The wait was finally over. James had to face the music at last. He was due in court tomorrow and he knew he would be sent down. He was up for dangerous driving, and attempted murder. There was no way he was going to be able to sweet-talk his way out of this one. His plea of not guilty would just not hold water. His barrister had told him so only yesterday, and he had been advised to keep his mouth well and truly shut at the trial, in case he dropped himself deeper in the mire that he was already in.
James thought back to the fateful night of the “accident”. He hadn’t intended to try to kill Patsy, he had just wanted to frighten her. He and Patsy had been out for dinner at the Italian restaurant in town to celebrate his new contract. He had just bought a new Mercedes. A big flashy job, and very suitable for his image as a big business tycoon. Patsy had thrown yet another wobbly when he had come home with the new car.
“We can’t afford a new car!” she had screamed at him, as he had proudly taken her out to see it.
“Yes we can. I’ve just landed a big new contract with the casino in town. It will more than pay for the car within a year. C’m on, let’s go out and celebrate.”
Patsy had reluctantly agreed to go out to dinner. She might not have liked living on the edge, but she certainly had enjoyed the luxuries in life that being married to a guy like James brought along. He worked hard, spent hard and played hard, and somehow or other he always managed to live a lifestyle well beyond his means. Patsy didn’t always question where the money came from, but this time she had been persistent.
Over dinner they had argued long and loudly. People around had started to stare at them, until the waiter had come along and asked them to pay up and leave. James had slammed his money down on the table and followed Patsy, who by this time had stomped out of the restaurant.
Back in the car they had continued to argue, as James had driven back home. Eventually Patsy had threatened to leave James if he did not return the car. “In fact, I’m going to leave you anyway,” she had said angrily. “I can’t stand the stress of being married to you any longer.”
“You can’t leave me,” James had remonstrated. “How will you manage on your own?”
“I won’t be on my own. I’ve found someone else, and I’ll go and live with him!” Patsy had blurted out.
“Over my dead body! In fact, over your dead body. If you leave me I will kill you!” James had been outraged.
He had been driving wildly, zig-zagging the car along the trading estate roads at breakneck speed. Patsy had started to scream.
“I’ll kill you!” James had yelled again, as his car just missed hitting two teenagers cycling along the road. He had put his foot down harder on the accelerator, skidding round the bend. Then as he had suddenly realised that he had lost control of the car, the wheels mounted the pavement. He had stamped on the brakes, but it had been too late and the car had crashed headlong into the brick factory wall.
The car was a write off. The police had said that they had witnesses from the restaurant to say they had been arguing loudly, and two cyclists had witnessed the fact that the car had been driven wildly and erratically and that they had heard a woman screaming in the car. His barrister had said there was no way he was going to get away with it having been an accident unless he tried to blame it on a fault with the car. He had said he would do his best, but….
Tomorrow it was to be his trial. Tomorrow, he would not be returning home for a very long time, and he knew it. He couldn’t do it. He could not face incarceration. He looked at Patsy sleeping beside him. She would be okay. Her family would look after her. Maybe she would soon find someone else, like she had threatened that fateful night. He knew he was bad news. She would be better off without him. Everyone said so, didn’t they?
James got out of bed, poured himself a very large whiskey and walked slowly to their hotel room balcony. He smoked his last cigarette that he had been saving for this very day. He was glad they were on the fourteenth floor. There would be no coming back. He stubbed out the cigarette and downed the last of the whiskey. The wait was finally over.
February Creative Writing ten minute tale.