Rose Starling, abused wife, is living on benefits with her three children on an estate in a small town near Newcastle. Trying to keep one step ahead of the tallyman she dances in the shadows of various illegal dealings. She’s got problems though when bits of her ex-husband keep turning up in different places and the slimey DI Savage seems to be bending the evidence to link her to the murder. Adding to her troubles, she has to work in a topless bar to make ends meet and she’s being pressured into taking a “ job” for hard as nails Vera Devlin from the estate. Desperate to extricate herself from the mess, she breaks into her old marital home to find the diary of her dead husband, setting off an explosive chain of events.
“Hey fuck face if you don’t move your fat arse I’m just gonna sit on ye,” said my fourteen year old son to his younger brother.
“Mam tell ‘im or I’m gonna smack him one,” replied Michael.
The day I was told that Joe was dead started like many others. The phone had been cut off and the doormat moaned under the weight of warning letters, threatening letters and more County Court judgments. I sighed, chucked the letters, unopened, into a kitchen drawer and flicked the kettle switch on, relieved when the little red light appeared.
It was a Friday. The man from the Provident was due to collect my weekly payment on a loan I took out last Christmas. I couldn’t afford to pay, so I’d have to hide. I hoped he wouldn’t come at tea-time because the smoke alarm always gave the game away.
He broke in once; thought the house was on fire. He found two fish burning in the frying pan and me and the kids crawling under the living room window on all fours. I told him we were playing commandos and he threw me a pitying look. Disbelief I can handle but pity freaks me out.
“I just want to help,” said the lying twat. If I wanted help I’d have rung the bloody Samaritans. William saw him off; wielding a machete screeching “freedom” and Michael shot him with a water pistol full of Pepsi Max.
I made lunch: cholesterol laden chips and sausage rolls from the corner shop, ‘Mr Patel and Sons’, it says above the door but I’ve never seen Mr Patel or the sons.
Mrs Patel and the daughters work in the shop 365 days a year. It’s the only shop in town that’s open Christmas Day.
The sausage rolls tasted vaguely of curry and I caught William squashing his into the carpet, as Michael sprinkled pastry crumbs into Kitty’s hair, giving her dandruff like snowballs. You’d think they were two and four years old, not twelve and fourteen. I could have excused Kitty, she was only six but she often behaved more maturely than they did.
“Pack it in, you lot.”
I salved my conscience about cholesterol overload by opening a nine pence tin of beans and bunging them in the microwave. As the beans began to explode, leaving their shells all over the sides and ceiling of the oven, I surveyed the garden: the pond with the dead fish floating on the surface, the wooden trellis in the shape of a cross, covered with small red flowers like blood spots and the empty sand pit.
The weather was changing. The morning sun arrived like a proclamation of summer then retreated behind a mushroom shaped cloud. Ding. The beans bubbled. I delivered the culinary delights to my offspring then sat down to rest my varicose veins, which bulged like dead frog’s eyes.
William flicked a bean at Michael, who retaliated by throwing a handful of said orange ovoids in the direction of his brother. William ducked and the beans now grace my dining room wall in a very Daliesque manner. ‘Squashed construction with baked beans’ type thing.
“Pack it in!” I screeched now, as I noticed Kitty posting her sausage roll in the front of the rented VCR. I recalled the last time the man from Radio Rentals called to repair a broken machine. He found the ace of spades, a decapitated Bob the Builder, and some plastic rosary beads lurking inside.
Thank you, Eileen Wharton and Zooloo’s Book Tours
About the author
Eileen Wharton is an Oscar winning actress, Olympic gymnast, and Influencer. She also tells lies for a living. Her first novel was published in 2011 to worldwide critical acclaim. And she’s won awards for exaggeration. It did top the Amazon humour chart so she’s officially a best-selling author. She currently has five ‘lively’ offspring ranging from thirty-three to fourteen years of age, and has no plans to procreate further, much to the relief of the local schools and police force. She lives on a council estate in County Durham. She has never eaten kangaroo testicles, is allergic to cats and has a phobia of tinned tuna. She’s retired from arguing with people on the internet.
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