Those who like car boot sales, whodunnits with a thriller murder mystery with a good plot will be well pleased
by this short story.
A whodunnit set somewhere in the deep countryside, it is a thriller murder mystery
story that shows how both good and evil can come from standing up to the rich and powerful.
He would always set up his wooden box in the busiest part of the monthly car boot sale.
"Give me some space will you."
Impervious to the pushing and jostling, he'd climb aboard and balance
precariously. The crowd would part around him - almost recoil.
But then as he talked in his special way,
people would become curious. Like snakes fascinated by the charmer, they would move closer. Each time he would have a new
theme. Then whatever he said and whatever he sold to the crowds around him would act as a pall over the ensuing weeks or bring
a cheery grin to passers by - until the next time.
Waving above his head a slim bundle of pages, he would
peer down at a middle aged Mrs., comfortably replete in slacks and rolling contentedness, with his single eye.
"Madam," his voice was deep and resonant. "Madam, what do you know about adultery?"
was that she knew more than she would be willing to admit.
"Madam, would you walk away and miss finding
out what happened?"
This was his favorite phrase. It raised a question in the minds of those around him.
It tweaked their curiosity.
"This week," he would say, "I have an account that is depraved and disgusting.
Those of a weak disposition MUST NOT .." His voice rose into a tremulous falsetto, "MUST NOT purchase this slim tome - for
I will not allow it."
"Only those who, out of a sense of outrage, are brave enough to experience first
hand the fruits of true sexual peccadillo should dare to delve within."
"Go on, you don't know what you
are talking about, One Eye!" scorned a pretty young twenty-something. Her slim hips had been poured into cut off shorts and
her push chair was loaded with bargains and snoozing offspring.
"And you're in the story too, so you can't
talk," said One Eye. The girl giggled.
"If I'm in the story it'll be a pretty boring story judging by
my sex life," she said.
The crowd around tittered.
"You can talk and laugh as much
as you like," said One Eye, "but I have conducted extensive research for this little piece of investigative journalism and
I know that the people exposed in these pages are at this very moment quaking with fear."
the growing group around him, his one eye shining brightly.
"Quaking in their shoes and underwear, and
more about that I will not say for fear of offending you gentle country folk gathered here to celebrate this piece of literary
And so the haranguing would go on backwards and forwards between the local writer and the crowd.
Then one by one they would pay their pound sterling and carry away the slim volumes to read either in their cars or later
when they got home - just in case a neighbor would see their blushes.
Then the rumors would start.
"I reckon its that John that did it, you know him that lives down by the marshes."
"Never, he wouldn't
have the courage - it's Fred over on the other side of the hill. He always had an eye for the ladies. I knew one who stayed
overnight and she was never the same again and wouldn't talk about it."
"What a thing for a woman to do
- can you credit it - disgusting I call it and, all the time, her husband next door.
went on and on. Always puzzling, always wanting to know. Sometimes the response was angry.
man. All that power and he uses it like that. He is supposed to be working for the community but he's got fat on it and is
kept in office by elderly voters living in the past. If I could get my hands on him in his posh London Board room, I'd give
him a talking to."
"Go on, he doesn't care. It'd be water off a ducks back. He's laughing all the way
to the Bank with his cronies - and they own the Bank. He'd laugh in your face."
"Then I'd dot him one
right in the middle of his stupid face, the slimy rat."
"Anyway, it's supposed to be a story. You don't
know if it's really about him."
"I know enough! One of my business mates tried to get some help from him
- as is his right - and said more or less the same thing. He was more interested in whether a non-executive Board room job
was likely to become available than the merits of the case."
Backwards and forwards the conversations
went. It was supposed to be fiction but every body believed it was fact and in a small community everybody believed that they
could spot the characters. And then the next time would come and grudgingly they would crowd around him and buy his latest
If the books had been sold in the local book shop nobody would have bought them. Next to
the bright covers of historical romances and hi-tech thrillers, the photocopied pages, hand folded and wrapped in a blank
cover would not have appealed.
It was the imclearbluemediacy of his presence and the knowledge that others
would inevitably buy or, on a bad day, be given the secrets to which he was privy that brought the desire to know.
Whether all that he wrote was as a result of extensive research or whether he was just a good and shrewd judge of character,
nobody knew. Perhaps he just had a very fertile imagination and the courage to stand up literarily and be counted.
But his descriptions never disappointed. His imagery was sharp, his character descriptions poignant. You could taste
the food on which his characters dined and the cider that they drank. His bushes were a deeper green and his roses blossomed
At the end of an account, he always left you feeling better. You had lived through
an event that was important for somebody. You were uplifted by the experience. Drawn in by curiosity, the form of his art
was to supply nothing less than satisfaction.
"You should get yourself published properly, Jack," one
"And one day I'll write a story to tell you exactly why I'd never do that," yelled back
Jack. His thick set lips curled with distaste in the mass of his ragged beard at the thought of fame, fortune and corporate
One day he was recounting the outline of a story to the gathered crowd when a stranger pushed
through and tugged on his arm.
Hesitating for a few minutes and then obviously in distress, Jack gathered
up his box and followed him away from the crowds and out to his old Ford motor that was always parked outside the car boot