This is the twenty-sixth part of a fiction serial, in 844 words.
Working on a plan with someone else was a new experience to me of course, but Marta seemed to have embraced the idea with a real sense of purpose. Although I had told her something of my background, I had not let on about my previous experiments, naturally. She left it to me to suggest a meal and drinks to Anton, with the venue to be his motorhome the following Sunday. Few of the workers were around on Sunday evenings, as they mostly enjoyed their one day of rest by spending it with their housemates. And the other men who were supposed to be supervising things left every night, driving the two cooks to somewhere where they all stayed.
One other man had joined me and Roman in our hovel. He was small and wiry, perhaps forty years old, and spoke only broken English. Roman told me his name was Bogomil, and he was from Bulgaria. I kept away from him as much as possible, unsure how well he knew Anton.
Just when I was wondering how to broach the subject with him, Anton came and spoke to me as I was leaving work in the greenhouse the next day.
“Hey, Ricky. A little bird tells me you have hooked up with old Marta. I tell you, she was good once, but now she looks bad. You like her? I am surprised”. I lied easily, telling him that we were indeed romantically involved. No point trying to keep our friendship secret now that someone else had told Anton.
I suspected Roman of course, as he liked to joke about it. Then I said that we were thinking of inviting him for a special meal that Marta was cooking on Sunday, a speciality of her homeland. I reminded him that there would be as much vodka as he could drink too.
He seemed to be genuinely touched. “You invite me? Nobody ever invites me. But I am not coming to your stinking house, Ricky. I tell you what, why don’t you two come to my place? I have a nice table with benches, and it’s warm too. Good heating in that motorhome you know”. I hadn’t even had to suggest we go to him, he had cooperated with our plan without even knowing about it.
That Sunday morning, I took my bag and Marta’s and stored them in my van. We both left enough things around to avoid any suspicions or questions. She spent most of the day preparing the food to take, before making an effort to look nice, with what she had available. An old-fashioned dress, clean hair, and some make-up took ten years off her, but no amount of cosmetics could hide the steely hatred in her eyes as we approached Anton’s motorhome just before seven that evening. He opened the door before we knocked, and seemed to me to already be drunk. Marta allowed him a continetal style kiss on both cheeks, though I saw her back stiffen as he touched her.
She walked past him, and went inside with the large covered dish of food. He went to get three bowls and some cutlery, which he casually dropped onto the small table under the window. Finding a big spoon in his kitchen area, Marta dished out the spicy-smelling casserole, adding noodles from a separate container she had carried underneath the pot. Anton poured me a vodka, splashing the drink into a shot glass. Marta refused his offer of a drink, and got some water from the kitchen.
Tucking into the food, he failed to notice that I wasn’t drinking at all, and when he drained his glass and shook the now empty bottle, I brought one out from the carrier bag next to my leg. It was full of diluted sedatives, and though the seal was already broken I made a show of opening it, wrapping my hand around the top. When he downed the first one in one gulp, I refilled it immediately, distracting him by asking meaningless questions about his life in Poland which he answered with his mouth full.
With his bowl still half full of food, he had drunk four large shots of my spiked vodka on top of whatever he had consumed before our arrival. Rubbing his eyes, he shook his head, gazing around the inside of the motorhome as if trying to focus on something. Then he slid sideways off the upholstered bench, and hit the floor heavily.
Marta was up in a heartbeat, clearing away the plates and cutlery. She stepped over the unconscious form of Anton and scraped the uneaten food into a carrier bag, before taking the crockery and cutlery over to the small sink and carefully washing it up. By the time she came back for the drinking glasses, I had him securely wrapped in duct tape, taken from one of the greenhouses earlier in the week.
Her eyes gleaming, she grabbed my face with both hands and kissed me full on the lips.
“Now you go and get your van, Ricky”.