Four Lives: Part Thirteen

This is the thirteenth part of a fiction serial, in 804 words.
(Contains some swearing.)

Before going to stay with Amanda, Marian decided to pay Denise Fowler a visit. Lyndsey had suggested doorstepping her, and provided the address on a council estate in Hatfield.

The estate was not that bad, but when Marian stopped the car outside the right door number, the condition of the small house left a lot to be desired. Unwashed net curtains hung adrift in the main window. The front door showed evidence of having been kicked in and patch-repaired, and a wheelie bin near where there should have been a gate from the street was overflowing with rubbish. Her first try on the tarnished chrome door-knocker was a no-show, so she went back to the car and sat waiting.

Scanning the street behind using her wing mirrors, there was no sign of anyone for the first thirty minutes. At that time of day, most people who had a job would be at work. Maybe Denise had a job now? In which case, it was going to be a very long wait. But the last information, obviously out of date now, was that Denise was unemployed.

The woman she spotted was coming in the other direction, carrying a plastic shopping bag bulging with something. She was wearing grey marl leggings, cheap trainers, and a T-shirt under a stained purple short puffa jacket. Her hair was dyed blonde, and put up in a clump on top of her head. Despite not wanting to jump to conclusions based on lifelong class prejudice, Marian was willing to bet all she had that this was Denise approaching. That was confirmed as the woman turned into the gateway, without so much as a glance at the car parked outside her house, pulling a set of keys from the pocket of her jacket.

Marian was out of the car before Denise had the key in the lock.

“Hello. Are you Denise Fowler? I wondered if I could have a word with you?”

Denise turned and looked the woman up and down. A tailored trouser suit in dark grey, expensive shoes and handbag, and a car too smart for her estate.

“You a cop? Police?”

Shaking her head, Marian tried a reassuring smile.

“No, nothing like that. I just wanted to speak to you about your ex-husband, Lee. It might be best if we go inside”.

Denise made no attempt to open the door.

“Who are you then, his new bird or somefink?” Marian was walking closer, still shaking her head.

“Absolutely not. He attacked my sister, and got away with it. Sound familiar? I need some information,and I am willing to pay for it”.

A wide grin spread across Denise’s face, and she put the key into the lock.

“Pay, you say? In that case, come on in.”

Inside, the place was as filthy as Marian had imagined it would be. Reluctant to sit down, she did so when asked to, thinking about putting her trouser suit into a dry cleaner’s tomorrow. Denise rummaged in her jacket pocket and produced a packet of cigarettes. She lit one, and then discovered her manners.

“Sorry, did you want one?”

Sticking with a head shake, Marian got to the point.

“What can you tell me about Lee? Do you know where he works? Does he even have a job? Is he paying for your daughter, Daisy? How are you coping?”

Ignoring the barrage of questions, Denise extended her left hand.

“You mentioned money. No answers until I see the readies”.

Opening her bag, Marian produced four fifty-pound notes, and leaned across to place them into Denise’s hand. Lyndsey had been correct in her assumption. two hundred had got her attention. Folding them and placing them in her bra under the T-shirt, she started talking like a trained parrot.

“He’s got a security job working at a call-centre. Don’t know where though, but I know it’s run by Group Four. He came here to pick up Daisy, and was wearing that uniform. Is he paying me for her? You must be fucking joking. I got a court order for his payments, but he is always pleading poverty, and paying me in arrears. I reckon he spends all his money on his car, told me it was a Subaru Impreza. He finks I know nuffink about cars, but I know those ones cost a lot. Your sister went with him? She must have been desperate, or mad. He’s poison, I tell you straight”.

With that, Denise opened the shopping bag, and pulled out a can of cheap lager.

“You want one? I ain’t got tea or coffee, so it’s this or nuffink”.

She glugged down several mouthfuls of the beer as Marian replied.

“No, I’m good thanks. Let’s talk some more. There is even more money in it for you, for the right answers”.

29 thoughts on “Four Lives: Part Thirteen

  1. (1) “The front door showed evidence of having been kicked in and patch-repaired.” That won’t happen again. Denise got rid of the temperamental mule, and now carries the shopping bags herself.
    (2) Was Denise Fowler ever a wild thing like Denise Richards?
    (3) Overheard:
    Marian: “I wondered if I could have a word with you?”
    Denise: “There are over 171,000 English words in current use.. I’m curious as to which word you’ve chosen.”
    (4) Denise: “Who are you then, his new bird or some-finch?”
    (5) Overheard:
    Marian: “I need some information,and I am willing to pay for it.”
    Denise: “If I tell you what Lee did to me, will you make him pay for it?”
    (6) Bad citation: “Lyndsey had been correect in her assumption, but not in her spelling.”
    (7) Doris Day: “He came by here to uproot the daisies. And then he ate them! What does he think he is, an Old English Sheepdog?”

    Liked by 1 person

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