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  You are @ HomeAdults Stories & Scripts

Stories & Scripts

Source: Adults

Author: Muriel Noton


The letter lay on the mat in the hall among the rest of the day’s mail.

My heart sank. I recognised the tatty brown envelope stuck with wrinkled tape, just like the previous two. The address as before had been written by a shaky hand, probably left instead of right to disguise the writer. The note inside - again - was composed of cut-out letters from some newspaper.

‘Bitch’, it said. ‘I’m still watching. Cheating on Colin.’ ‘Bitch’, it repeated, underlined. She sure liked that word. Could be worse, I supposed, but she wouldn’t know the cruder ones at her age, surely.

Oh yes, I was certain I knew who the author was in spite of the disguised handwriting. My dear next-door-but-one neighbour, the saintly Mrs Goddard, church every Sunday but a peeper through curtains, a watcher of all goings-on with eagle eyes and, I suspected, a getter of kicks through the poisoned pen. It was the same message. Must have taken her some time, carefully cutting and sticking down the pieces. I imagined her bent like an old witch over her kitchen table, busy with the scissors as she found the letters she wanted. Cackling probably.

Could I prove it?

My day off from the supermarket coincided with the Council’s rubbish-collection and there were bags and bins lined up along the pavement. I was cleaning the inside of my front window watching the saintly Mrs G set off for her daily shopping when I had the idea. I checked no one was around - not that it mattered really - and went out to her blue bag of old newspapers and magazines at the side of the road. Squashed right at the bottom were pages from the Daily Recorder mutilated with many holes cut out at random, and at the top was written Goddard, 54 Oakbridge Ave. for the information of the paperboy. Gotcha! I thought and hurried back inside clutching the evidence.

I wasn’t looking forward to confronting her but I did, later that day. I banged loudly on her front door, mainly to assert myself. She seemed reluctant to let me in but I shoved past her quite rudely and plonked the papers on the kitchen table.
1 “Well? I asked. “Don’t try to deny what you’ve been doing. I could go to the police about this, you know. If it happens again I will.”

At first she tried to snatch the evidence back and to deny it, but there was no point. She sort of crumpled then and I saw she had tears in her eyes. I almost felt sorry for her but then she straightened up and I perceived a sharp calculating look take over. I realised then she wouldn’t be diverted from what she probably called her ‘crusades’ even with the threat of police involvement, and so I said no more and went home. She hadn’t said a word the whole time. I hoped she wouldn’t dare to repeat her little tricks on me at any rate.

It was Thursday, yoga night, or so Colin thought. He was watching
football as usual, slumped across the sofa, can of beer in hand and never questioning anything. I don’t think he noticed when I put on my coat. “Ta-ra” I said. There was no response.

Mike picked me up at the corner of Purley Road, our regular arrangement, and in the car I told him what had happened.

“We’ll have to meet somewhere else,” I said, “and find a different room. I don’t trust that woman. She must have been following me.”
Mike said nothing.

He didn’t say much at all until later when we were in bed, and then he spoke, hands behind his head and gazing at the ceiling..
“I’ve been thinking,” he said. “It’s time we went our separate ways. I love you, I really do, but I can’t take these risks any more, what with my home and work situations right now. That woman’s letters have decided it for me. I know Laura’s getting suspicious for one thing, and at the office - well, if anything like our affair were to come out that’d be the end of promotion. I think it’s imminent and, hell, I need the money. We’ve had some good times, but all good things have to come to an end as they say. Let’s finish it.”
I can remember every word.

He tried to snuggle up then, biting my ear and saying I was gorgeous and it had been the best few months of his life and that he’d probably regret it for ever…..and so on. Rabitting on. I pulled away, got out of bed and dressed silently, angry, humiliated and tearful because I had thought he
really cared and hoped for a lengthy liaison.
I couldn’t sleep at home that night, twisting and turning next to my gently snoring husband. The next day I risked breaking the rules by phoning Mike’s office to try to get him to change his mind. An abject climb-down I know. This is what love, or infatuation or something does to you. I’m not proud of myself.

His secretary answered.

“May I speak to Mr Bradshaw please?”

On hearing a female voice she immediately said “Is that Melissa Clifton? Mr Bradshaw told me to tell you he’d ring you later………”

I put the phone down.

Melissa. Mel-bloody-lissa Clifton. I knew her. Didn’t I just. She was a friend once until…… But that’s another story. She wouldn’t have changed. I knew where she lived too, even her postcode.

I fetched yesterday’s newspaper, a pair of scissors, and sat down at the kitchen table.

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