Short Fiction ~ Neil Campbell
He did six fucking people on our street, one bastarding street. Fucking hell, there’s more coming out every year. I used to go in the Grapes, my old fella played bowls round the back, crown green bowls, not flat green, and he’d be out there in all weathers playing because he loved it and his dad, my grandad, played it as well. Not sure why I never did, I think he showed me once and I just couldn’t be arsed with it. I’m not going to mention this fucker’s name that did the six on the lane, he did shedloads over the years and the police round here, well, you think they might have been better but there wasn’t really the technology in them days. I watched this programme and it said he’d done the six and it showed more footage than I’d seen before, of him being interviewed and that, and him sitting with his back to the interviewers, the arrogant bastard, and that famous footage of him on TV coming out of the back of his place to talk and deny everything, and, seeing the relatives of one of the women he did, part of me wished I’d agreed to the interview, but that was ages ago now, TV takes ages to come on, doesn’t it? It must have been like thirty years ago now, yeah, that’s right, thirty years ago since it all came out, and what they showed in this programme is that he could have probably carried on but he got well cocky and fucked up. What he used to do was go round to the old dear’s house and put the morphine in their tea, and then he’d go back, pretending to be on his rounds, and he’d find them dead and report them dead of just like old age or whatever. When it wasn’t just old age he put on the death certificates, he had to make it more convincing, and they showed that on one of the ones from the lane here, what he did, the evil bastard, he killed her and then went back to the office and changed the medical records to make it look like she was ill when she wasn’t even ill, and it was only because a computer expert at the time was able to see that he’d done this that they were able to build up the evidence against him. And he’d changed her will, so she left all her money to him, which was a bit of a piss-take really. I have memories, like my memories of my old man, playing crown green bowls. He was out there nearly every day after me mum had gone, but when they dug her up and found there was still the traces of morphine in her it seemed to just take the spirit right out of him. I can remember when he stopped and why he stopped and he lost all the mates he used to bowl with and he never got any exercise any more, he just used to sit there day in and day out watching TV, he loved TV my Dad, it was sort of invented when he was a kid and it always seemed amazing to him and he had all these programmes recorded on the Sky box and he never got round to watching them all. That’s where I found him, sat in the fucking armchair in front of the TV like he’d just fucking given up, couldn’t be arsed anymore. I’d wanted him to be angry but he said he couldn’t get angry and he was a gentle old soul and all he could ever do was beat himself up about the fact that he had defended the evil bastard, he’d said to everyone around that it couldn’t be possible, it couldn’t be true, and he felt fucking stupid, you were supposed to protect your wife weren’t you? That’s what he said to me once in a whisper, and he had this kind old face, breaks your heart to think about it and me mum, well, me mum, I’ve not really said anything about her yet and yet she was the one got bumped off, one of probably hundreds they reckon, and she was the only person in my life who never let me down, even more so than my old man, she was just on my side at all times, whatever I’d done, and I’m no shrinking violet, let me tell you, I never was and then when I found out about her it sent me over the edge a bit you know, I got horrible after too many beers and I was always wanting to fight someone and it was the police I fucking hated then. By now I know that the police did make mistakes but there were others that did a good job, the ones that got him were fucking well dedicated, but like I say I was looking for someone to blame and there was this one time that I was roaming round the boozers on a Friday night and this copper came up to me and said I needed to settle down a bit and I took a swing at him didn’t I, didn’t really connect but before you knew it there were four of them on me, and I spent a night in the cells at the same cop shop where the evil bastard got interviewed and when I told them about me mum and that, they pretty much let me off. They still had to go through the paperwork and that but their whole attitude changed, they just started being nice to me and one of them even gave me a lift home. There’s nothing you can do. The evil bastard was found guilty and he topped himself without ever admitting anything. That poor bastard, if only I could go up to him and kiss his face.
Neil Campbell is from Manchester, England and his latest novel Lanyards, the third part of a Manchester trilogy, is out now. ncampbellwriter.wixsite.com