A Village Deception (Turnham Malpas 15)

A Village Deception (Turnham Malpas 15) by Rebecca Shaw Read Free Book Online

Book: A Village Deception (Turnham Malpas 15) by Rebecca Shaw Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rebecca Shaw
Tags: Modern fiction
being difficult on purpose. You’re very welcome. We’re all friends round this table, believe me. Go on, sit down.’
    Don, in a huff, complained, ‘I didn’t mean nothing at all, just mentioned it, that’s what.’ Those who knew him could sense he was brewing for a serious row, sometimes it happened all over nothing with Don.
    ‘You should engage your brain before you speak, Don.’ Willie reminded him.
    ‘That’s not very kind saying that. Poor Don.’ said Pat Jones.
    ‘Are you claiming I’m not right in the head no more? Because I am all right, our Vera says. Ask her,’ Don said with a belligerent tone to his voice.
    ‘No, I wasn’t, but you should,’ replied Willie.
    ‘I know I’m not all that good after my accident, but I’m not rude.’
    ‘I never said you were.’
    ‘You did.’ Don fidgeted with his glass, straightened the beer mat, ran his fingers through his snow-white hair and, before anyone managed to say something to calm his ruffled feathers, he leaped to his feet, well, as fast as he was able nowadays,reached across the table and landed a punch on Willie’s nose. Blood immediately streamed from it. Sylvia screamed, Maggie began laughing, Pat Jones searched in her bag for a tissue or two for Willie, and uproar ensued. Georgie came across with a tea towel to catch the flow of blood, except initially it had spurted into Willie’s half-full glass of home-brew. Sylvia then began to cry, she was so upset. Altogether, mayhem had erupted.
    ‘You can apologise for that, Don, that was unnecessary in the extreme.’ This came from Georgie, who’d had a heavy day brought on by the good weather, which meant that the bar had been extremely busy right from first thing.
    ‘Not my fault. It was Willie, that’s what.’
    ‘Now, see here …’
    But Harry interrupted Sylvia by saying, calmly, ‘It was no one’s fault. I was to blame, through ignorance of whose chair I’d sat in, so let me sort things out. Willie, I’m buying you a fresh glass, home-brew, was it? Don, of course you didn’t mean anything by what you said, and I haven’t taken offence. Next round on me. Can Willie have another glass, Georgie, right now?’
    ‘Of course. Thanks for taking it so kindly. Lovely manners you have indeed. I’ll bring it straight across. All right now, Willie?’
    Willie’s nose was still running a little but the flow caused by the initial impact had definitely lessened. ‘Much better.’
    Harry spoke again, even more calmly than before, ‘Tell me something about this dear friend of yours who so unexpectedly went to heaven sitting in that empty chair. You must have valued him to feel like you do.’
    Harry’s softly spoken request drove them to reminisce about Jimmy Glover and his escapades, which kept them occupied right through the drinks Harry bought for them, and through the next round bought by Willie. Good humour was finally restored when they remembered the story about Jimmy’s dog, Sykes. It took some telling, but Harry appeared to be enjoying itso they carried on. ‘But you see this dog that turned up
after
the
first
Sykes had died, looked identical to Sykes number one and, what’s more, it adopted Jimmy. It even knew where Jimmy had always put the water bowl and where it was supposed to sleep. It gave us all the shivers cos it seemed as though it was the old Sykes come back from the dead. It even liked going to church, just like the old Sykes did.’
    ‘I can see why you felt it was creepy. Bit unnerving, wasn’t it?’ Harry declared.
    ‘It certainly was,’ said Sylvia.
    ‘Where’s Sykes two now then? Since, you know …’
    ‘Well, Grandmama Charter-Plackett from next door’s taken him in but, to be frank, dogs aren’t her thing and she’d be glad for it to have a home somewhere else. She only took the animal in because of her fond memories of Jimmy. He was her longtime neighbour …’
    ‘I see. Poor Sykes.’
    ‘Yes, poor Sykes.’
    Harry had been taken into their circle

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