You'd think that, after twenty-three years of marriage, I'd know my wife, wouldn't you? Come to that, after knowing me for neigh on twenty-five years, you'd expect that she'd know me pretty well, as well. But it seems that I have never known her at all and Kelly has totality underestimated me.
Look, I'd loved Kelly almost from the second I first clapped eyes on her, and from just a few weeks after that meeting, she'd had me completely convinced that she loved me.
Unlike some folks we didn't actually ... er, sleep together, before we tied the knot; but only by a hair's breadth. Shit, we did just about everything we could do, except for the actual deed itself and most often in the back-seat of my car. Kelly still does have a thing about fumbling around in the rear seats of automobiles; damned if she hadn't insisted that we christen every vehicle we've ever owned and more than a few rental cars we've hired over the years, whilst on holiday.
During the first few years of our marriage, our sex life — much like all newly-weds I suppose — was hectic and heavy. As is usual, it slowed down a bit after the children came along; although not until our eldest became mobile enough to find her way to our room during the night. Yeah well, that time comes to all parents eventually, or so I'm told.
Of-course the locations within the house that we chose to partake in our sexual escapades became a bit more limited as well. Basically we were forced to retreat to the bedroom, and lock the door. Unless that is, I could swing the odd day off work while the children were at school.
Where was I? I've kinda wandered off the subject before I've even begun. Oh yeah, twenty three years we've been hitched, and you'd think, after all that time, that I would have known my Kelly, just as well as she should know me, wouldn't you? Yeah well, like me you'd have been wrong!
I suppose I realised ... well with hindsight, I should have realised, that something weren't as kosher as it should be, when Kelly's car was nicked. But I didn't!
Look when you look at things that have happened in the past with a little scepticism, instead of blind faith. Hey man, you begin to see the world in a whole new light.
Late one evening, Kelly's car, or so I was told at the time, was stolen from the local supermarket car park by some little shit joy-riders. Kelly told me she'd forgotten to pick up something ... eggs I think, some ingredient she needed for a cake she was intending to make to celebrate our wedding anniversary the following day, anyway.
I'd been away on a business trip and wasn't really due back until the Sunday morning. But I'd moved heaven and earth -- and worked around the bleeding clock -- to ensure that I got home on Saturday afternoon, ready for the party Kelly had arranged for that evening.
Anyway her car was nicked by some little turds' who'd then -- having had their ten minutes of fun in it -- dumped it out on the by-pass and set the thing alight. The police officer who had very quickly located the burnt out wreck in a lay-by off the by pass, told me that it was a common occurrence in our day and age.
Anyway Kelly was obviously very upset about losing her beloved car, and it put quite a damper on the celebrations that Saturday evening. Consequently I had to spend most of the Sunday traipsing around all the second-hand car sales lots with her, finding a suitable replacement. Kelly took the opportunity to upgrade a little whilst we were at it though; so she finished up happy enough.
Kelly, as is her want, insisted that we went out in her new car the evening it was delivered. I'm sure the true purpose of the outing was to christen the rear seat. I told you that Kelly was a little kinky that way. Personally I was well past all that childish stuff and much prefer a nice comfortable bed. But sometimes you have to bow to the inevitable where the little lady is concerned.
Anyway a few weeks later the insurance company finally paid out, and as far as I was concerned, that was the end of the matter.
A couple of months passed and the time for my annual golf tour came up. One of the lads — actually George Watson, the Publican of the Queens Head Public House in the village - was in the habit of arranging a week's golf tour once a year.
Okay sometimes twice a year, but not too often, the wives wouldn't stand for it.
Actually there had been a time when the wives and even the kids came along with us as well, but that had been years before. By that time most of our circle of friends children were teenagers or older, and the wives would rather go off somewhere on their own. You know, shopping and theatre expeditions up to London, etcetera. Our golfing tours were usually to Scotland or Ireland and to pretty bleak and out in the sticks type places at that. The wives couldn't see the fun in getting their heads blown off or soaked to the skin whilst watching us bash little balls around the countryside.
Anyway we'd been over to Ireland that year. The coach dropped us off outside the Queens Head in the High Street, and we all trooped inside for the tour's closing ceremony. This consisted of a little presentation, where he who had lost the most golf balls, broken the most clubs or managed to accrue the greatest number of strokes, over par, during the week, was publicly and humorously shamed in front of the regulars. It was all taken in good heart and treated as part of the fun really!
But it was as Ronnie and I left the Queens Head that I got my first inkling that everything wasn't as it should be, in the State of Denmark. Not that I recognised it at the time.
Look when your world starts caving in all around you, it isn't often that you realise what is going on — or has been going on — until much later. Very much later! Well I didn't anyway.
Now where was I? Oh shit yeah, Ronnie and I were carrying our clubs and baggage out to my car; that had spent the week tucked away in the corner of the pub's car park. Anyway as we loaded the boot, a policeman appeared as if from nowhere and politely asked us if we'd kindly assist by making up the numbers in a line-up. He explained that they wanted to hold an identity parade and needed to find people off the street, who bore some vague resemblance to their suspect. Ronnie and I apparently fitted the bill.
Eager to do our public duty, Ronnie and I happily acquiesced to his request and followed the officer into the police station, just across the road from the Queens Head. Once in there, a little joviality ensued, because other officers had already roped in a couple of the other guys from the golf tour. Comments about golfers wandering the countryside, carrying bags of deadly weapons with them, and the like.
Anyway eventually we were led into a large room and asked to line up. Then some guy was brought in, and he was told to pick his own place in the line. Then a curtain was pulled back to reveal a window to a darkened room; through which we could just about make out the outlines of several people.
We were asked to turn this way and that, several times then the curtain was pulled back across the window again. The suspect was then invited to change his position in the line, which he did, with a surly expression on his face; before the rigmarole was repeated all over again, I assume with a second witness.
Once the curtain was drawn across the window the second time, the suspect was led out of the room by a uniformed officer, and a sergeant thanked us all for our cooperation. Then they began to show us the way out of the police station.
Well some of us. As I went to leave the large room, a plain-clothes officer approached me.
"Mr Paine, may I have a moment of your time please?" He said, deftly positioning himself between myself and the door.
"Sure, what can I do for you officer?" I replied. Well, what else could I say?
"This is a little embarrassing Mr Paine. But would you object to telling me where you were last Wednesday evening?"
I was slightly taken aback by the request, but I could see no harm in answering his question.
"What time? I spent most of Wednesday afternoon on an Irish golf course. The evening we spent in a little pub; singing our hearts out and getting as pissed as newts. Actually that's probably a lie. I have to be well plastered, before, I start singing in public!"
"Where was this pub, what's it called and would anyone remember you being there?"
"Jesus shit, I don't know. It was a pub in the village on Galway Bay somewhere. But the way I sing I doubt they will forget me in a hurry. Talk to George over at the Queens Head, he arranged the bloody trip, he's bound to know what the village is; even if he can't remember the name of the pub. Why do you want to know anyway?"
"Oh, you were on George's little golf soirée were you? He keeps on at me to come along on one of them."
"You should come some time officer."
"Detective Sergeant Dexter, sir."
Well Sergeant. You should join us, they are great fun; providing you can play golf with a hangover. But you haven't explained why you are asking me all these questions."
.... There is more of this story ...