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Fast Fiction: That Day In Rickley

When you arrive back in Rickley in your chauffeur-driven Rolls, its dangerous to ask where the pub has gone, as Richard Mallinson’s tale reveals.

'Where to now?' Goldthrow, my chauffeur, asked over his shoulder.

Try the Rag And Muff,' I said from the back seat of the Rolls.

He drove on for about a mile. 'Where the hell is it?' he asked. 'It used to be round here somewhere.'

He was right. It did. But it wasn't there anymore. There was only a stretch of waste land.

'Pull over,' I said, lowering the window on my side.

Where's the pub gone?' I called out to an elderly man walking slowly past but he merely glanced at me and went straight on.

'I know,' said a young woman close behind him. 'It was burned down about two years ago.'

'And how much else has changed in Rickley?' I asked her.

'Depends since when,' she said, leaning close and showing much.

'What's your name?' I asked.

'Varna,' she said with a warm smile. 'Lovely car you got.'

*
Now if I tell you I'm writing this in prison you'll realise something's changed since that day in Rickley, won't you?

In fact, I know what you're thinking . . . that Varna had come to live with me and fallen in love with Goldthrow and they'd begun to swindle me and I'd had them taken out by a hitman who'd squawked about me to the police.

Actually, the truth is less dramatic but still bad enough ...

The elderly gent walking past that day in Rickley was a retired accountant who'd been too scared to give evidence against me years back but had now decided to risk it and had gone to the police - and here I am.

*
Oh, by the way, Goldthrow and Varna, who are getting married next week, had known each other before that day in Rickley. But I don't think it matters.

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