A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

Richard Davies could contain his fury no longer. “I don’t believe it,” he snarled at the piece of paper in his hand. “I just don’t bloody believe it”.

            Across the breakfast table, Tracey stopped painting her fingernails and frowned. “Oh dear. Whatever is the matter, sweetie?”

            “It’s this bank statement,” he snapped, waving the sheet at her, “they’ve mucked it up again. Those cretins have only gone and paid someone else’s direct debits out of my account!”

            Samantha frowned and glanced down the sheet. She read slowly; lips moving silently.

            “See,” Richard said, stabbing a finger at the column of names and numbers, “seventy five sodding quid to Bognor Regis Spiritualist Mission and twenty five pounds to Psychic News. It’s incredible. They’ve mixed me up with some loony!”

            The girl pouted. “Richard, lovesy, are you sure it’s a mistake? It’s down there in black and white. You didn’t make the payments, and then forget? I’m always doing things like that.”

            Richard gave her a withering look and tried to work out what he’d ever seen in her. Sure, she had a great body, but not a single brain cell. Elaine had been right – Tracey was a bimbo.

            At the thought of Elaine, he shuddered. His wife had been dead five months now, but he still hadn’t got used to the idea that she wasn’t going to walk back through the door. He also hadn’t got used to the idea that he had got away with killing her.

            Everyone thought that the road accident was a terrible tragedy, but Richard had known it was the only way that he’d get his hands on his wife’s fortune. Their friends had been sympathetic – even turning a blind eye to Tracey’s sudden appearance in his bed – and he’d enjoyed playing the grief stricken widower.

            Now, finally, he was within grasp of Elaine’s million pound inheritance. The executors were freeing her estate tomorrow.

            He stared again at the Churchill Investment Bank’s logo – a gormless looking dog, perched jauntily at the top of the statement and made up his mind. He’d go in after breakfast and give them hell. He’d make sure that the formalities were complete for the unfreezing of Elaine’s account.

            “You’re not the only ones who can bare your teeth,” he growled darkly.

            “I’m so terribly sorry. I just don’t know what to say. It’s so embarrassing.” Steve Larkin, the branch under-manager, looked so upset that Richard half expected him to burst into tears.

            “I just can’t explain how these mistakes could have happened,” Larkin whined. “We’ve been having problems... in our computer room.”

            Richard’s eyebrows rose, suddenly worried about the million tucked away. “Problems? What sort of problems?”

            The banker licked his lips. “Nothing ... erm ... serious. Just a few gremlins. Electrical fluctuations, temperature drops, that sort of thing.”

            Richard demanded more details. “Personally, I think it’s a practical joker,” Larkin said, running his finger around the inside of his collar, “but it’s got the girls a bit rattled. Someone has been switching the lights on and off, moving things about, leaving messages on the screen. They think it’s a ghost. Ridiculous, of course, but we can’t explain why the heating won’t work in there...”

            Larkin talked on, but Richard wasn’t listening. He’d just remembered who the bogus – or was it phantom? - payments on the statement were made to.

            “I’m sure it’s a big prank,” Larkin told him, “but funnily yours seems to be the only account affected.”
            As he walked to his car, Richard felt cold. Trembling, he looked back at the bank. At one of the upper windows, a woman’s face stared back at him. She looked chillingly familiar...

            Richard slept badly that night, sucked into a terrifying dream. He was remembering Elaine’s death. He was with her, walking side by side along the pavement.

            He’d just told her about Tracey but instead of being upset, Elaine had smiled pityingly.

            “Run off with some common little tart,” she’d sneered.

           “What’s wrong? Old age catching up with you? Want to prove you’ve still got what it takes in bed?”

            “I happen to love Tracey and she loves me,” he replied stiffly, colouring.

            Elaine’s smile widened. “No, my poor deluded dear. All you love is her nauseating schoolgirl giggle and the way she wiggles about in those skin tight jeans of hers. That’s not love – its plain old lust.”

            She shrugged, “As for that stupid bitch – all she wants is to get her hands on your bank balance. Any fool can see that.”

            Richard had argued, but Elaine was adamant. “I don’t need to remind you that all that money is mine. If you leave me, I’ll make sure you’re cut off without a penny.”

            There was an icy triumph in her voice. “We’ll see how long your brain dead Lolita hangs around when you haven’t got enough cash to keep her in lollipops.”

            A red mist flooded Richard’s vision. As the lorry came into view, he found his hands grabbing Elaine’s shoulders, clasping them tight, pushing, pushing...

            In reality, Elaine had screamed – her wail mingling with the angry hiss of the lorry’s hydraulic brakes – but in the dream, she laughed. “You fool. You won’t get rid of me this easily,” she cried as the lorry’s wheels ran over her. “I’ll get my revenge!”

            Richard woke wrapped in sweat soaked sheets. He gasped, fighting the urge to scream. Tracey slept on; her features blank, untroubled.

            He thought about waking her, telling her about the nightmare, but he knew she wouldn’t understand. Instead, shaking, he staggered over to the bathroom and splashed cold water on his face. After a while, the panic subsided.

            He dressed hurriedly. At least, he reflected, he’d be on time for the bank opening. Gradually, he relaxed.

            He savoured the delicious anticipation as he drove along the motorway. It was going to be the greatest pleasure in his life – waltzing into the bank, removing Elaine’s money and disappearing off to a new life.

            It would be a new life packed with excitement. Of course it wouldn’t feature Tracey. She was too much of a liability to take along. He realised that now, but the world was full of young willing women easily bedazzled by the lures of a millionaire...

            Richard whistled as he walked into the bank. Larkin was behind the counter, features pinched.

            “I believe you are expecting me,” Richard grinned. “I’ve come about my wife’s account.”

            Larkin sighed. “Ah... I’m glad that you’ve called in Mr Davies, because the manager is keen to have a word.”

            Richard nodded. He’d been expecting this. The old buzzard probably knew he was going to close Elaine’s account and wanted to talk him into keeping it open. Let him try, Richard thought happily, it won’t do him any good.
            Charles Mason, the grey haired manager, didn’t rise when Richard was ushered into his panel lined office. He didn’t offer his hand or the customary glass of sickeningly sweet sherry.

            Instead, he sat motionless behind his large desk, regarding Richard with an unblinking stare.

            “Frankly, Mr Davies, I must at this time, say that I am a little disappointed,” he began. “You are of course, perfectly entitled to do whatever you want with your wife’s money but I’d have hoped you’d have taken time to think things through.”

            Richard frowned. Disappointed? Think things through? What was Mason blabbering on about?

            “I’d have at least expected you to discuss it with us before doing something as rash as this,” the manager continued, producing a sheet of computer print-out.

            Richard’s mouth fell open. “As rash as what?”

            “Giving away all your late wife’s estate like that,” Mason answered, “giving away every penny.”

            Giving away the money? Richard felt the world tilt. It couldn’t be true!

            “I don’t know what you are talking about,” he hissed, “I came here to collect my million pounds. Now will someone please tell me what the hell is going on?”

            Mason looked at Richard in bafflement. “But out computer records clearly show you requested the transfer of all the funds in the account.”

            Cursing, Richard snatched the print-out. It was true! A long list of charities had suddenly become a lot richer at the press of a button. Cat’s homes, dog’s homes, Save the whale, The Red Indian Fellowship Trust!

            He tried to yell, but the words caught in his throat. It all became clear. The last two entries screamed out at him. Eastbourne Home for Distressed Mediums and the Scunthorpe and District Psychic Research Institute.

            He’d been metaphysically mugged, robbed from beyond the grave. Elaine had got her revenge.

            He sat stunned, as the chilly breeze ruffled his hair and a woman’s laugh echoed in his ear.

            “There’s no chance we can get the money back? Tell everyone that it was a big mistake?” he asked, trying to ignore the water glass moving unaided across the desk.

             Charles Mason shook his head. “No Mr Davies. I’m sorry. Not the ghost of a chance.”

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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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