11 March 2008

a new life - part 14

His appearance was very different from the time of the crime. Yesterday he had shaved his head leaving a neat goatee. Since Black’s visit he had been cultivating a convincing Manchester accent, a Bolton dialect to be precise and Francis was precise. Jane had been fooled time and again by his mastery of voices. He had often called pretending to be her brother from Glasgow, or her workmate from Newcastle. Ha-way bonnie lass...


The payphone smelled of stale cigarettes.
“Black? Never mind who this is, I have information for you man.” Francis’ Caribbean lilt was very convincing.
“ I sold a gun to a girl called Sue. The word is man, she did something silly with it.” He hung up while Black was still stuttering.

You’ve got the gun Sue, not me. His mind was razor sharp now. He felt jubilant. The clouds of the last few months had well and truly parted. His perspective was clear, his memory complete. That last decision had been a masterstroke. Sue was holding a murder weapon and it was covered with her fingerprints. She worked for a bank that had been robbed. Good luck to her when Black started nosing around asking where she had buried Francis and his wife. Pick the bones out of that lot, he smiled wryly and set off on foot for the car park.


Francis swung his old Ford out of a nondescript South London long term parking lot. He gunned it across Waterloo Bridge and headed west out of town. It was a cool, late October afternoon and he rolled down his window inviting in the chill breeze to keep him awake.

He drove through Knightsbridge, Kew and Twickenham in twilight before reaching the Motorway and building to a comfortable cruising speed. Illuminated blue signs slid overhead, “Hampshire and the West.” Every mile pushed his old life further behind. He glanced at his watch, it would be dark when he reached his old father’s farm.

Checking his pocket for the twentieth time, he felt his passport and wallet. He settled back and summoned thoughts of a far-flung continent, imagining a palm-fringed beach with the whitest sand, the bluest sea and an impossibly tall glass of iced water.

Steppenwolf thundered from the stereo:

“Get your motor running, head out on the highway,
Looking for adventure in whatever comes our way.”

Behind him on the back seat a shovel rolled in time to the beat.



fathorse said...


gah, nothing left to read.

Fabulous PV, as well you know :)

And I prefer Fatty to Sue, you know. Sue reminds me of Sootie.

Perfect Virgo said...

Fatty - fabulous comment. I used to be a fan of Harry H Corbett and his ludicrous glove puppets.

I will be writing more stuff soon-ish I believe.

(Have you tried "I Know This Much is True," a fat book by Wally Lamb. It's a rivetting read for those of us flying between up and down.)

fathorse said...

no I have not, never heard of it, now do and soon shall have read it :)

by the way, MICKY has stuck Equine Obesity. I'm blaming you and all your dreadfully sinful AA references. Shame on you PV. Shame on you.

*shakes head solemnly*

Perfect Virgo said...

Fatty - not guilty m'lud. Not a single AA reference from me young-feller-me-lad, I was strictly a DIY quitter.

Mickey seems to hate AA (which is basically a poorly disguised religion anyway) yet professes himself literally God's gift. A contradictory antipodean psycopath. Good for you for not rising to his bait.

Neetee said...

HE DID IT!! The bugger got away with it!

It was great reading one of your stories.

Illuminated blue signs slid overhead, “Hampshire and the West.” Every mile pushed his old life further behind. This is so well said.

I've thoroughly enjoyed this dangerous adventure.

boulies said...

What a great ending! Francis' multiple accents was the perfect touch. And I could visualize Francis cruising with Steppenwolf blasting and the shovel in the back seat "rolling in time to the music". Francis cleaned up nicely leaving all his messes behind. And you tied this story up perfectly. I truly enjoyed each part and look forward to future new stories.
Thank you, PV!

Michelle Dawn said...

I wonder if perhaps Francis resembled this guy!

Great imagery Love. The story rolled through my mind like a movie, complete with soundtrack.

Perfect Virgo said...

Neetee - thanks for persevering with me over the weeks. Thanks too for picking out phrases that stayed with you. That sort of feedback is not only gratifying but important to me.

I'm glad you enjoyed the tale of adventure and yes, the little bugger did indeed get away with it.

Boulies - thank you. I too like a story to have its loose ends tied. Thanks for sticking with me and following the twists and turns.

"Born to be Wild" seemed to suit Francis in the end.

Michelle - who is that rascal on the beach?! Thank heaven he has started shaving his chin again these days! I am always pleased to hear the words took on video motion for yo0u.

I'll be dreaming up new ideas soon, so after a spell of rest and recuperation get ready for more plotting.

Grace said...

I started reading this and did my trick of going to the last page! I'm going back to read it all. And, 'Ha-way bonnie lass...'?? I say old chap, using the words of Jack Lemmon, nobody talks like that!!!

Hows that family doing??

Perfect Virgo said...

Grace - James Bolan said it every week in "When the Boat Comes in," so I guess it's from a bygone era - just like me!

Awake half the night, laundry every day, the usual.

Enjoy the read Grace.

Grace said...

Aye yer reet aboot that bonnie lad ;-)

I hope you can catch on sleep through the day, she's a 'belter' as James Bolam would say!