Under Two Shires Oak – Episode 34

I’LL murder the wretched man, really I will!”

“In that case,” a voice said from behind Marianne, “you’ll need a solicitor to defend you.”

She turned round, and in the cold of the December afternoon, she saw James coming towards her along the tree-lined road.

“What are you doing here?”

“Just passing.” He pointed through the tall gates behind Marianne to a huge house which shone out through the gloom with lights on in all its many windows. “So this is the new project! What does your client do? I remembered the address but I’ve forgotten his name -”

“His name’s Luc and he’s . . .” Marianne paused “. . . a happiness expert!”

“Huh?” James laughed and she felt some of the tension she’d been feeling easing.

“Really.” She smiled. “He teaches meditation, and things to make people happy and calm. Film stars consult him. They fly him all over in private planes.”

“He must be a lovely person to work for. Better than my senior partners, anyway!”

“Actually, it’s him I’m pondering murdering! I can see it sounds like he would be lovely, but in fact he’s nasty, foul-tempered and horrible. He just puts his nice face on with the kaftan-thing he wears when he goes to see his clients. And I fear his house is going to be a right mess. We agreed a scheme for the house, but he keeps interfering!”

She paused to call goodbye and thank you to two men in overalls coming down the driveway from the grand house. They waved back.

“That’s one example,” she continued to James when they’d driven off in their van. “There’s one wall that, in the original plan, was to be green. So everything has been done to fit in with green. But now he wants it bright purple. And repainted immediately, too! All the guys I normally use were busy, but luckily I noticed those two chaps finishing a house nearby so I pulled them in.”

“Have they done a good job?”

“Brilliant! But it’s still going to look dreadful. Luc’s interference has knocked it all wrong.”

“Have you spoken to him about it?”

“I’ve tried. But he shouts me down. Says he’s the one who’s paying. We’ve just had a big row now. That’s why I’m out here – to cool down!”

“It is true he’s paying,” James said. “But I recommend you amend the contract, listing all the changes he’s asked for against your advice.”

“Shh, he’s here.” Marianne nodded back towards the house from where footsteps could now be heard. “I’d better go. But it’s been good seeing you, James.”

She wasn’t just being polite. She meant it. Was it his calm grey eyes? Whatever, James always made her feel better. Probably, she thought wryly, he’d be better at Luc’s job than Luc was! Except – and she actually laughed, which just showed how much he’d cheered her up – except that, as she knew from that first party they had gone to, James looked very odd in a kaftan!


Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.