Friday 17 April 2015

'Duty Free' by Joy Myerscough

“Saw him climb out their back bedroom window and jump off the outhouse roof.”
“You niver did, Mrs. P?”
 “About three. I don’t sleep much, since me prolapse. Another cuppa?”
“Thanking you. And another jam tart, if that’s alright.”
“Help yourself. I’ll give the fire a bit of a poke. I’m fair on to nithered.”
 “Are you sure it was Victor Ellis?”
“I’d know that carrot-top anywhere.”
“Out tom-catting, I shouldn’t wonder.”
“I’ll shut the curtains, while I’m up; the cold plays hell with me arthritis. Now, where was I? It weren’t that kind of catting. Ran into Mrs. Castleford at the kidney clinic and a waste of a morning that was. Anyroad, the Star and Anchor’s had a thousand quids’ worth of booze took, is what she said.”
 “Well, I niver.”
“And I’ll tell you this for nowt: saw young Vic come home—round about dawn, it were—with a chap in a van. Gets out a big box, and in he goes. The spoils—had to be. Do you feel that draught coming under the door? Plays me chilblains up no end. I’ll just put the sausage dog across.”
“You going to squeal on him?”
“I’ve thought on it, Mrs. Bowman. Thought on it the livelong day. More chocolate cake?”
“Ta very much. It’s a conundrum, I can quite see that, Mrs. P. A veritable quandary; he can’t be more than thirteen, same as our Josie.”
“Just turned. Well, look now: my finger-ends are blue. The diabetes, that. Amputation’s likely next. Something to warm us up?”
 “Very kind. Gin, if you’ve got it in.”
“I do, as it so ‘appens. Mrs. Ellis dropped a bottle over not an hour since. Said her Norman got it off the duty-free.”

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