This is the fourteenth part of a fiction serial, in 801 words.
By the time Denise was halfway down the third can of lager, Marian was well and truly stuck to the seat of the greasy sofa. But she had found out quite a lot.
Lee was working on a no-hours contract for a security firm that was contracting men out to Group Four for static security work. He was mainly working day shifts, guarding supplies at building sites. Occasionally, he would get an extra night shift sitting on the gate of a distribution depot or empty warehouse, and when that extra money came in, he would pay off some of what he owed her for child support. But there was no holiday pay or sick pay, and if he took any days off he didn’t get paid either. Denise swigged down the last of the beer in that can, then held her chest as she burped up the gas.
“The most recent job I heard him talk about was on a site near Welwyn. He lives there now, you know. A Housing Trust bedsit is all he’s got, and Daisy hates having to stay there because she has to share his bed when it is his weekend to have her. She said he farts and snores all night, keeps her awake. And he only ever buys her fish and chips to eat after taking her to the cinema before that. He has a crap telly. No SKY, just Freeview, and he has no Internet. Well you can imagine, no Internet drives Daisy mad. That girl lives on her phone”. Marian produced a small notebook from her shoulder bag.
“Can you give me his address and current mobile number please?”
As Marian jotted down the details, she couldn’t help but wonder how an unemployed woman could afford SKY TV, Internet, phones for herself and her daughter, cigarettes, and beer. Small wonder Lee had once complained about the way his daughter was being brought up. Not that he was doing a better job of course. At this rate, Daisy would grow up to be a carbon copy of Denise.
She decided to plant a seed.
“I’m not sure how to put this, but does Daisy ever mention that Lee touches her? I mean inappropriately, sexually. After all, it’s not normal for a father to share a bed with his daughter, at least not in my experience. And Daisy is growing up. She’s not a baby any longer”. Denise lit a cigarette and opened the fourth can of the eight in the shopping bag.
“Well, nothing definite. But when the weather was warm, he did tell her she didn’t need to wear her pyjamas. And she said he slept in the nude, and she saw his willy. But he was also drunk, so that’s nothing unusual for him”. Marian was excited, but stayed calm.
“So it would be fair to say that he expected his daughter to sleep just in her panties, and got in bed next to her naked?” Denise shrugged. “S’pose so”. Marian tried to sound casual as she replied.
“Would you be prepared to make a statement to that effect? There would be payment for your time, a generous payment. And the statement would be to the Social Services, not the Police”. By now, Denise was the worse for four cans of beer, and she nodded vigorously.
“Absolutely. If you show me the cash first”.
Marian could feel she needed to pee, but was reluctant to use the toilet in that house.
“Is it alright if I come and see you again? If you give me your phone number, I will ring beforehand, and you can tell me a convenient time”. Denise sat back, blowing smoke up to the ceiling.
“As long as Daisy is at school, and you bring some more cash, you can come as often as you like”.
Marian took her leave, saying she would be back soon. She had not given Denise her name, or anyone else’s name. And Denise had not bothered to ask her.
This time, she drove the hire car onto the driveway, sure that Amanda would be monitoring the CCTV. As expected, the door opened with a click before she could press the bell.
“Come in. Have you got your stuff, everything you need? I don’t want you going out again once I lock up”. She seemed to be just as manic as she had been the day before, worse if anything. She was wearing the same dressing gown and slippers, and her overgrown hair hadn’t seen a brush or comb.
“I will make us a big lunch, then you can stay in your room if that’s okay. I have my TV shows to watch, and I cannot be doing with chat, or distraction”.
The food was surprisingly good. Home-made Lasagna, and plenty of it.