I hope you're all well, can't believe it's been over six months since I did an update. I hope to fix that with a weekly update - mainly creative pursuits or whatever grinds my gears, gets my goat or maybe grinds my goat. Anybody want a goat before I grind it?
Mind you, freshly ground goat? Don't knock it till you've tried it.
So, last time i was here I was trying to flog my novel, THE BENCH, up on Amazon and by Christ, it was hard! Amazon Kindle ebook novels are fine to sell on Amazon...if you're already an established author. If you're not - and I am definitely not established yet - then you're just another grain in the desert of 700,000 writers and growing. I tried the sell hard route - the constant Tweeting, plugging on Facebook, making lots of author 'friends', the social media effort would have had to be full on to make even a dent but really all that does is kill your novel, too many people out there fighting for reader downloads. The harsh realities of not having a PR team because you're not out there yet - and forget any time for creativity on other projects, it was pretty much soul destroying. I even did the 'offer your novel free to get more reviews' - how did that work out? Well my downloads for the day I offered it for free went up about 400% - phenomenal. I had of course asked those that I was giving the novel away to, the novel that I had sweat over for a year, to at least give me a review as I was giving it to them as a free gift. So how many reviews did I get out of that spike in downloads?
It's human nature - something for free - but nah, you're getting nothin' back, see ya :P
I was initially disappointed yeah, but that's the way of the world, it's rough out there.
Well I'm offering THE BENCH for free again - well the first 6 chapters anyway - one chapter per update for this and the next five updates, each time of course at the end of the chapter given there will be a link to download the novel. If you're still not sure after reading a chapter - read the next one. I wrote the thing, I love it, and I'm not just going to leave it lying there, I want people to have a look, maybe it will inspire someone - who knows? Leave me a review here if you can, and of course if you do download it - leave a review on the site, it helps the little acorns grow.
THE BENCH is a great place to start with the first in a series of novels from Paradise Heights. Here you’ll be introduced to some of the characters audiences and critics have loved from tale to tale. Thank you for stopping by, and I’m hoping you’ll return to these characters in the future novels from the series.
So, here it is, Chapter 1...and don't forget you can download the whole novel at the end of the chapter for the princely sum of £3.49 - and you don't need a Kindle, read it on any tablet, phone, computer or laptop with the free app on the Amazon website. Leave me feedback for the chapter you read here if you like, every little helps...and oh yeah, thee's a lot of 'Adult Content' here - readers should be over 18 or their minds will explode.
A Tale from Paradise Heights
The first tale in a series of Tales from Paradise Heights
Copyright © 2015 Joe O’Byrne All rights reserved.
For Frank Morgan
The baddest, meanest son of a bitch to ever set foot in Paradise Heights
OK, so heels were a necessary part of the outfit, but she really wishes she hadn't worn them tonight. They’re loud enough to attract every perv on the estate. How do they sound? Scared is how they sound. She hears their wet echo; adjusts her pacing.
I am a confident, early forties business woman out on a late night stroll.
Only confident, early forties business women don’t take late night strolls in municipal parks bordering council estates. Not after midnight on a Wednesday night they don’t. Nor are they wearing stockings and an Ooh La La Suspender Basque and G String Set under a tan leather three quarter coat with a belt and no buttons, all topped off with a Bella Louise red bob wig.
This is a desperate mistake. This is bloody stupid.
OK, get a grip, get through it, and more importantly get off this dark path and into the play area, at least there’s more light there. Please, please do not have every chav dick head off the estate down here - please, not even one. I’ll die. I’ll just die. I could actually die.
God, everyone and his dog can hear me!
The willows bordering the concrete path block out the sky, they even manage to block out the tower blocks that line the horizon, like huge concrete guardians housing a thousand watching eyes. The path allowed to overgrow due to the council cutbacks, the path where the nettles sting and the dirty needles bite. The Heights is one of those estates that doesn’t get the money because there’s no money here. She doesn’t remember the path ever feeling this long during the day, this long and - she stops, cocking her head slightly, listening.
Did she hear footsteps behind her? In front of her?
Move, just bloody move!
She continues toward the play area, her pace moving up to slightly scared confident business woman. She at last see’s the light spilling from the play area on to the end of the path ahead. She slows, listening again.
Can’t hear anybody on the swings, this could be good.
She pops her head round the hedge and does a quick scan. No one. Two lamp posts, one at each end of the play area, but only one of them is lit, the other casts a jealous shadow, the play area in semi darkness.
She walks, playing confident once again, the hundred yards or so to the bench feel like a hundred years. The bench, the bench by the war memorial, an eight foot, graffiti tattooed Cleopatra’s Needle of a war memorial. She is about to sit when she notices the liquid on the seat; rain? Possibly. Piss? Again, possibly. She notices the crushed Stella cans peeping at her from beneath the slats of the bench, reassures herself whilst taking a couple of tissues from her handbag. Soaking up what is definitely Stella she tells herself, she deposits the tissues in the stuffed gaping mouth of the bin.
OK. I’m here.
The bench. The bench in the park.
The bench in the park by the war memorial.
Twelve fifteen. A distant church bell confirms it. MATTYS THROWN etched in child like letters across the top horizontal support, slightly off centre, further down the proclamation PARADISE HEIGHTS FUTURE KING carved at a jaunty angle with what is supposed to be a crown above the word king. MATTY IS A BATTY BUWOY can be seen elsewhere on the panel - in fact there is a good few minutes reading here across the whole bench if she gets bored waiting.
On one of the seating slats she see’s the words I’M ALRIGHT in tiny writing, writing that says to her ‘I really shouldn’t be writing on park benches’. She thinks about that. You knew you shouldn’t be doing it, but you really needed someone to know that, didn’t you? That you were alright. A lover? A friend who cares? You? She smiles, she likes that.
I’M ALRIGHT. I am, and it’s going to be alright tonight, I hope it is. No. I know it is.
This is where she sits, on those words. I’m alright. This is new, fresh. Fucking fresh! Fucking freezing! She pulls the leather three quarter tighter around her form, tightening the belt around the coat. For now at least, she sits and waits.
The play area is about fifty yards to the front of her. The swings at ten o’clock, one of them wrapped at an angle around the top bar. At twelve o’clock a slide, a monkey ladder climbing frame at two o’clock and at four and five o’clock a couple of those springer rockers the kids like to rock back and forth on, a lion one and an elephant one twenty past and half past - both the same size, so it’s a small elephant or a big lion, not very educational for a play area, ha! Finally there’s a roundabout at eight o’clock that -
The roundabout is turning slowly.
She quickly scans the play area. No one. She looks to her right, her eyes squinting into the darkness, she can barely make out the drinking fountain over by the trees, can’t see the gates at the bottom, and over to her left she can just see the gates down there. Way too dark to see the football pitches and whoever turned that roundabout couldn’t be over there so quickly. Where the hell - there! Framed under the light. The silhouette of a large, powerfully built man, dark workman like clothing and he appears to have a black balaclava, though it’s difficult to tell in the light cast from the lamp above. His breathing is long and deep, she can tell this from the vapour that gathers and disappears around his head.
Oh God! He’s like a - a Minotaur! A Demon!
He just stands there, looking directly at her, Is he looking at me? She can’t see his eyes or face, only a black shape, still some one hundred and fifty yards away. She’s almost afraid to move.
He’s not moving. Why? Why is he not -
She remembers. She undoes the belt, opening the coat, wide, her arms rest along the top of the bench each side of her, the lining of the coat now unfolded wings on the bench. Angel wings for her Demon. Her breasts rising and falling in the soft light, her breath fogging the air.
Fuck, I look good! She tilts her head back, touching the top of the bench, she closes her eyes.
I’m alright. It WILL be OK.
She looks across to him again.
She sits upright, her eyes darting left and right. No sign of him. Movement, rustling, in the bushes behind her. Him? No, too much rustling and...and sniffing. A dog. No! If there’s a dog there’s going to be an owner. Oh no. She turns to look behind her and there it is. A pitbull terrier by the look of it - One of those penis extensions for the chavs that deal round here, brilliant, oh just brilliant. It hasn’t noticed her yet, too busy sniffing around the banquet of fast food wrappers and cartons in the hedge.
What? Is that a trick of the light?
No. The pit bull terrier she is staring at is pink. Not shaved pink, no, it still has its coat. It’s just that it’s a pink coat. Who paints their pit bull pink? Well perhaps it will match the penis that owns it?
The dog stops sniffing around and looks to his left, holding his gaze, wagging his tail.
What is he looking at? There’s nothing there.
It gives a friendly yelp to whatever and goes back to the cartons.
A pink dog with an invisible friend - OK.
Shit! A deep male voice, edgy; local twang. The dog looks up and see’s her, feeling threatened it starts to growl.
‘Shuush; it’s OK Spartacus.’ She whispers, smiling.
‘Woof! Woof!’ Says Spartacus. Clearly Dog-Speak for No, it’s not OK.
‘SPAR’ACUS!! GET ‘ERE NOW!’
Shit, he’s getting closer. She darts behind the war memorial.
What kind of meat head calls his dog Spartacus? (And paints him pink, let’s not skip over that). And doesn’t that name cause a problem? What if all the dogs in the area start coming when he calls him?
‘Woof! Woof! Arf!’ Dog-Speak for There’s a half naked woman ‘ere if you’re interested! no doubt.
‘Woof!’ With a dodgy red wig.
Her voice is a hiss. ‘Sod off you stupid thing, go on - you’re wanted!’
‘SPARTACUS!! COME ‘ERE!’
Spartacus keeps his eyes on her as he turns his head toward his master’s voice barking back ‘Woof! Woof! Arf!’ Over here, I’m not kiddin’ there’s a woman hidin’ here dressed like a tart!
‘SPAR’ACUS!!! GET YER ARSE HERE NOW OR I’LL BE KICKIN’ IT!’
‘Arf.’ Ah, bollocks. says Spar’acus.
He looks at her with a I’m gonna tell him you’re here! glint in his eye and bounds off, pink and pumped. She listens as the wet patter of pink paws gets fainter around the corner.
‘You come first time you little shit! Come here.’ The rattle and chink of a dog lead.
‘Woof, woof, arf, arf woof!’ No! Don’t put that on me, there’s a half naked woman at the war memorial, you’ll love it!
‘Move it! Come on! I MEAN IT - FUCKIN MOVE!’ A soft thud, followed by a disgruntled ‘Arf’ Why you no listen? Should have watched more Skippy as a kid.
She listens as the footsteps and paw padding gets fainter and fainter. Thank God!
She looks back to the play area. I’ll give this two more minutes then I’m off. She trots back round to the front of the bench - I’M ALRIGHT looking up at her - Yeah, so am I love. She sits, opening her coat again, spreading her arms across the top of the bench, she breathes deep, telling herself to relax. She tries. She looks ahead at Blackfriars Tower, in the distance. Squares of light randomly pepper the block, some with curtains closed - Why would you close your curtains? It’s not like the peeping Toms have got jet packs is it? Most of the two dozen or so squares of light lit up up there tonight are open curtained. They’ll all have a great view of the estate up there, but they’re reassuringly far enough away not to make anyone out in the children’s play area after midnight on a Wednesday night. The tower blocks further behind stand in the background like Blackfriars’ mates, waiting for a fight to kick off - you don’t mess with the towers of Paradise Heights.
He emerges from behind the slide. Big, dark and breathing, stood watching, expectantly. She closes her eyes again. She can hear his footsteps. She tells herself not to peep, not to open her eyes until the time is right to do so, she wants to but fights it. She listens. The footsteps have stopped. He’s staring at her isn’t he? Expecting her to open her eyes. She won’t! Seconds stretch to a minute. Come on man, I’m freezin’. This is too much, she slightly raises her eyelids...Gone.
For fucks sake! What is -
She jumps. He’s there, six feet to the left of the bench. It’s not a balaclava, it’s a black wooly hat. But it’s pulled down over his eyes and head so only his mouth and chin are visible. A mouth without a face.
He looks like a penguin - a six foot five penguin - no, he doesn’t, nothing like a - don’t laugh! For God’s sake don’t laugh.
He speaks again, his voice a whispery rasp, an attempt to disguise it, change it; a veiled threat in the delivery.
Impatient. ‘Are you Little Rabbit?’
She gives a seductive smile. ‘Well that depends on who’s askin’.’
He stiffens slightly, looks around him. His breath fogs the air in short bursts, the bursts stop for a few seconds; a re-calculation, decision made, an exhale that could be a sigh. He turns on his heel, and marches off fifty yards to the left, disappearing behind the bushes. She let’s out a sigh and shifts her position slightly. Again she checks Blackfriars.
Is that - ? Is that someone in the window? Yes! A silhouette - man or woman? Difficult to tell.
They can’t see me! They can’t! It’s too far...
The figure moves off.
Maybe they could see me looking up at them? What if it’s - doesn’t Mick and Lucy Gargan live there? Oh my God! No. No, they live in Blackmoor Block, that’s over behind -
Her stomach somersaults while her heart skips a beat. Right behind her, close enough to touch, she stares straight ahead, as does he, as though looking at an audience. Her expression is demure, submissive.
The mouth without a face grins salaciously. ‘I am he.’
‘Then I am She.’
‘I know. I know it’s you...you...you dirty little whore!’
She rolls her head to the left as though slapped. ‘Master!’
‘Yes, yes! Your Master. You choose to play games with me on our first meeting?’
She looks like a scolded child. ‘Forgive me Mr Wolf, I’m such a mischievous Little Rabbit!’
‘Yes! Yes! You are! You will suffer for that!’
‘Will I?’ Her eyes light up, as though promised a present.
‘You surely will.’ He raises his right hand, turning his head to look at it. ‘You will feel my hand across your pale buttocks.’
Clapping her hands together excitedly ‘Ooooh, oooh yes, spank my little botty! Make it pink and warm.’
His head snaps from his hand to her. ‘Pink and warm? No Little Rabbit, I will make it - red and hot!’
‘Oooh! Oh, spank me Mr. Wolf! Take me to your lair and spank me!’
He cocks his head to one side. Jaw muscles tensing, a hissing, venomous tone to his voice.
‘Are you daring to give me instructions - little fuck bunny?’
She tips her head forward. ‘Forgive me Master, Little Rabbit has no place to issue instructions to Mr. Wolf.’
He looks at her, she still hasn’t looked at him. He takes in the play area, the tower block, the lights.
There’s a real buzz to this!
He speaks again, looking ahead as though addressing the play area.
‘Perhaps I should spank you here?’
She breathes heavily, punctuating his gaps, enjoying this.
‘Perhaps I should just sit down there, drag you over my knee, pull your knickers down and...’
He stops. Remembering.
‘Are you wearing - underwear?’
She shakes her head demurely. Her eyes flit up to the right as she sees his open palm thrust out to the right of her head.
‘Good. You have something for me?’
She reaches into her pocket, producing a pair of black knickers, places them in his hand.
The hand withdraws behind her. She looks ahead. The mouth without a face puts the knickers to his nose over the top of the pulled down wooly hat, inhaling deeply, ridiculously deeply. Her head dips submissively.
‘You’re a bad girl aren’t you?’ He stuffs the knickers into the side pocket of his jacket.
‘I’m so bad. I’m so. Very. Very. Bad!’ Her nose wrinkles mischievously.
She opens her legs slowly, expectantly. He stares down. His body stiffens, sinews tightening, trying to force himself, an internal struggle that has his whole body trembling, forcing. Come on! Come on! He looks down again, not at her. Come on!
No. Nothing. He releases, letting out a frustrated gasp, the exasperated gasp of a weight lifter who has just failed a lift. He turns on his heel, marching into the bushes behind her.
She straightens. Bringing her knees together. Letting out her own little sigh, quelling her frustration.
It’s going to be OK. It’s going to be OK.
She waits patiently. The figure is in the window again.
Maybe he’s got binoculars? Ah, bollocks. So what?
‘Little Rabbit?’ Behind her again.
Excited. ‘Mr. Wolf?’
Urgently. ‘Are you Little Rabbit?’
‘I am She. Are you Mr. Wolf?’
‘No. I am - the Post Master!’
Confused. ‘Post Master?’ This is new.
Moving on quickly. ’Yes, because I have a package for you!’ The word package spraying spittle into the cold night air.
‘Oooh! I love packages!’
Quickly. ‘Good. Good!’
‘Is it a big package Post Master? To be delivered from your - bulging sack?’ ‘Ooh Little Rabbit, I have such a big package for you!’
‘Oooh, can I open your big package, Post Master?’
Quickly. ‘All in good time Little Rabbit, all in good time.’
‘Will your delivery be...First Class?’ A cheeky glint in her eye.
A wry grin from Mr. Chin. ’Oh it will be so much better than First Class my fawning little eucalyptus tree. It will be...Special Delivery!’
‘Oooh yes! Yes! Please Mr. Post Master. Please allow me to open your big package so you can give me your Special Delivery. Give it to me!’ She opens her legs, throwing wide her arms ‘Give it to me NOW!!!’
He stares down again. His body stiffens, sinews tightening, trying to force himself, the holding of breath, the internal struggle, the whole body trembling, forcing. Come on! Come on! He looks down again, not at her. Come on!
It’s too much - and it’s fucking hot under this bastard hat!
He pulls it off, steam rising from his head as the sweat on his face and head hits the chill night air, his hair grey black curls plastered to his head.
‘Bollocks! I can’t believe this! it was like a baby’s arm holdin’ an apple while you were at work!’ He throws his hat to the floor in front of her in frustration. She closes her legs, biting her lip pensively.
‘It’s not ‘cos...’
She looks down between her legs, leaning forward, whispering. ’Not cos I’m wearin’ me G string is it? I grabbed a pair of knickers from the washing basket. I mean I know you wanted...but I just thought it was a bit too much really’
‘Give over love, no, it’s not that at all. It’s me, I’m bloody useless.’
‘’Ey, stop that you. Never mind Jeff.’ Soothing. ‘You’re just thinking about it too much - y’know what happens when you do that.’
He walks around in front of her, picking up the hat and using it to wipe the sweat from his face.
‘There’s nothing physically wrong Wendy - it’s just - ’
‘Jeff love, don’t worry - I know there’s nothing wrong with you.’ She looks at him, seeing the quiet hurt in his eyes, his lovely wounded eyes.
Her man, her fella, her mountain, her big guy. And he looks lost. She’ll make this right.
‘I love you.’ And how she does.
He looks at her. What is he doing? Twenty years of marriage to this beautiful woman and he can’t bloody get it up all of a sudden? What the fuck is wrong with me? She’s got that look behind her eyes, that look that says ‘I’m gonna take you home, make you a nice cup of hot chocolate and give you a big cuddle before we go to sleep, because this doesn’t matter!’ But it does! It does!
‘Look, I know there’s definitely nothing wrong with you. Come on, let’s go home eh? I’m freezin’ my arse off here.’
He grips the hat in his hands, tightening his jaw.
Get a grip! Come on, lad! Right!
He starts to walk towards the bushes again. Her shoulders sink.
‘I’m startin’ again.’
‘But I’m freezin’! Aww, Jeff!’ She’s seen him this way, no point in arguing but there is a slight irritation in her voice. ‘Who you gonna be this time?’
‘Turn round and face the swings. Close your eyes!’ She does as he says. ‘What you doin’?’
He answers from behind the bushes.
‘I’m gonna sneak up on yer from the bushes - I said close yer eyes!’ ‘I have done!’
‘Don’t open ‘em till I tell yer. No peeking! Keep ‘em closed till I tell you, right?’ She waits, eyes closed, coat open, arms across the top of the bench.
The Angel awaits her Demon.
Eric is staggering.
God, I’m freezing, he’s not gonna let me in, I know he’s not gonna let me in. They won’t even be watching the monitors - Mick’s on the desk, he’ll be asleep. No chance. Bollocks. Temperature’s dropping, I’m pissed, I could actually freeze to death. Think! Got to try, come on, walk faster. He’s NOT gonna let you in!
He is moving fast as he can without running, an opened can of lager pulled in towards his chest. Tattered and stained Crombie coat flapping, beanie hat tight on his head but too thin to keep all the warmth in. His foot catches the edge of the path, a loose stone and a fierce twist of his ankle and he’s tumbling face forward and arse over tit. His hands go out to protect himself, the can smacks the concrete along with his hands and knees, he forgets the pain a second and frantically stands the can upright in front of him, spilling only a small amount, the relief is replaced by waves of pain.
Sensation coming back to his frozen fingers now, feeling like they are slowly being slammed in a door, he can feel the wetness of a grazed knee on his left knee and the scabs have been knocked off the right one, but there is an only slightly pain relieving blast of cold air, through what is obviously a fresh tear in his tatty linen trousers and the trackie bottoms underneath. His right elbow is on fire too, an almost comforting warmth in that pain.
Could have been worse, could have smashed my head open and ended up freezing to death out here like Tony did two years ago. He’d been battered first, unconscious and left to die out here - or he was already dead more like, the police aren’t arsed investigating deaths of the homeless. I miss you Tony, god I miss you lad.
He rolls over onto his back, just lying there, getting his breath back whilst the pain subsides. He closes his eyes. Letting the ache go...drifting on a raft of pain carried by a river of bone crushing fatigue. Drift. Drift.
Wake up you daft twat.
I will in a minute.
Wake up Eric, you’ll freeze son.
I won’t, just give me a minute.
Get up, you smelly twat.
I’m gonna neck yer beer.
‘Fuck you, Corny!’ He sits bolt upright, grabbing the can, shuffling to his knees, ignoring the pain. He’s looking around him, ready to lash out.
Shit. Dreaming. You daft bastard, you fell asleep! Shit! Shit man! Could have froze out here. Get on yer feet. He takes a swig from the can, tiny one - I can have little nips from it on the way - on the way where? Get up. He stands, dizzy but the biting cold gives him a dulled feeling of revival.
They used to sleep in the boiler room of the hospital, Tony’s find. You had to climb a ladder to get up there, the boiler was noisy as fuck when the bastard thing came on, loud enough to wake you or give you a bloody heart attack - but warm, bloody warm.
Tony, you beauty! That’s where I’ll head, I can make the ladder if I’m careful - hope they haven’t got a padlock on the grill at the top - fingers crossed.
He pulls the Crombie tighter around him, good length on it, about a foot off the ground - good for dragging his feet under when he was lay down. His left foot is clawed a little, trying to hold the battered boot on, the laces have snapped too many times, six of the eight holes no longer have the luxury of a lace. They’re too big, stuffed with his extra pair of socks that will be on his hands later - he’s already imagining the warmth from his feet in those socks when they slide over his hands. Nice.
He knows this though, so that means he’s not totally pissed, not so bad that he’ll wake up tomorrow with the head from hell.
Just walk a bit slower, look steady, don’t want to get jumped again. Stick to the byways rather than the highways, specially this time of night.
He makes a small circle with the can in his hand, just under half left.
Just me and you baby, I’ll look after you for about another five minutes then that’s me and you done. It was a lovely relationship while it lasted. Right, 'ossie boiler room, take me boots off, rest me feet against the side of one of the boilers...oooh, lovely. Fancy dreaming about Corny McGeehan - we had a good couple of scraps din’t we Corny lad, aye we -
- what the fuck?
There’s a woman sat on the bench in front of him.
This is quite the picture. She’s late thirties, maybe early forties, nice trim figure - looks after herself, about five foot four, can’t quite make her face out in this light, but she’s dressed dead sexy. He feels cold looking at her. Her coat is wide open, stockings, suspenders, leather coat and a dodgy red wig...holy shit! Her eyes are closed. Is she trippin’? What’s she doin’ here? He looks around - Is anyone with her? Can’t see no one...maybe she’s -
‘Are you the Post Master?’ She purrs.
Definitely tripping. She said it sort of sexy though.
She keeps her eyes closed.
Is she talking to me - or someone in her head? Maybe there’s someone here?
He walks around the bench slowly, warily - Don’t wanna get beat up by some mad boyfriend.
He checks the back of the war memorial. No one.
‘Yesss. You are, aren’t you? Have you come to deliver your big package from your
He wanders back around to the front of the bench, getting closer to her, still wary but there’s a hint of a smile in the creases of his face. She keeps her eyes closed. This is damned peculiar! He rubs the stubbly beard around his chin.
‘Ahh, I can hear you breathing. You’re Mr. Wolf aren’t you? Hmm? Are you going to spank your naughty Little Rabbit? Can I open my eyes?’
His face breaks into a full grin. He tries to tentatively sit on the bench beside her, miscalculating and landing with a heavy bump that shakes the bench. He takes a swig from the can.
She gives an excited little wiggle, her voice a squeal. ‘God! This is making me horny!’
Something familiar about her?
He carefully opens the side pocket of the Crombie, sliding the can inside expertly, his practised hand, even pissed, doesn’t spill a drop.
Her thighs. God those thighs!
Creamy white in contrast to the black of her suspenders. He places a dirty hand on her knee, safety first.
‘Ooooh. Mr. Wolf!’
He almost pulls the hand away. Tentatively, he gives her thigh a little squeeze. She keeps her eyes closed, moving her face closer to his, her soft breath catching his cheek.
‘Are you going to pull me over your knee and spank my little botty?’ She’s smiling, but then her nose wrinkles slightly, smelling him.
Shit, should have had that bath last night. Say something, say something quick before the bubble bursts yer dick head!
‘Whateva’ rocks yer boat darlin’!’
Her eyes open. Wide. As does her mouth. The smile drops off his face as quick as his mouth opens.
‘Arrgh! Shit!’ She leaps up and backs away from the bench, closing the coat around her, her wig slipping slightly, she adjusts it. His mouth drops further, his eyes squinting.
‘Wendy?’ He recognises her.
She relaxes, only slightly, she’s not going to get hurt.
‘Eric. Shit. Hiya.’ She looks about her - Where’s Jeff?
He sits back, grinning. She’s alright Wendy. But what’s she doing?
‘Fuckin’ hell, yer wanna be careful out here dressed like that. Where’s Jeff?’ ‘He’s er...he’s er...’ She’s looking around her, pulling the coat tighter.
Aww, she looks embarrassed bless her. A sudden realisation hits him. Oh shit.
‘Oh Wendy. He don’t know does he?’ She’s playin’ around. Shame. He’s alright Jeff, bit of a nutter in the past, hard man like, but he’s alright - but so’s Wendy - ooh, tread carefully Eric.
‘Err, it’s not what you think Eric, really -‘
‘I don’t mean to bust yer bubble Wend, but I reckon your Mr. Wolf has stood you up -‘
‘Yes, well -‘
‘- and yer a bit early for the postman.’ He pulls his can out, taking a comforting sip. ‘Ey, if I wasn’t so pissed I could have been your Mr. Wolf.’
She stiffens slightly, lips tightening. Even drunk he notices.
Dick head. As if. What a stupid thing to say -
‘I don’t think so Eric.’ She gives him a reproachful look.
Oh man, oh man you and your stupid mouth! He’s embarrassed, mortified.
‘Whoa, whoa, whoa - out of order Wendy, I am so out of order with that.’
He places the can on the bench, rising slightly unsteadily, holding up his hand. He stands and makes his way on wobbly legs over to her side.
‘Take no notice - I’ve had a couple tonight, but whoa, listen. Dangerous game this Wend - and if your Jeff finds out?’ He raises an eyebrow. ‘I mean - he’s a tough cookie your Jeff.’
She’s looking around her - Where the hell is Jeff? ‘Eric, this isn’t what you’re -‘
He holds up two shaking, reassuring hands. ‘Ey, whoa, it’s alright Wend - don’t you worry babe - I ain’t gonna say nowt.’
He can see she looks a bit bothered, understandable, there’s no telling what Jeff might do. Not to her - as far as he knows he’s not one for knocking women about.
But I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of the bloke, no way man. Jeff’s got a short fuse, really short and he can handle himself. Used to do the doors - ended up getting charged - nearly got sent down but got two hundred and fifty hours community service for laying two guys out when he worked at Frank Morgan’s gaff, the Ace of Spades.
She’s bothered I’m gonna tell him.
‘It’s alright Wend - I ain’t gonna tell Jeff - but listen - really love, it’s a dangerous game to be out here in the middle of the night y’know. You could get hurt love.’ He holds up a wavering hand, arriving at a decision. ‘We need to get you ‘ome.’
‘It’s miles out of yer way, the hostel will be shut by the time you get back.’ Jeff, I’m gonna kill you.
‘Believe me, that is not a problem.’ Cos I’m already gonna be too late, if I don’t get in the boiler room I’ll be kipping on this ‘ere bench love. He moves back to the bench, placing the can under it for later.
‘It’s OK Eric, really. I’ll make my own way home.’
‘Yer what? You will not!’
He stands too quick, dizzy but straightening the best he can. She looks at him. He’s very serious, commanding almost - commanding with a very wobbly gait. He tries to puff his chest out, holding his breath as though that will stop the drunkenness, but that just makes his head wobble.
‘I shall escort you.’ His finger stabs the air. ‘And don’t you worry, I ain’t got nuffin’ salacious on me mind - just wanna see as you get in alright - specially dressed like that, I mean - you not a bit draughty down there Wend?’ He darts a finger below. She pulls the coat in, giving him a friendly tap across the shoulder.
‘Oi you, cheeky. Look, It’s very sweet of you Eric, but really, I’ll be fine.’ ‘I insist!’
His hands are on his hips, like a down on his luck Batman with a beanie hat, battered boots and his scraggy coat for a cape.
Aww, Eric mate, you poor sod. You look caved in love, and a good meal wouldn’t do you no harm. I wonder how you’ve ended up the way you are?
‘Now no more arguin’, come on.’ He puts a hand in his pocket, hooking his elbow out for her to link him. ‘Let’s get you ‘ome.’
She knows she’s not going to win this one, and she’s not sure she wants to, this is so sweet of Eric - this will probably do him good, make him feel nice, I bet he feels horrible most of the time. Jeff, I don’t know where you’ve gone but I’m gonna kill you when I get home!
She takes his arm, smiling.
‘Good girl. Now I’m a bit wobbly so, bear with me.’
He’s looking down, concentrating on his feet, enjoying the feel of her hand through his coat - just a little of that human touch, so rare - unless it’s hard and knuckled - she’s almost holding him up.
Tonight the Heights belongs to me, I am Sir Knight and I will get thee home sweet damsel. Home sweet home.
They get a few paces when she sees Jeff, slowly and purposefully walking around the path behind the war memorial to stand directly in front of them.
‘What the fuck is goin’ on here?’
Eric looks up in horror. Jeff, stood there pumped with a very bad look on his face.
Oh my god, oh my god, I’m gonna die!
‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa big man - it’s not what you think.’ A daft smile on his face.
‘Innit?’ ‘Pointing at Wendy. ‘So yer not shaggin’ me wife then?’ Wendy’s mouth drops.
To Eric, for a moment, it’s like Jeff has spoken in a foreign tongue.
Answer him, answer him before he smacks you!
‘Am I fuck!’ He immediately pulls his arm out of his pocket, taking Wendy’s arm out from his.
‘Ey, whoa! No. I’m just - I’m just -‘ He looks at Wendy, Come on, tell him!
Jeff’s not looking at Wendy, he’s looking at Eric, the kind of look that is waiting for some very well chosen words.
Shit, I can’t even run! I’m trapped in his stare, I can’t look away. Tell him Wendy! What’s she gonna tell him though? What’s she doing here?
‘What? Just what? Why’s she dressed like that then? And why are you meetin’ her in the park?’ He points a huge meaty finger at him. ‘Yer shaggin’ her aren’t yer?’
Something clicks in Wendy. I get this...or I think I get this.
She stands, defiantly, hands on hips, staring Jeff right in the eyes. ‘He’s a better shag than you!’
Eric’s mouth drops open. His head snapping to her. ’Ey, whoa!’ Snapping back to Jeff. ‘I’ve not touched her!’
He wants to look at her again, to tell her to tell him she’s joking - Some mad joke that is Wendy, yeah, ha ha - hilarious! Now tell him the truth before I die - but he’s still trapped in that stare, the stare that now seems to have two roaring fires going on behind the eyes.
She links him again.
‘No Eric, I want him to know!’ Eric shooting a shocked look at her, trying to disentangle himself but she hangs on.
‘What? What yer on about? Listen Jeff, I just walked up here and - ’ She let’s go, strutting around in front of Jeff.
‘We’ve been meeting here for months, he shags the arse off me on this bench every night - his cock’s like a rocket and I’m over the moon!’
Jeff moves forward like a bull, grabbing Eric by the lapels, hot, steamy breath washing over his face.
‘Oh yeah? Well I’m gonna launch him, and his fucking rocket, and I’ll deal wi’ you in a minute!’
Eric scrunches his eyes shut, his legs giving out, dropping to his knees, Jeff holds onto his coat.
I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die!
Jeff gives Wendy a quick wink. She smiles, stepping in to grab his arm, dropping back into character.
‘Please Jeff! Please! Don’t hurt him! We couldn’t help it! It was just mad - unbridled - passion!’
Eric’s hands are trying to hold onto Jeff’s huge wrists, he opens his eyes, looking at the mad woman.
‘Will you shut up? He’s gonna kill me!’ He looks in Jeff’s fiery eyes, their faces that close he can almost feel the heat from them. He’s babbling, frantic.
‘Jeff, I don’t know what she’s on! I swear down mate - not touched her - not laid a finger on her - I wouldn’t, God, I wouldn’t - I just wanted to make sure she got ‘ome alright - I just walked up here - I just walked up here...I just...oh fuck it.’ He closes his eyes, dropping his head in resignation, waiting for the beating to come.
Jeff looks to Wendy who mouths a silent Aww! Another wink from Jeff. He pulls Eric to his feet, both hands pulling him in close, their noses touching.
‘Open yer eyes!’ Eric does.
‘One word about this to anyone and I’ll break yer fuckin neck, right?’ He can feel the relief coursing through Eric.
‘OK! OK! I swear down man - I ain’t gonna say ‘owt!’
‘Yer better fuckin’ not, you’ve seen nowt here tonight, right?’
Nodding in agreement. ’Nowt. Nowt.’
‘On yer fuckin’ way.’
Eric looks down at his feet, moving off almost like a broken man, Jeff gives Wendy a look, they both know. This isn’t right.
‘Hey!’ Eric stops, almost afraid to turn around. ‘Come here. It’s alright, I’m not gonna hurt you.’
Eric walks back to him. Jeff reaches into his back pocket, pulling out a twenty pound note.
Eric straightens, an indignant look on his face.
But he knows he wants it. He’s already spending it in his head, the comforting weight of the bottle of whiskey in his hand, the delicious crack of the seal.
‘Yes man.’ Jeff holds up the twenty.
‘To make you feel better?’ He looks at Wendy, she reads his expression. And you?
‘You more like. Spend it on food.’ He knows he won’t.
The twenty is there, inches from him, Wendy can see the battle for dignity in Eric, she can see he’s losing.
‘Do yer want it or not?’
She glares at Jeff, he can be so insensitive sometimes. Stupid lump.
Eric’s about to say something, maybe even an insult and there’s no telling what Jeff might do then.
‘Come for a meal.’ He looks at her. ‘Let me cook you something, Eric.’
He shakes his head. ‘It’s alright, I know you didn’t mean no harm Wend.’ A small smile, more for her benefit. Jeff stuffs the money in Eric’s side pocket.
‘I’m sorry pal.’
Tears in Eric’s eyes.
‘Now get gone, keep it shut.’
Eric moves off again.
She calls after him. ‘I love you Eric!’
Eric is already disappearing off behind the bushes, marching fast.
‘You’re a nutter!’
They are both stood in front of the bench, listening to his steps getting fainter. ‘Aww, poor Eric.’
She turns to look at him. He’s stood there like a gunfighter, a huge grin on his face, his eyes flicker downwards. She can see his erection, through his jeans, huge pumped, ready to launch.
‘Wow, Mr. Wolf!’
‘Assume the position Little Rabbit.’ She starts to trot around the bench, whilst he runs around it, pulling the hat over his eyes. The Return of Mister Penguin. He bends her over the bench in front of him, raising her coat.
‘What time is it Mr. Wolf?’ Soft and husky.
He unfastens his flies, grinning widely. ‘Hanky spanky time!’
‘Hey, did you see that pink dog?’
‘Shut up...I’m concentrating.’
She moves forward with his thrust.
‘Ooooh! You are...’
The wig slips over her eyes with a thrust. Ooh, this is good. She arches her back to meet him.
‘I love you.’
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