Silent Partner

I don’t know what made me think of this flash, first written about eighteen months ago (actually it might have been that last limerick!), but I thought it might be fun to dust it off and re-air it.

This is an old FFFC from February 2021, based on the image below. It’s short, only 450 words or about 3 and a bit minutes.

Doreen snoozed in her armchair. She spent most afternoons like this, dozing, since her retirement almost two years ago. A shrill knock at the door aroused her. Who can that be? This sweet old lady did not receive many visitors, these days.

Padding down the hallway, she chained, then meekly released the lock.

“Mrs Evans?”

Doreen didn’t recognise the man standing before her, but behind an ID badge, she immediately noticed an ill-fitting suit, and the reek of cigarettes.

“I’m Terry McFarlane, from Primrose Hill CID. Are you Mrs Doreen Evans?”

“Yes, officer”, she replied, completely taken aback. What could the police want with her? “How can I help?”, she feigned composure.

“It’s about Colin Dermott Evans.”

Her husband. Without hesitation, she replied “yes, officer, please come in.” Leading the man into the parlour, she too sat down, then queried, “What do you want with Colin? I threw him out, you know, it must be five years ago now.”, quickly adding for good measure, “so I’m not sure how I can help you”.

“It’s a strange one, Mrs Evans. It comes via New South Wales State Police, a Mr Terence Evans is worried about the whereabouts of his brother.”

“Terry?”, she exclaimed, clearly aghast. “But Terry’s been over there, must have been thirty years since. Even when he lived here, there was no love lost, the pair didn’t get on at all, you know.”

“Apparently, Terence has been trying to contact Colin Evans for the last six months, and, having not received any response, notified his local police. Who in turn came to us.”

“So, how can I help?”

“Well, we wondered if you might have any idea of your husband’s whereabouts?” Doreen’s guest was almost apologetic.

“I’m sorry, officer. I kicked him out once and for all, five years ago. I’d reached the end of my tether with him,” before adding acidly, “he always had a string of other women – you could try finding one of them…”.

“So, can you tell us anything that might help us?”

“Well, I bumped into one of his old gambling friends about three years ago. He told me that Colin had flown out to Thailand at the start of that winter.”

McFarlane noted this. “And can you tell us the name of this friend?” He noted that, too.

“I must admit, I didn’t really know him”, it was Doreen’s turn to be apologetic, “he’s not the sort of person I mix with”.

Another five minutes, chit-chat, really, and Doreen had clearly been as much help as she was able. McFarlane thanked her, then departed.

Returning to her living room, Doreen walked to the sideboard and gently patted a skull, sitting centrepiece. She stood completely still, deciding what she should do next. At length, she addressed the skull.

“I think you need to lie low for a while, Colin, don’t you?”


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