the whole community seemed to know each other. Though I don’t think I’d move back here.
The wind has picked up now blowing brown dead leaves across the road. I enter Walmer Bridge from the A59 bypass. Amy sits silent beside me. No questions on her tongue, nothing. She’s just going along with the ride looking wistfully out of the window.
I decide to break the ice. ‘So what have they told you about this job?’
She keeps her gaze out of the window. ‘Not a lot, really. Just go to the depot, collect the meals and deliver them.’
‘I suppose there’s not much more to tell.’
She looks at me. I can feel her stare. Her blue eyes are touching my skin. I shouldn’t be feeling this way.
‘That woman is a bit of a witch, isn’t she?’ she says.
‘That’s her name?’ she smiles. ‘Perfect name for a witch.’
I pull up outside the new drop. It’s a man named Howard Burns. We take the meals out, I cringe at the sign in the back window, and together we head to his house. It turns out that he’s a really nice man. He even has a MBE for something or other. I didn’t want to get into it too much or I’d be late. Plus Mrs Mellor has taught me to keep my distance.
Back in the car Amy says, ‘He was nice.’
I tell her we can’t hang around chatting too much. I tell her about a client I had where I was told I interfere too much.
‘Mrs Mellor?’ she asks.
I didn’t mention a name. I look at her.
‘I heard the story.’
‘I think everyone has at this point.’
I head into Longton.
‘Got any kids?’ I ask her.
She shakes her head. ‘No. Never had any.’
That does surprise me.
‘You look surprised,’ she says.
Then she says something that sound like flirting. I best not tell Mei because I know she will get jealous. Looking is one thing but interacting with the person is another. It makes it all too real. Amy says, ‘You don’t get a body like mine if you have kids.’
Well my mouth just kind of dropped. My mind is all over the place. Is she testing me? I imagine all sorts of things. Mainly I imagine what she looks like beneath those clothes.
I just smile and nod.
While we’re delivering throughout Longton I think to myself: if she touches me I’m putting a complaint in. I’m a married man. Happily married. I don’t need a bunny boiler trying it on with me. But she does have a nice body.
‘Where do you live?’ she asks.
‘Really? I used to live there.’
‘Oh right.’ I don’t really care where she used to live.
‘I live in Leyland now. Best move I ever made.’
I carry on driving.
‘Hey, did you hear about the boy they found in the canal?’
Of course I did. I live near it. ‘Yeah. He killed my neighbour’s dog.’
Her shoulders drop. ‘Sorry to hear that. I guess he deserved it then.’
‘Nobody deserves that, but he was no angel I’ll tell you that.’
We finish the round and head back to the depot where she left her car. It’s still windy out and light spots of rain are falling.
I pull into the depot and she gets out and says thanks. She tells me she is training with me again tomorrow. I don’t know whether to be happy or sad about that. It is what it is. I let her take the paperwork inside. She understands that I don’t want to see the witch.
As I pull away I see her in my rear view mirror wearing those tight jeans. She is right: she does have a great body.