This is the tenth part of a fiction serial, in 726 words.
Neil was checking his watch, but he didn’t have the satisfaction of saying I was late. So he talked about Junior instead.
“Junior is out already, an early viewing before they catch their train to work. You would do well to follow his example, Darren. The early bird, and all that”. I wanted to have a pump action shotgun to hand, so I could blow him against the back wall, watching the blood spatter against the photos of the houses we had been trying to sell for so long, they were relegated to what we called ‘the dead zone’.
What the hell was he doing here? He must have had a ninety-minute drive from Kent, in terrible traffic. My day could not get any worse.
But it did of course, starting with having to watch Kelly and Penny flirting with him, as if he was the greatest catch in Essex. Then if that wasn’t bad enough, he wanted to go through all my unsold commercial lots, and tell me why he thought I wasn’t selling them.
Obviously the fire at Dockside View had shut down the development for now, leaving him at a loose end. He had jumped at the chance to fill in for John, which was his first offer of management. Even though it was temporary.
I was hoping he might change his mind, when he found out it took him over two hours to drive home in solid rush hour traffic.
After Neil’s pep talk, I had to spend all morning on the phone to people who didn’t want my commercial premises, and had no intention of ever buying them. Lunchtime came as a relief, and I went to Sammi’s to get that lottery ticket. I still had the napkin, and made sure to choose the numbers exactly as Mark had written them down. While I was there, I also bought a Ginster’s Steak Slice, two packets of plain crisps, and a creme egg. I stood in the alleyway and ate the lot, reluctant to go back inside and let Neil lord it over me.
The truth was, I might well have battered him senseless. Not only losing my job, but getting arrested for assault into the bargain.
That afternoon felt like a week. I still don’t know how I lept my temper. At least I didn’t have to work over the weekend, thanks to my two days at Dockside View. I had that lottery ticket safe inside my wallet, and could only hope that I got a result, and could tell Neil where to shove his job. Then maybe give him just a playful slap as I walked out.
As slaps go, I could have happily slapped both Penny and Kelly. Penny conned the Mini out of Neil, stroking his arms in the process. She disappeared without having to say where she was going. Though I suspected she was off home, for a sex session with PC Plod. Then Kelly made him three different cups of coffee, until he decided she had got it just right. That reminded me of the three bears, and Goldilocks. I could have spit, I tell you.
Finishing time couldn’t come soon enough, not helped by Junior showing up, claiming to have sold not one, but three houses.
Walking home, I was praying that John would be alright, and be back at work soon. The prospect of Neil taking over full time would have been too much to bear, and I considered quickly researching some vacancies online when I got in.
Just about to ring and order an Indian takeway, the phone rung in my hand, and I saw it was my mum calling. I usually phoned her on a Sunday, and it was unknown for her to ring me.
“Darren, it’s mum. Can you come and see me this weekend? I have something important to talk about. Why don’t you come for Sunday dinner, shall we say about two?” I told her I would be there, then rang the Indian to order my food. As I was waiting for the delivery, I couldn’t help wondering why mum wanted to see me. She almost never asked me over, except on her birthday and at Christmas.
It occured to me it might have something to do with Auntie Jean, and I felt my face flush at the memory.