Waiting ©Tracey Edges
Friday, 29 June 2012
PIGY 7 – The Torture Session, Mrs Blackwell and The Small Dilemma
I stared at the ceiling, my mouth swollen and sore. So this is what torture was like then? You lay there helpless, pinned into submission, wanting to take flight but being unable to move. Wings clipped.
Someone grabbed my hand, as I moaned with the latest infliction of pain. The radio in the background suddenly started blaring out that annoying bright and breezy song;
“Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think. Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink.”
You’re taking the Mickey, I thought, with disgust.
“EEEEUUURRGHH,” I spluttered as the torture had obviously turned into water-boarding. I should think that there was a time, when if you said that, the first thought was surfing. Still spluttering I was pushed down and held firmly. I wanted to move away from the point of pain but I couldn’t – no wiggle room allowed.
“I’m about to die,” I screamed in my head.
Eventually I was released, they had got their information, and with shaky legs and a scarf clasped to my boxer’s lips, I staggered home, a bit all over the place. It wasn’t far but the soulless journey seemed to take me forever.
I leaned heavily against my front door for a minute or two while I gathered the strength to get my key out of my pocket and unlock the door. Normally, I cringe at the peeling paint and convince myself I will get it repainted before too long. It’s been like that for five years now. I really didn’t care what colour, or state it was in, today though.
Three furry beasts hurled themselves towards me, nearly sending me flying back through the way I had just struggled to come.
“Heeeeellllllppppp,” I whined and muffle-cried-out. “Get down, Mabel, Maude and Lucaya.” It would have been so much easier if I’d just had the one dog called Shep, but no – all was harder and tougher than it had been for John Noakes.
Greetings over, I shrugged off my coat and looked in the mirror. “Oh great,” I moaned out loud. “I look like I’ve been chomping on a raw mouse.”
My mouth was caked in blood, my face was deathly white and my hair, which thankfully had been stuffed under my hat, looked like Medusa on a bad-hair-day. I had walked home, in public, past rows of stationary rush hour cars and office workers clip-clopping their prim way home, while looking like a drunk that had been in a fight. “Marvellous,” I said to the dogs. They weren’t bothered about anything bar their bladders though.
I let them out, waited three years while they did the annoying hunt for the perfect spot thing, so much for desperation. Then I did the party trick of trying to get painkillers down me while at the same time pouring water straight out of the side of my mouth. My lips felt like they’d had several cows bottoms implanted in them and were just not doing their job, at all. I don’t know about ‘trout-pout’ I was more like ‘spout-pout’. Absolutely useless.
I just wanted to collapse. Perversely I was nauseous and starving at exactly the same time. I just hoped that I could ride out the former and forget the latter. Later, much later, it’d have to be tomato soup, courtesy of Mr Heinz, and a straw for me.
Heading for the comforting arms of the sofa I noticed the red light flashing on the answer machine. I stopped in my tracks, willing myself to pretend I hadn’t seen it....
“Hello, erm this is Mrs Blackwell, erm, Amanda Blackwell. Wondered if I could, erm, come and talk to you, about, erm,......something. Please could you give me a ring when you get back in. Thank you,” Click, went the end of the message. Great, I thought just as another message started playing. “Sorry, this is Amanda. Amanda Blackwell, that is. I’ve just, erm, erm, left you a message but I don’t, erm, think that I left you my phone number. It’s erm...” Oh God, I really couldn’t stand this any longer, it was worse than the girls on their perfect spot hunt. I grabbed a pen so I wouldn’t have to listen to all that again later. “01472 6670354. If you could ring me, that would be great. Thank you, erm, again, Erm, bye.”
Thankfully, that was it for messages but as my head was pounding a 21-gun salute and I wasn’t exactly able to talk clearly, I called Ally instead.
“Ally, could you please ring this woman for me and find out what she wants,” I mumbled-grumbled the full details to her. “I’ve just had a hell time at the dentist and I need to go and curl up in a corner, somewhere, and die quietly.”
It was never really going to happen that I did anything quietly and I flopped out on the sofa, surrounded by remotes and moaned a lot to the dogs, who at least, took it in turns to cuddle me. I really wished that someone would appear and make scrambled eggs for me. All I wanted, in life at that very moment, was scrambled-didn’t-have –the-strength-to-make-them, eggs. Bugger.
I started to wonder about a new bit-on-the-side business. It could be called; ‘A Little Bit Of What You Fancy’. A bit like a takeaway-delivery service but of comfort foods for when you were on your own, a bit poorly, and needed something simple that you weren’t up to doing yourself. There could be the scrambled eggs type basic menu and a dish of the day ready to dollop into bowls to whizz round to desperate souls. Chilli or stew and dumplings or a good hearty restorative broth.
Amanda Blackwell had big sooty eyes, ringed with eyeliner that made them look even bigger and sootier. Thankfully, she said ‘erm’ a lot less than she did on the telephone. I made us tea, in mugs not pretty vintage cups, and checked to make sure I had the box of tissues out of sight but within reach.
“I think my husband’s having an affair,” she eventually spat out. “He’s on the phone a lot and hangs up when I go into the room, he’s started turning his mobile off in the evenings – I think it’s so I don’t hear him getting messages and he’s always going out for silly things. Like he’s trying to think of some reason to go out. We’re about to move house and I don’t really want to go through with it if he is. That’s why I’m asking you if you can help. We’re supposed to complete next week and I don’t have the time to follow him or anything. Can you?”
Here it was, at last. A proper-job, Private Investigator job. I thought about dressing up to the nines in not very much and doing a bit of sultry enticing into my honey-trap. I then thought on a little and realised that that was probably best left to Hot Toddy, down to the very reason she was called Hot Toddy and I wasn’t called Hot Tracey. Damnit.
Mrs Blackwell was a very brave girl and didn’t need my tissues but did tell me her husband’s basic timetable, as much as she was aware of it. He always left home at 8.15am so that was the best place to start and I was there, on surveillance, when he left home the very next day.
Following someone wasn’t that easy in rush hour and I kept losing him. Luckily I knew where he worked; at a large Accountants based on Europarc. I pulled into the car park just as he was getting out of his car. Just before he got to the entrance he veered off to the left and from where I was parked I was able to see him go around a corner and stop next to a rather statuesque blonde. They hugged and mwah mwah’d and they had a hurried, intense conversation, which unfortunately I couldn’t hear, with lots of arm touching and head shaking and then vigorous nodding. Another hug and they scuttled off in different directions. He into the foyer and she into a rather flash BMW sports car, which was as shiny as her because-I’m-worth-it hair. All of this I recorded, for Mrs Blackwell, on my mobile.
This time I needed to offer tissues for Amanda’s crumpled face and she sat with her head in her hands and sobbed, fairly quietly, for a good five minutes. She then, had a quick wipe and a blow, handed me the used tissue to put in the bin (oh, lovely) and stood up extremely straight, chin in the air. I was very tempted to ask where she got her eye make-up as it hadn’t run at all but thought that this was probably not the best time.
“I need to know more. I don’t want to go flying in with accusations if he was just being nice because her cat had just died, or something. I need proper proof.”
She was prepared to pay us to continue and I was prepared to get proof.
Thursday nights were nights with the boys – allegedly. Thursday happened to be today. I rang Hot Toddy and briefed her on her mission. She said she would dress up to the nines in not very much and I must admit to feeling slightly wistful, but I knew my place in the ranks of sultry so went to hunt in my wardrobe for something smart but a bit more all-encompassing.
There was a newly refurbished pub in Grimsby, The White Hart, and this was where he was supposed to be going. This is where we arranged to go half an hour before, and hope that he would show up. The honey trap was primed and ready and we were determined to get evidence to make his guilt stick to it.
I melted into a booth with a pint of Doom Bar and pretended to be doing things on my mobile and Hot Toddy shimmied onto a bar stool, all clingy red silk and killer heels.
He arrived, looking guilty as sin, and leaned on the bar waiting for whoever was going to be his company for the night. I must admit to having wicked thoughts of him having an Only Fools and Horses moment and falling through the bar. Much to my disappointment though, it didn’t happen.
Two middle-aged men came in but, after getting drinks, got out their iPads and started doing business. A gaggle of giggling women stormed in, drove the barman mad by all wanting different faffy cocktails and then crashed into a booth, filling it with themselves and their massive handbags. Were they over-nighting somewhere? What did they keep in them? Actually looking at them again I realised it was probably a few trowels to layer their make-up on with.
The women had distracted me and, at the bar, he now had three friends with him. Maybe he was just having a night out with the boys and Hot Toddy would have to move in and do her thing. I know she was dying to.
“I can’t do this anymore,” he suddenly wailed. “I just can’t. It isn’t fair.”
“Sssssh, of course you can,” his tall dark friend said. “Hey, it’s worth it. SHE’s worth it.”
“Oh, God, I think Amanda suspects something.”
“Forget that,” said his shorter dark friend. “Just think of that mucky weekend you’ve got planned. You lucky boy you.”
“Crap,” I thought. That didn’t sound good at all. I had it on film as well. Good ol’ trusty mobile. I wondered what else this evening would reveal....”