Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Things Can Only Get Better by Donna Moore

Oh you bastard…Kenny leaned over the side of the bed and chucked his guts up. To be honest, you hardly noticed the puke what with the pattern on the carpet. Whose fucking carpet? Kenny didn't know anyone who had an olive and gold carpet with splodges of carrot coloured vomit pattern. He lifted his head off the pillow. Big. Fucking. Mistake. He contemplated making a dash for the bathroom but what was the point? Someone was going to have to clean the carpet anyway. Besides, since he didn't even know whose carpet it was, it stood to reason he wouldn't know where the bathroom was. He'd probably end up in someone's bedroom spewing his guts all over Aunt Jemima or something.

As the retching turned to dry heaves, Kenny risked lifting his head to look around him. Generic B&B. Circa 1976 by the look of it. Baby blue camberwick bedspread, pink and blue flowered wallpaper. Really didn’t match the carpet. But then…nothing would have matched the fucking carpet.

He must have been well steaming last night. Nothing would have persuaded him to check into this shit hole otherwise. The last thing he remembered was getting off the train from London at Glasgow’s Central Station, running the gauntlet of junkies and neds that were hanging around outside and then going into some spit and sawdust dive and ordering a pint. Tennent’s. Special. Then another. And another. Then…nothing.

After he’d twatted that bloke he’d found in bed with Clare he’d just wanted to get away from London and drink himself into oblivion. And he’d always wanted to visit Glasgow. They said it was a good place to drink yourself into oblivion. He didn’t know who they were, but they were fucking right. Ouch. He should just try and get back to sleep. He turned over, to try and get away from the smell of the vomit.

A lump in the bed next to him. Shit. He’d picked up some bird somewhere. He didn’t remember shagging her. And he was still dressed, so maybe he hadn’t. He’d wake her up and tell her to get to fuck before he went back to sleep. Poked her in the back. Nothing. Poked her harder. Dead to the world. Kenny cautiously propped himself up on one arm. Christ, but she was a dog. What a minger. He hoped he hadn’t shagged her. There were limits after all.

He pulled the covers off her body. Holy. Fucking. Shit. She was wearing a wedding dress. Suddenly, only shagging her didn’t seem like too bad an option. Jeez. Kenny was transfixed by her feet – she was wearing a pair of silver sandals. Stiletto heels and delicate straps. Women with huge feet, and toes with curling black hairs should not wear shoes like that…Wait a fucking minute…Women shouldn’t have huge hairy toes like that.

He put a tentative hand under the frothy white dress and lifted the skirts. White stockings, no hairs on her legs, thank God. Quite shapely legs. His eyes followed them all the way up to a white lacy thong. Christ on a bike, she could have done with a good bikini wax. Kenny’s stomach turned over. The sight of the coarse black hairs was too hideous to contemplate. And what the fuck was…nooooooooooo…no fucking way. As Kenny realised that what he was seeing was a plump hairy ball sack peeping jauntily out from under the thin satin and lace, the bile rose in his throat once more.

Not only was he married, but he was married to a bloke. Things couldn’t get any worse.
“Hey.” He cleared his throat, the sound of his own voice sounding weird and unnatural. “Wake up.” He shook her…him…his fucking wife…hard. “Wake up for fuck’s sake.”

For the first time, Kenny noticed the marks around his wife’s neck and the staring eyes. Oh yeah. Things could get worse, alright. His minging wife with the big ugly feet and the hairy balls was dead. As a dodo. As a doornail. As dead as a million other clichĂ©s that went nowhere near to describing the cold, inanimate creepy fucking deadness.

Kenny scrambled backwards across the bed. His fingers clutched the camberwick bedspread as he slid off, into the pile of puke, pulling the bedspread on top of him. The body seemed to envelop him in a ghoulish embrace. The eyes looking down at him were brown. Red, where blood vessels had burst. Cloudy. Dead looking. The plucked and penciled eyebrows were permanently arched, as though their owner had just asked a question. Probably ‘does my hairy arse look big in this wedding dress?’


*****

“Checking out Mr Salisbury?”

“Yes.”

“Did you and the new Mrs Salisbury enjoy your stay in Gretna?”

Gretna fucking Green. He still had no idea how he’d got here. And besides, who the hell had decided that it was OK to allow a town to be built with the sole purpose of marrying off sorry arseholes who couldn’t afford to go to Las Vegas and get married by Elvis? It was tacky, it was cheap and it was bastarding irresponsible.

Kenny had found the wedding certificate lying on top of the passports. The official who had married them must have been as blind as a baby mole with glaucoma. His wife…no, Kenny, let’s call her Allan, because that’s what her fucking name was…his wife had a full beard in her passport photo. He supposed he should have been glad she’d shaved it off for the wedding ceremony. On the plus side, the wedding certificate, and, presumably, the official’s records, had the happy couple down as Kevin and Allie Sainsbury.

“Errrr…yeah. Great thanks.”

“And is the lovely Mrs Salisbury out in the car waiting for you? I didn’t see her leave.”

Kenny’s eyes narrowed. Was this unctuous dickhead taking the piss?

“You must have been away from the desk mate. The lovely Mrs Salisbury is, indeed, in the car.”

Wrapped in the baby blue camberwick bedspread and stuffed into the boot of the ancient silver Peugeot 305 Kenny had hotwired about half an hour ago. No point in nicking a nice car to transport a corpse, was there? Kenny’s back gave a twinge as he thought back to the nervewracking and painful descent of the fire escape earlier.

“I trust you slept well?”

There was the slimy smile back again. “Not really mate, no. The wife snores like a herd of water buffalo.” Kenny handed over £80 for the room. Eighty quid? He’d not even had breakfast.


*****

As Kenny crossed the border into England his natural optimism returned. All he needed to do now was find a deserted spot somewhere in the Lake District – shouldn’t be too hard in mid November – weigh the body down with rocks and chuck it into one of the lakes. Then dump the stolen car on the outskirts of Birmingham or something, maybe set fire to it – the police wouldn’t be arsed with one more burned out wreck in Birmingham - and catch a train back to London. Maybe see if Clare would take him back. Things could have been a hell of a lot worse.

He yawned. Trust him to pick a car without a stereo. He shook his head to clear it and opened the window wide. He’d have to stop at a Services and buy some ciggies and a strong coffee. It was going to be a bastard staying awake. He wished he had someone to talk to. Still, things could deffo have been worse.

*****

Charlie Ellis watched as the clapped out silver Peugeot drew into the Welcome Break Services about twenty miles south of the Lake District. Cheery looking bloke behind the wheel. Could be Charlie’s lucky day. He sprinted over, smiled at the bloke inside and said through the open window.

“You going south mate?”

“Yeah. As far as…errr…Birmingham.”

“Couldn’t give me a lift could you pal? Bleedin’ motor’s broken down.”

“’Course. I could do with the company. Let me just nip in and get a coffee and some smokes.”

The guy got out, locked the car, and trotted off in the direction of the Burger King.

Charlie leaned against the motor. He reached into his jacket pocket and gingerly ran his thumb along the sharpened blade of the scalpel. He’d soon slash the smile off this bastard’s face. He hated these smug, cheery fuckers who hadn’t a care in the world.