A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

Things went wrong for Judy's mother


Chantelle didn’t know what to think.

The woman, Judy, was the most offensive creature she’d met in her sixteen years, and she’d met a few almost as bad.

Who on Earth do you think you are?” she asked, hoping that the challenge wouldn’t rebound on herself in an act of mindless violence.

What do you mean?” snapped the woman, “I’m me and I’ve had a rotten life thanks to this old fool!”

Me?” quavered Braxton, “I don't know you! I’ve no idea who you are.”

I’m Judy, and you’re my own flesh and blood father,” she replied.

And how do we know that?” asked Chantelle.

Because I say so, that’s how!” snapped Judy, “I’ve met some evil people, and he’s one of them. When I was in jail...”

She paused. Jail! It had all started when she was at secondary school, in the fourth year, and the history teacher had a down on her. She knew she had a down on her because no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t do right for doing wrong in that teacher’s eyes. And her uniform was never quite right, the skirt always too short, her blouse never quite clean. But she tried to be calm about it, to put up with indignity after indignity until the day when she asked to be excused because she had a music exam.

It was the summer holidays next week and the one thing she was good at, her one and only shining talent, was playing the piano. It had come naturally to her, and most of the other kids in her group struggled at even the simplest exercises.

So the music teacher, a woman with a heart of gold and a great deal of empathising understanding, entered her for an exam on her own, and that exam was scheduled for during a history lesson.

That history teacher, Mrs something (she wasn’t even going to call her by her name in her head because that meant accepting that she was a human being, refused. With a sneer on her face she stood over her and did the unforgivable. She rapped a metal ruler onto her fingers really hard and sneered “go on then, s**t, go and play your piano if you can...”

And she went and she couldn’t play it Her fingers stung, were numb, and wouldn’t respond to the notes on the exam sheet.

I don’t know what’s got into you,” almost wept the music teacher who had been fighting her corner for the past four years, knowing the girl had a tough life and wanting to give her something to choose in life that wasn’t drugs or booze or crime.

But she had failed that exam. She had failed the music teacher and she had failed the only good thing in her life.

That same day, on the way home from school, the sadistic history teacher was involved in a car accident. It was fatal, and the only fatality was herself. Someone had done something to the brakes and on a vital corner that she was taking too quickly anyway those brakes failed and she went straight into a roadside oak tree, leaving a trail of brake fluid to show why she hadn’t stopped, her neck broken, her pulse stopped.

There had been a police investigation and the story of the dead woman’s treatment of Judy came out, supported by a medical examination of the girl that showed her hand had suffered the kind of bruising that would easily explain her music exam failure, the headteacher had to try to explain how come corporal punishment of a kind no longer used in state schools had been administered so improperly, and after a great deal of questioning in which it was revealed that Judy often helped a neighbour who was constantly fixing his own car and subsequently knew details of braking systems and how to disable them.

Eventually she was arrested and taken to court. A judge well known for his dislike of young offenders, especially violent ones, sentenced he to life imprisonment, She spent the remainder of her youth in custody, and was transferred to prison upon reaching her eighteenth birthday.

The years that followed had toughened her up and educated her in a far from desirable way until her thinking was dominated by looking out for herself and punishing anyone who even showed a sign of getting in her way.. She was released when she was almost thirty. Half her life had been spent in custody, and the Judy who came out of prison was much more evil than the evil one who had gone in.

Her life had become a mess, and she spent the next few years in and out of trouble until her mother died.

You killed my ma,” she said to Braxton, “she’d still be alive now if you hadn’t driven her to despair...”

I gave her money,” put in Braxton, “I gave her a key...”

And what use was a bloody key?” demanded Judy, “she couldn’t find a door or a cupboard that damned key would open, and what good would it have been if she had? In the end she put it in the trash and out of her mind!”

You mean, she didn’t have the money?” asked an apparently shocked Braxton.

She never had no money!” Judy was becoming emotional, close to tears and probably at her most dangerous.

What a waste...” sighed Braxton. “I sent her a key.”

I know. She told me. Said it came by special post. But what could she do with a bleeding key? It was money she needed, money for food, money for booze, money for drugs...”

There was a note that explained...”

He closed his eyes and remembered how he’d troubled himself writing that note. It had been brief because to his mind it had to be. In his way he’d loved her, but he’d left her when she’d given birth to a daughter. In his mind it wasn’t that he was callous and did understand his responsibilities. In the end he’d merely written take this key to Howard’s and treat yourself.

He’d thought that would be enough. There was a small bank in Brumpton with a clock that marked the place she’d wait for him to pick her up when they were due to meet, and it was called Howard’s bank. And the key was for one of the deposit boxes in the vaults of the bank. And in the deposit box was details of a bank account in her name and with half a million pounds recorded in it. It was his way of contributing to the welfare of a daughter he didn’t want but none-=the less felt responsible for.

She showed it to me when I was old enough to understand,” said Judy, “and the silly cow didn’t know any Howard! So what good was the key to her?”

He sighed. “It was for a bank box at Howard’s bank,” he said quietly, “with enough money in it for her to live comfortably with her daughter for the rest of her life...”

Judy’s eyes opened wide, and then, in one simple move, she produced a sharp bladed knife and waved it at him.

You’re lying!” she said, tears streaming down her face, “you’re bloody lying! Tell me that you’re lying!”

© Peter Rogerson 10.12.19

© 2019 Peter Rogerson

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Added on December 10, 2019
Last Updated on December 10, 2019
Tags: prison, murder, gteacher, history, piano, music, examination


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 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..