“Order, Order”. Like an impatient headmaster, the Speaker of the parliament rapped his gavel onto the lectern. His audience quietened deferentially. When he had complete silence, he continued:
“The next item on todays agenda is the CC Bill. As you all know, this bill is of such a sensitive nature, that I move that we sit this item behind closed doors. I move that all members of the public be removed from the chamber.”
“Second”, cried a supportive voice.
The votes counted, the house voted unanimously to sit in closed session. There were murmurings as those in the Public Gallery were commanded to leave the chamber. When the last one had left, the Speaker used his gavel once again, to command silence.
Amid a packed house which was breathless in anticipation, the Speaker turned to the Prime Minister and urged, “Come on then, Harry, let’s have those cupcakes”.
Erica had just moved into her new apartment and had decided to redecorate the entire place.
It was a Saturday, and she had enlisted the help of her identical twin brother, Eric. At twelve o’clock, there was a knock on the door and… bonus! He had brought his roommate, Billy, along with him. Great – three people instead of one. She had met Billy a few times before but never really talked to him. Despite this, she found his company pleasing. The conversation was so easy with him, he seemed to be flirting with her and, playing along, she flirted back.
At five o’clock. Eric had to leave to prepare for his evening shift as a waiter, and as Billy needed the ride, Erica was left on her own. Assessing the situation, there was several days more decoration required and Billy asked whether she’d like some more help Monday.
“Would I?” was her simple response, and Billy arranged to stop by after work.
She had assumed that the pair would be coming around, but on Monday evening, Billy turned up alone. Still, he was eager, and she would take all the help she could. The flirting continued, and Erica had decided that she quite liked Billy. When he suggested coming back Tuesday to finish the job, she eagerly accepted.
Tuesday, he arrived at 7:30 on the dot. There was a lot to get through, although the company made it a pleasant experience. The pair were joking with each other but, later, they were starting to wane. As he finished painting the doorframe, Billy’s hand slipped and dashed the wall. As a punishment, Erica flicked her brush at him.
“Hey!”, cried Billy, “what’s the game?”
“Be careful, Klutzy. We’re gonna have to do that bit again, now.”
A second later, she felt a splash of paint hit her cheek.
“What was that for?”
“Well, hey, missy, you can’t go round throwing paint at people.”
A second later, Billy felt a brush hit his beard. He looked up at a very smug-looking Erica, who seconds later received some facial decoration of her own. The next time, she found his hair, and was similarly decorated for her trouble. Then the poking started. For each poke, she had one back in reaction. Her mistake was to start tickling. Billy used his strength to return the favour, until Erica begged surrender.
Climbing off her, Billy came to his senses and offered, soberly, “Now, don’t be putting me off. Half a minute here, and we’ll be finished.” And, regaining her breath, Erica watched as Billy finished the last of the room.
The job was, indeed, very shortly finished, They both sat to admire their handiwork, tired but proud. It was gone 11 PM. “We’re both a bit messed up here, don’t you think?” She leaned in toward him as they relaxed. “What say we take a shower and get all this paint off?”
Mrs Bump’s Influence
Mrs Bump is here today. I showed her the photo, and shared my idea that she was saying “no chance, mate”, but she assured me that this was very much not the case. But I couldn’t resist Eric and Erica!
She sat dozing 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 could that be?” She did not get many visitors, these days.
She padded down the hallway and meekly opened the door. “Mrs Evans ?” She didn’t recognise the man standing before her, who was wearing an ill-fitting suit and who smelled of cigarettes.
“I’m Terry McFarlane, from Sun Hill CID. Are you Mrs Linda Evans?” “Yes, officer”, she looked taken aback, “how can I help?” “It’s about Colin Dermott Evans.” Her husband. Without hesitation, she replied “yes, officer, please come in.” She led him into the parlour. Seated, she asked “What do you want with Colin? We split up, you know, it must be five years ago now. So I’m not sure how much I can help you”, she added for good measure.
“It’s a strange one, Mrs Evans. It comes vie New South Wales State Police, a Mr Terence Evans is worried about the whereabouts of Mr Colin Evans.”
“Terry?”, she replied, aghast. “But Terry’s been over there, must have been thirty years since. Even when he lived here, there was no love lost, they didn’t get on.”
“Apparently, Terence Evans has been trying to contact Colin Evans for the last six months, has been unable to trace him and contacted his local police, who in turn contacted us.”
“So, how can I help?”
“Well, we wondered if you might have any idea of your husband’s whereabouts?”
“I’m sorry, officer. I threw him out for the last time, five years ago.” She added acidically, “he always had a string of 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 buddies about three years ago, he said Colin had flown out to Thailand at the start of the winter.” The policeman noted this down. “And can you tell us the name of this friend?” He noted that down, too.
Another five minutes, and Linda had clearly been as much help as she was going to be. The policeman said his thanks, and departed.
Returning to her lounge, Linda walked to the sideboard and gently patted the skull, which formed the centrepiece. She wondered what she should do next.
“I think you need to lie low for a while, Colin, don’t you?”