1st Prize: £150.00 P. Michael
2nd Prize: £100.00 Gwen Richards
3rd Prize: £75.00 Tony Wright
by P. Michael
Rob rubbed his eyes wearily. They had kept him up all night the bastards. He felt unkempt, unwashed and weak with hunger. They hadn’t even got him any food and the coffee had tasted foul, it still left a bitter taste in his mouth. He knew he had been subjected to a determined campaign to break him but they hadn’t got what they wanted. Least he had the satisfaction of pissing them off big time.
Rob glanced at his watch struggling to focus on the time. The sunlight dazzled him as he squinted at the gold watch on his wrist. It was lunch time, no wonder his stomach was growling like mad, he had been kept there for twelve whole hours-sadistic so and so’s. Helping them with their enquires indeed. What a load of rubbish, they were just jealous of his success and didn’t like the fact that he was a bad boy turned good. Walking down the street, he spotted his old local shining like an oasis in a desert of starvation. After all, he had been through he deserved a pint and a plate of egg and chips surely?
Rob walked in hoping that no-one would recognise him and he was right. The pub didn’t even look the same anymore; the old landlord had jacked it all in, fed up with having to repair the damage of the frequent Friday and Saturday night punch-ups and had sold out to some yuppie bloke who was intent on doing more with food than with serving an honest pint. A quick glance at the menu made him wonder if he was even in the same pub, egg and chips most certainly wasn’t on the menu anymore, it had gone much more upmarket and so had the prices. Still, he could afford it. He ordered some fancy named beer which had a distinct flavour of gnat’s pee and sat down to await his steak.
He felt physically and mentally exhausted. Those rotten gits had stitched him up good and proper because he should have been on his boat now sailing out to sea and living the highlife. They must have seen that he was innocent; in fact shocked when they told him that he had murdered his wife. It was laughable. He didn’t know what the hell they were talking about when they said that he had killed Mel. He knew damn well she wasn’t dead ‘cos she had been at her Mother’s and he’d been allowed a rare night out with the lads.
Rob had roared with laughter when they mentioned that he had strangled his wife. Did they know what she was like? She was like a Rottweiler on a bad day. He was more at risk than she was. Suddenly though, the cops icy glare made him realise that they were deadly serious and a knot of fear invaded his gut. What if Mel really was dead? His head had been filled with a multitude of thoughts and a real fear that he would be a no-body again without her, living his life out on the streets, trying to survive. Rob didn’t know if he could face that after spending the last five years in luxury. If she had bloody died, then the evil bitch hadn’t yet put him in her will, he knew that for a fact because she kept taunting him.
Rob began tucking into his steak, relishing each mouthful of succulent meat. Slowly, he began to feel human again and his brain at last began to make sense of his predicament. Mel was alive; he knew that, so he could forget the fact that he had been accused. There were enough witnesses and CCTV footage that he couldn’t possibly have been the murderer. How she would laugh when he told her that his night out meant a night in the cells. He could picture her now, her gorgeous auburn hair tumbling over her shoulders as she tilted her head back and laughed out loud. He pictured those full lips and perfect white teeth and his mental gaze then travelled down to her voluptuous boobs, fake of course encased in a bikini top that was far too small and then, unbidden, the sight of her wobbling stomach and tiny thong popped into his head and he shook his head quickly to get rid of the image. He didn’t want those sorts of thoughts on top of his steak dinner, it would really put him off and it had cost him the best part of thirty quid for the honour of a decent steak and a couple of mushrooms on a bed of salad.
Rob pushed the mushrooms around the plate, his appetite diminished. Some poor woman had copped her lot though. He had to admit, when the coppers had thrust photos across at him, the photos did look like Mel, all that hair and the big boobs. Her face had been smashed in though beyond recognition. His stomach had churned when he was shown the gory mess. Bastards. It might not be much fun living with Mel, but he loved her bank balance and he didn’t do too badly. Mutton dressed as lamb and not much genuine bits left about her. He hoped she would go and have a tummy tuck next and shuddered.
But he owed her a lot. She had seen his potential and providing he pandered to her occasional needs and fussed over her in public, she gave him plenty of cash and a status. Life with Mel was pretty good he guessed.
Suddenly, Rob felt the need to see his woman. Maybe even pander to one or two of those needs for her. She would see that he was glad she was alive and would reward him for the love and attention he was showering on to her. Rob got a cab over to the marina. This was his lifestyle now, living the highlife, there was no way those deadbeat coppers were going to pin anything on him. He clambered aboard; relieved to see Mel soaking up the sun, her long red hair tumbling over her shoulders as she lay sprawled on the sun lounger.
“You will never guess what happened last night love,” He began “I got picked up by the law, bloody coppers told me you were dead and they think I murdered you”.
Mel threw her head back and laughed “Yeah like you would have the nerve for that” She mocked. “You were a no-body when I met you and you’re still a waste of space now. Still,” she cackled, “you’re my waste of space Robbie” She planted a wet kiss on his cheek “I own you! Now get me another drink!”
Rob bridled at the harshness of her remarks.
“No sweetie, I wouldn’t even attempt it, my world would be ‘orrible if you weren’t here!” Rob murmured, irked by her attitude even though she was right. He walked over to pour her a drink and poured himself a long whisky taking a deep breath to calm his irritation. It wasn’t quite the happy reception he had imagined. What had he expected? Her to turn into some page three model, wrapping long lithe legs around him and giving herself to him? He nearly choked on the thought. Mel wasn’t that giving. She only took from him physically. Her pleasure and not his. As he poured himself a long drink, he couldn’t help but notice the envelope sticking out of her handbag. Frowning, he noted the solicitor’s stamp printed on the back of the envelope. Dodgy John Lewisham, the man was like a ferret sniffing around Mel.
Glancing around, Rob made sure that Mel wasn’t looking at him as he pulled the letter out of the envelope. She was still soaking up the sun’s rays, her wrinkly belly burning under the heat from the sun and she had all but forgotten his presence. With shaking hands, he carefully unfolded the two sheets of writing paper and couldn’t believe his eyes. The scheming cheeky bitch was planning to leave all her cash to a new man in her life. What the hell!!! Rob read her scrolling hand- written bequest quickly and in disbelief, if Lewisham turned this into an official will and she signed it, he would get nothing! All that enforced love-making and having to pretend that he liked touching her and cuddling her. Rob felt hot and cold. His head ached suddenly and he tried to control the red mist in his brain whilst he continued to read.
The second paper was a copy of her current will and she had unbeknown to him, left all her cash to her true love, him, on the event of her death. But the new will would override it, he would be penniless, cut off if anything happened to her and soon, he would be replaced with some new bloke.
Something snapped as vivid memories of their torrid love-making returned, making him feel sick. She had degraded him enough over the years, the bitch. He was a kept man, hell; he wasn’t even a bloody man. Apart from the cash, what did she do for him? How dare she humiliate him like this? Scrambling around, he picked up the heaviest object he could find and as the red mist engulfed him, he brought it down on to Mel’s face, again and again and again. He knew the first blow had knocked her unconscious but the second, third and fourth made sure she would never reach consciousness again.
Broken, exhausted and feeling sick, Rob tied her body to a heavy weight and rolled her lifeless carcass and the weight overboard. Feeling a sense of relief once she disappeared from sight, dragged down to the depths where he doubted her body would be found. Even if she was found, her injuries would be so similar to that of the other dead woman, there would be great confusion and he would be long gone.
Rob poured a drink to steady his nerves. God he needed the whisky, feeling it burn its way down his throat, he kept gulping it back until gradually the shaking stopped and he sat down, his head resting on top of her handbag. What a night, what a day. He couldn’t believe that his life had gone so wrong. What the hell had happened?
Curiosity swept over him, as he began to wonder just who would have got all of her money if he hadn’t of seen the letter requesting a change of will? Numbed by whisky, and with shaking hands, he re-read the letter and suddenly, felt sick to the pit of his stomach. The request was dated four years earlier but had never been signed. He was the new man, the one that she had been going to leave all her money to and as he read the previous will, he realised that he now had effectively murdered his meal ticket by simply reading the letter wrong. Shit! Rob sat in disbelief on the deck of the luxury boat, a loud wail sounding from his mouth. What had he done? Surrounded by the blood of the woman who had owned him and who now bobbed lifeless in the ocean depths, there was no turning back.
And as he sat there contemplating his actions, he spotted the police swarming towards him, batons out, handcuffs jangling and knew that this time, the game was up.