From Mahogany, featured in the Crowded Holster – 3 crime fiction anthology, December 2016.
Jennifer had selected a quiet table in a corner in order to catch up with paperwork, but her heart sank when Steve and John loomed towards her.
‘Mind if we join you?’ said Steve.
‘Bit of company, eh?’ said John.
‘Yes, nice to have a bit of company, John.’
‘No point sitting on your own, eh?’
Jennifer cleared her papers away and prepared to make conversation or, rather, to be browbeaten. She’d have to do the work later tonight, then.
‘Lovely hotel we got, eh, John?’
‘Yer, lovely, Steve. Really nice. Nice pub this, though.’
‘Yer, very nice pub. Famous Five are in fine form outside, John.’
‘I saw that, Steve. They’re a right crowd, eh, Jennifer?’
Jennifer started at being addressed directly, expecting the usual Steve and John duologue.
‘Yes,’ she smiled, ‘they’re quite a crowd.’
‘Lively,’ said Steve, ‘very lively.’
‘They are, Steve,’ said John, ‘very lively indeed.’
‘Must have done well to be living out there, eh?’
‘Yer, living in Spain, eh?’
‘Must have done really well. None of them much over fifty, John.’
‘Yeah, they’ve done very well.’
Like a castaway clinging to her lifebelt, Jennifer clung to the will to live. It was a struggle.
© David McVey 2007
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