10. Of Work and Anger

10. Of Work and Anger

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



Oh, my dear,” almost wept Rona Bingley to Violet Sagebrush over the same piece of fence that her late husband had stared through when teenage Jennifer had been sunbathing dressed in close to nothing, “I know there had to be an investigation, what with a perfectly healthy man dying like that, but I hated every moment of it. To start with, that young policeman who came round, he looked at me as if I’d killed my man in his sleep even though the doctor said it can happen without any kind of murderous intent.”

You poor soul,” murmured Violet, her voice heavy with sympathy.

And then that coroner’s court when it was laid open for all to hear! How he’d been asleep and there was no sign that he’d been,” here she paused and looked around her to make sure nobody was listening who shouldn’t be, “intimate in the night…”

Oh dear. Should he have been?”

No, Violet dear, not on Thursdays. He was never up to much on Thursday nights. It was a hard thing for him to get up to anything after such a long day at work, starting at seven and working through the complete twelve hours…”

The poor man…”

But Sunday afternoons, though. That was his time! He had me up the wooden hill by three sharp on Sunday afternoons no matter what was on the telly, and he could be … you know, like a wild beast, all glorious and physical!”

Violet didn’t actually know and she was hard pressed to imagine the late Tom Bingley being anything as rapacious as a wild beast, but decided the less said the soonest mended any inadvertent misunderstanding she might make, so kept quiet.

I put it down to those shorts he’d taken to wearing,” sighed Rona, “they must have cut off his blood, or something, not that he wores them at night. But they were tight, you know, the same ones as he wore twenty-odd years or more ago at school playing football when he was younger than our Darren is now! Not that he was ever much good. I used to watch him running after the ball and never quite reaching it! And now it’s all history, and our Darren hasn’t got a dad.”

He’ll always have one in his memory,” Violet assured her, and she should know because wasn’t her dad there in her head, still dripping with five pound notes so she could go out on the razzle and meet the man who who was destined to become her own better half?

Too true,” sighed Rona, “and he’ll be a kindly and generous memory. I know that much.”

Of course he will, dear. Now I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve work to go to. Only half a day here and there, but it pays for the odd this and that.”

I need to get work too, now,” sighed Rona.

What’s you particular speciality?” asked Violet, guessing she had none but wondering if she might end up being neighbourly and help the grieving woman out, maybe find her a cleaning job, something menial but helpful.

I was a shorthand typist when they still had such people thirty years ago,” murmured Rona, surprising the other woman who had thought she had no speciality at all.

I’ll make enquiries for you, then,” she said, “I’m into secretarial stuff myself, for Spooks the private dick. You know him, offices above the chip shop down Marlon Way?”

I’ll be stale, though, it’s been so long since,” Rona told her as she walked off, slightly miffed because it seemed she and the mourning Rona might have had something more than their gender in common.

She’d be even more miffed had she been gifted with foresight, though, because when she asked Mr Spooks alter that day if he knew of anyone who needed a possibly rusty secretary he grinned broadly like he never did and said yes, he himself could do with someone prepared to do more than the odd half day, and if she wasn’t able to work for longer then her friend might well do.

I’m writing a guide book to detection,” he said, “a bit autobiographical too. If you’re unable to work regular hours then I might interview her, if she can.”

But all that was in the near future.

Rona was sitting in her kitchen nursing a cooling cup of coffee. What, she wondered to herself, would it be like going back to work? Tom had suggested it more than once and had put in quite a lot of overtime because she hadn’t managed to find work, largely because she hadn’t properly looked. She’d got used to things as they’d become when Darren was little, staying at home, tidying and cleaning, nipping to bingo once or twice a week, occasionally winning small amounts now and again, getting to know a few women in a similar position. A lazy life, Tom had thought, but he hadn’t known the half of it.

He managed Sunday afternoons with almost unnatural vigour, but Alfred Burnett was an occasional and rather splendid distraction and fitted her in now and again, which was why she usually wore her best frock when she went out on Thursdays. It wasn’t being unfaithful to Tom because he was never willing during the week, especially not on Thursdays.

She didn’t particularly like Alfred Burnett because he was so self-assured, but was wickedly fond of what he managed to do to her.

She was deep in the sort of memories that substituted for plans when Darren walked in.

He had a face that might well be described as thunderous, which was odd for such an even tempered lad as he’d turned out to be.

What is it, son?” she asked.

I’ve had it up to here!” he exploded, waving one hand well above his own head, “the whole damned lot of them can get stuffed as far as I’m concerned!”

The whole lot of who, Darren?” she asked.

The toffy nosed swine at school! They said Dad died in bed! They said everyone knows what that means! The dirty pigs! As if he’d do any such thing wth you there next to him!

Sit down, Darren, and calm down. Now, why are you home this early?”

I’ve left,” he said, “I’m seventeen and I don’t have to go to school so I’ve left! I’m never going back, not today and not ever!”

And your future, son? Your dreams? Your hopes? The university you want to go to?”

Sod them!” wept Darren, “sod everything! I’m off to bed.”

And, his heart still raging at the lies and injustices in his world, he raced up the stairs and flung himself on his bed.

Which is why he didn’t know the moment when Jennifer Sagebrush dressed in her favourite minidress knocked their door and asked if he was in.

© Peter Rogerson 07.05.21


© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on May 7, 2021
Last Updated on May 7, 2021
Tags: coroner's court, work, income, bullying


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..