The next night, it was Saturday night, so as usual, everybody in the circle of six houses went out for a drink. When everybody arrived at the pub, apart from Alesha and Rupert, everybody who lived in the circle was in the pub, except of course, Harry Gardiner, who was been looked after at home.
"This is where Dawn used to drink with me", Imelda said to Tammy, "I suppose things are going to be different from now on, now that he's back".
"Don't let him get to you", Danny said to Imelda, "you're letting him win".
"He won when he murdered Dawn and got more or less a smacked bottom".
"But he didn't. He suffered for twenty-five years".
"Suffered? Suffered? Seriously, have you any idea what prisons are like? Screw Hinbrid Valley. Prison is the place to be!"
"I think you're exaggerating just a little bit", said Tammy, jumping into the conversation, "I should know. I've visited a few prisons in the country. Believe me, they are nowhere near what you say they are".
"The point is, why did he not die for the murder of Dawn?"
"That is another debate that I don't want to get involved in".
Suddenly, the happy atmosphere in the room changed when Rupert Christen walked in. Almost everybody went silent in an instant.
"Well, don't let me stop you", said Rupert.
"I don't know how he has the cheek to come in here!" cried Oliver.
After Rupert came Alesha, dressed up like a dog's dinner, as usual. When she entered the room, she did not say anything to anybody, except for the barmaid, to place her order.
"Do you do chapmagne?" Alesha said quite loudly, as if she wanted the whole room to hear what she was saying.
"She braggs about everything", Eva said to her husband, making sure Alesha did not hear.
"Just look at her", said John, "dressed up like that. She's only going out for a few drinks!"
"She overdoes everything. Strangely enough, though, I've managed to cope with her for the last eight years!"
"I don't know how! Whenever I see her, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up!"
"I despise her. She's evil, and I wish I could grab her hair and smack her head off the...Alesha, darling!" cried Eva, changing her attitude instantly becuase Alesha was approaching her.
"Hello, Eva", said Alesha, "long time no see".
"Yes", said a surprisingly calm Eva, "I was surprised to find out that you have moved here. It's only next door to us but one, you know!"
"I realised that. So, how's business?"
"It's been better, to be honest".
"Yes. Oh, well. So, John, how have you been since our last...arrangement?"
"What do you mean by that?" asked a genuinely confused John.
Rupert then came up to the group of people.
"How is everybody?" asked Rupert.
"Well, Rupert, honey. I don't think you've met the Gardiners, yet. I used to work for them a long time ago".
"Used to?" asked a puzzled Eva, "a long time ago?"
"Yes. You see, Eva is a very busy woman, and I had to leave her, unfortunately. It was very sad".
"Well, I think..."
"Besides, I think that Eva got quite bored of me!"
"Why don't I get us some drinks?"
Alesha went up to get some drinks.
"Please forgive my wife's behaviour", said Rupert, "she's been a little bit jumpy lately".
"Never mind", said a polite Eva, who was boiling up inside.
John tried to change the subject.
"Has Alesha had the opportunity to come and see us for the role in our new play?" he said.
"New play?" asked Rupert, "well, she hasn't done one for months..."
"We've been wanting to give her a starring role".
"I told you, I'm retired from acting", interupted Alesha.
"Are you, now?" asked Eva.
"Yes. I've given it up!"
Eva got up suddenly and stormed out of the pub, leaving John to follow her back home.
"What's the matter with them?" asked an ignorant Rupert.
"Just forget them", said Alesha, "let's go and announce our new plans to Imelda and Oliver".
"Well..." said Rupert, "I haven't spoken to Imelda yet since I came back, so I'm a bit nervous".
"Scared of Imelda? She's a nutcase, I'll give you that, but she won't do anything, will she? Come on, I want to see the look on her face!"
"Imelda, darling!" cried Alesha, approaching Imelda and Oliver.
"What the bloody Hell do you want?" said Imelda, who couldn't care less at that moment in time.
"We've come to announce our new plans".
"What bloody plans?"
"Take a look at these papers", said Alesha, showing Imelda some forms.
"What are these?"
"We are buying this very pub".
"Wait. There's more", laughed Alesha, "we're turning it into a strip club!"
"What?!" cried an extremely infuriated Imelda.
"Yep. It's for over eighteen's only. Nothing will change. It's going to be the same bar, same rooms, same toilets - same everything, except for the stripper poles in that corner over there".
"You know fine well it's where we used to drink together, Rupert Christen!"
"It's for Alesha, really. I don't like this place. I'm sorry, Imelda".
"I should have known that you two would come up with something as scheming as this!"
Imelda was about to punch Alesha, but she knew the trouble it would cause if it did, so she left the building with Oliver. Tammy opened a window and eavesdropped on their conversation.
"We can't just let them do this!" cried Imelda, "Dawn would be so upset!"
"I know, my baby, but we can make a petition or something to stop them from buying the place", replied Oliver.
"That wouldn't work. We have to think of something. We must do something to stop them!"
"Anything for my sweet Imelda...anything".
Tammy decided to stop listening there, because there was more drama going on inside the pub. Vera had just walked in, half drunk.
"Ah, there you are", said Vera, pointing to Rupert and Alesha, "I thought I'd lost you for a second".
"That's all we need right now", said Alesha.
"Now, what was that nursery rhyme my mother used to tell me when I was little?"
"Oh, for God's sake..."
"Mary had a little lamb, who's fleece was white as snow, and everywhere that Mary went, her lamb was sure to go".
"You're hilarious, do you know that?"
"Here's another one. Jack and Jill came up the hill to fetch a pale of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after".
"Is that supposed to threaten us?"
"Mary, Mary, quite contrary. How does your garden grow?"
"What's that supposed to mean?" laughed Alesha.
"With silver bells, and cuckle shells, and pretty maids all in a row. That's how you like Anna to dress up your garden, isn't it?"
"Will you just go away?"
"I'll go away...over your dead body!"
Tammy came and stopped the quarrel. "I think you should leave, Vera", she said.
Vera decided to leave, satisfied with the embarrasment that she had caused Alesha and Rupert. Before she walked out of the door, she opened up her coat, and on the inside, Alesha saw a pistol. Alesha's face suddenly lit up. She looked like she was about to faint.
"You weren't expecting that, were you?" Vera laughed, hysterically.
When they went outside, Tammy said to Vera, "this is not the way".
"This is the way", replied Vera.
"No. Trust me, I've seen people in your position before, Vera. You have to have faith".
"Have faith? No. There's nobody looking out for me, love. I have to make my own decisions".
"Will you just listen to yourself? You're going to be sorry at the end of this feud".
"I don't care what happens to me".
"You don't even know me".
"I know what it's like to suffer that unbearable pain from the way your sister was killed".
"You don't understand what it's like".
"Yes I do. My grandmother was knifed to death, just five years ago. Her killer is still in prison, and well...they're gonna die in there, but I promise you, Rupert Christen will get his comeuppance. They always do".
Vera decided to walk away. She'd had enough.
"I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother", she said.
© Copyright 2016 declan mckimm. All rights reserved.
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