This is the twentieth part of a fiction serial, in 690 words.
At home that night, I worked out my financial situation. Having had no mortgage, credit card, or car payments to worry about, I had managed to save a great deal of my income over the last ten years. Even allowing for the fact that I wasn’t in a well-paid job, and rarely qualified for any bonus payments, I was quite well off compared to some I knew. In a couple of savings accounts, and a very healthy current account I had total of a little over seventy-three thousand pounds. That equated to having saved around six hundred a month since I started at Mason and Walker.
With a present salary of twenty seven thousand before taxes and other stoppages if I got no bonuses, that meant I had a three year buffer, if I just lived on my savings. I opened the new bottle of Jack Daniels I had bought earlier, poured a large one, and rang John’s mobile.
He didn’t seem that surpised that I was resigning. Being stuck on commercial properties and hard to sell houses was no way to live. “What will you do with yourself now, Darren?” I told him I had no idea, but was in no rush. If I included my oustanding holiday time in my one month notice, there was no need for me to even go back to the office at all. John was very kind.
“I’m sorry to see you go, but I fully understand why. Please email me an official resignation, and I will sort out the paperwork with HR when I go in tomorrow. On the bright side that means Neil will have to stay on for now, to cover you. I can’t wait to stick him on your desk, trying to shift commercial units. Let me know personally if you even need a reference, Darren”.
The news that Neil would be on commercials from tomorrow was worth another drink.
Whatever I had been finding out about dad and Terry seemed to have calmed things down. I slept all through the night again, with no interruption at 3:17. Waking up the next morning, it felt strange to know that I would soon be a free man, at least for three years as a maximum. No more putting up with being an Estate Agent, I was going to think about a complete change of career. My phone ringing interrupted my thoughts. It was Selina Macmillan.
“Right, Darren. You are going to want to come and see me again this week, as I have a lot to tell you. For one thing, my dad’s file on the case is all copies, so your mum would have had one exactly the same. He did her proud, considering how little he charged her. She must have either decided to destroy the rest, or she just hasn’t given it to you yet. So come and see me tomorrow, about midday, and I will go through what I have found out. And you had better bring me two hundred in cash to cover my time. I spent hours on this, and had to promise someone a bung too”.
Before I handed over more money, I told her she would need to give me some idea that what she had was worth paying for. She didn’t seem pleased.
“Okay, I will give you this much, over the phone. I’m betting you didn’t read the post-mortem results. If you had, you will have seen that they are both on your brother. Your mum paid privately for a second opinion that concluded Terry didn’t die in the accident, but died soon after. What is written down is manual constriction of the airway. In other words, he was strangled. When your mum tried to get the case reopened on the basis of that, Sergeant Holloway came up with a plausible explanation, and they threw out her appeal”.
For quite a while, I didn’t reply. That was a lot to take in. Her gravelly voice shook me out of it.
“What do you say, Darren? Still interested?”
I told her I would be there the next day at twelve.