As she approached the Kings Rachel noticed a familiar body standing outside for a smoke, he had his back to her and since he was the only smoker outside she presumed the pint on the window ledge belonged to him. In a set of moves that James Bond himself would have been proud of Rachel made it all the way up to standing directly behind him without being spotted “Ah I see you decided that you did need a jump start young knight” Joe spun around nearly losing his balance as he did, wiping a hand self-consciously over his face he groaned “I was trying to repair my liver first”. Rachel watched as he picked up the pint and held it aloft with some measure of bravado before taking the tinniest sip of the lager. He swallowed the liquid with a barely disguised grimace and Rachel couldn’t help laughing “does your liver agree with your mouth or does it think that beer tastes ok” Theatrically poking his belly Joe explained “my organs will do as they are told” and his stomach grumbled an angry reply. “Ah another roaring night of debauchery in the Kings eh, thought that you were up late!” Rachel could almost track the words working their way through his hung-over mind and then, on cue, a spark lit in his eyes “oh no I was up late enjoying speaking to you” he offered the cheesy line with a small, and seemingly risky, bow.
“Bloody idiot, there was me waiting to drag that old truck out the car park with my trusty ford and you were languishing in bed with a hangover” he dipped his shoulder in a defensive crouch and covered his neck with his hand “no hickeys, please don’t beat me up” she slapped him playfully on the arm “what is it with the physical violence thing? I am not a violent person why do you keep presuming that I am?” Joe regained his full height and took a step backwards as if appraising her, a sly grin quickly took over his face. “It’s because you do that, it’s not like Steve comes in with black eyes or anything but look at you” “what? What do I do? Stop messing with me you’re too hung-over for that battle” his smile grew wider and the foggy tired eyes took on a shimmer “shut up, you do know you do it don’t you?” the quizzical note in his voice was justified as Rachel didn’t have a clue what Joe was talking about. She ran a quick mental checklist; her hair was tied back so couldn’t be standing on end, her finger nails hadn’t grown into claws and short of physically checking she didn’t think that she had sprouted horns! “Joe what are you on about? Be careful now or you actually might make me angry” In answer Joe stepped forward again so that they stood about eight inches apart, he shook his arms at his side like an actor warming up and Rachel felt herself tense slightly in case this was some sort of prank. Joe raised his hands as if to grab her but then put them down by his side again and shook them out, whilst he did this he cocked his head and studied her like a hunter stalking. Finally he reached up and grabbed both of her shoulders firmly, he didn’t grip her just sort of clamped her between two open palms.
She suddenly felt herself sink back on her heals and realised that, in order for that to happen; she must have been leaning forward. Joe seemed genuinely incredulous as he removed and then replaced his hands, again she sunk to her heals but this time she was more aware of it. When he released his grip a second time Rachel felt herself pushing her weight forward onto her toes and rising slightly, her knees unlocked and she felt the very slightest bounce. By now Joe was laughing, most of the evidence of his hang-over was gone, “you can’t stop it can you” She moved to slap him playfully but held back, now that it had been pointed out to her she realised that she really had adopted a mini version of a boxer’s pose. Pushing her feet back down flat on the ground with a conscious effort she felt herself rising again, standing flat was like trying to push a spring in a box it just felt wrong. Like the way a cat’s tail rises when their back is stroked Rachel felt some inextricable force pushing her back onto the balls of her feet. “I do so know that I am doing it I was trying to scare you actually” she doubted that the bluff would work but threw in pleading eyes to seal the deal. “See that’s what being brought up by a cow boxer does for you babe, bet you had punch bag classes before your homework” He picked up his pint and took another timid sip as if unsure what his digestive system would make of the addition of more volume, the result clearly wasn’t encouraging as he placed the glass back on the window ledge carefully as it was a bomb “I’ll have you know that my childhood was spent dressing dolls and learning the flute so that I could become the proper lady that I am now” she managed to hold her best Eliza Doolittle voice until the end of the sentence and then started laughing.
Joe’s burst out laughing “time for a quick one? Looks like my day is a write off” he reached out to pick up his pint and Rachel deftly reached over him plucking the glass from the ledge. “And father also taught me how to drink like a lady, perhaps he should have taught you” laughing she threw the warm lager down her throat in one quick gulp, wiped her mouth on the back of her hand and skipped into the pub. Bill was sitting at the end of the bar pouring over some paperwork aided by a large coffee. “Hey Bill I caught this one hanging around outside trying to drag out a pint he must have brought yesterday. You’re letting your clientele slip” a little leap gave her the extra few inches she needed to lay over the end of the bar and upend the glass into the waiting basket. Bill had risen from his stool and watched the acrobatics with a smile “Rach it’s been what 4 maybe 5 years since you last worked for me how did you know that I hadn’t moved that tray?” Rachel walked around the edge of the hatch and planted a kiss on Bill’s bristly cheek “because you changing something behind the bar would be like the ravens leaving the tower of London, just doesn’t happen” one of the guys playing pool called out “apart from the bloody prices, he’s not shy then” earning him a “I could double them and you’d still come here Sean because nobody else wants you”. Rachel pulled up a stool at the end of the bar by the hatch, this was local’s territory, where you conspire with the landlord or the bar staff it was the zone of friends rather than just customers.
Joe sat on his stool, clearly staked out by the packet of tobacco and bunch of keys left on the bar, another delightful benefit of village life “pint for me and whatever the welterweight wants please Bill” Rachel stopped Bill before he started pouring the pint “are you sure you want this in a glass Joe or would you prefer it in a bottle and wrapped in a blanket so you can cuddle it like the last one?” turning back to Bill she explained “ he had nursed that last pint for so long that the yeast had reactivated and was trying to make bread. He would have still been there at closing if I hadn’t come along and helped him out” Bill stood, arms folded across the huge barrel of his chest, and watched Rachel turn back to Joe “You can have a beer Joe if you can be trusted with it” the pool players had now wandered over to watch the show “the big glasses, that we call pints, are for grown-ups would you be happier with a more feminine schooner or perhaps a half pint” she slowly enunciated each word before gracefully pivoting on the stool to miss the playful shove Joe directed at her. Joe, who clearly hadn’t regained full use of his faculties, struggled to restrain his momentum and for a moment was in danger of falling off his stool. Rachel sprung back up and turned in order to address her entire audience “I think that is all the answer that we need. Make that half a lager, with a top and a cherry and an umbrella! On second thoughts, scrub the umbrella all those sharp pointy bits may be too much for him” she reached over and gave Joe’s cheeks a playful pinch “you be careful now, don’t get too excitable” without any further reference to Joe, Bill pulled up half a lager and topped it with a slice of lemon and a cherry before completing with a bendy straw “and for the lady?” Rachel glanced quickly over her shoulder before rising up on her stool “hey no fair Bill you were serving us let the lady wait” Bill feigned an apology to an invisible person behind Rachel before turning his attention back to her expectantly “I’ll have a coffee please Bill, you know how I like it” Joe stirred his lager with the straw hooking out the various fruit accompaniments “well thanks for that babe, you know how to make a hangover feel worse” she ruffled his hair “you know you love it, besides you didn’t have to get a hangover did you?”
Bill returned with a mug of coffee for Rachel “one coffee with coffee, an extra coffee, some coffee and a sweetener just like the lady asked for” he picked up the ten pound note that Joe had left on the bar “I’ll charge you for a pint just in case you get a second wind and want the other half” he turned and winked at Rachel “the coffee is on me” Rachel took a sip of the syrupy thick coffee and gave Bill an approving nod “you didn’t forget my recipe” “It’s easy, half coffee half water and one sweetener god knows how you can drink it kid but that’s a recipe you could never forget” Rachel turned to Joe “go steady on that drink big man you don’t want to wipe out tomorrow as well” he stuck his tongue out her and managed a more substantial mouthful. Rachel took a look around the pub; she had always liked the Kings with its clean but tired décor. It was a traditional pub and Bill was very much the traditional landlord, pool and darts were complimented by an old fashioned juke box and single fruit machine. The Kings was an adult environment, children were not prohibited but neither were they encouraged, this was a light and bitter pub not a fruit shoot one. The pub wasn’t there for the new houses it was the village pub and like the village everything was just a little behind the harshness of the modern day. At the weekend it was common to see young boys nursing a lager shandy, from the pump of course, with their fathers learning the ways of the pub. That education was missing in towns now, gone in favour of ID check and door policies but the result was parks full of youngsters and cheap cider something which, thankfully, wasn’t seen in the village.
Draining the last of her coffee Rachel looked disapprovingly at Joe’s half full glass, prompting him to follow her lead and empty the glass “there see, wasn’t so bad was it” she teased. “What can I say, I’m a fast learner” Joe leant past her to attract Bill’s attention “Hey Bill can I upgrade that last half to a pint please?” he turned back to Rachel with an expectant look on his face “Oh no, busy mum and all that, I only popped in to say hi” Rachel leapt off her stool and danced around the bar to throw her arms around Bill “look after the old soaks Bill, lovely to see you as always” she planted a kiss on his cheek and skipped back to her stool. Hooking her jacket from the stool she pulled her car keys out of the pocket “are you sure you don’t need a jump start lightweight?” Rachel deliberately struck a boxing stance and danced around Joe, throwing playful jabs at his arm while he feigned pain. “OK, OK, so I’m a lightweight, I’m sorry stop beating me” ducking an attempt to swat her out of the way Rachel landed another gentle connect “awh come on, man up I’m only welterweight” Bill roared in laughter “welterweight? Honey you ain’t nothing above fly” Rachel spun on her heels, flashing Bill a grin she headed for the door “catch ya later alligators” a chorus of “see ya Rach” followed her as she headed through the door.
The sudden brightness of the day surprised Rachel, the pub hadn’t seemed dark at all but the low afternoon sun almost blinded her. Filling her lungs with the chill autumn air Rachel headed to the ford and mouthed a silent prayer of thanks to the automotive gods when it started. She squirmed in the seat to get her phone out and check the time, the dashboard clock had long ago forgotten how many minutes were supposed to be an hour; it was coming up on half past one. She gave Joe, who was now back in the doorway, a cheery wave as she steered the old ford out onto the road. The traffic was light and before Rachel knew it she was pulling up on the drive, pondering once again how it was that she couldn’t actually remember most of the journey. As she ratcheted the hand brake on Rachel carried out an automatic survey of the front of the house as she always did when she left the children. There was no smoke, emergency services or knotted blankets hanging out of the window, there never was and Rachel wasn’t at all sure why she felt the need to check. After pushigng the front door through a pile of discarded shoes she kicked her trainers off in the hall and hung up her jacket, retrieving her phone from the pocket and slipping it into her jeans. Walking into the lounge Rachel felt the handset vibrate but ignored it, important things like calls had an audible alert. Steve and Davey were both sat on a pile of sofa cushions on the floor with Steve driving some race car around a track while Davey watched from an enclave of empty crisp and biscuit packets. Rachel noted the basic controller lying by the television, races between Davey and Steve were hardly evenly pitched but he enjoyed them. “Hey dude” Davey, who appeared to be trying to track an errant snack down in his jumper, looked up and grinned “Momma!” he leapt up in a shower of crisps and crumbs and ran at Rachel.
“Has he been OK?” she asked Steve whilst deftly catching Davey mid-flight and taking him into the kitchen for a clean-up “of course, he’s my dude we been beating the world right mate” Steve called through to the kitchen. Davey was chatting away between swipes of the facecloth and as Rachel started on the hands the sounds started to make sense “Me and Daddy raced cars, guns and dogs with peoples tails” When he was excited Davey rarely bothered with the short words in a sentence, it was as if he had so much to say that he had no time for the finesse of language and just threw the words out in a long stream. The racing and the guns made sense but Rachel had to question the rest “dogs have tails dude not people” Davey gave her a sympathetic look before explaining “no momma the people have the tails like the dogs” nodding to show that she had grasped the obvious concept of people with tails Rachel offered “did you give them a lift when you were driving?” Davey erupted into laughter “nooo we shoot the tail people silly, they easy cos they walk funny” the sentence came in between bursts of laughter as Rachel dusted the crisps and debris from her squirming son, with the occasional tickle thrown in for good measure. Surveying the results of operation clean-up she concluded that clean clothes were not required and released Davey again with a subtle tap on the rump to ensure all was dry “does Davey want a wee?” he stopped and paused for just long enough to confirm that a trip upstairs was in order. “Come on tiger lets go upstairs”
Miss Beach looked remarkably timid in the playground on the afternoon school run. Davey studied a screw in the wooden fence while they waited for Lou and Rachel carefully checked that both of her heels were on the floor, it wouldn’t do to scare her too much after all. Having collected a very chatty and, as predicted, hungry daughter Rachel found herself concentrating as they walked back to the car, consciously straightening her legs with each stride. It was just Joe winding her up she concluded but looking around she realised that the children were struggling to keep up with her, had her stride changed, surely not? When they got home Steve was snoring on the sofa, which lasted all of two minutes until Rachel had removed Davey’s shoes and released him like a coiled spring. Lou led the way to the kitchen “hungry darling?” Rachel asked her as the youngster climbed onto a stool and cleared a space on the table in preparation “the food was yucky mummy it was all slimy and squidgy” whilst not the greatest culinary description this confirmed it was a chicken nuggets arrangement. “Did they have sandwiches or crisps that you liked honey” the look on Lou’s face said it all “no, the crisps were beefy and they didn’t do sandwiches, they were just mean” Lou wasn’t overly fussy, at least not in Rachel’s opinion, but if there was a beef flavoured crisp within a meter of any food she considered it to be contaminated. This revulsion with beef flavouring, actual beef was fine, seemed to stem from an episode when Steve had innocently shared some crisps with her without realising that she was sick. The resulting vomit explosion had left the conservatory stinking for a week. Apparently when faced with a bubbling noise that was getting louder Steve had weighed up his options, decided that the stairs were too big a hurdle and launched their daughter through the conservatory in a bid for the garden. Due to a combination of clumsiness and Rachel’s security regime the pair of them had come sliding to a stand at the locked door before the heaving became too much and Lou had showered the door like something from the Omen.
Placing a sandwich and a bag of crisps on the table, which were instantly set upon by Lou, she poked her head into the lounge “Steve do you want anything to eat I’m feeding Lou because they starved her on her day out” Steve was laying on the sofa with his knees up supporting Davey who was lying across them and giggling at his father “go on then twist my arm a sandwich and a tea please” Davey managed to stop giggling for long enough to squeal “and me mumma” as Rachel disappeared back into the kitchen. Producing a sandwich for Steve Rachel boiled the kettle and produced a milky looking tea, it was all he would drink, to accompany it. Lou, who had demolished her snack, brushed her hair out of her face and started explaining her day “hang on one minute darling, let me feed the boys and I will be all yours” she rolled her eyes at the word ‘boys’ eliciting a conspiratorial grin from Lou. It was important to Rachel that, no matter what she had on, she gave the children attention and listened to their experiences, they were only young once after all.
Rachel delivered the sandwich and tea to Steve and, in timing that only a mother can have, produced a snack packet of raisins and a mug of orange squash before Davey had managed to voice his concerns at being left out. “Sit up and be careful” she warned Davey, placing the mug on a small lamp table and moving it close to him before opening the crackers “I will mumma, Davey is a big boy” he beamed up at her delighted with the grown up drinking receptacle. As she walked back into the kitchen Rachel realised how little it took to make her happy. Despite the fact that she was exhausted and running on nothing but coffee the small civility from Steve and the simple reassurance that she had fulfilled her family’s desires was her idea of bliss. She didn’t want sports cars or luxury holidays, although both would be nice, all she wanted was to be the housewife, the homemaker was it really that much to ask? Switching the kettle on to boil Rachel spooned coffee into her mug, cleared the counter and placed a snack packet of dried fruit in front of Lou.
Sitting down opposite Lou with her coffee Rachel watched as the young girl carefully pulled the seams of the bag apart. Where stone-age man had fire so the modern world had plastic packets, mastering the plastic bag was a clear mark of maturity. Davey was simply defeated by such bags and unable to open them but Lou, increasingly independent, had mastered the opening and now dismissed any assistance. But the plastic bag was no easy challenge, it required dexterity and control something which came with time. Rachel smiled remembering Lou’s frustration when she had first conquered the little plastic bags and too much force had resulted in the bag tearing and shedding its contents. Wiser now, Lou slowly pulled at the seam ready to stop the instant that an opening occurred and, critically, whilst the contents remained inside. These were the memories made from taking time to spend with the children and to Rachel they were memories to treasure. Throughout her coffee she listened intently to Lou’s experiences in the local woodland park. Although Rachel and the children often walked through the woods being on a school trip had transformed the experience into something which she barely recognised and with the added soap opera style dialogue between Lou and her friends it was a genuinely interesting story.
Rachel was in the process of loading the geriatric washing machine when she heard a muted “see ya later” and the front door closing. Looking up Rachel realised that it was gone 6 pm, she smiled as she realised that Steve had headed straight into work and forgotten whatever it was that he had wanted to do before. She didn’t smile out of any malice over Steve missing an appointment the reality, she knew, was that there was unlikely to have been an appointment he was simply trying retain some time for himself. To Rachel this was a small but important victory, not between them as a couple but for the children and family life. Steve had enjoyed playing with his son and had not wanted to leave, that was what it was all about, proper family time.
After a significant internal debate Rachel compromised and fed the children a light supper. Whilst neither of them was particularly hungry, indeed both left food, Rachel could never bring herself not to feed them a meal before bed. The bathing routine was completed using the hallway light and a camping torch that was reserved for the occasion; they had never actually been camping. Once again Rachel was struck by the way that children adapted to their environment and wondered if they would ever consider a bright bathroom to be normal. By 9 pm she had settled both children in their respective beds, completed the first check of the night and was indulging in a coffee before starting on the homework. Realising that her phone hadn’t seen a charger all day Rachel hooked it out of her pocket and plugged it in, the glowing battery signal told her that the phone had turned itself off. In the halcyon days of mobile phones, when calls and SMS were all they could be used for, Rachel remembered battery life being counted in days. Now, after a couple of decades of technological advances, you were lucky to get 8 hours. After waiting the requisite number of minutes she hit the power button and then watched as the phone ‘booted up’, another ‘benefit’ of smart phone technology.
Rachel had made a further cup of coffee before the phone caught up with the network and furiously beeped at her, informing her that she had messages with the tone of a frustrated secretary. Zoe always said that if they were to ration SMS based on response times Rachel would have to get used to writing letters, frankly that would be no hardship. There was a Facebook message from Georgia suggesting that this Friday would be a good time for a girl’s night out. Rachel groaned inwardly at the cost associated with such an event. It was not that she would spend a large amount of money, but that there was always something else she could have spent the money on and that made her feel a guilty. Despite the obvious disparity in their financial affairs Georgia seemed to genuinely enjoy a couple of bottles of cheap wine in the local pub and was never one to push the spending.
Rachel considered the message and the time of the evening and concluded that she had to reply. She thumbed a quick and positive response before scrolling through and deleting the pages of games requests. It always astounded Rachel that people had time to play games on their cell phone, where did they find the time. For a while she had taken to scrutinising the other mums on the school run to see if she could identify the ‘type’ that spent their time crushing candy or building virtual farms. She had given up when it became clear that it was impossible to deduce who was battling in crazy cell phone tournaments. At one end of the scale were the coffee mums who seemed to spend all of their time in each other’s houses or the local café. At the other end of the scale were the Range Rover mums who just seemed too educated and self-important.
Given the amount of games requests that Rachel received from her limited pool of ‘virtual’ friends she could only conclude that she was incredibly bad at time management. How these women managed to play these games and amass a seemingly endless array of virtual rewards was beyond Rachel who struggled to use the toilet in peace most days. Flicking back to the ‘new messages’ indicator Rachel smiled at an SMS that Joe must have sent earlier:
“If I get a hangover in the morning it will be entirely your fault, since I had to drink enough beer to show that I was a real man after your show Miss Tyson xxx”
Leaving the phone to charge Rachel collected the various boxes from the conservatory and set up her ‘workstation’ after carefully wiping down the small breakfast bar. There were two sticky strips to fit to a wraparound banner that was then glued inside the first and last page, two leaflets to insert into the magazine, and then the whole lot into a bag. Rachel was relieved that the bags were plain, they would be sent to a printer later, sometimes they came pre-addressed and she would have to carefully mark each address off on a list. The sticky strips were the obvious first choice and she set at work applying them to the banners but taking care to leave one film on so that they didn’t stick to each other. Rachel had filled three trays with prepared banners before she stopped for a coffee, there was more to do but it was never a good idea to do them all in one go. When she had just started homework Rachel would complete all of each individual tasks first and then assemble but she had quickly realised that the material was far from accurately measured; now she would slow and count the material as she approached the end.
It had taken two hours to get through the banners but although it seemed slow the bloody sticky dots were a nightmare and seemed determined to adhere to anything other than the banner! Easing herself off the stall Rachel stretched and casually observed that the noises her body made were not those of a young lady any more, like she had ever been a lady!. Filling the kettle she set it to boil whilst spooning coffee into the now dark stained mug. Only once she had safely transformed the granules into a steaming dark mug of fuel did Rachel pick up her phone. Rachel still considered her phone to be a valuable piece of equipment and not to be mixed with water. The truth, of course, was that the handset was a cheap one but again she had better things to spend money on and would feel terrible if she had to divert funds from something else because of clumsiness or laziness.
Rachel thumbed through a series of messages from Georgia, just like in real life her friend could have a full on debate without input from anybody else. Scrolling through the messages Rachel could see that they had debated going “up town”, strippers and casinos before settling on an evening in the local pub. After deleting the various games requests and two emails offering her Viagra at a knock down price, there wasn’t a shelf life long enough people, Rachel flicked through to Joe’s last text. Rachel typed out a reply:
“No the cause of any hangover is simply that you drank too much beer! Well done for showing those lads that you were a tough guy, your secret is nearly safe Mr Lightweight! xx”
As she hit the send key Rachel noticed it was nearly midnight, she doubted that Joe would be sober enough to be awoken by the text but wasn’t worried either way, it was Joe after all. Finishing her coffee Rachel emptied the washing machine and carefully coaxed it into another wash. Holding the door at the same time as pressing the start button with a gentle left hand bias Rachel was rewarded with a clunk and whoosh as the machine started to fill. Reaffirming her vow that, should she ever win the Lotto, she would replace all appliances and machines in her life so that she never again had to pray to the god of machines Rachel headed back to work. By 3.30 Rachel had packed several boxes of completed homework into the conservatory and considered that it was time to go to bed, she wasn’t tired but the children needed to see normality and mum up all night really wasn’t.
Rachel circled the ground floor checking windows and doors were secure, sliding the shoes along the hall to ensure that there was a clear path to, and more importantly from, the stairs she extinguished the hall light and headed up. Stealthily bypassing the squeaky stair Rachel paced the hall and checked and rearranged both children before heading to the bathroom. Brushing her teeth Rachel pondered whether the children ever wondered how they woke up so differently from how they went to bed, did they think that some fairy stole their toys and removed the covers? She concluded that it was one of the wonderful things about childhood innocence; they just didn’t question such things. After changing in the bedroom Rachel returned to the bathroom, buried her underwear in the laundry basket and checked again that the small window was locked in the vent position. This was the only time that she didn’t check on the children, there was something about being in her pyjamas that made her feel semi naked and embarrassed by her gangly limbs.
Perhaps embarrassed was the wrong word but somehow Rachel had always viewed herself as function rather than form. She didn’t consider herself to be a girl in the normal sense, she wasn’t a beauty or the stuff of catwalk she was just a person and her body just a vehicle. Grabbing a wipe from the dressing table she scrubbed any trace of makeup from her face, she held no stock with the pampering of her girlfriends it was all function. Plugging her phone into charge Rachel opened the bedroom window and killed the bedside lamp. Steve always slept with the windows closed; he seemed to be comforted by sweating. For Rachel the only way that she could sleep was with the feeling of a draught on her face, her father had said it was because she “had a warm heart”. Rachel knew was that she could sleep in the Arctic with a duvet but would struggle on a warm beach without a breeze but it was simple logic for her, a duvet could keep you warm but never cool you down.
Sliding under the duvet Rachel took some time to check off all of the noises of the house, to ensure that there was no nefarious or ill meaning tones hidden amongst the normal background noise of the property. When satisfied that she could hear no gremlins breathing or bad guys creaking on stairs she slipped her phone from the bedside cabinet, reversed it and pressed the button that awoke the screen. Rachel had never been a spy or in the military and had no interest in reading stories of either profession yet somehow she had invented her own self defence rituals. If anybody had asked her why she powered her phone in this manner she would have claimed clumsiness but if pressed would have to admit that it was for safety. The light of the phone was bright and there was something that told Rachel that being illuminated first in a dark room was not good, first the glare was shared with the room, only then did she turn it to face herself. One day, whilst holding Davey as he watched Steve on some army game, she had learned that snipers target just forward of the glow of a cell phone, well they did on the X-box at least. Ever since this new found knowledge she performed the night time rotation a little further away from her torso, after all wasn’t the thing about snipers that you never knew where they were?
Ritual complete, Rachel set the alarm that she knew she wouldn’t need and opened a waiting message:
“Well of carse I showeD those lads6 after you left I was thetoughest person there and still sobeR”
Smiling she wondered if there was any more self-defeating device than a drunk SMS protesting sobriety. It was as if the mobile manufacturers had buried a hidden test in the machines by measuring the time a key was depressed and turning it into upper case. How many garbled and nonsensical SMS messages were sent across the globe in attempts to convince absent partners of sobriety? What a marvellously technological age she lived in.
“Note to you: When you have had coffee and pain killers read the last text that you sent and see if the clumsy prose, poor spelling and random characters really supported your case. You sir, are a drunk and I will be checking with George in the morning to see if you were drinking or just smelling his apron to get in such condition, I fear the latter! Night, R xx”