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(Formerly Dirty tricks)
The chatter around the table faded to a
Hushed anticipation as Bradley, sat at
The head of the table, rose to begin
Carving a mouthwatering leg of roast
Lamb, unaware that at the far end of
The table, where sat his partner Caroline,
Social high treason was about to unfold.
Archie Wolfe, would-be builder, presently
Pen-pusher in a builder office and a recent
New neighbour at a ribbon of five cottages,
Where lived five woman, three in one kind
Of a relationships or another, two shoosing
To live alone and thus all of them ideal tagets
For a recently divorced male in his late thirties.
Keen to make himself known to the girls, even
The promise of rain was enough to compel
Him to enter their gardens uninvited, sweep
Their lingerie into a bundle before racing for
Their back doors in hope of a reward, if not
Praise for his caring and kind manner. As a
Caveat, this was a ploy he’d perfected to a T,
A seemingly innocent way of learning more
About a woman than she might care to reveal.
Caroline’s laughter drew a smile from Bradley
Now stacking sliced lamb, roast potatoes and all
The trimmings onto warm plates passing them
Round the table as he went. Carefully reading the
Room, Archie chose his moment with consummate
Precision, slipping his business card under the
Dining table where more than ready to receive it,
Waited a soft manicured hand.
Friends and family sat around the same table
Saw nothing of this superlative card trick,
Performed with the supreme skill of a card sharp.
High skulduggery was abroad that night and a
High price would soon be paid for this lustful
And selfish deception.
He told her earlier, when they were alone, that
He'd fancied her for weeks, and only now had
He drummed up the courage up to tell her. He
Spoke of not knowing what her relationship with
Bradley was like, but good or bad, he could offer
Her more; and thus a card was passed, a die
Was cast, and a high-risk gamble began.
Two men met for a game of squash later that
Week. One man ran the other into the ground
Beating him hands down before hotfooting it
To a nearby Novotel, where the beaten mans
Woman lay smiling on a pre-booked bed in a
Pre-booked room, a folded business card tucked
In her bra.
What took place needs nothing from me, but
Later that day, a young woman who should
Have known better, began to feel distinctly
Uncomfortable about what she'd done and
Could stay silent no longer.
Yes, Caroline’s relationship with Bradley was
Not all it once was, but that was no reason to
End up in a bedroom with a strange man, what
Came over her she couldn’t imagine, drink
Perhaps, the heat of the evening or just plain
Stupidity, whatever it was she had no reason
To hurt Bradley in this way and breaking down
Late that evening she told all, whereupon a
Kindly man became an angry man and a cry
Echoed long into the night: 'Who gave that
Creep the right to ruin my life?' Of all the ways
To hurt a man and surely the one that cuts the
deepest, is when a so-called friend sets out to
Win your woman or your wife.
Much came to an end that night not least of all
The tenure of the neighbour, Archie’s honesty
And character lost for good, at least in thye vicinity
Of the cottages, the newcomer now viewed as a
Snake in the grass waiting to strike, meddling with
other women of the district, taking what he can
When he can.
Word gets round snd plans get laid, causing
Other men to wander and to act, more as a
Safeguard than a certainty. A stockyard runt,
Of no account, that nobody will miss. Hardly
Worth the trouble, but what a comfort to the
© Joseph G Dawson