Read by Lin Sagovsky
Stupid, pure stupid I was. I don't even want to talk about it. O Lord Jesus forgive me for all the effing and blinding I did to that shower of miserable bitches. I rue the day I ever agreed to help them. I knew, I knew. It was against my better judgement. Take my advice, if you're inside and you only have a month to go, don't even talk to anyone, just keep yourself to yourself.
The way it was, they had nothing to lose. Melanie the nurse had killed about ten elderly patients, just out of kindness really. Say what you like, but she’d give you her last fag. And Zadie from the Sudan had machine-gunned dozens of passengers queuing for Ryanair, then turned on the police and one way or another was on fifteen concurrent life sentences. Terrible nice girl she was though, when you got to know her.
The laundry van driver was in on it. He let us out in Finsbury Park, but he wasn't best pleased to find me and Melanie in there, it was only Zadie he was expecting, so Melanie and me said "Cheerio" and wandered off down Hornsey Road, with the brassers giving us dirty looks, as if they thought we were trying to muscle in on their territory.
It was starting to get dark and we had no money. "Well I don't know about you, but I'm going back to jail," says I. "You better get out of this area."
I turned around and wasn't I talking to myself. Melanie was over at the kerb, with her head in a car. Meanwhile a couple of ugly-looking tarts at the far corner let a yelp out of them and started hobbling along towards us on their high heels.
"Get in Carmen," says Melanie. "He wants the both of us."
She gets in the back of the Mondeo, leaving Muggins to it with Mr. Travelling Salesman in the front. I know, I know. I'm a fool to myself. If there's one thing I hate it's people who think of an idea and then expect somebody else to do it. But Fatty always gets offered the front seat of course, so that was her excuse.
This geezer, I swear he was worse than myself. He had a boring pair of shoes stuck in the passenger footwell (don't even start me on stuff crowding the passenger side) and he was driving in slippers. His ankles were as swelled-up as his double-chin, and I'm thinking to myself, "This ould shitehawk wants the two of us?" when his hand starts moving like the Beast with Five Fingers over me thigh. I hit it so hard I swear I hurt myself through it, and the car starts swerving all over the road, and your man roaring. I couldn't describe the sound he made, it was one of those with no words in it, if you know what I mean. Other cars were hooting their horns and we went through a red light.
Would you believe all this time Melanie is in the back seat sucking her lips and fixing her face in the rear view mirror, leaning this way and that as if us nearly getting smashed to bits was only a minor nuisance. Then she puts her lipstick away and produces a feckin cut-throat razor out of somewhere and wraps her arm around this driver. It was pathetic really the way his expression brightened for a split second, before she waved the blade in his face and put it against what passed for his neck.
"M4 west," was all she said.
Your man starts blustering about something, trying to reason with her.
"Don't try your sales talk on me, darling," she says. "I've killed eleven people already, so another one is not going to make much difference."
"Eleven?" says I. "I thought it was ten?"
"Sorry, ten. You're right. I was jumping ahead."
The car starts swerving all over the road again, and hasn't your man gone purple. We're slowing down, the geezer has passed out, so I yank the handbrake and we stop abruptly. More horns honking.
"Shit!" says Melanie. "I knew this guy was a loser the minute I saw him."
The geezer's mobile phone started ringing, playing the feckin’ 1812 Overture.
"Can you shut that thing up? I can't hear myself think."
Melanie was all for putting him in the boot and driving the car to some friends of hers in Wales. She was typing something on yer man’s mobile, replying to the missed call from the geezer’s wife, it looked like. “Aunt in Wales has kicked the bucket. You don’t know her. Family in a mess. Got a call to go there quick.” She clicked Send and then turned off the phone.
I says, “Ah jaze, this is not for me. I’ll see you around.”
“Hang on, where are you going?” says she.
I didn’t answer. I thought about walking but there was nothing on this road either way. It was just fences and grass on one side and a sheer drop on the other side, down to more fecking fields. So I thought I’d get a bit away from the car and start hitchhiking. One minute. That’s all it took, before I was climbing into the driver’s cab of a humungous juggernaut, and Melanie standing in the door of the geezer’s car looking at me with a look of disgust and anger.
Now when I say climbing into it, I mean I tried but I couldn’t swing the old booty up there because it was very high. Then doesn’t Eddie Stobart, or whoever he is, jump out and whoosh me up by the bum. Well, I felt like feckin Darcey Bussell, I was that light. My old next door neighbour, when I was a kid, was always telling me to do ballet. He would have loved to see me on yer man’s hands, sailing up through the air. Not that he could have though, unfortunately, he was blind.
It wasn’t my day, because the next thing it turns out that Eddie is big fan of country music and his truck stereo it’s putting years on me by the minute. So I thought I’d try and get him talking but of course he’d only shout over it.
“I’m travelling light,” says I.
“So I see,” he shouts.
Meanwhile the radio is playing something like, I don’t want your nasty kisses and don’t tell me no more lies.
I shout, “I fell out with my friend in the car back there.”
The radio goes, Get your tongue out of my mouth, I’m kissin’ you goodbye.
“You’ll get your death of cold out at night in a little dress like that,” says your man.
“I can’t hear you.”
He turns it down. Thanks be to Christ.
“How far do you want to go?” says he.
I could sense the drift in his conversation. “Just drop me as near the next railway station as you can. Thanks, Eddie.”
“Oh, do you think that’s my name?” He laughs. “It is, yes, of course it is. You’re Irish, aren’t you? What can I call you?”
“Anything, as long as you don’t call me too early in the morning.”
“I think I’ll call you Rosaleen. Oh my dark Rosaleen, do not sigh, do not weep! I’m parking up for the night soon at a Travelodge. Do you want to stop over?”
Now strange as it may seem, I had nowhere to stay and no idea what I was going to do, so this didn’t sound so terrible to me. Plus Eddie was sort of Bruce Springsteen shaped, albeit with a face more like Bruce Forsyth. I could always go back to the nick in the morning.
So anyway, we ate in the bar restaurant attached to the one of these motels. I had smothered chicken and he had pulled pork. When we got to the room he wanted to reenact 50 Shades of Grey and made me blindfold him and tie him to the bed. And, God forgive me, I know I’m evil, but I took his wallet and left him there like a pressed duck, and mini-cabbed it back to HMP Holloway.
(c) Steve Moran, 2016
Steve Moran is an Irish writer based in London. He won the Small Wonder short story slam in 2013 with a tale composed entirely of questions. This year his story entitled "The Babby" was commended in the Glimmer Train "Family Matters" short story competition. He is married and has reproduced.
Lin Sagovsky's voicework includes talking books, TV narrations & radio plays. She also helps non-actors rehearse presentations and conversations to make them better communicators, so she gets to play impossible people from doormat office drudges to kickass Alpha females, in places ranging from Mexico City to Milton Keynes.