Monday, 12 January 2015

Are You Sitting Comfortably? (part 3)

Gladys Jones lived in a village. It wasn't a particularly big village, neither was it a particularly profitable village, but the local newspaper had once described Ethel Silver's bowling club flower display as picturesque, so the word had hung around. Gladys had never seen Ethel Silver's bowling club flower display, besides when it had appeared on the "News Where You Are," segment of the BBC News. She didn't get out much, merely when she needed to top up on soup and overpriced meat from the "Delicatessen" section of Sainsbury's, and even then she scurried along quicker when she saw someone from that ghastly knitting society her son had suggested she went to.
She often received calls from her son, normally when he needed money, and occasionally from her daughter, occasionally when she needed to be picked up from work, and these little social interactions were more than good enough for her. It was, however, unfortunate that those blasted people next door had taken the opportunity to take a chainsaw to the tree in the corner of their garden that had fallen and then ripped down the phone lines. It had taken those people at BT, or whatever the current name for the phone people was, almost two months to come along and fix it, and when they did, they'd sent a child who was almost certainly still in school!
"There you go love," shouted the 'child,' over pronouncing every word as if the beige hearing aid in Gladys' ear was faulty, "all fixed now."
"Thank you, dear." Gladys replied. She began to usher him towards the door and as she opened it she said, "Could I interest you in a cup of tea?"
Before he could answer, she pushed him out of the door and said, "Really? I couldn't? What a shame! Bye then!"
She slammed the door shut and then shuttled back to her kitchen, flicking on the kettle. It began to whir as it turned on when she heard her phone ring, the raucous bell toll she was accustomed to but hadn't heard for months on end. "Aren't I busy lady!" She remarked to Moggy, a ginger tabby cat that she had once more forgotten wasn't alive anymore. "A call within minutes of the phone lines being put on! Will probably be another of those blasted salesmen, trying to sell me insurance!"
She pick the phone up and pressed the button. "Hello!" She chirped.
"Is that Mrs Jones?" Asked a voice she didn't recognise.
"Yes, it is." Gladys replied.
"I've got a job for you."
"I'm sorry, I'm happily retired."
Silence at the other end of the line until a sound like a nod with understanding. "Ok. Please can you come to," and then there was a pause and then an address which the secretarial blood flowing through Gladys' veins made her write down.
"Of course." Gladys said and then hung up, no intention to attend whatsoever.

The day she'd been told to attend hurried along quicker than she'd expected, and she was disappointed to discover that the trip to the Chinese she'd been expecting to go on with her son had been cancelled because he'd found another wealthy relative to go out with. Disheartened, she slumped back into her chair and saw the pad with the address circled on it. She had a free evening, as she normally did, what harm could it do?
At 19:00, she left home in her Honda CRV, giving her an additional hour and twenty minutes to get to  the location. She got there just in time after 80 minutes of angry horn beeping behind her and then circled up the slope to the roof of the multi-storey car park where a dubious looking youth was waiting by the boot of his car.  Gladys pulled to a stop and the youth ran over. She locked the door out of fright.
"Mrs Jones?" He asked.
Gladys unwound the window and looked out. "Yes?"
He looked taken aback. "You're not what I was expecting."
"What were you expecting, young man?" Gladys demanded.
The young man didn't answer, instead pointing over to the boot of his car and walking. Maybe this particular youth wasn't as dangerous as the others that stalked the village. She climbed out of the car and wandered over to the boot. He flipped it open and revealed a gun, like one of those from the video games her grandchildren played.
"It's one of those toys isn't it!" She cried.
"It's hardly a toy, Mrs Jones. It's a 50 calibre, grand distance assault rifle." The young man exclaimed.
"Dress it up all you like, it's still a toy." Gladys shook her finger.
"Look, are you going to do your thing or not?" The young man, suddenly agitated, demanded.
"Ok, ok." Gladys said, playing along. "What do you want me to do?"
"Take the gun, shoot over there."
Gladys couldn't help but frown. Why did he want her to play with his fancy toy? It was very nice, but she was an old woman. Really she couldn't be expected to put up with that kind of silliness. But she may as well. Something to tell the grandkids. She picked up the gun and went over to the edge of the carpark.
"What do you want me to 'shoot?'" Gladys asked, noting the heft of the gun.
"That window over there." The young man pointed.
"Pew pew!" Gladys said. "Pew-" she pulled the trigger and there was an ear wrenching explosion of sound as a tiny metal stud flew through the air and shattered a window. "My god!" Gladys screamed, spinning around with the gun and facing the youth. "What just happened?" She accidentally pulled the trigger and the young man's chest exploded. "Ah!" She screamed.

Far, far away at BT, or whatever it was the phone people were called nowadays, a young phone technician banged the desk in the realisation of a mistake.
"What is it Mike?" His co-worker asked.
"You know how I did that patch up job for that old bird in the village?" Mike said.
"Well I gave her the wrong number!"
"You did?"
"Yeah. Two people on my call list called Mrs Jones! I mixed them up."
"You better call the other one, explain the mistake."
Mike picked up the phone and dialled the number. Several rings and then suddenly someone picked up.
"Mrs Jones." Spoke a Russian accent. "Assassin for hire."

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