Monday, 29 February 2016

Is Good for the Gander

For audio click here 

Tony Hazard sat in the corner of the deserted Fox and Toad nursing his half of mild. His right hand clutched his walking stick; his grey beard and moustache were beginning to yellow at the edges. He wore the look of a man who’d seen it all and still felt the pain. He slowly raised the glass to his lips and took a sip, before carefully placing it back on the table. It was warm in the pub, warmer than at home; he’d make the drink last as long as possible.
Tony closed his eyes and thought about nothing and everything; the village was changing, soon it would be gone beyond all recognition. But he’d be dead by then so he needn’t worry, but he still did. He heard the sound of the old door creak and felt a blast of fresh air on his skin. He opened his eyes to see who the newcomer was and recognised Mrs Ashby; not someone he’d ever seen in the Fox before.
“Mr Hazard,” she said in a whisper so loud it was nearly a shout. “We need to talk.”
“Mine’s a half of mild,” Tony said.
Tony pointed at his nearly empty glass.
“Oh right, um yes okay.” The frumpy old bat went off to the bar and tried to raise the bored student from his stupor. She came back with Tony’s beer and a glass of sherry for herself. Tony didn’t even know they did a sherry in here.
“We’ve got to turn ourselves in,” Mrs Ashby said scratching her arm over her sleeve.
Tony ignored her for a moment, waiting to see if she had anything else to add.
“It’s all over the newspapers, it was on Radio Five Live. They are going to exhume the body.” She was visibly shaking as she spoke. “I have been so worried, I haven’t been able to sleep.” Her left hand had disappeared up her right sleeve, scratching away.
Tony took a mouthful of beer.
“Mr Hazard what are we going to do? If they try to dig up the body, they will find there is no body.”
Tony noticed that Mrs Ashby’s moustache was yellowing around the edges.
“Oh why didn’t we tell the truth?” Mrs Ashby said. “You didn’t mean to kill him. It was an accident. Self-defence, he was attacking you. I saw it. If you hadn’t taken a swipe with your stick, then the bloody thing might have killed you.”
Tony looked around the pub. The young barman was nowhere to be seen. He hated seeing this place so empty. There was a time when it would have been crowded even at three p.m. on a Monday afternoon.
“I’m calling the police,” Mrs Ashby said. “I’ll tell them I killed it. Say we made up the story about the drive-by shooting.” She was still having a good scratch.
Tony smiled, the drive by shooting, had been his idea, but he never for one moment thought people would believe him. A gangland style murder in a little sleepy country village, it was nonsense. But people were so gullible these days. The fake burial had been his idea too. It was easier than actually digging a hole for the bloody thing.
“I’m calling the police,” she said again.
Tony put a hand on her arm and stared at her.
“No, you’re not,” he said. It was the first time he’d spoken since he’d told her what he was drinking.
“What are we going to do?” Mrs Ashby said, tears in her eyes. Tony felt like he was looking at a ghost.
“Gertie’s already dead. There’s nothing we can do.
Mrs Ashby gasped, the words reminding her of what they’d done. 
“He died of natural causes.
“You hit him with your stick.” A tear rolled down her face. 
“It's natural to hit something with a stick if it is attacking you. We can’t bring him back to life. This is a load of media nonsense. Don’t you think the police have better things to do than exhume a dead goose? It’s just a goose, it’s not like we killed a person.  Now just go home, get some rest and don’t worry. If, and I don’t believe for one second they will, but if they do try to exhume the body, then we say the killers must have come back and stolen the evidence. Okay?”
Mrs Ashby nodded and straightened her sleeve.
“It’ll be fine, you mark my words,” Tony said.
Mrs Ashby stood up to go, her sherry untouched on the table.
“What did you do with the body?” she asked.
Tony Hazard tapped his nose. He waited until Mrs Ashby had closed the door behind her before mumbling “it was bloody delicious.” He helped himself to her drink, drinking the sherry in one gulp. 

This story is a theory about what maybe the background to this story, but it is meant to be a work of fiction and not in anyway casting aspersions on the good people of Sandon.

Update 5/3/2016 

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