Gabby Is Missing: Part TwentyFive

This is the twenty-fifth part of a fiction serial, in 901 words.

As the book was still riding high, Gabby took every opportunity to make any guest appearance offered to her. The late-night chat shows were fertile ground, as she could be more graphic about details of her past, and there was no censorship. As well as those, Gabby got onto the shock-jock radio broadcasts, laying it on thick about how her mum brought men to have sex with her, and how teachers traded extra tution and exam questions for sex in their cars.

Every time she appeared, that generated more headlines, which in turn sold more books, and got her more offers of TV appearances.

Negotiating the film rights proved to be easier than Steve had hoped. After a couple of companies showed no interest, Gabby went on the Graham Norton show to plug her book, and Graham cried as she described trembling in fear when she knew men would be coming into her room to have sex with her.

The next day, four companies were bidding for the rights. Gabby stepped in, and accepted the offer that would allow her some say in casting, as long as her chosen actors were available, and wanted the job. She signed a fifty-grand advance to include a share of all DVD rights, streaming rights, and any merchandising. Once filming started, the book could be reissued with a photo of the star on the cover, and the words ‘Now A Major Movie’ wrapped around it.

Two days later, she appeared on the Jonathan Ross chat show, and dropped her bombshell. She accused Steve James of raping her in his Norwich flat when she was staying there while he was negotiating her book deal. In floods of tears, she eventually had to be consoled by Jonathan. Steve had been watching the show at the time, and his jaw hit the floor when she said that. He rang her mobile after she was off screen, and it turned out the number was unavailable.

Gabby had a new phone, and a new number.

When he drove to her hotel the next morning, he wasn’t unduly surprised to discover that she was no longer staying there. Dozens of calls to all his contacts failed to find her anywhere. She had gone to ground again. Back at his flat that evening, he was halfway through a bottle of whisky when there was a loud banging on the door. Three policeman were standing in the lobby when he opened it. The one in plainclothes smiled as he showed his I.D. card.

“Mister Steven James? I am Detective Sergeant Murphy. I would like you to accompany us to a police station for questioning. You may call a solicitor if you wish. You are not under arrest at this time, but if you decline to come with us I am prepared to arrest you on suspicion of a serious offence”. Steve felt as if he was going to throw up, and swallowed hard.

“Just let me get my coat and keys, officer”.

They drove him to a main police station in Norwich, and he declined legal representation. When confronted with Gabby’s accusation, he denied it. “I never touched her. I slept on the sofa”. He was aked to provide a DNA sample and fingerprints voluntarily, and agreed to that. “I have nothing to hide. This is all a set-up. I know what she’s up to”.

Someone brought him a cup of tea, and he was left in the Interview Room for almost an hour. Then Murphy came back. “Okay, you can go home tonight, but be prepared to come back in for questioning when asked. And definitely bring a solicitor next time, because that interview will be under caution, and recorded. You may also face charges on that occasion. Two officers are waiting to give you a lift home”.

After finishing the bottle of whisky, Steve slept heavily that night. He didn’t wake up until after ten the next morning, and as he stumbled out of the bedroom he almost fainted with shock to see Gabby sitting on his sofa, smoking a cigarette. Before he got his brain into gear to be able to start shouting at her, Gabby was already talking.

“It’s your day of reckoning, Stevie boy. Time to pay for all the lives you have ruined, and the lies you have told. I can make my way to the police station to give them a statement about how you dragged me to your bed and raped me, or I can say it is all too traumatic to go over it again, and drop the charges. It’s entirely up to you. Sign these papers, or get seven years inside in the nonce wing. Simple as. You’ve had it anyway, whether you go to trial or not. You will always be known as the journo who raped a vunerable girl he was pretending to help, even without a guilty verdict”.

Snatching the papers from her, he speed-read the main parts. He was signing over his twenty-five percent of her company in perpetuity, with no comebacks. There was also a non-disclosure agreement, forbidding him to write about the story in any form, or talk about it to anyone else. Forever. It was already witnessed in advance, and signed and sealed by a top London lawyer whose name he recognised immediately. It took him less than ten seconds to make his decision.

“Give me a pen”.

48 thoughts on “Gabby Is Missing: Part TwentyFive

  1. Pete, I NEVER try to anticipate your story, but a few chapters back, when Steve was already spending the money he knew would roll in, I started to wonder if he was also about to get taken for a ride – what a stooge, and what a smart young woman she is! Terrific chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) On the subject of riding high: Thirty years ago, “Ride the High Country” was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the US Library of Congress due to its being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” #Randolph Scott
    (2) “Fee-fi-fo-fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman!” shouted the Giant in a radio broadcast intended to shock Jack, the beanstalk climbing jock.
    (3) Overheard in 1965:
    Variety reporter: “It’s an honor to interview the four of you—Charlton Heston, Richard Harris, Jim Hutton, and James Coburn! I’ve been told you’re starring in a major motion picture. What’s the name of it?”
    Charlton Heston: “Major Dundee.”
    (4a) Steve’s jaw hit the floor when Gabby claimed he’d raped her. But thanks to thick carpet padding, Steve’s jaw didn’t break. There’s an advantage to not having tile or parquet in one’s flat.
    (4b) A jawbreaker can be any hard surface. Additionally, it can be a round candy, a punk rock band, a satirical teen black comedy crime film, and even a very incompetent dentist.
    (4c) Jaws can also be broken into bits by characters in a Peter Benchley novel.
    (5) There was a loud banging on the door…
    Steve: “Who’s there?”
    Detective: “Murphy.”
    Steve: “Is that you, RoboCop?”
    Detective: “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me!”
    (6) “After finishing the bottle of whisky, Steve slept heavily that night.” But how much heavier? You have to subtract the weight of an empty bottle from the weight of a full bottle in order to get the weight of the whiskey.
    (7) Steve “almost fainted with shock to see Gabby sitting on his sofa, smoking a cigarette.” What did he expect her to be smoking? A cigar? A pipe? A joint? A Broadland ham?
    (8) If industrial strength glue is used to secure a nonce wing, Steve has no worries.
    (9) The pen is mightier than the sword. Especially if the pen belongs to Gabby Parker.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. (1) On the subject of riding high: Thirty years ago, “Ride the High Country” was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the US Library of Congress due to its being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” #Randolph Scott
    (2) “Fee-fi-fo-fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman!” shouted the Giant in a radio broadcast intended to shock Jack, the beanstalk climbing jock.
    (3) Overheard in 1965:
    Variety reporter: “It’s an honor to interview the four of you—Charlton Heston, Richard Harris, Jim Hutton, and James Coburn! I’ve been told you’re starring in a major motion picture. What’s the name of it?”
    Charlton Heston: “Major Dundee.”
    (4a) Steve’s jaw hit the floor when Gabby claimed he’d raped her. But thanks to thick carpet padding, Steve’s jaw didn’t break. There’s an advantage to not having tile or parquet in one’s flat.
    (4b) A jawbreaker can be any hard surface. Additionally, it can be a round candy, a punk rock band, a satirical teen black comedy crime film, and even a very incompetent dentist.
    (4c) Jaws can also be broken into bits by characters in a Peter Benchley novel.
    (5) There was a loud banging on the door…
    Steve: “Who’s there?”
    Detective: “Murphy.”
    Steve: “Is that you, RoboCop?”
    Detective: “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me!”
    (6) “After finishing the bottle of whisky, Steve slept heavily that night.” But how much heavier? You have to subtract the weight of an empty bottle from the weight of a full bottle in order to get the weight of the whiskey.
    (7) Steve “almost fainted with shock to see Gabby sitting on his sofa, smoking a cigarette.” What did he expect her to be smoking? A cigar? A pipe? A joint? A Broadland ham?
    (8) If industrial strength glue is used to secure a nonce wing, Steve has no worries.
    (9) The pen is mightier than the sword. Especially if the pen belongs to Gabby Parker.

    Liked by 1 person

All comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.