3:17 Part Twenty-Six

This is the twenty-sixth part of a fiction serial, in 730 words.

As promised, I rang Mark to let him know what had happened. Swearing him to secrecy, and not to mention anything to Joel. Because Joel thought he was the world authority on football, I felt sure he would blab to his mates about Brendan, and ruin my plans.

That Sunday, I drove to Danbury to visit Aunt Jean and my mum. I didn’t ring in advance or expect dinner, and I had no intention of trying to discuss anything that had been going on. Nobody could know anything until I had put my idea into operation. My real reason for the visit was to use Jean’s old typewriter. I didn’t have a printer at home, and no need to buy one. Besides, using my emails via laptop wasn’t an option, as that could be traced.

So a typewriter was ideal for my purpose.

Mum looked unsurprised when she answered the door. I told her I had promised to come and see Jean. “You had better let me go and spruce her up a bit. She won’t forgive me if I let you see her in the state she’s in”. The old house was looking in need of a good clean, as well as some serious redecoration. It was like going back in time walking in there. Twenty minutes later, mum came into the living room and handed me a cup of tea. “Here, take this up to her. I should tell you, her appearance might shock you”.

She was right about that. Jean’s hair was white, and her skin was yellow. She looked about a hundred years old, and the smell in the room was so sour it got me right in the throat.

“Darren love, thanks for coming to see me. How you doing? As you can see, I’m not doing so good”. I engaged in some chit-chat, mentioning that I had resigned from my job. I chose not to say anything about how long she had left to live. “I’m glad you left that place, love. You can do better for yourself than being an estate agent”. After I ran out of things to say, I casually brought up the old typewriter, hoping it was still around. “Yes, I’ve still got it. It’s in the hall cupboard. There’s paper too, and the ribbon should be alright. You can have it if you want”.

I told her to drink her tea, and I would say goodbye before I went home.

Typical of my mum, she never asked me why I was using Jean’s typewriter on the kitchen table. Though she had almost certainly guessed that would have been my main reason for showing up that day. When I had finished typing, I put the machine and paper back in the cupboard, and went up to say goodbye. But Jean was fast asleep. I kissed her on the forehead, for old time’s sake.

My mum was reading a book, sitting in the big old armchair. “It was nice of you to come and see her. I doubt she has much longer to go. Days, rather than weeks. I haven’t prepared anything for dinner, but I can make you a ham and tomato sandwich if you want one”. I declined the sandwich, telling her I had things to do. As I was leaving, I told her to keep a close eye on the TV news next week. She didn’t even ask me why.

In the car, I had the copies of the old police investigation, and the post-mortem report arranged by my mum, the second one. Adding my typed sheet, I stopped at Sammi’s shop on the way home. He had a photocopier at the back, and charged ten pence per copy. I did ten copies of everything, and bought ten large Manila envelopes as well. Back home, I made ten piles of the copies, and slid each one into an envelope. Then I wrote the names of the Sports Editors on each envelope, followed by the address of the newspaper it was going to.

The next day, I would drive into East London, and post them from one of the big Post Offices. They were so busy, nobody working there ever remembered anything, I was sure.

On my typed page, I had kept it short and sweet. But there was enough potential scandal to interest them.

No doubt about that.

33 thoughts on “3:17 Part Twenty-Six

  1. (1) Dick Tracy traced a lot, but was never traced. He was a tracer, not a tracee.
    (2a) The old typewriter is a key component of this story. But what type of typewriter is it?
    (2b) No Name Key is the name of a key component of the Florida keys.
    (3a) Aunt Jean needs to be spruced up. She figures that a woman her age should start branching out into geriatric cosmetics, but I think she’s barking up the wrong tree.
    (3b) “She won’t forgive me if I let you see her in the state she’s in.” The only state in England, which is divided into counties, districts, boroughs, and parish councils, is a state room. So Aunt Jean must be in one of the state rooms, but apparently one that’s off limits to her.
    (4) Serious red deck oration. A formal speech of a serious nature delivered from a deck painted in red.
    (5) If you peel back the husk, you’ll find that a corn cob’s hair is white, and that its skin is yellow. Aunt Jean is therefore like corn, but not nearly as appealing.
    (6) Darren’s mother never asked him why he was using Jean’s typewriter on the kitchen table. Rest assured, had Darren used it on the floor or in the stairway, his mother would have asked for an explanation.
    (7) Darren told his mother to keep a close eye on the TV news. As if she could keep the other eye farther away from it…
    (8) Darren is going to mail his Manila envelopes from London. Will postage incur international rates?

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