3:17 Part Twenty

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.

41 thoughts on “3:17 Part Twenty

  1. It looks like Darren might be getting his money’s worth after all.

    I was waiting to see if Darren would pay it back to Neal a bit, but I guess that isn’t happening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In a roundabout way, he got some small revenge on Neil. By resigning, he landed Neil with the least popular job in the company. Neil will be having to hope that Janice finds him something else.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) With £73,000, Darren can buy roughly 2,435 bottles of Jack Daniel at the full retail price of £30/bottle, or 3,175 bottles of Jack Daniel at the sale price of £23/bottle. With his £27,000 salary, he can buy over 2,000 medium size pepperoni pizzas. However, the more he drinks and eats, the less buff his body will be. If he wants to be buffer in three years, he needs to lay off the Jack Daniels and pepperoni pizzas.
    (2a) Nobody wants to buy a home or commercial property if someone is stuck on them. In ̶.̶p̶l̶a̶n̶e̶.̶ plain terms, how do you explain to people that there is no way to separate Darren from the outside wall due to the strength of industrial glue?
    (2b) John can’t wait to stick Neil on Darren’s desk. That’s why he asked Darren for a large tube of industrial glue.
    (3) Overheard:
    Selina Macmillan: “You had better bring me two hundred bottles of Jack Daniel to cover my thirst. I spent a lot of sober hours on this, and had to promise someone I’d be hung over in the morning.”
    (4) Mark destroyed pepperoni pizzas. Mum destroyed Macmillan’s files. Agamemnon destroyed Troy.
    (5) Terry was strangled to death. What a terry-ble way to die!
    (6) Did you hear about the boy who died from manual constriction of the airway? After putting his foot in his mouth, his father said, “Now you shut your mouth, boy!”
    (7) Overheard:
    Selina Macmillan: “We can go over everything. But it’ll cost you. It takes two hundred to tango.”

    Liked by 1 person

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