George and the Armadillo – Chapter 3.

Chapter 3.

‘Her name is Saqui – it means “favourite” in their language.’

‘But Dad, you’ve only been there a couple of weeks!’

‘I want you to come out here for the wedding. I’ll put some money into your bank account so you can buy some tickets. Bring a friend if you want.’

‘But . . . I don’t have anyone I can think of. And, hang on, but aren’t you still married to Mum?’

‘I’ve already written to her asking for a divorce. It should be straightforward if she agrees and why wouldn’t she. She’ll probably want to get something official between herself and armadillo man before he realises that she’s the spawn of the devil.’

Hannah went quiet. She was confused and a little hurt. She loved her Dad, but something needled her about his instantly finding happiness on the other side of the world, whereas she was fast becoming a Guinness book of Records entry for the woman with the most loser boyfriends. (Note to self: must stop clubbing my lovers to death.)

‘You still there love?’

‘Yes, yes, just a bit tired that’s all.’

‘Sorry, I was being selfish. Have the police started to leave you alone yet?’

‘Yes, things seem to have gone rather quiet, although they’ve left things open until the inquest is finished. I’ll be glad when it’s all over.’

‘When is the inquest?’

‘Next Thursday.’

‘OK, well, book your flights for the week after that. It’ll be good for you to get away for a bit and put all that behind you. How’s George?’

‘Oh, I forgot to tell you! I finally plucked up enough courage to go round his house. It was a bloody good job I did. I rang the bell for ages but he didn’t answer. I thought he just wanted to avoid me as the lights were on, but when I glanced through the window there he was, weirdly slumped over a table. I called for an ambulance.’

‘Blimey, was he OK?’

‘No idea. I got out of there sharpish. He looked pretty dead and I thought two dead men within a week or so was not going to look good for me, so I just scarpered.’

‘You do lead an exciting life. Chip off the old block, eh?’

‘I would rather lead a quiet life, Dad, especially now.’

‘Sorry, love. My getting married is probably not helping, is it? But look at it this way: this is the last chance for your Dad to get some rumpy-pumpy before everything down below turns to shrivelled jelly.’

‘Thanks Dad: that vision should help me sleep tonight.’

‘Look, why don’t you go find out what happened to old George? – you know you want to. You two have all the beginnings of a Bonnie and Clyde partnership, slowly eradicating the middle management of overblown companies.’

‘I told you Dad, I really don’t feel certain that George is the one, or even half of the one.’

‘Well, from what you told me about that the last time you met, you have a strange way of expressing a lack of interest. Or do you generally bonk senseless men you feel uncertain about?’

‘Dad! I was just feeling vulnerable. I think we both were.’

‘Sorry, just a sec, love.’

Hannah listen to the muffled sounds of conversation from across the planet. She knew she should be feeling more excited about her Dad’s news and felt sorry that her reception was so subdued. Once the inquest was out of the way she would feel better – she knew that – but it seemed so far away and she also dreaded the day itself . . .

‘Sorry love, Saqui wanted to know what I wanted for dinner. She’s been given a rabbit by a friend and it is my job to skin it apparently – man of the house and all that.’

‘You, skin a rabbit! You can’t skin custard, Dad.’

‘Well, this old dog is going to have to learn some new tricks. Especially for the wedding where it seems I might have to slaughter half of Chile’s animal population, or so I’m told.’

‘But you flinch putting your knife into a suet pudding. How on earth are you going to manage?’

‘Why do you think I’m inviting you over? I know you can do all the neck-pulling and plucking and skinning stuff, so I’m nominating you as chief slaughter-woman. You’ve even massacred men, so if anything you’re over-qualified!’

Hannah listen to her dad laughing himself hoarse at the end of the link. She wondered how many dads would be proud that their daughter had killed a man. Perhaps he might have thought differently had her victim been an engineer or scientist, but luckily it was just a middle management nobody whose demise barely warranted a mention on page 8 of the local rag. But then it had happened to coincide with riots in the town centre as the anti-immigration, anti-vivisection and anti-the-new-car-park-in-the-Shepherds-Row-area parades had been allowed to overlap, due to an oversight in the policing department. Otherwise Frank and his assassin may have climbed to page 4.

‘Saqui says hi, by the way. She really wants to meet you. I’ve told her all about you.’

‘What exactly, Dad? That I’m a failed doctoral candidate, real spinster material, who clubbed her last boyfriend to death?’

‘Well, I didn’t put it quite as abruptly as that, but you’ve certainly caught the gist. I just went into a bit more detail. Incidentally, Saqui says she can still find you a husband, although you are a little too old for the younger men here, most women marry before they’re twenty.’

‘Well, thanks for the offer of some toothless old goatherd, but I still aspire to nab a middle-management loser.’

‘Well, up to you, sweetie, but the planet will always need goatherds. Anyway, lots to do here and I’d better get to grips with this rabbit. I’ll get that money transferred tomorrow. And don’t worry about the inquest. I’ll call you in a couple of days anyway and if you need to speak to someone, just call me, any time, day or night. Take care of yourself.’

‘You too Dad. Speak to you soon. Love you.’

Hannah heard the screech of chair legs and then: ‘Urgh, you mean I have to put my hand in there and pull out all . . . that?’

Hannah closed the Skype call and sighed, listening to the last trickle of air from her lungs before she sucked it all in again. It felt as if a great weight was on her chest.

With a click of her mouse she found the number she wanted.

‘Hello, is that St. Mary’s hospital? I’d like to know if a patient has been admitted to you called George, George Miller. I’m a close friend of his…’


© danploy 2023
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Just came in on part 3 of this. Will go back to the beginning and have a read through before commenting. 🙂

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