This is the second part of a fiction serial, in 1377 words.
Jenny drove the nondescript car into a space at the side of the Premier Inn. Small, and definitely non-trendy, it was only three years old, and had very low mileage. It should last the course, and do what she needed it for. The overweight young man at the desk gave her a form to fill out, and she lied on every line. He didn’t care, as she was paying cash up front. He slid the room key across the counter with not even a glance. Perfect. There would be CCTV in the foyer of course, but by the time anyone bothered to check that, it wouldn’t matter.
Phillipa had been chosen as number one for the simple reason that she lived the closest to home. Jenny had decided to work in an outward semicircle, and hers was the nearest address she had found. She wasn’t called Kennedy anymore, but that was how she would always be remembered. Tall, awkward, red hair. The sort of girl who might usually have been picked on, had she not had influential friends. The netball team was a big deal at the school, and the girls picked for it were legends in their own classrooms. The tallest girl was known as Phil, and nobody ever crossed her.
Despite the change of surname to Watson, Phil was no longer married, according to her profile. Twenty five years had not been kind to her, and the photos Jenny had seen suggested some surgical interference in her appearance. Strangely pert boobs, and swollen lips that had consumed too much Botox. The addition of extreme dieting had left her resembling a baby giraffe, with her stick-thin legs, long neck, and protruding knees. She was a forty-three year old woman trying to look twenty-five, and failing miserably.
She didn’t have any children either, which was a huge bonus.
After much study, Jenny had concluded that the gym would be the perfect spot. It seemed that Phil was there every night after work, and at weekends too. It was easy to find, as the website provided the postcode, and also had lots of nice photos. Using Google Maps Streetview, she had even been able to tour around the building, choosing some good spots. On the way to her cheap hotel she had passed it, noticing that there were lots of visible CCTV cameras covering the car park. That might mean a change of venue, perhaps follow Phil home. Time would tell.
Phil was on the list for a very good reason. Most of the girls who had bullied and teased Jenny until she was suicidal were just following the lead of a few in their group. Philipa Kennedy was one of the few, and one of the cruelest. Perhaps because she feared them turning on her for being too tall, too skinny, and having ginger hair, she made sure they kept their attention on Jenny as much as possible. Everything from wearing glasses, to starting her periods late, and having what they decided were arms that were ‘too hairy’. She coined the name ‘The Four-Eyed Chimp’ that became widely used throughout the school. Then when she didn’t get her period, she started the rumour that Jenny was really a boy.
She definitely had it coming.
After drinking some mineral water and eating a few dry crackers, Jenny dressed in what she jokingly referred to as her ‘action outfit’. A one-piece workman’s overall, black wool cap, and heavy boots. With her hair up under the cap, and no make-up on, she could pass for a man at a quick glance. Ironic really, as Phil had never stopped alleging she was really a male. No point getting to the gym too early, as according to her numerous statuses on Facebook, Phil rarely left there before eight. Jenny already knew what car to look out for, as that was on many of the photos posted on Instagram. A pink Fiat 500, with stupid stick-on eyelashes over the headlights. She had tutted upon seeing those photos, shaking her head. “Come on Phil, you’re forty-three for Christ’s sake”.
It was easy to find that silly car in the car park, and Jenny parked in sight of it, but not too close. On her passenger seat rested a huge Monkey Wrench, tightly wrapped in a plastic carrier bag. The giant adjustable spanner was bought second-hand from a street market, and paid for in cash. The bloke on the stall had made a joke when she bought it, something about her plumbing in a new toilet. She hadn’t said a word, and looked down as she handed over the money. It seemed appropriate that Phil should meet her end at the hand of that four-eyed monkey, wielding a monkey wrench.
She came out at just after eight-thirty, later than expected. The grey and pink leotard and leggings matched of course, and the red hair was tied back tightly in a pony tail. The gym bag was pink too, what the hell was she thinking? Oh no! The trainers were grey and pink too. Too much, Phil! Jenny followed her out of the car park. When she indicated left, it was a fair guess that she was heading for home, and not for some bar in the town centre. Maybe her age was beginning to tell. All day at work, followed by two hours at the gym. Phil must be feeling it, she was sure.
Sure enough, the rest of the journey was nicely predictable. Homeward-bound, to the small two-bed terrace that she had rented since her divorce. Jenny waited until the silly little car swept up onto the space outside the house, then parked in a nearby side street. Two minutes later, and she was at the front door, ringing the ‘ding-dong’ bell. Phil opened the door with a smile. Perhaps she was expecting someone?
She wasn’t expecting a huge wrench to smack her between the eyes, that was for sure.
Jenny had surprised herself by how hard she had managed to strike the hated woman. No hesitation, a full swing, with her wrist jarring at the force of the contact. Phil went down like a puppet with her strings cut, and Jenny walked in quickly, closing the door behind her. Despite the stupid woman being unresponsive, Jenny knew instinctively that it wasn’t enough. Raising her arm as far as it would reach, she brought down the heavy spanner again and again, until she was too weary for more blows.
Phil’s head was like a squashed melon. She wasn’t coming back from that. Time to make it look like a burglary gone wrong. Motive.
Jenny ransacked the house, overturning drawers, and spilling out the contents of cupboards. She took Phil’s handbag, with all the cash and cards in her purse. Under her arms, she stashed a laptop, DVD player, and an Alexa speaker. In the kitchen, she found a black plastic bin bag, and dropped everything inside. Up in the bedroom, she emptied the jewellery box into that, even though most of the stuff was costume crap. As an afterthought, she went back and pulled the rings off Phil’s fingers, and the gold necklace from around her neck.
No need for gloves, or worrying about prints. She had never been in trouble, so had never had them taken.
It was rather hollow, when all was said and done. She hadn’t had a chance to say who she was. That would have been the icing on the cake.
Back in her car, she put the overalls, hat, and boots into a big holdall. Then she added everything she had stolen from Phil, and the house, as well as the spanner, still inside the bloodied carrier bag. She didn’t want anything to do with any of it, it was all about motive. She was left wearing a sweatshirt and jeans, with some flip-flops already left in the car.
There was no chance she was going to use the restaurant attached to the hotel. So in the town centre, she bought fish and chips for cash, eating them in her car outside. Back in her room later, she lay in the bath, feeling a little deflated. Perhaps it had been too easy?
Anyway. One down.