A Reconstructed Corpse

A Reconstructed Corpse by Simon Brett Read Free Book Online

Book: A Reconstructed Corpse by Simon Brett Read Free Book Online
Authors: Simon Brett
Charles.’
    â€˜Oh yes?’ Long experience of such phone calls had brought her response to the point where it had no intonation of any kind. ‘What can I do for you?’
    â€˜Just rang for a chat.’
    â€˜Ah.’ There was a silence. ‘A chat about anything in particular?’
    â€˜No. Just . . . you know . . .’
    â€˜I don’t know unless you tell me, Charles.’
    â€˜No. Well, I . . . Just to see how you are and . . .’
    â€˜Fine. I’m fine.’
    â€˜Good.’
    â€˜You?’
    â€˜Oh, fine, yes. Yes, fine, thank you.’
    â€˜Any work?’
    â€˜I have actually just done a job.’
    â€˜Well, there’s a novelty.’
    â€˜One of those
Public Enemies
programmes.’
    â€˜When’s it going to be on?’
    â€˜It was on. Last night.’
    â€˜Oh. Well, sorry. I missed it.’
    â€˜There you go.’
    â€˜Charles, if you don’t tell me things’re coming up, how am I expected to know –?’
    â€˜Sure, sure. Sorry, I should have told you, but . . . the filming kept me very busy,’ he lied.
    â€˜Hm. What were you doing in the show?’
    â€˜I was in one of the reconstructions,’ he admitted shamefacedly.
    â€˜Charles . . . After all the things you’ve said about people who get involved in that kind of stuff . . . Last time the subject came up, I seem to remember you talking about “actors whose only previous work has been in dandruff commercials”.’
    â€˜Yes, well, you know . . . No one’d ever offered me a reconstruction before.’
    â€˜Hm. So now I just have to wait and I’ll see you in a dandruff commercial, is that it?’
    â€˜No one’s ever offered me one of those either,’ he said, with an attempt at humour.
    â€˜But if they did, you would instantly say yes – as you do to everything else.’
    â€˜Oh, I don’t know. I’d like to think . . . Yes, I probably would,’ he conceded lamely.
    â€˜Really, Charles. Why you can’t get a hold on your career and . . .’
    She gave up. What was the point of going through all the old arguments again? Raking over old embers. It seemed a long time since those embers had contained even the smallest spark.
    Charles could sense her thoughts. Or perhaps he was just transferring his own on to her. Either way, they made him feel achingly empty.
    â€˜What were you playing in the reconstruction?’ she asked.
    â€˜Murder victim. Well, to be accurate,
probable
murder victim. Martin Earnshaw.’
    â€˜Oh.’ Frances sounded touched. ‘Husband of that poor girl who . . .?’
    Charles was surprised that Frances too was under the spell of Chloe Earnshaw. He could understand the male population of the country, but he’d always had great respect for his wife’s bullshit-detecting antennae. Probably he was just being over-cynical again. God, why couldn’t he take anything at face value? Why couldn’t he trust or believe in anything?
    â€˜How’s work for you?’ he asked, trying to shift his developing mood.
    â€˜Do you really want to know?’
    â€˜Well . . .’
    â€˜It’s OK. The school is still standing. I’m still its headmistress. I could provide more detail, but I know you’re not really interested.’
    â€˜Well, now, I wouldn’t say . . .’
    It was another sentence not worth finishing. Frances was right. He wasn’t really interested in the minutiae of staff-room politics.
    â€˜So . . .?’ She made the word sound like a sigh.
    â€˜So,’ he echoed. He had had thoughts of fixing a time to meet, asking her out somewhere, but the sterility of the conversation sapped his will. What
was
the point? They really had grown apart now. Separate people. With separate lives. Linked only by a few ambivalent memories. Even those were fading.
    And a daughter, of course. Yes, they were linked by a daughter. He was

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