Now I got this mate -- another writer -- who's into writing a lot of flash stories. So's I thinks to myself, "Yeah I'll have a go at writing a few!" Well I dreamt this tale up one night in bed and I had it figured that it would run to a couple of hundred words. Yeah well, it's a short, but it ran to over 4000! I don't think I'll be getting any stars for saying the most in the minimum quantity of words.
My thanks go to SH for her help with this little tale.
All things considered it had been a real good party actually. Not that I'd wanted to go because I hadn't been in the mood for enjoying myself for sometime by then. But seeing old friends and having the odd dance with a good looking woman can do wonders for your self-esteem; I'd kind of forgotten about that in the intervening year since I'd last attended one of the Mallory's shindigs
Eventually eight months after the divorce was final some of my friends had persuaded me to turn up at one of their regular gatherings again. It felt a bit odd really, arriving without Tracy on my arm. But after I'd got past the "Hello stranger!" bit; I kinda settled into the swing of things, unless some unthinking bugger mentioned Tracy. Usually though, someone else would rapidly come up with another topic of conversation, so the ubiquitous pregnant pause wouldn't last for more than a few seconds anyway.
It wasn't like I missed Tracy's presence during the party itself -- unless as I said some bugger mentioned her name -- because when she was with me, she would usually have been off with her friends, dancing and gossiping, whilst I either got conned into Barbie duty or maybe I'd be chewing the cud with the guys, about last weekends game.
Well, I'd always assumed that Tracy was dancing and gossiping with the girls when she disappeared at those dos. I'd been your typical dumb blind husband until the day that Stephanie Mallory burnt her hand quite badly on the Barbie. John Mallory told me that I'd find their first aid kit in the spare back bedroom upstairs. At the time I'd thought that it was a stupid place to keep a first aid kit myself, but John explained to me later that it kept it out of the children's reach. Anyway I dashed up the stairs and rushed into John and Stephanie's spare bedroom to find that it wasn't as unoccupied as it should have been.
My Tracy, and Phillip Turner were in the process of giving the bedsprings a bloody good energetic work out.
Yeah well, John Mallory took it quite well really. Although he was really annoyed about having to have his pool drained, so that they could ensure they'd found all the pieces of broken glass. Although I'll give you, he did refuse to let me pay for the window that Phil Turner made his escape through. You know, I do believe that John made Phil Turner pay for the thing. I'm sure someone told me that.
Yeah well, Phil Turner didn't stop to open the latch did he? Or, to put his clothes on after he'd climbed out of John's pool, before legging it from the garden.
Indecent exposure the police charged him with, after several of the ladies present made formal written complaints.
I do believe that nearly everyone took my side, and I sometimes wonder how bad Stephanie's burn really was? And maybe, exactly how long that first aid kit had been living in the Mallory's spare bedroom? Still these, along with the uncertainty of exactly how long Tracy and Turner had been getting it on behind my back? Are questions that I will never learn the answers too.
The divorce didn't take all that long really. Yeah Tracy came up with all the "It was the first time and a big mistake that I will regret for the rest of my life" arguments. But that didn't stop her shacking up with Turner before our divorce was even final.
Yeah well, Joan Turner weren't going to stand for that kind of behaviour anymore than I was. She threw Phil out on his ear the following morning. With the assistance of some of the guys from our crowd, so I'm told.
I wasn't asked to assist that morning, because at the time there was some conjecture about whether Turner had jumped thought that window, or ... well okay, whether I'd thrown him through the bloody thing.
Shit, I really didn't realise that the pool was almost directly bellow that window; I'd never been in that bedroom before.
Anyway, I sort of withdrew into myself for a few months after that night. I probably kept myself to myself out of embarrassment, more than anything else. Shit, pissed-off with the bitch I might be, but I have to admit that Tracy was ... and still is, one of the best looking women in our circle of friends. Only from what I gather, she is no longer a member of our circle of friends and neither is Phil Turner.
Maybe, I didn't feel quite so bad, when I heard that Tracy and Turner had split up again within months. At first I figured that Tracy discovered that a roll in the hay with Turner, was more fun than living with the arsehole. But the word is, that Tracy found Turner knocking off the daughter of the people who lived in the flat below the one they were sharing.
I'm not quite sure where Tracy is living now, but I know where Phil Turner is now residing. That girl from the flat below, turned out to be a fourteen-year-old who could easily be mistaken for a young lady a good few years older. Hey, that's life for the unwary philanderer nowadays.
Still, I didn't intend to tell you about all that. I was trying to explain why I hadn't attended any of those parties for some considerable period of time, and how come, I finished up in the predicament I found myself in that night.
Most everyone at the party had tried to make me feel at home, even if I really was wishing that I were somewhere else. John and Stephanie had invited a few more single women than usual. I do believe with the intention that I might hit it off with one of them. There were a couple who I could have been attracted to, but I'm afraid that my confidence in women -- and myself -- had taken a bit of a hit at that time.
Even women I'd have flirted with -- in a friendly way -- in the past -- you know, wives of friends who I had a particularly good rapport with -- I tried to stay at arms length from. Christ, I was a single man again by then, and I wouldn't like a mate to get the idea that I actually might do a "Phil Turner" on him. Shit, let's not go there!
Consequently what dancing I did that evening, was with the unattached females. Including Stephanie's mother, and her divorced sister Marie.
Marie had been around for sometime by then. She'd moved to town with her two little ones after she'd divorced her husband. I've no idea why, I had never thought to ask her about her divorce or her move back to town. Anyway, at every gathering that we'd both attended, Marie had always come to hunt me out for at least one dance.
Actually she was a fun person, who had a whole string of admirers following her around with their tongues hanging out. Marie told me she enjoyed dancing with me because she never had to ... well, keep control of the situation.
"That's the biggest problem I've had since my divorce." She'd said with a smile one evening. "Some guys think that because I'm a divorcée, then I have to be missing it! And therefore I must be an easy lay."
"Umm." Had been the extent of my reply.
"I'm not Harry. I'm looking for a man who will cherish my two girls and me. Someone who is handsome and reliable, like you!" She'd gone on.
I kinda figured that the drink had got to Marie that particular evening. Hey, I had actually warned her that she should lay off the juice a little, or some bugger might get her drunk one night and ... well, take advantage of her.
"It would take a special man to drink me under the table Harry!"
"Marie, there're such things as date rape drugs nowadays you know?"
"Might not be so bad if it was the right bloke, but I couldn't be that lucky." She'd grinned back at me.
I can't remember where the conversation went after that. Most likely Tracy turned up to claim me. There was always something strange about the way Tracy would appear as if out of the woodwork, whenever Marie and I started dancing together or talking.
Anyway Marie, did find me that evening and she actually introduced me to her and Stephanie's mother. I thought that a little odd at the time because ... well the old lady was kinda out of place amongst our age group, and previously she had always watched over the children, even John and Stephanie's, who would be farmed out to her house on party nights.
That particular evening the old lady seemed to be everywhere that I was and I finished up dancing with her two or three times. Another odd thing that evening, was that whenever I did dance with the old girl -- to be polite -- Marie would turn up and come to my rescue.
And yet another odd thing was that both Stephanie and Marie kept on pumping me --somewhat nervously -- about what the old girl and I had been discussing. I told them that it was nothing important because mostly the old girl had been asking about my life and me. Well, up until Tracy had come into the picture anyway. She appeared to understand that Tracy was a part of my life that I no longer wanted to remember. Mind you, she also told me that Marie's ex-husband had been a real ... Well she didn't call him an arsehole, but that's what she inferred. I kinda had it figured that the old girl might be getting a little senile or something, or maybe -- heaven forbid -- randy in her old age. Hey no, I ain't the type to go after old ladies, although I must say, she does wear her years well.
I supposed about half twelve was the earliest that I could get away with slipping out of the party. Any earlier and the Mallory's would have thought that I was being a party-pooper. But I had showed up and circulated and that was what they'd been bugging me to do.
Really I had to admit that it was a mistake to have taken my car that evening. But in the past either Tracy or I would have been the designated driver and laid off the alcohol. As it was, I'd gone easy but I was surely well over the legal limit to drive. Better judgement would have been to leave the car and take a taxi, but my judgement hadn't been too good for sometime by then. Well, I'd married Tracy hadn't I?
Maybe I should have spotted that something was wrong, when the interior light didn't come on when I opened the car door. But as the thing had played up in the past, I just ignored it with a curse or two.
I chose the back roads as my route on the five-mile journey home and drove very carefully, for obvious reasons. I was far less likely to run across a bored policeman on those dark country lanes.
Really I wasn't far short of arriving at my house when I became aware that I wasn't alone in the car. I either heard a low moan or a movement of some kind in the back of the car caught my attention; frightening the life out of me.
Because I could see nothing back there in the rear-view mirror, I gently pulled to the side of the road. Then dived out of the car a quickly as I could. Okay an extreme reaction you might think, but what with all the muggings and car hijackings you hear about in this day and age, I thought it a prudent measure.
Seeing no movement and nothing untoward from my position, sitting in the road, I regained my feet and peered into the darkness of the rear of the car. With no moon that night or interior or streetlights, I could see sweet FA back there.
Feeling a complete prune I climbed back in the car, after quickly glancing around to see if anyone had witnessed my idiotic behaviour. Mind I still wasn't completely convinced that I hadn't heard something back there.
So -- the courtesy light still not playing ball, after I'd fiddled with the bleeding thing -- I retrieved the emergency torch I keep in there, from the glove box, and cautiously turned around in my seat to inspect the rear of the vehicle. And boy, did I get a bloody shock!
The torches beam first fell upon a pair of naked feet then naked legs, then I slowly moved it along the extremely shapely (naked) torso attached to them, until it finally fell upon Marie's enchanting -- if unconscious -- face.
Once I'd recovered from the initial shock of finding her there, my mind went into overdrive. I called her name and then reached back to shake her; but Marie was out cold.
For a few moments my mind was in turmoil, until I realised what must have happened. Marie must have eventually fallen foul of some twisted individuals evil plan.
"How many times had I warned her that it might happen?" I asked myself. I really couldn't remember; but it looked to me like my prediction had finally been proved correct!
Correct I might have been, but in fact I was left with almighty big problem.
The first thing I should have done, was have called the police and an ambulance. But if I did that ... well, no matter in which order I did them, I was going to end up being breathalysed and certainly banned from driving for a while. That, I couldn't afford to have happen!
I'd probably end up being blamed for assaulting and most probably, raping Marie as well. Christ she was inside my car that had been locked when I parked it, how would I be able to explain that way?
If I'd spotted her before I'd got in the bloody thing, well that I might have been able to get away with. But I was four miles from the Mallory's place on a quiet back lane in the middle of bloody nowhere, and not on a logical route from the Mallory's to my house. Unless you're intentionally attempting to avoid being seen.
I couldn't even risk driving back to the Mallory's house, because ... well, how was I going to explain that Stephanie's sister was lying across the back seat of my car stark naked, and had been for some time, by then.
"Shit, where were her clothes anyway?" I asked myself looking around the car in panic.