Content Warning: ‘Not Good At All’ alludes to assault.
Read by Peter James
A man gets off a bus, stumbles, looks over and sees a woman, smiling. Typical, he thinks. Just what I heed on a day like today. Someone thinking my missing a step is funny. People like you need sorting out. What if I’d actually fallen? Would you have just laughed out loud? Is that the sort of world we live in? A man misses his footing getting off a bus and suddenly he’s your bloody evening’s entertainment. I bet you didn’t set out this morning thinking that everything was fine, and then saw your ex swanning past in a brand new Mercedes paid for by you, while you’re stuck with a second hand Citroen because their solicitors cleaned you out; and then you got to work to find m t that Gayle, your secretary, actually lodged an official complaint about the way you behaved at a Christmas party you barely even remember going to, and because of it you’ll be on suspension at half pay- “because it isn’t the first time, is it, Alan?”- and by the way, the contract you’ve worked on for the past four months and were days away from closing will pass over to Fitzpatrick (the Weasel) – “because we have to think of the firm’s reputation, Alan”-‘- and then you sat down for lunch and knocked half your cup-a-soup into your lap and, while you were trying to get the scorching stain out in the gents, Fitzpatrick (the Weasel) came in with a Cheshire cat grin because he knows that all your late nights, blood, sweat and tears (n9t to mention heartburn and hangovers) is going to hand him a fifteen percent commission – a bonus that would have sorted out two of the credit cards (at last!) and left enough to take Delia from accounts for a weekend away to that hotel in the Cotswold’s where they understand discretion. so you told him Gayle will probably drop the complaint (though you don’t believe it) just to wipe the smile off his face, but it doesn’t even look like it fazes him (the Weasel). You decide its time to give the day up as a bad job, but then you get outside to find out the bloody piece of crap Citroen has decided to be typically French and give up, and because you can’t afford roadside recovery (bloody solicitors) you’re forced to have to take the bloody bus home.
So the icing on the cake, he wants to tell the woman, is when I almost go arse over elbow you find it funny. But he says nothing. He realizes he’s been there a few minutes brushing himself off. Yet she hasn’t moved. Her eyes just stare at him. He steps forward. No reaction. Nothing. Her smile remains frozen. Come to think of it, she looks a lot like his secretary, Gayle. Same outfit. Same hair. But her lips weren’t blue the last time he saw her. Not good. Not good at all.