Just Another Winter's Tale
was thick with sarcasm and loathing. “Wha’ d’you want wi’ Gerry now then?”“Turn ‘im on to a nice bit ‘o powder, that’s all. Maybe go for a drink? You know, forold time’s sake. Why? D’you object?”“Why should I? He only lives ‘ere. Not up to me what ‘e does.”“Here! Get this up yer nose an’ tell me what you think.” She slid a small mirror out of her handbag, and with a little silver spoon tipped a small mound of white powder onto it. Shehanded it to the other woman with the same tiny curve of her mouth that expressed anythingbut a desire to please.Every dog has its day, she said to herself as she watched this hag-like woman trying tokeep the greed out of her actions and the powder inside the five pound note, now rolled upand pressed to each nostril in turn, as it ate the substance on the mirror. The envy, she knew,would be almost tangible, once the goods had been snorted.“Gerry shouldn’t be long, as it goes. You gonna wait for ‘im?”“Only as long as it takes to drink a cup o’ tea. Then I’ll disappear, an’ you can tell ‘imwhat ‘e missed.”“Pretty sure ‘e’ll want to see you, ain’t ya?”“I can always be sure o’ Gerry. You gotta admit he’s nothing if not predictable.” Therewas still the same knowing little smile on her lips.“Predictably what? Un-fuckin’-reliable?” Did her reaction contain more bitternessand letdown than she intended? Was this powder that good, already?The girl laughed inwardly to herself, glad that she was no longer a participant in thisgame of cat and mouse, just a spectator with a desire to be entertained. And this wasentertaining.“Oh, he’s reliable enough, when the payment’s right.”“I’ll make some tea, shall I, seein’ as you hinted so subtly?”“Cheers.”She felt the discomfort in the woman’s voice, felt the unspoken accusation hanging inthe atmosphere between them, and respected this woman’s pride in not voicing her chagrinaloud. There was no need to speak, each knew the other’s mind. It was all part of themasquerade, the keeping up of appearances.The older woman left the room with dignity but reached her kitchen seething withrancour. What does that bitch wanna come flaunting her prosperity round ‘ere for? As if Idon’t ‘ave enough problems of me own! And to come armed with that big bag o’ powder, too!Bloody cheek of it! It’s good, though, damned good. The internal dialogue calmed herfrazzled nerves until all that fuelled her was the question, where’d she get whizz that good? DoI swallow me pride an’ ask, or just hope she tells me anyway? Yeah, as if. Gerry, where thehell are you, ya bastard. Never around when yer needed! Jus’ wish I ‘adn’t bin so ‘igh an’mighty with ‘er las’ time she came to score off of me.The sound of another engine outside brought her out of these ramblings, and, just asthey had done earlier, the sagging eyes became hawklike with precipitate gain once again,. Acar door slammed and she breathed a sigh of relief as the front door opened.“Gez! Here!” Her voice a rasped whisper from the kitchen at the other end of thepassageway.