“Now, if you’d just
like to sign here” he hands the paper over to her with a
dark leather gloved finger pointing to the dotted line.
“Oh right, of course, how silly of me I almost completely
forgot, ok where are my spectacles?” picking up her worn
and shabby glasses case she struggles with her contorted, wrinkled
knuckles to open the clasp.
“Now you just sit there, there’s a good lad and I’ll
be right with you. Can I get you a nice cup of tea and a biscuit?
I’ve got a lovely piece of Battenburg Margaret picked up
for me yesterday. I do like it when you manage to visit me. I’ve
been telling Margaret all about you”
At the mention of Margaret his face sneers as he breathes in the
funk of stale urine transfused with lavender suspended in the
air. He follows the instruction and sits slowly neatly facing
her. His immaculately pressed black trousers barely crease at
the knees as he perches on the edge of the couch. His back is
as at a perfect ninety degree angle. Silence sits in the room.
His face returns his usual fixed veneer. His ice cold blue and
tiny black pupilled eyes are transfixed and unblinking from beneath
jet black eye brows,
“That’s ok Mrs Feather” an impatient inflection
takes a hold of his usually monotone voice “Now if you’d
just like to sign where I showed you”
“If you could just help me get into my specs I’ll
be right with you” she offers her old glasses case to him
from underneath her disheveled woolen blanket. Holding it as though
it were a lead weight, her tiny withered arm shaking and five
grubby gold rings sunk into different cobbled fingers. Some of
them have precious stones gathering his attention. He moves slowly,
purposely extending her wobbling misery and he grasps the case
away from her. He feels the cold leather in a knot as his spare
hand clenches a fist. Subtle leather bound croaks escape into
the room, lost on Mrs Feather’s hearing aid. His fist is
a ball of impatience.
“There you are Mrs Feather....”
“Now call me Doris, you are ever such a polite young man
Clive but there’s no need for heirs and graces round ere,
now, how’s about that cuppa?” She reaches to the side
of her high backed chair and wraps her twisted hands around her
walking stick. She shuffles ungracefully to the edge of her seat.
The blanket drops to the floor along with a TV guide and a muffled
thud releasing a fresh pungent urine waft and revealing she is
festooned with gold jewellery. She reaches for the chairs electric
controls in an attempt to stand. Her dulled eyes squint through
her newly acquired spectacles as she fumbles with the controls.
Clive’s five foot ten, slender frame rises slowly and silently
from its perch. His back remains fixed exactly vertical. His flawless
black suit and tie display no crease or imperfection. His black
hair is slicked and scraped into position with greasy hair wax.
He grinds his teeth and with gritted jaw approaches Mrs Feather.
One large stride and he towers over her tiny haggard body.
He languidly stoops, his knees bent and back rigor mortis straight
“there, there Ms Feather, no need to worry yourself about
a cup of tea on my account” his mask slips slightly, lip
snarling. He removes one of his gloves clasping the top of a finger
at a time loosening what has become like a second skin to him.
He rests his naked hand on top of Mrs Feathers clutching at the
controls. He feels the sagging skin between his fingers thinking
it surprisingly soft, expecting decaying coarseness. He snaps
a long sinister gaze onto her.
Mrs Feather tries to focus on the blurred menace burning through
her lenses “it’s no bother” she politely exclaims
with her little melodious old voice, trying to wriggle her hand
free. Clive tightens his grip, his voice raised slightly.
“Mrs Feather” he reaches into the inside pocket of
his suit and produces a black ball point parker pen which glints
in the light. “I sincerely think it is about time you sign.....”
He moves his head back and rotates it in a circular motion his
mouth wide open and gaping at the ceiling. His face grimaces like
a lion confronting a fresh kill. Mrs Feather is blind as black
coal at the apparent transformation which is occurring in front
His mind screams “....WHERE I TELL YOU TO FUCKING SIGN”
a swell of anger reverberates through him. He swiftly regains
composure, his mask dropped back into position. He snatches at
the paper Mrs Feather has discarded and points to the dotted line,
raising it just underneath Doris’s nose. He brings his volume
back under control “just here” he says monotone.
“Oh yes, how stupid of me” she takes the pen and without
noticing has to prize it from Clive’s stiff grip.
“Do you mind young man?” She asks.
Without responding Clive turns his back to Mrs Feather so she
can rest the paper on his rigid back as though he has been in
a similar position before. He can feel the slight pressure of
the pen and imagines the signature being etched onto his soul
with fire instead of black ink. As she signs the paper, Clive
feels the first waves of arousal taking over his body; a sudden
rush of throbbing blood flows through his manhood. He takes in
a prolonged lung full of flowery urine soaked air and releases
it slowly through his nose. His bottom jaw protrudes, nose growling,
his face has appointed a gargoyle for itself.
“There you go Clive, just like you wanted, now you must
let me get you that tea and a bit of that lovely cake” she
tries to shake her feeble skeleton to its feet.
“No, Mrs Feather, I insist, you watch the television for
a while. I will make you a cup of tea and some of that cake”
Clive hoists himself as though in slow motion, his back forever
straight. He folds the paper meticulously, strides across the
room to his leather brief case and places it in the front pocket.
Then he moves to the television across the room passing the photo’s
hanging on her wall. The luxurious carpet sponging back into position
after the pressure of his foot is removed following each purposeful
He turns on the television and turns the volume up severely.
“A bit loud” Doris’s small voice is drowned
out by the raucous din of a generic news reader (‘......and
in other news today......’) adding a new dimension to the
“I’ll be with you in one moment” Clive mouths
as he motions toward the doorway.
Doris slides her crooked frame back into her chair, relaxing.
“What a genuinely nice, handsome young man” she thinks
to herself. Clive stands behind her chair, he slides his wiry
hand back into his glove using his other hand as leverage as he
wriggles his fingers into it. He extends his fingers and then
forms a fist a few times; taking back on board his second skin
and the cold leather. He has an intense sensation of pleasure
accompanied by another rush of blood. He feels the tip of his
excitement against his trouser front as he lowers his head over
the back of her chair above her thinning silver crown and takes
in a huge sniff. He savors the aroma of hair spray mixed with
stale pee mixed with Murray mints. He readies the industrial polythene
bag he acquired from his brief case. His face is gnarled and his
teeth are showing as he arches a contorted smile. No one can hear
the final moments of Doris Feathers last minutes on earth. Her
mute cries are drowned out by the explosive commotion from her
own television and the thick plastic mummifying her face. His
climax comes at the exact same moment Doris’s soul departs
her withered being. He grips the plastic with such ferocity as
to tear it slightly as his shuddering loins produce a cool liquid
running down the inside of his leg.
Clive has trouble removing the solid gold band from one of the
swollen fingers, decides to leave it and uses a baby wipe where
his naked hand once was. He tips the remaining jewellery into
his brief case. After searching the drawers and hand bags and
removing the spare cash he walks into the bathroom cleaning then
flushing away any evidence of his contentment.
As he walks into the kitchen he looks down at the ‘Northern
Finance – Pension Advisor’ name badge he’s wearing
with ‘Clive Butcher’ appearing in bold type. Takes
it off puts it in his brief case at the same time fumbling inside
the case he puts on a new badge.
“Northern Finance – Luke Cork – Pensions Advisor”
He turns the gas cooker on full seeping noxious vapour into the
air. He knows he has set a timer for the lights in the living
room. Doris looks pathetic and peaceful as her dead eyes stare
at the noisy screen, an old worn out woolen blanket on the floor
beside her to match the saggy and stretched expression on her
face. No evidence of happiness apart from a besmeared gold band
sunk into the third finger on her left hand. There is little sign
of any struggle as her frailty betrayed any ability to put up
a fight. It is only a matter of time before ‘lift off’
He thinks. He looks in the cupboard and takes out the battenburg
and places that too in his brief case.
“Now” he thinks to himself “let’s see
what Margaret Mahone's got to say for herself, she loves a ’nice’
piece of Battenburg”