The Straight Road

Once more we venture into the realm of the great metropolis, head on down , down, down the straight straight road where it gets deeper and darker, so lets see what lies there.

Episode 4 August /September/ October  by Johny Brown cov81AUGUST

Deeper and darker and more bling ridden still were the clubs he was now frequenting, until it happened that he did indeed bump into Kerene in the latest venue he was dancing the night away in. They shared an Addison Lee home. The driver was a lovely Syrian guy and was willing to share some of his recent experiences with them until Dave felt compelled to cut him.

This after all was a special moment, a momentous occasion if you like for David and Kerene. He didn’t want the moment spoiled by all that talk of misery and war. Kerene had got there first though, inquiring calmly what the property prices were like in Syria at that moment. The driver thought it was a good time to invest in land; most of the houses had been razed though.

Susan was up making breakfast when they bowled through the front door and she looked in awe at Kerene’s very nice eyes and abundant hair. Beauty was in the house and no mistake. Her first thought was what could she do to welcome this visitor to the house. Susan was conscious that a Christian should be generous to visitors. This was a chance to shine.

Kerene looked Susan up then down and asked her to fetch a long cool drink. Three nights later and those weird brown and beige luggage accessories, that certain people stake a sense of style or class upon were dumped around the flat. As were many pairs of baby skinned Ugg boots also in varying shades of brown and beige. Kerene had landed in beige time for real.

Susan accepted Kerene into the home and gave up the bathroom for her. She washed and ironed Kerene’s wardrobe, which soon took up most of David’s bedroom. She tidied up Kerene’s celebrity magazines and picked up the discarded tissues that Kerene would throw around the floor. Susan looked on as Kerene strutted around the apartment. Kerene, Kerene.

She didn’t complain at all when Kerene introduced a plasma screen that soon dominated one wall of the lounge. Susan anyway was too bound up with her books and her religion. Despite being discouraged from working at the foodbank she was signing countless online petitions that were saving lives all over the globe. Love for Susan was now a universal thing.

She did ponder a little bit about home though. Certain women down the vegetable market claimed to know Kerene. They noted that Kerene had moved into the flat and went on to say they had informed knowledge that she had bitch dark supernatural powers when it came to men and other things. Susan naturally turned the other cheek to such malign gossip.

She was sure they were only jealous of her vivid beauty and all that and besides no beauty was more beautiful than the spirit of the holy thing as yet indefinable in her life. Susan would pray for Kerene. She smiled when David asked her how she was getting on. Susan was grateful for so many things and felt this lovely need to pray more often and more sincerely.

 

She asked David if she might visit a house of prayer if only to pray more thoroughly. David shuddered and told her in no uncertain terms that it was out of the question. There were the two of them to look after now. Not just the brother, but the new lover too. Susan bowed and accepted David’s words humbly. Her brother was the sensible one; the Patriach in her life.

SEPTEMBER

David and Kerene were married in a registry office three weeks later and Kerene celebrated the wedding by quitting her boring job at the Estate Agent’s. The newly domesticated woman had certain tastes though and a style that demanded the availability of much loose funding. In the wake of Kerene’s retirement David felt honoured to responsibly supply that funding.

 

He cut the wages of both his staff and put a fire sale on in the shop. Somehow though it wasn’t enough. David grafted harder but he seemed to be treading water. The atmosphere in the shop had changed considerably and he didn’t quite feel the connection with his customers that he used to have. He scratched his head and thought aloud, something had to give.

Kerene could see where he was going wrong. The shop was OK in itself, and in dealing to the limited clientele it had, but really, how many people wanted to wear clothes like this? Amongst the men she knew there was a major demand for wearing out and out sportswear, whether for watching football, doing the supermarket run, or just kicking back with a burger at home.

She proposed that David shift his retail perspective and dump this wimpy craft stock. In would come big name global brands at more than easily affordable prices. What’s more one shop is OK in itself but all the real players had chains of shops, proper retail empires, spanning nations, this was where the action was. The shop David was to be renamed Dave.

David watched his existing staff go then found he could employ other staff on Zero Contract hours, this freed up surplus money and he also got good money for the previous stock, selling to a vintage stall in a kitsch town hall market he had come across. The subtle gold on racing green was replaced with plasma pink on navy blue with a bold typeface. Dave…

There would be no discreet and arty sticker instagram campaign for the new venture, but Kerene had Dave know he could buy a football team once he had a few stores up and running, and this would be a fantastic vehicle for free advertising globally as well as a decent structure for the practice of asset stripping. Kerene ordered Susan to feed Dave more manly portions.

Furthermore Dave had intimated to Kez one night that there was still some inheritance funding left in the pot and she urged him to be bold and push out around the country to find a few more locations in which to set up shop. Already the new flagship store was doing great business and Dave was inspired to travel to a few more cities to see what was out there.

 

OCTOBER

He was going to be driving more often and needed proper wheels to do so. Kerene had recommended a decent 4×4, which could later be used for school runs and the like. Dave invested accordingly. He bought a new puffa jacket that was warm on the street and cool in the car then invested in the most expensive satnav he could find. The straight new direction to riches was all.

 

Susan had made him his usual Scottish organic oatmeal porridge with honey and blueberries but he left it untouched. Dave felt like stopping off at a café before he left the city proper. It was going to be a long drive and either a full English or Turkish breakfast with a mug of tea would be needed to see him along the road.

He handed Susan some credit cards as well as the keys to various locks. There were standing orders to be fulfilled and cleaner’s bills to be settled. The assistants in the shop would need paying and they would invent gripes from time to time. These were invariably provoked by minimum wage related petty sensitivities but would need straightening all the same.

It was a lot of responsibility but Susan was humble enough to be grateful for her duties. She drew up a list and stuck it to the fridge with her penitent saint fridge magnets that had arrived via Amazon from Lourdes. Susan scrubbed the floors three times a day and cooked lavish meals for Kez whilst eating most sparingly herself. She thrived silently on her duties.

Weirdly this responsibility of Susan’s got Kerene’s back up. Her svelte nose, still smarting slightly from a recent surgical operation, was put right out of joint. Surely as the wife she should be the one responsible for such things as door keys and credit cards and have final say on domestic chores and what have you. Susan was the mere sister in this dynamic, nothing more.

Furthermore, it was Susan, obviously, who had sweet-talked her brother into allowing this insult to happen. Every sweep of Susan’s brush, every turn of the key, every swipe of the credit card stung. Kerene had a reputation to uphold, she just did not take slurs, perceived or otherwise, lightly and this humble holier than thou act did not wash. Kerene had to act accordingly.

Slowly and methodically she worked her way through the house. Sloshings of bleach on the carpets in the lounge, smears of dirt on the tiles in the bathroom, cigarette burns on the towels. Then Kerene moved on to the furniture. Bit by bit she smashed up every leg, degraded all fabrics and attacked every surface, finishing off by setting the marital bed aflame.

Not a flame that would set the room alight but certainly enough to look like a bomb had hit the place. She had pre-empted the shock by sending some shots ahead using What’s App. The wife was stood at the threshold when the husband came home, talons gleaming, sol-tan glistening, hair freshly bleached and roasted, she was looking fragile, despaired and vulnerable.

 

A slight tremor, a gasp caught in the back of her throat, tears welling, threatening to overwhelm mascara… Oh Dave, look, look, what your beastly bitch of a barbarous sister has done, she’s only gone and broke every bit of furniture in the house, and our marital bed too, where tonight I had so many things planned to please you. Dave surveyed the damage intently.

Dave she is up there now praying to Jesus like she is possessed by Satan and she must be doing things with implements of worship, it’s just not right, Dave, not right at all, and me, all I want is to love you Dave, and for us to be proper happy, but how can we, with what she’s done? Dave was nonplussed, excited even.

‘Oh no worries, I have made so much cash these last three days that I was thinking all the way home that we’d replace these month old and already out of fashion bits of tat with newer more modern fittings. Come on; let us spend the night in a fine hotel and drink champagne and live large and do all those hotel things that folk like us too often read of and dream about.

 

Dave and Kerene booked into a hotel whilst Susan returned to her room and prayed for Kerene and all universal irrational rage. She was sure Kerene’s moods would abate in time as she got used to living in a calm meaningful environment. Meanwhile she knew it was best to lead by example and meditate in a gentle manner. The decorators refurnished around her.

Susan even conceded to having her own room decorated. She asked for the deadest shade of grey in the pallet to be applied and had the window bricked up so there was no corruption of any outside influences. The wooden floorboards were uncomfortable, but not enough, she had them replaced with a rough grey concrete that matched the walls.

Susan was reading about the Essene’s and knew the devil to be the toxins that humans put into their own bodies and these could be exorcised only by fasting and sticking to a pristine diet. With this in mind she never ate the whole time her brother and sister in law were away but prayed straight through with not a moments sleep. She drank a lot of water.

One day Susan’s own band of Essene’s would come she knew that, and maybe that would be the time to venture out on to the streets of the city proper to set about the good work changing bad people’s lives for the better and giving solace to the wretched and downtrodden, offering a unique vision of purity in this dirty corrupt media saturated war mongering Godless world of raging inequality.

Her own experience of the city so far had been the vegetable market and the food bank. Both of these were to be found at the end of the street. She had never stepped beyond either, had never been in a bar or on the tube, knew nothing much at all, but she knew in her heart there were souls out there waiting to be saved, and one day her moment of saving would come.

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