A VERY NICE OLD LADY

il y a
5 min
23
lectures
1
1. A VERY NICE OLD LADY
That’s it! Thaat’s it! You won’t be moving again, honey, will you? Greta muttered. Now let’s see what we can do, she sighed, turning round to look at her cat Namsey which had slipped under the cupboard for fear of the noise. While calling her cat, come on sweetheart, it’s all over now, come to mummy, Greta stood up and covered the dead body with a checkered plaid so that only the feet would surge up, as she had seen in the films. Then she made her way to the kitchen where she helped herself to some claret. Claret was all right, she thought, lighter than Burgundy, everything like Miss Pebble. Tea was only for common people, not for the heroes. The heroes, pardon me the heroines deserved something stronger than just hot water......Miss Pebble would have agreed.....
As she was sipping down the red beverage, she thought aloud: first call the police, then tell them there was an intruder, and what an intruder!! This Irish neighbor of hers who kept working late at night, she knew there was something fishy going on, he had rung many a time for sugar, or milk or even a light bulb.....How strange, wasn’t it? He did not work outside, she knew it, she had been spying on him ever since he had arrived. From Belfast! Ha! See! And to top it all, Namsey had even refused to pass through his garden, and cats do have a sixth sense, don’t they? So when he had called in tonight, around 9, yes Officer I can remember very well, I was watching “Ring 999”, he looked quite strange. He could hardly open his mouth and vaguely uttered please help me. In no time was he upstairs, searching my bedroom, for God knows what! And suddenly I saw him rolling downstairs like a dismembered puppet. He landed dead, I felt his pulse, that’s why I covered him with a plaid, you see, out of respect. Then I called you.
The bruises and the bumps? Oh, easy, he sort of flew down, his head hitting hard the steps, and thank God there was no blood, quite the same as with Miss Pebble...... Any relatives? No, not that I know, he had very few visits, besides, let me show you my diary where I‘ve been keeping all sorts of bits and secrets for years now, old habits die hard, you know. Every Tuesday a navy blue Rover would stop in front of his house and two people would ring. A man and a woman. Always the same people, always at the same time, on the dot! Oh no, never! It would have been so rude! I know where to stand, why should I pop in uninvited? How long it had been going on? Since his arrival, six months ago. They had a brown suitcase and would stay overnight. Then the next day they would leave and come back the following Tuesday. His parents? I don’t think so, he had told me they had disappeared in a car crash. Quite frankly, Officer, if I were you, I would investigate the IRA track.......Flannaghan he was called............
Well Officer, I hardly knew him, quite the contrary with my former next door neighbour, Mrs. Winter. You see, when she told me she wanted to move to Cornwall, I felt surprised because I had imagined she would never leave the place where she had been born and grown up. We were the same age and she was quite a company: the village is a bit far away for us and we used to have tea, to go on a shopping spree together, watch TV every now and then, although we did not like the same series! Old ladies’ habits! So when the house was rented after she had disappeared, as you know, oh what a shock, excuse me, will you, this man, Flannaghan turned up. Of course, he introduced himself quite decently and I even invited him to tea. But Namsey immediately noticed something was awry. He kept mewing as if he had been hurt. It was the first time that he had behaved that way. Funny, indeed, very funny. Oh by the way, he never returned the invitation, so I did as if nobody lived next door. What would you have done if you had been in my shoes? I’m sure he would have wooed me if I had been younger, I’m sure, I know this sort of man.....Believe me, I was not born yesterday!
Officer Simpson looked exhausted. He had celebrated his friend Paul’s wedding anniversary two nights before and had been on duty since then. He had carefully taken note of what Miss Dimple had told him, and after checking the bedroom and notifying the criminal investigation department, he had left the old loony lady, as the villagers would nickname her. She was not used to socializing and often made up stories. Moreover, she had taken to visiting the police station at least once a month for two years now, giving them some useless information, bits and pieces about whatnots. She was the talk of the village! Nobody paid attention to her but tonight, when she had called them, still in charge he had rushed to her house: there was a dead body! Now, as he was leaving through the garden path toward the street, he turned round to have a look and could not help thinking of Mrs. Winter’s disappearance.
As he was driving back to his office, he tried to remember how it had all begun: Mrs. Winter, Miss Dimple’s neighbour had suddenly disappeared from Wesley, all of a sudden. It’s her neighbor, Miss Dimple who had informed them of her disappearance: they were to go shopping to Bingham on their last shopping spree, 20 miles away that day, and since she had not answered the door, Miss Dimple had called them, because you see, it was quite unusual of her. They had searched the house, the neighborhood, investigated for three months then given up.
She had no relatives except a very distant cousin who had had the house cleared of all her belongings. She never went to church, she must have been a free-thinker, you know. She was used to ordering food and household items from a supermarket and found it comfortable not to bother about it. The only trip she would indulge in was to go twice a month with Miss Dimple to Bingham. The shopping mall was huge and they enjoyed it very much, taking the coach after coffee and coming back home for tea. As for TV shows, she hated police serials and loved singing shows. Not my cup of tea, I must confess!
The criminal investigation team had nearly finished their job when Miss Dimple had offered them a cup of tea: they must be tired, poor things! What a terrible job, wasn’t it, coming on the premises of an accident, checking everything, not even knowing if it would reveal anything about the person, oh dear, I could not do it, I’m too sensitive, I can see that when I watch my favourite police serials on TV! Well thank you for coming, no, don’t worry I can manage on my own, no need for a doctor, I’ll be all right, Namsey will keep me company! Bye, bye!
Next door, the police were still investigating. Officer Simpson had asked them to storm the house to find any clue that could explain Don Flannaghan’s behavior and who he really was. Miss Dimple put off the light and edged toward the window: she could see very well what was going on since there were no curtains: it had been quite helpful to spy on him and it had helped her to stage the murder. It would happen here, as for Mrs. Winter, but differently: this time, the police would find the body. She had had real difficulties getting rid of it, it was not as easy as in the films! Besides, she ought to have a look at it, to see if everything was in order. So she went downstairs and opened the closet under the staircase. Unlike everywhere else, the closet was a fake one. Of course the gas meter took up most of the room, but under the small rug, there was a trapdoor that she carefully opened. Another flight of stairs led underground.
Namsey had kept mewing for hours when the police had decided to hammer the entrance door open. The cat was near the opened closet door, looking downstairs, not daring a move. One policeman took him in his arms but the cat hissed and ran away, slid into Flannaghan’s garden and disappeared. Another policeman holding a torch lamp in one hand and a handkerchief as a gag in the other, carefully made his way downstairs and discovered the dead bodies of two old ladies, one propped up in an armchair in a state of advanced decomposition, and the other, on a sofa, seemingly watching the screen of an old TV set. On a low table, the latest TV series had been highlighted, probably not to be missed: “Miss Pebble and the Irish neighbor”, and “Reported Missing”.

Amc68
1

Un petit mot pour l'auteur ? 1 commentaire

Bienséance et bienveillance pour mot d'encouragement, avis avisé, ou critique fine. Lisez la charte !

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Keith Simmonds · il y a
I just wrote a long commentary in English on this story, but it disappeared ! Very weird, indeed ! I’ll write it over another time!

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