Saturday 9th December

Phil can remember the day he started University so clearly now.  Cambridge, his father had been a Cambridge man and had been delighted that Phil carry on the tradition.  Though what on earth did it really mean; when Harriet was going to University, the last thing he thought about was Cambridge.  Too many bad memories he supposed.  Phil hadn’t enjoyed those years anything like he had imagined he would.  He could never really let himself go, he always felt there was someone looking over his shoulder.  Even when he got drunk a couple of times, he was terrified the authorities would report me back to Dad.  And while most of his fellow students were having a ball, Phil would be sitting in his room reading up on his next lecture, or listening to jazz on the wireless.

Phil liked jazz, it felt free, as if they were making it up as they went along; it had an exuberance, a thrill of being alive, an unpredictability that attracted him.  And late at night he drifted off into another world, Chicago, St. Louis, black jazz musicians blowing trumpets into the night sky and he wanted to be one of them.  He couldn’t read a note of music though.  Tone deaf, they had said at school.  He was forbidden to sing too loud at Assembly.  The only instrument they let him play at school was the triangle; he would have to wait for ages, and then the master would suddenly point at him, and I had to ring his triangle for all he was worth. Even at that he was pathetic, and missed his cue all too often.  He tried to learn the piano, they had a piano at home, which his mother would play sometimes at Christmas, just simple carols, she wasn’t an accomplished pianist and though she sat Phil down a few times and told him about the notes and scales, and he sort of understood the logic, when she hit a key and said that was a ‘C’ and then hit another note and asked him what that was, Phil hadn’t a clue.  They sounded a bit different but how different he couldn’t tell.  One of the things he liked about Jazz was that there seemed to be no wrong notes, just a lot of them.  Lots of notes but no particular right order and yet such exaltation, such joy in playing them.

The girls used to go on about music all the time, and Jane was forever playing it far too loud in her bedroom, but this ‘beat’ music as they called it meant nothing to me Phil.  Jingle-jangle and boom-boom, but none of that mystical freeing of the mind that he had so loved with jazz.

The girls – he hadn’t thought about them all this time.  He supposed they were at home with June, he hoped they would be alright.  Why hadn’t he given them a thought?  What was wrong with him?  Harriet would be alright, she was smart enough, he didn’t have to worry about her.  She was everything Phil wasn’t; confident clever and self-assured, but Jane was a mystery to him, he hardly knew the girl.

All this time he had been so engrossed in his own thoughts he had hardly spared a thought for June or the girls.  He should really give them a ring, just to let them know he was alright.  Maybe tomorrow, or the day after.  He just needed a day or two more of freedom on his own.

*  * *

As the train drew into the station, and Harriet watched in reverse order the nursery, the fertilizer factory, the foundry, the railway cottages and then the station with its wrought iron footbridge looming into view; there on the platform was Jane.  For all Harriet knew she had been waiting for her since Wednesday when she left for what she had thought would be a nice long break away from home.  And here she was again.  Harriet’s little sister Jane; she would have to buck herself up for her.  Harriet would have to be strong for Jane at least.  No matter what she felt about her mother, she would have to be strong for Jane.

*  * *

‘Harriet, so good to see you.’ Jane hugged her as she struggled off the train with a huge suitcase.

‘Yeah,’ Harriet replied, ‘Who would have thought I’d be back so soon.  But I couldn’t leave you all alone, what with Dad doing his disappearing trick, now could I?’ and she smiled her one of those old familiar smiles, and Jane suddenly felt good.  For the first time in almost a week Jane started to feel better.  Harriet was home; at least she wouldn’t have to sit around and try to think of mundane things to say to her mother all day long. Jane knew she couldn’t bring their Dad back home, but at least they were nearly a family again.  Three out of four, at least.

‘How long are you staying for Harriet?’ she asked, even though she knew she had been asked to go back home and until at least all this business with Dad was cleared up.

‘Who knows, Sis.  It’s nearly half-term anyway, so a couple of weeks anyway.  Maybe longer. Actually I may not be going back to university at all.  I haven’t decided yet.  I may be off to London soon, I’m thinking of moving there, you know permanently.  Get myself a little job, a flat and say goodbye forever to Suffolk.  You could come and visit me whenever you like you know, and we’ll go out to clubs and dances all over.’

And even though Jane knew this was just talk, there was no real truth in it, she went along with it.  It felt like the old days, before Harriet had ever gone to University, when she would tell Jane her daydreams in all the vivid detail she could muster, and she would be amazed, because Jane couldn’t see past the end of the week herself, and had no idea what she might do with her own life.  Here was Harriet, confident as ever, telling Jane all the things she was going to do, the places she would visit, the worlds she would conquer. And suddenly their problems didn’t seem so awful.  Maybe it would all end up alright; their Dad would just walk in the door and be able to clear up all that money stuff and they would become a family again.

Alice in Blunderland

Friday 8th December

We are truly living in an Alice in Wonderland world, where “words mean what I mean them to mean”.  In other words, whatever you thought I said, or meant, or even the words I used, I never meant what you thought I said.  This is a game of semantics.  Just like Bill Clinton who famously once (re: Monica Lewinsky) “it all depends on what the word is, is”, our Government is talking “double-speak”.  You see, one drink makes you taller and the other makes you smaller.

For months Parliament has been demanding that the Government produce their economic impact assessments for businesses when we leave the EU.  In fact David Davis has boasted, at least six times on television, that incredibly detailed assessments, sector by sector had been produced by his Department.  Now, call them what you like – detailed economic assessments, or impact assessments – they surely amount to the same thing.  What will be the effect on business when we leave the EU.  Even if exactly how we leave is still to be decided, there must surely be a few scenarios which will each have different consequences.

After being defeated in parliament, and being forced to hand over these assessments, it transpired on Wednesday – that actually, there were no assessments.  No impact assessments have actually been done.  Therefore we have complied with Parliament’s wishes, because we cannot produce reports that have never been complied (even though we have boasted that they exist for months).  You see, this glass makes you larger, and this one makes you smaller…

Jeremy Corbyn asked Mrs. May how she was going to resolve the Irish Border question.  She answered that that was why negotiations were still continuing.  In other words – I haven’t a clue, but I am not going to tell you that – So, we are still going to solve this problem but I am not going to tell you how, because none of us has the foggiest, but whatever transpires, we will declare it a victory.

Philip Hammond has admitted that the Cabinet (which is actually supposed to be running the country) has not even discussed what sort of Brexit we are aiming (or desperately hoping for).

You see, words are simply what we mean them to mean.  One drink makes you taller and the other makes you smaller.

President Trump is single-handedly going to deliver Peace to the Middle East.  By recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (though not a single other country in the World thinks this is anything less than a disaster) this will somehow make everyone shake hands and be friends.  It is all so simple – one drink makes you taller and the other makes you smaller.

Why Jerusalem Matters

Thursday 7th December

Jerusalem has always been contentious.  Both the Israelis and the Palestinians consider it a holy place.  The UN, when in 1947 they created the state of Israel, insisted that the city be divided.  But war broke out in 1948 and both sides tried to take control of Jerusalem.  Israel moved their capital from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.  The Arabs have never forgotten this, and despite the six-day war, which Israel won they still lay claim to the City – or parts of it.  Various peace talks including the Camp David agreement have concluded that Jerusalem be open to both Arabs and Jews.  Israel has moved it’s capital back to Tel-Aviv, and a sort of peace has existed with Israel still occupying parts of what was Jordan, but is now claimed by the Palestinians as their own country.

Both sides have at times behaved atrociously, rocket attacks and illegal settlements and UN resolutions have continued over the years, but basically Jerusalem is still an open, if occupied city.  There is very little prospect of peace talks resuming in the near future.  The two-state solution which Obama tried to push forward is still not even being discussed by the parties concerned.

And now Donald Trump thinks he has the solution.  His son-in-law Jared Kushner seems confident that a long-term peace can be established – but we are still awaiting any details.  Donald Trump has announced that he is moving the US Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.  Almost all the Arab nations are protesting.  It is a signal from America that they now recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a long-held aspiration of hard-line Israelis.

And despite World leaders condemning this move Donald Trump doesn’t care.  He simply thrives on opposition.  Sadly, this move will simply harden the attitudes of hard-liners in both Israel and the Arab world, and will make peace even harder to achieve.

The DUP – Durgggghhh

Wednesday 6th December

I was, and still am, a Remainer.  I sincerely wish the Referendum had never happened, or that the result had been different.  But I also realise that Brexit cannot be stopped; the best that can be hoped for is that we come out of the final negotiations with some sort of free-trade deal – though, it is also certain that we will never get as good a deal as we have at the moment.  Mrs. May has ruled out membership of both the Single Market and the Customs Union – almost the worst scenario…..but, unless she is deposed and negotiations are begun again with a new Prime Minister, hopefully a Labour one, there is little prospect of anything better.

However I do feel that if push came to shove, the EU would bend over backwards to keep us in.

But, just as Mrs. May has her red lines, so too does the EU.  And one of the most important is the Irish Border.  And yesterday we had the almost farcical (if only it weren’t so desperately important) spectacle of a British Prime Minister who had agreed in principle to keep the two states on the island of Ireland with no economic variation (a form of words to say that in Northern Ireland, there would be no border and that goods could pass with no tariffs), in other words – Ulster would have a special status within the U.K.  (Actually it already does…)

Then the phone call from Arlene Foster, the true Bete Noir of British Politics.  She insisted that Northern Ireland must have the same Brexit as the rest of the UK, or else….

And that meant that she would no longer support Theresa May’s Government.  And so, the desire to remain in power overcame any semblance of commonsense – and suddenly the deal (already announced by the Irish) was off. There will be more negotiations, but if Mrs. May thinks she can change the DUP’s mind she is sorely mistaken.  It looks as if trade talks will be put off, for now if not indefinitely.

I cannot quite make my mind up whether Mrs. May is simply incompetent, or that she knew all along this solution would never pass.  Maybe it is all an excuse for her to leave with no deal at all?

When the Tories got their ‘arrangement’ with the DUP I knew it was trouble.  They really are the most stubborn idiots.  They may just have gone too far this time.  There are still two possibilities.  Sinn Fein, under new leadership, may finally take their seats at Westminster, or a handful of Tory M.P.s may put country above party and help bring down this wretched broken Government.


The Right Thing

Tuesday 5th December

What exactly is the right thing?  In these difficult times knowing just what the right thing to do or say is complicated.   We have moved from a time when Offence was when the Offender meant to offend, now it is when the recipient (or sometimes the over-hearer) takes Offence when maybe none was intended.  I have been accused of misogyny  when making a joke about women, but have never been accused of any bias against men when the joke is on them.  As a child I would overhear my parents speak about ‘coloured people’, which was itself a euphemism.  Now that term is considered offensive by some who prefer to be called black.  Although even this is uncertain – and ‘people of colour’ may be coming back into usage.  And really I am sure there is no offence meant, but it is often taken.  John Terry famously accused an opponent of being a ‘black c..t’.  What surprised me was that it was only the (possibly descriptive) use of the word black that was deemed to be offensive, not (for me) the far more offensive ‘c’ word.  Strange times indeed.

I was actually brought up with the mantra “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” – in other words, let nasty playground abuse go, it didn’t really matter and couldn’t possibly hurt me.  But I do understand that a lifetime of abuse can be like water dripping on a stone, wearing away at one’s self-confidence and self-respect.  Talking of respect, what exactly is that?  Many gang members talk of ‘Respect’, but I think this is shorthand for subservience.

And language doesn’t stand still.  Reading Victorian, and even much Twentieth Century literature and one realizes just how certain opinions and words were acceptable in times gone by but which now would be seen as highly offensive.  And though we try not to give offence it is almost inevitable that in these thin-skinned times someone will be offended by our (to us) innocent language.

And what do we do about History.  Slavery was one of the worst episodes in the history of the White Man, though maybe the mass extermination of many indigenous peoples in America and Australia and new Zealand was worse.  So what can we do now but say we are sorry?  Even the descendants of those who benefited from the Slave Trade and are maybe still benefiting from inherited wealth may be truly sorry that their ancestors behaved in the way they did, but how do we ever right that wrong.  Some students in Liverpool are demanding that a student halls of residence be renamed from ‘Gladstone’, because the Liberal PM, in order to facilitate the speedier end to Slavery gave compensation to slave owners.  How far back into History do we have to go?  And what good does it do?  Are black students really offended by the name ‘Gladstone’?  Doing the right thing has never been so complicated.

Y – is for Neil Young – The Nineties – Arc-Weld to Silver and Gold

Monday 4th December

Although not quite so productive as the Seventies and Eighties, Neil’s output in the Nineties was full of quality.  He kicked off with Arc-Weld; another double (or triple really) live album featuring Crazy Horse, where Neil performs mostly songs form the last decade.  A superb version of ‘Cortez the Killer’ being the highlight for me; lots of feedback and grungy guitars.  In fact the separate album called Arc is simply feedback and reverb on an industrial scale – brilliant if you are stoned I imagine but hardly listenable otherwise.

But the real centerpiece of the Nineties was ‘Harvest Moon’.  Neil teamed up with the same players as ‘Harvest’ twenty years earlier and made a superb partner piece to that two decades earlier masterpiece.  It was as if time had stood still and the two albums were recorded together.  I have no idea how Neil comes up with his beautiful haunting melodies, but there seems no end to his songwriting skills.  The playing is superb and almost muted allowing his voice to soar above.  Best songs ‘From Hank to Hendrix’, ‘Unknown Legend’ and the title track – but really there isn’t a poor song on the record.  Simply sublime.

MTV ran a series of ‘Unplugged’ albums and Neil made a brilliant one, just one new song but lovely quiet versions of some old favourites.  ‘Sleeps with Angles’ came next.  Recorded with Crazy Horse it has some great songs, some lyrical and some heavier.  Neil almost invented ‘Grunge’ and certainly inspired many garage bands of the late Eughties.  And Kurt Cobain quoted Neil in his suicide note, the title track is a tribute to him.  Best song is ‘Change Your Mind’, with it’s long guitar solos and haunting melody.  And Neil’s fascination with grunge continued on his next record ‘’Mirror Ball’, which he recorded, almost live,  with Pearl Jam (not my favourite record.)   ‘Broken Arrow’ was better, recorded again with Crazy Horse, almost up there with his best work.  Then, apart from a couple of live albums, (and really how may live Neil Young albums do I need {quite a few actually}) nothing for four years.  This was the longest period of inactivity for Neil, but it was broken by the brilliant ‘Silver and Gold’ in 2000, an almost exclusively acoustic album of gentle songs sung in a quiet voice.  It is as if Neil has just picked up his guitar and sat down next to you and started singing a few old favourites.

I am never quite sure which Neil I like the best; sometimes it is this soft singer-songwriter of delicate songs, and at others it is the guitar heavy rocker with Crazy Horse.  Whichever Neil, he always sings with complete honesty, you never feel that he is just going through the motions.  He had released 24 studio albums and around 10 live albums in just thirty years, and as the new Millenium approached Neil wouldn’t slow down…

Finding The Voice

Sunday 3rd December

For me, the essential part of writing is finding the voice.  Of the narrator, the storyteller, the characters.  In Victorian novels they used lots of description, but I rarely tell my readers what my characters look like.  The characterisation is all in the voice.   I am reading through Dickens at the moment – and he uses the same trick, it is in the voice, the conversational ticks and pauses he uses that bring the character alive for the reader.  Of course, he is the master – I am a mere apprentice, still learning my trade.  I belong to an amateur writing group; the subjects are pretty random – and it is only when I find the voice that I can really write something good.

And it may be the same for singers and artists.  What voice to sing the song in, sad or ecstatically happy, soulful or full of regret – it is all in the voice.  And for artists it is how you apply the brush, boldly or with a delicate touch, and of course the subject – the thing which talks to the observer.  All Art is mimicry really, copying, or attempting to reproduce something, sometimes just a mood or an emotion, but something the observer, the listener, the reader can recognise – an object, a feeling, a situation.  A true artist can then transform the ordinary into something unique.  Which I think is why I struggle with Abstract Art, or Jazz, or cheap novels – I can’t recognise the voice, there is nothing to sympathise with, nothing to hold on to.

In Catherine, I wrote as Catherine.  Or rather Catherine wrote and my fingers moved over the keyboard and recorded her thoughts.  She was my voice for that book.  I cannot really describe the process of writing, but I am definitely taken over at the time.  I simply become the conduit for the voice of my characters.  Maybe they are all part of me, different facets – who knows.  But re-reading some of the dark stuff I have written, I hope not.


Saturday 2nd December

17 – Back together again – almost…

On her way back to Suffolk.   Again.  Harriet seem to have spent half her life on this bloody journey; every time she thinks she has got away she is dragged back.  She can’t seem to escape the wretched place.  She has been told in no uncertain terms that she is not welcome in Leeds anymore.

‘It would really be best for all concerned that you return to your parent’s home as soon as possible, you must see that Miss Wilkinson.  When things have returned to normal we can reconsider your current courses.’

So, she has been unceremoniously kicked out, sent back home, as if she was the one who had disgraced herself.  Okay, so she hadn’t exactly been doing much work lately and had skipped a few lectures and tutorials, but that isn’t the reason, Harriet reasons.  “It’s my fucking mother.  And now Dad has gone and done something foolish too, as if he had to somehow trump the stupidity of my mother.  God know what I will find when I get back home.  And of course I will be stuck there for God knows how long too.  I can hardly leave for my new life in London with all this shit going on can I?”

*  * *

Harriet joined Jane at the weekend, the Bursar’s office had telephoned their mother and she returned somewhat shamefaced, as if she realised that she had been the catalyst, if she hadn’t discovered my mother and Uncle Ted, then our father wouldn’t have gone mad and run off like this.  Jane was desperately waiting for Harriet to return; when she had left only three days ago she hadn’t been sure when she would see her again – there had been so much uncertainty in the air.  But now she felt they needed to be together, what was left of the family at least.  There was still no word about their father, each evening they would be updated by the local Police Sergeant.  The Bentley had been reported as far afield as Wales, but each sighting turned out to be a false trail, a mistake.

The sergeant was sure their father would return very soon. ‘They almost always do come back home after a few days, the runners, you know.’ He reassured them. ‘If we don’t catch him first, that is.  It’s not as if Mr. Wilkinson has done anything like this before either.  My guess is he’ll be back in a day or two’ he declared, as if his self-satisfaction would somehow reassure them.

None of which helped them at all, their mother and the girls.  They just sat around drinking cup after cup of tea, as if they couldn’t think of anything else to do.  Every time the telephone rang they nearly jumped out of their skins.  Could it be Dad?  Had he come to his senses and was on his way back?  Was it the police?  Had they spotted him?  Did anyone know where he was?  Jane was almost too scared to talk to her mother about what she was really frightened of.  It had been three days already since he had disappeared what if he was never coming back?  What if he had been planning his escape for some time?  Maybe he had been planning something like this all along, and her mother’s disgrace had just given him the cover he needed all along.  He was a solicitor after all so would have known how to set up a new identity somewhere else, maybe in London, or even abroad.  And lurking somewhere too, like a denizen of the deep circling around in the muddy bottom of her mind was the shark of an idea that maybe he had taken his own life.  That it had all been too much for him and he had decided to end it all.

*  * *

June was getting more and more worried, and she had cried herself dry.  This was all getting so out of hand, so ridiculously out of proportion.  Why, if Phil had been so insistent that she stay, that they should just carry on and try to hold everything together had he decided to run away.  Because that was what it was; he was running away from everything.  Phil the sensible one, the logical one, by far the cleverer of the two of them, had run away.  And left June to pick up the pieces.  He must have known what would happen next, the discovery of his stealing from both the firm and a few clients, the inevitable involvement of the police, the possibility of the house being re-possessed, the almost certainty that their marriage was well and truly over now.  Where would they all go to, what would happen to the girls if they lost the house?  For herself she couldn’t care less, but Jane was still at school.  Hadn’t he given a passing thought for the girls?

And to make matters worse, if they could possibly get any worse, she had been phoned by the University and told that her daughter was returning this weekend too, and that it would be best she remain at home for the forsee-able future.  What on earth was that supposed to mean?  There was no forsee-able future at all, as far as June could see.  At least while Harriet was at University she had one less thing to worry about, but now she was returning and presumably against her will, so her mood, never good of late, would be even more unpredictable.  They had rowed the day Phil disappeared, well rowed isn’t exactly correct.  Harriet had tried to humiliate her in front of Jane again; she had reduced her mother to tears.  Not that June felt she didn’t deserve some of it, but now she was worried what her mood would be like as Harriet was forced back home again.

The University hadn’t said why she was being sent home.  June wasn’t sure if the police had maybe talked to them and suggested she come home, or if there were some other reason.  Everyone had been totally surprised that she had come back unexpectedly last Tuesday, with such terrible consequences.  She had said she needed some money, but maybe that wasn’t really the reason.  Was she in some sort of trouble, or had she simply been missing too many classes?  And if June asked her, would she take it as her mother intended, a sign of her concern, or as just poking her nose into her affairs.  The girl was so unpredictable, and the last thing June wanted was more harsh words thrown around the kitchen.  She could do without that at the moment

The Salesman (short story)

Friday 1st December

Oh my God, how could I have been so stupid?  Why didn’t I see it coming? Too blinded by those sparkling blue eyes, I suppose.  But what a nightmare.  This can’t be real.  This really cannot be happening to me.  How on earth did I end up here, in this miserable grey Police cell?

And the day had started off so well.  It was a Friday and I was looking forward to the weekend.  Just one more day’s slog to go.  I was going to jack in the wretched job soon anyway.  I must have been stupid to think I could ever be a Salesman, but it had all seemed too easy when I started.  Okay, so it was only minimum wage, but the commission was good, and I had the blind confidence of the young.  I’d packed in my apprenticeship a few years ago, and had drifted from job to job.  I had the gift of the gab I suppose.  I could talk myself into any job, so I thought selling stuff would be easy.  But a few hundred slammed doors in my face later and I soon changed my mind.

But then it all changed, and with it my luck.  That morning around ten, it was sunny too, I remember thinking how nice it would be to just go sit in the park in the sun somewhere.  Looking back, I should have done just that.  Bur I drove the car into a quiet cul-de-sac of modern two-bed houses with tiny gardens.  Two houses and no-one in, and the third a flat refusal and the door closed before I could start my patter.  Only one house left and no car in the drive, but I knocked anyway.  And she was beautiful.  Stunning, I would say.  And those eyes, they just entranced me.

“Oh, what are you selling?” she said, looking both ways round the porch and almost dragging me in. “Come inside, I don’t want the neighbours knowing all my business.  This way, into the kitchen.  Bring those with you.” She said pointing to my case of samples.

And that was me hooked.  She was so enthusiastic.  But I couldn’t be sure if it was the kitchen gadgets or me she was really interested in.  I went through my usual schpeel, the demonstration we had been taught in training.  It was really the expensive ‘Kitchenmaid’ food processor we were meant to sell, the set of knives and tin-openers and other utensils were just the eye-candy, and at almost give-away prices too.  ‘Get them to commit to a couple of cheap utensils and then show them the ‘Kitchenmaid’, once they have bought something cheap they may have relaxed enough to buy the biggie’….that was how the game was supposed to work.

I couldn’t stop looking at those sexy eyes.  Well, all of her really, I must admit.  She was bloody gorgeous, a fabulous figure too, and I was sure she was giving me the come-on.  Just as I thought I was about to seal the deal and sell the “Kitchenmaid” she changed her mood and was bundling me out of the door, she told me she had to talk to her husband before she could spend that much money.  “Come back at two and you might be lucky.” And she gave me that sly suggestive smile again.

“But I can’t leave the ‘Kithenmaid’ and the other stuff.” I protested.

“Don’t be silly” she smiled at me, “They’ll be safe with me, I promise. Come back at two and I’ll make it all worth your while.  Just you see if I don’t.” And she shut the door, hesitating at the last minute to pucker up those gorgeous lips into a half kiss.

I returned to my car in a daze.  I knew I should really have gone back and insisted on collecting the gear – sale or no sale.  But, that hint of a promise had set my blood racing.  Could it mean what I thought it might?

And yes, it did.  I couldn’t believe my luck.  I had a couple of pints in the pub and a whisky chaser and couldn’t wait to get back to those sparkling blue eyes, and the rest of her of course.  What a fool I was.  She opened the door with a huge smile and not much else.  She had a skimpy short silky wrap on which left little to the imagination.  And my imagination was racing ahead anyway.  She almost dragged me in, and straight into her arms.  “I’ve been waiting for you,” she said between kisses “I can’t wait to get you into bed.”  She turned and practically dragged me up the stairs, her gown falling open to reveal her splendid tits.  Okay, I was more than willing.  What young man wouldn’t be?  I thought I had won the lottery.  And she was fantastic in bed too.  Everything a young man could wish for. She even whispered in my ear “You can come inside me.” And I did too.  Which of course was part of my downfall.

When we had finished she asked me to get her a glass of water from the kitchen.  I grabbed her short dressing gown and happily strode down the stairs feeling like a king.  But – oh my God, what I found in the kitchen.  The blinds were drawn and I groped for the light switch but felt something warm and sticky between my toes. And that strange metallic tang in the air.  As the lights came on I blinked in disbelief.  There, in the middle of the kitchen floor was a body.  A man.  Her husband, I later discovered.  And sticking out of his chest was a knife.  There was blood everywhere.

Stupidly I panicked and bent down to see if he was still breathing, getting blood all over myself in the process.  I saw with horror that the knife was one from the set I had been showing her earlier, and had stupidly left behind.  I grabbed it.  Why, I can’t say.  I was scared, I was shaking.  I just wanted him to still be alive.  I dropped the knife and tried to staunch the wound with a tea towel but I could see by then that he wasn’t breathing at all.  I panicked and ran to the back door.  I had to get out of there, and quick.  But it was locked.  I turned to leave the kitchen but the kitchen door was locked too.  She must have slipped downstairs after me and turned the key.

Within minutes, while I was desperately trying to open the kitchen window, also locked, the Police arrived.  She must have rung 999 as soon as I left the bedroom.

I was covered in blood.  My DNA was on the knife and inside her.  She had unlocked the kitchen door before letting in the Police, with the story that her husband had come home and discovered us in bed, he and I had fought in the kitchen and I had stabbed him.

And I have been here for two days of questioning.  They don’t believe a word I am saying of course.



2 hours later

I’ve just been called back by one of the detectives.  Apparently, a neighbour, the one who had closed the door on me, had watched me calling at the house opposite earlier in the morning, and told them that she had seen me taking in the ‘Kitchenmaid’ but not bringing it back out, which she thought was strange.  She had seen me return in the afternoon and was watching from her bedroom opposite as the police arrived.  She hadn’t seen the husband return at all.  In fact, she seemed to think he usually came home for lunch an hour or so earlier….

The detective had always been concerned that there were no real signs of a struggle in the kitchen.  It all looked too clear-cut and obvious.  They had brought the wife in for questioning yesterday and she had broken down under interrogation, not quite confessing, but saying that she had actually stabbed her husband by accident in his struggle with me. They haven’t actually released me yet – they are waiting for the pathologist’s report giving a more accurate time of death, but I am no longer the prime suspect. They are continuing to question the wife, hoping to find more flaws in her story.

I have obviously been incredibly stupid.  I have lost the damn job, I think they were more angry about me leaving the “Kitchenmaid” than my being arrested, but there you go.  I won’t be a Salesman ever again I can tell you, and I never want to fall for a pair of sparkling blue eyes again either.