April 17, 2009

Sticky Fingers

Kevin Smith and Bernadette Gibbons were dead. At least, that was the rumour I’d been spreading.
   Funny how easy it was. Intercepting their mail, spreading the rumour to gossipy old ladies like Mrs Tellall and Ms Stira, even planting a ‘To Let’ sign on their front lawn. Hadn’t cost me a penny. In fact, I think I’ll do it more often.
   I thought of it when I saw them driving off, all packed up for a holiday in the middle of the night. Their headlights were off, and I could tell from the speed they were moving at that they were trying to stifle the sound of the engine. I don’t know where they went. All I knew was this was a situation far too ripe to remain unplucked.
   I’m not a cruel person. I’m not angry or stupid or ‘someone who has spite in their blood.’ I actually just have a strong sense of moral justice. I mean, they left their spare front door key under the second plant pot I looked under. If that isn’t a sign, what is?
   Still, they started this. I can remember it vividly. Reversing down their drive, not looking behind them. They should be locked up. Instead, my £30 football gets crushed beyond repair, and all they can say is, ‘there there, have some sweets and you’ll feel better’? That football was Timothy Dorridge’s favourite. Took me ages to get it off him.
   In that way, I suppose I’m just sticking up for him. Besides, no-one cares that they’re dead. It’s just a bit of gossip. I know I haven’t seen anyone shed a tear over them. I even saw Timothy smiling the other day, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out why.

   They’re dead. They’re actually, properly, full-on dead.
   I know this because I’m sitting in the back of a police car and, what’s worse, I’m starting to think Timothy had a very different reason for smiling.
   I can’t even make up an alibi, just because I’d tried to fulfil a lifelong dream. Midday, hungry, I decided to go for the Guinness World Record for ‘Biggest Jam Sandwich’ using Smith and Gibbons’ left-over Hovis. It was the size of my face.
   Then I heard the front door click. Two police officers charged in, to find slices of bread scattered all over the kitchen floor and potfuls of jam smeared all over my hands and face.
   Which, in itself, wasn’t damning. I’d just say the sandwiches were mine, and I’d found the front door ajar, and all I was doing was checking they were alright.
   But one of the officers reminded me of something. ‘Why are you covered in jam?’ the lanky one said, after the chubby one explained the couple’s mysterious disappearance.
   ‘Be-Because I felt like a jam sandwich.’
   ‘And why are you in Mr Smith’s kitchen?’
   ‘Because he said I could.’
   ‘I see,’ the other policeman joined in. ‘So you’re not just some vandal?’
   I shook my head.
   ‘Mm,’ he said. ‘That’s interesting. Because, you see the ‘To Let’ sign out there?’ he pointed. ‘It now reads ‘ToILet’. Ring any bells?’
   I didn’t reply.
   ‘Because that new ‘I’ wasn’t written in pen, or paint, or even Tip Ex. Do you know what it was written in?’
   I looked down at the floor.
   ‘Jam.’


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