Now, if I just ease the syringe out … softly … softly … catchee … monkey … there. Let’s see if they’ll be able to notice anything. Over here by the window where the light’s better. No. That looks intact. You’d need a microscope. So that’s that, then. One bottle of Chateau d’Yquem, ready for quaffing. Not by me though, of course.
“Cut that up for me. How long’s it been, do you say?”
“University. He wasn’t on my course – he was reading history – but we got to know each other at the chess club. He’s a bit weird, to tell you the truth.”
“So remind me again why we’re having him round.”
“Well, we were quite close then. Okay, we haven’t been in touch for – what? – twenty-odd years. But when someone like that calls you up, you can’t just ignore them. I mean, look at you and Monica.”
“Suppose so. Pass me the garlic press. Will you have anything in common any more, though?”
“Oh, we’ll find something to talk about, don’t worry.”
“I certainly hope– No, Sammy! No! Oh bloody hell! There goes another glass. Go on Sammy, get out of here. It’s your cat, Kenny – you’re clearing that up.”
“HE’s my cat, if you don’t mind. He’s a boy. And he’s my little boy. Come here, Sammy. She didn’t mean to shout at you.”
This is delicious – the tension. Here I am driving to deliver a ‘time bomb’ to that bastard, and each mile we get closer, the more exciting it is. It’s going to be hard not to bring up the question of Sarah tonight – he might get suspicious if he sees how angry I still am. And why wouldn’t I be angry? My fiancée – well she was going to be – seduced by that … specimen. And then her getting pregnant, and the accident. Only it wasn’t an accident, was it? Oh, how I’d love to just throw the note in his face and say “You! It was you that made her do that!” But then he’d get suspicious, and the plan might not work.
“Thank you, driver. I’ve only got a fifty, I’m afraid.”
“That was a delightful meal, Paula. Thank you.”
“My pleasure. So, Kenny tells me you’re interested in chess.”
“I’ve been playing since I was so high – my father, you know. Yes. That’s how Kenneth and I met.”
“Yep. They were crazy times, weren’t they? You’d think a chess club would be very serious, wouldn’t you, love? But no – we got up to all sorts of antics.”
“Oh? Tell me more.”
“The parties. Crazy wild parties. Alcohol mostly. And girls.”
“Ah yes, the girls, the girls … eh, Kenneth?
“Er, yeah. That’s what I …”
“But on that note, I must take my leave of you.”
“Already? What about dessert? And you brought us such a lovely bottle of wine to have with it.”
“Please, you keep that to have together another day – a special occasion.”
“Sheffield, driver. Broomhall.”
I thought I was going to blurt it out then. Had to bite my tongue. But anyway, that’s the ‘bomb’ planted. Now all we have to do is sit back and wait. It’s been twenty years – I think I can manage to wait just a bit longer. But it’s a good bottle of wine – it won’t be so long, knowing that bastard’s thirst for alcohol. It’s a shame he won’t know why it’s happening when it does. And it’s a shame about her; she seems like quite a nice person. But she’s with him, so she’ll just have to be ‘collateral damage’, I’m afraid. Whatever, I think we can call that check-mate.
“What was that!?”
“I don’t know. It came from the kitchen.”
“You stay here.”
“No way. I’m coming with you.”
“Keep behind me, then … The door’s open … I can’t hear anything … IS ANYONE IN THERE?”
“Oh, that’s brilliant, Kenny! Turn the light on.”
“Bloody hell! The wine! Sammy! Why did you leave it on the side like that!?”
“I didn’t know, did I?”
“You might have had an idea. Your cat–“
“It’s only a bottle of wine.”
“A bloody good bottle of wine.”
“Okay. Never mind. I’ll clear it up in the morning. Sammy? Where have you got to?”
“Come on. Let’s get back to bed. And close the door before it breaks something else.”
“It’s HE! And where is he? Sammy? Sam!”
“I swear that cat’ll be the death of me one of these days.”
(Featured image by Lori Leaumont, found via Creative Commons)
Vic Smith says
It’s a challenge to tell a story almost completely through dialogue. Phil has made a success of it here. Good story.
Phil Town says
Thanks very much, Vic. It was a bit of challenge, yes … but I enjoyed it (and I’m glad it seems that you did, too).