1st Prize: £100.00 Carol Brown
2nd Prize: £75.00 Tom Bailey
3rd Prize: £50.00 Robbie Clark
Seize the Day
by Carol Brown
“You don’t understand.” Michael sighed, “It’s not that easy. He’s not like you imagine….”
“Do you remember what I gave up for you?” Jocelyn snapped. “Go and sort him out!” She stomped around the room shaking her head. Michael was not the man she had imagined. She had been drawn to his quiet ways, thinking that underneath, there would be a steely edge, but he was a worm.
“Fine, fine.” Michael just wanted an easy life. How he regretted ever marrying this woman. Her family were all thugs, they were the London mafia, or so they thought. Michael wished he had the guts to tell them to grow up and get lost. But he didn’t. Jocelyn’s brother was big; he looked like two blokes rolled into one, but had the intelligence of a pea brain. He supposed grudgingly, she had given up a lot for him. When her family had refused to let her marry him, she had done it anyway. But it had been downhill ever since. Jocelyn was whiny; she was used to getting her own way, she was also used to having plenty of money at her disposal.
Michael looked around their luxury apartment as he slipped his phone into his pocket. It cost a fortune for them to live here, where did she think he got the money from? But he knew that Jocelyn couldn’t care less. Her family’s wealth had been achieved through ill-gotten gains, so if he applied the same tactics, she wouldn’t worry at all.
Michael longed to be able to hold his head up high and to do a job that he found worthwhile, but there was no hope of that. He was trapped. He wanted to be ethical. He wanted to work hard, earn his money in a normal way and then relax. He was fed up of being placed in a lifestyle that he hated, a never-ending roller-coaster of entertaining, work and swindling. He created alibis for criminals, he mopped up after murders, and he smoothed away problems. There was no pleasure covering up for those that needed his services. The jobs all supplied by Jocelyn’s father, if she did but know.
“I have a little gift for you Michael.” Jocelyn sauntered into the room, “Very high-powered don’t you think?”
Michael looked up in surprise. He couldn’t remember the last time that she had actually thought about him, let alone parted with any cash on his behalf. It was nice. A smart attaché case with a metallic sheen. It was the highest quality and befitted his new status.
“How much did it cost?”
Jocelyn rolled her eyes. “Michael darling, let me worry about that. All you need to know that inside the case is a second gift that will solve all your problems. Do not let me down Michael. This is your way out.”
He looked at her in surprise. “ I…”
“You will not be bullied Michael, go and sort your boss out.”
Michael gulped, what had she done?
“Then when you come back, you will find me waiting for you. “ She unbuttoned her blouse and he caught a glimpse of her small, pert breasts and looked at him with a glint in her eyes. “Don’t keep me waiting for long darling.”
Jocelyn moved away from him, turning provocatively as she left the room. Michael’s stomach churned. A session with Jocelyn was not a pleasure, not any more. It was a continuation of the punishment that had become his life. He felt like his whole world was closing in on him. The bullish, cigar smoking father–in-law, who had brought him with his over inflated wallet, and though Jocelyn didn’t realize who his boss was, he knew she was right, he had to stand up for himself. He couldn’t spend the rest of his life being bullied. He glanced inside the case, a gun; he ran his fingers over the barrel. Could he really go in and kill his father-in-law just like that? Michael shook his head, would it really solve everything? He knew the answer was no. Maybe it wasn’t the complete answer. Michael took the gun from the case, checked it was loaded and breathed deeply. He didn’t want to think about it, he only had to pull the trigger and then he could breathe.
He walked into the bedroom, holding his wife close.
“Goodbye my darling.” He squeezed the trigger. She was dead instantly. Oh the relief. He wiped his prints from the gun and placed her fingers around the gun, so that it would look like suicide. He placed a letter on the floor by the side of her, her father’s signature scrawled confidently across the page. He hoped the police would think that her father’s note disowning her from his will would make back up his suicide theory.
Michael placed his brand new passport and bank details in his new case. Now, he could leave his dreaded life and all that he hated so much. Packing just his basic clothes, Michael left the house, whistling softly, and slid into the leather seat of his Mercedes. The one good thing about his recent work was seeing the potential in the seedy underbelly of crime. He had learned how to create a whole new identity, how to forge a passport and how to pilfer large amounts of funds from the business. As much as he hated cruelty and any type of crime, he could only feel like a weight had been lifted off of him. With a new identity and more cash than he knew what to do with, freedom was his. How lucky to have had that surprise gift today.
It wasn’t quite the way he had planned his day but then, you had to grab opportunities with both hands. The worm had turned.