A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

Colette's daughter is no angel


Braxton looked as though he didn’t understand what the woman was saying whilst Chantelle looked shocked.

Who are you, anyway?” she asked, hoping a little definition might throw light on what was a sudden and most unexpected shock.

You can call me Judy,” said the woman, “though he doesn’t even know my name!”

Judy...” murmured Braxton quietly. “I knew a Judy, Colette’s Judy...”

We were poor,” began Judy, and her eyes closed for a moment. That was the one factor that identified her childhood, she thought, that and being illegitimate.

It had been the sixties bordering on the seventies when she’d been at infants’ school, and even at that age the other children had known to snub her, to have nothing to do with the fatherless brat who should have been aborted before birth. That’s what their parents had darkly muttered, and that’s what, being young and easily influenced, they echoed.

Colette had lived with her mother for as long as she could stand the disgrace that she was constantly being reminded that she had earned.

You have brought shame on all of us,” her mother had said until the words were etched on her brain, so with a baby in tow she had found herself a one room apartment above a fish and chip shop and virtually locked herself in it until her landlord, the proprietor of the chip shop, had suggested that she was still pretty enough to be called a princess if she tried a little harder, and maybe a second illegitimate child, should one come along, would do her reputation no more harm.

You’ve made your bed,” he said, “so how about the two of us lying in it?”

And that’s just what they did, whenever he wanted. And he wanted to share her bed quite often, after his chip shop had put up its shutters. He’d do what he had to do, wipe surfaces down, keep the health and safety people happy that way, and then tumble into her bed with his smell of fat and grease and armpits which almost made her sick until she got used to it.

And with that as the chief factor in her environment, the little Judy grew from baby, through toddler, to infant school girl where her abuse was of the verbal kind that slowly degenerated to the physical. Even children of that young age can be rough when they want to, and cruelty’s a human foible whatever the age.

It was when she was six that she committed her first murder.

She grinned mirthlessly at Chantelle and Braxton.

There was this spiteful kid when I was six,” she said, “a posh girl from a big house, Lord knows why they didn’t send her to a private school, but they didn’t. She used to reckon she was superior to everyone so one day when I couldn’t take any more of her lip I pushed her under a bus. It was a green bus, I can see it now, I pushed her right under its wheels when it was roaring along the road, and she was squashed and her blood was everywhere. It was lovely and a little bit frightening.”

That’s dreadful!” gasped Chantelle.

You… you did that?” whispered Braxton.

Oh, I’ve done worse than that!” replied Judy as murder and wrong doing was a matter for kudos. “That’s why it’s going to be an easy thing for me to kill you, dad.”

No daughter of mine could behave like that!” groaned Braxton, “your mother, for starters, was a wonderful girl.”

I suppose she was when she was sober,” replied Judy, “and didn’t smell of stale chips and greasy sweat! But being sober became a problem. When I got back home to her, and being only six I didn’t get into too much trouble about my little murder, they put it down as the sort of accident that happens with kids, the council found us a much nicer home. It had two bedrooms so I no longer had to sleep in the same room where mum was having sex with a dirty old fish and chips man! But the bloke who lived next door was something else...”

And he had been. A despicable old addict who had once been a driving instructor until he was banned for being drunk in charge. He hated the fact that there was a child in the house next door and did everything to get them to move of their own accord until she killed him. She was eight by then and one day he went too far, shouting at her mum who couldn’t answer back on account of the drink.

Hey, old man,” the child shouted, brave and bold as could be.

He was offensive in his reply using the sort of language that should never be used at a child, and she worked out quick as lightning what to do.

Hey mister,” she called when there was a pause in his verbal assault from his slurred cracked voice.

Now what do you want?” he snarled.

There’s a dollop of bird s**t on your window. A great big dollop of smelly bird s**t! Looks like elephants might have been flying round here, nasty big shitting elephants! What are the neighbours going to say, you with a s****y window...”

And there was! Fortunately or by some strange happenstance there was a browny-yellow splodge of dribbling avian diarrhoea on the upper bedroom window of the old man’s house, and when he saw it he cursed loud and long and blamed the child for putting it there.

How could I have done that?” she demanded, and for once she was right: she couldn’t have and she hadn’t: a genuine real life flying bird had done it.

That neighbour, name long forgotten, was drunk, as drunk as her mum, and he fetched a bucket, a leather and his ladder which he propped against the window sill. Then he started climbing, holding the bucket in one hand and weaving his way up, holding onto the ladder with the other.

It was when he reached the top that she jumped over the low fence separating the houses and used all her weight to push his ladder, which was hardly well balanced as it was.

The result was inevitable.

The ladder started sliding sideways, and he started flailing like a marionette with broken strings.

The fall probably killed him but to make absolutely sure the young Judy sat on his face until blood had soaked into her jeans and he was incapable of any kind of movement.

I got away with it!” she giggled, staring at the horrified Chantelle and more horrified Braxton. “Mummy put my jeans in the washer and swore blind that all I did was try to help the old fool. But I didn’t. I killed him on purpose because he was a very bad man who deserved to be killed.

Then she looked Braxton squarely in the face. “Like you,” she added calmly.

© Peter Rogerson 09.12.19

© 2019 Peter Rogerson

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Added on December 9, 2019
Last Updated on December 9, 2019
Tags: bed-sit, fish and chip shop, murder, window cleaning, ladder


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 80 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..