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 He’d fancied her for weeks…

(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