How can I tell her?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
How one deceit leads to another.

Submitted: April 05, 2015

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Submitted: April 05, 2015

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HOW CAN I TELL HER?

Wayland switched off the alarm clock as soon as he heard the moaning sound it made, before settling into full swing. His head felt like it was on the point of bursting with pain. He also understood that he couldn’t stay at home - he had to get out. His wife, Anna, was still sound asleep, and would be for another hour or so, thanks to her medication. The burning hot shower woke him up, and when he was fully dressed, except for his outer wear, Wayland went into the kitchen and made his breakfast. The radio news didn’t encourage a listening to. It was always the same after the weekend: someone was missing, car crashes, street disturbances. He switched the radio off. His breakfast over, Wayland washed the few things he had used. He then cleaned his teeth, made use of the cloakroom, put on his coat, and left, grabbing hold of his briefcase as he closed the door. Upstairs, Anna was still in the land of Nod, and never noticed the opening and closing of the back door.

 

Wayland walked to the end of the road and caught the bus that took him to the far side of the shopping centre, where he worked in a restaurant as a cashier. He hadn’t always been employed as such, but when the company he had spent thirty years of his life working for, decided to slim down, he had been one of the first to go. In some ways he was happy. It meant he could stay in bed longer, and go to the gym and get back into shape, and even go out with his friends to the pub at lunchtime. That had been how he saw his forced retirement, till he would tell Anna. Anna was Wayland’s wife, and owned a ladies’ clothes boutique. She had dedicated her life to it, after realising that if she didn’t, there was little possibility of her ever holding down a job in any other sphere. The jobs situation was getting worse and worse, which meant that the able-bodied had to look out for themselves. Therefore, Anna had put some money she had secretly saved into the shop. Wayland knew nothing about the shop or his wife’s ambitions to be self-employed. She had never mentioned it to him. The small business was doing very well, and it meant that Anna’s income was healthy enough to maintain them to a higher level than they would have enjoyed if she had worked in a store or an office.

 

Wayland was proud and was perturbed when he was conveyed the news that he had been put out to pasture. What was he to do? Soon after he had left the company where he had spent the majority of his working life, he saw an advertisement for a cashier in the shopping centre. He went, out of curiosity, to see what the job entailed, and accepted it. The reason for doing so, was to be away from the house. Wayland’s new life opened up before him in many diverse ways, as he was willing to take up the challenge of doing anything that gave him money. In one of his jobs he worked as a messenger boy for a man who was up to no good, in other words, on the fiddle with the lottery. Wayland wasn’t quite sure, but he suspected it was to do with the fact that the money that was paid in, was not what it said on paper. He also took up home decorating for others, something he had never anticipated in his life, he had always paid for it to be done by professionals. All in all, Wayland was happy, as long as Anna didn’t find out. Well, anyway, not just yet.

 

Liam was an old friend of Wayland’s, and at times they had spoken about setting up in business together. Wayland wasn’t too sure about Liam’s work capacity, as he had been working in the bank all his life and had received many perks. There was never any worry about his being given early retirement with an impoverished pension, Liam would have a nice healthy one to keep him and his wife in glory till the end of their lives. Wayland wasn’t sure whether to say anything to Liam, or not, about his own redundancy. He decided not to say anything, but was extremely fearful when he was working, just in case Liam or Elizabeth, his wife, should see him, when they thought he’d be working in his office.

 

Life in the centre was very predictable. Every day was the same. Nothing of any great import ever took place. Wayland was too preoccupied about how to make sure that Anna didn’t find out about his loss of job, till he felt he was ready for her remarks.

At one particular moment, when he had his best job, was when he worked as the assistant to a man who ran various night clubs. The man, who was called Viriato, was rough. Wayland had met him in a restaurant when Viriato’s henchman was laid up in hospital, recuperating from gun shots, after a shoot out in one of the clubs. Viriato needed someone to take his henchman’s place, till he was allowed out of hospital. Wayland needed the money and therefore took up the temporary post. Wayland spent every night in the clubs and got to know many of the clients. They were a varied bunch of humanity. He was never sure what or who they were, and he never asked questions. The money was good, and all he had to do was keep out any of those who were named on a list that Viriato had given him.

Of all the people who were in the club among the clients, was Liam. One evening, Wayland spied him as he walked in with a platinum blonde on his arm - and it wasn’t Elizabeth. He went up to Viriato and explained, “That man is a friend of mine, and he knows nothing about my work life, and that’s how I’d like it to stay. Is it OK if I do something else this evening?”

Viriato stared at Wayland, and said, “What you do with your life outside this place, is your own affair, but your job is here.” He saw the look on Wayland’s face, and said, “Go to the other clubs, and check out if anything is happening that shouldn’t be.”

“Yes, Boss, I’ll do that. Thanks a lot.” Wayland shot out of the club and went round to Viriato’s other clubs, which were all very similar.

 

It was through working in the clubs that Wayland got to know some of the low-lifers of where he lived. Seeing Liam with the blond woman bothered him, because he had also seen him with other women. What was anyone who knew Liam supposed to think?

 

Wayland and Anna had very low key conversations between themselves. They usually revolved around her work-day, and how many garments she had sold, and who had entered her shop. Anna’s life-line was her age-old clients. Some of them had been buying from her for so long she felt they were part of her family. Wayland had never paid much attention to her ramblings. If Anna noticed, she had never commented on his lack of interest in her business. Wayland, as he had always been the bigger contributor to the family income, had always considered Anna’s money for her to spend on her whims and fancies. Now that he was officially without a job, he was working as much as he could, in an effort to keep up the fiction that he was making the same money as he’d always done. Of course, he was going to be found out eventually, but he was doing his best until that moment arrived. Anna just got home every evening, put her feet up, had a bath, and then something to eat. She had gone off television, saying it made her feel tired.

 

The situation changed somewhat after Wayland had seen Liam in the club. He wasn’t quite sure how to treat him. Elizabeth was Wayland’s worry, wondering whether or not she knew about Liam’s outings to the club with female company.

 

Viriato told Wayland that they were parting company, due to his permanent assistant’s leaving hospital over the weekend. Wayland said to Viriato, “I’m very grateful for your job experience. If you ever need me for anything, I’d be pleased to help out.”

“I’m sure you would. By the way, is Liam really a friend of yours?”

“Yes, he is, but now I don’t know. Don’t worry, I’ve never said anything to anyone, not even him, that I saw him in here with an unknown woman.”

“Well, he’s one of our regulars, if that’s of any interest to you. But, be careful who you consider your friends. Good luck, Wayland, and thanks for your help. I’ve given you an extra, as I value your discretion highly. See you around.” With those words, Viriato gave his farewell to Wayland.

 

Anna was getting more and more tired. She was always doing her accountants for the shop and it wore her out. She was going to bed earlier and earlier. Wayland paid no attention, as he had to find another job after losing the one with Viriato.

 

One morning, in the town centre, there was the sound of a terrific explosion, and those nearby rushed towards the bank where the sound of the explosion had come from. Wayland was at the cash desk in a restaurant, and didn’t raise an eyebrow. Those having a snack continued with their eating and drinking. However, in the streets, people were rushing around all over the place. The sounds of police, ambulances, and the fire brigade, were to be heard. The crowds were forced to dissipate and return to work. Wayland kept on working. His boss went up to him, “The bank’s been blown up. The room where the very strong boxes were stored have been totally destroyed. The workers were told to lie on the floor. The police are inside questioning everyone.”

“How do you know all this?” Wayland asked.

“The girls who work next door in the coffee room, were waiting for the bank workers to go for their morning coffees when the explosion happened. It seems that one of the girls was friendly with one of the workers.”

“I still don’t understand how anyone could know all this information,” Wayland replied.

“Whatever took place we’ll eventually know, as the police will tell us soon enough. Anyway, there’s always the evening news on the television.”

 

Wayland thought about Liam and how he had fared in the explosion. He kept his thoughts to himself, and went on with his work. Since leaving the club and Viriato, he had been working at the restaurant. Sometimes asking himself if Anna suspected that all was not well for him, job-wise. The restaurant workers had their food after their customers had left. Wayland rang Anna and told her about the explosion at the bank.

“Wayland, will you ring Elizabeth, or shall I?”

“If you like, I’ll let her know. How are you?”

“Not too bad. A bit tired, that’s all. See you later.”

 

Wayland rang Elizabeth’s number.

A male voice answered. “Hello. Detective Constable Jones speaking. Who’s ringing please?”

Wayland answered. “I’m a friend of Liam and Elizabeth, and as I work in the centre not far from the bank, I wondered whether she knew about the explosion.”

“Give me your name and where you work, Sir, and we’ll come and ask you a few questions,”

Wayland gave them what they asked for, and rang off.

 

He worked the evening shift, and as he walked to where he had parked his car, he peered at what was left of the bank. There was an enormous gaping hole, and it was hard to see what had been there before. He decided not to wait for the police to come to him, and instead, to go to the police station. He wanted to find out about Liam’s fate.

 

The desk sergeant told him to wait in the corridor, and after a few minutes a detective inspector came and asked him to follow him to an interview room.

“Now, Sir, as I understand it, you have a friend who works in the bank that was blown up earlier today around lunchtime. Is that right?”

“Yes, Sir, it is. His name’s Liam Scott, and he’s worked there practically all of his working life.”

“The hospital is making a list of the deceased and injured. I think the list will be finished tomorrow morning. Is your friend married?”

“Yes, he is. I rang her up, and a policeman took the call at her home and I think that by now she must know what took place.”

 

Liam was in hospital all done up in bandages. All the dressings made everything look worse than it was. Liam was the only survivor who worked in the bank, which now employed fewer workers than in previous years due to its cutting down on staff. So the others who had died or been injured were a very small number of members of the public who went to the bank early, and found themselves trapped in the offices with the bank employees.

Liam was silent, as he was afraid he might open his mouth and give something away, and he wanted to keep in with Viriato for his own ends. The police were sitting beside his bed, waiting to ask him questions about the explosion. Not much of Liam was on view, and he had difficulty in hearing, and looked as vague as was possible. The nurse in charge asked the police to leave him alone, and return another day when he would be more alert. The police knew that he’d remember better while the explosion was recent in his mind than later. Nevertheless, the nurse didn’t change her mind, and more or less told them to leave with no preamble.

 

The police were keen on questioning any surviving members of the public who had been inside the bank when it exploded.

 

The police found a veritable chatterbox of a woman, who told them that several men had entered the bank. They had been armed, and had their faces covered with balaclavas. “One of them told us to lie down on the floor, and me with my hair newly done, I said I wouldn’t, but he aimed a gun at me, and I was afraid that he might shoot me, so I did as he said.”

“What did they do next?” a detective asked.

“One of them locked the door to the street, ripped out alarms, and telephones. Another went to get the manager from his office. They took a set of keys off him, and ordered him to take them to the vaults. We didn’t see any of them, nor the manager, again, because soon after they had gone off to the vaults, there was a bang.”

“How did you get out without getting hurt?”

“When the dust had cleared, I ran to the locked door, and then the firemen came and broke it down and we were let out. The bang came from the back of the bank where the vaults were.”

“Do you know anyone else who has survived the explosion?”

“No, I don’t. I just knew I had to get out of there as soon as I could. Like the rest of us.”

The police thanked her for her assistance, and went to find any others who might also have just walked out through door.

 

All day, the passers-by stopped and stared at the huge hole in the bank wall. The firemen went in with machines to dig out anyone who might still be inside there - dead or alive.

 

Wayland went home, and said to Anna, “I’ve got something to tell you. I lost my job some months ago, and I’ve had a variety of jobs since then, and that’s why this morning I saw the results of the explosion at the bank, and heard it too.” 

Anna sat and stared at Wayland as if in a trance, and then said, “I wondered what you were up to. I thought you might have another woman. So it was just work, and nothing else? Why didn’t you tell me before?”

“I didn’t know how to let you know I’d been made redundant. The ones who had been there longest were the first to go. Money obviously must have played a big part,” Wayland said to his tired-looking wife.

“Yes, I expect so. The bank going up like that, was that about money too?” Anna asked her husband.

“I think so. Liam’s in hospital smothered in bandages. Elizabeth rang me to let me know. He managed to tell her the police had been to the hospital asking him questions. It doesn’t seem right, does it, so soon after his being injured?”

Wayland went into the kitchen and began preparing the evening meal. He saw that Anna wasn’t in a good state for cooking. He managed to rustle up a decent plate of food each, and then he said to Anna, “Sorry, but I have to go out for a while.”

“One of your mysterious jobs, is it?”

“You could say that. I need to find something out. Go to bed when you like, I don’t know when I’ll be back.”

 

Wayland got into his car and drove off to the club. He wanted to know what Viriato would say, on knowing about Liam and the bank explosion.

The club’s tawdry lights were on as Wayland drove up and parked down the road a bit away. He walked up to the front door and pushed it open. Nothing out of the ordinary seemed to be taking place. He went to the bar and ordered a fruit juice.

 “Hi, Wayland, how’re you doing?”

Viriato patted Wayland familiarly on his shoulders, and said to the barman, “For Wayland. It’s on the house.”

“You’re very jovial tonight, Viriato. Not like Liam, who’s banged up in hospital and smothered in bandages.”

Viriato laughed nastily, and said, “Poor old Liam. I’ve told him no end of times, not to play with matches.”

“I never said he was burnt. He’s injured as far as I know. I bet you had a hand in the bank job, somewhere.”

At that moment the platinum blonde, who had been hanging off Liam’s arm the last time he had seen her, appeared with a yellow blonde. Viriato put an arm round each one, and said, “What do you think of them? My wife, and her sister. It’s a good job they have different hair colour, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.”

Wayland knew he was far from perfect himself, but thought Viriato was not a nice person. He couldn’t for the life of him, understand how Liam had come to know him.

“Thanks for the drink, Viriato. See you around,” Wayland said, as he left the club.

 

Back in his car, Wayland sat and thought about what Liam might, or might not, know about Viriato. The blondes were plants that Viriato sent to any man who wandered into the club. But why Liam? He wasn’t flush with money, however much he’d like to appear so. They must have met in the bank when Viriato had gone there, or one of the blondes, to put money in, or get some out. Wayland finding his thoughts were fairly intact, drove in the direction of the hospital.

 

“It’s a bit late for visiting, Sir. Could you come tomorrow?” the nurse asked him.

“I suppose I could, but I have something on my mind, and I’d prefer to get an answer before going to bed.”

The nurse showed Wayland to the room where Liam was lying all done up in white against the white pillows and the white sheets. It was all rather dramatic for Wayland. He walked up to the bed and said, “How did you get out of the bank, when it was all on fire from the bang?”

Liam turned his head as far as he could without hurting himself too much, “I don’t remember. The police asked me the same question. Why do you ask? Aren’t you glad to see me alive?”

“That depends how involved you were with the robbery. The vault has been emptied, and nobody knows what to do about finding the missing money. Oh, and by the way, the blonde’s married to Viriato. Did you know?”

“You won’t tell Elizabeth, will you?”

“Well, that depends what arrangement you come to with your cohorts.”

“I always thought you might work everything out. Were we so transparent for you, after all those years of working for a detective agency?”

“You know your trouble, you’re not as clever as you think. Don’t worry, though, I’m not going to sneak on you. But how are you going to let Elizabeth know? After all, if the police work it out, and I don’t see how they can’t, you’ll have to do a stretch in prison. Is Viriato his real name?”

“Yes, it was his mother, who liked all that old Roman stuff,” Liam said, lying in his white world in stupefaction. 


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