SCHOOL REUNION by Barrie Purnell

SCHOOL REUNION

There we all were assembled in the hall,
Like we did at school assembly 50 years before,
There for a school reunion of the class of fifty two
Looking around we were indeed a very motley crew.

Some were there just to have a bit of fun,
Others to show us just how well they’d done.
Some came old long lost friendships to renew,
Others because they just had nothing else to do.

I looked around at all the haggard faces
And couldn’t fit any in their schoolroom places.
Everyone just looked so old, how could this be?
Then I remembered they were all as old as me.

It was quite a shock to see how we’d all changed
How all our body dimensions had been re-arranged.
Despite liberal use of expensive astringents
There was no doubt we’d all turned into our parents.

We had all changed so much since the days of our youth
And were unrecognizable, that was the truth,
So to avoid any embarrassment and any shame
They gave us badges on which to write our name.

Jones who lisped his way through elementary French
Was now a grey haired magistrate on the local bench.
Brown sent home for wearing luminous yellow socks
Was a vicar at St Jude’s consoling errant flocks.
Pat, not bright enough university to attend,
Was teaching children on whom the country would depend.
Julie Short, who for boyfriends could have taken her pick,
Was now an unmarried nurse looking after the sick.
And shy Danny Davis had done alright in the end
He had a villa in Spain he shared with his gay friend.
Roger who won the outstanding sportsman shield,
Was in a wheelchair following an injury on the rugby field.
Gillian Jones the schools best looking girl by a mile
Now a small rotund old lady but with the same flirty smile.
Dave the class joker, who knew many a rude recitation,
Had become a boring accountant with no conversation.
And sexy Sarah Smith who had quite a reputation
Had made marrying rich men a profitable vocation.

I renewed some old friendships and reminisced
About what we’d done in the years that we’d missed,
Promised to stay in touch and addresses exchanged
But knew future meetings would not be arranged.
We had little in common, apart from our education,
Which was simply determined by our childhood location.
Few people, allowing for expected exaggeration,
Had been very successful in their chosen occupation
Having settled for less, because they had to pay
For mortgages and children and foreign holidays.
Then a list of fifteen names were read
Of classmates who were already dead.
Nearly twenty five percent of the total class
Had not lived to see this reunion pass,
And for all of our privileged education
It did not seem that our generation
Had left our world a much better place,
Or left any lasting mark upon its face,
Apart from teenagers, drugs and rock and roll
We’d provided little food for the nation’s soul.
Most of our childhood dreams and expectations
Had been lost in life’s day to day frustrations,
And although we’d not achieved much, I confess,
We thought surviving for fifty years sufficient success.
Despite everything there was a sense we’d paid our due
Among most of the class of fifty two.

So when we left and all went our separate ways,
Having failed to recapture those past schooldays,
That school road we’d walked down full of hope in our teens
Was now just a sad boulevard of our broken dreams.
Having left school early at the age of sixteen
I’d often thought about what might have been.
Having seen what my classmates had achieved,
Even if their stories were to be believed,
Of real successes I had spotted very few
I had held my own with the class of fifty two.
It was interesting, and I enjoyed the music and champagne,
But I don’t think that I will be attending again.

They think it’s fun! by David R Graham

They think it’s fun! by David R Graham

Most of the villagers weren’t church goers. But Sundays were days of rest.
That Sunday was no exception.
It was a heatwave. No-one was inclined to do too much.
The village was quiet, and peaceful.
I was prepared. A ploughman’s, a jug of Sangria, and a bottle of white wine were cooling in the fridge.
I got comfortable on the swing chair in the shade of the chestnut tree.
The latest Lee Child lay to hand.
I was naked beneath my dress. That always got Ryan going: my own Jack Reacher; working on a day like this, poor soul.
I had just followed Lee Child’s Jack Reacher into the fourth chapter when it happened.
Several cars came over the humpback bridge and roared through the village.
They screeched round the war memorial and roared back to the bridge.
The air was rent by shouting and hollering and shouting.
Seething with anger, I strode to the bottom of the garden.
From the top of the compost box I had a clear view of the bridge.
My heart sank.
Seven cars blocked the street. Their engines running, their doors open. Rap music assaulted the air.
A crowd of yobs blocked the bridge.
Several of the yobs clambered onto the bridge. They whooped as they jumped into the river.
Two of the cars spun their rear wheels in a cloud of white smoke then raced passed below me.
They screeched round the memorial cross and raced back to the bridge.
They were having fun.
I was angry and frightened. I got down off the box and went and called the police.
The operator was sympathetic. She assured me that a patrol car would be along shortly.
The cars roared up and down the road: their drivers shouting, their horns blaring.
Twenty-five minutes later, I called the police again.
There had been several calls about the disturbance. As soon as officers were available they would attend.
My neighbours called.
We were afraid.
We consoled and encourage.
The wives and mothers wouldn’t to let their husbands confront the youths.
Two police officers arrived in a patrol car. They parked well away from the bridge.
I joined my neighbours gathered by the church.
The officers took statements.
Then they drove down to the bridge. They did not get out of their car.
They came back.
They had told the yobs to keep their speed down and not to obstruct the highway.
They advised us to call 101 if the youths caused any further disturbance.
Then they left.
The yobs watched from the bridge. They were laughing and joking and gesticulating. And they were waiting.
They waited until the patrol car was well out of sight. Then they started all six cars and began to spin their rear wheels.
The banshee wail of screeching rubber filled the air and the bridge was enveloped in a cloud of white smoke.
I went indoors and called the police.
Officers would attend as soon as they were available.
The cars roared back and forth.
Horns blared.
The yobs hollered and shouted.
Again we called the police. Again we were told officers would attend when they were available.
I went to get my book. I would have my lunch indoors.
Returning from the garden I heard a familiar sound.
I went to the gate and looked to my right.
The cars were back at the bridge.
I look to my left.
Jim Possey’s JCB was rumbling down the street. A muck grabber bucket was attached to its yellow snout.
Where’s Jim going?
What he’s doing?
Surely he’s not going to…?
It wasn’t Jim behind the wheel.
The driver wore a black boiler suit and balaclava.
I watched open-mouthed as the vehicle rolled by.
I closed my mouth and looked to my right.
The yobs were watching the JCB.
They were triumphant.
But they were uncertain about the JCB. Its gaping talon-like bale grabber and bucket looked predatory.
It was not slowing down.
The yobs saw the black clad driver.
They grew wary. They prevaricated.
They wanted to be obstructive. They stayed where they were.
The JCB stopped.
The bridge was blocked.
The driver got out of the cab.
He swung easily onto the bonnet, stepped lightly onto the grabber and dropped out of sight.
Then he stood up.
He reached both gloved hand behind his head and drew two long black sticks from the back of his boiler suit.
I jumped down; raced indoors, bound up the stairs, cleared the bed, and reached the window.
My jaw dropped in disbelief.
A black whirlwind was scything into the yobs crowded onto the bridge.
Like ten pins struck by a bowling ball they fell left right and centre before the blur of the whirling batons.
A hardcore of yobs rally; armed themselves with beer bottles, and charged.
In the blink of an eye it was over.
All of the yobs lay about the bridge as though felled by a gas attack.
Their black clad assailant returned the sticks to the back of his boiler suit; gripped the nearest yob by his clothes, hauled him to the far side of the bridge, and laid him on the verge.
He repeated that same manoeuvre eighteen times.
I thought he was finished.
He wasn’t.
He got back into the JCB and drove slowly over the bridge.
The bale grabber opened, the bucket skimmed the road, and scooped up a black Golf Gti.
The JCB did a three point turn; drove off-road, and tipped the car down the embankment.
I was in a trance.
The JCB performed the manoeuvre five times.
Then it stopped.
The driver got out. He walked across the narrow meadow; vaulted a fence, jogged across the adjacent pasture, and entered the trees on the far side.
The police arrived: in two squad cars.
They were joined by four ambulances.
To my great relief, Ryan showed up. He had a bruise on his left cheek: an accident at the base.
I told him everything that had happened.
Then I gave him the TLC we both needed.
The following morning we learned that the eighteen yobs had been knocked unconscious. Each of them had sustained at least one broken or fractured bone. All of them had been discharged from hospital the same day.
‘I imagine they’ll think twice about coming back here,’ Ryan murmured sleepily.

The End.

The Hat by Pete Brammer

The Hat by Pete Brammer

The cruise ship Ocean Splendour had been at sea seven days and just entered port at Cadiz.
Penny Dixon-Wright and her daughter Carla Elizabeth, disembarked, to make their way into town. On their way back, Mrs Dixon- Wright suddenly grabbed Carla’s arm. “Look at that beautiful hat. It’s the most fantastic hat I have ever seen.”
The ladies entered the establishment to be met by a tall, long legged, black shiny haired, Spanish assistant. “Can I help you?” she asked.
“You certainly can my dear.” Penny pointed to the hat on the manikin, in the window. “I would like that hat, my dear.”
The assistant reached in and removed the hat. “You like it very much? Yes?”
“Yes. Very much.”
Minutes later she skipped out of the shop, box swinging from her hand, with a beaming smile across her face.
“I think you are happy mother, you look as if you’ve lost a penny, and found a thousand pounds.”
“I’ve never paid so much for a hat in all my life, but it sure was worth it.”
“It’s my cousin Jessica’s wedding soon after we get back,” said Carla, “It should be perfect,” she grinned. “There’ll be a few bursting with jealousy mum, you can bet.”
The following day, Mrs Dixon-Wright strutted up and down the numerous decks, like a peacock showing off her new headgear.
Suddenly an unexpected gust of wind whipped the hat off her head.
“Oh God! My beautiful hat!” she screamed, running across the deck, only tosee it fly off into the ocean.
Seconds later, passengers gasped as a crew member hit the water. “Man overboard” the cry went out.
It took what seemed an age, for the ship to eventually turn round and head back in the direction of the unfortunate seaman.
When they eventually rescued him, he was holding aloft the hat, with passengers cheering loudly.
As they hauled him back on board, the captain slapped him on the back. “Woodall, you should not have put your life at risk like that, especially, not for a bloody stupid hat. But after saying that; is there anything I can do for you?”
In reply, the crewman said. “Yes captain, you can tell me who on earth pushed me in!”

Dove sei? by Angela O’Connor

Dove sei? by Angela O’Connor

Sunday morning, at least it was not pouring down. The miserable wetness of this time of year was magnified by the slate timbre tone of those around me. To crack a smile would literally crack their faces. The dourness they embraced was in stark contrast to our shared workplace. I had given up trying to make light of weather, badgers, Corbyn, Brexit or climate change.

Moving the perennials into the new display area, I held a Verbena leaf in my hand. Not long now before these hardy purple beauties would be saving that empty patch in many gardens. Bees would sail through the air targeting their cylindrical head and drink from the fruitful flower.

Hopefully by then I wouldn’t be here, escaping the maddening spring and summer planting clubs. At the bottom of the pallet lay some rubbish, the usual crap – Wispa wrapper, squashed Coke can, two ciggie butts and a Greggs bag. In the Greggs bag, poking out like a stamen, was a dirty A5 piece of paper.

I turned it over. It was his. Definitely his, the handwriting was unmistakable. The quirky ‘w’ that only Italians do. Although stained with water, dirt and snail marks it was legible. A list of necessities; passata, onions, garbage bags, dishwashing liquid, toothpaste, sensitive foam (gilette), milk, crema e gusto café and a goodbye card.

Even with a list you always forget one thing. Four months had passed since we last saw each other. I don’t drink prosecco anymore.

ELVIS IN MY LIFE by Pete Brammer

Try this with your favourite star

ELVIS IN MY LIFE by Pete Brammer

I was ALL SHOOK UP when my wife, A HARDHEADED WOMAN: ONE NIGHT, gave A BIG HUNK O’LOVE to my one-time mate, Mick Shepherd. Or OLD SHEP. as we called him. As you can imagine, I felt I GOT STUNG. Apparently he had boasted that she was indeed, HIS LATEST FLAME.

Their love exploits had been quite, WILD IN THE COUNTRY. His explanation was; you CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE, and had just presented her with a GOOD LUCK CHARM.

I became so angry that I yelled at her; ‘YOU’RE THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE.IT IS NO SECRET that it has also upset our son’s, FRANKIE AND JOHNNY. The youngest, Johnny looked up at me and said “DON’T CRY DADDY.”

All I could say was, THERE GOES MY EVERYTHING. I don’t think there has ever been, such A FOOL SUCH AS I. I always knew she was like her mother, A HARD HEADED WOMAN. Who was always guilty of TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS.

So now I have the MOODY BLUES, and realised I had to SURRENDER.

In the LOVE LETTERS I found from her lover. He said.

“IT’S NOW OR NEVER – YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME. We’ve GOT A LOT O’LOVIN’ TO DO – JUST PRETEND you love him – UNTIL IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO GO. -1 know he’ll have a BLUE CHRISTMAS, but LOVING YOU means everything to me. – YOU ARE ALWAYS ON MY MINDI WAN’T YOU. I NEED YOU. I LOVE YOU – your husband will always have his MEMORIES – while we are enjoying a WONDERFUL WORLD – I’ll always give you my BURNING LOVE, and I left the wife telling her SHE’S NOT YOU – she sent me a letter begging me to take her back, so I sent it back, after writing on the envelope; RETURN TO SENDER– I’m so STUCK ON YOU with such a FEVER that I NEED YOUR LOVE TONIGHT – Looking forward to when you SURRENDER yourself again to me….

lots of love,

HOT DOG

I JUST CAN’T HELP BELIEVING she has left me. I keep recalling our honeymoon when we had so much FUN IN ACAPULCO.

Before little Frankie went to bed with his favourite TEDDY BEAR. He asked me, “Daddy, ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT? This really hurt me, feeling I had a WOODEN HEART – so hurt and without any feelings.

GIRLS. GIRLS, GIRLS! I’ve had my belly-full! All I wanted was for her to LOVE ME TENDER. Even my HOUND DOGROUSTABOUT – seemed to sense my hurt, and ended up chewing my favourite BLUE SUEDE SHOES.

The house will never be the same again without her. It will be more like a HEARTBREAK HOTEL than a loving home.

Several times I’ve ended up CRYING IN THE CHAPEL after praying she’ll come back to me. I always thought we’d grow old together. Now I’ll never be able to FOLLOW THAT DREAM.

NURSING by Fay Marie Morris

Fay’s response to the June Trigger ‘nurse’

NURSING

Nursing! Nursing is one of my worst nightmares, so I decided to start this piece by stating what a rubbish nurse I am. I simply hate needy, ill people and have very little sympathy, mainly because when I’m ill, sympathy is the last thing I want. What I do want is seclusion and normality. Normal normality not abnormal, cliched, pretentious normality and I don’t like the usual trite, rubbishy, well-rehearsed, overly compassionate stuff that some people love to trot out. I am not unfeeling, in fact I feel things quite strongly and I know how hard it is to say something original when you are facing someone in pain. Pain is a massive leveler with the ability to turn even the bravest, most tenacious person into a babbling, physical wreck although some people seem to get off on being ill, they can ramp it up, turn it off or back on, almost at will…but seriously, I don’t have time for illness.

I remember when my son Danny was about 10 and he’d had to write about what it was like when he was ill and these were his very words. “I try not to be ill because It’s better to be well at our house. My mum’s horrible when you’re ill, even my dad says so. All she says is get your shoulders back and stop whinging.”

I was at a parent/teacher evening when his form teacher felt she had to show me his essay. I should have been horrified, tried to defend my actions or at least have a go at dignifying myself…but I didn’t. Instead I told her that I agreed with every word and as far as I was concerned illness is a state of mind, for wimps only.

I have never been any good at pandering to or pampering and I simply hate feeling pressurised into indulging someone through their insecurities. My French sister in law with her permanently silver lined, soft edged, mushy romanticism says I’m hard and that’s fine by me because I know I am. The thought of me trying to be a tender-hearted, nurturing, caring soul makes me want to throw up…but… I can be if I want to be, although I admit it isn’t pretty.

Anyway, after I’d had my brush with the big C, I felt I needed to give something back and decided that a spot of volunteer work might just do the trick, so I checked some of my options.
1/ collecting money for charity… so not me.
2/ Helping the elderly or housebound with housework or gardening, but I hate cleaning and reckon people who like it spoil it for those of us who don’t.
3/ Hospital visitor or serving in the shop or tea trolley or news trolley or driving people to hospital appointments but hospitals leave me cold so they were all out.
4/ Looking after or walking pet dogs for the elderly…A massive, colossal NO!
My husband, who had been driving people to Royal Perth Hospital for a couple of years told me how desperate Swan Caring were for volunteers to help in the daycare centre, so, I went, just for a look and two days later found myself knocking on the locked doors of the Dementia/Alzheimer wing, where I was welcomed like some kind of Samaritan or saviour, when I knew I was neither.

With wide eyes and hunched shoulders I listened to all Bridget, the care co-coordinator said, but the health and safety stuff made it really heavy going and I wasn’t sure if it was for me. Veronica, the care-centre manager, could see how I felt and told me not to worry as I was there to aid the staff, chat and help with the clients and nothing more. So, for a while I would lay the lunch tables then clear them, load the dishwasher, then unload it, be a Bingo caller and a general dogsbody every Tuesday and sometimes Thursdays too. I quickly learnt the daily routine and the clients all seemed comfortable with me around. [They were always referred to as clients, never patients.]

I wrote an awful lot of poetry at this time, probably my most productive period and one day I told Veronica about it and she said maybe I could read one to the clients. I said I didn’t think they’d understand what I was on about, most people don’t, but maybe, after lunch, during their quiet afternoon time, as they sat snoozing in their chairs, it might be OK. It was something I could do to help, but in my own way and…it would allow me to give my creative juices a bit of an air.

One of my favourite clients was Daisy. Daisy was born in London and her Cockney accent was unmistakable even though she had lived in Australia all of her adult life. But, as her Alzheimers grew steadily worse, her accent seemed to get stronger and she became withdrawn and morose. She was a teenager during the blitz and sometimes it was like she was reliving every second of the horror she had lived through, especially when the International flights from nearby Perth airport were taking off. She’d rush outside and freak out, screaming to her mother that the planes were coming over again but she wasn’t going down the air raid shelter.

One of the best ways to calm things down before the other clients became too upset, was to try and take their minds off whatever troubled them and I clearly remember the day Veronica asked if they would like Fay to read one of her poems.

They immediately sat down and waited, eager for me to start, which threw me slightly as I wasn’t sure which one to actually do. I decided on my earliest poem and while I was reciting it, Daisy went quiet, listened intently and started to smile. When I had finished she asked if I would read it again because she really liked the bit about soft cool spring days and could remember when the woods were full of bluebells and cowslips. Veronica said it was OK because by now all the others were fast asleep.

PIONEER WOMEN WROTE.

Whenever I feel low, my thoughts seem to stray
back, several decades, to a flawless spring day.
Where bluebells sway gently, a carpet of blue
and pale yellow cowslips all dripping with dew.

But that was before I made a new home
in this country of contrasts where kangaroos roam.
So why am I often beset with the fears
of loss and homesickness which bring on the tears?

For I love Australia, and all her moods
from the withering droughts to the ‘wet’ when it floods
and wide open spaces that choke up my throat
with emotion and longing.

Pioneer women wrote-

of hardship and toil in the heat and the dust.
Of living on hope and existing on trust.
So, how did they manage to get through each day
while longing for England’s soft cool spring days?

That was my very first public poetry recital and I must say I enjoyed it enormously. It became a regular afternoon session, requested by the clients themselves. I think it was my voice droning on that lulled them to sleep, although they clearly looked forward to it, because straight after lunch they eagerly placed their chairs in a semi-circle around mine. Luckily, by then I had plenty of poems in my portfolio and although I am still under no illusions about my nursing prowess, I was valued by the staff and clients at Swan Caring because I enjoyed putting people to sleep… but in a nice way.

So, is that snoring I can hear…?

Carrying out Father’s Bucket List by Rachel Hilton

Carrying out Father’s Bucket List by Rachel Hilton

Jodi pulled her car to a halt outside her father’s house with a feeling of trepidation creeping over her.  The house loomed in front of her, the Gothic style with its narrow, tall peaked roofs, decorative stones and many columns and arches appeared no more welcoming than when she’d been a child living here.

 She looked across and saw Quinn’s car was already here.  Quinn was her younger brother who had been living god only knows where recently.  It was a good job he always had a topped up pay as you go mobile phone – she couldn’t contact him any other way.

As she walked to the heavy wooden front door she took a deep breath and knocked using the ugly doorknocker she’d always despised.  Waiting, waiting, waiting, no one answered the door so she tried the handle whilst calling “Hello”.  Nothing, but as she entered the house she knew someone was there.  She heard a noise from the back of the house but steadily gazed around.  Everything was as she remembered it even down to the portrait of her father hanging halfway up the giant staircase.  She truly hated that picture; he just looked so pompous, pretty much like his everyday life really.

She passed the office where her father had set desks up for her and Quinn to study and do homework.  Their father had quite often locked them in this room when they were younger to keep them out of his way.  Jodi had found reading and writing more difficult than most children as she was dyslexic and had experienced major problems with words as a child.

Her mother had been so patient, happily spending time helping her daughter overcome her learning difficulties.  Jodi had missed her terribly since the divorce.  Her father had agreed to the divorce but the children had, unfortunately, had to stay with him. 

She carried on further into the house calling “Hello” again.  She heard a reply from Quinn, “In here, by the pool.”  He sounded strange, not the usual Quinn.  It could be the room distorting his voice, she thought.  She hurried through to the extension where the pool was and stopped short with an audible gasp.

Her father was in the pool, in the deep end but not swimming.  He was face down in the water, not moving.  Sheer terror bolted through her body.  “Oh my god, do something, help him Quinn.”  “I can’t swim,” came the reply.  “Neither can I, what can we do?” she wailed frantically.

“He’s gone Jodi, he’s gone.  He fell, he slipped on the tiles, he fell, he hit his head and then fell into the water, the deep end.”  As her legs gave way, Quinn caught her and went silent.  “What are we going to do?” Jodi asked.  “Do we call the police, an ambulance, what?”  “No, none of them.”  Quinn’s cold reply shocked Jodi.  She turned to face him; she wanted to see his face, his eyes.  “What do you mean?  We have to do something!” 

“No, we don’t.  He demands our presence here today, again without any explanation as to why and…..

“Quinn, stop, for once I know why.  He called yesterday from his solicitors; he’d changed his will.  Everything you were inheriting he willed to me, to teach you a lesson, from the deeds to this house to the ownership of his business.  Except he never wanted me to inherit anything, he intended to change it back in a week, a month, whenever you fell back in line.  He told me so.  That’s what he wanted to talk to you about today.  Bit late now though I suppose.”  Jodi surprised herself at how cold she now sounded.

“What?  Why?  That should all have come to me; I’m his son and heir, what’s going on?”  Jodi held her tongue until Quinn had finished his outburst.

“You were ‘bumming around’ as he put it and he thought it the only way to teach you a lesson.”  Quinn went to open his mouth again but Jodi stopped him.  “Quinn, shut up and listen.  I never agreed to this, I didn’t want anything from him.  He feigned the title of philanthropist to the outside world while being nothing but a miserable bully at home while we were growing up.  He never hit Mum but he psychologically abused her.  She was a shell of her former self when she was finally able to leave him and move away where he couldn’t control her, that was when he finally accepted it was over.” 

Quinn was astounded.  “I never knew, Jodi, I never knew.”  “You were young Quinn; she wanted it kept from you as we were having to stay here.  It was too late for me, I’d seen it all – he knew I had lost respect for him but you doted on him, as all little boys do with their dads.”

 “I wasn’t that little, I was 12 when she left.”  “Yes, but you were away at school most of the time, I was here, at the local college.”  Quinn looked past her, out the big glass window.  “Did you blame him for the break up, her leaving?”  He asked.  “Honest answer, yes I did Quinn.”  “You never said anything Jodi.”  “I couldn’t, but why do you think I moved out after she left?  She moved as far away as she could, I don’t know if you know but she’s recently settled in Barbados.  I dearly wanted you to come with me but you were too young.  He would never have let you come with me anyway.  I think he saw himself in you.  Until this past year I think he had the highest respect for you but that faltered when you decided to leave your job with the company and go travelling.”

“I didn’t want to be tied without having seen a little of the world, he knew that Jodi.”  “Yes, I knew it too, but that’s not our main problem right now is it?”  She said while gazing at the pool. 

“I know exactly what we do!” exclaimed Quinn.  “We go, we leave, we do nothing.  He was perfectly fine today when we called in to see him, we talked about the Solicitor, the Will and everything, and I agreed to go back to work for him.  We left him as he wanted to change and have a relaxing swim.  The cleaners can find him.  They come in once a fortnight and he told me before he fell that they were here yesterday.  So his body will have been in the water the better part of two weeks before he’s found – and we are each other’s alibis.  What do you think?”  He looked over at her tentatively.

“Then what?”  She smiled weakly at him.  Quinn was soon back in full flow.  “We wait till the cleaners raise the alarm, we wait till everything is cut and dry, so to speak, and then we organise a funeral service.”

“You know what I was thinking?”  Jodi said, “When we were younger he always wanted to do a parachute jump, it was on something he called his bucket list, but he was either too lazy or fat to do one.  Well, I’ve seen it advertised where a loved one can be cremated but instead of being buried or chucked in the sea or whatever, the ashes can be taken up in a plane and a skydiver empties the urn on the way down.  What do you think?”  “Yes, that sounds perfect” agreed Quinn “as so does both of us as joint partners in the house, the business and everything else, if you are willing to share your inheritance with me?”  “Yes, that’s the only way I could see it working now, just promise you won’t disappear from the company to go travelling again, unless it’s with me and going to visit Mum.”