Things I Used To Like by Paul D. Brazill
I used to like playing football when I was a kid. Loved it, I did. I could spend hours kicking a ball around a muddy field or up and down a dirty back street. When I got older, I even played in goal for the local pub’s Sunday league team. But I put on weight because of all the beer and pork pies I liked that bit too much, and it became hard work. A slog. No fun at all.
That was another thing, too. I used to like spending a few nights a week and the odd afternoon down the pub but heartburn, indigestion and ulcers soon put paid to that. Sitting sipping a mineral water when other folk got pissed wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs, so I lost interest. I began to fear I’d lost my capacity for joy, I really did.
You see, life has a way of wringing the passions out of a man. I read that in a book once. Which was another thing I used to like doing. Reading. I loved science fiction books. Frank Herbert, Arthur C. Clarke and the like. But I lost that habit, too. My concentration faded along with my eyesight.
Yeah, and I used to like Benny Liens. He used to be my best mate. My mucker. My partner in crime. Until he screwed my missus, that is. I sharp went off him then, I can tell you. Which is why I killed the fucker. I tied a belt round his neck and strangled him. Then I strung him up to make it look like a suicide. I never got caught, either. And I discovered something about myself after that, too. I found out that I liked killing.
Alison Pearce had a twitch. Nothing particularly pronounced but it was there, especially when she got stressed or angry. And talking about her husband Danny certainly made her angry, alright. Which was fair enough since the bloke was a bastard. He always had been, mind you, and most folk were well surprised when him and Alison got hitched but who understood affairs of the heart, eh? Not me, anyway.
Alison fiddled with a packet of Polo mints and offered one to me. I declined. Not good for the guts, mints. After she popped one into her gob, she took a brown envelope from her handbag and handed it to me. I didn’t check the cash. I knew I didn’t need to. She was a straight arrow, our Alison.
‘This Friday?’ she said.
She rubbed the bruise on the side of her face. Turned up her raincoat collar. We were sat on a bench in Peaslee Park. A bunch of pigeons where fighting over the crumbs of a Greggs pork pie I’d just scoffed. I still enjoyed the odd pork pie, despite the gut rot they gave me.
‘Aye,’ I said. ‘You’ve nowt to worry about. Should be a doddle. Are you going to be staying at your Tina’s place?’
‘No. I’ll be out of town. There’s a coach trip going to Blackpool that Tess and Minnie organised. Gets back early doors Saturday morning.’
‘Perfect,’ I said. ‘You’ll probably get a call from the coppers around midnight.’
Alison disapprovingly watched a couple kids in hoodies mess around on a skateboard and then she got up.
‘Thanks, Stan,’ she said, not looking at me.
‘No worries,’ I said.
She walked across the park and shouted at a tall blonde who was letting her French poodle shit on the grass.
I chuckled. Same old Alison.
Same old Danny, too.
Every Friday night, come rain or come shine, Danny Pearce went to the Mecca Bingo Hall for a couple of games of bingo and a skinfull of cheap lager. I planned to nab him after he staggered out, break his neck and then throw him over the old railway bridge.
I pushed the envelope into my overcoat pocket. The money from Alison was nice but it also felt good to help her out. That was another thing I liked these days. Helping people. Well, those that deserved it.
I stretched my legs to get the circulation back and then slowly got up.
As I walked, I wondered what I was going to do to bide my time until Friday. I looked over at the blonde bird as she stuck two fingers up behind Alison’s back. I considered drowning her in the park pond but then thought better of it. The dog might get put in a home if she croaked and I did like animals. Especially dogs.
Mind you, it was a poodle.
© Paul D. Brazill.