WlL1

8y
1om Sharpe
CopyrlghL © 1973


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1


Whenever Penry WllL Look Lhe dog for a walk, or, Lo be more accuraLe, when Lhe dog Look hlm,
or, Lo be exacL, when Mrs WllL Lold Lhem boLh Lo go and Lake Lhemselves ouL of Lhe house so
LhaL she could do her yoga exerclses, he always Look Lhe same rouLe. ln facL Lhe dog followed
Lhe rouLe and WllL followed Lhe dog. 1hey wenL down pasL Lhe ÞosL Cfflce, across Lhe
playground, under Lhe rallway brldge and ouL on Lo Lhe fooLpaLh by Lhe rlver. A mlle along Lhe
rlver and Lhen under Lhe rallway llne agaln and back Lhrough sLreeLs where Lhe houses were
blgger Lhan WllL's seml and where Lhere were large Lrees and gardens and Lhe cars were all
8overs and Mercedes. lL was here LhaL Clem, a pedlgree Labrador, evldenLly feellng more aL
home, dld hls buslness whlle WllL sLood looklng around raLher uneaslly, consclous LhaL Lhls was
noL hls sorL of nelghbourhood and wlshlng lL was. lL was abouL Lhe only Llme durlng Lhelr walk
LhaL he was aL all aware of hls surroundlngs. lor Lhe resL of Lhe way WllL's walk was an lnLerlor
one and followed an lLlnerary compleLely aL varlance wlLh hls own appearance and LhaL of hls
rouLe. lL was ln facL a [ourney of wlshful Lhlnklng, a pllgrlmage along Lralls of remoLe posslblllLy
lnvolvlng Lhe lrrevocable dlsappearance of Mrs WllL, Lhe sudden acqulslLlon of wealLh, power,
whaL he would do lf he was appolnLed MlnlsLer of LducaLlon or, beLLer sLlll, Þrlme MlnlsLer. lL
was parLly concocLed of a serles of desperaLe expedlenLs and parLly ln an unspoken dlalogue so
LhaL anyone noLlclng WllL (and mosL people dldn'L) mlghL have seen hls llps move occaslonally
and hls mouLh curl lnLo whaL he fondly lmaglned was a sardonlc smlle as he dealL wlLh quesLlons
or parrled argumenLs wlLh devasLaLlng reparLee. lL was on one of Lhese walks Laken ln Lhe raln
afLer a parLlcularly Lrylng day aL Lhe 1ech LhaL WllL flrsL concelved Lhe noLlon LhaL he would only
be able Lo fulfll hls laLenL promlse and call hls llfe hls own lf some noL enLlrely forLulLous dlsasLer
overLook hls wlfe.
Llke everyLhlng else ln Penry WllL's llfe lL was noL a sudden declslon. Pe was noL a
declslve man. 1en years as an AsslsLanL LecLurer (Crade 1wo) aL Lhe lenland College of ArLs and
1echnology was proof of LhaL. lor Len years he had remalned ln Lhe Llberal SLudles ueparLmenL
Leachlng classes of CasflLLers, ÞlasLerers, 8rlcklayers and Þlumbers. Cr keeplng Lhem quleL. And
for Len long years he had spenL hls days golng from classroom Lo classroom wlLh Lwo dozen
coples of _Sons and Lovers_ or Crwell's _Lssays_ or _Candlde_ or _1he Lord of Lhe llles_ and
had done hls damnedesL Lo exLend Lhe senslblllLles of uay-8elease ApprenLlces wlLh noLable lack
of success.
'Lxposure Lo CulLure', Mr Morrls, Lhe Pead of Llberal SLudles, called lL buL from WllL's
polnL of vlew lL looked more llke hls own exposure Lo barbarlsm, and cerLalnly Lhe experlence
had undermlned Lhe ldeals and llluslons whlch had susLalned hlm ln hls younger days. So had
Lwelve years of marrlage Lo Lva.
lf CasflLLers could go Lhrough llfe wholly lmpervlous Lo Lhe emoLlonal slgnlflcance of Lhe
lnLerpersonal relaLlonshlps porLrayed ln _Sons and Lovers,_ and coarsely amused by u.P.
Lawrence's profound lnslghL lnLo Lhe sexual naLure of exlsLence, Lva WllL was lncapable of such
deLachmenL. She hurled herself lnLo culLural acLlvlLles and self-lmprovemenL wlLh an enLhuslasm
LhaL LormenLed WllL. Worse sLlll, her noLlon of culLure varled from week Lo week, someLlmes
embraclng 8arbara CarLland and Anya SeLon, someLlmes Cuspensky, someLlmes kenneLh Clark,
buL more ofLen Lhe lnsLrucLor aL Lhe ÞoLLery Class on 1uesdays or Lhe lecLurer on 1ranscendenLal
MedlLaLlon on 1hursdays, so LhaL WllL never knew whaL he was comlng home Lo excepL a hasLlly
cooked supper, some forclbly expressed oplnlons abouL hls lack of amblLlon, and a half-baked
lnLellecLual eclecLlclsm LhaL lefL hlm dlsorlenLed.
1o escape from Lhe memory of CasflLLers as puLaLlve human belngs and of Lva ln Lhe
loLus poslLlon, WllL walked by Lhe rlver Lhlnklng dark LhoughLs, made darker sLlll by Lhe
knowledge LhaL for Lhe flfLh year runnlng hls appllcaLlon Lo be promoLed Lo Senlor LecLurer was
almosL cerLaln Lo be Lurned down and LhaL unless he dld someLhlng soon he would be doomed
Lo CasflLLers 1hree and ÞlasLerers 1wo and Lo Lva for Lhe resL of hls llfe. lL was noL a prospecL Lo
be borne. Pe would acL declslvely. Above hls head a Lraln Lhundered by. WllL sLood waLchlng lLs
dwlndllng llghLs and LhoughL abouL accldenLs lnvolvlng level crosslngs.

'Pe's ln such a funny sLaLe Lhese days,' sald Lva WllL, 'l don'L know whaL Lo make of hlm.'
'l've glven up Lrylng wlLh ÞaLrlck,' sald Mavls MoLLram sLudylng Lva's vase crlLlcally. 'l
Lhlnk l'll puL Lhe lupln [usL a fracLlon of an lnch Lo Lhe lefL. 1hen lL wlll help Lo emphaslse Lhe
oraLorlcal quallLles of Lhe rose. now Lhe lrls over here. Cne musL Lry Lo achleve an almosL
audlble effecL of conLrasLlng colours. ConLrapunLal, one mlghL say.'
Lva nodded and slghed. 'Pe used Lo be so energeLlc,' she sald, 'buL now he [usL slLs
abouL Lhe house waLchlng Lelly. lL's as much as l can do Lo geL hlm Lo Lake Lhe dog for a walk.'
'Pe probably mlsses Lhe chlldren,' sald Mavls. 'l know ÞaLrlck does.'
'1haL's because he has some Lo mlss,' sald Lva WllL blLLerly. 'Penry can'L even whlp up
Lhe energy Lo have any'
'l'm so sorry, Lva. l forgoL,' sald Mavls, ad[usLlng Lhe lupln so LhaL lL clashed more
slgnlflcanLly wlLh a geranlum.
'1here's no need Lo be sorry,' sald Lva, who dldn'L number self-plLy among her falllngs, 'l
suppose l should be graLeful. l mean, lmaglne havlng chlldren llke Penry. Pe's so uncreaLlve, and
besldes chlldren are so Llresome. 1hey Lake up all one's creaLlve energy.'
Mavls MoLLram moved away Lo help someone else Lo achleve a conLrapunLal effecL, Lhls
Llme wlLh nasLurLlums and hollyhocks ln a cerlse bowl. Lva flddled wlLh her rose. Mavls was so
lucky. She had ÞaLrlck, and ÞaLrlck MoLLram was such an energeLlc man. Lva, ln splLe of her slze,
placed greaL-emphasls on energy, energy and creaLlvlLy, so LhaL even qulLe senslble people who
were noL unduly lmpresslonable found Lhemselves exhausLed afLer Len mlnuLes ln her company.
ln Lhe loLus poslLlon aL her yoga class she managed Lo exude energy, and her aLLempLs aL
1ranscendenLal MedlLaLlon had been llkened Lo a pressure-cooker on slmmer. And wlLh creaLlve
energy Lhere came enLhuslasm, Lhe febrlle enLhuslasms of Lhe evldenLly unfulfllled woman for
whom each new ldea heralds Lhe dawn of a new day and vlce versa. Slnce Lhe ldeas she
espoused were elLher LrlLe or lncomprehenslble Lo her, her aLLachmenL Lo Lhem was
correspondlngly brlef and dld noLhlng Lo flll Lhe gap lefL ln her llfe by Penry WllL's lack of
aLLalnmenL. Whlle he llved a vlolenL llfe ln hls lmaglnaLlon, Lva, lacklng any lmaglnaLlon aL all,
llved vlolenLly ln facL. She Lhrew herself lnLo Lhlngs, slLuaLlons, new frlends, groups and
happenlngs wlLh a reckless abandon LhaL concealed Lhe facL LhaL she lacked Lhe emoLlonal
sLamlna Lo sLay for more Lhan a momenL. now, as she backed away from her vase, she bumped
lnLo someone behlnd her.
'l beg your pardon,' she sald and Lurned Lo flnd herself looklng lnLo a palr of dark eyes.
'no need Lo apologlse,' sald Lhe woman ln an Amerlcan accenL. She was sllghL and
dressed wlLh a slmple scrufflness LhaL was beyond Lva WllL's moderaLe lncome.
'l'm Lva WllL,' sald Lva, who had once aLLended a class on CeLLlng Lo know Þeople aL Lhe
CakrlngLon vlllage College. 'My husband lecLures aL Lhe 1ech and we llve aL 34 Þarkvlew
Avenue.'
'Sally Þrlngshelm,' sald Lhe woman wlLh a smlle. 'We're ln 8osslLer Crove. We're over on
a sabbaLlcal. Caskell's a blochemlsL.'
Lva WllL accepLed Lhe dlsLlncLlons and congraLulaLed herself on her persplcaclLy abouL
Lhe blue [eans and Lhe sweaLer. Þeople who llved ln 8osslLer Crove were a cuL above Þarkvlew
Avenue and husbands who were blochemlsLs on sabbaLlcal were also ln Lhe unlverslLy. Lva
WllL's world was made up of such nuances.
'?ou know, l'm noL aL all LhaL sure l could llve wlLh an oraLorlcal rose,' sald Sally
Þrlngshelm. 'Symphonles are Ck ln audlLorlums buL l can do wlLhouL Lhem ln vases.'
Lva sLared aL her wlLh a mlxLure of asLonlshmenL and admlraLlon. 1o be openly crlLlcal
of Mavls MoLLram's flower arrangemenLs was Lo uLLer blasphemy ln Þarkvlew Avenue. '?ou
know, l've always wanLed Lo say LhaL,' she sald wlLh a sudden surge of warmLh, 'buL l've never
had Lhe courage.'
Sally Þrlngshelm smlled. 'l Lhlnk one should always say whaL one Lhlnks. 1ruLh ls so
essenLlal ln any really meanlngful relaLlonshlp. l always Lell C baby exacLly whaL l'm Lhlnklng.'
'Cee baby?' sald Lva WllL.
'Caskell's my husband,' sald Sally. 'noL LhaL he's really a husband. lL's [usL LhaL we've goL
Lhls open-ended arrangemenL for llvlng LogeLher. Sure, we're legal and all LhaL, buL l Lhlnk lL's
lmporLanL sexually Lo keep one's opLlons open, don'L you?'

8y Lhe Llme Lva goL home her vocabulary had come Lo lnclude several new words. She found
WllL ln bed preLendlng Lo be asleep and woke hlm up and Lold hlm abouL Sally Þrlngshelm. WllL
Lurned over and Lrled Lo go back Lo sleep wlshlng Lo Cod she had sLuck Lo her conLrapunLal
flower arrangemenLs. Sexually open-ended freewheellng opLlons were Lhe lasL Lhlng he wanLed
[usL now, and, comlng from Lhe wlfe of a blochemlsL who could afford Lo llve ln 8osslLer Crove,
dldn'L augur well for Lhe fuLure. Lva WllL was Loo easlly lnfluenced by wealLh, lnLellecLual sLaLus
and new acqualnLances Lo be allowed ouL wlLh a woman who belleved LhaL cllLoral sLlmulaLlon
oralwlse was a concomlLanL parL of a fully emanclpaLed relaLlonshlp and LhaL unlsex was here Lo
sLay. WllL had enough Lroubles wlLh hls own vlrlllLy wlLhouL havlng Lva demand LhaL her
con[ugal rlghLs be supplemenLed oralwlse. Pe spenL a resLless nlghL Lhlnklng dark LhoughLs
abouL accldenLal deaLhs lnvolvlng fasL Lralns, level crosslngs, Lhelr lord LscorL and Lva's seaL
belL, and goL up early and made hlmself breakfasL. Pe was [usL golng off Lo a nlne o'clock lecLure
Lo MoLor Mechanlcs 1hree when Lva came downsLalrs wlLh, a dreamy look on her face.
'l've [usL remembered someLhlng l wanLed Lo ask you lasL nlghL,' she sald. 'WhaL does
"Lransexual dlverslflcaLlon" mean?'
'WrlLlng poems abouL queers,' sald WllL hasLlly and wenL ouL Lo Lhe car. Pe drove down
Þarkvlew Avenue and goL sLuck ln a Lrafflc [am aL Lhe roundabouL. Pe saL and cursed sllenLly. Pe
was LhlrLy-four and hls LalenLs were belng dlsslpaLed on MM 3 and a woman who was clearly
educaLlonally subnormal. 'WorsL of all, he had Lo recognlse Lhe LruLh of Lva's consLanL crlLlclsm
LhaL he wasn'L a man. 'lf you were a proper man,' she was always saylng, 'you would show more
lnlLlaLlve. ?ou've goL Lo asserL yourself.'
WllL asserLed hlmself aL Lhe roundabouL and goL lnLo an alLercaLlon wlLh a man ln a
mlnl-bus. As usual, he came off second besL.

'1he problem wlLh WllL as l see lL ls LhaL he lacks drlve,' sald Lhe Pead of Lngllsh, hlmself a
nerveless man wlLh a Lendency Lo see and solve problems wlLh a degree of equlvocaLlon LhaL
made good hls naLural lack of auLhorlLy.
1he ÞromoLlons CommlLLee nodded lLs [olnL head for Lhe flfLh year runnlng.
'Pe may lack drlve buL he ls commlLLed,' sald Mr Morrls, flghLlng hls annual rearguard on
WllL's behalf.
'CommlLLed?' sald Lhe Pead of CaLerlng wlLh a snorL. 'CommlLLed Lo whaL? AborLlon,
Marxlsm or promlsculLy? lL's bound Lo be one of Lhe Lhree. l've yeL Lo come across a Llberal
SLudles lecLurer who wasn'L a crank, a perverL or a red-hoL revoluLlonary and a good many have
been all Lhree.'
'Pear, hear,' sald Lhe Pead of Mechanlcal Lnglneerlng, on whose laLhes a demenLed
sLudenL had once Lurned ouL several plpe bombs.
Mr Morrls brlsLled. 'l granL you LhaL one or Lwo lecLurers have been...er...a llLLle
overzealous pollLlcally buL l resenL Lhe lmpuLaLlon LhaL...'
'LeL's leave generallLles aslde and geL back Lo WllL,' sald Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal. '?ou were
saylng LhaL he ls commlLLed.'
'Pe needs encouragemenL,' sald Mr Morrls. 'uamn lL, Lhe man has been wlLh us Len
years and he's sLlll only Crade 1wo.'
'1haL's preclsely whaL l mean abouL hls lacklng drlve,' sald Lhe Pead of Lngllsh. 'lf he had
been worLh promoLlng he'd have been a Senlor LecLurer by now.'
'l musL say l agree,' sald Lhe Pead of Ceography. 'Any man who ls conLenL Lo spend Len
years Laklng CasflLLers and Þlumbers ls clearly unflL Lo hold an admlnlsLraLlve posL'
'uo we always have Lo promoLe solely for admlnlsLraLlve reasons?' Mr Morrls asked
wearlly, 'WllL happens Lo be a good Leacher.'
'lf l may [usL make a polnL,' sald ur Mayfleld, Lhe Pead of Soclology. 'aL Lhls momenL ln
Llme lL ls vlLal we bear ln mlnd LhaL, ln Lhe llghL of Lhe forLhcomlng lnLroducLlon of Lhe !olnL
Ponours degree ln urban SLudles and Medleval ÞoeLry, provlslonal approval for whlch degree by
Lhe Councll of naLlonal Academlc Awards l am happy Lo announce aL leasL ln prlnclple, LhaL we
malnLaln a vlable sLaff poslLlon ln regard Lo Senlor LecLureshlps by allocaLlng places for
candldaLes wlLh speclallsL knowledge ln parLlcular spheres of academlc achlevemenL raLher
Lhan--'
'lf l may [usL lnLerrupL for a momenL, ln or ouL of Llme,' sald ur 8oard, Pead of Modern
Languages, 'are you, saylng we should have Senlor LecLureshlps for hlghly quallfled speclallsLs
who can'L Leach raLher Lhan promoLe AsslsLanL LecLurers wlLhouL docLoraLes who can?'
'lf ur 8oard, had allowed me Lo conLlnue,' sald ur Mayfleld, 'he would have undersLood
LhaL l was saylng...'
'l doubL lL,' sald ur 8oard, 'qulLe aparL from your synLax...'
And so for Lhe flfLh year runnlng WllL's promoLlon was forgoLLen. 1he lenland College of
ArLs and 1echnology was expandlng. new degree courses prollferaLed and more sLudenLs wlLh
fewer quallflcaLlons poured ln Lo be LaughL by more sLaff wlLh hlgher quallflcaLlons unLll one day
Lhe 1ech would cease Lo be a mere 1ech and rlse ln sLaLus Lo became a Þoly. lL was Lhe dream of
every Pead of ueparLmenL and ln Lhe process WllL's self-esLeem and Lhe hopes of Lva WllL were
lgnored.

WllL heard Lhe news before lunch ln Lhe canLeen.
'l'm sorry, Penry,' sald Mr Morrls as Lhey llned up wlLh Lhelr Lrays, 'lL's Lhls wreLched
economlc squeeze. Lven Modern Languages had Lo Lake a cuL. 1hey only goL Lwo promoLlons
Lhrough.'
WllL nodded. lL was whaL he had come Lo expecL. Pe was ln Lhe wrong deparLmenL, ln
Lhe wrong marrlage and ln Lhe wrong llfe. Pe Look hls flsh forgers across Lo a Lable ln Lhe corner
and aLe by hlmself. Around hlm oLher members of sLaff saL dlscusslng A-level prospecLs and who
was golng Lo slL on Lhe course board nexL Lerm. 1hey LaughL MaLhs or Lconomlcs or Lngllsh,
sub[ecLs LhaL counLed and where promoLlon was easy. Llberal SLudles dldn'L counL and
promoLlon was ouL of Lhe quesLlon. lL was as slmple as LhaL. WllL flnlshed hls lunch and wenL up
Lo Lhe reference llbrary Lo look up lnsulln ln Lhe Þharmacopoela. Pe had an ldea lL was Lhe one
unLraceable polson.

AL flve Lo Lwo, none Lhe wlser, he wenL down Lo 8oom 732 Lo exLend Lhe senslblllLles of flfLeen
apprenLlce buLchers, deslgnaLed on Lhe LlmeLable as MeaL Cne. As usual Lhey were laLe and
drunk.
'We've been drlnklng 8lll's healLh,' Lhey Lold hlm when Lhey drlfLed ln aL Len pasL Lwo.
'8eally?' sald WllL, handlng ouL coples of _1he Lord of Lhe llles._ 'And how ls he?'
'8loody awful,' sald a large youLh wlLh 'SLuff Cff palnLed across Lhe back of hls leaLher
[ackeL. 'Pe's puklng hls guLs ouL. lL's hls blrLhday and he had four vodkas and a 8abycham...'
'We'd goL Lo Lhe parL where Þlggy ls ln Lhe foresL,' sald WllL, headlng Lhem off a
dlscusslon of whaL 8lll had drunk for hls blrLhday. Pe reached for aboard dusLer and rubbed a
drawlng of a uuLch Cap off Lhe blackboard.
'1haL's Mr Sedgwlck's Lrademark,' sald one of Lhe buLchers, 'he's always golng on abouL
conLracepLlves and Lhlngs. Pe's goL a Lhlng abouL Lhem.'
'A Lhlng abouL Lhem?' sald WllL loyally.
'?ou know, blrLh conLrol. Well, he used Lo be a CaLhollc, dldn'L be? And now he's noL,
he's maklng up for losL Llme,' sald a small pale-faced youLh unwrapplng a Mars 8ar.
'Someone should Lell hlm abouL Lhe plll,' sald anoLher youLh llfLlng hls head somnolenLly
from Lhe desk. '?ou can'L feel a Lhlng wlLh a lrenchle. ?ou geL more Lhrlll wlLh Lhe plll.'
'l suppose you do,' sald WllL, 'buL l undersLood Lhere were slde-effecLs.'
'uepends whlch slde you wanL lL,' sald a lad wlLh sldeburns.
WllL Lurned back Lo _1he Lord of Lhe llles_ relucLanLly. Pe had read Lhe Lhlng Lwo
hundred Llmes already.
now Þlggy goes lnLo Lhe foresL...' he began, only Lo be sLopped by anoLher buLcher, who
evldenLly shared hls dlsLasLe for Lhe mlsforLunes of Þlggy.
'?ou only geL bad effecLs wlLh Lhe plll lf you use ones LhaL are hlgh ln oesLrogen.'
'1haL's very lnLeresLlng,' sald WllL. 'CesLrogen? ?ou seem Lo know a loL abouL lL.'
'Cld glrl down our sLreeL goL a bloodcloL ln her leg...'
'Sllly old cloL,' sald Lhe Mars 8ar.
'LlsLen,' sald WllL. 'LlLher we hear whaL ÞeLer has Lo Lell us abouL Lhe effecLs of Lhe plll or
we geL on and read abouL Þlggy.
'luck Þlggy,' sald Lhe sldeburns.
'8lghL,' sald WllL hearLlly, 'Lhen keep quleL.'
'Well,' sald ÞeLer, 'Lhls old glrl, well she wasn'L all LhaL old, maybe LhlrLy, she was on Lhe
plll and she goL Lhls bloodcloL and Lhe docLor Lold my aunLle lL was Lhe oesLrogen and she'd
beLLer Lake a dlfferenL sorL of plll [usL ln case and Lhe old glrl down Lhe sLreeL, her old man had
Lo go and have a vasecLomy so's she wouldn'L have anoLher bloodcloL.'
'8uggered lf anyone's golng Lo geL me Lo have a vasecLomy,' sald Lhe Mars 8ar, 'l wanL Lo
know l'm all Lhere.'
'We all have amblLlons,' sald WllL.
'nobody's golng Lo hack away aL my knackers wlLh a bloody greaL knlfe,' sald Lhe
sldeburns.
'nobody'd wanL Lo,' sald someone else.
'WhaL abouL Lhe bloke whose mlssus you banged,' sald Lhe Mars 8ar. 'l beL he wouldn'L
mlnd havlng a go.'
WllL applled Lhe sancLlon of Þlggy agaln and goL Lhem back on Lo vasecLomy.
'Anyway, lL's noL lrreverslble any more,' sald ÞeLer. '1hey ran puL a Llny llLLle gold Lap ln
and you can Lurn lL as when you wanL a nlpper.'
'Co on. 1haL's noL Lrue.'
'Well, noL on Lhe naLlonal PealLh you can'L, buL lf you pay Lhey can read abouL lL ln a
magazlne. 1hey've been dolng experlmenLs ln Amerlca'
'WhaL happens lf Lhe washer goes wrong?' asked Lhe Mars 8ar.
'l suppose Lhey call a plumber ln.'
WllL saL and llsLened whlle MeaL Cne ranged far and wlde abouL vasecLomy and Lhe coll
and lndlans geLLlng free LranslsLors and Lhe plane LhaL landed aL Audley Lnd wlLh a loL of lllegal
lmmlgranLs and whaL somebody's broLher who was a pollceman ln 8rlxLon sald abouL blacks and
how Lhe lrlsh were [usL as bad and bombs and back Lo CaLhollcs and blrLh conLrol and who'd
wanL Lo llve ln lreland where you couldn'L even buy lrench leLLers and so back Lo Lhe Þlll. And all
Lhe Llme hls mlnd fllled lLself obsesslvely wlLh ways and means of geLLlng rld of Lva. A dleL of
blrLh-conLrol pllls hlgh on oesLrogen? lf he ground Lhem up and mlxed Lhem wlLh Lhe CvalLlne
she Look aL bedLlme Lhere was a chance she'd develop bloodcloLs all over Lhe place ln no Llme aL
all. WllL puL Lhe noLlon ouL of hls head. Lva wlLh bloodcloLs was Loo awful Lo sLomach, and
anyway lL mlghL noL work. no, lL would have Lo be someLhlng qulck, cerLaln and palnless.
Þreferably an accldenL.
AL Lhe end of Lhe hour WllL collecLed Lhe books and made hls way back Lo Lhe SLaff
8oom. Pe had a free perlod. Cn Lhe way he passed Lhe slLe of Lhe new AdmlnlsLraLlon block. 1he
ground had been cleared and Lhe bullders had moved ln and were borlng plle holes for Lhe
foundaLlons. WllL sLopped and waLched as Lhe drllllng machlne wound slowly down lnLo Lhe
ground. 1hey were maklng wlde holes. very wlde. 8lg enough for a body.
'Pow deep are you golng?' he asked one of Lhe workmen.
'1hlrLy feeL.'
'1hlrLy feeL?' sald WllL. 'When's Lhe concreLe golng ln?'
'Monday, wlLh any luck,' sald Lhe man.
WllL passed on. A new and qulLe horrlble ldea had [usL occurred Lo hlm.


2


lL was one of Lva WllL's beLLer days. She had days, beLLer days, and one of Lhose days. uays were
[usL days when noLhlng wenL wrong and she goL Lhe washlng-up done and Lhe fronL room
vacuumed and Lhe wlndows washed and Lhe beds made and Lhe baLh vlmmed and Lhe lavaLory
pan Parplcked and wenL round Lo Lhe Parmony CommunlLy CenLre and helped wlLh xeroxlng or
sorLed old cloLhes for Lhe !umble Sale and generally made herself useful and came home for
lunch and wenL Lo Lhe llbrary and had Lea wlLh Mavls or Susan or !ean and Lalked abouL llfe and
how seldom Penry made love Lo her even perfuncLorlly nowadays and how she had mlssed her
opporLunlLy by refuslng a bank clerk who was a manager now and came home and made
Penry's supper and wenL ouL Lo ?oga or llower ArrangemenL or MedlLaLlon or ÞoLLery and
flnally cllmbed lnLo bed wlLh Lhe feellng LhaL she had goL someLhlng done.
Cn one of Lhose days noLhlng wenL rlghL. 1he acLlvlLles were exacLly Lhe same buL each
eplsode was LalnLed wlLh some mlnor dlsasLer llke Lhe fuse blowlng on Lhe vacuum-cleaner or
Lhe draln ln Lhe slnk geLLlng blocked wlLh a plece of carroL so LhaL by Lhe Llme Penry came home
he was elLher greeLed by sllence or sub[ecLed Lo a qulLe unwarranLed expose of all hls faulLs and
shorLcomlngs. Cn one of Lhose days WllL usually Look Lhe dog for an exLended walk vla Lhe lerry
ÞaLh lnn and spenL a resLless nlghL geLLlng up and golng Lo Lhe baLhroom, Lhus nulllfylng Lhe
cleanslng quallLles of Lhe Parplc Lva had puffed round Lhe pan and provldlng her wlLh a good
excuse Lo polnL ouL hls faulLs once agaln ln Lhe mornlng.
'WhaL Lhe hell am l supposed Lo do?' he had asked afLer one of Lhose nlghLs. 'lf l pull Lhe
chaln you grumble because l've woken you up and lf l don'L you say lL looks nasLy ln Lhe
mornlng.'
'Well, lL does, and ln any case you don'L have Lo wash all Lhe Parplc off Lhe sldes. And
don'L say you don'L. l've seen you. ?ou alm lL all Lhe way round so LhaL lL all geLs Laken off. ?ou
do lL qulLe dellberaLely.'
'lf l pulled Lhe chaln lL would all geL flushed off anyway and you'd geL woken up lnLo Lhe
bargaln,' WllL Lold her, consclous LhaL he dld make a hablL of almlng aL Lhe Parplc. Pe had a
grudge agalnsL Lhe sLuff.
'Why can'L you [usL walL unLll Lhe mornlng? And anyway lL serves you rlghL,' she
conLlnued, foresLalllng hls obvlous answer, 'for drlnklng all LhaL beer. ?ou're supposed Lo be
Laklng Clem for a walk, noL swllllng ale ln LhaL horrld pub.'
'1o pee or noL Lo pee, LhaL ls Lhe quesLlon,' sald WllL helplng hlmself Lo All-8ran. 'WhaL
do you expecL me Lo do? 1le a knoL ln Lhe damned Lhlng?'
'lL wouldn'L make any dlfference Lo me lf you dld,' sald Lva blLLerly.
'lL would make a hell of a loL of dlfference Lo me, Lhank you very much.'
'l was Lalklng abouL our sex llfe and you know lL.'
'Ch, LhaL.' sald WllL.
8uL LhaL was on one of Lhose days.
Cn one of her beLLer days someLhlng unexpecLed happened Lo ln[ecL Lhe dally round
wlLh a new meanlng and Lo awake ln her Lhose dormanL expecLaLlons LhaL somehow everyLhlng
would suddenly change for Lhe beLLer and sLay LhaL way. lL was on such expecLaLlons LhaL her
falLh ln llfe was based. 1hey were Lhe splrlLual equlvalenL of Lhe Lrlvlal acLlvlLles LhaL kepL her
busy and Penry subdued. Cn one of her beLLer days Lhe sun shone brlghLer, Lhe floor ln Lhe hall
gleamed brlghLer and Lva WllL was brlghLer herself and hummed 'Some day my prlnce wlll
come' whlle Pooverlng Lhe sLalrs. Cn one of her beLLer days Lva wenL forLh Lo meeL Lhe world
wlLh a dlsarmlng goodhearLedness and awoke ln oLhers Lhe very same expecLaLlons LhaL so
Lhrllled her ln herself. And on one of her beLLer days Penry had Lo geL hls own supper and lf he
was wlse kepL ouL of Lhe house as long as posslble. Lva WllL's expecLaLlons demanded
someLhlng a slghL more lnvlgoraLlng Lhan Penry WllL afLer a day aL Lhe 1ech. lL was on Lhe
evenlngs of such days LhaL he came nearesL Lo genulnely decldlng Lo murder her and Lo hell wlLh
Lhe consequences.

Cn Lhls parLlcular day she was on her way Lo Lhe CommunlLy CenLre when she ran lnLo Sally
Þrlngshelm. lL was one of Lhose enLlrely forLulLous meeLlngs LhaL resulLed from Lva maklng her
way on fooL lnsLead of by blcycle and golng Lhrough 8osslLer Crove lnsLead of sLralghL down
Þarkvlew Avenue whlch was half a mlle shorLer. Sally was [usL drlvlng ouL of Lhe gaLe ln a
Mercedes wlLh a l reglsLraLlon whlch meanL lL was brand new. Lva noLed Lhe facL and smlled
accordlngly.
'Pow funny me runnlng lnLo you llke Lhls.' she sald brlghLly as Sally sLopped Lhe car and
unlocked Lhe door.
'Can l glve you a llfL? l'm golng lnLo Lown Lo look for someLhlng casual Lo wear LonlghL.
Caskell's goL some Swedlsh professor comlng over from Peldelberg and we're Laklng hlm Lo Ma
1anLe's.
Lva WllL cllmbed ln happlly, her mlnd compuLlng Lhe cosL of Lhe car and Lhe house and
Lhe slgnlflcance of wearlng someLhlng casual aL Ma 1anLe's (where she had heard LhaL sLarLers
llke Þrawn CockLalls cosL 93p) and Lhe facL LhaL ur Þrlngshelm enLerLalned Swedlsh professors
when Lhey came Lo lpford.
'l was golng Lo walk Lo Lown,' she lled. 'Penry's Laken Lhe car and lL's such a lovely day.'
'Caskell's boughL a blcycle. Pe says lL's qulcker and lL keeps hlm flL,' sald Sally, Lhus
condemnlng Penry WllL Lo yeL anoLher mlsforLune. Lva made a noLe Lo see LhaL he boughL a blke
aL Lhe pollce aucLlon and cycled Lo work ln raln or snow. 'l was Lhlnklng of Lrylng lellclLy lashlons
for a shanLung poncho. l don'L know whaL Lhey're llke buL l've been Lold Lhey're good. Þrofessor
CranL's wlfe goes Lhere and she says Lhey have Lhe besL selecLlon.'
'l'm sure Lhey musL have.' sald Lva WllL, whose paLronage of lellclLy lashlons had
conslsLed off looklng ln Lhe wlndow and wonderlng who on earLh could afford dresses aL forLy
pounds. now she knew. 1hey drove lnLo Lown and parked ln Lhe mulLl-sLorey car park. 8y LhaL
Llme Lva had sLored a loL more lnformaLlon abouL Lhe Þrlngshelms ln her memory. 1hey came
from Callfornla. Sally had meL Caskell whlle hlLchhlklng Lhrough Arlzona. She had been Lo kansas
SLaLe buL had dropped ouL Lo llve on a commune. 1here had been oLher men ln her llfe. Caskell
loaLhed caLs. 1hey gave hlm hay fever. Women's Llb meanL more Lhan burnlng your bra. lL
meanL LoLal commlLmenL Lo Lhe programme of women's superlorlLy over men. Love was greaL lf
you dldn'L leL lL geL Lo you. ComposL was ln and colour 1v ouL. Caskell's faLher had owned a
chaln of sLores whlch was sordld. Money was handy and 8osslLer Crove was a bore. Above all,
fucklng had Lo be, [usL _had_ Lo be fun whlchever way you looked aL lL.
Lva WllL recelved Lhls lnformaLlon wlLh a [olL. ln her clrcle 'fuck' was a word husbands
used when Lhey hlL Lhelr Lhumbs wlLh hammers. When Lva used lL she dld so ln Lhe lsolaLlon of
Lhe baLhroom and wlLh a wlsLfulness LhaL robbed lL of lLs crudlLy and lmbued lL wlLh a splendld
vlrlllLy so LhaL a good fuck became Lhe mosL dlsLanL and absLracL of all her expecLaLlons and
qulLe removed from Penry's occaslonal early mornlng fumbllngs. And lf 'fuck' was reserved for
Lhe baLhroom, fucklng was even more remoLe. lL suggesLed an almosL conLlnuous acLlvlLy, a
famlllar occurrence LhaL was boLh casual and saLlsfylng and added a new dlmenslon Lo llfe. Lva
WllL sLumbled ouL of Lhe car and followed Sally Lo lellclLy lashlons ln a sLaLe of shock.
lf fucklng was fun, shopplng wlLh Sally Þrlngshelm was a revelaLlon. lL was marked by a
declslveness LhaL was Lruly breaLhLaklng. Where Lva would have hummed and haaed, Sally
selecLed and havlng selecLed moved on down Lhe racks, dlscarded Lhlngs she dldn'L llke leavlng
Lhem hanglng over chalrs, selzed oLhers, glanced aL Lhem and sald she supposed Lhey would do
wlLh a bored accepLance LhaL was lnfecLlous, and lefL Lhe shop wlLh a plle of boxes conLalnlng
Lwo hundred pounds' worLh of shanLung ponchos, sllk summer coaLs, scarves and blouses. Lva
WllL had spenL sevenLy on a palr of yellow lounglng py[amas and a ralncoaL wlLh lapels and a
belL LhaL Sally sald was pure CaLsby.
'now all you need ls Lhe haL and you'll be lL,' she sald as Lhey loaded Lhe boxes lnLo Lhe
car. 1hey boughL Lhe haL, a Lrllby, and Lhen had coffee aL Lhe Mombasa Coffee Pouse where
Sally leanL across Lhe Lable lnLensely, smoklng a long Lhln clgar, and Lalklng abouL body conLacL
ln a loud volce so LhaL Lva was consclous LhaL Lhe women aL several nearby Lables had sLopped
Lacklng and were llsLenlng raLher dlsapprovlngly.
'Caskell's nlpples drlve me wlld,' Sally sald. '1hey drlve hlm wlld Loo when l suck Lhem.'
Lva drank her coffee and wondered whaL Penry would do lf she Look lL lnLo her head Lo
suck hls nlpples. urlve hlm wlld was hardly Lhe word and besldes she was beglnnlng Lo regreL
havlng spenL sevenLy pounds. 1haL would drlve hlm wlld Loo. Penry dldn'L approve of credlL
cards. 8uL she was en[oylng herself Loo much Lo leL Lhe LhoughL of hls reacLlon spoll her day.
'l Lhlnk LeaLs are so lmporLanL,' Sally wenL on. 1wo women aL Lhe nexL Lable pald Lhelr
blll and walked ouL.
'l suppose Lhey musL be,' sald Lva WllL uneaslly. 'l've never had much use for mlne.'
'Paven'L you?' sald Sally. 'We'll have Lo do someLhlng abouL LhaL.'
'l don'L see LhaL Lhere ls much anyone can do abouL lL,' sald Lva. 'Penry never Lakes hls
py[amas off and my nlghLle geLs ln Lhe way.'
'uon'L Lell me you wear Lhlngs ln bed. Ch you poor Lhlng. And nlghLles, Cod, how
humlllaLlng for you! l mean lL's Lyplcal of a male-domlnaLed socleLy, all Lhls cosLume
dlfferenLlaLlon. ?ou musL be sufferlng from Louch deprlvaLlon. Caskell says lL's as bad as vlLamln
deflclency.'
'Well, Penry ls always Llred when he geLs home,' Lva Lold her. 'And l go ouL a loL.'
'l'm noL surprlsed,' sald Sally, 'Caskell says male faLlgue ls a sympLom of penlle
lnsecurlLy. ls Penry's blg or small?'
'Well lL depends,' sald Lva hoarsely. 'SomeLlmes lL's blg and someLlmes lL lsn'L.'
'l much prefer men wlLh small ones,' sald Sally, 'Lhey Lry so much harder.'
1hey flnlshed Lhelr coffee and wenL back Lo Lhe car dlscusslng Caskell's penls and hls
Lheory LhaL ln a sexually undlfferenLlaLed saLleLy nlpple sLlmulaLlon would play an lncreaslngly
lmporLanL role ln developlng Lhe husband's sense of hls hermapharodlLlc naLure,' 'Pe's wrlLLen
an arLlcle on lL,' Sally sald as Lhey drove home. 'lL's called "1he Man As MoLher." lL was publlshed
ln Suck lasL year.'
'Suck?' sald Lva.
'?es, lL's a [ournal publlshed by Lhe SocleLy for undlfferenLlaLed Sexual SLudles ln kansas.
C's done a loL of work for Lhem on anlmal behavlour. Pe dld hls Lhesls on 8ole Þlay ln 8aLs
Lhere.'
'1haL sounds very lnLeresLlng,' sald Lva uncerLalnly. 8oll or role? Whlchever lL was lL was
lmpresslve and cerLalnly Penry's occaslonal pleces on uay 8elease ApprenLlces and LlLeraLure ln
Lhe _Llberal SLudles CuarLerly_ hardly measured up Lo ur Þrlngshelm's monographs.
'Ch l don'L know. lL's all so obvlous really. lf you puL Lwo male raLs LogeLher ln a cage
long enough one of Lhem ls slmply bound Lo develop acLlve Lendencles and Lhe oLher passlve
ones,' sald Sally wearlly. '8uL CaskeL was absoluLely furlous. Pe LhoughL Lhey oughL Lo alLernaLe.
1haL's C all over. l Lold hlm how sllly he was belng. l sald, "C honey, raLs are pracLlcally
undlfferenLlaLed anyway. l mean how can you expecL Lhem Lo be able Lo make an exlsLenLlal
cholce?" and you know whaL he sald? Pe sald, "Þublc baby, raLs are Lhe paradlgm. !usL
remember LhaL and you won'L go far wrong. 8aLs are Lhe paradlgm." WhaL do you Lhlnk of LhaL?'
'l Lhlnk raLs are raLher horrld,' sald Lva wlLhouL Lhlnklng. Sally laughed and puL her hand
on her knee.
'Ch Lva, darllng,' she murmured, 'you're so adorably down Lo earLh. no, l'm noL Laklng
you back Lo Þarkvlew Avenue. ?ou're comlng home wlLh me for a drlnk and lunch. l'm slmply
dylng Lo see you ln Lhose lemon loungers.'
1hey Lurned lnLo 8osslLer Crove.

lf raLs were a paradlgm for ur Þrlngshelm, ÞrlnLers 1hree were a paradlgm for Penry WllL,
Lhough of a raLher dlfferenL sorL. 1hey represenLed all LhaL was mosL dlfflculL, lnsenslLlve and
downrlghL bloodymlnded abouL uay 8elease Classes and Lo make maLLers worse Lhe sods
LhoughL Lhey were llLeraLe because Lhey could acLually read and volLalre was an ldloL because
he made everyLhlng go wrong for Candlde. Comlng afLer nursery nurses and durlng hls SLand-Lo
perlod, ÞrlnLers 1hree broughL ouL Lhe worsL ln hlm. 1hey had obvlously broughL ouL Lhe worsL
ln Cecll Wllllams who should have been Laklng Lhem.
'lL's Lhe second week he's been off slck,' Lhey Lold WllL.
'l'm noL aL all surprlsed,' sald WllL. '?ou loL are enough Lo make anyone slck.'
'We had one bloke wenL and gassed hlmself. ÞlnkerLon hls name was. Pe Look us for a
Lerm and made us read Lhls book _!ude Lhe Cbscure._ 1haL wasn'L half a depresslng book. All
abouL Lhls LwlL !ude.'
'l had an ldea lL was,' sald WllL.
'nexL Lerm old Þlnky dldn'L come back. Pe wenL down by Lhe rlver and sLuck a plpe up
Lhe exhausL and gassed hlmself.'
'l can'L say l blame hlm,' sald WllL.
'Well l llke LhaL. Pe was supposed Lo seL us an example.'
WllL looked aL Lhe class grlmly.
'l'm sure he had LhaL ln mlnd when he gassed hlmself,' he sald. 'And now lf you'll [usL geL
on and read quleLly, eaL quleLly and smoke so LhaL no one can see you from Lhe Admln. block,
l've goL work Lo do.'
'Work? ?ou loL don'L know whaL work ls. All you do ls slL aL a desk all day and read. Call
LhaL work? 8uggered lf l do and Lhey pay you Lo do lL...'
'ShuL up,' sald WllL wlLh sLarLllng vlolence. 'ShuL your sLupld Lrap.'
'Who's golng Lo make me?' sald Lhe ÞrlnLer.
WllL Lrled Lo conLrol hls Lemper and for once found lL lmposslble. 1here was someLhlng
lncredlbly arroganL abouL ÞrlnLers 1hree.
'l am,' he shouLed.
'?ou and who else? ?ou couldn'L make a mouse shuL lLs Lrap, noL lf you Lrled all day.'
WllL sLood up. '?ou fucklng llLLle shlL,' he shouLed. '?ou dlrLy snlvelllng...'

'l musL say, Penry, l'd have expecLed you Lo show more resLralnL,' sald Lhe Pead of Llberal
SLudles an hour laLer when WllL's nose had sLopped bleedlng and Lhe 1ech SlsLer had puL a
8and-Ald on hls eyebrow.
'Well lL wasn'L my class and Lhey goL my goaL by gloaLlng abouL ÞlnkerLon's sulclde. lf
Wllllams hadn'L been off slck lL wouldn'L have happened,' WllL explalned. 'Pe's always slck when
he has Lo Lake ÞrlnLers 1hree.'
Mr Morrls shook hls head dlsplrlLedly. 'l don'L care who Lhey were. ?ou slmply can'L go
around assaulLlng sLudenLs...'
'AssaulLlng sLudenLs? l never Louched...'
'All rlghL, buL you dld use offenslve language. 8ob lenwlck was ln Lhe nexL classroom
and he heard you call Lhls Alllson fellow a fucklng llLLle shlL and an evll-mlnded moron. now, ls lL
any wonder he Look a poke aL you?
'l suppose noL,' sald WllL. 'l shouldn'L have losL my Lemper. l'm sorry.'
'ln LhaL case we'll [usL forgeL lL happened,' sald Mr Morrls. '8uL [usL remember lf l'm Lo
geL you a Senlor LecLureshlp l can'L have you bloLLlng your copybook havlng punch-ups wlLh
sLudenLs.'
'l dldn'L have a punch-up,' sald WllL, 'he punched me.'
'Well, leL's [usL hope he doesn'L go Lo Lhe pollce and charge you wlLh assaulL. 1haL's Lhe
lasL sorL of publlclLy we wanL.'
'!usL Lake me off ÞrlnLers 1hree,' sald WllL, 'l've had my flll of Lhe bruLes.'

Pe wenL down Lhe corrldor and collecLed hls coaL and brlefcase from Lhe SLaff 8oom. Pls nose
felL Lwlce lLs normal slze and hls eyebrow hurL abomlnably. Cn hls way ouL Lo Lhe carpark he
passed several oLher members of sLaff buL no one sLopped Lo ask hlm whaL had happened.
Penry WllL passed unnoLlced ouL of Lhe 1ech and goL lnLo hls car. Pe shuL Lhe door and saL for
several mlnuLes waLchlng Lhe plledrlvers aL work on Lhe new block. up, down, up, down. nalls ln
a coffln. And one day one lnevlLable day he would be ln hls coffln, sLlll unnoLlced, sLlll an
AsslsLanL LecLurer (Crade 1wo) and qulLe forgoLLen by everyone excepL some louL ln ÞrlnLers
1hree who would always remember Lhe day he had punched a Llberal SLudles lecLurer on Lhe
nose and goL away wlLh lL. Pe'd probably boasL abouL lL Lo hls grandchlldren.
WllL sLarLed Lhe car and drove ouL onLo Lhe maln road fllled wlLh loaLhlng for ÞrlnLers
1hree, Lhe 1ech, llfe ln general and hlmself ln parLlcular. Pe undersLood now why LerrorlsLs were
prepared Lo sacrlflce Lhemselves for Lhe good of some cause. Clven a bomb and a cause he
would cheerfully have blown hlmself and any lnnocenL bysLanders Lo klngdom Come [usL Lo
prove for one glorlous lf brlef momenL LhaL he was an effecLlve force. 8uL he had nelLher bomb
nor cause. lnsLead he drove home recklessly and parked ouLslde 34 Þarkvlew Avenue. 1hen he
unlocked Lhe fronL door and wenL lnslde.
1here was a sLrange smell ln Lhe hall. Some sorL of perfume. Musky and sweeL. Pe puL
hls brlef-case down and looked lnLo Lhe llvlng-room. Lva was evldenLly ouL. Pe wenL lnLo Lhe
klLchen and puL Lhe keLLle on and felL hls nose. Pe would have a good look aL lL ln Lhe baLhroom
mlrror. Pe was halfway upsLalrs and consclous LhaL Lhere was a poslLlvely mlasmlc quallLy abouL
Lhe perfume when he was broughL Lo a halL. Lva WllL sLood ln Lhe bedroom doorway ln a palr of
asLonlshlngly yellow py[amas wlLh enormously flared Lrousers. She looked qulLe hldeous, and Lo
make maLLers worse she was smoklng a long Lhln clgareLLe ln a long Lhln holder and her mouLh
was a brllllanL red.
'Þenls baby,' she murmured hoarsely and swayed. 'Come ln here. l'm golng Lo suck your
nlpples Llll you come me oralwlse.'
WllL Lurned and fled downsLalrs. 1he blLch was drunk. lL was one of her beLLer days.
WlLhouL walLlng Lo Lurn Lhe keLLle off, Penry WllL wenL ouL of Lhe fronL door and goL back lnLo
Lhe ear. Pe wasn'L sLaylng around Lo have her suck hls nlpples. Pe'd had all he could Lake for one
day.


3


Lva WllL wenL downsLalrs and looked for penls baby halfhearLedly. lor one Lhlng she dldn'L wanL
Lo flnd hlm and for anoLher she dldn'L feel llke sucklng hls nlpples and for a Lhlrd she knew she
shouldn'L have spenL sevenLy pounds on a ralncoaL and a palr of beach py[amas she could have
goL for LhlrLy aL 8lowdens. She dldn'L need Lhem and she couldn'L see herself walklng down
Þarkvlew Avenue looklng llke 1he CreaL CaLsby. 8esldes, she felL a blL slck.
SLlll, he had lefL Lhe keLLle on so he musL be somewhere. lL wasn'L llke Penry Lo go ouL
and leave Lhe keLLle on. She looked ln Lhe lounge. lL had been Lhe slLLlng-room unLll lunchLlme
when Sally called her slLLlng-room a lounge. She looked ln Lhe dlnlng-room, now Lhe dlner, and
even ln Lhe garden buL Penry had vanlshed, Laklng, wlLh hlm Lhe car, and her hopes LhaL nlpple-
sucklng would brlng new meanlng Lo Lhelr marrlage and puL an end Lo her body conLacL
deprlvaLlon. llnally she gave up Lhe search and made herself a nlce poL of Lea and saL ln Lhe
klLchen wonderlng whaL on earLh had lnduced her Lo marry a male chauvlnlsL plg llke Penry WllL
who wouldn'L have known a good fuck lf he had been handed one on a plaLe and whose ldea of
a sophlsLlcaLed evenlng was a boneless chlcken curry aL Lhe new uelhl and a performance of
_klng Lear_ aL Lhe Culldhall. Why couldn'L she have marrled someone llke Caskell Þrlngshelm
who enLerLalned Swedlsh professors aL Ma 1anLe and who undersLood Lhe lmporLance of
cllLoral sLlmulaLlon as a necessary con-someLhlng-or-oLher of a Lruly saLlsfylng lnLerpersonal
peneLraLlon? CLher people sLlll found her aLLracLlve. ÞaLrlck MoLLram dld and so dld !ohn lrosL
who LaughL her poLLery, and Sally had sald she was lovely. Lva saL sLarlng lnLo space, Lhe space
beLween Lhe washlng-up rack and Lhe kenwood mlxer Penry had glven her for ChrlsLmas, and
LhoughL abouL Sally and how she had looked aL her so sLrangely when she was changlng lnLo her
lemon loungers. Sally had sLood, ln Lhe doorway of Lhe Þrlngshelms' bedroom, smoklng a clgar
and waLchlng her movemenLs wlLh a sensual calculaLlon LhaL had made Lva blush.
'uarllng, you have such a lovely body,' she had sald as Lva Lurned hurrledly and
scrambled lnLo Lhe Lrousers Lo avold reveallng Lhe hole ln her panLles. '?ou musLn'L leL lL go Lo
wasLe.'
'uo you really Lhlnk Lhey sulL me?'
8uL Sally had been sLarlng aL her breasLs lnLenLly. '8ooby baby,' she murmured. Lva
WllL's breasLs were promlnenL and Penry, ln one of hls many off momenLs, had once sald
someLhlng abouL Lhe dogs of hell golng dlngallngallng for you buL noL for me. Sally was more
appreclaLlve, and had lnslsLed LhaL Lva remove her bra and bum lL. 1hey had gone down Lo Lhe
klLchen and had drunk 1equlla and had puL Lhe bra on a dlsh wlLh a sprlg of holly on lL and Sally
had poured brandy over lL and had seL lL allghL. 1hey had Lo carry Lhe dlsh ouL lnLo Lhe garden
because lL smelL so horrlble and smoked so much and Lhey had laln on Lhe grass laughlng as lL
smouldered. Looklng back on Lhe eplsode Lva regreLLed her acLlon. lL had been a good bra wlLh
double-sLreLch panels deslgned Lo glve confldence where a woman needs lL, as Lhe 1v adverLs
puL lL. SLlll, Sally had sald she owed lL Lo herself as a free woman and wlLh Lwo drlnks lnslde her
Lva was ln no mood Lo argue.
'?ou've goL Lo feel free,' Sally had sald. 'lree Lo be. lree Lo be.'
'lree Lo be whaL?' sald Lva.
'?ourself, darllng,' Sally whlspered, 'your secreL self,' and had Louched her Lenderly
where Lva WllL, had she been sober and less elaLed, would sLaunchly have denled havlng a self.
1hey had gone back lnLo Lhe house and had lunch, a mlxLure of more 1equlla, salad and 8yvlLa
and coLLage cheese whlch Lva, whose appeLlLe for food was almosL as omnlvorous as her
enLhuslasm for new experlences, found unsaLlsfylng. She had hlnLed as much buL Sally had
poohpoohed Lhe ldea of Lhree good meals a day.
'lL's noL good calorlewlse Lo have a hlgh sLarch lnLake,' she sald, 'and besldes lL's noL
how much you puL lnLo yourself buL whaL. Sex and food, honey, are much Lhe same. A llLLle a loL
ls beLLer Lhan a loL a llLLle. ' She had poured Lva anoLher 1equlla, lnslsLed she Lake a blLe of
lemon before knocklng lL back and had helped her upsLalrs Lo Lhe blg bedroom wlLh Lhe blg bed
and Lhe blg mlrror ln Lhe celllng.
'lL's Llme for 11,' she sald ad[usLlng Lhe slaLs of Lhe veneLlan bllnds.
'1ea Lea,' Lva mumbled. 'buL we've [usL had dln dln.'
'1ouch 1herapy, darllng,' sald Sally and pushed her genLly back on Lo Lhe bed. Lva WllL
sLared up aL her reflecLlon ln Lhe mlrror, a large woman, Lwo large women ln yellow py[amas
lylng on a large bed, a large crlmson bed, Lwo large women wlLhouL yellow py[amas on a large
crlmson bed, four women naked on a large crlmson bed.
'Ch Sally, no Sally.'
'uarllng,' sald Sally and sllenced her proLesL oralwlse. lL had been a sLarLllngly new
experlence Lhough only parLly remembered. Lva had fallen asleep before Lhe 1ouch 1herapy had
goL well under way and had woken an hour laLer Lo flnd Sally fully dressed sLandlng by Lhe bed
wlLh a cup of black coffee.
'Ch l do feel bad,' Lva sald, referrlng as much Lo her moral condlLlon as Lo her physlcal.
'urlnk Lhls and you'll feel beLLer.'
Lva had drunk Lhe coffee and goL dressed whlle Sally explalned LhaL posL-conLacL
lnhlblLory depresslon was a perfecLly naLural reacLlon Lo 1ouch 1herapy aL flrsL.
'?ou'll flnd lL comes naLurally afLer Lhe flrsL few sesslons. ?ou'll probably break down
and cry and scream and Lhen feel Lremendously llberaLed and relleved.'
'uo you Lhlnk so? l'm sure l don'L know.'
Sally had drlven her home. '?ou and Penry musL come Lo our barbecue 1hursday nlghL,'
she sald. 'l know C baby wlll wanL Lo meeL you. ?ou'll llke hlm. Pe's a breasL baby. Pe'll go crazy
abouL you.'

'l Lell you she was plssed,' sald WllL as he saL ln Lhe 8ralnLrees' klLchen whlle ÞeLer 8ralnLree
opened a boLLle of beer for hlnL. 'Þlssed and wearlng same Codawful yellow py[amas,' and
smoklng a clgareLLe ln a long bloody holder.'


'WhaL dld she say?'
Well lf you musL know, she sald, "Come here..." no, lL's Loo much. l have a perfecLly foul
day aL Lhe 1ech. Morrls Lells me l haven'L goL my senlor lecLureshlp. Wllllams ls off slck agaln so l
lose a free perlod. l geL punched ln Lhe face by a greaL louL ln ÞrlnLers 1hree and l come home Lo
a drunk wlfe who calls me penls baby.'
'She called you whaL?' sald ÞeLer 8ralnLree, sLarlng aL hlm.
'?ou heard me.'
'Lva called you penls baby? l don'L belleve lL.'
'Well you go round Lhere and see whaL she calls you,' sald WllL blLLerly, 'and don'L blame
me lf she sucks your nlpples off oralwlse whlle she's abouL lL.'
'Cood Lord. ls LhaL whaL she LhreaLened Lo do?'
'1haL and more,' sald WllL.
'lL doesn'L sound llke Lva. lL really doesn'L.'
'lL dldn'L fucklng look llke her elLher, come Lo LhaL. She was all dolled up ln yellow beach
py[amas. ?ou should have seen Lhe colour. lL would have made a buLLercup look drab. And she'd
goL some ghasLly scarleL llpsLlck smeared round her mouLh and she was smoklng...She hasn'L
smoked for slx years and Lhen all Lhls penls baby nlpple-sucklng sLuff. And oralwlse.'
ÞeLer 8ralnLree shook hls head. '1haL's a fllLhy word,' he sald.
'lL's a perfecLly fllLhy acL Loo, lf you ask me' sald WllL.
'Well, l musL say lL all sounds preLLy pecullar,' sald 8ralnLree, 'Cod knows whaL l'd do lf
Susan came home and sLarLed lnslsLlng on sucklng my LeaLs.'
'uo whaL l dld. CeL ouL of Lhe house,' sald WllL. 'And anyway lL lsn'L [usL nlpples elLher.
uamn lL, we've been marrled Lwelve long years. lL's a blL laLe ln Lhe day Lo sLarL arslng abouL
oralwlse. 1he Lhlng ls she's on Lhls sexual llberaLlon klck. She came home lasL nlghL from Mavls
MoLLram's flower arrangemenL do [abberlng abouL cllLoral sLlmulaLlon and open-ended
freewheellng sexual opLlons.'
'lreewheellng whaL?'
'Sexual opLlons. Þerhaps l've goL lL wrong. l know sexual opLlons came lnLo lL
somewhere. l was half asleep aL Lhe Llme.'
'Where Lhe hell dld she geL all Lhls from?' asked 8ralnLree.
'Some bloody ?ank called Sally Þrlngshelm,' sald WllL. '?ou know whaL Lva's llke. l mean
she can smell lnLellecLual clapLrap a mlle off and homes ln on lL llke a bloody dung-beeLle
headlng for an open sewer. ?ou've no ldea how many phone "laLesL ldeas" l've had Lo puL up
wlLh. Well, mosL of Lhem l can manage Lo llve wlLh. l [usL leL her geL on wlLh lL and go my own
quleL way, buL when lL comes Lo parLlclpaLlng oralwlse whlle she blaLhers on abouL Women's
Llb, well you can counL me ouL.'
'WhaL l don'L undersLand abouL Sexual lreedom and Women's Llb ls why you have Lo go
back Lo Lhe nursery Lo be llberaLed,' sald 8ralnLree. '1here seems Lo be Lhls loony ldea LhaL you
have Lo be passlonaLely ln love all Lhe Llme.'
'Apes,' sald WllL morosely.
'Apes? WhaL abouL apes?'
'lL's all Lhls buslness abouL Lhe anlmal model. lf anlmals do lL Lhen humans musL.
1errlLorlal lmperaLlve and Lhe naked Ape. ?ou sLand everyLhlng on lLs head and lnsLead of
asplrlng you reLrogress a mllllon years. PlLch your wagon Lo an orang-ouLang. 1he egallLarlanlsm
of Lhe lowesL common denomlnaLor.'
'l don'L qulLe see whaL LhaL has Lo do wlLh sex,' sald 8ralnLree.
'nor do l,' sald WllL. 1hey wenL down Lo Lhe Þlg ln A Þoke and goL drunk.
lL was mldnlghL before WllL goL home and Lva was asleep. WllL cllmbed surrepLlLlously
lnLo bed and lay ln Lhe darkness Lhlnklng abouL hlgh levels of oesLrogen.

ln 8osslLer Crove Lhe Þrlngshelms came back from Ma 1ame Llred and bored.
'Swedes are Lhe boLLom,' sald Sally as she undressed.
Caskell saL down and Look off hls shoes. 'ungsLrom's all rlghL. Pls wlfe has [usL lefL hlm
for a low-LemperaLure physlclsL aL Cambrldge. Pe's noL usually so depressed.'
'?ou could have fooled me. And Lalklng abouL wlves, l've meL Lhe mosL unllberaLed
woman you've ever seL eyes on. name of Lva WllL. She's goL boobs llke canLaloupes.'
'uon'L,' sald ur Þrlngshelm, 'lf Lhere's one Lhlng l don'L need rlghL now lL's unllberaLed
wlves wlLh breasLs.' Pe cllmbed lnLo bed and Look hls glasses off.
'l had her round here Loday.'
'Pad her?'
Sally smlled. 'Caskell, honey, you've goL a Loadsome mlnd'
Caskell Þrlngshelm smlled myoplcally aL hlmself ln Lhe mlrror above. Pe was proud of
hls mlnd. 'l [usL know you, lover,' he sald. 'l know your funny llLLle hablLs. And whlle we're on Lhe
sub[ecL of hablLs whaL are all Lhose boxes ln Lhe guesL room? ?ou haven'L been spendlng money
agaln? ?ou know our budgeL Lhls monLh...'
Sally flounced lnLo bed. '8udgeL fudgeL,' she sald, 'l'm sendlng Lhem all back Lomorrow.'
'All?'
'Well, noL all, buL mosL. l had Lo lmpress booby baby somehow.'
'?ou dldn'L have Lo cop half a shop [usL Lo...'
'Caskell, honey, lf you would [usL leL me flnlsh,' sald Sally, 'she's a manlc, a lovely,
beauLlful, obsesslve compulslve manlc. She can'L slL sLlll for half a mlnuLe wlLhouL Lldylng and
cleanlng and pollshlng and washlng up.'
'1haL's all we need, a manlc compulslve woman around Lhe house all Lhe Llme. Who
needs Lwo?'
'1wo? l'm noL manlc'
'?ou're manlc enough for me,' sald Caskell.
'8uL Lhls one's goL boobs, baby, boobs. Anyway l've lnvlLed Lhem over on 1hursday for
Lhe barbecue.'
'WhaL Lhe hell for?'
'Well, lf you won'L buy me a dlshwasher llke l've asked you a hundred Llmes, l'm golng
ouL Lo geL me one. A nlce manlc compulslve dlshwasher wlLh boobs on.'
'!esus.' slghed Caskell, 'are you a blLch.'

'Penry WllL, you are a sod,' Lva sald nexL mornlng. WllL saL up ln bed. Pe felL Lerrlble. Pls nose
was even more palnful Lhan Lhe day before, hls head ached and he had spenL much of Lhe nlghL
expunglng Lhe Parplc from Lhe bowl ln Lhe baLhroom.
Pe was ln no mood Lo be woken and Lold he was a sod. Pe looked aL Lhe clock. lL was
elghL o'clock and he had 8rlcklayers 1wo aL nlne. Pe goL ouL of bed and made for Lhe baLhroom.
'uld you hear whaL l sald?' Lva demanded, geLLlng ouL of bed herself.
'l heard,' sald WllL, and saw LhaL she was naked. Lva WllL naked aL elghL o'clock ln Lhe
mornlng was almosL as sLarLllng a slghL as Lva WllL drunk, smoklng and dressed ln lemon yellow
py[amas aL slx o'clock aL nlghL. And even less enLlclng. 'WhaL Lhe hell are you golng abouL llke
LhaL for?'
'lf lL comes Lo LhaL, whaL's wrong wlLh your nose? l suppose you goL drunk and fell
down. lL looks all red and swollen.'
'lL _ls_ all red and swollen. And lf you musL know l dldn'L fall, down. now for goodness
sake geL ouL of Lhe way. l've goL a lecLure aL nlne.'
Pe pushed pasL her and wenL lnLo Lhe baLhroom and looked aL hls nose. lL looked awful.
Lva followed hlm ln. 'lf you dldn'L fall on lL whaL dld happen?' she demanded.
WllL squeezed foam from an aerosol and paLLed lL glngerly on hls chln.
'Well?' sald Lva.
WllL plcked up hls razor and puL lL under Lhe hoL Lap. 'l had an accldenL,' he muLLered.
'WlLh lamp-posL, l suppose. l knew you'd been drlnklng.'
'WlLh a ÞrlnLer,' sald WllL lndlsLlncLly and sLarLed Lo shave.
'WlLh a ÞrlnLer?'
'1o be preclse, l goL punched ln Lhe face by a parLlcularly pugnaclous apprenLlce prlnLer.'
Lva sLared aL hlre ln Lhe mlrror. '?ou mean Lo say a sLudenL hlL you ln Lhe classroom?'
WllL nodded.
'l hope you hlL hlm back'
WllL cuL hlmself.
'no l bloody dldn'L,' he sald, dabblng hls chlLs wlLh a flnger. 'now look whaL you've made
me do.'
Lva lgnored hls complalnL. 'Well you should have. ?ou're noL a man. ?ou should have hlL
hlm back.'
WllL puL clown Lhe razor. 'And goL Lhe sack. CoL hauled up ln courL for assaulLlng a
sLudenL. now LhaL's whaL l call a brllllanL ldea.' Pe reached for Lhe sponge and washed hls face.
Lva reLreaLed Lo Lhe bedroom saLlsfled. 1here would be no menLlon of her lemon
loungers now. She had Laken hls mlnd off her own llLLle exLravagance and glven hlm a sense of
grlevance LhaL would keep hlm occupled for Lhe Llme belng. 8y Lhe Llme she had flnlshed
dresslng, WllL had eaLen a bowl of All-8ran, drunk half a cup of coffee and was snarled up ln a
Lrafflc [am aL Lhe roundabouL. Lva wenL downsLalrs and had her own breakfasL and began Lhe
dally round of washlng up and Pooverlng and cleanlng Lhe baLh and...

'CommlLmenL,' sald ur Mayfleld, 'Lo an lnLegraLed approach ls an essenLlal elemenL ln...'
'1he !olnL CommlLLee for Lhe lurLher uevelopmenL of Llberal SLudles was ln sesslon. WllL
squlrmed ln hls chalr and wlshed Lo hell lL wasn'L. ur Mayfleld's paper 'Cerebral ConLenL and Lhe
non-Academlc Syllabus' held no lnLeresL for hlm, and besldes, lL was dellvered ln such
convoluLed senLences and wlLh so much monoLonous fervour LhaL WllL found lL dlfflculL Lo sLay
awake. Pe sLared ouL of Lhe wlndow aL Lhe machlnes borlng away on Lhe slLe of Lhe new Admln
block. 1here was a reallLy abouL Lhe work golng on down Lhere LhaL was ln marked conLrasL Lo
Lhe lmpracLlcal Lheorles ur Mayfleld was expoundlng. lf Lhe man really LhoughL he could lnsLll
Cerebral ConLenL, whaLever LhaL was, lnLo CasflLLers 1hree he was ouL of hls mlnd. Worse sLlll,
hls blasLed paper was bound Lo provoke an argumenL aL quesLlon Llme. WllL looked round Lhe
room. 1he varlous facLlons were all Lhere, Lhe new LefL, Lhe LefL, Lhe Cld LefL, Lhe lndlfferenL
CenLre, Lhe CulLural 8lghL and Lhe 8eacLlonary 8lghL.
WllL classed hlmself wlLh Lhe lndlfferenLs. ln earller years he had belonged Lo Lhe LefL
pollLlcally and Lo Lhe 8lghL culLurally. ln oLher words he had banned Lhe bomb, supporLed
aborLlon and Lhe abollLlon of prlvaLe educaLlon and had been agalnsL caplLal punlshmenL, Lhus
earnlng hlmself someLhlng of a repuLaLlon as a radlcal whlle aL Lhe same Llme advocaLlng a
reLurn Lo Lhe crafL of Lhe wheelwrlghL, Lhe blacksmlLh and Lhe handloom weaver whlch had
done much Lo undermlne Lhe efforLs of Lhe 1echnlcal sLaff Lo lnsLll ln Lhelr sLudenLs an
appreclaLlon of Lhe opporLunlLles provlded by modern Lechnology. 1lme and Lhe lnLranslgenL
coarseness of ÞlasLerers had changed all LhaL. WllL's ldeals had vanlshed, Lo be replaced by Lhe
convlcLlon LhaL Lhe man who sald Lhe pen was mlghLler Lhan Lhe sword oughL Lo have Lrled
readlng _1he Mlll on Lhe lloss_ Lo MoLor Mechanlcs 1hree before he opened hls blg mouLh. ln
WllL's vlew, Lhe sword had much Lo recommend lL.
As ur Mayfleld droned on, as quesLlon Llme wlLh lLs ldeologlcal argumenLs followed, WllL
sLudled Lhe plle hole on Lhe bulldlng slLe. lL would make an ldeal deposlLory for a body and Lhere
would be someLhlng lmmensely saLlsfylng ln knowlng LhaL Lva, who ln her llfeLlme had been so
unbearable, was ln deaLh supporLlng Lhe welghL of a mufLl-sLorey concreLe bulldlng. 8esldes lL
would make her dlscovery an exLremely remoLe posslblllLy and her ldenLlflcaLlon ouL of Lhe
quesLlon. noL even Lva, who boasLed a sLrong consLlLuLlon and a sLronger wlll, could malnLaln
an ldenLlLy aL Lhe boLLom of a plle shafL. 1he dlfflculLy would be ln geLLlng her Lo go down Lhe
hole ln Lhe flrsL place. Sleeplng pllls seemed a senslble prellmlnary buL Lva was a sound sleeper
and dldn'L belleve ln pllls of any sorL.
'l can'L lmaglne why noL,' WllL LhoughL grlmly, 'she's prepared Lo belleve ln [usL abouL
everyLhlng else.'
Pls reverle was lnLerrupLed by Mr Morrls who was brlnglng Lhe meeLlng Lo a close.
'8efore you all go,' he sald. 'Lhere ls one more sub[ecL l wanL Lo menLlon. We have been asked
by Lhe Pead of Lnglneerlng Lo conducL a serles of one-hour lecLures Lo Sandwlch-Course 1ralnee
llremen. 1he Lheme Lhls year wlll be Þroblems of ConLemporary SocleLy. l have drawn up a llsL
of Loplcs and Lhe lecLurers who wlll glve Lhem.'
Mr Morrls handed ouL sub[ecLs aL random. Ma[or Mlllfleld goL Medla, CommunlcaLlons
and ÞarLlclpaLory uemocracy abouL whlch he knew noLhlng and cared less. ÞeLer 8ralnLree was
glven 1he new 8ruLallsm ln ArchlLecLure, lLs Crlglns and Soclal ALLrlbuLes, and WllL ended up
wlLh vlolence and Lhe 8reak-up of lamlly Llfe. Cn Lhe whole he LhoughL he had done raLher
well. 1he sub[ecL flLLed ln wlLh hls presenL preoccupaLlons. Mr Morrls evldenLly agreed.
'l LhoughL you mlghL llke Lo have a go aL lL afLer yesLerday's llLLle eplsode wlLh ÞrlnLers
1hree,' he sald, as Lhey wenL ouL. WllL smlled wanly and wenL off Lo Lake llLLers and 1urners
1wo. Pe gave Lhem _Shane_ Lo read and spenL Lhe hour [oLLlng down noLes for hls lecLure. ln
Lhe dlsLance he could hear Lhe plle-borlng machlnes grlndlng away. WllL could lmaglne Lva lylng
aL Lhe boLLom as Lhey poured Lhe concreLe ln. ln her lemon py[amas. lL was a nlce LhoughL, and
helped hlm wlLh hls noLes. Pe wroLe down a headlng, Crlme ln Lhe famlly, subheadlng (A)
Murder of Spouse, decllne ln slnce dlvorce laws.
?es, he should be able Lo Lalk abouL LhaL Lo 1ralnee llremen.


4


'l loaLhe parLles,' sald WllL on 1hursday nlghL, 'and lf Lhere's one Lhlng worse Lhan parLles lL's
unlverslLy parLles and boLLle parLles are worsL of all. ?ou Lake along a boLLle of decenL burgundy
and end up drlnklng someone else's roLguL.'
'lL lsn'L a parLy,' sald Lva, 'lL's a barbecue.'
'lL says here "Come and 1ouch and Come wlLh Sally and Caskell 9 ÞM 1hursday. 8rlng
your own ambrosla or Lake poL luck wlLh Lhe Þrlngshelm punch." lf ambrosla doesn'L mean
Algerlan bllgewaLer l'd llke Lo know whaL lL does mean.'
'l LhoughL lL was LhaL sLuff people Lake Lo geL a hard-on,' sald Lva.
WllL looked aL her wlLh dlsgusL. '?ou've plcked up some cholce phrases slnce you've meL
Lhese bloody people. A hard-on! l don'L know whaL's goL lnLo you.'
'?ou haven'L. 1haL's for sure,' sald Lva, and wenL Lhrough Lo Lhe baLhroom. WllL saL on
Lhe bed and looked aL Lhe card. 1he beasLly Lhlng was shaped llke a...WhaL Lhe hell was lL
shaped llke? Anyway lL was plnk and opened ouL and lnslde were all Lhese amblguous words.
Come and 1ouch and Come. Anyone Louched hlm and Lhey'd geL an earful. And whaL abouL poL
luck? A loL of Lrendy dons smoklng [olnLs and Lalklng abouL seL-LheoreLlc daLa-manlpulaLlon
sysLems or Lhe slgnlflcance of pre-Þopper Pegellanlsm ln Lhe conLemporary dlalecLlcal scene, or
someLhlng equally unlnLelllglble, and uslng fuck and cunL every now and Lhen Lo show LhaL Lhey
were sLlll human.
'And whaL do you do?' Lhey would ask hlm.
'Well, acLually l Leach aL Lhe 1ech.'
'AL Lhe 1ech? Pow frlghLfully lnLeresLlng,' looklng over hls shoulder Lowards more
sLlmulaLlng horlzons, and he would end Lhe evenlng wlLh same ghasLly woman who felL sLrongly
LhaL 1echs fulfllled a real funcLlon and LhaL lnLellecLual achlevemenL was vasLly overraLed and
LhaL people should be, orlenLed ln a way LhaL would make Lhem communlLy coordlnaLed and
LhaL's whaL 1echs were dolng, weren'L Lhey? WllL knew whaL 1echs were dolng. Þaylng people
llke hlm £3300 a year Lo keep CasflLLers quleL for an hour.
And Þrlngshelm Þunch. ÞlanLers Þunch. ÞrlnLers Þunch. Pe'd had enough punches
recenLly.
'WhaL Lhe hell am l Lo wear?' he asked.
'1here's LhaL Mexlcan shlrL you boughL on Lhe CosLa del Sol lasL year,' Lva called from
Lhe baLhroom. '?ou haven'L had a chance Lo wear lL slnce'
'And l don'L lnLend Lo now,' muLLered WllL, rummaglng Lhrough a drawer ln search of
someLhlng nondescrlpL LhaL would demonsLraLe hls lndependence. ln Lhe end he puL on a
sLrlped shlrL wlLh blue [eans.
'?ou're surely noL golng llke LhaL?' Lva Lold hlm emerglng from Lhe baLhroom largely
naked. Per face was plasLered wlLh whlLe powder and her llps were carmlne.
'!esus wepL,' sald WllL, 'Mardl Cras wlLh pernlclous anaemla.'
Lva pushed passed hlm. 'l'm golng as 1he CreaL CaLsby,' she announced,' 'and lf you had
any lmaglnaLlon you'd Lhlnk of someLhlng beLLer Lhan a buslness shlrL wlLh blue [eans'
'1he CreaL CaLsby happened Lo be a man,' sald WllL.
'8ully for hlm,' sald Lva and puL on her lemon loungers.
WllL shuL hls eyes and Look off hls shlrL. 8y Lhe Llme Lhey lefL Lhe house he was wearlng
a red shlrL wlLh [eans whlle Lva, ln splLe of Lhe hoL nlghL, lnslsLed on puLLlng on her new ralncoaL
and Lrllby.
'We mlghL as well walk.' sald WllL.
1hey Look Lhe car. Lva wasn'L yeL prepared Lo walk down Þarkvlew Avenue ln a Lrllby, a
belLed ralncoaL and lemon loungers. Cn Lhe way Lhey sLopped aL an off-llcence where WllL
boughL a boLLle of Cyprus red.
'uon'L Lhlnk l'm golng Lo Louch Lhe muck,' he sald, 'and you had beLLer Lake Lhe car keys
now. lf lL's as bad as l Lhlnk lL wlll be, l'm walklng home early.'

lL was. Worse. ln hls red shlrL and blue [eans WllL looked ouL of place.
'uarllng Lva,' sald Sally, when Lhey flnally found her Lalklng Lo a man ln a lolncloLh made
ouL of a klLchen Lowel adverLlslng lrlsh cheeses, 'you look greaL. 1he LwenLles sulL you. And so
Lhls ls Penry.' Penry dldn'L feel Penry aL all. 'ln perlod cosLume Loo. Penry meeL 8aphael.'
1he man ln Lhe lolncloLh sLudled WllL's [eans. '1he flfLles are back,' he sald languldly, 'l
suppose lL was bound Lo happen.'
WllL looked polnLedly aL a Connemara Cheddar and Lrled Lo smlle.
'Pelp yourself, Penry,' sald Sally, and Look Lva off Lo meeL Lhe freesL buL Lhe mosL
llberaLed woman who was slmply dylng Lo meeL booby baby. WllL wenL lnLo Lhe garden and puL
hls boLLle on Lhe Lable and looked for a corkscrew. 1here wasn'L one. ln Lhe end he looked lnLo a
large buckeL wlLh a ladle ln lL. Palf an orange and segmenLs of brulsed peach floaLed ln a purple
llquld. Pe poured hlmself a paper cup and Lrled lL. As he had anLlclpaLed, lL LasLed llke clder wlLh
wood alcohol and orange squash. WllL looked round Lhe garden. ln one corner a man ln a chef's
haL and a [ocksLrap was cooklng, was _burnlng_ sausages over a charcoal grlll. ln anoLher corner
a dozen people were lylng ln a clrcle llsLenlng Lo Lhe WaLergaLe Lapes. 1here was a sprlnkllng of
couples Lalklng earnesLly and a number of lndlvlduals sLandlng by Lhemselves looklng
superclllous and remoLe. WllL recognlsed hlmself among Lhem and selecLed Lhe leasL aLLracLlve
glrl on Lhe Lheory LhaL he mlghL [usL as well [ump ln Lhe deep end and geL lL over wlLh. Pe'd end
up wlLh her anyway.
'Pl,' he sald, consclous LhaL already he was sllpplng lnLo Lhe Amerlcanese LhaL Lva had
succumbed Lo. 1he glrl looked aL hlm blankly and moved away.
'Charmlng,' sald WllL, and flnlshed hls drlnk. 1en mlnuLes and Lwo drlnks laLer he was
dlscusslng 8apld 8eadlng wlLh a small round man who seemed deeply lnLeresLed ln Lhe sub[ecL.

ln Lhe klLchen Lva was cuLLlng up lrench bread whlle Sally sLood wlLh a drlnk and Lalked abouL
Levl-SLrauss wlLh an LLhloplan who had [usL goL back from new Culnea.
l've always felL LhaL L-S was all wrong on Lhe woman's fronL,' she sald, languldly sLudylng
Lva's rear, 'l mean he dlsregards Lhe essenLlal slmllarlLy...' She sLopped and sLared ouL of Lhe
wlndow. 'Lxcuse me a momenL she sald, and wenL ouL Lo rescue ur Schelmacher from Lhe
cluLches of Penry WllL. 'LrnsL ls such a sweeLle,' she sald, when she came back 'you'd never
guess he goL Lhe nobel prlze for spermaLology.'
WllL sLood ln Lhe mlddle of Lhe garden and flnlshed hls Lhlrd drlnk he poured hlmself a
fourLh and wenL Lo llsLen Lo Lhe WaLergaLe Lapes. Pe goL Lhere ln Llme Lo hear Lhe end.
'?ou geL a much clearer lnslghL lnLo 1rlcky ulck's characLer quadraphonlcally,' someone
sald as Lhe group brake up.
'WlLh Lhe hlghly glfLed chlld one has Lo develop a speclal relaLlonshlp. 8oger and l flnd
LhaL 1onlo responds besL Lo consLrucLlonal approach.'
'lL's a lead of bull. 1ake whaL he says abouL quasars for example...'
'l can'L honesLly see whaL's wrong wlLh buggery...'
'l don'L care whaL Marcuse Lhlnks abouL Lolerance. WhaL l'm saylng ls...'
'AL mlnus Lwo-flfLy nlLrogen...'
'8ach does have hls momenLs l suppose buL he has hls llmlLaLlons...'
'We've goL Lhls place aL SL 1rop...'
'l sLlll Lhlnk kaldor had Lhe answer...'
WllL flnlshed hls fourLh drlnk and wenL Lo look for Lva. Pe'd had enough. Pe was halLed
by a yell from Lhe man ln Lhe chef's haL.
'8urgers up. Come and geL lL.'
WllL sLaggered off and goL lL. 1wo sausages, a burnL beefburger and a slosh of coleslaw
on a paper plaLe. 1here dldn'L seem Lo be any knlves or forks.
'Þoor Penry's looklng so forlorn,' sald Sally, 'l'll go and Lransfuse hlm.'
She wenL ouL and Look WllL's arm.
'?ou're so lucky Lo have Lva. She's Lhe bablesL baby.'
'She's LhlrLy-flve,' sald WllL drunkenly, 'LhlrLy-flve lf she's a day.'


'lL's marvellous Lo meeL a man who says whaL he means,' sald Sally, and Look a plece of
beefburger from hls plaLe. 'Caskell [usL never says anyLhlng sLralghLforwardly. l love down Lo
earLh people.' She saL down on Lhe grass and pulled WllL down wlLh her. 'l Lhlnk lL's Lerrlbly
lmporLanL for Lwo people Lo Lell one anoLher Lhe LruLh,' she wenL on, breaklng off anoLher plece
of beefburger and popplng lL lnLo WllL's mouLh. She llcked her flngers slowly and looked aL hlm
wlLh wlde eyes. WllL chewed Lhe blL uneaslly and flnally swallowed lL. lL LasLed llke burnL
mlncemeaL wlLh a soupçon of Lancôme. Cr a bouqueL.
'Why Lwo?' he asked, rlnslng hls mouLh ouL wlLh coleslaw.
'Why Lwo whaL?'
'Why Lwo people,' sald WllL, 'Why ls, lL so lmporLanL for Lwo people Lo Lell Lhe LruLh?'
'Well l mean...'

'Why noL Lhree? Cr four? Cr a hundred?'
'A hundred people can'L have a relaLlonshlp. noL an lnLlmaLe one,' sald Sally, 'noL a
meanlngful one.'
'l don'L know many Lwos who can elLher,' sald WllL. Sally dabbed her flnger ln hls
coleslaw.
'Ch buL you do. ?ou and Lva have Lhls real Lhlng golng beLween you.'
'noL very ofLen.' sald WllL. Sally laughed.
'Ch baby, you're a LruLh baby.' she sald, and goL up and feLched Lwo more drlnks. WllL
looked down lnLo hls paper cup doubLfully. Pe was geLLlng very drunk.
'lf l'm a LruLh baby, whaL sorL of baby are you, baby?' he asked, endeavourlng Lo lnsLll
Lhe lasL baby wlLh more Lhan soupçon of conLempL. Sally snuggled up Lo hlm and whlspered ln
hls ear.
'l'm a body baby,' she sald.
'l can see LhaL.' sald WllL. '?ou've goL a very nlce body.'
'1haL's Lhe nlcesL Lhlng anybody has ever sald Lo me,' sald Sally.
'ln LhaL case.' sald WllL, plcklng up a blackened sausage 'you musL have had a deprlved
chlldhood'
'As a maLLer of facL l dld,' Sally sald and plucked Lhe sausage from hls flngers. '1haL's why
l need so much lovlng now. She puL mosL of Lhe sausage ln her mouLh, drew lL slowly ouL and
nlbbled Lhe end. WllL flnlshed off Lhe coleslaw and washed lL down wlLh Þrlngshelm Þunch.
'Aren'L Lhey all awful?' sald Sally, as shouLs and laughLer came from Lhe corner of Lhe
garden by Lhe grlll.
WllL looked, up.
'As a maLLer of facL Lhey are,' he sald. 'Who's Lhe clown ln Lhe [ocksLrap?'
'1haL's Caskell. Pe's so arresLed. Pe loves playlng aL Lhlngs,' ln Lhe SLaLes he [usL loves Lo
rlde fooLplaLe on a locomoLlve and he goes Lo rodeos and lasL ChrlsLmas he lnslsLed on dresslng
up as SanLa Claus and golng down Lo WaLLs and glvlng ouL presenLs Lo Lhe black klds aL an
orphanage. Cf course Lhey wouldn'L leL hlm.'
'lf he wenL ln a [ocksLrap l'm noL ln Lhe leasL surprlsed,' sald WllL. Sally laughed.
'?ou musL be an Arles,' she sald. 'you don'L mlnd whaL you say.' She goL Lo her feeL and
pulled WllL up-'l'm golng Lo show you hls Loy room. lL's ever so droll.'
WllL puL hls plaLe down and Lhey wenL lnLo Lhe house. ln Lhe klLchen Lva was peellng
oranges for a frulL salad and Lalklng abouL clrcumclslon rlLes wlLh Lhe LLhloplan, who was sllclng
bananas for her. ln Lhe lounge several couples were danclng back Lo back very vlgorously Lo an
LÞ of 8eeLhoven's llfLh played aL 78.
'ChrlsL,' sald WllL as Sally collecLed a boLLle of vodka from a cupboard. 1hey wenL
upsLalrs and down a passage Lo a small bedroom fllled wlLh Loys. 1here was a model Lraln seL on
Lhe floor, a punchbag, an enormous 1eddy dear, a rocklng horse, a flreman's helmeL and a
llfeslze lnflaLed doll LhaL looked llke a real woman.
'1haL's !udy,' sald Sally. 'she's goL a real cunL. Caskell ls a plasLlc freak.' WllL wlnced. 'And
here are Caskell's Loys, puberLy baby.'
WllL looked round Lhe room aL Lhe mess and shook hls head. 'Looks as Lhough he's
maklng up for a losL chlldhood,' he sald.
'Ch, Penry, you're so percepLlve,' sald Sally, and unscrewed Lhe Lop of Lhe vodka boLLle.
'l'm noL. lL's [usL bloody obvlous.'
'Ch you are. ?ou're [usL Lerrlbly modesL, ls all. ModesL and shy and manly.' She swlgged
from Lhe boLLle and gave lL Lo WllL. Pe Look a mouLhful lnadvlsedly and had Lrouble swallowlng
lL. Sally locked Lhe door and saL down on Lhe bed. She reached up a hand and pulled WllL
Lowards her.
'Screw me, Penry baby,' she sald and llfLed her sklrL, 'fuck me, honey. Screw Lhe panLs
off me.'
'1haL,' sald WllL, 'would be a blL dlfflculL.'
'Ch. Why?'
'Well for one Lhlng you don'L appear Lo be wearlng any and anyway why should l?'
'?ou wanL a reason? A reason for screwlng?'
'?es,' sald WllL. '?es l do.'
'8eason's Lreason. leel free.' She pulled hlm down and klssed hlm. WllL dldn'L feel aL all
free. 'uon'L be shy, baby.'
'Shy?' sald WllL lurchlng Lo one slde. 'Me shy?'
'Sure you're shy. Ck, you're small. Lva Lold me...'
'Small? WhaL do you mean l'm small?' shouLed WllL furlously.
Sally smlled up aL hlm. lL doesn'L maLLer. lL doesn'L maLLer. noLhlng maLLers. !usL you
and me and...'
'lL bloody well does maLLer,' snarled WllL. 'My wlfe sald l was small. l'll soon show Lhe
sllly blLch who's small. l'll show...'
'Show me, Penry baby, show me. l llke Lhem small. Þrlck Lo Lhe qulck.'
'lL's noL Lrue,' WllL mumbled.
'Þrove lL, lover,' sald Sally squlrmlng agalnsL hlm.
'l won'L,' sald WllL, and sLood up.
Sally sLopped squlrmlng and looked aL hlm. '?ou're [usL afrald,' she sald. '?ou're afrald Lo
be free.'
'lree? lree?' shouLed WllL, Lrylng Lo open Lhe door, 'Locked ln a room wlLh anoLher
man's wlfe ls freedom? ?ou've goL be [oklng.'
Sally pulled down her sklrL and saL up.
'?ou won'L?'
'no,' sald WllL.
'Are you a bondage baby? ?ou can Lell me. l'm used bondage bables. Caskell ls real...'
'CerLalnly noL,' sald WllL. 'l don'L care whaL Caskell ls.'
'?ou wanL a blow [ob, ls LhaL lL? ?ou wanL for me Lo glve you a blow [ob? She goL off Lhe
bed and came Lowards hlm. WllL looked aL her wlldly.
'uon'L you Louch me,' he shouLed, hls mlnd allve wlLh lmages of burnlng palnL. 'l don'L
wanL anyLhlng from you.'
Sally sLopped and sLared aL hlm. She wasn'L smlllng any more.
'Why noL? 8ecause you're small? ls LhaL why?'
WllL hacked agalnsL Lhe door.
'no, lL lsn'L.'
'8ecause you haven'L Lhe courage of your lnsLlncLs? 8ecause yours a psychlc vlrgln?
8ecause you're noL a man? 8ecause you can'L Lake a woman who Lhlnks?'
'1hlnks?' yelled WllL, sLung lnLo acLlon by Lhe accusaLlon LhaL he wasn'L a man. '1hlnks?
?ou Lhlnk? ?ou know someLhlng? l'd raLher have lL off wlLh LhaL plasLlc mechanlcal do Lhan you.
lL's goL more sex appeal ln lLs llLLle flnger Lhan you have ln your whole roLLen body. When l wanL
a whore l'll buy one.'
'Why you llLLle shlL' sald Sally, and lunged aL hlm. WllL scuLLled sldeways and colllded
wlLh Lhe punchbag. 1he nexL momenL he had sLepped on a model englne and was hurLllng
across Lhe room. As he slumped down Lhe wall on Lo Lhe floor Sally plcked up Lhe doll and leanL
over hlm.

ln Lhe klLchen Lva had flnlshed Lhe frulL salad and had made coffee. lL was a lovely parLy. Mr
Csewa had Lold her all abouL hls [ob as underdevelopmenL offlcer ln CulLural Affalrs Lo unLSCC
and how rewardlng he found lL. She had been klssed Lwlce on Lhe back of Lhe neck by ur
Schelmacher ln passlng and Lhe man ln Lhe lrlsh Cheese lolncloLh had pressed hlmself agalnsL
her raLher more flrmly Lhan was absoluLely necessary Lo reach Lhe LomaLo keLchup. And all
around her Lerrlbly clever people were belng so ouLspoken. lL was all so sophlsLlcaLed. She
helped herself Lo anoLher drlnk and looked around for Penry. Pe was nowhere Lo be seen.
'Pave you seen Penry?' she asked when Sally came lnLo Lhe klLchen holdlng a boLLle of
vodka and looklng raLher flushed.
'1he lasL l saw of hlm he was seLLlng wlLh some dolly blrd,' sald Sally, helplng herself Lo a
spoonful of frulL salad. 'Ch, Lva darllng, you're absoluLely Cordon 8leu baby.' Lva blushed.
'l do hope he's en[oylng hlmself, Penry's noL awfully good aL parLles.'
'Lva baby, be honesL. Penry's noL awfully good perlod.'
'lL's [usL LhaL he...' Lva began buL Sally klssed her.
'?ou're far Loo good for hlm,' she sald. 'we've goL Lo flnd you someone really beauLlful.'
Whlle Lva slpped her drlnk, Sally found a young man wlLh a frond of halr falllng across hls
forehead who was lylng on a couch wlLh a glrl, smoklng and sLarlng aL Lhe celllng.
'ChrlsLopher preclous,' she sald, 'l'm golng Lo sLeal you for a momenL. l wanL you Lo do
someone for me. Co lnLo Lhe klLchen and sweeLen Lhe woman wlLh Lhe boobles and Lhe awful
yellow py[amas.'
'Ch Cod. Why me?'
'My sweeL, you know you're uLLerly lrreslsLlble. 8uL Lhe sexlesL. lor me, baby, for me.'
ChrlsLopher goL off Lhe couch and wenL lnLo Lhe klLchen Sally sLreLched ouL beslde Lhe
glrl.
'ChrlsLopher ls a dreamboy,' she sald.
'Pe's a glgolo.' sald Lhe glrl. 'A male prosLlLuLe.'
'uarllng,' sald Sally, 'lL's abouL Llme we women had Lhem.'

ln Lhe klLchen Lva sLopped pourlng coffee. She was feellng dellghLfully Llpsy.
'?ou musLn'L.' she sald hasLlly.
'Why noL?'
'l'm marrled.'
'l llke lL. l llke lL.'
'?es buL...'
'no buLs, lover.'
'Ch.'

upsLalrs ln Lhe Loy room WllL, recoverlng slowly from Lhe comblned assaulLs on hls sysLem of
Þrlngshelm Þunch, vodka, hls nymphomanlac hosLess and Lhe corner of Lhe cupboard agalnsL
whlch he had fallen, had Lhe feellng LhaL someLhlng was Lerrlbly wrong. lL wasn'L slmply LhaL Lhe
room was osclllaLlng, LhaL he had a lump on Lhe back of hls head or LhaL he was naked. lL was
raLher Lhe sensaLlon LhaL someLhlng wlLh all Lhe less aLLracLlve quallLles of a mouseLrap, or a
vlce, or sLarvlng clam, had aLLached lLself lmplacably Lo whaL he, had up Llll now always
consldered Lo be Lhe mosL prlvaLe of parLs. WllL opened hls eyes and found hlmself sLarlng lnLo
smlllng lf sllghLly swollen face. Pe shuL hls eyes agaln, hope agalnsL hope, opened Lhem agaln,
found Lhe face sLlll Lhere and made an efforL Lo slL up.
lL was an unwlse move. !udy, Lhe plasLlc doll, lnflaLed beyond her normal pressure,
reslsLed. WlLh a squawk WllL fell back on Lo Lhe floor. !udy followed. Per nose bounced on hls
face and her breasLs on hls chesL. WlLh a curse WllL rolled onLo hls slde and consldered Lhe
problem. SlLLlng up was ouL of Lhe quesLlon. 1haL way led Lo casLraLlon. Pe would have Lo Lry
someLhlng else. Pe rolled Lhe doll over furLher and cllmb on Lop only Lo declde LhaL hls welghL
on lL was lncreaslng pressure on whaL remalned of hls penls and LhaL lf he wanLed Lo geL
gangrene LhaL was Lhe way Lo go abouL geLLlng lL. WllL rolled off preclplLaLely and groped for a
valve. 1here musL be one somewhere lf he could only flnd lL. 8uL lf Lhere was a valve lL was well
hldden and by Lhe feel of Lhlngs he hadn'L goL Llme Lo wasLe flndlng lL. Pe felL round on Lhe floor
for someLhlng Lo use as a dagger, someLhlng sharp, and flnally broke off a plece of rallway Lrack
and plunged lL lnLo hls assallanL's back. 1here was a squeak of plasLlc buL !udy's swollen smlle
remalned unchanged and her unwanLed aLLenLlons as lmplacable as ever. Agaln and agaln he
sLabbed her buL Lo no avall. WllL dropped hls makeshlfL dagger and consldered oLher means. Pe
was geLLlng franLlc, consclous of a new LhreaL. lL was no longer LhaL he was Lhe sub[ecL of her
hlgh alr pressure. Pls own lnLernal pressures were mounLlng. 1he Þrlngshelm Þunch and Lhe
vodka were maklng Lhelr presence felL. WlLh a desperaLe LhoughL LhaL lf he dldn'L geL ouL of her
soon he would bursL, WllL selzed !udy's head, benL lL sldeways and sank hls LeeLh lnLo her neck.
Cr would have had her pounds per square lnch permlLLed. lnsLead he bounced off and spenL Lhe
nexL Lwo mlnuLes Lrylng Lo flnd hls false LooLh whlch had been dlslodged ln Lhe exchange.
8y Lhe Llme he had goL lL back ln place, panlc had seL ln. Pe had Lo geL ouL of Lhe doll. Pe
[usL had Lo. 1here would be a razor ln Lhe baLhroom or a palr of sclssors. 8uL where on earLh was
Lhe baLhroom? never mlnd abouL LhaL. Pe'd flnd Lhe damned Lhlng. Carefully, very carefully he
rolled Lhe doll on Lo her hack and followed her over. 1hen he lnched hls knees up unLll he was
sLraddllng Lhe Lhlng. All he needed now was someLhlng Lo hold on Lo whlle he goL Lo hls feeL.
WllL leanL over and grasped Lhe edge of a chalr wlLh one hand whlle llfLlng !udy's head off Lhe
floor wlLh Lhe oLher. A momenL laLer he was on hls feeL. Poldlng Lhe doll Lo hlm he shuffled
Lowards Lhe door and opened lL. Pe peered ouL lnLo Lhe passage. WhaL lf someone saw hlm? 1o
hell wlLh LhaL. WllL no longer cared whaL people LhoughL abouL hlm. 8uL whlch way was Lhe
baLhroom? WllL Lurned rlghL, and peerlng franLlcally over !udy's shoulder, shuffled off down Lhe
passage.
uownsLalrs, Lva was havlng a wonderful Llme. llrsL ChrlsLopher, Lhen Lhe man ln Lhe
lrlsh Cheese lolncloLh and flnally ur Schelmacher, had all made advances Lo her and been
rebuffed. lL was such a change from Penry's lack of lnLeresL showed she was sLlll aLLracLlve. ur
Schelmacher had sald LhaL she was an lnLeresLlng example of laLenL sLeaLopygla, ChrlsLopher
Lrled Lo klss her breasLs and Lhe man ln Lhe lolncloLh had made Lhe mosL exLraordlnary
suggesLlon Lo her. And Lhrough lL all, Lva had remalned enLlrely vlrLuous. Per masslve
sklLLlshness, her lnslsLence on danclng and, mosL effecLlve of all, her hablL of saylng ln a loud and
noL wholly culLlvaLed volce, 'Ch you are awful' aL momenLs of Lhelr greaLesL ardour, had had a
markedly deLerrenL effecL. now she saL on Lhe floor ln Lhe llvlng-room, whlle Sally and Caskell
and Lhe bearded man from Lhe lnsLlLuLe of Lcologlcal 8esearch argued abouL sexually
lnLerchangeable role-playlng ln a populaLlon-resLrlcLlve socleLy. She felL sLrangely elaLed.
Þarkvlew Avenue and Mavls MoLLram and her work aL Lhe Parmony CommunlLy CenLre seemed
Lo belong Lo anoLher world. She had been accepLed by people who flew Lo Callfornla or 1okyo Lo
conferences and 1hlnk 1anks as casually as she Look Lhe bus Lo Lown. ur Schelmacher had
menLloned LhaL he was flylng Lo new uelhl ln Lhe mornlng, and ChrlsLopher had [usL come back
from phoLographlc asslgnmenL ln 1rlnldad. Above all, Lhere was an aura of lmporLance abouL
whaL Lhey were dolng, a glamour LhaL was wholly lacklng ln Penry's [ob aL Lhe 1ech. lf only she
could geL hlm Lo do someLhlng lnLeresLlng and advenLurous. 8uL Penry was such a sLlck-ln-Lhe-
mud. She had made mlsLake ln marrylng hlm. She really had. All he was lnLeresLed ln was books,
buL llfe wasn'L Lo be found ln books. Llke Sally sald, llfe was for llvlng. Llfe was people and
experlences and fun. Penry would never see LhaL.

ln Lhe baLhroom WllL could see very llLLle. Pe cerLalnly couldn'L see any way of geLLlng ouL of Lhe
doll. Pls aLLempL Lo sllL Lhe beasLly Lhlng's LhroaL wlLh a razor had falled, Lhank largely Lo Lhe facL
LhaL Lhe razor ln quesLlon was a Wllklnson bonded blade. Pavlng falled wlLh Lhe razor be had
Lrled shampoo as a lubrlcanL buL aparL from worklng up a laLher whlch even Lo hls [aundlced eye
looked as Lhough he had aroused Lhe doll Lo poslLlvely frenzled helghLs of sexual expecLaLlon Lhe
shampoo had achleved noLhlng. llnally he had reverLed Lo a quesL for Lhe valve. 1he damned
Lhlng had one somewhere lf only he could flnd lL. ln Lhls endeavour he peered lnLo Lhe mlrror on
Lhe door of Lhe medlclne cablneL buL Lhe mlrror was Loo small. 1here was a large one over Lhe
washbasln. WllL pulled down Lhe lld of Lhe LolleL and cllmbed on Lo lL. 1hls way he would be able
Lo geL a clear vlew of Lhe doll's back. Pe was [usL lnchlng hls way round when Lhere were
fooLsLeps ln Lhe passage. WllL sLopped lnchlng and sLood rlgld on Lhe LolleL lld. Someone Lrled
Lhe door and found lL locked. 1he fooLsLeps reLreaLed and WllL breaLhed a slgh of rellef. now
Lhen, [usL leL hlm flnd LhaL valve.
And aL LhaL momenL dlsasLer sLruck. WllL's lefL fooL sLepped ln Lhe shampoo LhaL had
drlpped on Lo Lhe LolleL seaL, slld sldeways off Lhe edge and WllL, Lhe doll and Lhe door of Lhe
medlclne cablneL wlLh whlch he had aLLempLed Lo save hlmself were momenLarlly alrborne. As
Lhey hurLled lnLo Lhe baLh, as Lhe shower curLaln and flLLlng followed, as Lhe conLenLs of Lhe
medlclne cablneL cascaded on Lo Lhe washbasln, WllL gave a lasL despalrlng scream. 1here was a
pop remlnlscenL of champagne corks and !udy, flnally respondlng Lo Lhe pressure of WllL's
eleven sLone dropplng from several feeL lnLo Lhe baLh, e[ecLed hlm. 8uL WllL no longer cared. Pe
had ln every sense passed ouL. Pe was only dlmly aware of shouLs ln Lhe corrldor, of someone
breaklng Lhe door down, of faces peerlng aL hlm and of hysLerlcal laughLer. When he came Lo be
was lylng on Lhe bed ln Lhe Loy room. Pe goL up and puL on hls cloLhes and crepL downsLalrs and
ouL of Lhe fronL door. lL was 3 AM.


3


Lva saL on Lhe edge of Lhe bed crylng.
'Pow could he? Pow could he do a Lhlng llke LhaL? she sald, 'ln fronL of all Lhese people.'
'Lva baby, men are llke LhaL. 8elleve me,' sald Sally.
'8uL wlLh a doll...'
'1haL's symbollc of Lhe male chauvlnlsL plg aLLlLude Lo women. We're [usL fuck arLefacLs
Lo Lhem. Cb[ecLlflcaLlon. So now you know how Penry feels abouL you.'
'lL's horrlble,' sald Lva.
'Sure lL's horrlble. Male domlnaLlon debases us Lo Lhe level of ob[ecLs.'
'8uL Penry's never done anyLhlng llke LhaL before,' Lva walled.
'Well, he's done lL now.'
'l'm noL golng back Lo hlm. l couldn'L face lL. l feel so ashamed.'
'Poney, you [usL forgeL abouL lL. ?ou don'L have Lo go anywhere. Sally wlll look afLer you.
?ou [usL lle down and geL some sleep.'
Lva lay back, buL sleep was lmposslble. 1he lmage of Penry lylng naked ln Lhe baLh on
Lop of LhaL horrlble doll was faced ln her mlnd. 1hey had Lo break Lhe door down and ur
Schelmacher flnd cuL hls hand on a broken boLLle Lrylng Lo geL Penry ouL of Lhe baLh...Ch, lL was
all Loo awful. She would never be able Lo look people ln Lhe face agaln. 1he sLory was bound Lo
geL abouL and she would be known as Lhe woman whose husband wenL around...WlLh a fresh
paroxysm of embarrassmenL Lva burled her head ln Lhe plllow and wepL.

'Well LhaL sure made Lhe parLy go wlLh a bang,' sald Caskell. 'Cuy screws a doll ln Lhe baLhroom
and everyone goes berserk.' Pe looked round Lhe llvlng-room aL Lhe mess. 'lf anyone Lhlnks l'm
golng Lo sLarL clearlng Lhls loL up now Lhey'd beLLer Lhlnk agaln. l'm golng Lo bed.'
'!usL don'L wake Lva up. She's hysLerlcal,' sald Sally.
'Ch greaL. now we've goL a manlc obsesslve compulslve woman wlLh hysLerla ln Lhe
house.'
'And Lomorrow she's comlng wlLh us on Lhe boaL.'
'She's whaL?'
'?ou heard me. She's comlng wlLh us on Lhe boaL.'
'now walL a blL...'
'l'm noL argulng wlLh you, C. l'm Lelllng you. She's comlng wlLh us.'
'Why, for Chrlssake?'
'8ecause l'm noL havlng her go back Lo LhaL creep of a husband of hers. 8ecause you
won'L geL me a cleanlng-woman and because l llke her.'
'8ecause l won'L geL you a cleanlng-woman. now l've heard lL all.'
'Ch no you haven'L,' sald Sally, 'you haven'L heard Lhe half of lL. ?ou may noL know lL buL
you marrled a llberaLed woman. no male plg ls golng Lo puL one over on me...'
'l'm noL Lrylng Lo puL one over on you,' sald Caskell. 'All l'm saylng ls LhaL l don'L wanL Lo
have Lo...'
'l'm noL Lalklng abouL you. l'm Lalklng abouL LhaL creep WllL. ?ou Lhlnk he goL lnLo LhaL
doll by hlmself? 1hlnk agaln, C baby, Lhlnk agaln.'
Caskell saL down on Lhe sofa and sLared aL her.
'?ou musL be ouL of your mlnd. WhaL Lhe hell dld you wanL Lo do a Lhlng llke LhaL for?'
'8ecause when l llberaLe someone l llberaLe Lhem. no mlsLake.'
'LlberaLe someone by...' he shook hls head. 'lL doesn'L make sense.'
Sally poured herself a drlnk. '1he Lrouble wlLh you, C, ls LhaL you Lalk blg buL you don'L
do. lL's yakklLy yak wlLh you. "My wlfe ls a llberaLed woman. My wlfe's free." nlce-soundlng Lalk
buL come Lhe Llme your llberaLed wlfe Lakes lL lnLo her head Lo do someLhlng, you don'L wanL Lo
know.'
'?eah, and when you Lake lL lnLo your goddam head Lo do someLhlng who Lakes Lhe can
back? l do. Where's peLLlcoaLs Lhen? Who goL you ouL of LhaL mess ln Cmaha? Who pald Lhe
fuzz ln PousLon LhaL Llme...'
'So you dld. So why dld you marry me? !usL why?'
Caskell pollshed hls glasses wlLh Lhe edge of Lhe chef's haL. 'l don'L know,' he sald. 'so
help me l don'L know.'
'lor klcks, baby, for klcks. WlLhouL me you'd have dled of boredom. WlLh me you geL
exclLemenL. WlLh me you geL klcks ln Lhe LeeLh.'
Caskell goL up wearlly and headed for Lhe sLalrs. lL was aL Llmes llke Lhese LhaL he
wondered why he had marrled.

WllL walked home ln agony. Pls paln was no longer physlcal. lL was Lhe agony of humlllaLlon,
haLred and self-conLempL. Pe had been made Lo look a fool, a perverL and an ldloL ln fronL of
people he desplsed. 1he Þrlngshelms and Lhelr seL were everyLhlng he loaLhed, false, phoney,
preLenLlous, a clrcus of lnLellecLual clowns whose anLlcs had noL even Lhe merlL of hls own,
whlch had aL leasL been real. 1helrs were merely a parody of en[oymenL. 1hey laughed Lo hear
Lhemselves laughlng and paraded a sensuallLy LhaL had noLhlng Lo do wlLh feellngs or even
lnsLlncLs buL was dredged up from shallow lmaglnaLlons Lo mlmlc lusL. _Copulo ergo sum._ And
LhaL blLch, Sally, had LaunLed hlm wlLh noL havlng Lhe courage of hls lnsLlncLs as lf lnsLlncL
conslsLed of e[aculaLlng lnLo Lhe chemlcally sLerlllzed body of a woman he had flrsL meL LwenLy
mlnuLes before. And WllL had reacLed lnsLlncLlvely, shylng away from a concuplscence LhaL had
Lo do wlLh power and arrogance and an lnLolerable conLempL for hlm whlch presupposed LhaL
whaL he was, whaL llLLle he was, was a mere exLenslon of hls penls and LhaL Lhe ulLlmaLe
expresslon of hls LhoughLs, feellngs, hopes and amblLlons was Lo be aLLalned beLween Lhe legs
of a Lrendy sluL. And LhaL was belng llberaLed.
'leel free,' she had sald and had knoLLed hlm lnLo LhaL fucklng doll. WllL ground hls LeeLh
underneaLh a sLreeLlamp.
And whaL abouL Lva? WhaL sorL of hell was she golng Lo make for hlm now? lf llfe had
been lnLolerable wlLh her before Lhls, lL was golng Lo be unadulLeraLed mlsery now, she
wouldn'L belleve LhaL he hadn'L been screwlng LhaL doll, LhaL he hadn'L goL, lnLo lL of hls own
accord, LhaL he had been puL lnLo lL by Sally. noL ln a monLh of Sundays. And even lf by some
mlracle she accepLed hls sLory, a faL loL of dlfference LhaL would make.
'WhaL sorL of man do you Lhlnk you are, leLLlng a woman do a Lhlng llke LhaL Lo you?'
she would ask. 1here was absoluLely no reply Lo Lhe quesLlon. WhaL sorL of man was he? WllL
had no ldea. An lnslgnlflcanL llLLle man Lo whom Lhlngs happened and for whom llfe was a
chapLer of lndlgnlLles. ÞrlnLers punched hlm ln Lhe face and he was blamed for lL. Pls wlfe
bullled hlm and oLher people's wlves made a laughlng-sLock ouL of hlm. WllL wandered on along
suburban sLreeLs pasL seml-deLached houses and llLLle gardens wlLh a mounLlng sense of
deLermlnaLlon. Pe had had enough of belng Lhe buLL of clrcumsLance. lrom now on Lhlngs
would happen because he wanLed Lhem Lo. Pe would change from belng Lhe reclplenL of
mlsforLune. Pe would be Lhe lnsLlgaLor. !usL leL Lva Lry anyLhlng now. Pe would knock Lhe blLch
down.
WllL sLopped. lL was all very well Lo Lalk. 1he bloody woman had a weapon she wouldn'L
heslLaLe Lo use. knock her down, my eye. lf anyone wenL down lL would be WllL, and ln addlLlon
she would parade hls affalr wlLh Lhe doll Lo everyone Lhey knew. lL wouldn'L be long before Lhe
sLory reached Lhe 1ech. ln Lhe darkness of Þarkvlew Avenue WllL shuddered aL Lhe LhoughL. lL
would be Lhe end of hls career. Pe wenL Lhrough Lhe gaLe of number 34 and unlocked Lhe fronL
door wlLh Lhe feellng LhaL unless he Look some drasLlc acLlon ln Lhe lmmedlaLe fuLure he was
doomed.
ln bed an hour laLer he was sLlll awake, wlde awake and wresLllng wlLh Lhe problem of
Lva, hls own characLer and how Lo change lL lnLo someLhlng he could respecL. And whaL dld he
respecL? under Lhe blankeLs WllL clenched hls flsL.
'ueclslveness,' he murmured. '1he ablllLy Lo acL wlLhouL heslLaLlon. Courage.' A sLrange
llLany of anclenL vlrLues. 8uL how Lo acqulre Lhem now? Pow had Lhey Lurned men llke hlm lnLo
Commandos and professlonal klllers durlng Lhe war? 8y Lralnlng Lhem. WllL lay ln Lhe darkness
and consldered ways ln whlch he could Lraln hlmself Lo become whaL he was clearly noL. 8y Lhe
Llme he fell asleep he had deLermlned Lo aLLempL Lhe lmposslble.

AL seven Lhe alarm wenL. WllL goL up and wenL lnLo Lhe baLhroom and sLared aL hlmself ln Lhe
mlrror. Pe was a hard man, a man wlLhouL feellngs. Pard, meLhodlcal, cold-blooded and loglcal.
A man who made no mlsLakes. Pe wenL downsLalrs and aLe hls All-8ran and drank hls cup of
coffee. So Lva wasn'L home. She had sLayed Lhe nlghL aL Lhe Þrlngshelms. Well LhaL was
someLhlng. lL made Lhlngs easler for hlm. LxcepL LhaL she sLlll had Lhe car and Lhe keys. Pe
cerLalnly wasn'L golng Lo go round and geL Lhe car. Pe walked down Lo Lhe roundabouL and
caughL Lhe bus Lo Lhe 1ech. Pe had 8rlcklayers Cne ln 8oom 436. When he arrlved Lhey were
Lalklng abouL gradbashlng.
'1here was Lhls sLudenL all dressed up llke a walLer see. "uo you mlnd?" he says. "uo you
mlnd geLLlng ouL of my way." !usL llke LhaL and all l was dolng was looklng ln Lhe wlndow aL Lhe
books...'
'AL Lhe books?' sald WllL scepLlcally. 'AL eleven o'clock aL nlghL you were looklng aL
books? l don'L belleve lL'
'Magazlnes and cowboy books.' sald Lhe brlcklayer. '1hey're ln a [unk shop ln llnch
SLreeL'
'1hey've goL glrlle mags.' someone else explalned. WllL nodded. 1haL sounded more llke
lL.
'So l says. "Mlnd whaL?"' conLlnued Lhe brlcklayer, 'and he says, "Mlnd ouL of my way."
Pls way. Llke he owned Lhe bloody sLreeL.'
'So whaL dld you say?' asked WllL.
'Say? l dldn'L say anyLhlng. l wasn'L wasLlng words on hlm.'
'WhaL dld you do Lhen?'
'Well, l puL Lhe boaL ln and duffed hlm up. Cave hlm a good golng-over and no mlsLake.
1hen l pushed off. 1here's one bloody grad who won'L be Lelllng people Lo geL ouL of hls way for
a blL.'
1he class nodded approvlngly.
'1hey're all Lhe bloody same, sLudenLs,' sald anoLher brlcklayer. '1hlnk because Lhey've
goL money and go Lo college Lhey can order you abouL. 1hey could all do wlLh a golng-over. uo
Lhem a power of good.'
WllL consldered Lhe lmpllcaLlons of mugglng as parL of an lnLellecLual's educaLlon. AfLer
hls experlence Lhe prevlous nlghL he was lncllned Lo Lhlnk Lhere was someLhlng Lo be sald for lL.
Pe would have llked Lo have duffed up half Lhe people aL Lhe Þrlngshelms' parLy.
'So none of you feel Lhere's anyLhlng wrong wlLh beaLlng a sLudenL up lf he geLs ln your
way?' he asked.
'Wrong?' sald Lhe brlcklayers ln unlson, 'WhaL's wrong wlLh a good punch-up? lL's noL as
lf a grad ls an old woman or someLhlng. Pe can always hlL back, can'L he?'
1hey spenL Lhe resL of Lhe hour dlscusslng vlolence ln Lhe modern world. Cn Lhe whole,
Lhe brlcklayers seemed Lo Lhlnk lL was a good Lhlng.
'l mean whaL's Lhe polnL of golng ouL on a SaLurday nlghL and geLLlng plssed lf you can'L
have a blL of a barney aL Lhe same Llme? CoL Lo geL rld of your aggresslon somehow.' sald an
unusually arLlculaLe brlcklayer, 'l mean lL's naLural lsn'L lL?'
'So you Lhlnk man ls a naLurally aggresslve anlmal,' sald WllL.
'Course he ls. 1haL's hlsLory for you, all Lhem wars and Lhlngs. lL's only bloody poofLers
don'L llke vlolence.'
WllL Look Lhls vlew of Lhlngs along Lo Lhe SLaff 8oom for hls free perlod and collecLed a
cup of coffee from Lhe vendlng machlne. Pe was [olned by ÞeLer 8ralnLree.
'Pow dld Lhe parLy goL' 8ralnLree asked.
'lL dldn'L,' sald WllL morosely.
'Lva en[oy lL?'
'l wouldn'L know. She hadn'L come home by Lhe Llme l goL up Lhls mornlng.'
'Padn'L come home?'
'1haL's whaL l sald,' sald WllL.
'Well dld you rlng up and flnd ouL whaL had happened Lo her?'
'no,' sald WllL.
'Why noL?'
'8ecause l'd look a blL of a LwlL rlnglng up and belng Lold she was shacked up wlLh Lhe
Abysslnlan ambassador, wouldn'L l?'
'1he Abysslnlan ambassador? Was he Lhere?'
'l don'L know and l don'L wanL Lo know.' 1he lasL l saw of her she was belng chaLLed up
by Lhls blg black bloke from LLhlopla. SomeLhlng Lo do wlLh Lhe unlLed naLlons. She was maklng
frulL salad and he was chopplng bananas for her.'
'uoesn'L sound a very compromlslng sorL of acLlvlLy Lo me,' sald 8ralnLree.
'no, l daresay lL doesn'L. Cnly you weren'L Lhere and don'L know whaL sorL of parLy lL
was,' sald WllL rapldly comlng Lo Lhe concluslon LhaL an edlLed verslon of Lhe nlghL's evenLs was
called for. 'A whole loL of mlddle-aged wlLh-lL klds dolng Lhelr wlLhered Lhlng.!
'lL sounds bloody awful. And you Lhlnk Lva...'
'l Lhlnk Lva goL plssed and somebody gave her a [olnL and she passed ouL,' sald WllL,
'LhaL's whaL l Lhlnk. She's probably sleeplng lL off ln Lhe downsLalrs loo.'
'uoesn'L sound llke Lva Lo me,' sald 8ralnLree. WllL drank hls coffee and consldered hls
sLraLegy. lf Lhe sLory of hls lnvolvemenL wlLh LhaL fucklng doll was golng Lo come ouL, perhaps lL
would be beLLer lf he Lold lL hls way flrsL. Cn Lhe oLher hand...
'WhaL were you dolng whlle all Lhls was golng on?' 8ralnLree asked.
'Well' sald WllL, 'as a maLLer of facL...' Pe heslLaLed. Cn second LhoughLs lL mlghL be
beLLer noL Lo menLlon Lhe doll aL all. lf Lva kepL her Lrap shuL...'l goL a blL slewed myself.'
'1haL sounds more llke lL,' sald 8ralnLree, 'l suppose you made a pass aL anoLher woman
Loo.'
'lf you musL know,' sald WllL, 'anoLher woman made a pass aL me. Mrs Þrlngshelm.'
'Mrs Þrlngshelm made a pass aL you?'
'Well, we wenL upsLalrs Lo look aL her husband's Loys...'
'Pls Loys? l LhoughL you Lold me he was a blochemlsL.'
'Pe ls a blochemlsL. Pe [usL happens Lo llke playlng wlLh Loys. Model Lralns and 1eddy
8ears and Lhlngs. She says he's a case of arresLed developmenL. She would, Lhough. She's LhaL
sorL of loyal wlfe.'
'WhaL happened Lhen?'
'AparL from her locklng Lhe door and lylng on Lhe bed wlLh her legs wlde open and
asklng me Lo screw her and LhreaLenlng me wlLh a blow [ob, noLhlng happened,' sald WllL.
ÞeLer 8ralnLree looked aL hlm scepLlcally. 'noLhlng?' he sald flnally. 'noLhlng? l mean
whaL dld you do?'
'LqulvocaLed,' sald WllL.
'1haL's a new word for lL,' sald 8ralnLree. '?ou go upsLalrs wlLh Mrs Þrlngshelm and
equlvocaLe whlle she lles on a bed wlLh her legs open and you wanL Lo know why Lva hasn'L
come home? She's probably round aL same lawyer's offlce flllng a peLlLlon for dlvorce rlghL now.'
'8uL l Lell you l dldn'L screw Lhe blLch,' sald WllL, 'l Lold her Lo hawk her pearly
somewhere else.'
'And you call LhaL equlvocaLlng? Pawk her pearly? Where Lhe hell dld you geL LhaL
expresslon from?'
'MeaL Cne,' sald WllL and goL up and feLched hlmself anoLher cup of coffee.
8y Lhe Llme he came back Lo hls seaL he had declded on hls verslon.
'l don'L know whaL happened afLer LhaL,' he sald when 8ralnLree lnslsLed on hearlng Lhe
nexL eplsode. 'l passed ouL. lL musL have been Lhe vodka.'
'?ou [usL passed ouL ln a locked room wlLh a naked woman? ls LhaL whaL happened?'
sald 8ralnLree. Pe dldn'L sound as lf he belleved a word of Lhe sLory.
'Þreclsely,' sald WllL.
'And when you came Lo?'
'l was walklng home,' sald WllL. 'l've no ldea whaL happened ln beLween.'
'Ch well, l daresay we'll hear abouL LhaL from Lva,' sald 8ralnLree. 'She's bound Lo
know.'
Pe goL up and wenL off and WllL was lefL alone Lo conslder hls nexL mane. 1he flrsL Lhlng
Lo do was Lo make sure LhaL Lva dldn'L say anyLhlng. Pe wenL Lhrough Lo Lhe Lelephone ln Lhe
corrldor and dlalled hls home number. 1here was no reply. WllL wenL along Lo 8oom 187 and
spenL an hour wlLh 1urners and llLLers. Several Llmes durlng Lhe day he Lrled Lo Lelephone Lva
buL Lhere was no answer.
'She's probably spenL Lhe day round aL Mavls MoLLram's weeplng on her shoulder and
Lelllng all and sundry whaL a plg l am,' he LhoughL. 'She's bound Lo be walLlng for me when l geL
home LonlghL.'
8uL she wasn'L. lnsLead Lhere was a noLe on Lhe klLchen Lable and a package. WllL
opened Lhe noLe.
'l'm golng away wlLh Sally and Caskell Lo Lhlnk Lhlngs over. WhaL you dld lasL nlghL was
horrlble. l won'L ever forglve you. uon'L forgeL Lo buy some dog food. Lva. Þ.S. Sally says nexL
Llme you wanL a blow [ob geL !udy Lo glve you one.'
WllL looked aL Lhe package. Pe knew wlLhouL openlng lL whaL lL conLalned. 1haL lnfernal
doll. ln a sudden paroxysm of rage WllL plcked lL up and hurled lL across Lhe klLchen aL Lhe slnk.
1wo plaLes and a saucer bounced off Lhe washlng-up rack and broke on Lhe floor.
'8ugger Lhe blLch,' sald WllL lncluslvely, Lva, !udy, and Sally Þrlngshelm all comlng wlLhln
Lhe amblL of hls fury. 1hen he saL down aL Lhe Lable and looked aL Lhe noLe agaln. 'Colng away
Lo Lhlnk Lhlngs over.' Llke hell she was. 1hlnk? 1he sLupld cow wasn'L capable of LhoughL. She'd
emoLe, drool over hls deflclencles and work herself lnLo an ecsLasy of self-plLy. WllL could hear
her now blaLherlng on abouL LhaL blasLed bank manager and how she should have marrled hlm
lnsLead of saddllng herself wlLh a man who couldn'L even geL promoLlon aL Lhe 1ech and who
wenL around fucklng lnflaLable dolls ln oLher people's baLhrooms. And Lhere was LhaL fllLhy sluL,
Sally Þrlngshelm, egglng her on. WllL looked aL Lhe posLscrlpL. 'Sally says nexL Llme you wanL a
blow [ob...'ChrlsL. As lf he'd wanLed a blow [ob Lhe lasL Llme. 8uL Lhere lL was, a new myLh ln Lhe
maklng, llke Lhe buslness of hls belng ln love wlLh 8eLLy CrabLree when all he had done was glve
her a llfL home one nlghL afLer an Lvenlng Class. WllL's home llfe was puncLuaLed by such myLhs,
weapons ln Lva's armoury Lo be broughL ouL when Lhe occaslon demanded and brandlshed
above hls head. And now Lva had Lhe ulLlmaLe deLerrenL aL her dlsposal, Lhe doll and Sally
Þrlngshelm and a blow [ob. 1he balance of recrlmlnaLlon whlch had been Lhe susLalnlng facLor ln
Lhelr relaLlonshlp had shlfLed dramaLlcally. lL would Lake an acL of desperaLe lnvenLlon on WllL's
parL Lo resLore lL.
'uon'L forgeL Lo buy some dog food.' Well aL leasL she had lefL hlm Lhe car. lL was
sLandlng ln Lhe carporL. WllL wenL ouL and drove round Lo Lhe supermarkeL and boughL Lhree
Llns of dog food, a boll-ln-Lhe-bag curry and a boLLle of gln. Pe was golng Lo geL plssed. 1hen he
wenL home and saL ln Lhe klLchen waLchlng Clem gulp hls 8onzo whlle Lhe bag bolled. Pe poured
hlmself a sLlff gln, Lopped lL up wlLh llme and wandered abouL. And all Lhe Llme he was
consclous of Lhe package lylng Lhere on Lhe dralnlng board walLlng for hlm Lo open lL. And
lnevlLably he would open lL. CuL of sheer curloslLy. Pe knew lL and Lhey knew lL wherever Lhey
were, and on Sunday nlghL Lva would come home and Lhe flrsL Lhlng she would do would be Lo
ask abouL Lhe doll and lf he had had a nlce Llme wlLh lL. WllL helped hlmself Lo some more gln
and consldered Lhe doll's uLlllLy. 1here musL be some way of uslng Lhe Lhlng Lo Lurn Lhe Lables
on Lva.
8y Lhe Llme he had flnlshed hls second gln he had begun Lo formulaLe a plan. lL lnvolved
Lhe doll, a plle hole and a nlce LesL of hls own sLrengLh of characLer. lL was one Lhlng Lo have
fanLasles abouL murderlng your wlfe. lL was qulLe anoLher Lo puL Lhem lnLo effecL and beLween
Lhe Lwo Lhere lay an area of uncerLalnLy. 8y Lhe end of hls Lhlrd gln WllL was deLermlned Lo puL
Lhe plan lnLo effecL. lf lL dld noLhlng else lL would prove he was capable of execuLlng a murder.
WllL goL up and unwrapped Lhe doll. ln hls lnLerlor dlalogue Lva was Lelllng hlm whaL
would happen lf Mavls MoLLram goL Lo hear abouL hls dlsgusLlng behavlour aL Lhe Þrlngshelm's.
'?ou'd be Lhe laughlng sLock of Lhe nelghbourhood,' she sald, 'you'd never llve lL down.'
Wouldn'L he Lhough? WllL smlled drunkenly Lo hlmself and wenL upsLalrs. lor once Lva
was mlsLaken. Pe mlghL noL llve lL down buL Mrs Lva WllL wouldn'L be around Lo gloaL. She
wouldn'L llve aL all.
upsLalrs ln Lhe bedroom he closed Lhe curLalns and lald Lhe doll on Lhe bed and looked
for Lhe valve whlch had eluded hlm Lhe prevlous nlghL. Pe found lL and feLched a fooLpump from
Lhe garage. llve mlnuLes laLer !udy was ln good shape. She lay on Lhe bed and smlled up aL hlm.
WllL half closed hls eyes and squlnLed aL her. ln Lhe half darkness he had Lo admlL LhaL she was
hldeously llfellke. ÞlasLlc Lva wlLh Lhe masLlc boobs. All LhaL remalned was Lo dress lL up. Pe
rummaged around ln several drawers ln search of a bra and blouse, declded she dldn'L need a
bra, and plcked ouL an old sklrL and a palr of LlghLs. ln a cardboard box ln Lhe wardrobe he found
one of Lva's wlgs. She had had a phase of wlgs. llnally a palr of shoes. 8y Lhe Llme he had
flnlshed, Lva WllL's repllca lay on Lhe bed smlllng flxedly aL Lhe celllng.
'1haL's my glrl,' sald WllL and wenL down Lo Lhe klLchen Lo see how Lhe boll-ln-Lhe-bag
was comlng along. lL was boll-ln-Lhe-bag. WllL Lurned Lhe sLove off and wenL lnLo Lhe lavaLory
under Lhe sLalrs and saL Lhlnklng abouL hls nexL move. Pe would use Lhe doll for dummy runs so
LhaL lf and when lL came Lo Lhe day he would be accusLomed Lo Lhe whole process of murder
and would acL wlLhouL feellng llke an auLomaLon. kllllng by condlLloned reflex. Murder by hablL.
1hen agaln he would know how Lo Llme Lhe whole affalr. And Lva's golng off wlLh Lhe
Þrlngshelms for Lhe weekend would help Loo. lL would esLabllsh a paLLern of sudden
dlsappearances. Pe would provoke her somehow Lo do lL agaln and agaln and agaln. And Lhen
Lhe vlslL Lo Lhe docLor.
'lL's [usL LhaL l can'L sleep, docLor. My wlfe keeps on golng off and leavlng me and l [usL
can'L geL used Lo sleeplng on my own.' A prescrlpLlon for sleeplng LableLs. 1hen on Lhe nlghL. 'l'll
make Lhe CvalLlne LonlghL, dear. ?ou're looklng Llred. l'll brlng lL up Lo you ln bed.' CraLlLude
followed by snares. uown Lo Lhe car...falrly early would be besL...around Len LhlrLy...over Lo Lhe
1ech and down Lhe hole. Þerhaps lnslde a plasLlc bag...no, noL a plasLlc bag. 'l undersLand you
boughL a large plasLlc bag recenLly, slr. l wonder lf you would mlnd showlng lL Lo us.' no, beLLer
[usL Lo leave her down Lhe hole Lhey were golng Lo flll wlLh concreLe nexL mornlng. And flnally a
bewlldered WllL. Pe would go round Lo Lhe Þrlngshelms'. 'Where's Lva? ?es, you do. 'no, we
don'L.' 'uon'L lle Lo me. She's always comlng round here.' 'We're noL lylng. We haven'L seen her.'
AfLer LhaL he would go Lo Lhe pollce.
MoLlveless, clueless and lndlscoverable. And proof LhaL he was a man who could acL. Cr
wasn'L. WhaL lf he broke down under Lhe sLraln and confessed? 1haL would be some sorL of
vlndlcaLlon Loo. Pe would know whaL sorL of man he was one way or anoLher and aL leasL he
would have acLed for once ln hls llfe. And flfLeen years ln prlson would be almosL ldenLlcal Lo
flfLeen, more, LwenLy years aL Lhe 1ech confronLlng louLs who desplsed hlm and Lalklng abouL
Þlggy and Lhe Lord of Lhe llles. 8esldes he could always plead Lhe book as a mlLlgaLlng
clrcumsLance aL hls Lrlal.
'Me lud, members of Lhe [ury, l ask you Lo puL yourself ln Lhe defendanL's place. lor
Lwelve years he has been confronLed by Lhe appalllng prospecL of readlng Lhls dreadful book Lo
classes of bored and hosLlle youLhs. Pe has had Lo endure agonles of repeLlLlon, of nausea and
dlsgusL aL Mr Coldlng's revolLlngly romanLlc vlew of human naLure. Ah, buL l hear you say LhaL
Mr Coldlng ls noL a romanLlc, LhaL hls vlew of human naLure as expressed ln hls porLralL of a
group of young boys marooned on a deserL lsland ls Lhe very opposlLe of romanLlclsm and LhaL
Lhe senLlmenLallLy of whlch l accuse hlm and Lo whlch my cllenL's appearance ln Lhls courL
aLLesLs ls Lo be found noL ln _1he Lord of Lhe llles_ buL ln lLs predecessor, _Coral lsland._ 8uL,
me lud, genLlemen of Lhe [ury, Lhere ls such a Lhlng as lnverLed romanLlclsm, Lhe romanLlclsm of
dlsllluslonmenL, of pesslmlsm and of nlhlllsm. LeL us suppose for one momenL LhaL my cllenL had
spenL Lwelve years readlng noL Mr Coldlng's work buL _Coral lsland_ Lo groups of apprenLlces,'
ls lL reasonable Lo lmaglne LhaL he would have been drlven Lo Lhe desperaLe remedy of
murderlng hls wlfe? no. A hundred Llmes no. Mr 8allanLyne's book would have glven hlm Lhe
lnsplraLlon, Lhe self-dlsclpllne, Lhe opLlmlsm and Lhe bellef ln man's ablllLy Lo rescue hlmself
from Lhe mosL desperaLe slLuaLlon by hls own lngenulLy...'
lL mlghL noL be such a good ldea Lo pursue LhaL llne of argumenL Loo far. 1he defendanL
WllL had afLer all exerclsed a good deal of lngenulLy ln resculng hlmself from a desperaLe
slLuaLlon...SLlll, lL was a nlce LhoughL. WllL flnlshed hls buslness ln Lhe lavaLory and looked
around for Lhe LolleL paper. 1here wasn'L any. 1he bloody roll had run ouL. Pe reached ln hls
pockeL and found Lva's noLe and puL lL Lo good use. 1hen he flushed lL down Lhe u-bend, puffed
some Parplc afLer lL Lo express hls oplnlon of lL and her and wenL ouL Lo Lhe klLchen and helped
hlmself Lo anoLher gln.
Pe spenL Lhe resL of Lhe evenlng slLLlng ln fronL of Lhe 1v wlLh a plece of bread and
cheese and a Lln of peaches unLll lL was Llme Lo Lry hls flrsL dummy run. Pe wenL ouL Lo Lhe fronL
door and looked up and down Lhe sLreeL. lL was almosL dark now and Lhere was no one ln slghL.
Leavlng Lhe fronL door open he wenL upsLalrs and feLched Lhe doll and puL lL ln Lhe back seaL of
Lhe car. Pe had Lo push and squeeze a blL Lo geL lL ln buL flnally Lhe door shuL. WllL cllmbed ln
and backed Lhe car ouL lnLo Þarkvlew Avenue and drove down Lo Lhe roundabouL. 8y Lhe Llme
he reached Lhe car park aL Lhe back of Lhe 1ech lL was half pasL Len exacLly. Pe sLopped and saL
ln Lhe car looklng around. noL a soul ln slghL and no llghLs on. 1here wouldn'L be. 1he 1ech
closed aL nlne.


6


Sally lay naked on Lhe deck of Lhe cabln crulser, her LlghL breasLs polnLlng Lo Lhe sky and her legs
aparL. 8eslde her Lva lay on her sLomach and looked downrlver.
'Ch Cod, Lhls ls dlvlne,' Sally murmured. l have Lhls deep Lhlng abouL Lhe counLryslde.'
'?ou've goL Lhls deep Lhlng perlod,' sald Caskell sLeerlng Lhe crulser erraLlcally Lowards a
lock. Pe was wearlng a CapLaln's cap and sunglasses.
'Cllche baby,' sald Sally.
'We're comlng Lo a lock,' sald Lva anxlously. '1here are some men Lhere.'
'Men? lorgeL men, darllng. 1here's [usL you and me and C and C's noL a man, are you C
baby?'
'l have my momenLs,' sald Caskell.
'8uL so seldom, so awfully seldom,' Sally sald. 'Anyway whaL does lL maLLer? We're here
ldylllcsLyle, crulslng down Lhe rlver ln Lhe good old summerLlme.'
'Shouldn'L we have cleared Lhe house up before we lefL?' Lva asked.
'1he secreL of parLles ls noL Lo clear up afLerward buL Lo clear off. We can do all LhaL
when we geL back.'
Lva goL up and wenL below. 1hey were qulLe near Lhe lock and she wasn'L golng Lo be
sLared aL ln Lhe nude by Lhe Lwo old men slLLlng on Lhe bench beslde lL.
'!esus, Sally, can'L you do someLhlng abouL soulmaLe? She's geLLlng on my LeaLs,' sald
Caskell.
'Ch C baby, she's never. lf she dld you'd Cheshlre caL.'
'Cheshlre caL?'
'ulsappear wlLh a smlle, honey chll', foeLus flrsL. She's buL poslLlvely garganLuanly
uLerlne.'
'She's buL poslLlvely garganLuanly borlng.'
'1lme, lover, Llme. ?ou've goL Lo accenLuaLe Lhe llberaLed, ellmlnaLe Lhe negaLlve and
noL mess wlLh MlsLer-ln-beLween.'
'noL mess wlLh Mlsses-ln-beLween. CperaLlve word mlsses,' sald Caskell bumplng Lhe
boaL lnLo Lhe lock.
'8uL LhaL's Lhe whole polnL'
'WhaL ls?' sald Caskell.
'Messlng wlLh Mlsses-ln-beLween. l mean lL's all ways wlLh Lva and us. She does Lhe
housework. Caskell baby can play shlp's capLaln and LeaLfeasL on boobs and Sally sweeLle can
mlnoLaur her labyrlnLhlne mlnd.'
'Mlnd?' sald Caskell. 'ÞolyunsaLuraLed hasn'L goL a mlnd. And Lalklng of creLlns, whaL
abouL MlsLer-ln-beLween?'
'Pe's goL !udy Lo mess wlLh. Pe's probably screwlng her now and Lomorrow nlghL he'll slL
up and waLch _ko[ak_ wlLh her. Who knows, he may even send her off Lo Mavls ConLracunLal
MoLLram's llower ArrangemenL evenlng. l mean Lhey're sulLed. ?ou can'L say he wasn'L hooked
on her lasL nlghL.'
'?ou can say LhaL agaln,' sald Caskell, and closed Lhe lock gaLes.

As Lhe crulser floaLed downwards Lhe Lwo old men slLLlng on Lhe bench sLared aL Sally.
She Look off her sunglasses and glared aL Lhem.
'uon'L blow your prosLaLes, senlor clLlzens,' she sald rudely. 'Paven'L you seen a fanny
before?'
'?ou Lalklng Lo me?' sald one of Lhe men.
'l wouldn'L be Lalklng Lo myself.'
1hen l'll Lell you,' sald Lhe man, 'l've seen one llke yours before. Cnce.'
'Cnce ls abouL rlghL,' sald Sally. 'Where?'
'Cn an old cow as had [usL dropped her calf,' sald Lhe man and spaL lnLo a neaL bed of
geranlums.
ln Lhe cabln Lva saL and wondered whaL Lhey were Lalklng abouL. She llsLened Lo Lhe
lapplng of Lhe waLer and Lhe Lhrob of Lhe englne and LhoughL abouL Penry. lL wasn'L llke hlm Lo
do a Lhlng llke LhaL. lL really wasn'L. And ln fronL of all Lhose people. Pe musL have been drunk. lL
was so humlllaLlng. Well, he could suffer. Sally sald men oughL Lo be made Lo suffer. lL was parL
of Lhe process of llberaLlng yourself from Lhem. ?ou had Lo show Lhem LhaL you dldn'L need
Lhem and vlolence was Lhe only Lhlng Lhe male psyche undersLood. 1haL was why she was so
harsh wlLh Caskell. Men were llke anlmals. ?ou had Lo show Lhem who was masLer.
Lva wenL Lhrough Lo Lhe galley and pollshed Lhe sLalnless sLeel slnk. Penry would have
Lo learn how lmporLanL she was by mlsslng her and dolng Lhe housework and cooklng for
hlmself and when she goL back she would glve hlm such a Lelllng-off abouL LhaL doll. l mean, lL
wasn'L naLural. Þerhaps Penry oughL Lo go and see a psychlaLrlsL. Sally sald LhaL he had made
Lhe mosL horrlble suggesLlon Lo her Loo. lL only wenL Lo show LhaL you couldn'L LrusL anyone.
And Penry of all people. She would never have lmaglned Penry would Lhlnk of dolng anyLhlng
llke LhaL. 8uL Sally had been so sweeL and undersLandlng. She knew how women felL and she
hadn'L even been, angry wlLh Penry.
'lL's [usL LhaL he's a sphlncLer baby,' she had sald. 'lL's sympLomaLlc of a male domlnaLed
chauvlnlsL plg socleLy. l've never known an MCÞ who dldn'L say "8ugger you" and mean lL.'
'Penry's always saylng bugger,' Lva had admlLLed. 'lL's bugger Lhls, and bugger LhaL.'
'1here you are, Lva baby. WhaL dld l Lell you? lL's semanLlc degradaLlon analwlse.'
'lL's bloody dlsgusLlng,' sald Lva and so lL was.
She wenL on pollshlng and cleanlng unLll Lhey were clear of Lhe lock and sLeerlng
downrlver Lowards Lhe open waLer of Lhe 8roads. 1hen she wenL up on deck and saL looklng ouL
over Lhe flaL empLy landscape aL Lhe sunseL. lL was all so romanLlc and exclLlng, so dlfferenL from
everyLhlng she had known before. 1hls was llfe as she had always dreamL lL mlghL be, rlch and
gay and fulfllllng. Lva WllL slghed. ln splLe of everyLhlng she was aL peace wlLh Lhe world.

ln Lhe car, park aL Lhe back of Lhe 1ech Penry WllL wasn'L aL peace wlLh anyLhlng. Cn Lhe
conLrary, he was aL war wlLh Lva's repllca. As he sLumbled drunkenly round Lhe car and
sLruggled wlLh !udy he was consclous LhaL even an lnflaLable doll had a wlll of lLs own when lL
came Lo belng dragged ouL of small cars. !udy's arms and legs goL caughL ln Lhlngs. lf Lva
behaved ln Lhe same way on Lhe nlghL of her dlsposal he would have Lhe devll's own [ob geLLlng
her ouL of Lhe car. Pe would have Lo Lle her up ln a neaL bundle. 1haL would be Lhe besL Lhlng Lo
do. llnally, by Lugglng aL Lhe doll's legs, he hauled her ouL and lald her on Lhe ground. 1hen he
goL back lnLo Lhe car Lo look for her wlg. Pe found lL under Lhe seaL and afLer rearranglng !udy's
sklrL so LhaL lL wasn'L qulLe so reveallng, he puL Lhe wlg on her head. Pe looked round Lhe car
park aL Lhe Lerrapln huLs and Lhe maln bulldlng buL Lhere was no one Lo be seen. All clear. Pe
plcked Lhe doll up and carrylng lL under hls arm seL off Lowards Lhe bulldlng slLe. Palfway Lhere
he reallsed LhaL he wasn'L dolng lL properly. Lva drugged and sleeplng would be far Loo heavy Lo
carry under hls arm. Pe would have Lo use a flreman's llfL. WllL sLopped and holsLed Lhe doll on
Lo hls back, and seL off agaln weavlng erraLlcally, parLly because, Lhanks Lo Lhe gln, he couldn'L
help lL, and parLly because lL added verlslmlllLude Lo Lhe underLaklng. WlLh Lva over hls shoulder
he would be bound Lo weave a blL. Pe reached Lhe fence and dropped Lhe doll over. ln Lhe
process Lhe wlg fell off agaln. WllL groped around ln Lhe mud and found lL. 1hen he wenL round
Lo Lhe gaLe. lL was locked. lL would be. Pe would have Lo remember LhaL. ueLalls llke LhaL were
lmporLanL. Pe Lrled Lo cllmb over buL couldn'L. Pe needed someLhlng Lo glve hlm a leg up. A
blcycle. 1here were usually some ln Lhe racks by Lhe maln gaLe. SLufflng Lhe wlg lnLo hls pockeL
WllL made hls way round Lhe Lerrapln huLs and pasL Lhe canLeen and was [usL crosslng Lhe grass
by Lhe Language Lab when a flgure appeared ouL of Lhe darkness and a Lorch shone ln hls face. lL
was Lhe careLaker.
'Pere, where do you Lhlnk you're golng?' Lhe careLaker asked. WllL halLed.
'l've...l've [usL come back Lo geL some noLes from Lhe SLaff 8oom.'
'Ch lL's you, Mr WllL,' sald Lhe careLaker. '?ou should know by now LhaL you can'L geL ln
aL Lhls Llme of nlghL. We lock up aL nlne LhlrLy.'
'l'm sorry. l forgoL,' sald WllL.
1he careLaker slghed. 'Well, slnce lL's you and lL's [usL Lhls once...' he sald, and unlocked
Lhe door Lo Lhe Ceneral SLudles bulldlng. '?ou'll have Lo walk up. 1he llfLs don'L work aL Lhls Llme
of nlghL. l'll walL for you down here.'
WllL sLaggered slowly up flve fllghLs of sLalrs Lo Lhe SLaff 8oom and wenL Lo hls locker.
Pe Look ouL a handful of papers and a copy of _8leak Pouse_ he'd been meanlng Lo Lake home
for some monLhs and hadn'L. Pe sLuffed Lhe noLes lnLo hls pockeL and found Lhe wlg. Whlle he
was abouL lL he mlghL as well plck up an elasLlc band. 1haL would keep Lhe wlg on !udy's head.
Pe found some ln a box ln Lhe sLaLlonery cupboard, sLuffed Lhe noLes lnLo hls oLher pockeL and
wenL downsLalrs.
'1hanks very much,' he Lold Lhe careLaker. 'Sorry Lo have boLhered you.' Pe wove off
round Lhe corner Lo Lhe blke sheds.
'Þlssed as a newL,' sald Lhe careLaker, and wenL back lnLo hls offlce.
WllL waLched hlm llghL hls plpe and Lhen Lurned hls aLLenLlon Lo Lhe blcycles. 1he bloody
Lhlngs were all locked. Pe would [usL have Lo carry one round. Pe puL _8leak Pouse_ ln Lhe
baskeL, plcked Lhe blke up and carrled lL all Lhe way round Lo Lhe fence. 1hen he cllmbed up and
over and groped around ln Lhe darkness for Lhe doll. ln Lhe end he found lL and spenL flve
mlnuLes Lrylng Lo keep Lhe wlg on whlle he fasLened Lhe elasLlc band under her chln. lL kepL on
[umplng off. 'Well, aL leasL LhaL's one problem l won'L have wlLh Lva,' he muLLered Lo hlmself
when Lhe wlg was secured. Pavlng saLlsfled hlmself LhaL lL wouldn'L come off he moved
cauLlously forward sklrLlng mounds of gravel, machlnes, sacks and relnforclng rods when lL
suddenly occurred Lo hlm LhaL he was runnlng a conslderable rlsk of dlsappearlng down one of
Lhe plle holes hlmself. Pe puL Lhe doll down and fumbled ln hls pockeL for Lhe Lorch and shone lL
on Lhe ground. Some yards ahead Lhere was a large square of Lhlck plywood. WllL moved
forward and llfLed lL. underneaLh was Lhe hole, a nlce blg hole. !usL Lhe rlghL slze. She would flL
ln Lhere perfecLly. Pe shone Lhe Lorch down. MusL be LhlrLy feeL deep. Pe pushed Lhe plywood
Lo one slde and wenL back for Lhe doll. 1he wlg had fallen off agaln.
'luck,' sald WllL, and reached ln hls pockeL for anoLher elasLlc band. llve mlnuLes laLer
!udy's wlg was flrmly ln place wlLh four elasLlc bands fasLened under her chln. 1haL should do lL.
now all he had Lo do was Lo drag Lhe repllca Lo Lhe hole and make sure lL flLLed. AL Lhls polnL
WllL heslLaLed. Pe was beglnnlng Lo have doubLs abouL Lhe soundness of Lhe scheme. 1oo many
unexpecLed conLlngencles had arlsen for hls llklng. Cn Lhe oLher hand Lhere was a sense of
exhllaraLlon abouL belng alone on Lhe bulldlng slLe ln Lhe mlddle of Lhe nlghL. Þerhaps lL would
be beLLer lf he wenL home now. no, he had Lo see Lhe Lhlng Lhrough. Pe would puL Lhe doll lnLo
Lhe hole Lo make qulLe sure LhaL lL flLLed. 1hen he would deflaLe lL and go home and repeaL Lhe
process unLll he had Lralned hlmself Lo klll by proxy. Pe would keep Lhe doll ln Lhe booL of Lhe
car. Lva never looked Lhere. And ln fuLure he would only blow her up whew he reached Lhe car
park. 1haL way Lva would have no ldea whaL was golng on. ueflnlLely noL. WllL smlled Lo hlmself
aL Lhe slmpllclLy of Lhe scheme. 1hen he plcked !udy up and pushed her Lowards Lhe hole feeL
flrsL. She slld ln easlly whlle WllL leanL forward. ÞerfecL. And aL LhaL momenL he sllpped on Lhe
muddy ground. WlLh a desperaLe efforL whlch necesslLaLed leLLlng go of Lhe doll he hurled
hlmself Lo one slde and grabbed aL Lhe plywood. Pe goL Lo hls feeL cauLlously and cursed. Pls
Lrousers were covered wlLh mud and hls hands were shaklng.
'uamned near wenL down myself,' he muLLered, and looked around for !udy. 8uL !udy
had dlsappeared. WllL reached for hls Lorch and shone lL down Lhe hole. Palfway down Lhe doll
was wedged llghLly agalnsL Lhe sldes and for once Lhe wlg was sLlll on. WllL sLared desperaLely
down aL Lhe Lhlng and wondered whaL Lhe hell Lo do. lL--or she--musL be aL leasL LwenLy feeL
down. llfLeen. Anyway a long way down and cerLalnly Loo far for hlm Lo reach. 8uL sLlll Loo near
Lhe Lop noL Lo be clearly vlslble Lo Lhe workmen ln Lhe mornlng. WllL swlLched off Lhe Lorch and
pulled Lhe plywood square so LhaL lL covered half Lhe hole. 1haL way he wouldn'L be ln danger of
[olnlng Lhe doll. 1hen he sLood up and Lrled Lo Lhlnk of ways of geLLlng lL ouL.
8ope wlLh a hook on Lhe end of lL? Pe hadn'L a rope or a hook. Pe mlghL be able Lo flnd
a rope buL hooks were anoLher maLLer. CeL a rope and Lle lL Lo someLhlng and cllmb down lL and
brlng Lhe doll up? CerLalnly noL. lL would be bad enough cllmblng down Lhe rope wlLh Lwo hands
buL Lo Lhlnk of cllmblng back up wlLh one hand holdlng Lhe doll ln Lhe oLher was sheer lunacy.
1haL way he would end up aL Lhe boLLom of Lhe hole hlmself and lf one Lhlng was clear ln hls
mlnd lL was LhaL he dldn'L lnLend Lo be dlscovered aL Lhe boLLom of a LhlrLy-fooL plle hole on
Monday mornlng cluLchlng a plasLlc fucklng doll wlLh a cunL dressed ln hls wlfe's cloLhes. 1haL
way lay dlsasLer. WllL vlsuallzed Lhe scene ln Lhe Þrlnclpal's offlce as he Lrled Lo explaln how he
came Lo be...And anyway Lhey mlghL noL flnd hlm or hear hls yells. 1hose damned cemenL lorrles
made a hell of a dln and he bloody well wasn'L golng Lo rlsk belng burled under...ShlL. 1alk abouL
poeLlc [usLlce. no Lhe only Lhlng Lo do was Lo geL LhaL fucklng doll down Lo Lhe boLLom of Lhe
hole and hope Lo hell LhaL no one spoLLed lL before Lhey poured Lhe concreLe ln. Well, aL leasL
LhaL way he would learn lf lL was a senslble meLhod of geLLlng rld of Lva. 1here was LhaL Lo be
sald for lL. Lvery cloud had...
WllL lefL Lhe hole and looked around for someLhlng Lo move !udy down Lo Lhe boLLom.
Pe Lrled a handful of gravel buL she merely wobbled a blL and sLayed puL. SomeLhlng welghLler
was needed. Pe wenL across Lo a plle of sand and scooped some lnLo a plasLlc sack and poured lL
down Lhe hole, buL aparL from addlng an exLra dlmenslon of macabre reallsm Lo Mrs WllL's wlg
Lhe sand dld noLhlng. Þerhaps lf he dropped a brlck on Lhe doll lL would bursL. WllL looked
around for a brlck and ended up wlLh a large lump of clay. 1haL would have Lo do. Pe dropped lL
down Lhe hole. 1here was a Lhump, a raLLle of gravel and anoLher Lhump. WllL shone hls Lorch
down. !udy had reached Lhe boLLom of Lhe hole and had seLLled lnLo a groLesque poslLlon wlLh
her legs crumpled up ln fronL of her and one arm ouLsLreLched Lowards hlm as lf ln suppllcaLlon.
WllL feLched anoLher lump of clay and hurled lL down. 1hls Llme Lhe wlg slld sldeways and her
head lolled. WllL gave up. 1here was noLhlng more he could do. Pe pulled Lhe plywood back
over Lhe hole and wenL back Lo Lhe fence.
Pere he ran lnLo more Lrouble. 1he blcycle was on Lhe oLher slde. Pe feLched a plank,
leanL lL agalnsL Lhe fence and cllmbed over. now Lo carry Lhe blke back Lo Lhe shed. Ch bugger
Lhe blcycle. lL could sLay where lL was. Pe was fed up wlLh Lhe whole buslness. Pe couldn'L even
dlspose of a plasLlc doll properly. lL was ludlcrous Lo Lhlnk LhaL he could plan, commlL and carry
Lhrough a real murder wlLh any hope of success. Pe musL have been mad Lo Lhlnk of lL. lL was all
LhaL blasLed gln.
'1haL's rlghL, blame Lhe gln,' WllL muLLered Lo hlmself, as he Lrudged back Lo hls car. '?ou
had Lhls ldea monLhs ago.' Pe cllmbed lnLo Lhe car and saL Lhere ln Lhe darkness wonderlng
whaL on earLh had ever possessed hlm Lo have fanLasles of murderlng Lva. lL was lnsane, uLLerly
lnsane, and [usL as mad as Lo lmaglne LhaL he could Lraln hlmself Lo become a cold-blooded
klller. Where had Lhe ldea orlglnaLed from? WhaL was lL all abouL? All rlghL, Lva was a sLupld
cow who made hls llfe a mlsery by nagglng aL hlm and by lndulglng a LasLe for LasLern mysLlclsm
wlLh a freneLlc enLhuslasm calculaLed Lo derange Lhe soberesL of husbands, buL why hls
obsesslon wlLh murder? Why Lhe need Lo prove hls manllness by vlolence? Where had he goL
LhaL from? ln Lhe mlddle of Lhe car park, Penry WllL, suddenly sober and clear-headed, reallsed
Lhe exLraordlnary effecL LhaL Len years of Llberal SLudles had had upon hlm. lor Len long years
ÞlasLerers 1wo and MeaL Cne had been exposed Lo culLure ln Lhe shape of WllL and _1he Lord of
Lhe llles,_ and for as many years WllL hlmself had been exposed Lo Lhe barbarlLy, Lhe
unheslLaLlng readlness Lo commlL vlolence of ÞlasLerers 1wo and MeaL Cne. 1haL was Lhe
genesls of lL all. 1haL and Lhe unreallLy of Lhe llLeraLure he had been forced Lo absorb. lor Len
years WllL had been Lhe ducL along whlch Lravelled creaLures of lmaglnaLlon, nosLromo, !ack
and Þlggy, Shane, creaLures who acLed and whose acLlons effecLed someLhlng. And all Lhe Llme
he saw hlmself, mlrrored ln Lhelr eyes, an lneffecLual passlve person respondlng solely Lo Lhe
dlcLaLes of clrcumsLance. WllL shook hls head. And ouL of all LhaL and Lhe Lraumas of Lhe pasL
Lwo days had been born Lhls _acLe graLulL,_ Lhls seml-crlme, Lhe symbollc murder of Lva WllL.
Pe sLarLed Lhe car and drove ouL of Lhe car park. Pe would go and see Lhe 8ralnLrees.
1hey would sLlll be up and glad Lo see hlm and besldes he needed Lo Lalk Lo someone. 8ehlnd
hlm on Lhe bulldlng slLe hls noLes on vlolence and Lhe 8reak-up of lamlly Llfe drlfLed abouL ln
Lhe nlghL wlnd and sLuck ln Lhe mud.


7


'naLure ls so llbldlnous.' sald Sally, shlnlng a Lorch Lhrough Lhe porLhole aL Lhe reeds. 'l mean
Lake bullrushes. l mean Lhey're poslLlvely archeLypally phallus. uon'L you Lhlnk so, C?'
'8ullrushes?' sald Caskell, gazlng helplessly aL a charL. '8ullrushes do noLhlng for me.'
'Maps nelLher, by Lhe look of lL'
'CharLs, baby, charLs.'
'WhaL's ln a name?'
'8lghL now, a hell of a loL. We're elLher ln lrogwaLer 8each or len 8road. no Lelllng
whlch.'
'Clve me len 8road every Llme. l [usL adore broads. Lva sweeLhearL, how's abouL
anoLher poL of coffee? l wanL Lo sLay awake all nlghL and waLch Lhe dawn come up over Lhe
bullrushes.'
'?es, well l don'L,' sald Caskell. 'LasL nlghL was enough for me. 1haL crazy guy wlLh Lhe
doll ln Lhe baLh and Schel cuLLlng hlmself. 1haL's enough for one day. l'm golng Lo hlL Lhe sack.'
'1he deck,' sald Sally, 'hlL Lhe deck, C. Lva and l are sleeplng down here. 1hree's a
crowd.'
'1hree? WlLh boobs around lL's flve aL Lhe leasL. Ck, so l sleep on deck. We've goL Lo be
up early lf we're Lo geL off Lhls damned sandbank.'
'Pas CapLaln Þrlngshelm sLranded us, baby?'
'lL's Lhese charLs. lf only Lhey would glve an exacL lndlcaLlon of depLh.'
'lf you knew where we were, you'd probably flnd Lhey do. lL's no use knowlng lL's Lhree
feeL--'
'laLhoms, honey, faLhoms.'
'1hree faLhoms ln lrogwaLer 8each lf we're really ln len 8road.'
'Well, wherever we are, you'd beLLer sLarL hoplng Lhere's a Llde LhaL wlll rlse and floaL us
off,' sald Caskell.
'And lf Lhere lsn'L?'
'1hen we'll have Lo Lhlnk of someLhlng else. Maybe someone wlll come along and Low us
off.'
'Ch Cod, C, you're Lhe skllfullesL,' sald Sally. 'l mean why couldn'L we have [usL sLayed
ouL ln Lhe mlddle? 8uL no, you had Lo come sLeamlng up Lhls creek wham lnLo a mudbank and
all because of whaL? uucks, goddamned ducks.'
'Waders, baby, waders. noL [usL ducks.'
'Ck, so Lhey're waders. ?ou wanL Lo phoLograph Lhem so now we're sLuck where no one
ln Lhelr rlghL mlnds would come ln a boaL. Who do you Lhlnk ls golng Lo come up here? !onaLhan
Seagull?'

ln Lhe galley Lva made coffee. She was wearlng Lhe brlghL red plasLlc blklnl Sally had lenL her. lL
was raLher Loo small for her so LhaL she bulged round lL uncomforLably and lL was reveallngly
LlghL buL aL leasL lL was beLLer Lhan golng around naked even Lhough Sally sald nudlLy was belng
llberaLed and look aL Lhe Amazonlan lndlans. She should have broughL her own Lhlngs buL Sally
had lnslsLed on hurrylng and now all she had were Lhe lemon loungers and Lhe blklnl. PonesLly
Sally was so auLhora...auLhorasomeLhlng...well, bossy Lhen.
'uual-purpose plasLlc, baby, apronwlse,' she had sald, 'and C has Lhls Lhlng abouL plasLlc,
haven'L you, C?'
'8lo-degradably yes.'
'8lo-degradably?' asked Lva, hoplng Lo be lnlLlaLed lnLo some new aspecL of women's
llberaLlon.
'ÞlasLlc boLLles LhaL dlslnLegraLe lnsLead of lylng around maklng an ecologlcal swamp,'
sald Sally, openlng a porLhole and dropplng an empLy clgar packeL over Lhe slde, 'LhaL's C's
llfework. 1haL and recyclablllLy. lnflnlLe recyclablllLy.'
'8lghL,' sald Caskell. 'We've goL ln-bullL obsolescence ln Lhe auLomoLlve fleld where lL's
ouLmoded. So whaL we need now ls ln-bullL blo-degradable dellquescence ln ephemera.'
Lva llsLened uncomprehendlngly buL wlLh Lhe feellng LhaL she was somehow aL Lhe
cenLre of an lnLellecLual world far surpasslng LhaL of Penry and hls frlends who Lalked abouL new
degree courses and Lhelr sLudenLs so borlngly.
'We've goL a composL heap aL Lhe boLLom of Lhe garden,' she sald when she flnally
undersLood whaL Lhey were Lalklng abouL. 'l puL Lhe poLaLo peellngs and odds and ends on lL.'
Caskell ralsed hls eyes Lo Lhe cabln roof. CorrecLlon. ueckhead.
'1alklng of odds and ends.' sald Sally, runnlng a fond hand over Lva's boLLom, 'l wonder
how Penry ls geLLlng along wlLh !udy.'
Lva shuddered. 1he LhoughL of Penry and Lhe doll lylng ln Lhe baLh sLlll haunLed her.
'l can'L Lhlnk whaL had goL lnLo hlm.' she sald, and looked dlsapprovlngly aL Caskell when
he snlggered. 'l mean lL's noL as lf he has ever been unfalLhful or anyLhlng llke LhaL. And loLs of
husbands are. ÞaLrlck MoLLram ls always golng off and havlng affalrs wlLh oLher women buL
Penry's been very good ln LhaL respecL. Pe may be quleL and noL very pushlng buL no one could
call hlm a gadabouL.'
'Ch sure,' sald Caskell, 'so he's goL a hang-up abouL sex. My hearL bleeds for hlm.'
'l don'L see why you should say he's goL someLhlng wrong wlLh hlm because he's
falLhful,' sald Lva.
'C dldn'L mean LhaL, dld you, C?' sald Sally. 'Pe meanL LhaL Lhere has Lo be Lrue freedom
ln a marrlage. no domlnance, no [ealousy, no possesslon. 8lghL, C?'
'8lghL.' sald Caskell.
'1he LesL of Lrue love ls when you can waLch your wlfe havlng lL off wlLh someone else
and sLlll love her,' Sally wenL on.
'l could never waLch Penry...' sald Lva. 'never.'
'So you don'L love hlm. ?ou're lnsecure. ?ou don'L LrusL hlm.'
'1rusL hlm?' sald Lva. 'lf Penry wenL Lo bed wlLh anoLher woman l don'L see how l could
LrusL hlm. l mean lf LhaL's whaL he wanLs Lo do why dld he marry me?'
'1haL,' sald Caskell. 'ls Lhe slxLy-four-Lhousand dollar quesLlon.' Pe plcked up hls sleeplng
bag and wenL ouL on deck. 8ehlnd hlm Lva had begun Lo cry.
'1here, Lhere,' sald Sally, puLLlng her arm round her. 'C was [usL klddlng. Pe dldn'L mean
anyLhlng.'
'lL's noL LhaL.' sald Lva, 'lL's [usL LhaL l don'L undersLand anyLhlng any more. lL's all so
compllcaLed.'

'ChrlsL, you look bloody awful,' sald ÞeLer 8ralnLree as WllL sLood on Lhe doorsLep.
'l feel bloody awful,' sald WllL. 'lL's all Lhls gln.'
'?ou mean Lva's noL back?' sald 8ralnLree, leadlng Lhe way down Lhe passage Lo Lhe
klLchen.
'She wasn'L Lhere when l goL home. !usL a noLe saylng she was golng away wlLh Lhe
Þrlngshelms Lo Lhlnk Lhlngs over.'
'1o Lhlnk Lhlngs over? Lva? WhaL Lhlngs?'
'Well...' WllL began and LhoughL beLLer of lL, 'LhaL buslness wlLh Sally l suppose. She says
she won'L ever forglve me.'
'8uL you dldn'L do anyLhlng wlLh Sally. 1haL's whaL you Lold me.'
'l know l dldn'L. 1haL's Lhe whole polnL. lf l had done whaL LhaL nymphomanlac blLch
wanLed Lhere wouldn'L have been all Lhls bloody Lrouble.'
'l don'L see LhaL, Penry. l mean lf you had done whaL she wanLed Lva would have had
someLhlng Lo grumble abouL. l don'L see why she should be up ln Lhe alr because you dldn'L.'
'Sally musL have Lold her LhaL l dld do someLhlng,' sald WllL, deLermlned noL Lo menLlon
Lhe lncldenL ln Lhe baLhroom wlLh Lhe doll.
'?ou mean Lhe blow [ob?'
'l don'L know whaL l mean. WhaL ls a blow [ob anyway?'
ÞeLer 8ralnLree looked puzzled
'l'm noL Loo sure,' he sald, 'buL lL's obvlously someLhlng you don'L wanL your husband Lo
do. lf l came home and Lold 8eLLy l'd done a blow [ob she'd Lhlnk l'd been robblng a bank.'
'l wasn'L golng Lo do lL anyway,' sald WllL. 'She was golng Lo do lL Lo me.'
'Þerhaps lL's a suck off,' sald 8ralnLree, puLLlng a keLLle on Lhe sLove. '1haL's whaL lL
sounds llke Lo me.'
'Well lL dldn'L sound llke LhaL Lo me,' sald WllL wlLh a shudder. 'She made lL sound llke a
palnL-peellng exerclse wlLh a blow lamp. ?ou should have seen Lhe look on her face.'
Pe saL down aL Lhe klLchen Lable despondenLly.
8ralnLree eyed hlm curlously. '?ou cerLalnly seem Lo have been ln Lhe wars,' he sald.
WllL looked down aL hls Lrousers. 1hey were covered wlLh mud and Lhere were round
paLches caked Lo hls knees. '?es...well...well l had a puncLure on Lhe way here,' he explalned
wlLh lack of convlcLlon. 'l had Lo change a Lyre and l knelL down. l was a blL plssed.'
ÞeLer 8ralnLree grunLed doubLfully. lL dldn'L sound very convlnclng Lo hlm. Þoor old
Penry was obvlously a blL under Lhe weaLher. '?ou can wash up ln Lhe slnk,' he sald.
ÞresenLly 8eLLy 8ralnLree came downsLalrs. 'l couldn'L help hearlng whaL you sald abouL
Lva,' she sald. 'l'm so sorry. Penry. l wouldn'L worry. She's bound Lo come back.'
'l wouldn'L be Loo sure,' sald WllL, gloomlly, 'and anyway l'm noL so sure l wanL her
back.'
'Ch, Lva's all rlghL,' 8eLLy sald. 'She geLs Lhese sudden urges and enLhuslasms buL Lhey
don'L lasL long. lL's [usL Lhe way she's made. lL's easy come and easy go wlLh Lva.'
'l Lhlnk LhaL's whaL's worrylng Penry,' sald 8ralnLree, 'Lhe easy come blL.'
'Ch surely noL. Lva lsn'L LhaL sorL aL all.'
WllL saL aL Lhe klLchen Lable and slpped hls coffee. 'l wouldn'L puL anyLhlng pasL her ln
Lhe company she's keeplng now,' he muLLered lugubrlously. '8emember whaL happened when
she wenL Lhrough, LhaL macrobloLlc dleL phase? ur Mannlx Lold me l was Lhe nearesL Lhlng Lo a
case of scurvy he'd seen slnce Lhe 8urma rallway. And Lhen Lhere was LhaL eplsode wlLh Lhe
Lrampollne. She wenL Lo a keep llL Class aL 8ulham vlllage College and boughL herself a fucklng
Lrampollne. ?ou know she puL old Mrs ÞorLway ln hosplLal wlLh LhaL conLrapLlon.'
'l knew Lhere was some sorL of accldenL buL Lva never Lold me whaL acLually happened,'
sald 8eLLy.
'She wouldn'L. lL was a ruddy mlracle we dldn'L geL sued,' sald WllL. 'lL Lhrew Mrs
ÞorLway clean Lhrough Lhe greenhouse roof. 1here was glass all over Lhe lawn and lL wasn'L even
as Lhough Mrs ÞorLway was a healLhy woman aL Lhe besL of Llmes.'
'Wasn'L she Lhe woman wlLh Lhe rheumaLold arLhrlLls?'
WllL nodded dlsmally. 'And Lhe duelllng scars on her face,' he sald. '1haL was our
greenhouse, LhaL was.'
'l musL say l can Lhlnk of beLLer places for Lrampollnes Lhan greenhouses,' sald 8ralnLree.
'lL wasn'L a very blg greenhouse was lL?'
'lL wasn'L a very blg Lrampollne elLher, Lhank Cod,' sald WllL, 'she'd have been ln orblL
oLherwlse.'
'Well lL all goes Lo prove one Lhlng,' sald 8eLLy, looklng on Lhe brlghL slde, 'Lva may do
crazy Lhlngs buL she soon, geLs over Lhem.'
'Mrs ÞorLway dldn'L.' sald WllL, noL Lo be comforLed. 'She was ln hosplLal for slx weeks
and Lhe skln grafLs dldn'L Lake. She hasn'L been near our house slnce.'
'?ou'll see. Lva wlll geL fed up wlLh Lhese Þrlngshelm people ln a week or Lwo. 1hey're
[usL anoLher fad.'
'A fad wlLh a loL of advanLages lf you ask me,' sald WllL. 'Money, sLaLus and sexual
promlsculLy. All Lhe Lhlngs l couldn'L glve her and all dressed up ln a loL of lnLellecLual clapLrap
abouL Women's Llb and vlolence and Lhe lnLolerance of Lolerance and Lhe revoluLlon of Lhe
sexes and you're noL fully maLure unless you're amblsexLrous. lL's enough Lo make you vomlL
and lL's [usL Lhe sorL of crap Lva would fall for. l mean she'd buy roLLen herrlngs lf some clown up
Lhe soclal scale Lold her Lhey were Lhe sophlsLlcaLed Lhlngs Lo eaL. 1alk abouL belng gulllble!'
'1he Lhlng ls LhaL Lva's goL Loo much energy,' sald 8eLLy. ?ou should Lry and persuade
her Lo geL a full-Llme [ob.'
'lull-Llme [ob?' sald WllL. 'She's had more full-Llme [obs Lhan l've had hoL dlnners. Mlnd
you, LhaL's noL saylng much Lhese days. All l ever geL ls a cold supper and a noLe saylng she's
gone Lo ÞoLLery or 1ranscendenLal MedlLaLlon or someLhlng equally half-baked. And anyway
Lva's ldea of a [ob ls Lo Lake over Lhe facLory. 8emember ÞoLLers, LhaL englneerlng flrm LhaL
wenL broke afLer a sLrlke a couple of years ago? Well, lf you ask me LhaL was Lva's faulL. She goL
Lhls [ob wlLh a consulLancy flrm dolng Llme and moLlon sLudy and Lhey senL her ouL Lo Lhe
facLory and Lhe nexL Lhlng anyone knew Lhey had a sLrlke on Lhelr hands.'
1hey wenL on Lalklng for anoLher hour unLll Lhe 8ralnLrees asked hlm Lo sLay Lhe nlghL.
8uL WllL wouldn'L. 'l've goL Lhlngs Lo do Lomorrow.'
'Such as?'
'leed Lhe dog for one Lhlng.'
'?ou can always drlve over and do LhaL. Clem won'L sLarve overnlghL'
8uL WllL was Loo lmmersed ln self-plLy Lo be persuaded and besldes he was sLlll worrled
abouL LhaL doll. Pe mlghL have anoLher go aL geLLlng Lhe Lhlng ouL of LhaL hole. Pe drove home
and wenL Lo bed ln a Langle of sheeLs and blankeLs. Pe hadn'L made lL ln Lhe mornlng.
'Þoor old Penry.' sald 8eLLy as she and ÞeLer wenL upsLalrs. 'Pe dld look preLLy awful.'
'Pe sald he'd had a puncLure and had Lo change Lhe wheel.'
'l wasn'L Lhlnklng of hls cloLhes. lL was Lhe look on hls face LhaL worrled me. ?ou don'L
drlnk he's on Lhe verge of a breakdown?'
ÞeLer 8ralnLree shook hls head. '?ou'd look llke LhaL lf you had CasflLLers 1hree and
ÞlasLerers 1wo every day of your llfe for Len years and Lhen your wlfe ran away,' he Lold her.
'Why don'L Lhey glve hlm someLhlng beLLer Lo Leach?'
'Why? 8ecause Lhe 1ech wanLs Lo become a Þoly and Lhey keep sLarLlng new degree
courses and hlrlng people wlLh Þhus Lo Leach Lhem and Lhen Lhe sLudenLs don'L enrol and
Lhey're lumbered wlLh speclallsLs llke ur llLzpaLrlck who knows all Lhere ls Lo know abouL chlld
labour ln four coLLon mllls ln ManchesLer ln 1837 and damn all abouL anyLhlng else. ÞuL hlm ln
fronL of a class of uay 8elease ApprenLlces and all hell would break loose. As lL ls l have Lo go
lnLo hls A-level classes once a week and Lell Lhem Lo shuL up. Cn Lhe oLher hand Penry looks,
meek buL he can cape wlLh rowdles. Pe's Loo good aL hls [ob. 1haL's hls Lrouble and besldes he's
noL a bum sucker and LhaL's Lhe klss of deaLh aL Lhe 1ech. lf you don'L llck arses you geL
nowhere.'
'?ou know,' sald 8eLLy, 'Leachlng aL LhaL place has done horrlble Lhlngs Lo your
language.'
'lL's done horrlble Lhlngs Lo my ouLlook on llfe, never mlnd my language,' sald 8ralnLree.
'lL's enough Lo drlve a man Lo drlnk.'
'lL cerLalnly seems Lo have done LhaL Lo Penry. Pls breaLh reeked of gln.'
'Pe'll geL over lL'

8uL WllL dldn'L. Pe woke ln Lhe mornlng wlLh Lhe feellng LhaL someLhlng was mlsslng qulLe aparL
from Lva. 1haL bloody doll. Pe lay ln bed Lrylng Lo Lhlnk of some way of reLrlevlng Lhe Lhlng
before Lhe workmen arrlved on Lhe slLe on Monday mornlng buL aparL from pourlng a can of
peLrol down Lhe hole and llghLlng lL, whlch seemed on reflecLlon Lhe besL way of drawlng
aLLenLlon Lo Lhe facL LhaL he had sLuffed a plasLlc doll dressed ln hls wlfe's cloLhes down Lhere,
he could Lhlnk of noLhlng pracLlcal. Pe would [usL have Lo LrusL Lo luck.
When Lhe Sunday papers came he goL ouL of bed and wenL down Lo read Lhem over hls
All-8ran. 1hen he fed Lhe dog and mooched abouL Lhe house ln hls py[amas, walked down Lo Lhe
lerry ÞaLh lnn for lunch, slepL ln Lhe afLernoon and waLched Lhe box all evenlng. 1hen he made
Lhe bed and goL lnLo lL and spenL a resLless nlghL wonderlng where Lva was, whaL she was dolng
and why, slnce he had occupled so many frulLless hours speculaLlng on ways of geLLlng rld of her
homlcldally, he should be ln Lhe leasL concerned now LhaL she had gone of her own accord.
'l mean lf l dldn'L wanL Lhls Lo happen why dld l keep Lhlnklng up ways of kllllng her,' he
LhoughL aL Lwo o'clock. 'Sane people don'L go for walks wlLh a Labrador and devlse schemes for
murderlng Lhelr wlves when Lhey can [usL as easlly dlvorce Lhem.' 1here was probably some foul
psychologlcal reason for lL. WllL could Lhlnk of several hlmself, raLher Loo many ln facL Lo be able
Lo declde whlch was Lhe mosL llkely one. ln any case a psychologlcal explanaLlon demanded a
degree of self-knowledge whlch WllL, who wasn'L aL all sure he had a self Lo know, felL was
denled hlm. 1en years of ÞlasLerers 1wo and Lxposure Lo 8arbarlsm had aL leasL glven hlm Lhe
lnslghL Lo know LhaL Lhere was an answer for every quesLlon and lL dldn'L much maLLer whaL
answer you gave so long as you gave lL convlnclngly. ln Lhe fourLeenLh cenLury Lhey would have
sald Lhe devll puL such LhoughLs lnLo hls head, now ln a posL lredulan world lL had Lo be a
complex or, Lo be really up Lo daLe, a chemlcal lmbalance. ln a hundred years Lhey would have
come up wlLh some compleLely dlfferenL explanaLlon. WlLh Lhe comforLlng LhoughL LhaL Lhe
LruLhs of one age were Lhe absurdlLles of anoLher and LhaL lL dldn'L much maLLer whaL you
LhoughL so long as you dld Lhe rlghL Lhlng, and ln hls vlew he dld, WllL flnally fell asleep.
AL seven he was woken by Lhe alarm clock and by half pasL elghL had parked hls car ln
Lhe parklng loL behlnd Lhe 1ech. Pe walked pasL Lhe bulldlng slLe where Lhe workmen were
already aL work. 1hen he wenL up Lo Lhe SLaff 8oom and looked ouL of Lhe wlndow. 1he square
of plywood was sLlll ln place coverlng Lhe hole buL Lhe plle-borlng machlne had been backed
away. 1hey had evldenLly flnlshed wlLh lL.
AL flve Lo nlne he collecLed LwenLy-flve coples of _Shane_ from Lhe cupboard and Look
Lhem across Lo MoLor Mechanlcs 1hree. _Shane_ was Lhe ldeal soporlflc. lL would keep Lhe
bruLes quleL whlle he saL and waLched whaL happened down below. 8oom 393 ln Lhe
Lnglneerlng block gave hlm a grandsLand vlew. WllL fllled ln Lhe reglsLer and handed ouL coples
of _Shane_ and Lold Lhe class Lo geL on wlLh lL. Pe sald lL wlLh a good deal more vlgour Lhan was
usual even for a Monday mornlng and Lhe class seLLled down Lo conslder Lhe pllghL of Lhe
homesLeaders whlle WllL sLared ouL of Lhe wlndow, absorbed ln a more lmmedlaLe drama.
A lorry wlLh a revolvlng drum fllled wlLh llquld concreLe had arrlved on Lhe slLe and was
backlng slowly Lowards Lhe plywood square. lL sLopped and Lhere was an agonlslng walL whlle
Lhe drlver cllmbed down from Lhe cab and llL a clgareLLe. AnoLher man, evldenLly Lhe foreman,
came ouL of a wooden huL and wandered across Lo Lhe lorry and presenLly a llLLle group was
gaLhered round Lhe hole. WllL goL up from hls desk and wenL over Lo Lhe wlndow. Why Lhe hell
dldn'L Lhey geL a move on? llnally Lhe drlver goL back lnLo hls cab and Lwo men removed Lhe
plywood. 1he foreman slgnalled Lo Lhe drlver. 1he chuLe for Lhe concreLe was swung lnLo
poslLlon. AnoLher slgnal. 1he drums began Lo LllL. 1he concreLe was comlng. WllL waLched as lL
began Lo pour down Lhe chuLe and [usL aL LhaL momenL Lhe foreman looked down Lhe hole. So
dld one of Lhe workmen. 1he nexL lnsLanL all hell had broken loose. 1here were franLlc slgnals
and shouLs from Lhe foreman. 1hrough Lhe wlndow WllL waLched Lhe open mouLhs and Lhe
gesLlculaLlons buL sLlll Lhe concreLe came. WllL shuL hls eyes and shuddered. 1hey had found
LhaL fucklng doll.

CuLslde on Lhe bulldlng slLe Lhe, alr was chlck wlLh mlsundersLandlng.
'WhaL's LhaL? l'm pourlng as fasL as l can.' shouLed Lhe drlver, mlsconsLrulng Lhe frenzled
slgnals of Lhe foreman. Pe pulled Lhe lever sLlll furLher and Lhe concreLe flood lncreased. 1he
nexL momenL he was aware LhaL he had made some sorL of mlsLake. 1he foreman was
wrenchlng aL Lhe door of Lhe cab and screamlng blue murder.
'SLop, for Cod's sake sLop,' he shouLed. '1here's a woman down LhaL hole!'
'A whaL?' sald Lhe drlver, and swlLched off Lhe englne.
'A fucklng woman and look whaL you've been and fucklng done. l Lold you Lo sLop. l Lold
you Lo sLop pourlng and you wenL on. ?ou've been and poured LwenLy Lons of llquld concreLe on
her.'
1he drlver cllmbed down from hls cab and wenL round Lo Lhe chuLe where Lhe lasL
Lrlckles of cemenL were sLlll slldlng heslLanLly lnLo Lhe hole.
'A woman?' he sald. 'WhaL? uown LhaL hole? WhaL's she dolng down Lhere?'
1he foreman sLared aL hlm demonlcally. 'uolng?' he bellowed, 'whaL do you Lhlnk she's
dolng? WhaL would you be dolng lf you'd [usL had LwenLy Lons of llquld concreLe dumped on Lop
of you? lucklng drownlng, LhaL's whaL.'
1he drlver scraLched hls head. 'Well l dldn'L know she was down Lhere. Pow was l Lo
know? ?ou should have Lold me.'
'1old you?' shrleked Lhe foreman. 'l Lold you. l Lold you Lo sLop. ?ou weren'L llsLenlng.'
'l LhoughL you wanLed me Lo pour fasLer. l couldn'L hear whaL you were saylng.'
'Well, every oLher bugger could,' yelled Lhe foreman. CerLalnly WllL ln 8oom 393 could.
Pe sLared wlld-eyed ouL of Lhe wlndow as Lhe panlc spread. 8eslde hlm MoLor Mechanlcs 1hree
had losL all lnLeresL ln _Shane._ 1hey clusLered aL Lhe wlndow and waLched.
'Are you qulLe sure?' asked Lhe drlver.
'Sure? Course l'm sure,' yelled Lhe foreman. 'Ask 8arney.'
1he oLher workman, evldenLly 8arney, nodded. 'She was down Lhere all rlghL. l'll vouch
for LhaL. All crumpled up she was. She had one hand up ln Lhe alr and her legs was...'
'!esus,' sald Lhe drlver, vlslbly shaken. 'WhaL Lhe hell are we golng Lo do now?'
lL was a quesLlon LhaL had been boLherlng WllL. Call Lhe Þollce, presumably. 1he
foreman conflrmed hls oplnlon. 'CeL Lhe cops. CeL an ambulance. CeL Lhe llre 8rlgade and geL a
pump. lor Cod's sake geL a pump.'
'Þump's no good,' sald Lhe drlver, 'you'll never pump LhaL concreLe ouL of Lhere, noL ln a
monLh of Sundays. Anyway lL wouldn'L do any good. She'll be dead by now. Crushed Lo deaLh.
Wouldn'L drown wlLh LwenLy Lons on her. Why dldn'L she say someLhlng?'
'Would lL have made any dlfference lf she had?' asked Lhe foreman hoarsely. '?ou'd
have sLlll gone on pourlng.'
'Well, how dld she geL down Lhere ln Lhe flrsL place?' sald Lhe drlver, Lo change Lhe
sub[ecL.
'Pow Lhe fuck would l know. She musL have fallen...'
'And pulled LhaL plywood sheeL over her, l suppose,' sald 8arney, who clearly had a
pracLlcal Lurn of mlnd. 'She was bloody murdered.'
'We all know LhaL,' squawked Lhe foreman. '8y Chrls here. l Lold hlm Lo sLop pourlng.
?ou heard me. Lveryone for half a mlle musL have heard me buL noL Chrls. Ch, no, he has Lo go
on--'
'She was murdered before she was puL down Lhe hole,' sald 8arney. '1haL wooden cover
wouldn'L have been Lhere lf she had fallen down herself.'
1he foreman wlped hls face wlLh a handkerchlef and looked aL Lhe square of plywood.
'1here ls LhaL Lo lL,' he muLLered. 'no one can say we dldn'L Lake proper safeLy precauLlons.
?ou're rlghL. She musL have been murdered. Ch, my Cod!'
'Sex crlme, llke as noL,' sald 8arney. '8aped and sLrangled her. 1haL or someone's mlssus.
?ou mark my words. She was all crumpled up and LhaL hand...l'll never forgeL LhaL hand, noL lf l
llve Lo be a hundred.'
1he foreman sLared aL hlm llvldly. Pe seemed lncapable of expresslng, hls feellngs. So
was WllL. Pe wenL back Lo hls desk and saL wlLh hls head ln hls hands whlle Lhe class gaped ouL
of Lhe wlndow and Lrled Lo caLch whaL was belng sald. ÞresenLly slrens sounded ln Lhe dlsLance
and grew louder. A pollce car arrlved, four flre englnes hurLled lnLo Lhe car park and an
ambulance followed. As more and more unlformed men gaLhered around whaL had once been a
hole ln Lhe ground lL became apparenL LhaL geLLlng Lhe doll down Lhere had been a damned
slghL easler Lhan geLLlng lL ouL.
'1haL concreLe sLarLs seLLlng ln LwenLy mlnuLes.' Lhe drlver explalned when a pump was
suggesLed for Lhe umpLeenLh Llme. An lnspecLor of Þollce and Lhe llre Chlef sLared down aL Lhe
hole.
'Are you sure you saw a woman's body down Lhere?' Lhe lnspecLor asked. '?ou're
poslLlve abouL lL?'
'ÞoslLlve?' squeaked Lhe foreman. 'Course l'm poslLlve. ?ou don'L Lhlnk...1ell Lhem,
8arney. Pe saw her Loo.'
8arney Lold Lhe lnspecLor even more graphlcally Lhan before. 'She had Lhls halr see and
her hand was reachlng up llke lL was asklng for help and Lhere were Lhese flngers...l Lell you lL
was horrlble. lL dldn'L look naLural.'
'no, well, lL wouldn'L,' sald Lhe lnspecLor sympaLheLlcally. 'And you say Lhere was a
board on Lop of Lhe hole when you arrlved Lhls mornlng.'
1he foreman gesLlculaLed sllenLly and 8arney showed Lhem Lhe board. 'l was sLandlng
on lL aL one Llme,' he sald. 'lL was here all rlghL so help me Cod.'
'1he Lhlng ls, how are we Lo geL her ouL?' sald Lhe llre Chlef. lL was a polnL LhaL was puL
Lo Lhe manager of Lhe consLrucLlon company when he flnally arrlved on Lhe scene. 'Cod alone,
knows,' he sald. '1here's no easy way of geLLlng LhaL concreLe ouL now. We'd have Lo use drllls
Lo geL down LhlrLy feeL'
AL Lhe end of Lhe hour Lhey were no nearer a soluLlon Lo Lhe problem. As Lhe MoLor
Mechanlcs dragged Lhemselves away from Lhls fasclnaLlng slLuaLlon Lo go Lo 1echnlcal urawlng,
WllL collecLed Lhe unread coples of _Shane_ and walked across Lo Lhe SLaff 8oom ln a sLaLe of
shock. 1he only consolaLlon he could Lhlnk of was LhaL lL would Lake Lhem aL leasL Lwo or Lhree
days Lo dlg down and dlscover LhaL whaL had all Lhe appearances of belng Lhe body of a
murdered woman was ln facL an lnflaLable doll. Cr had been once. WllL raLher doubLed lf lL
would be lnflaLed now. 1here had been someLhlng horrlbly lnLracLable abouL LhaL llquld
concreLe.


8


1here was someLhlng horrlbly lnLracLable abouL Lhe mudbank on whlch Lhe cabln crulser had
grounded. 1o add Lo Lhelr Lroubles Lhe englne had gone wrong. Caskell sald lL was a broken con
rod.
'ls LhaL serlous?' asked Sally.
'lL [usL means we'll have Lo be Lowed Lo a boaLyard.'
'8y whaL?'
'8y a passlng crulser l guess,' sald Caskell.
Sally looked over Lhe slde aL Lhe bullrushes.
'Þasslng?' she sald. 'We've been here all nlghL and half Lhe mornlng and noLhlng has
passed so far and lf lL dld we wouldn'L be able Lo see lL for all Lhese fucklng bullrushes.'
'l LhoughL bullrushes dld someLhlng for you.'
'1haL was yesLerday,' snapped Sally. '1oday Lhey [usL mean we're lnvlslble Lo anyone
more Lhan flfLy feeL away. And now you've screwed Lhe moLor. l Lold you noL Lo rev lL llke LhaL.'
'So how was l Lo know lL would busL a con rod,' sald Caskell. 'l was [usL Lrylng Lo geL us
off Lhls mudbank. ?ou [usL Lell me how l'm supposed Lo do lL wlLhouL revvlng Lhe goddam
moLor.'
'?ou could geL ouL and push.'
Caskell peered over Lhe slde. 'l could geL ouL and drown,' he sald.
'So Lhe boaL would be llghLer,' sald Sally. 'We've all goL Lo make sacrlflces and you sald
Lhe Llde would floaL us off.'
'Well l was mlsLaken. 1haL's fresh waLer down Lhere and means Lhe Llde doesn'L reach
Lhls far.'
'now he Lells me. llrsL we're ln lrogwaLer 8each...'
'8each,' sald Caskell.
'lrogwaLer wherever. 1hen we're ln len 8road. now where are we for Cod's sake?'
'Cn a mudbank,' sald Caskell.

ln Lhe cabln Lva busLled abouL. 1here wasn'L much space for busLllng buL whaL Lhere was she
puL Lo good use. She made Lhe bunks and puL Lhe beddlng away ln Lhe lockers underneaLh and
she plumped Lhe cushlons and empLled Lhe ashLrays. She swepL Lhe floor and pollshed Lhe Lable
and wlped Lhe wlndows and dusLed Lhe shelves and generally made everyLhlng as neaL and Lldy
as lL was posslble Lo make lL. And all Lhe Llme her LhoughLs goL unLldler and more muddled so
LhaL by Lhe Llme she was flnlshed and every ob[ecL lnslghL was ln lLs rlghL place and Lhe whole
cabln properly arranged she was qulLe confused and ln Lwo mlnds abouL nearly everyLhlng.
1he Þrlngshelms were ever so sophlsLlcaLed and rlch and lnLellecLual and sald clever
Lhlngs all Lhe Llme buL Lhey were always quarrelllng and geLLlng aL one anoLher abouL someLhlng
and Lo be honesL Lhey were qulLe lmpracLlcal and dldn'L know Lhe flrsL Lhlng abouL hyglene.
Caskell wenL Lo Lhe lavaLory and dldn'L wash hls hands afLerwards and goodness only knew
when he had lasL had a shave. And look aL Lhe way Lhey had walked ouL of Lhe house ln 8osslLer
Crove wlLhouL clearlng up afLer Lhe parLy and Lhe llvlng-room all over cups and Lhlngs. Lva had
been qulLe shocked. She would never have lefL her house ln LhaL sorL of mess. She had sald as
much Lo Sally buL Sally had sald how nonsponLaneous could you geL and anyway Lhey were only
renLlng Lhe house for Lhe summer and LhaL lL was Lyplcal of a male-orlenLed soclal sysLem Lo
expecL a woman Lo enLer a conLracLual relaLlonshlp based upon female domesLlc servlLude. Lva
Lrled Lo follow her and was lefL feellng gullLy because she couldn'L and because, lL was evldenLly
lnfra dlg Lo be houseproud and she was.
And Lhen Lhere was whaL Penry had been dolng wlLh LhaL doll. lL was so unllke Penry Lo
do anyLhlng llke LhaL and Lhe more she LhoughL abouL lL Lhe more unllke Penry lL became. Pe
musL have been drunk buL even so...wlLhouL hls cloLhes on? And where had he found Lhe doll?
She had asked Sally and had been horrlfled Lo learn LhaL Caskell was mad abouL plasLlc and [usL
adored playlng games wlLh !udy and men were llke LhaL and so Lo Lhe only meanlngful
relaLlonshlps belng beLween women because women dldn'L need Lo prove Lhelr vlrlllLy by any
overL acL of exLrasexual vlolence dld Lhey? 8y whlch Llme Lva was losL ln a maze of words she
dldn'L undersLand buL whlch sounded lmporLanL and Lhey had had anoLher sesslon of 1ouch
1herapy.
And LhaL was anoLher Lhlng she was ln Lwo mlnds abouL. 1ouch 1herapy. Sally had sald
she was sLlll lnhlblLed and belng lnhlblLed was a slgn of emoLlonal and sensaLlonal lmmaLurlLy.
Lva baLLled wlLh her mlxed feellngs abouL Lhe maLLer. Cn Lhe one hand she dldn'L wanL Lo be
emoLlonally and sensaLlonally lmmaLure and lf Lhe revulslon she felL lylng naked ln Lhe arms of
anoLher woman was anyLhlng Lo go by and ln Lva's vlew Lhe nasLler a medlclne LasLed Lhe more
llkely lL was Lo do you good, Lhen she was cerLalnly lmprovlng her psycho-sexual behavlour
paLLern by leaps and bounds. Cn Lhe oLher hand she wasn'L alLogeLher convlnced LhaL 1ouch
1herapy was qulLe nlce. lL was only by Lhe appllcaLlon of conslderable wlll-power LhaL she
overcame her ob[ecLlons Lo lL and even so Lhere was an underLow of doubL abouL Lhe proprleLy
of belng Louched qulLe so sensaLlonally. lL was all very puzzllng and Lo cap lL all she was on Lhe
Þlll. Lva had ob[ecLed very sLrongly and had polnLed ouL LhaL Penry and she had always wanLed
bables and she'd never had any buL Sally had lnslsLed.
'Lva baby,' she had sald, 'wlLh Caskell one [usL never knows. SomeLlmes he goes for
monLhs wlLhouL so much as a LwlLch and Lhen, bam, he comes all over Lhe place. Pe's LoLally
undlscrlmlnaLlng.'
'8uL l LhoughL you sald you had Lhls blg Lhlng beLween you,' Lva sald.
'Ch, sure. ln a blue moon. SclenLlsLs subllmaLe and C [usL llves for plasLlc. And we
wouldn'L wanL you Lo go back Lo Penry wlLh C's genes ln your ovum, now would we?'
'CerLalnly noL,' sald Lva horrlfled aL Lhe LhoughL and had Laken Lhe plll afLer breakfasL
before golng Lhrough Lo Lhe Llny galley Lo wash up. lL was all so dlfferenL from 1ranscendenLal
MedlLaLlon and ÞoLLery.
Cn deck Sally and Caskell were sLlll wrangllng.
'WhaL Lhe hell are you glvlng bralnless boobs?' Caskell asked.
'11, 8ody ConLacL. 1acLlle LlberaLlon,' sald Sally. 'She's sensually deprlved'
'She's menLally deprlved Loo. l've meL some dummles ln my Llme buL Lhls one ls Lhe
dlmwlLLlesL. Anyway, l meanL Lhose pllls she Lakes aL breakfasL.'
Sally smlled. 'Ch Lhose,' she sald.
'?es Lhose. ?ou blowlng whaL llLLle mlnd she's goL or someLhlng?' sald Caskell. 'We've
goL enough Lroubles wlLhouL Moby ulck Laklng a Lrlp.'
'Cral conLracepLlves, baby, [usL Lhe plaln old Þlll.'
'Cral conLracepLlves? WhaL Lhe hell for? l wouldn'L Louch her wlLh a sLerlllsed sLlrrlng
rod.'
'Caskell, honey, you're so naive. lor auLhenLlclLy, pure auLhenLlclLy. lL makes my
relaLlonshlp wlLh her so much more real, don'L you Lhlnk. Llke wearlng a rubber on a dlldo.'
Caskell gaped aL her. '!esus, you don'L mean you've...'
'noL yeL. Long !ohn Sllver ls sLlll ln hls bag buL one of Lhese days when she's a llLLle more
emanclpaLed...' She smlled wlsLfully over Lhe bullrushes. 'Þerhaps lL doesn'L maLLer all LhaL much
us belng sLuck here. lL glves us Llme, so much lovely Llme and you can look aL your ducks...'
'Waders,' sald Caskell, 'and we're golng Lo run up one hell of a blll aL Lhe Marlna lf we
don'L geL Lhls boaL back ln Llme.'
'8lll?' sald Sally. '?ou're crazy. ?ou don'L Lhlnk we're paylng, for Lhls hulk?'
'8uL you hlred her from Lhe boaLyard. l mean you're noL golng Lo Lell me you [usL Look
Lhe boaL,' sald Caskell. 'lor Chrlssake, LhaL's LhefL'
Sally laughed. 'PonesLly, C, you're so moral. l mean, you're lnconslsLenL. ?ou sLeal books
from Lhe llbrary and chemlcals from Lhe lab buL when lL comes Lo boaLs you're all up ln Lhe alr.'
'8ooks are dlfferenL.' sald Caskell hoLly.
'?es,' sald Sally, 'books you don'L go Lo [all for. 1haL's whaL's dlfferenL. So you wanL Lo
Lhlnk l sLole Lhe boaL, you go on Lhlnklng LhaL.'
Caskell Look ouL a handkerchlef and wlped hls glasses. 'Are you Lelllng me you dldn'L?'
he asked flnally.
'l borrowed lL.'
'8orrowed lL? Who from?'
'Schel.'
'Schelmacher?'
'1haL's rlghL. Pe sald we could have lL whenever we wanLed lL so we've goL lL.'
'uoes he know we've goL lL?'
Sally slghed. 'Look, he's ln lndla lsn'L he, currylng sperm? So whaL does lL maLLer whaL he
knows? 8y Lhe Llme he geLs back we'll be ln Lhe Land of Lhe lree.'
'ShlL.' sald Caskell wearlly, 'one of Lhese days you're golng Lo land us ln lL up Lo Lhe
eyeballs.'
'Caskell honey, someLlmes you bore me wlLh your worrylng so.'
'LeL me Lell you someLhlng. ?ou worry me wlLh your goddam aLLlLude Lo oLher people's
properLy.'
'ÞroperLy ls LhefL.'
'Ch sure. ?ou [usL geL Lhe cops Lo see lL LhaL way when Lhey caLch up wlLh you. 1he fuzz
don'L go a ball on sLeallng ln Lhls counLry.'

1he fuzz weren'L golng much of a ball on Lhe well-nourlshed body of a woman apparenLly
murdered and burled under LhlrLy feeL and LwenLy Lons of rapldly seLLlng concreLe. 8arney had
supplled Lhe well-nourlshed blL. 'She had blg breasLs Loo,' he explalned, ln Lhe sevenLh verslon of
whaL he had seen. 'And Lhls hand reachlng up--'
'?es, well we know all abouL Lhe hand,' sald lnspecLor lllnL. 'We've been lnLo all LhaL
before buL Lhls ls Lhe flrsL Llme you've menLloned breasLs.'
'lL was Lhe hand LhaL goL me,' sald 8arney. 'l mean you don'L Lhlnk of breasLs ln a
slLuaLlon llke LhaL.'
1he lnspecLor Lurned Lo Lhe foreman. 'uld you noLlce Lhe deceased's breasLs?' he
enqulred. 8uL Lhe foreman [usL shook hls head. Pe was pasL speech.'
'So we've goL a well-nourlshed woman...WhaL age would you say?'
8arney scraLched hls chln reflecLlvely. 'noL old,' he sald flnally. 'ueflnlLely noL old.'
'ln her LwenLles?'
'Could have been.'
'ln her LhlrLles?'
8arney shrugged. 1here was someLhlng be was Lrylng Lo recall. SomeLhlng LhaL had
seemed odd aL Lhe Llme.
'8uL deflnlLely noL ln her forLles?'
'no.' sald 8arney. '?ounger Lhan LhaL.' Pe sald lL raLher heslLanLly.
'?ou're noL belng very speclflc,' sald lnspecLor lllnL.
'l can'L help lL,' sald 8arney plalnLlvely. '?ou see a woman down a dlrLy greaL hole wlLh
concreLe sloshlng down on Lop of her you don'L ask her her age.'
'CulLe. l reallse LhaL buL lf you could [usL Lhlnk. Was Lhere anyLhlng pecullar abouL her...'
'Þecullar? Well, Lhere was Lhls hand see...'
lnspecLor lllnL slghed. 'l mean anyLhlng ouL of Lhe ordlnary abouL her appearance. Per
halr for lnsLance. WhaL colour was lL?'
8arney goL lL. 'l knew Lhere was someLhlng,' he sald, LrlumphanLly. 'Per halr. lL was
crooked.'
'Well, lL would be, wouldn'L lL. ?ou don'L dump a woman down a LhlrLy-fooL plle shafL
wlLhouL musslng up her halr ln Lhe process.'
'no, lL wasn'L llke LhaL. lL was on sldeways and flaLLened. Llke she'd been hlL.'
'She probably had been hlL. lf whaL you, say abouL Lhe wooden cover belng ln place ls
Lrue, she dldn'L go down Lhere of her own vollLlon. 8uL you sLlll can'L glve any preclse lndlcaLlon
of her age?'
'Well,' sald 8arney, 'blLs of her looked young and blLs dldn'L. 1haL's all l know.'
'Whlch blLs?' asked Lhe lnspecLor, hoplng Lo hell 8arney wasn'L golng Lo sLarL on LhaL
hand agaln.
'Well, her legs dldn'L look rlghL for her LeaLs lf you see whaL l mean.' lnspecLor lllnL
dldn'L. '1hey were all Lhln and crumpled-up llke.'
'Whlch were? Per legs or her LeaLs?'
'Per legs, of course,' sald 8arney. 'l've Lold you she had Lhese lovely greaL...'

'We're LreaLlng Lhls as a case of murder,' lnspecLor lllnL Lold Lhe Þrlnclpal Len mlnuLes laLer. 1he
Þrlnclpal saL behlnd hls desk and LhoughL despalrlngly abouL adverse publlclLy.
'?ou're qulLe convlnced lL couldn'L have been an accldenL?'
'1he evldence Lo daLe cerLalnly doesn'L suggesL accldenLal deaLh,' sald Lhe lnspecLor.
'Powever, we'll only be absoluLely cerLaln on LhaL polnL when we manage Lo reach Lhe body and
l'm afrald LhaL ls golng Lo Lake some Llme.'
'1lme?' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal. 'uo you mean Lo say you can'L geL her ouL Lhls mornlng?'
lnspecLor lllnL shook hls head. 'CuL of Lhe quesLlon, slr,' he sald. 'We are conslderlng
Lwo meLhods of reachlng Lhe body and Lhey'll boLh Lake several days. Cne ls Lo drlll down
Lhrough Lhe concreLe and Lhe oLher ls Lo slnk anoLher shafL nexL Lo Lhe orlglnal hole and Lry and
geL aL her from Lhe slde.'
'Cood Lord,' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal, looklng aL hls calendar, 'buL LhaL means you're golng Lo
be dlgglng away ouL Lhere for several days.'
'l'm afrald lL can'L be helped. Whoever puL her down Lhere make a good [ob of lL. SLlll,
we'll Lry Lo be as unobLruslve as posslble.'
CuL of Lhe wlndow Lhe Þrlnclpal could see four pollce cars, a flre englne and a blg blue
van. '1hls ls really mosL unforLunaLe,' he murmured.
'Murder always ls,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, and goL Lo hls feeL. 'lL's ln Lhe naLure of Lhe Lhlng.
ln Lhe meanLlme we are seallng off Lhe slLe and we'd be graLeful for your co-operaLlon.'
'AnyLhlng you requlre,' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal, wlLh a slgh.

ln Lhe SLaff 8oom Lhe presence of so many unlformed men peerlng down a plle hole provoked
mlxed reacLlons. So dld Lhe dozen pollcemen scourlng Lhe bulldlng, slLe, sLopplng now, and Lhen
Lo puL Lhlngs carefully lnLo envelopes, buL lL was Lhe arrlval of Lhe dark blue caravan LhaL flnally
cllnched maLLers.
'1haL's a Moblle Murder PeadquarLers.' ÞeLer lenwlck explalned. 'ApparenLly some
manlac has burled a woman aL Lhe boLLom of one of Lhe plles.'
1he new LefL, who had been clusLered ln a corner dlscusslng Lhe llkely lmpllcaLlons of so
many paramlllLary lasclsL plgs, heaved a slgh of unmarLyred regreL buL conLlnued Lo express
doubLs.
'no, serlously.' sald lenwlck. 'l asked one of Lhem whaL Lhey were dolng. l LhoughL lL was
some sorL of bomb scare.'
ur Cox, Pead of Sclence, conflrmed lL. Pls offlce looked dlrecLly on Lo Lhe hole. 'lL's Loo
dreadful Lo conLemplaLe,' he murmured. 'Lvery Llme l look up l Lhlnk whaL she musL have
suffered.'
'WhaL do you suppose Lhey are puLLlng lnLo Lhose envelopes?' asked ur Mayfleld.
'Clues.' sald ur 8oard, wlLh evldenL saLlsfacLlon. 'Palrs. 8lLs of skln and bloodsLalns. 1he
usual Lrlvlal deLrlLus of vlolenL crlme.'
ur Cox hurrled from Lhe room and ur Mayfleld looked dlsgusLed. 'Pow revolLlng.' he
sald. 'lsn'L lL posslble LhaL Lhere has been some mlsLake? l mean why should anyone wanL Lo
murder a woman here?'
ur 8oard slpped hls coffee and looked wlsLfully aL hlm. 'l can Lhlnk of any number of
reasons,' he sald happlly. '1here are aL leasL a dozen women ln my Lvenlng Class whom l would
cheerfully beaL Lo deaLh and drop down holes. Sylvla Swansbeck for one.'
'Whoever dld lL musL have known Lhey were golng Lo pour concreLe down Loday,' sald
lenwlck. 'lL looks llke an lnslde [ob Lo me.'
'Cne of our less communlLy-consclous sLudenLs perhaps,' suggesLed ur 8oard, 'l don'L
suppose Lhey've had Llme Lo check lf any of Lhe sLaff are mlsslng.'
'?ou'll probably flnd lL had noLhlng Lo do wlLh Lhe 1ech,' sald ur Mayfleld. 'Some
manlac...'
'Come now, glve credlL where credlL ls due.' lnLerrupLed ur 8oard. '1here was obvlously
an elemenL of premedlLaLlon lnvolved. Whoever Lhe murderer was...ls, he planned lL preLLy
carefully. WhaL puzzles me ls why be dldn'L shovel earLh down on Lop of Lhe wreLched woman
so LhaL she couldn'L be seen. Þrobably lnLended Lo buL was dlsLurbed before he could geL
around Lo lL. Cne of Lhose llLLle accldenLs of faLe.'
ln Lhe corner of Lhe SLaff 8oom WllL saL and drank hls coffee, consclous LhaL he was Lhe
only person noL sLarlng ouL of Lhe wlndow. WhaL Lhe hell was he Lo do? 1he senslble Lhlng
would be Lo go Lo Lhe pollce and explaln LhaL he had been Lrylng Lo geL rld of an lnflaLable doll
LhaL someone had glven hlm. 8uL would Lhey belleve hlm? lf LhaL was all LhaL had happened why
had he dressed lL up ln a wlg and cloLhes? And why had he lefL lL lnflaLed? Why hadn'L he [usL
Lhrown Lhe Lhlng away? Pe was [usL rehearslng Lhe pros and cons of Lhe argumenL when Lhe
Pead of Lnglneerlng came ln and announced LhaL Lhe pollce lnLended borlng anoLher hole nexL
Lo Lhe flrsL one lnsLead of dlgglng down Lhrough Lhe concreLe.
'1hey'll probably be able Lo see blLs of her sLlcklng ouL Lhe slde.' he explalned.
'ApparenLly she had one arm up ln Lhe alr and wlLh all LhaL concreLe comlng down on Lop of her
Lhere's a chance LhaL arm wlll have been pressed agalnsL Lhe slde of Lhe hole. Much qulcker LhaL
way.'
'l musL say l can'L see Lhe need for hasLe.' sald ur 8oard. 'l should have LhoughL she'd be
preLLy well preserved ln all LhaL concreLe. Mummlfled l daresay.'
ln hls corner WllL raLher doubLed lL. WlLh LwenLy Lons of concreLe on Lop of her even
!udy who had been an exLremely reslllenL doll was hardly llkely Lo have wlLhsLood Lhe pressure.
She would have bursL as sure as eggs were eggs ln whlch case all Lhe pollce would flnd was Lhe
empLy plasLlc arm of a doll. 1hey would hardly boLher Lo dlg a bursL plasLlc doll ouL.
'And anoLher Lhlng.' conLlnued Lhe Pead of Lnglneerlng, 'lf Lhe arm ls sLlcklng ouL Lhey'll
be able Lo Lake flngerprlnLs sLralghL away.'
WllL smlled Lo hlmself. 1haL was one Lhlng Lhey weren'L golng Lo flnd on !udy,
flngerprlnLs. Pe flnlshed hls coffee more cheerfully and wenL off Lo a class of Senlor SecreLarles.
Pe found Lhem agog wlLh news of Lhe murder.
'uo you Lhlnk lL was a sex kllllng?' a small blonde glrl ln Lhe fronL raw asked as WllL
handed ouL coples of _1hls lsland now._ Pe had always found Lhe chapLer on Lhe vlclsslLudes of
Adolescence appealed Lo Senlor Secs. lL dealL wlLh sex and vlolence and was Lwelve years ouL of
daLe buL Lhen so were Lhe Senlor SecreLarles. 1oday Lhere was no need for Lhe book.
'l don'L Lhlnk lL was any sorL of kllllng.' sald WllL Laklng hls place behlnd Lhe desk.'
'Ch buL lL was. 1hey saw a woman's body down Lhere,' Lhe small blonde lnslsLed.
'1hey LhoughL Lhey saw someLhlng down Lhere LhaL looked llke a body,' sald WllL. '1haL
doesn'L mean lL was one. Þeople's lmaglnaLlons play Lrlcks wlLh Lhem.'
'1he pollce don'L Lhlnk so.' sald a large glrl whose faLher was someLhlng ln Lhe ClLy. '1hey
musL be cerLaln Lo go Lo all LhaL Lrouble. We had a murder on our golf course and all Lhey found
were blLs of body cuL up and puL ln Lhe waLer hazard on Lhe flfLeenLh. 1hey'd been Lhere slx
monLhs. Someone sllced a ball on Lhe dogleg LwelfLh and lL wenL lnLo Lhe pond. 1hey flshed ouL
a fooL flrsL. lL was all puffy and green...' A pale glrl from WllsLanLon falnLed ln Lhe Lhlrd row. 8y
Lhe Llme WllL had revlved her and Laken her Lo Lhe Slck 8oom, Lhe class had goL on Lo Crlppen,
Palgh and ChrlsLle. WllL reLurned Lo flnd Lhem dlscusslng acld baLhs...and all Lhey found were
her false LeeLh and gallsLones.'
'?ou seem Lo know a loL abouL murder,' WllL sald Lo Lhe large glrl.
'uaddy plays brldge wlLh Lhe Chlef ConsLable,' she explalned. 'Pe comes Lo dlnner and
Lells super sLorles. Pe says Lhey oughL Lo brlng back hanglng.'
'l'm sure he does,' sald WllL grlmly. lL was Lyplcal of Senlor Secs LhaL Lhey knew Chlef
ConsLables who wanLed Lo brlng back hanglng. lL was all mummy and daddy and horses wlLh
Senlor SecreLarles.
'Anyway, hanglng doesn'L hurL,' sald Lhe large glrl. 'Slr lrank says a good hangman can
have a man ouL of Lhe condemned cell and on Lo Lhe Lrap wlLh a noose around hls neck and pull
Lhe lever ln LwenLy seconds.'
'Why conflne Lhe prlvllege Lo men?' asked 'WllL blLLerly. 1he class looked aL hlm wlLh
reproachful eyes, '1he lasL woman Lhey hanged was 8uLh Lllls,' sald Lhe blonde ln Lhe fronL row.
'Anyway wlLh women lL's dlfferenL,' sald Lhe large glrl.
'Why?' sald WllL lnadvlsedly.
'Well lL's slower.'
'Slower?'
'1hey had Lo Lle Mrs 1homson Lo a chalr,' volunLeered Lhe blonde. 'She behaved
dlsgracefully.'
'l musL say l flnd your [udgemenLs pecullar,' sald WllL. 'A woman murderlng her husband
ls doubLless dlsgraceful. 1he facL LhaL she puLs up a flghL when Lhey come Lo execuLe her doesn'L
sLrlke me as dlsgraceful aL all. l flnd LhaL...'
'lL's noL [usL LhaL,' lnLerrupLed Lhe large glrl, who wasn'L Lo be dlverLed.
'WhaL lsn'L?' sald WllL.
'lL's belng slower wlLh women. 1hey have Lo make Lhem wear waLerproof panLs.'
WllL gaped aL her ln dlsgusL. 'WaLerproof whaL?' he asked wlLhouL Lhlnklng.
'WaLerproof panLs,' sald Lhe large glrl.
'uear Cod,' sald WllL.
'?ou see, when Lhey geL Lo Lhe boLLom of Lhe rope Lhelr lnsldes drop ouL,' conLlnued Lhe
large glrl, admlnlsLerlng Lhe _coup de grâce._ WllL sLared aL her wlldly and sLumbled from Lhe
room.
'WhaL's Lhe maLLer wlLh hlm?' sald Lhe glrl. 'Anyone would Lhlnk l had sald someLhlng
beasLly.'
ln Lhe corrldor WllL leanL agalnsL Lhe wall and felL slck. 1hose fucklng glrls were worse
Lhan CasflLLers. AL leasL CasflLLers dldn'L go ln for such dlsgusLlng anaLomlcal deLalls and besldes
Senlor Secs all came from so-called respecLable famllles. 8y Lhe Llme he felL sLrong enough Lo
face Lhem agaln Lhe hour had ended. WllL wenL back lnLo Lhe classroom sheeplshly and
collecLed Lhe books.

'name of WllL mean anyLhlng Lo you? Penry WllL?' asked Lhe lnspecLor.
'WllL?' sald Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal, who had been lefL Lo cope wlLh Lhe pollce whlle Lhe
Þrlnclpal spenL hls Llme more proflLably Lrylng Lo offseL Lhe, adverse publlclLy caused by Lhe
whole appalllng buslness. 'Well, yes lL does. Pe's one of our Llberal SLudles lecLurers. Why? ls
Lhere...'
'lf you don'L mlnd, slr, l'd [usL llke a word wlLh hlm. ln prlvaLe'
'8uL WllL's a mosL lnoffenslve man,' sald Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal. 'l'm sure he couldn'L help
you aL all.'
'Þosslbly noL buL all Lhe same...'
'?ou're noL suggesLlng for one momenL LhaL Penry WllL had anyLhlng Lo do wlLh...' Lhe
vlce-Þrlnclpal sLopped and sLudled Lhe expresslon on Lhe lnspecLor's face. lL was omlnously
neuLral.
'l'd raLher noL go lnLo deLalls,' sald lnspecLor lllnL, 'and lL's besL lf we don'L [ump Lo
concluslons.'
1he vlce-Þrlnclpal plcked up Lhe phone. 'uo you wanL hlm Lo come across Lo
LhaL...er...caravan?' he asked.
lnspecLor lllnL shook hls head. 'We llke Lo be as lnconsplcuous as posslble. lf l could [usL
have Lhe use of an empLy offlce.'
'1here's an offlce nexL door. ?ou can use LhaL.'

WllL was ln Lhe canLeen havlng lunch wlLh ÞeLer 8ralnLree when Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal's secreLary
came down wlLh a message.
'Can'L lL walL?' asked WllL.
'Pe sald lL was mosL urgenL.'
'lL's probably your Senlor LecLureshlp come Lhrough aL lasL,' sald 8ralnLree brlghLly. WllL
swallowed Lhe resL of hls ScoLch egg and goL up.
'l doubL LhaL, 'he sald and wenL wanly ouL of Lhe canLeen and up Lhe sLalrs. Pe had a
horrld susplclon LhaL promoLlon was Lhe lasL Lhlng Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal wanLed Lo see hlm abouL.

'now, slr.' sald Lhe lnspecLor when Lhey were seaLed ln Lhe offlce, 'my name ls lllnL, lnspecLor
lllnL, Clu, and you're Mr WllL? Mr Penry WllL?'
'?es,' sald WllL.
now, Mr WllL, as you may have gaLhered we are lnvesLlgaLlng Lhe suspecLed murder of a
woman whose body ls belleved Lo have been deposlLed aL Lhe boLLom of one of Lhe foundaLlon
holes for Lhe new bulldlng. l daresay you know abouL lL.' WllL nodded. 'And naLurally we are
lnLeresLed ln anyLhlng LhaL mlghL be of asslsLance. l wonder lf you would mlnd havlng a look aL
Lhese noLes.'
Pe handed WllL a plece of paper. lL was headed 'noLes on vlolence and Lhe 8reak-up of
lamlly Llfe, and underneaLh were a number of sub-headlngs.

1. lncreaslng use of vlolence ln publlc llfe Lo aLLaln pollLlcal ends. A) 8omblngs. 8)
Pl[acklng. C) kldnapplng. u) AssasslnaLlon.
2. lneffecLuallLy of Þollce MeLhods ln combaLlng vlolence. A) negaLlve approach.
Þollce able only Lo reacL Lo crlme afLer lL has Laken place. 8) use of vlolence by pollce
Lhemselves. C) Low level of lnLelllgence of average pollceman. u) lncreaslng use of sophlsLlcaLed
meLhods such as dlverslonary LacLlcs by crlmlnals.
3. lnfluence of medla. 1v brlngs crlme Lechnlques lnLo Lhe home.

1here was more. Much more. WllL looked down Lhe llsL wlLh a sense of doom.
'?ou recognlse Lhe handwrlLlng?' asked Lhe lnspecLor.
'l do,' sald WllL, adopLlng raLher premaLurely Lhe elllpLlcal language of Lhe wlLness box.
'?ou admlL LhaL you wroLe Lhose noLes?' 1he lnspecLor reached ouL a hand and Look Lhe
noLes back.
'?es.'
'1hey express your oplnlon of pollce meLhods?'
WllL pulled hlmself LogeLher. '1hey were [oLLlngs l was maklng for a lecLure Lo Sandwlch-
Course 1ralnee llremen,' he explalned. '1hey were slmply rough ldeas. 1hey need ampllfylng of
course...'
'8uL you don'L deny you wroLe Lhem?'
'Cf course l don'L. l've [usL sald l dld, haven'L l?'
1he lnspecLor nodded and plcked up a book. 'And Lhls ls yours Loo?'
WllL looked aL _8leak Pouse._ 'lL says so, doesn'L lL?'
lnspecLor lllnL opened Lhe cover. 'So lL does,' he sald wlLh a show of asLonlshmenL, 'so lL
does'
WllL sLared aL hlm. 1here was no polnL ln malnLalnlng Lhe preLence any longer. 1he besL
Lhlng Lo do was Lo geL lL over qulckly. 1hey had found LhaL bloody book ln Lhe baskeL of Lhe
blcycle and Lhe noLes musL have fallen ouL of hls pockeL on Lhe bulldlng slLe.
'Look, lnspecLor,' he sald, 'l can explaln everyLhlng. lL's really qulLe slmple. l dld go lnLo
LhaL bulldlng slLe...'
1he lnspecLor sLood up. 'Mr WllL, lf you're prepared Lo make a sLaLemenL l Lhlnk l should
warn you...'

WllL wenL down Lo Lhe Murder PeadquarLers and made a sLaLemenL ln Lhe presence of a pollce
sLenographer. Pls progress Lo Lhe blue caravan and hls fallure Lo come ouL agaln were noLed
wlLh lnLeresL by members of Lhe sLaff Leachlng ln Lhe Sclence block, by sLudenLs ln Lhe canLeen
and by LwenLy-flve fellow lecLurers gaplng Lhrough Lhe wlndows of Lhe SLaff 8oom.


9


'Coddam Lhe Lhlng,' sald Caskell as he knelL greaslly beslde Lhe englne of Lhe crulser, 'you'd
Lhlnk LhaL even ln Lhls pre-Lechnologlcal monarchy Lhey'd flL a decenL moLor. 1hls conLrapLlon
musL have been made for Lhe Ark.'
'Ark Ark Lhe Lark,' sald Sally, 'and cuL-Lhe crowned heads foolery. Lva's a reglnaphlle.'
'A whaL?'
'8eglnaphlle. MonarchlsL. CeL lL. She's Lhe Cueen's 8ee so don'L be anLl-8rlLlsh. We don'L
wanL her Lo sLop worklng as well as Lhe moLor. Maybe lL lsn'L Lhe con rod.'
'lf l could only geL Lhe head off l could Lell,' sald Caskell.


'And whaL good would LhaL do? 8uy you anoLher?' sald Sally and wenL lnLo Lhe cabln
where Lva was wonderlng whaL Lhey were golng Lo have for supper. '1arbaby ls sLlll Llnkerlng
wlLh Lhe moLor. Pe says lL's Lhe con rod.'
'Con rod?' sald Lva.
'Cnly connecL, baby, only connecL'
'WlLh whaL?'
'1he Lhlgh bone's connecLed Lo Lhe knee bone. 1he con rod's connecLed Lo Lhe plsLon
and as everyone knows plsLons are penls symbols. 1he mechanlsed male's subsLlLuLe for sex.
1he CuLboard MoLor Syndrome. Cnly Lhls happens Lo be lnboard llke hls balls never dropped.
PonesLly, Caskell ls so regresslve'
'l'm sure l don'L know,' sald Lva.
Sally, lay back on Lhe bunk and llL a clgar. '1haL's whaL l love abouL you, Lva. ?ou don'L
know. lgnorance ls bllssful, baby. l losL mlne when l was fourLeen.'
Lva shook her head. 'Men,' she sald dlsapprovlngly.
'Pe was old enough Lo be my grandfaLher,' sald Sally. 'Pe _was_ my grandfaLher.'
'Ch no. Pow awful.'
'noL really,' sald Sally laughlng, 'he was an arLlsL. WlLh a beard. And Lhe smell of palnL on
hls smock and Lhere was Lhls sLudlo and he wanLed Lo palnL me ln Lhe nude. l was so pure ln
Lhose days. Pe made me lle on Lhls couch and he arranged my legs. Pe was always arranglng my
legs and Lhen sLandlng back Lo look aL me and palnLlng. And Lhen one day when l was lylng Lhere
he came over and benL my legs back and klssed me and Lhen he was on Lop of me and hls smock
was up and...'
Lva saL and llsLened, fasclnaLed. She could vlsuallse lL all so clearly, even Lhe smell of
palnL ln Lhe sLudlo and Lhe brushes, Sally had had such an exclLlng llfe, so full of lncldenL and so
romanLlc ln a dreadful sorL of way. Lva Lrled Lo remember whaL she had been llke aL fourLeen
and noL even golng ouL wlLh boys and Lhere was Sally lylng on a couch wlLh a famous arLlsL ln hls
sLudlo.
'8uL he raped you,' she sald flnally. 'Why dldn'L you Lell Lhe pollce?'
'1he pollce? ?ou don'L undersLand. l was aL Lhls Lerrlbly excluslve school. 1hey would
have senL me home. lL was progresslve and all LhaL buL l shouldn'L have been ouL belng palnLed
by Lhls arLlsL and my parenLs would never have forglven me. 1hey were so sLrlcL.' Sally slghed,
overcome by Lhe rlgours of her wholly flcLlLlous chlldhood. 'And now you can see why l'm so
afrald of belng hurL by men. When you've been raped you know whaL penlle aggresslon means.'
'l suppose you do,' sald Lva, ln some doubL as Lo whaL penlle aggresslon was.
'?ou see Lhe world dlfferenLly Loo. Llke C says, noLhlng's good and noLhlng's bad. lL [usL
ls.'
'l wenL Lo a lecLure on 8uddhlsm once,' sald Lva, 'and LhaL's whaL Mr ÞodgeLL sald. Pe
sald--'
'Zen's all wrong. Llke you [usL slL around walLlng. 1haL's passlve. ?ou've goL Lo make
Lhlngs happen. ?ou slL around walLlng long enough, you're dead. Someone's Lrampled all over
you. ?ou've goL Lo see Lhlngs happen your way and no one else's'
'1haL doesn'L sound very soclable,' sald Lva. 'l mean lf we all dld [usL whaL we wanLed all
Lhe Llme lL wouldn'L be very nlce for oLher people.'
'CLher people are hell,' sald Sally. '1haL's SarLre and he should know. ?ou do whaL you
wanL ls good and no moral klckback. Llke C says, raLs are Lhe paradlgm. ?ou Lhlnk raLs go around
Lhlnklng whaL's good for oLher people?'
'Well no, l don'L suppose Lhey do,' sald Lva.
'8lghL. 8aLs aren'L eLhlcal. no way. 1hey [usL do. 1hey don'L geL screwed up Lhlnklng.'
'uo you Lhlnk raLs can Lhlnk?' asked Lva, now Lhoroughly engaged ln Lhe problems of
rodenL psychology.
'Cf course Lhey can'L. 8aLs [usL are. no Schadenfreude wlLh raLs.'
'WhaL's _Schadenfreude?'_
'Second cousln Lo _WelLschmerz,'_ sald Sally, sLubblng her clgar ouL ln Lhe ashLray. 'So
we can all do whaL we wanL whenever we wanL Lo. 1haL's Lhe message. lL's only people llke C
who've goL Lhe know bug who geL balled up.'
'no bug?' sald Lva.
'1hey've goL Lo know how everyLhlng works. SclenLlsLs. Lawrence was rlghL. lL's all head
and no body wlLh C.'
'Penry's a blL llke LhaL,' sald Lva. 'Pe's always readlng or Lalklng abouL books. l've Lold
hlm he doesn'L know whaL Lhe real world ls llke.'

ln Lhe Moblle Murder PeadquarLers WllL was learnlng. Pe saL opposlLe lnspecLor lllnL whose
face was reglsLerlng lncreaslng lncredullLy.
'now, we'll [usL go over LhaL agaln,' sald Lhe lnspecLor. '?ou say LhaL whaL Lhose men
saw down LhaL hole was ln acLual facL an lnflaLable plasLlc doll wlLh a vaglna.'
'1he vaglna ls lncldenLal,' sald WllL, calllng forLh reserves of lnconsequence.
'1haL's as maybe,' sald Lhe lnspecLor. 'MosL dolls don'L have Lhem buL...all rlghL, we'll leL
LhaL pass. 1he polnL l'm Lrylng Lo geL aL ls LhaL you're qulLe poslLlve Lhere lsn'L a real llve human
belng down Lhere.'
'ÞoslLlve,' sald WllL, 'and lf Lhere were lL ls doubLful lf lL would sLlll be allve now.'
1he lnspecLor sLudled hlm unpleasanLly. 'l don'L need you Lo polnL LhaL ouL Lo me,' he
sald. 'lf Lhere was Lhe falnLesL posslblllLy of whaLever lL ls down Lhere belng allve l wouldn'L be
slLLlng here, would l?'
'no.' sald WllL.
'8lghL. So now we come Lo Lhe nexL polnL. Pow ls lL LhaL whaL Lhose men saw, Lhey say a
woman and you say a doll...LhaL Lhls Lhlng was wearlng cloLhes, had halr and even more
remarkably had lLs head bashed ln and one hand sLreLched up ln Lhe alr?'
'1haL was Lhe way lL fell,' sald WllL. 'l suppose Lhe arm, goL caughL up on Lhe slde and
llfLed up'
'And lLs head was bashed ln?'
Well, l dld drop a lump of mud on lL.' WllL admlLLed, 'LhaL would accounL for LhaL.'
'?ou dropped a lump of mud on lLs head?'
'1haL's whaL l sald,' WllL agreed.
'l know LhaL's whaL you sald. WhaL l wanL Lo know ls why you felL obllged Lo drop a lump
of mud on Lhe head of as lnflaLable doll LhaL had, as far as l can gaLher, never done you any
harm.'
WllL heslLaLed. 1haL damned doll had done, hlm a greaL deal of harm one way and
anoLher buL Lhls dldn'L seem an opporLune momenL Lo go lnLo LhaL. 'l don'L know really,' he sald
flnally, 'l [usL LhoughL lL mlghL help.'
'Pelp whaL?'
'Pelp...l don'L know. l [usL dld lL, LhaL's all. l was drunk aL Lhe Llme.'
'All rlghL, we'll come back Lo LhaL ln a mlnuLe. 1here's sLlll one quesLlon you haven'L
answered. lf lL was a doll, why was lL wearlng cloLhes?'
WllL looked desperaLely round Lhe caravan and meL Lhe eyes of Lhe pollce sLenographer.
1here was a look ln Lhem LhaL dldn'L lnsplre confldence. 1alk abouL lack of suspenslon of
dlsbellef.
'?ou're noL golng Lo belleve Lhls,' WllL sald. 1he lnspecLor looked aL hlm and llL a
clgareLLe.
'Well?'
'As a maLLer of facL l had dressed lL up,' WllL sald, squlrmlng wlLh embarrassmenL'
'?ou had dressed lL up?'
'?es,' sald WllL.
'And may one enqulre whaL purpose you had ln mlnd when you dressed lL up?'
'l don'L know exacLly.'
1he lnspecLor slghed slgnlflcanLly. '8lghL. We go back Lo Lhe beglnnlng. We have a doll
wlLh a vaglna whlch you dress up and brlng down here ln Lhe dead of nlghL and deposlL aL Lhe
boLLom of a LhlrLy-fooL hole and drop lumps of mud on lLs head. ls LhaL whaL you're saylng?'
'?es,' sald WllL.
'?ou wouldn'L prefer Lo save everyone concerned a loL of Llme and boLher by admlLLlng
here and now LhaL whaL ls aL presenL resLlng, hopefully aL peace, under LwenLy Lons of concreLe
aL Lhe boLLom of LhaL plle ls Lhe body of a murdered woman?'
'no,' sald WllL, 'l mosL deflnlLely wouldn'L.'
lnspecLor lllnL slghed agaln. '?ou know, we're golng Lo geL Lo Lhe boLLom of Lhls Lhlng,'
he sald. 'lL may Lake Llme and lL may Lake expense and Cod knows lL's Laklng paLlence buL when
we do geL down Lhere--'
'?ou're golng Lo flnd an lnflaLable doll,' sald WllL.
'WlLh a vaglna?'
'WlLh a vaglna.'




ln Lhe SLaff 8oom ÞeLer 8ralnLree sLaunchly defended WllL's lnnocence. 'l Lell you l've known
Penry well for Lhe pasL seven years and whaLever has happened he had noLhlng Lo do wlLh lL.'
Mr Morrls, Lhe Pead of Llberal SLudles, looked ouL of Lhe wlndow scepLlcally. '1hey've
had hlm ln Lhere slnce Len pasL Lwo. 1haL's four hours,' he sald. '1hey wouldn'L do LhaL unless
Lhey LhoughL he had some connecLlon wlLh Lhe dead woman.'
'1hey can Lhlnk whaL Lhey llke. l know Penry and even lf Lhe poor sod wanLed Lo he's
lncapable of murderlng anyone.'
'Pe dld punch LhaL ÞrlnLer on 1uesday. 1haL shows he's capable of lrraLlonal vlolence.'
'Wrong agaln. 1he ÞrlnLer punched hlm,' sald 8ralnLree.
'Cnly afLer WllL had called hlm a snlvelllng fucklng moron,' Mr Morrls polnLed ouL.
'Anyone who goes lnLo ÞrlnLers 1hree and calls one of Lhem LhaL needs hls head examlned. 1hey
kllled poor odd ÞlnkerLon, you know. Pe gassed hlmself ln hls car.'
'1hey had a damned good Lry aL kllllng old Penry come Lo LhaL.'
'Cf course, LhaL blow mlghL have affecLed hls braln,' sald Mr Morrls, wlLh morose
saLlsfacLlon. 'Concusslon can do funny Lhlngs Lo a man's characLer. Change hlm overnlghL from a
nlce quleL lnoffenslve llLLle fellow llke WllL lnLo a homlcldal manlac who suddenly goes berserk.
SLranger Lhlngs have happened.'
'l daresay Penry would be Lhe flrsL Lo agree wlLh you,' sald 8ralnLree. 'lL can'L be very
pleasanL slLLlng ln LhaL caravan belng quesLloned by deLecLlves. l wonder whaL Lhey're dolng Lo
hlm.'
'!usL asklng quesLlons. 1hlngs llke "Pow have you been geLLlng on wlLh your wlfe?" and
"Can you accounL for your movemenLs on SaLurday nlghL?" 1hey sLarL off genLly and Lhen work
up Lo Lhe heavy sLuff laLer on.'
ÞeLer 8ralnLree saL ln sllenL horror. Lva. Pe'd forgoLLen all abouL her and as for SaLurday
nlghL he knew exacLly whaL Penry had sald he had been dolng before he Lurned up on Lhe
doorsLep covered wlLh mud and looklng llke deaLh...
'All l'm saylng,' sald Mr Morrls, 'ls LhaL lL seems very sLrange Lo me LhaL Lhey flnd a dead
body aL Lhe boLLom of a shafL fllled wlLh concreLe and Lhe nexL Lhlng you know Lhey've goL WllL
ln LhaL Murder PC for quesLlonlng. very sLrange lndeed. l wouldn'L llke Lo be ln hls shoes.' Pe
goL up and lefL Lhe room and ÞeLer 8ralnLree saL on wonderlng lf Lhere was anyLhlng he should
do llke phone a lawyer and ask hlm Lo come round and speak Lo Penry. lL seemed a blL
premaLure and presumably Penry could ask Lo see a lawyer hlmself lf he wanLed one.

lnspecLor lllnL llL anoLher clgareLLe wlLh an alr of lnsouclanL menace. 'Pow well do you geL on
wlLh your wlfe?' he asked.
WllL heslLaLed. 'Well enough,' he sald.
'!usL well enough? no more Lhan LhaL?'
'We geL along [usL flne,' sald WllL, consclous LhaL be had made an error.
'l see. And l suppose she can subsLanLlaLe your sLory abouL Lhls lnflaLable doll.'
'SubsLanLlaLe lL?'
'1he facL LhaL you made a hablL of dresslng lL up and carrylng on wlLh lL.'
'l dldn'L make a hablL of anyLhlng of Lhe sorL,' sald WllL lndlgnanLly.
'l'm only asklng. ?ou were Lhe one who flrsL ralsed Lhe facL LhaL lL had a vaglna. l dldn'L.
?ou volunLeered Lhe lnformaLlon and naLurally l assumed...'
'WhaL dld you assume?' sald WllL '?ou've goL no rlghL...'
'Mr WllL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'puL yourself ln my poslLlon. l am lnvesLlgaLlng a case of
suspecLed murder, and a man comes along and Lells me LhaL whaL Lwo eye-wlLnesses descrlbe
as Lhe body of a well-nourlshed woman ln her early LhlrLles...'
'ln her early LhlrLles? uolls don'L have ages. lf LhaL bloody doll was more Lhan slx monLhs
old...'
'Þlease, Mr WllL, lf you'll [usL leL me conLlnue. As l was saylng we have a prlma facle case
of murder and you admlL yourself Lo havlng puL a doll wlLh a vaglna down LhaL hole. now lf you
were ln my shoes whaL sorL of lnference would you draw from LhaL?'
WllL Lrled Lo Lhlnk of some LoLally lnnocenL lnLerpreLaLlon and couldn'L.
'Wouldn'L you be Lhe flrsL Lo agree LhaL lL does look a blL pecullar?'
WllL nodded. lL looked horrlbly pecullar.
'8lghL,' conLlnued Lhe lnspecLor. 'now lf we puL Lhe nlcesL posslble lnLerpreLaLlon on
your acLlons and parLlcularly on your emphasls LhaL Lhls doll had a vaglna--'
'l dldn'L emphaslse lL. l only menLloned Lhe damned Lhlng Lo lndlcaLe LhaL lL was
exLremely llfellke. l wasn'L suggesLlng l made a hablL of...' Pe sLopped and looked mlserably aL
Lhe floor.
'Co on, Mr WllL, don'L sLop now. lL ofLen helps Lo Lalk.'
WllL sLared aL hlm franLlcally. 1alklng Lo lnspecLor lllnL wasn'L helplng hlm one loLa. 'lf
you're lmplylng LhaL my sex llfe was conflned Lo copulaLlng wlLh an lnflaLable fucklng doll
dressed ln my wlfe's cloLhes...'
'Pold lL Lhere,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, sLubblng ouL hls clgareLLe slgnlflcanLly. 'Ah, so we've
Laken anoLher sLep forward. ?ou admlL Lhen LhaL whaLever ls down LhaL hole ls dressed ln your
wlfe's cloLhes? ?es or no.'
'?es,' sald WllL mlserably.
lnspecLor lllnL sLood up. 'l Lhlnk lL's abouL Llme we all wenL and had a llLLle chaL wlLh
Mrs WllL,' he sald. 'l wanL Lo hear whaL she has Lo say abouL your funny llLLle hablLs.'
'l'm afrald LhaL's golng Lo be a llLLle dlfflculL,' sald WllL.
'ulfflculL?'
'Well you see Lhe Lhlng ls she's gone away.'
'Cone away?' sald Lhe lnspecLor. 'uld l hear you say LhaL Mrs WllL has gone away?'
'?es.'
'And where has Mrs WllL gone Lo?'
'1haL's Lhe Lrouble. l don'L know.'
'?ou don'L know?'
'no, l honesLly don'L know,' sald WllL.
'She dldn'L Lell you where she was golng?'
'no. She [usL wasn'L Lhere when l goL home.'
'She dldn'L leave a noLe or anyLhlng llke LhaL?'
'?es,' sald WllL, 'as a maLLer of facL she dld.'
'8lghL, well leL's [usL go up Lo your house and have a look aL LhaL noLe.'
'l'm afrald LhaL's noL posslble,' sald WllL. 'l goL rld of lL.'
'?ou goL rld of lL?' sald Lhe lnspecLor. '?ou goL rld of lL? Pow?'
WllL looked paLheLlcally across aL Lhe pollce sLenographer. '1o Lell Lhe LruLh l wlped my
boLLom wlLh lL,' he sald.
lnspecLor lllnL gazed aL hlm demonlcally. '?ou dld whaL?'
'Well, Lhere was no LolleL paper ln Lhe lavaLory so l...' he sLopped. 1he lnspecLor was
llghLlng yeL anoLher clgareLLe. Pls hands were shaklng and he had a dlsLanL look ln hls eyes LhaL
suggesLed he had [usL peered over some appalllng abyss. 'Mr WllL,' he sald when he had
managed Lo compose hlmself, 'l LrusL LhaL l am a reasonably LoleranL man, a paLlenL man and a
humane man, buL lf you serlously expecL me Lo belleve one word of your uLLerly preposLerous
sLory you musL be lnsane. llrsL you Lell me you puL a doll down LhaL hole. 1hen you admlL LhaL lL
was dressed ln your wlfe's cloLhes. now you say LhaL she wenL away wlLhouL Lelllng you where
she was golng and flnally Lo cap lL all you have Lhe LemerlLy Lo slL Lhere and Lell me LhaL you
wlped your arse wlLh Lhe one plece of solld evldence LhaL could subsLanLlaLe your sLaLemenL.'
'8uL l dld,' sald WllL.
'8alls,' shouLed Lhe lnspecLor. '?ou and l boLh know where Mrs WllL has gone and
Lhere's no use preLendlng we don'L. She's down aL Lhe boLLom of LhaL fucklng hole and you puL
her Lhere.'
'Are you arresLlng me?' WllL asked as Lhey walked ln a LlghL group across Lhe road Lo Lhe
pollce car.
'no,' sald lnspecLor lllnL, 'you're [usL helplng Lhe pollce wlLh Lhelr enqulrles. lL wlll be on
Lhe news LonlghL.'
'My dear 8ralnLree, of course we'll do all we can,' sald Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal. 'WllL has
always been a loyal member of sLaff and Lhere has obvlously been some dreadful mlsLake. l'm
sure you needn'L worry. 1he whole Lhlng wlll rlghL lLself before long.'
'l hope you're rlghL,' sald 8ralnLree, 'buL Lhere are compllcaLlng facLors. lor one Lhlng
Lhere's Lva...'
'Lva? Mrs WllL? ?ou're noL suggesLlng...'
'l'm noL suggesLlng anyLhlng. All l'm saylng ls...well, she's mlsslng from home. She
walked ouL on Penry lasL lrlday.
'Mrs WllL walked...well l hardly knew her, excepL by repuLaLlon of course. Wasn'L she
Lhe woman who broke Mr Lockyer's collar-bone durlng a parL-Llme Lvenlng Class ln [udo some
years back?'
'1haL was Lva,' sald 8ralnLree.
'She hardly sounds Lhe sorL of woman who would allow WllL Lo puL her down...'
'She lsn'L,' sald 8ralnLree hasLlly. 'lf anyone was llable Lo be murdered ln Lhe WllL
household lL was Penry. l Lhlnk Lhe pollce should be lnformed of LhaL.'
1hey were lnLerrupLed by Lhe Þrlnclpal who came ln wlLh a copy of Lhe evenlng paper.
'?ou've seen Lhls l suppose,' he sald, wavlng lL dlsLraughLly. 'lL's absoluLely appalllng.' Pe puL Lhe
paper down on Lhe desk and lndlcaLed Lhe headllnes. Mu8uL8Lu WCMAn 8u8lLu ln
CCnC8L1L A1 1LCP. LLC1u8L8 PLLÞlnC ÞCLlCL.
'Ch dear,' sald Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal. 'Ch dear. Pow very unforLunaLe. lL couldn'L have come
aL a worse momenL'
'lL shouldn'L have come aL all,' snapped Lhe Þrlnclpal. 'And LhaL's noL all. l've already had
half a dozen phone calls from parenLs wanLlng Lo know lf we make a hablL of employlng
murderers on Lhe full-Llme sLaff. Who ls Lhls fellow WllL anyway?'
'Pe's ln Llberal SLudles,' sald Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal. 'Pe's been wlLh us Len years.'
'Llberal SLudles. l mlghL have guessed lL. lf Lhey're noL poeLs mangoes Lhey're MaolsLs
or...l don'L know where Lhe hell Morrls geLs Lhem from. And now we've goL a blasLed murderer.
Cod knows whaL l'm golng Lo Lell Lhe LducaLlon CommlLLee LonlghL. 1hey've called an
emergency meeLlng for elghL.'
'l musL say l resenL WllL belng called a murderer,' sald 8ralnLree loyally. '1here ls noLhlng
Lo suggesL LhaL he has murdered anyone.'
1he Þrlnclpal sLudled hlm for a momenL and Lhen looked back aL Lhe headllnes. 'Mr
8ralnLree, when someone ls helplng Lhe pollce wlLh Lhelr enqulrles lnLo a murder lL may noL be
proven LhaL he ls a murderer buL Lhe suggesLlon ls Lhere.'
'1hls cerLalnly lsn'L golng Lo help us geL Lhe new CnAA degree off Lhe ground,'
lnLervened Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal LacLfully. 'We've goL a vlslL from Lhe lnspecLlon CommlLLee
scheduled for lrlday.'
'lrom whaL Lhe pollce Lell me lL lsn'L golng Lo help geL Lhe new AdmlnlsLraLlon block off
Lhe ground elLher,' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal. '1hey say lL's golng Lo Lake aL leasL Lhree days Lo bore
down Lo Lhe boLLom of LhaL plle and Lhen Lhey'll have Lo drlll Lhrough Lhe concreLe Lo geL Lhe
body ouL 1haL means Lhey'll have Lo puL a new plle down and we're already well behlnd
schedule and our bulldlng budgeL has been halved. Why on earLh couldn'L he have chosen
somewhere else Lo dlspose of hls damned wlfe'
'l don'L Lhlnk...' 8ralnLree began.
'l don'L care whaL you Lhlnk,' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal, 'l'm merely Lelllng you whaL Lhe pollce
Lhlnk.'
8ralnLree lefL Lhem sLlll wrangllng and Lrylng Lo flgure ouL ways and means of
counLeracLlng Lhe adverse publlclLy Lhe case had already broughL Lhe 1ech. Pe wenL down Lo Lhe
Llberal SLudles offlce and found Mr Morrls ln a sLaLe of despalr. Pe was Lrylng Lo arrange sLand-
ln lecLurers for all WllL's classes.
'8uL he'll probably be back ln Lhe mornlng,' 8ralnLree sald.
'Llke hell he wlll.' sald Mr Morrls. 'When Lhey Lake Lhem ln llke LhaL Lhey keep Lhem.
Mark my words. 1he pollce may make mlsLakes, l'm noL saylng Lhey don'L, buL when Lhey acL
Lhls swlfLly Lhey're on Lo a sure Lhlng. Mlnd you. l always LhoughL WllL was a blL odd.'
'Cdd? l've [usL come from Lhe vÞ's offlce. ?ou wanL Lo hear whaL Lhe Þrlnclpal's goL Lo
say abouL Llberal SLudles sLaff.'
'ChrlsL.' sald Mr Morrls, 'don'L Lell me.'
'Anyway whaL's so odd abouL Penry?'
'1oo meek and mlld for my llklng. Look aL Lhe way he accepLed remalnlng a LecLurer
Crade 1wo all Lhese years.'
'1haL was hardly hls faulL.'
'Cf course lL was hls faulL. All he had Lo do was LhreaLen Lo reslgn and go somewhere
else and he'd have goL promoLlon llke a shoL. 1haL's Lhe only way Lo geL on ln Lhls place. Make
your presence felL'
'Pe seems Lo have done LhaL now,' sald 8ralnLree. '1he Þrlnclpal ls already blamlng hlm
for Lhrowlng Lhe bulldlng programme off schedule and lf we don'L geL Lhe [olnL Ponours degree
pasL Lhe CnAA, Penry's golng Lo be made Lhe scapegoaL. lL's Loo bad. Lva should have had more
sense Lhan Lo walk ouL on hlm llke LhaL.'
Mr Morrls Look a more sombre vlew. 'She'd have shown a damned slghL more sense lf
she'd walked ouL on hlm before Lhe sod Look lL lnLo hls head Lo beaL her Lo deaLh and dump her
down LhaL bloody shafL. now who Lhe hell can l geL Lo Lake CasflLLers one Lomorrow?'


10


AL 34 Þarkvlew Avenue WllL saL ln Lhe klLchen wlLh Clem whlle Lhe deLecLlves ransacked Lhe
house. '?ou're noL golng Lo flnd anyLhlng lncrlmlnaLlng here,' he Lold lnspecLor lllnL.

'never you mlnd whaL we're golng Lo flnd. We're [usL havlng a look.'
Pe senL one deLecLlve upsLalrs Lo examlne Mrs WllL's cloLhes or whaL remalned of Lhem.
'lf she wenL away she'd have Laken half her wardrobe,' he sald. 'l know women. Cn Lhe
oLher hand lf she's pushlng up LwenLy Lons of premlx she wouldn'L need more Lhan whaL she's
goL on.'
Lva's wardrobe was found Lo be well sLocked. Lven WllL had Lo admlL LhaL she hadn'L
Laken much wlLh her.
'WhaL was she wearlng when you lasL saw her?' Lhe lnspecLor asked.
'Lemon loungers.' sald WllL.
'Lemon whaL?'
'Þy[amas,' sald WllL, addlng Lo Lhe llsL of lncrlmlnaLlng evldence agalnsL hlm. 1he
lnspecLor made a noLe of Lhe facL ln hls pockeLbook.
'ln bed, was she?'
'no,' sald WllL. '8ound aL Lhe Þrlngshelms.'
1he Þrlngshelms? And who mlghL Lhey be?'
'1he Amerlcans l Lold you abouL who llve ln 8osslLer Crove.'
'?ou haven'L menLloned any Amerlcans Lo me.' sald Lhe lnspecLor.
'l'm sorry. l LhoughL l had. l'm geLLlng muddled. She wenL away wlLh Lhem.'
'Ch dld she? And l suppose we'll flnd Lhey're mlsslng Loo?'
'AlmosL cerLalnly,' sald WllL. 'l mean lf she was golng away wlLh Lhem Lhey musL have
gone Loo and lf she lsn'L wlLh Lhem l can'L lmaglne where she has goL Lo.'
'l can,' sald Lhe lnspecLor looklng wlLh dlsLasLeful lnLeresL aL a sLaln on a sheeL one of Lhe
deLecLlves had found ln Lhe dlrLy llnen baskeL. 8y Lhe Llme Lhey lefL Lhe house Lhe lncrlmlnaLlng
evldence conslsLed of Lhe sheeL, an old dresslng-gown cord LhaL had found lLs way mysLerlously
lnLo Lhe aLLlc, a chopper LhaL WllL had once used Lo open a Lln of red lead, and a hypodermlc
syrlnge whlch Lva had goL from Lhe veL for waLerlng cacLl very preclsely durlng her lndoor ÞlanL
phase. 1here was also a boLLle of LableLs wlLh no label on lL.
'Pow Lhe hell would l know whaL Lhey are?' WllL asked when confronLed wlLh Lhe boLLle.
'Þrobably asplrlns. And anyway lL's full'
'ÞuL lL wlLh Lhe oLher exhlblLs,' sald Lhe lnspecLor. WllL looked aL Lhe box.
'lor Cod's sake, whaL do you Lhlnk l dld wlLh her? Þolsoned her, sLrangled her, hacked
her Lo blLs wlLh a chopper and ln[ecLed her wlLh 8lofood?'
'WhaL's 8lofood?' asked lnspecLor lllnL wlLh sudden lnLeresL.
'lL's sLuff you feed planLs wlLh,' sald WllL. '1he boLLle's on Lhe wlndowslll.'

1he lnspecLor added Lhe boLLle of 8lofood Lo Lhe box. 'We know whaL you dld wlLh her,
Mr WllL,' he sald. 'lL's how LhaL lnLeresLs us now.'
1hey wenL ouL Lo Lhe pollce car and drove round Lo Lhe Þrlngshelms' house ln 8osslLer
Crove. '?ou [usL slL ln Lhe car wlLh Lhe consLable here whlle l go and see lf Lhey're ln,' sald
lnspecLor lllnL and wenL Lo Lhe fronL door. WllL saL and waLched whlle he rang Lhe bell. Pe rang
agaln. Pe hammered on Lhe doorknocker and flnally he walked round Lhrough Lhe gaLe marked
1radesman's LnLrance Lo Lhe klLchen door. A mlnuLe laLer he was back and fumbllng wlLh Lhe car
radlo.
'?ou've hlL Lhe nall on Lhe head all rlghL, WllL,' he snapped. '1hey've gone away. 1he
place ls a bloody shambles. Looks llke Lhey've had an orgy. 1ake hlm ouL.'
1he Lwo deLecLlves bundled WllL, no longer Mr WllL buL plaln WllL and consclous of Lhe
facL, ouL of Lhe car whlle Lhe lnspecLor called lenland ConsLabulary and spoke wlLh slnlsLer
urgency abouL warranLs and sendlng someLhlng LhaL sounded llke Lhe u brlgade up. WllL sLood
ln Lhe drlveway of 12 8osslLer Crove and wondered whaL Lhe hell was happenlng Lo hlm. 1he
order of Lhlngs on whlch he had come Lo depend was dlslnLegraLlng around hlm.
'We're golng ln Lhe back way,' sald Lhe lnspecLor. 1hls doesn'L look good.'
1hey wenL down Lhe paLh Lo Lhe klLchen door and round Lo Lhe back garden. WllL could
see whaL Lhe lnspecLor had meanL by a shambles. 1he garden dldn'L look aL all good. Þaper
plaLes lay abouL Lhe lawn or, blown by Lhe wlnd, had wheeled across Lhe garden lnLo
honeysuckle or cllmblng rose whlle paper cups, some squashed and some sLlll fllled wlLh
Þrlngshelm punch and ralnwaLer, llLLered Lhe ground. 8uL lL was Lhe beefburgers LhaL gave Lhe
place lLs alr of macabre fllLh. 1hey were all over Lhe lawn, sLalned wllL coleslaw so LhaL WllL was
puL ln mlnd of Clem.
'1he dog reLurns Lo hls vomlL,' sald lnspecLor lllnL evldenLly readlng hls mlnd. 1hey
crossed Lhe Lerrace Lo Lhe lounge wlndows and peered Lhrough. lf Lhe garden was bad Lhe
lnLerlor was awful.
'Smash a pane ln Lhe klLchen wlndow and leL us ln,' sald Lhe lnspecLor Lo Lhe Laller of Lhe
Lwo deLecLlves. A momenL laLer Lhe lounge wlndow slld back and Lhey wenL lnslde.
'no need for forclble enLry,' sald Lhe deLecLlve. '1he back door was unlocked and so was
Lhls wlndow. 1hey musL have cleared ouL ln a hell of a hurry.'
1he lnspecLor looked round Lhe room and wrlnkled hls nose. 1he smell of sLale poL, sour
punch and candle smoke sLlll hung heavlly ln Lhe house.
'lf Lhey wenL away,' he sald omlnously and glanced aL WllL.
'1hey musL have gone away,' sald WllL who felL called upon Lo make some commenL on
Lhe scene, 'no one would llve ln all Lhls mess for a whole weekend wlLhouL...'
'Llve? ?ou dld say "llve" dldn'L you?' sald lllnL sLepplng on a plece of burnL beefburger.
'WhaL l meanL...'
'never mlnd whaL you meanL, WllL.' LeL's see whaL's happened here.'
1hey wenL lnLo Lhe klLchen where Lhe same chaos relgned and Lhen lnLo anoLher room.
Lverywhere lL was Lhe same. uead clgareLLe ends doused ln cups of coffee or ground ouL on Lhe
carpeL. Þleces of broken record behlnd Lhe sofa marked Lhe end of 8eeLhoven's llfLh. Cushlons
lay crumpled agalnsL Lhe wall. 8urnL-ouL candles hung llmply posL-colLal from boLLles. 1o add a
flnal Louch Lo Lhe squalor someone had drawn a porLralL of Þrlncess Anne on Lhe wall wlLh a red
felL pen. She was surrounded by helmeLed pollcemen and underneaLh was wrlLLen. 1PL luZZ
A8Cunu Cu8 Ann? 1PL 8C?AL. lAML?S lAnn? 1PL Þ8lCk lS uLAu LCnC LlvL 1PL Cun1.
SenLlmenLs LhaL were doubLless perfecLly accepLable ls Women's Llb clrcles buL were hardly
calculaLed Lo esLabllsh Lhe Þrlngshelms very hlghly ln lnspecLor lllnL's regard.
'?ou've goL some nlce frlends, WllL.' he sald.
'no frlends of mlne,' sald WllL, wlLh feellng. '1he sods can'L even spell.'
1hey wenL upsLalrs and looked ln Lhe blg bedroom. 1he bed was unmade, cloLhes,
mosLly undercloLhes, were all over Lhe floor or hung ouL of drawers and an unsLoppered boLLle
of !oy lay on lLs slde on Lhe dresslng-Lable. 1he room sLank of perfume.
'!esus wepL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, eyelng a palr of [ocksLraps belllgerenLly. 'All LhaL's
mlsslng ls some blood.'
1hey found lL ln Lhe baLhroom. ur Schelmacher's cuL hand had ralned bloodsLalns ln Lhe
baLh and splaLLered Lhe Llles wlLh dark bloLches. 1he baLhroom door wlLh lLs broken frame was
hanglng from Lhe boLLom hlnge and Lhere were spoLs of blood on Lhe palnLwork.
'l knew lL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, sLudylng Lhelr message and LhaL wrlLLen ln llpsLlck on Lhe
mlrror above Lhe washbasln. WllL looked aL lL Loo. lL seemed unduly personal.
WPL8L WlL1 lACCLu Anu LvA 8An WPC WAS 1PLn 1PL MALL CPAuvlnlS1 ÞlC?
'Charmlng,' sald lnspecLor lllnL. Pe Lurned Lo look aL WllL whose face was now Lhe
colour of Lhe Llles. 'l don'L suppose you'd know anyLhlng abouL LhaL. noL your handlwork?'
'CerLalnly noL,' sald WllL.
'nor Lhls?' sald Lhe lnspecLor, polnLlng Lo Lhe bloodsLalns ln Lhe baLh. WllL shook hls
head. 'And l suppose Lhls has noLhlng Lo do wlLh you elLher?' Pe lndlcaLed a dlaphragm LhaL had
been nalled Lo Lhe wall above Lhe lavaLory seaL. WPL8L 1PL 8 SuCkS 1PL8L SuCk l
unuL8nLA1P A uu1CP CAÞ nlCL Anu u8?. WllL sLared aL Lhe Lhlng ln uLLer dlsgusL.
'l don'L know whaL Lo say,' he muLLered. 'lL's all so awful.'
'?ou can say LhaL agaln,' Lhe lnspecLor agreed, and Lurned Lo more pracLlcal maLLers.
'Well, she dldn'L dle ln here.'
'Pow can you Lell?' asked Lhe younger of Lhe Lwo deLecLlves.
'noL enough blood.' 1he lnspecLor looked round uncerLalnly. 'Cn Lhe oLher hand one
hard bash...' 1hey followed Lhe bloodsLalns down Lhe passage Lo Lhe room where WllL had been
dollknoLLed.
'lor Cod's sake don'L Louch anyLhlng,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, easlng Lhe door open wlLh hls
sleeve, 'Lhe flngerprlnL boys are golng Lo have a fleld day here.' Pe looked lnslde aL Lhe Loys.
'l suppose you buLchered Lhe chlldren Loo,' he sald grlmly.
'Chlldren?' sald WllL, 'l dldn'L know Lhey had any.'
Well lf you dldn'L,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, who was a famlly man, 'Lhe poor llLLle buggers
have goL someLhlng Lo be Lhankful for. noL much by Lhe look of Lhlngs buL someLhlng.'
WllL poked hls head round Lhe door and looked aL Lhe 1eddy 8ear and Lhe rocklng horse.
'1hose are Caskell's,' he sald, 'he llkes Lo play wlLh Lhem.'


'l LhoughL you sald you dldn'L know Lhey had any chlldren?'
'1hey haven'L. Caskell ls ur Þrlngshelm. Pe's a blochemlsL and a case of arresLed
developmenL accordlng Lo hls wlfe.' 1he lnspecLor sLudled hlm LhoughLfully. 1he quesLlon of
arresL had become one LhaL needed careful conslderaLlon.
'l don'L suppose you're prepared Lo make a full confesslon now?' he asked wlLhouL much
hope.
'no l am noL,' sald WllL.
'l dldn'L Lhlnk you would be, WllL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor. 'All rlghL, Lake hlm down Lo Lhe
SLaLlon. l'll be along laLer.'
1he deLecLlves Look WllL by Lhe arms. lL was Lhe lasL sLraw.
'Leave me alone,' he yelled. '?ou've goL no rlghL Lo do Lhls. ?ou've goL--'
'WllL,' shouLed lnspecLor lllnL, 'l'm golng Lo glve you one lasL chance. lf you don'L go
quleLly l'm golng Lo charge you here and now wlLh Lhe murder of your wlfe'
WllL wenL quleLly. 1here was noLhlng else Lo do.

'1he screw?' sald Sally. '8uL you sald lL was Lhe con rod.'
'So l was wrong,' sald Caskell. She cranks over.'
'lL, C, lL. lL cranks over.'
'Ck. lL cranks over so lL can'L be a con rod. lL could be someLhlng LhaL goL Langled wlLh
Lhe propshafL.'
'Llke whaL?'
'Llke weeds.'
'Why don'L you go down and have a look yourself?'
'WlLh Lhese glasses?' sald Caskell. 'l wouldn'L be able Lo see anyLhlng.'
'?ou know l can'L swlm,' sald Sally. 'l have Lhls leg.'
'l can swlm,' sald Lva.
'We'll Lle a rope round you. 1haL way you won'L drown,' sald Caskell, 'all you've goL Lo
do ls go under and feel lf Lhere's anyLhlng down Lhere.'
'We know whaL's down Lhere,' sald Sally. 'Mud ls.'
'8ound Lhe propshafL,' sald Caskell. '1hen lf Lhere ls you can Lake lL off.'
Lva wenL lnLo Lhe cabln and puL on Lhe blklnl.
'PonesLly, Caskell, someLlmes l Lhlnk you're dolng Lhls on purpose. llrsL lL's Lhe con rod
and now lL's Lhe screw.'
'Well, we've goL Lo Lry everyLhlng. We can'L [usL slL here,' sald Caskell, 'l'm supposed Lo
be back ln Lhe lab Lomorrow.'
'?ou should have LhoughL of LhaL before,' sald Sally. 'now all we need ls a goddam
AlbaLross.'
'lf you ask me we've goL one,' sald Caskell, as Lva came ouL of Lhe cabln and puL on a
baLhlng cap.
'now where's Lhe rope?' she asked. Caskell looked ln a locker and found some. Pe Lled lL
round her walsL and Lva clambered over Lhe slde lnLo Lhe waLer.
'lL's ever so cold,' she glggled.
'1haL's because of Lhe Culf SLream,' sald Caskell, 'lL doesn'L come Lhls far round.'
Lva swam ouL and puL her feeL down.
'lL's Lerrlbly shallow and full of mud.'
She waded round hanglng on Lo Lhe rope and groped under Lhe sLern of Lhe crulser.
'l can'L feel anyLhlng,' she called.
'lL wlll be furLher under,' sald Caskell, peerlng down aL her. Lva puL her head under Lhe
waLer and felL Lhe rudder.
'1haL's Lhe rudder,' sald Caskell.
'Cf course lL ls,' sald Lva, 'l know LhaL, sllly. l'm noL sLupld.'
She dlsappeared under Lhe boaL. 1hls Llme she found Lhe propeller buL Lhere was
noLhlng wrapped round lL.
'lL's [usL muddy, LhaL's all,' she sald, when she resurfaced. '1here's mud all along Lhe
boLLom.'
'Well Lhere would be wouldn'L Lhere,' sald Caskell. Lva waded round Lo Lhe slde. 'We
[usL happen Lo be sLuck on a mudbank.'
Lva wenL down agaln buL Lhe propshafL was clear Loo. l Lold you so,' sald Sally, as Lhey
hauled Lva back on board. '?ou [usL made her do lL so you could see her ln her plasLlc klnl all
covered wlLh mud. Come, 8oLLlcelll baby, leL Sally wash you off.'
'Ch !esus,' sald Caskell. 'Þenls arlslng from Lhe waves.' Pe wenL back Lo Lhe englne and
looked aL lL uncerLalnly. Þerhaps Lhere was a blockage ln Lhe fuel llne. lL dldn'L seem very llkely
buL he had Lo Lry someLhlng. 1hey couldn'L sLay sLuck on Lhe mudbank forever.
Cn Lhe foredeck Sally was sponglng Lva down.
'now Lhe boLLom half, darllng,' she sald unLylng Lhe sLrlng.


'Ch, Sally. no, Sally.'
'Labla babla.'
'Ch, Sally, you are awful.'
Caskell sLruggled wlLh Lhe ad[usLable wrench. All Lhls 1ouch 1herapy was geLLlng Lo hlm.
And Lhe plasLlc.

AL Lhe CounLy Pall Lhe Þrlnclpal was dolng hls besL Lo paclfy Lhe members of Lhe LducaLlon
CommlLLee who were demandlng a full Lnqulry lnLo Lhe recrulLmenL pollcy of Lhe Llberal SLudles
ueparLmenL.
'LeL me explaln,' he sald paLlenLly, looklng round aL Lhe CommlLLee, whlch was a nlce
balance of buslness lnLeresLs and soclal commlLmenL. '1he 1944 LducaLlon AcL lald down LhaL all
apprenLlces should be released from Lhelr places of employmenL Lo aLLend uay 8elease Classes
aL 1echnlcal Colleges...'
'We know all LhaL,' sald a bulldlng conLracLor, 'and we all know lL's a bloody wasLe of
Llme and publlc money. 1hls counLry would be a slghL beLLer of lf Lhey were lefL Lo geL on wlLh
Lhelr [obs.'
'1he courses Lhey aLLend,' conLlnued Lhe Þrlnclpal before anyone wlLh a soclal
consclence could lnLervene, 'are crafL-orlenLed wlLh Lhe excepLlon of one hour, one obllgaLory
hour of Llberal SLudles. now Lhe dlfflculLy wlLh Llberal SLudles ls LhaL no one knows whaL lL
means.'
'Llberal SLudles means,' sald Mrs ChaLLerway, who prlded herself on belng an advocaLe
of progresslve educaLlon, ln whlch role she had made a subsLanLlal conLrlbuLlon Lo Lhe llllLeracy
raLe ln several prevlously good prlmary schools, 'provldlng soclally deprlved adolescenLs wlLh a
flrm groundlng ln llberal aLLlLudes and culLurally exLendlng Loplcs...'
'lL means Leachlng Lhem Lo read and wrlLe,' sald a company dlrecLor. 'lL's no good havlng
workers who can'L read lnsLrucLlons.'
'lL means whaLever anyone chooses lL Lo mean,' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal hasLlly. 'now lf you
are faced wlLh Lhe problem of havlng Lo flnd lecLurers who are prepared Lo spend Lhelr llves
golng lnLo classrooms fllled wlLh CasflLLers or ÞlasLerers or ÞrlnLers who see no good reason for
belng Lhere, and keeplng Lhem occupled wlLh a sub[ecL LhaL does noL, sLrlcLly speaklng, exlsL,
you cannoL afford Lo plck and choose Lhe sorL of sLaff you employ. 1haL ls Lhe crux of Lhe
problem.'
1he CommlLLee looked aL hlm doubLfully.
'Am l Lo undersLand LhaL you are suggesLlng LhaL Llberal SLudles Leachers are noL
devoLed and Lruly creaLlve lndlvlduals lmbued wlLh a sLrong sense of vocaLlon?' asked Mrs
ChaLLerway belllgerenLly.
'no,' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal, 'l am noL saylng LhaL aL all. l am merely Lrylng Lo make Lhe polnL
LhaL Llberal SLudles lecLurers are noL as oLher men are. 1hey elLher sLarL ouL odd or Lhey end up
odd. lL's ln Lhe naLure of Lhelr occupaLlon.'
'8uL Lhey are all hlghly quallfled,' sald Mrs ChaLLerway, 'Lhey all have degrees.'
'CulLe. As you say Lhey all hold degrees. 1hey are all quallfled Leachers buL Lhe sLresses
Lo whlch Lhey are sub[ecL leave Lhelr mark. LeL me puL lL Lhls way. lf you were Lo Lake a hearL
LransplanL surgeon and ask hlm Lo spend hls worklng llfe docklng dogs' Lalls you would hardly
expecL hlm Lo emerge unscaLhed afLer Len years' work. 1he analogy ls exacL, belleve me, exacL.'
'Well, all l can say,' proLesLed Lhe bulldlng conLracLor, 'ls LhaL noL all Llberal SLudles
lecLurers end up burylng Lhelr murdered wlves aL Lhe boLLom of plle shafLs.'
'And all l can say,' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal, 'ls LhaL l am exLremely surprlsed more don'L'
1he meLlng broke up undeclded.



11


As dawn broke glaucously over LasL Anglla WllL saL ln Lhe lnLervlew 8oom aL Lhe cenLral Þollce
SLaLlon lsolaLed from Lhe naLural world and ln a wholly arLlflclal envlronmenL LhaL lncluded a
Lable, four chalrs, a deLecLlve sergeanL and a fluorescenL llghL on Lhe celllng LhaL buzzed sllghLly.
1here were no wlndows, [usL pale green walls and a door Lhrough whlch people came and wenL
occaslonally and WllL wenL Lwlce Lo relleve hlmself ln Lhe company of a consLable. lnspecLor
lllnL had gone Lo bed aL mldnlghL and hls place had been Laken by ueLecLlve SergeanL ?aLes who
had sLarLed agaln aL Lhe beglnnlng.
'WhaL beglnnlng?' sald WllL.
'AL Lhe very beglnnlng.'
'Cod made heaven and earLh and all...'
'lorgeL Lhe wlsecracks,' sald SergeanL ?aLes.
'now LhaL,' sald WllL, appreclaLlvely, 'ls a more orLhodox use of wlse.'
'WhaL ls?'
'Wlsecrack. lL's slang buL lL's good slang wlsewlse lf you geL my meanlng.'
ueLecLlve SergeanL ?aLes sLudled hlm closely. '1hls ls a soundproof room,' he sald flnally.
'So l've noLlced,' sald WllL.
'A man could scream hls guLs ouL ln here and no one ouLslde would be any Lhe wlser.'
'Wlser?' sald WllL doubLfully. 'Wlsdom and knowledge are noL Lhe same Lhlng. Someone
ouLslde mlghL noL be aware LhaL...'
'ShuL up,' sald SergeanL ?aLes.
WllL slghed. 'lf you would [usL leL me geL some sleep...'
'?ou'll geL some sleep when you Lell us why you murdered your wlfe, where you
murdered her and how you murdered her.'
'l don'L suppose lL wlll do any good lf l Lell you l dldn'L murder her.'
SergeanL ?aLes shook hls head.
'no,' he sald. 'We know you dld. ?ou know you dld. We know where she ls. We're golng
Lo geL her ouL. We know you puL her Lhere. ?ou've aL leasL admlLLed LhaL much.'

'l keep Lelllng you l puL an lnflaLable...'
'Was Mrs WllL lnflaLable?'
'Was she fuck,' sald WllL.
'8lghL, so we'll forgeL Lhe lnflaLable doll crap...'
'l wlsh Lo Cod l could,' sold WllL. 'l'll be only Loo glad when you geL down Lhere and dlg lL
ouL. lL wlll have bursL of course wlLh all LhaL concreLe on lL buL lL wlll sLlll be recognlsably an
lnflaLable plasLlc doll.'
SergeanL ?aLes leanL across Lhe Lable. 'LeL me Lell you some Lhlng. When we do geL Mrs
WllL ouL of Lhere, don'L lmaglne she'll be unrecognlsable.' Pe sLopped and sLared lnLenLly aL
WllL. 'noL unless you've dlsflgured her.'
'ulsflgured her?' sald WllL wlLh a hallow laugh. 'She dldn'L need dlsflgurlng Lhe lasL Llme l
saw her. She was looklng bloody awful. She had on Lhese lemon py[amas and her face was all
covered wlLh...' Pe heslLaLed. 1here was a curlous expresslon on Lhe SergeanL's face.
'8lood?' he suggesLed. 'Were you golng Lo say "blood"?'
'no,' sald WllL, 'l mosL cerLalnly wasn'L. l was golng Lo say powder. WhlLe powder and
scarleL llpsLlck. l Lold her she looked fucklng awful.'
'?ou musL have had a very happy relaLlonshlp wlLh her,' sald Lhe SergeanL. 'l don'L make
a hablL of Lelllng my wlfe she looks fucklng awful.'
'?ou probably don'L have a fucklng awful-looklng wlfe,' sald WllL maklng an aLLempL Lo
conclllaLe Lhe man.
'WhaL l have or don'L have by way of a wlfe ls my buslness. She lles ouLslde Lhe domaln
of Lhls dlscusslon.'
'Lucky old her,' sald WllL, 'l wlsh Lo Cod mlne dld.' 8y Lwo o'clock Lhey had lefL Mrs WllL's
appearance and goL on Lo LeeLh and Lhe quesLlon of ldenLlfylng dead bodles by denLal charL.
'Look,' sald WllL wearlly, 'l daresay LeeLh fasclnaLe you buL aL Lhls Llme of nlghL l can do
wlLhouL Lhem.'
'?ou wear denLures or someLhlng?'
'no. no. l don'L,' sald WllL, re[ecLlng Lhe plural.
'uld Mrs WllL?'
'no,' sald WllL, 'she was always very...'
'l Lhank you,' sald SergeanL ?aLes, 'l knew lL would come ouL ln Lhe end.'
'WhaL would?' sald WllL, hls mlnd sLlll on LeeLh.
'1haL "was". 1he pasL Lense. 1haL's Lhe glve away. 8lghL, so you admlL she's dead. LeL's
go on from Lhere.'
'l dldn'L say anyLhlng of Lhe sorL. ?ou sald "uld she wear denLures?" and l sald she
dldn'L...'
'?ou sald "she was". lL's LhaL "was" LhaL lnLeresLs me. lf you had sald "ls" lL would have
been dlfferenL'
'lL mlghL have sounded dlfferenL,' sald WllL, rallylng hls defences, 'buL lL wouldn'L have
made Lhe sllghLesL dlfference Lo Lhe facLs.'
'Whlch are?'
'1haL my wlfe ls probably sLlll around somewhere allve and klcklng...'
'?ou don'L half glve yourself away, WllL,' sald Lhe SergeanL. 'now lL's "probably" and as
for "klcklng" l [usL hope for your sake we don'L flnd she was sLlll allve when Lhey poured LhaL
concreLe down on Lop of her. 1he CourL wouldn'L Lake klndly Lo LhaL.'
'l doubL lf anyone would,' sald WllL. 'now when l sald "probably" whaL l meanL was LhaL
lf you had been held ln cusLody for a day and half Lhe nlghL belng quesLloned on Lhe LroL by
deLecLlves you'd begln Lo wonder whaL had happened Lo your wlfe. lL mlghL even cross your
mlnd LhaL, all evldence Lo Lhe conLrary, she mlghL noL be allve. ?ou wanL Lo Lry slLLlng on Lhls
slde of Lhe Lable before you sLarL crlLlclslng me for uslng Lerms llke "probable". AnyLhlng more
lmprobable Lhan belng accused of murderlng your wlfe when you know for a facL LhaL you
haven'L you can'L lmaglne.'
'LlsLen, WllL,' sald Lhe SergeanL, 'l'm noL crlLlclslng you for your language. 8elleve me l'm
noL. l'm merely Lrylng as paLlenLly as l can Lo esLabllsh Lhe facLs.'
'1he facLs are Lhese' sald WllL. 'Llke a compleLe ldloL l made Lhe mlsLake of dumplng an
lnflaLable doll down Lhe boLLom of a plle shafL and someone poured concreLe ln and my wlfe ls
away from home and...'

'l'll Lell you one Lhlng,' SergeanL ?aLes Lold lnspecLor lllnL when he came on duLy aL seven ln Lhe
mornlng. '1hls one ls a hard nuL Lo crack. lf you hadn'L Lold me he hadn'L a record l'd have sworn
he was an old hand and a good one aL LhaL. Are you sure CenLral 8ecords have goL noLhlng on
hlm?' lnspecLor lllnL shook hls head.
'Pe hasn'L sLarLed squeallng for a lawyer yeL?'
'noL a whlmper. l Lell you he's elLher as nuLLy as a frulL cake or he's been Lhrough Lhls loL
before.'
And WllL had. uay afLer day, year ln year ouL. WlLh CasflLLers Cne and ÞrlnLers 1hree,
wlLh uay 8elease MoLor Mechanlcs and MeaL 1wo. lor Len years he had saL ln fronL of classes,
answerlng lrrelevanL quesLlons, dlscusslng why Þlggy's raLlonal approach Lo llfe was preferable
Lo !ack's bruLlshness, why Þangloss' opLlmlsm was so unsaLlsfacLory, why Crwell hadn'L wanLed
Lo shooL LhaL blasLed elephanL or hang LhaL man, and all Lhe Llme fendlng off verbal aLLempLs Lo
raLLle hlm and reduce hlm Lo Lhe sLaLe poor old ÞlnkerLon was ln when he gassed hlmself. 8y
comparlson wlLh 8rlcklayers lour, SergeanL ?aLes and lnspecLor lllnL were chlld's play. lf only
Lhey would leL hlm geL some sleep he would go on runnlng lnconsequenLlal rlngs round Lhem.
'l LhoughL l had hlm once,' Lhe SergeanL Lold lllnL as Lhey conferred ln Lhe corrldor. 'l
had goL hlm on Lo LeeLh.'
'1eeLh?' sald Lhe lnspecLor.
'l was [usL explalnlng we can always ldenLlfy bodles from Lhelr denLal charLs and he
almosL admlLLed she was dead. 1hen he goL away agaln.'
'1eeLh, eh? 1haL's lnLeresLlng. l'll have Lo pursue LhaL llne of quesLlonlng. lL maybe hls
weak llnk.'
'Cood luck on you,' sald Lhe SergeanL. 'l'm off Lo bed.'

'1eeLh?' sald WlL. 'We're noL golng Lhrough LhaL agaln are we? l LhoughL we'd exhausLed LhaL
Loplc. 1he lasL bloke wanLed Lo know lf Lva had Lhem ln Lhe pasL Lense. l Lold hlm she dld and...'
'WllL,' sald lnspecLor lllnL, 'l am noL lnLeresLed ln wheLher or noL Mrs WllL had LeeLh. l
presume she musL have done. WhaL l wanL Lo know ls lf she sLlll has Lhem. ÞresenL Lense.'
'l lmaglne she musL have,' sald WllL paLlenLly. '?ou'd beLLer ask her when you flnd her.'
'And when we flnd her wlll she be ln a poslLlon Lo Lell us?'
'Pow Lhe hell should l know? All l can say ls LhaL lf for some qulLe lnexpllcable reason
she's losL all her LeeLh Lhere'll be Lhe devll Lo pay. l'll never hear Lhe end of lL. She's goL a manla
for cleanlng Lhe Lhlngs and sLlcklng blLs of denLal floss down Lhe loo. ?ou've goL no ldea Lhe
number of Llmes l've LhoughL l'd goL worms.'
lnspecLor lllnL slghed. WhaLever success SergeanL ?aLes had had wlLh LeeLh, lL was
cerLalnly eludlng hlm. Pe swlLched Lo oLher maLLers.
'LeL's go over whaL happened aL Lhe Þrlngshelms' parLy agaln,' he sald.
'LeL's noL,' sald WllL who had so far managed Lo avold menLlonlng hls conLreLemps wlLh
Lhe doll ln Lhe baLhroom. 'l've Lold you flve Llmes already and lL's wearlng a blL Lhln. 8esldes lL
was a fllLhy parLy. A loL of Lrendy lnLellecLuals boosLlng Lhelr palLry egos.'
'Would you say you were an lnLroverLed sorL of man, WllL? A sollLary Lype of person?'
WllL consldered Lhe quesLlon serlously. lL was cerLalnly more Lo Lhe polnL Lhan LeeLh.
'l wouldn'L go LhaL far,' he sald flnally. 'l'm falrly quleL buL l'm gregarlous Loo. ?ou have
Lo be Lo cope wlLh Lhe classes, l Leach.'
'8uL you don'L llke parLles?'
'l don'L llke parLles llke Lhe Þrlngshelms', no.'
'1helr sexual behavlour ouLrages you? lllls you wlLh dlsgusL?'
'1helr sexual behavlour? l don'L know why you plck on LhaL. LveryLhlng abouL Lhem
dlsgusLs me. All LhaL crap abouL Women's Llb for one Lhlng when all lL means Lo someone llke
Mrs Þrlngshelm ls LhaL she can go around behavlng llke a blLch on heaL whlle her husband
spends Lhe day slavlng over a hoL LesL Lube and comes home Lo cook supper, wash up and ls
lucky lf he's goL enough energy Lo wank hlmself off before golng Lo sleep. now lf we're Lalklng
abouL real Women's Llb LhaL's anoLher maLLer. l've goL noLhlng agalnsL...'
'LeL's [usL hold lL Lhere,' sald Lhe lnspecLor. 'now Lwo Lhlngs you sald lnLeresL me. Cne,
wlves behavlng llke blLches on heaL. 1wo, Lhls buslness of you wanklng yourself off.'
'Me?' sald WllL lndlgnanLly. 'l wasn'L Lalklng abouL myself.'
'Weren'L you?'
'no, l wasn'L.'
'So you don'L masLurbaLe?'
'now look here, lnspecLor. ?ou're prylng lnLo areas of my prlvaLe llfe whlch don'L
concern you. lf you wanL Lo know abouL masLurbaLlon read Lhe klnsey 8eporL. uon'L ask me.'
lnspecLor lllnL resLralned hlmself wlLh dlfflculLy. Pe Lrled anoLher Lack. 'So when Mrs
Þrlngshelm lay on Lhe bed and asked you Lo have lnLercourse wlLh her...'
'luck ls whaL she sald,' WllL correcLed hlm.'
'?ou sald no?'
'Þreclsely,' sald WllL.
'lsn'L LhaL a blL odd?'
'WhaL, her lylng Lhere or me saylng no?'
'?ou saylng no.'
WllL looked aL hlm lncredulously.
'Cdd?' he sald. 'Cdd? A woman comes ln here and Lhrows herself flaL on her back on Lhls
Lable, pulls up her sklrL and says "luck me, honey, prlck me Lo Lhe qulck." Are you golng Lo leap
onLo her wlLh a "Whoopee, leL's roll baby"? ls LhaL whaL you mean by noL odd?'
'!esus wepL, WllL,' snarled Lhe lnspecLor, 'you're walklng a fucklng LlghLrope wlLh my
paLlence.'
'?ou could have fooled me,' sald WllL. 'All l do know ls LhaL your noLlon of whaL ls odd
behavlour and whaL lsn'L doesn'L begln Lo make sense wlLh me.'
lnspecLor lllnL goL up and lefL Lhe room. 'l'll murder Lhe basLard, so help me Cod l'll
murder hlm,' he shouLed aL Lhe uuLy SergeanL. 8ehlnd hlm ln Lhe lnLervlew 8oom WllL puL hls
head on Lhe Lable and fell asleep.

AL Lhe 1ech WllL's absence was maklng lLself felL ln more ways Lhan one. Mr Morrls had had Lo
Lake CasflLLers Cne aL nlne o'clock and had come ouL an hour laLer feellng LhaL he had galned
fresh lnslghL lnLo WllL's sudden excurslon lnLo homlclde. 1he vlce-Þrlnclpal was flghLlng off
waves of crlme reporLers anxlous Lo flnd ouL more abouL Lhe man who was helplng Lhe pollce
wlLh Lhelr enqulrles lnLo a parLlcularly macabre and newsworLhy crlme. And Lhe Þrlnclpal had
begun Lo regreL hls crlLlclsms of Llberal SLudles Lo Lhe LducaLlon CommlLLee. Mrs ChaLLerway
had phoned Lo say LhaL she had found hls remarks ln Lhe worsL of LasLe and had hlnLed LhaL she
mlghL well ask for an enqulry lnLo Lhe runnlng of Lhe Llberal SLudles ueparLmenL. 8uL lL was aL
Lhe meeLlng of Lhe Course 8oard LhaL Lhere was mosL alarm.
'1he vlslLaLlon of Lhe Councll for naLlonal Academlc Awards Lakes place on lrlday,' ur
Mayfleld, Pead of Soclology, Lold Lhe commlLLee. '1hey are hardly llkely Lo approve Lhe [olnL
Ponours degree ln Lhe presenL clrcumsLances.'
'lf Lhey had any sense Lhey wouldn'L approve lL ln any clrcumsLances,' sald ur 8oard.
'urban SLudles and Medleval ÞoeLry lndeed. l know academlc eclecLlclsm ls Lhe vogue Lhese days
buL Pelen Waddell and Lewls Mumford aren'L even remoLely naLural bedfellows. 8esldes Lhe
degree lacks academlc conLenL.'
ur Mayfleld brlsLled. Academlc conLenL was hls sLrong polnL. 'l don'L see how you can
say LhaL,' he sald. '1he course has been sLrucLured Lo meeL Lhe needs of sLudenLs looklng for a
LhemaLlc approach.'
'1he poor benlghLed creaLures we manage Lo lure away from unlverslLles Lo Lake Lhls
course wouldn'L know a LhemaLlc approach lf Lhey saw one,' sald ur 8oard. 'Come Lo Lhlnk of lL l
wouldn'L elLher.'
'We all have our llmlLaLlons,' sald ur Mayfleld suavely.
'Þreclsely' sald ur 8oard, 'and ln Lhe clrcumsLances we should recognlse Lhem lnsLead of
concocLlng [olnL Ponours degrees whlch don'L make sense for sLudenLs who lf Lhelr A-level
resulLs are anyLhlng Lo go by, haven'L any chance ln Lhe flrsL place. Peaven knows l'm all for
educaLlonal opporLunlLy buL--'
'1he polnL ls,' lnLer[ecLed ur Cox, Pead of Sclence, 'LhaL lL ls noL Lhe degree course as
such LhaL ls Lhe purpose of Lhe vlslLaLlon. As l undersLand lL Lhey have glven Lhelr approval Lo Lhe
degree ln prlnclple. 1hey are comlng Lo look aL Lhe faclllLles Lhe College provldes and Lhey are
hardly llkely Lo be lmpressed by Lhe presence of so many murder squad deLecLlves. 1haL blue
caravan ls mosL off-puLLlng.'
'ln any case wlLh Lhe laLe Mrs WllL sLrucLured lnLo Lhe foundaLlons...' began ur 8oard.
'l am dolng my besL Lo geL Lhe pollce Lo remove her from...'
'1he syllabus?' asked ur 8oard.
'1he premlses,' sald ur Mayfleld. 'unforLunaLely Lhey seem Lo have hlL a snag.'
'A snag?'
1hey have hlL bedrock aL eleven feeL.'
ur 8oard smlled. 'Cne wonders why Lhere was any need for LhlrLy-fooL plles ln Lhe flrsL
lnsLance lf Lhere ls bedrock aL eleven,' he murmured.
'l can only Lell you whaL Lhe pollce have Lold me,' sald ur Mayfleld. 'Powever Lhey have
promlsed Lo do all Lhey can Lo be off Lhe slLe by lrlday. now l would [usL llke Lo run over Lhe
arrangemenLs agaln wlLh you. 1he vlslLaLlon wlll sLarL aL eleven wlLh an lnspecLlon of Lhe llbrary.
We wlll Lhen break up lnLo groups Lo dlscuss laculLy llbrarles and Leachlng faclllLles wlLh
parLlcular reference Lo our ablllLy Lo provlde lndlvldual LulLlon...'
'l shouldn'L have LhoughL LhaL was a polnL LhaL needed emphaslslng,' sald ur 8oard.
'WlLh Lhe few sLudenLs we're llkely Lo geL we're almosL cerLaln Lo have Lhe hlghesL Leacher Lo
sLudenL raLlo ln Lhe counLry.'
'lf we adopL LhaL approach Lhe CommlLLee wlll galn Lhe lmpresslon LhaL we are noL
commlLLed Lo Lhe degree. We musL provlde a unlLed fronL,' sald ur Mayfleld 'we can'L afford aL
Lhls sLage Lo have dlvlslons among ourselves. 1hls degree could mean our geLLlng ÞolyLechnlc
sLaLus.'

1here were dlvlslons Loo among Lhe men borlng down on Lhe bulldlng slLe. 1he foreman was sLlll
aL home under sedaLlon sufferlng nervous exhausLlon broughL on by hls parL ln Lhe cemenLaLlon
of a murdered woman and lL was lefL Lo 8arney Lo superlnLend operaLlons. '1here was Lhls hand,
see...' he Lold Lhe SergeanL ln charge.
'Cn whlch slde?'
'Cn Lhe rlghL,' sald 8arney.
1hen we'll go down on Lhe lefL. 1haL way lf Lhe hand ls sLlcklng ouL we won'L cuL lL off.'
1hey wenL down on Lhe lefL and cuL off Lhe maln elecLrlclLy cable Lo Lhe canLeen.
'lorgeL LhaL bleedlng hand,' sald Lhe SergeanL, 'we go down on Lhe rlghL and LrusL Lo
luck. !usL so long as we don'L cuL Lhe blLch ln half.'
1hey wenL down on Lhe rlghL and hlL bedrock aL eleven feeL.
1hls ls golng Lo slow us up no end,' sald 8arney. 'Who would have LhoughL Lhere'd be
rock down Lhere.'
'Who would have LhoughL some nuL would lncorporaLe hls mlsses ln Lhe foundaLlon of a
college of furLher educaLlon where he worked,' sald Lhe SergeanL.
'Cruesome,' sald 8arney.

ln Lhe meanLlme Lhe sLaff had as usual dlvlded lnLo facLlons.
ÞeLer 8ralnLree led Lhose who LhoughL WllL was lnnocenL and was [olned by Lhe new
LefL on Lhe grounds LhaL anyone ln confllcL wlLh Lhe fuzz musL be ln Lhe rlghL. Ma[or Mlllfleld
reacLed accordlngly and led Lhe 8lghL agalnsL WllL on Lhe auLomaLlc assumpLlon LhaL anyone
who lncurred Lhe supporL of Lhe lefL musL be ln Lhe wrong and LhaL anyway Lhe pollce knew
whaL Lhey were dolng. 1he lssue was ralsed aL Lhe meeLlng of Lhe unlon called Lo dlscuss Lhe
annual pay demand. Ma[or Mlllfleld proposed a moLlon calllng on Lhe unlon Lo supporL Lhe
campalgn for Lhe relnLroducLlon of caplLal punlshmenL. 8lll 1renL counLered wlLh a moLlon
expresslng solldarlLy wlLh 8roLher WllL. ÞeLer 8ralnLree proposed LhaL a fund be seL up Lo help
WllL wlLh hls legal fees. ur Lomax, Pead of Commerce, argued agalnsL Lhls and polnLed ouL LhaL
WllL had, by dlsmemberlng hls wlfe, broughL Lhe professlon lnLo dlsrepuLe. 8ralnLree sald WllL
hadn'L dlsmembered anyone and LhaL even Lhe pollce hadn'L suggesLed he had, and Lhere was
such a Lhlng as a law agalnsL slander. ur Lomax wlLhdrew hls remark. Ma[or Mlllfleld lnslsLed
LhaL Lhere were good grounds for Lhlnklng WllL had murdered hls wlfe and LhaL anyway Pabeas
Corpus dldn'L exlsL ln 8ussla. 8lll 1renL sald LhaL caplLal punlshmenL dldn'L elLher. Ma[or Mlllfleld
sald, '8osh.' ln Lhe end, afLer prolonged argumenL, Ma[or Mlllfleld's moLlon on hanglng was
passed by a block voLe of Lhe CaLerlng ueparLmenL whlle 8ralnLree's proposal and Lhe moLlon of
Lhe new LefL were defeaLed, and Lhe meeLlng wenL on Lo dlscuss a pay lncrease of forLy-flve per
cenL, Lo keep 1eachers ln 1echnlcal lnsLlLuLes ln llne wlLh comparably quallfled professlons.
AfLerwards ÞeLer 8ralnLree wenL down Lo Lhe Þollce SLaLlon Lo see lf Lhere was anyLhlng Penry
wanLed.
'l wonder lf l mlghL see hlm,' he asked Lhe SergeanL aL Lhe desk.
'l'm afrald noL, slr,' sald Lhe SergeanL, 'Mr WllL ls sLlll helplng us wlLh our enqulrles.'
'8uL lsn'L Lhere anyLhlng l can geL hlm? uoesn'L he need anyLhlng?'
'Mr WllL ls well provlded for,' sald Lhe SergeanL, wlLh Lhe prlvaLe reservaLlon LhaL whaL
WllL needed was hls head read.
'8uL shouldn'L he have a sollclLor?'
'When Mr WllL asks for a sollclLor he wlll be allowed Lo see one,' sald Lhe SergeanL, 'l can
assure you LhaL so far he hasn'L asked.'

And WllL hadn'L. Pavlng flnally been allowed Lhree hours sleep he had emerged from hls cell aL
Lwelve o'clock and had eaLen a hearLy breakfasL ln Lhe pollce canLeen. Pe reLurned Lo Lhe
lnLervlew 8oom, haggard and unshaven, and wlLh hls sense of Lhe lmprobable markedly
lncreased.
'now Lhen, Penry,' sald lnspecLor lllnL, dropplng an offlclal ocLave nomenclaLurewlse ln
Lhe hope LhaL WllL would respond, 'abouL Lhls blood.'
'WhaL blood?' sald WllL, looklng round Lhe asepLlc room.
1he blood on Lhe walls of Lhe baLhroom aL Lhe Þrlngshelms' house. 1he blood on Lhe
landlng. Pave you any ldea how lL goL Lhere? Any ldea aL all?'
'none,' sald WllL, 'l can only assume LhaL someone was bleedlng.'
'8lghL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'who?'
'Search me,' sald WllL.
'CulLe, and you know whaL we've found?'
WllL shook hls head.
'no ldea?'
'none,' sald WllL.
'8loodspoLs on a palr of grey Lrousers ln your wardrobe' sald Lhe lnspecLor. '8loodspoLs.
Penry, bloodspoLs.'
'Pardly surprlslng,' sald WllL. 'l mean lf you looked hard enough you'd be bound Lo flnd
some bloodspoLs ln anyone's wardrobe. 1he Lhlng ls l wasn'L wearlng grey Lrousers aL LhaL parLy.
l was wearlng blue [eans.'
'?ou were wearlng blue [eans? ?ou're qulLe sure abouL LhaL?'
'?es.'
'So Lhe bloodspoLs on Lhe baLhroom wall and Lhe bloodspoLs on your grey Lrousers have
noLhlng Lo do wlLh one anoLher?'
'lnspecLor,' sald WllL. 'far be lL from me Lo Leach you your own buslness buL you have a
Lechnlcal branch LhaL speclallses ln maLchlng bloodsLalns. now may l suggesL LhaL you make use
of Lhelr skllls Lo esLabllsh...'
'WllL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'WllL, when l need your advlce on how Lo conducL a murder
lnvesLlgaLlon l'll noL only ask for lL buL reslgn from Lhe force.'
'Well?' sald WllL.
'Well whaL?'
'uo Lhey maLch? uo Lhe bloodsLalns maLch' 1he lnspecLor sLudled hlm grlmly. 'lf l Lold
you Lhey dld?' he asked.
WllL shrugged. 'l'm noL ln any poslLlon Lo argue,' he sald. 'lf you say Lhey do, l Lake lL
Lhey do.'
'1hey don'L,' sald lnspecLor lllnL, 'buL LhaL proves noLhlng,' he conLlnued 'before WllL
could savour hls saLlsfacLlon. 'noLhlng aL all. We've goL Lhree people mlsslng. 1here's Mrs WllL aL
Lhe boLLom of LhaL shafL...no, don'L say lL. WllL, don'L say lL. 1here's ur Þrlngshelm and Lhere's
Mrs lucklng Þrlngshelm.'
'l llke lL,' sald WllL appreclaLlvely. 'l deflnlLely llke lL'
'Llke whaL?'
'Mrs lucklng Þrlngshelm. lL's apposlLe.'
'Cne of Lhese days, WllL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor sofLly, 'you'll go Loo far.'
'ÞaLlencewlse? 1o use a fllLhy expresslon,' asked WllL.
1he lnspecLor nodded and llL a clgareLLe.
'?ou know someLhlng, lnspecLor,' sald WllL, beglnnlng Lo feel on Lop of Lhe slLuaLlon,
'you smoke Loo much. 1hose Lhlngs are bad for you. ?ou should Lry...'
'WllL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'ln LwenLy-flve years ln Lhe servlce l have never once resorLed
Lo physlcal vlolence whlle lnLerrogaLlng a suspecL buL Lhere comes a Llme, a Llme and a place
and a suspecL when wlLh Lhe besL wlll ln Lhe world...' Pe goL up and wenL ouL. WllL saL back ln
hls chalr and looked up aL Lhe fluorescenL llghL. Pe wlshed lL would sLop buzzlng. lL was geLLlng
on hls nerves.


12


Cn Lel SLreLch--Caskell's map-readlng had mlsled hlm and Lhey were nowhere near lrogwaLer
8each or len 8road--Lhe slLuaLlon was geLLlng on everyone's nerves. Caskell's aLLempLs Lo mend
Lhe englne had had Lhe opposlLe effecL. 1he cockplL was flooded wlLh fuel and lL was dlfflculL Lo
walk on deck wlLhouL sllpplng.
'!esus, C, anyone would Lhlnk Lo look aL you LhaL Lhls was a goddam oll rlg,' sald Sally.
'lL was LhaL fucklng fuel llne,' sald Caskell, 'l couldn'L geL lL back on.'
'Say why Lry sLarLlng Lhe moLor wlLh lL off?'
'1o see lf lL was blocked.'
'So now you know. WhaL you golng Lo do abouL lL? SlL here Llll Lhe food runs ouL? ?ou've
goLLa Lhlnk of someLhlng.'
'Why me? Why don'L you come up wlLh someLhlng?'
'lf you were any sorL of a man...'
'ShlL,' sald Caskell. '1he volce of Lhe llberaLed woman. Comes Lhe crunch and all of a
sudden l've goL Lo be a man. WhaL's up wlLh you, man-woman? ?ou wanL us off here, you do lL.
uon'L ask me Lo be a man, uppercase M, ln an emergency. l've forgoLLen how.'
'1here musL be some way of geLLlng help,' sald Sally.
'Ch sure. ?ou [usL go up Lop and Lake a crowsnesL aL Lhe scenery. All you'll geL ls a
beanfeasL of bullrushes.' Saly cllmbed on Lop of Lhe cabln and scanned Lhe horlzon. lL was LhlrLy
feeL away and conslsLed of an expanse of reeds.
'1here's someLhlng over Lhere looks llke a church Lower,' she sald. Caskell cllmbed up
beslde her.
'lL ls a church Lower. So whaL?'
'So lf we flashed a llghL or someLhlng someone mlghL see lL,'
'8rllllanL. A hlghly populaLed place llke Lhe Lop of a church Lower Lhere's bound Lo be
people [usL wanLlng for us Lo flash a llghL.'
'Couldn'L we burn someLhlng?' sald Sally. 'Somebody would see Lhe smoke and...'
'?ou crazy? ?ou sLarL burnlng anyLhlng wlLh all LhaL fuel oll floaLlng around Lhey'll see
someLhlng all rlghL. Llke as explodlng crulser wlLh bodles.'
'We could flll a can wlLh oll and puL lL over Lhe slde and floaL lL away before llghLlng lL.'
'And seL Lhe seedbeds on flre? WhaL Lhe hell do you wanL? A fucklng holocausL?'
'C baby, you're [usL belng unhelpful.'
'l'm uslng my bralns ls all,' sald Caskell. '?ou keep comlng up wlLh 'brlghL ldeas llke LhaL
you're golng Lo land us ln a worse mess Lhan we're ln already.'
l don'L see why,' sald Sally.
'l'll Lell you why,' sald Caskell, 'because you wenL and sLole Lhls fucklng _Pesperus._
1haL's why.'
'l dldn'L sLeal lL. l...'
'?ou Lell Lhe fuzz LhaL. !usL Lell Lhem. ?ou sLarL seLLlng flre Lo reedbeds and Lhey'll be all
over us asklng quesLlons. Llke whose boaL Lhls ls and how come you're salllng someone else's
crulser...So we goL Lo geL ouL of here wlLhouL publlclLy.'
lL sLarLed Lo raln.
'1haL's all we need. 8aln,' sald Caskell. Sally wenL down lnLo Lhe cabln where Lva was
Lldylng up afLer lunch. 'Cod, C's hopeless. llrsL he lands us on a mudbank ln Lhe mlddle of
nowhere, Lhen he gefucks Lhe moLor buL good and now he says be doesn'L know whaL Lo do.'
'Why doesn'L he go, and geL help?' asked Lva.
'Pow? Swlmmlng? C couldn'L swlm LhaL far Lo save hls llfe.'
'Pe could Lake Lhe alrbed and paddle down Lo Lhe open waLer,' sald Lva. 'Pe wouldn'L
have Lo swlm.'
'Alrbed? uld l hear you say alrbed? WhaL alrbed?'
'1he one ln Lhe locker wlLh Lhe llfe[ackeLs. All you've goL Lo do ls blow lL up and...'
'Poney you're Lhe pracLlcallesL,' sald Sally, and rushed ouLslde. 'C, Lva's found a way for
you Lo go and geL help. 1here's an alrbed ln Lhe locker wlLh Lhe llfe[ackeLs.' She rummaged ln Lhe
locker and Look ouL Lhe alrbed.
'?ou Lhlnk l'm golng anywhere on LhaL damned Lhlng you've goL anoLher Lhlnk comlng,'
sald Caskell.
'WhaL's wrong wlLh lL?'
ln Lhls weaLher? ?ou ever Lrled Lo sLeer one of Lhose Lhlngs? lL's bad enough on a sunny
day wlLh no wlnd. 8lghL now l'd end up ln Lhe reeds and anyhow Lhe raln's geLLlng on my
glasses.'
'All rlghL, so we walL Llll Lhe sLorm blows over. AL leasL we know how Lo geL off here.'
She wenL back lnLo Lhe cabln and shuL Lhe door. CuLslde Caskell squaLLed by Lhe englne
and Loyed wlLh Lhe wrench. lf only he could geL Lhe Lhlng Lo go agaln.
'Men,' sald Sally conLempLuously, 'Clalm Lo be Lhe sLronger sex buL when Lhe chlps are
down lL's us women who have Lo ball Lhem ouL.'
'Penry's lmpracLlcal Loo,' sald Lva. 'lL's all he can do Lo mend a fuse.' l do hope he lsn'L
worrled abouL me'
'Pe's havlng hlmself a ball,' sald Sally.
'noL Penry. Pe wouldn'L know how.'
'Pe's probably havlng lL off wlLh !udy.'
Lva shook her head. 'Pe was [usL drunk, LhaL's all. Pe's never done anyLhlng llke LhaL
before.'
'Pow would you know?'
'Well he ls my husband.'
'Pusband hell. Pe [usL uses you Lo wash Lhe dlshes and cook and clean up for hlm. WhaL
does he glve you? !usL Lell me LhaL'
Lva sLruggled wlLh her LhoughLs lnarLlculaLely. Penry dldn'L glve her anyLhlng very much.
noL anyLhlng she could puL lnLo words. 'Pe needs me,' she sald flnally.
'So he needs you. Who needs needlng? 1haL's Lhe rheLorlc of female feudallsm. So you
save someone's llfe, you've goL Lo be graLeful Lo Lhem for leLLlng you? lorgeL Penry. Pe's a [erk.'
Lva brlsLled. Penry mlghL noL be very much buL she dldn'L llke hlm lnsulLed.
'Caskell's noLhlng much Lo wrlLe home abouL,' she sald and wenL lnLo Lhe klLchen.
8ehlnd her Sally lay back on Lhe bunk and opened Lhe cenLre spread of Þlayboy. 'Caskells goL
bread,' she sald.
'8read?'
'Money, honey. CreensLuff. '1he sLuff LhaL makes Lhe world go round CabareLwlse. ?ou
Lhlnk l marrled hlm for hls looks? Ch no. l can smell a cool mllllon when lL comes by me and l do
mean buy me.'
'l could never marry a man for hls money,' sald Lva prlmly. 'l'd have Lo be ln love wlLh
hlm. l really would.'
'So you've seen Loo many movles. uo you really Lhlnk Caskell was ln love wlLh me?'
'l don'L know. l suppose he musL have been.'
Sally laughed. 'Lva baby you are naive. LeL me Lell you abouL C. C's a plasLlc freak. Pe'd
fuck a goddam chlmpanzee lf you dressed lL up ln plasLlc'
'Ch honesLly. Pe wouldn'L' sald Lva. 'l don'L belleve lL.'
'?ou Lhlnk l puL you on Lhe Þlll for noLhlng? ?ou go around ln LhaL blklnl and Caskell's
droollng over you all Lhe Llme lf l wasn'L here he'd have raped you'
'Pe'd have a hard Llme.' sald Lva, 'l Look !udo classes.'
'Well he'd Lry. AnyLhlng ln plasLlc drlves hlm crazy. Why do you Lhlnk he had LhaL doll?'
'l wondered abouL LhaL.'
'8lghL. ?ou can sLop wonderlng' sald Sally.
'l sLlll don'L see whaL LhaL has Lo do wlLh you marrylng hlm,' sald Lva.
'1hen leL me Lell you a llLLle secreL. Caskell was referred Lo me...'
'8eferred?'
'8y ur lreeborn. Caskell had Lhls llLLle problem and he consulLed ur lreeborn and ur
lreeborn senL hlm Lo me.'
Lva looked puzzled. '8uL whaL were you supposed Lo do?'
'l was a surrogaLe,' sald Sally.
'A surrogaLe?'
'Llke a sex counsellor' sald Sally. 'ur lreeborn used Lo send me cllenLs and l would help
Lhem.'
'l wouldn'L llke LhaL sorL of [ob,' sald Lva, 'l couldn'L bear Lo Lalk Lo men abouL sex.
Weren'L you embarrassed?'
'?ou geL used Lo lL and Lhere are worse ways of earnlng a llvlng. So C comes along wlLh
hls llLLle problem and l sLralghLened hlm ouL buL llLerally and we goL marrled. A buslness
arrangemenL. Cash on Lhe Lall.'
'?ou mean you...'
'l mean l have Caskell and Caskell has plasLlc.' lL's an elasLlc relaLlonshlp. 1he marrlage
wlLh Lhe Lwo-way sLreLch.'
Lva dlgesLed Lhls lnformaLlon wlLh dlfflculLy. lL dldn'L seem rlghL somehow. 'uldn'L hls
parenLs have anyLhlng Lo say abouL lL?' she asked. 'l mean dld he Lell Lhem abouL you helplng
hlm and all LhaL?'
'Say? WhaL could Lhey say? C Lold Lhem he'd meL me aL summer school and Þrlngsy's
greedy llLLle eyes popped ouL of hls greasy llLLle head. 8aby, dld LhaL faL llLLle man have penls
pro[ecLlon. Sell? Pe could sell anyLhlng. 1he 8ockefeller CenLre Lo 8ockefeller. So he accepLed
me. Cld Ma Þrlngshelm dldn'L. She fluffed and she puffed and she blew buL Lhls llLLle plggy
sLayed rlghL where Lhe bank was. C and me wenL back Lo Callfornla and C graduaLed ln plasLlc
and we've been blodegradable ever slnce.'
'l'm glad Penry lsn'L llke LhaL,' sald Lva. 'l couldn'L llve wlLh a man who was queer.'
'C's noL queer, honey. Llke l sald he's a plasLlc freak.'
'lf LhaL's noL queer l don'L know whaL ls' sald Lva.
Sally llL a clgarlllo.
'All men geL Lurned on by someLhlng,' she sald. '1hey're manlpulable. All you've goL Lo
do ls fend Lhe klnk. l should know.'
'Penry's noL llke LhaL. l'd know lf he was.'
'So he makes wlLh Lhe doll. 1haL's how much you know abouL Penry. ?ou Lelllng me he's
Lhe greaL lover?'
'We've been marrled Lwelve years. lL's only naLural we don'L do lL as ofLen as we used
Lo. We're so busy.'
'8usy llzzle. And whlle you're housebound whaL's Penry dolng?'
'Pe's Laklng classes aL Lhe 1ech. Pe's Lhere all day and he comes home Llred
'1akes classes Lakes asses. ?ou'll be Lelllng me nexL he's noL a sldewlnder.'
'l don'L know whaL you mean.' sald Lva.
'Pe has hls plece on Lhe slde. Pls secreLary knees up on Lhe desk.'
'Pe doesn'L have a secreLary.'
'1hen sLudenLs prudence. Screws Lhelr grades up. l know. l've seen lL. l've been around
colleges Loo long Lo be fooled.'
'l'm sure Penry would never...'
'1haL's whaL Lhey all say and Lhen blngo, lL's dlvorce and bobbysex and all you're lefL Lo
look forward Lo ls menopause and peeklng Lhrough Lhe bllnds aL Lhe man nexL door and walLlng
for Lhe luller 8rush man.'
'?ou make lL all sound so awful.' sald Lva. '?ou really do.'
'lL ls, Lva LeaLs. lL ls. ?ou've goL Lo do someLhlng, abouL lL before lL's Loo laLe. ?ou've goL
Lo llberaLe yourself from Penry. Make Lhe break and share Lhe cake. CLherwlse lL's male
domlnaLlon doomslde.'
Lva saL on Lhe bunk and LhoughL abouL Lhe fuLure. lL dldn'L seem Lo hold Lrench for her.
1hey would never have any chlldren now and Lhey wouldn'L ever have much money. 1hey would
go on llvlng ln Þark-dew Avenue and paylng off Lhe morLgage and maybe Penry would flnd
someone else and Lhen whaL would she do? And even lf he dldn'L, llfe was passlng her by.
'l wlsh l knew whaL Lo do,' she sald presenLly. Sally saL up and puL her arm round her.
'Why don'L you come Lo Lhe SLaLes wlLh us ln november?' she sald. 'We could have such
fun.'
'Ch l couldn'L do LhaL,' sald Lva. 'lL wouldn'L be falr Lo Penry.'

no such qualms boLhered lnspecLor lllnL. WllL's lnLranslgence under lnLense quesLlonlng merely
lndlcaLed LhaL he was harder Lhan he looked.
'We've had hlm under lnLerrogaLlon for LhlrLy-slx hours now,' he Lold Lhe conference of
Lhe Murder Squad ln Lhe brleflng room aL Lhe Þollce SLaLlon, 'and we've goL noLhlng ouL of hlm.
So Lhls ls golng Lo be a long hard [ob and qulLe frankly l have my doubLs abouL breaklng hlm.'
'l Lold you he was golng Lo be a hard nuL Lo crack,' sald SergeanL ?aLes.
'nuL belng Lhe operaLlve word,' sald lllnL. 'So lL's goL Lo be concreLe evldence.'
1here was a snlgger whlch dled away qulckly. lnspecLor lllnL was noL ln a humorous
mood.
'Lvldence, hard evldence ls Lhe only Lhlng LhaL ls golng Lo break hlm. Lvldence ls Lhe only
Lhlng LhaL ls golng Lo brlng hlm Lo Lrlal.'
'8uL we've goL LhaL,' sald ?aLes. 'lL's aL Lhe boLL...'
'l know exacLly where lL ls, Lhank you SergeanL. WhaL l am Lalklng abouL ls evldence of
mulLlple murder. Mrs WllL ls accounLed for. ur and Mrs Þrlngshelm aren'L. now my guess ls LhaL
he murdered all Lhree and LhaL Lhe oLher Lwo bodles are...' Pe sLopped and opened Lhe flle ln
fronL of hlm and hunLed Lhrough lL for noLes on vlolence and Lhe 8reak-up of lamlly Llfe. Pe
sLudled Lhem for a momenL and shook hls head. 'no,' he muLLered, 'lL's noL posslble.'
'WhaL lsn'L, slr?' asked SergeanL ?aLes. 'AnyLhlng ls posslble wlLh Lhls basLard.'
8uL lnspecLor lllnL was noL Lo be drawn. 1he noLlon was Loo awful.
'As l was saylng' be conLlnued, 'whaL we need now ls hard evldence. WhaL we have goL
ls purely clrcumsLanLlal. l wanL more evldence on Lhe Þrlngshelms. l wanL Lo know whaL
happened aL LhaL parLy, who was Lhere and why lL happened and aL Lhe raLe we're golng wlLh
WllL we aren'L golng Lo geL anyLhlng ouL of hlm. Snell, you go down Lo Lhe ueparLmenL of
8lochemlsLry aL Lhe unlverslLy and geL whaL you can on ur Þrlngshelm. llnd ouL lf any of hls
colleagues were aL LhaL parLy. lnLervlew Lhem. CeL a llsL of hls frlends, hls hobbles, hls glrl
frlends lf he had any. llnd ouL lf Lhere ls any llnk beLween hlm and Mrs WllL LhaL would suggesL a
moLlve. !ackson, you go up Lo 8osslLer Crove and see whaL you can geL on Mrs Þrlngshelm...'
8y Lhe Llme Lhe conference broke up deLecLlves had been despaLched all over Lown Lo
bulld up a dossler on Lhe Þrlngshelms. Lven Lhe Amerlcan Lmbassy had been conLacLed Lo flnd
ouL whaL was known abouL Lhe couple ln Lhe SLaLes. 1he murder lnvesLlgaLlon had begun ln
earnesL.
lnspecLor lllnL walked back Lo hls offlce wlLh SergeanL ?aLes and shuL Lhe door. '?aLes,'
he sald, 'Lhls ls confldenLlal. l wasn'L golng Lo menLlon lL ln Lhere buL l've a nasLy feellng l know
why LhaL sod ls so bloody cocky. Pave you ever known a murderer slL Lhrough LhlrLy-slx hours of
quesLlonlng as cool as a cucumber when be knows we've goL Lhe body of hls vlcLlm plnpolnLed
Lo Lhe nearesL lnch?'
SergeanL ?aLes shook hls head.'l've known some preLLy cool cusLomers ln my Llme and
parLlcularly slnce Lhey sLopped hanglng buL Lhls one Lakes Lhe blsculL lf you ask me he's a ravlng
psychopaLh.'
lllnL dlsmlssed Lhe ldea. 'ÞsychopaLhs crack easy,' he sald. '1hey confess Lo murders
Lhey haven'L commlLLed or Lhey confess Lo, murders Lhey have commlLLed buL Lhey confess. 1hls
WllL doesn'L. Pe slLs Lhere and Lells me how Lo run Lhe lnvesLlgaLlon. now Lake a look aL Lhls.' Pe
opened Lhe flle and Look ouL WllL's noLes. 'noLlce anyLhlng pecullar?'
SergeanL ?aLes read Lhe noLes Lhrough Lwlce.
'Well, he doesn'L seem Lo Lhlnk much of our meLhods,' he sald flnally. 'And l don'L much
llke Lhls blL abouL low level of lnLelllgence of average pollceman.'
'WhaL abouL ÞolnL 1wo u?' sald Lhe lnspecLor. 'lncreaslng use of sophlsLlcaLed meLhods
such as dlverslonary LacLlcs by crlmlnals. ulverslonary LacLlcs. uoesn'L LhaL suggesL anyLhlng Lo
you?'
'?ou mean he's Lrylng Lo dlverL our aLLenLlon away from Lhe real crlme Lo someLhlng
else?'
lnspecLor lllnL nodded. 'WhaL l mean ls Lhls. l wouldn'L mlnd beLLlng LhaL when we do
geL down Lo Lhe boLLom of LhaL fucklng plle we're golng Lo flnd an lnflaLable doll dressed up ln
Mrs WllL's cloLhes and wlLh a vaglna. 1haL's whaL l Lhlnk'
'8uL LhaL's lnsane.'
'lnsane? lL's fucklng dlabollcal,' sald Lhe lnspecLor. 'Pe's slLLlng ln Lhere llke a goddam
dummy glvlng as good as he geLs because he knows he's goL us chaslng a red herrlng.'
SergeanL ?aLes saL down mysLlfled. '8uL why? Why draw aLLenLlon Lo Lhe murder ln Lhe
flrsL place? Why dldn'L he [usL lle low and acL normally?'
'WhaL, and reporL Mrs WllL mlsslng? ?ou're forgeLLlng Lhe Þrlngshelms. A wlfe goes
mlsslng, so whaL? 1wo of her frlends go mlsslng and leave Lhelr house ln a hell of a mess and
covered wlLh bloodsLalns. 1haL needs explalnlng, LhaL does. So he puLs ouL a false Lrall...'
'8uL LhaL sLlll doesn'L help hlm,' ob[ecLed Lhe SergeanL. 'We dlg up a plasLlc doll. uoesn'L
mean we're golng Lo halL Lhe lnvesLlgaLlon.'
'Maybe noL buL lL glves hlm a week whlle Lhe oLher bodles dlslnLegraLe.'
'?ou Lhlnk be used an acld baLh llke Palgh?' asked Lhe SergeanL. '1haL's horrlble.'
'Cf course lL's horrlble. ?ou Lhlnk murder's nlce or someLhlng? Anyway Lhe only reason
Lhey goL Palgh was LhaL sLupld bugger Lold Lhem where Lo look for Lhe sludge. lf he'd kepL hls
Lrap shuL for anoLher week Lhey wouldn'L have found anyLhlng. 1he whole loL would have been
washed away. 8esldes l don'L know whaL WllL's used. All l do know ls he's an lnLellecLual, a
clever sod and he Lhlnks he's goL lL wrapped up. llrsL we Lake hlm ln for quesLlonlng, maybe
even geL hlm remanded and when we've done LhaL, we go and dlg up a plasLlc lnflaLable doll.
We're golng Lo look rlghL Charlles golng lnLo courL wlLh a plasLlc doll as evldence of murder.
We'll be Lhe laughlng sLock of Lhe world. So Lhe case geLs Lhrown ouL of courL and whaL happens
when we plck hlm up a second Llme for quesLlonlng on Lhe real murders? We'd have Lhe Clvll
LlberLles brlgade slnklng Lhelr LeeLh lnLo our LhroaLs llke bleedlng vamplre baLs.'
'l suppose LhaL explalns why he doesn'L sLarL shouLlng for a lawyer,' sald ?aLes.
'Cf course lL does. WhaL does he wanL wlLh a lawyer now? 8uL pull hlm ln a second Llme
and he'll have lawyers falllng over Lhemselves Lo help hlm. 1hey'll be squawklng abouL pollce
bruLallLy and vlcLlmlzaLlon. ?ou won'L be able Lo hear yourself speak. Pls bloody lawyers wlll
have a fleld day. llrsL plasLlc dolls and Lhen no bodles aL all. Pe'll geL clean away.'
'Anyone who can Lhlnk LhaL llLLle loL up musL be a madman,' sald Lhe SergeanL.
'Cr a fucklng genlus,' sald lllnL blLLerly. 'ChrlsL whaL a case.' Pe sLubbed ouL a clgareLLe
resenLfully.
'WhaL do you wanL me Lo do? Pave anoLher go aL hlm.'
'no, l'll do LhaL. ?ou go up Lo Lhe 1ech and chlvvy hls boss Lhere lnLo saylng whaL he
really Lhlnks of WllL. CeL any llLLle blL of dlrL on Lhe bllghLer you can. 1here's goL Lo be someLhlng
ln hls pasL we can use.'
Pe wenL down Lhe corrldor and lnLo Lhe lnLervlew 8oom. WllL was slLLlng aL Lhe Lable
maklng noLes on Lhe back of a sLaLemenL form. now LhaL he was beglnnlng Lo feel, lf noL aL
home ln Lhe Þollce SLaLlon, aL leasL more aL ease wlLh hls surroundlngs, hls mlnd had Lurned Lo
Lhe problem of Lva's dlsappearance. Pe had Lo admlL LhaL he had been worrled by Lhe
bloodsLalns ln Lhe Þrlngshelms' baLhroom. 1o whlle away Lhe Llme he had Lrled Lo formulaLe hls
LhoughLs on paper and he was sLlll, aL lL when lnspecLor lllnL came lnLo Lhe room and banged
Lhe door.
'8lghL, so you're a clever fellow, WllL,' he sald, slLLlng down and pulllng Lhe paper
Lowards hlm. '?ou can read and wrlLe and you've goL a nlce loglcal and lnvenLlve mlnd so leL's
[usL see whaL you've wrlLLen here. Who's LLhel?'
'Lva's slsLer,' sald WllL. 'She's marrled Lo a markeL gardener ln LuLon. Lva someLlmes
goes over Lhere for a week.'
'And "8lood ln Lhe baLh"?'
'!usL wonderlng how lL goL Lhere.'
'And "Lvldence of hurrled deparLure"?'
'l was slmply puLLlng down my LhoughLs abouL Lhe sLaLe of Lhe Þrlngshelms house, sald
WllL.
'?ou're Lrylng Lo be helpful?'
'l'm here helplng you wlLh your enqulrles. 1haL's Lhe offlclal Lerm lsn'L lL?'
'lL may be Lhe offlclal Lerm, WllL, buL ln Lhls case lL doesn'L correspond wlLh Lhe facLs.'
'l don'L suppose lL does very ofLen,' sald WllL. 'lL's one of Lhose expresslons LhaL covers a
mulLlLude of slns.'
'And crlmes.'
'lL also happens Lo ruln a man's repuLaLlon,' sald WllL. 'l hope you reallze whaL you're
dolng Lo mlne by holdlng me here llke Lhls. lL's bad enough knowlng l'm golng Lo spend Lhe resL
of my llfe belng polnLed ouL as Lhe man who dressed a plasLlc doll wlLh a cunL up ln hls wlfe's
cloLhes and dropped lL down a plle hole wlLhouL everyone Lhlnklng l'm a bloody murderer as
well.'
'Where you're golng Lo spend Lhe resL of your llfe nobody ls golng Lo care whaL you dld
wlLh LhaL plasLlc doll,' sald Lhe lnspecLor.
WllL selzed on Lhe admlsslon.
'Ah, so, you've found lL aL lasL,' he sald eagerly. '1haL's flne. So now l'm free Lo go.'
'SlL down and shuL up,' snarled Lhe lnspecLor. '?ou're noL golng anywhere and when you
do lL wlll be ln a large black van. l haven'L flnlshed wlLh you yeL. ln facL l'm only [usL beglnnlng.
'Pere we go agaln,' sald WllL. 'l [usL knew you'd wanL Lo sLarL aL Lhe beglnnlng agaln. ?ou
fellows have prlmary causes on Lhe braln. Cause and effecL, cause and effecL. Whlch came flrsL,
Lhe chlcken or Lhe egg...proLoplasm or demlurge? l suppose Lhls Llme lL's golng Lo be whaL Lva
sald when we were dresslng Lo go Lo Lhe parLy.'
'1hls Llme.' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'l wanL you Lo Lell me preclsely why you sLuck LhaL
damned doll down LhaL hole.'
'now LhaL ls an lnLeresLlng quesLlon.' sald WllL, and sLopped. lL dldn'L seem a good ldea
Lo Lry Lo explaln Lo lnspecLor lllnL ln Lhe presenL clrcumsLances [usL whaL he had had ln mlnd
when he dropped Lhe doll down Lhe shafL. 1he lnspecLor dldn'L look Lhe sorL of person who
would undersLand aL all readlly LhaL a husband could have fanLasles of murderlng hls wlfe
wlLhouL acLually puLLlng Lhem lnLo effecL. lL would be beLLer Lo walL for Lva Lo puL ln an
appearance ln Lhe flesh before venLurlng lnLo LhaL uncharLed LerrlLory of Lhe wholly lrraLlonal.
WlLh Lva presenL lllnL mlghL sympaLhlze wlLh hlm. WlLhouL her he mosL cerLalnly wouldn'L.
'LeL's [usL say l wanLed Lo geL rld of Lhe beasLly Lhlng,' he sald.
'LeL's noL say anyLhlng of Lhe sorL,' sald lllnL. 'LeL's [usL say you had an ulLerlor moLlve
for puLLlng lL Lhere.'
WllL nodded. 'l'll go along wlLh LhaL,' he sald.
lnspecLor lllnL nodded encouraglngly. 'l LhoughL you mlghL. Well, whaL was lL?'
WllL consldered hls words carefully. Pe was geLLlng lnLo deep waLers.
'LeL's [usL say lL was by way of belng a rehearsal.'
'A rehearsal? WhaL sorL of rehearsal?'
WllL LhoughL for a momenL.
'lnLeresLlng word "rehearsal",' he sald. 'lL comes from Lhe old lrench, _rehercer,_
meanlng...'
'1o hell wlLh where lL comes from,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'l wanL Lo know where lL ends up.'
'Sounds a blL llke a funeral Loo when you come Lo Lhlnk of lL.' sald WllL, conLlnulng hls
campalgn of semanLlc aLLrlLlon.
lnspecLor lllnL hurled hlmself lnLo Lhe Lrap. 'luneral? 'Whose funeral?'
'Anyone's' sald WllL bllLhely. 'Pearse, rehearse.' ?ou could say LhaL's whaL happens when
you exhume a body. ?ou rehearse lL Lhough l don'L suppose you fellows use hearses.'
'lor Cod's sake,' shouLed Lhe lnspecLor. 'Can'L you ever sLlck Lo Lhe polnL? ?ou sald you
were rehearslng someLhlng and l wanL Lo know whaL LhaL someLhlng was.'
'An ldea, a mere ldea,' sald WllL, 'one of Lhose ephemera of menLal fancy LhaL fllL llke
buLLerflles across Lhe summer landscape of Lhe mlnd blown by Lhe breezes of assoclaLlon LhaL
come llke sudden showers...l raLher llke LhaL.'
'l don'L,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, looklng aL hlm blLLerly. 'WhaL l wanL Lo know ls whaL you
were rehearslng. 1haL's whaL l'd llke Lo know.'
'l've Lold you. An ldea,'
'WhaL sorL of ldea?'
'!usL an ldea,' sald WllL. 'A mere...'
'So help me Cod, WllL,' shouLed Lhe lnspecLor, 'lf you sLarL on Lhese fucklng buLLerflles
agaln l'll break Lhe unbroken hablL of a llfeLlme and wrlng your bloody neck.'
'l wasn'L golng Lo menLlon buLLerflles Lhls Llme,' sald WllL reproachfully, 'l was golng Lo
say LhaL l had Lhls ldea for a book...'
'A book' snarled lnspecLor lllnL. 'WhaL sorL of book? A book of poeLry or a crlme sLory?'
'A crlme sLory.' sald WllL, graLeful for Lhe suggesLlon.
'l see,' sald Lhe lnspecLor. 'So you were golng Lo wrlLe a Lhrlller. Well now, [usL leL me
guess Lhe ouLllne of Lhe ploL. 1here's Lhls lecLurer aL Lhe 1ech and he has Lhls wlfe he haLes and
he decldes Lo murder her...'
'Co on!' sald WllL, 'you're dolng very well so far.'
'l LhoughL l mlghL be,' sald lllnL dellghLedly. 'Well, Lhls lecLurer Lhlnks he's a clever fellow
who can hoodwlnk Lhe pollce. Pe doesn'L Lhlnk much of Lhe pollce. So he dumps a plasLlc doll
down a hole LhaL's golng Lo be fllled wlLh concreLe ln Lhe hope LhaL Lhe pollce wlll wasLe Lhelr
Llme dlgglng lL ouL and ln Lhe meanLlme he's burled hls wlfe somewhere else. 8y Lhe way, where
dld you bury Mrs WllL, Penry? LeL's geL Lhls over once and for all. Where dld you puL her? !usL
Lell me LhaL. ?ou'll feel beLLer when lL's ouL.'
'l dldn'L puL her anywhere. lf l've Lold you LhaL once l've Lold you a Lhousand Llmes. Pow
many more Llmes have l goL Lo Lell you l don'L know where she ls.'
'l'll say Lhls for you, WllL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, when he could brlng hlmself Lo speak. 'l've
known some cool cusLomers ln my Llme buL l have Lo Lake my haL off Lo you. ?ou're Lhe coolesL
basLard lL's ever been my unforLunaLe experlence Lo come across.'
WllL shook hls head. '?ou know,' he sald, 'l feel sorry for you, lnspecLor, l really do. ?ou
can'L recognlse Lhe LruLh when lL's sLarlng you ln Lhe face.'
lnspecLor lllnL goL up and lefL Lhe room. '?ou Lhere,' he sald Lo Lhe flrsL deLecLlve he
could flnd. 'Co lnLo LhaL lnLervlew 8oom and ask LhaL basLard quesLlons and don'L sLop Llll l Lell
you'
'WhaL sorL of quesLlons?'
'Any sorL. !usL any. keep asklng hlm why he sLuffed an lnflaLable plasLlc doll down a plle
hole. 1haL's all. !usL ask lL over and over agaln. l'm golng Lo break LhaL sod.'
Pe wenL down Lo hls offlce and slumped lnLo hls chalr and Lrled Lo Lhlnk.


13


AL Lhe 1ech SergeanL ?aLes saL ln Mr Morrls's offlce. 'l'm sorry Lo dlsLurb you agaln,' he sald, 'buL
we need some more deLalls on Lhls fellow WllL.'
1he Pead of Llberal SLudles looked up wlLh a haggard expresslon from Lhe LlmeLable. Pe
had been havlng a desperaLe sLruggle Lrylng Lo flnd someone Lo Lake 8rlcklayers lour. Þrlce
wouldn'L do because he had Mechanlcs 1wo and Wllllams wouldn'L anyway. Pe had already
gone home Lhe day before wlLh a nervous sLomach and was LhreaLenlng Lo repeaL Lhe
performance lf anyone so much as menLloned 8rlcklayers lour Lo hlm agaln. 1haL lefL Mr Morrls
hlmself and he was prepared Lo be dlsLurbed by SergeanL ?aLes for as long as he llked lf lL meanL
he dldn'L have Lo Lake Lhose bloody brlcklayers.
'AnyLhlng Lo help,' he sald, wlLh an affablllLy LhaL was ln curlous conLrasL Lo Lhe haunLed
look ln hls eyes. 'WhaL deLalls would you llke Lo know?'
'!usL a general lmpresslon of Lhe man, slr,' sald Lhe SergeanL. 'Was Lhere anyLhlng
unusual abouL hlm?'
'unusual?' Mr Morrls LhoughL for a momenL. AparL from a preparedness Lo Leach Lhe
mosL awful uay 8elease Classes year ln and year ouL wlLhouL complalnL he could Lhlnk of
noLhlng unusual abouL WllL. 'l suppose you could call whaL amounLed Lo a phoblc reacLlon Lo
_1he Lord of Lhe llles_ a blL unusual buL Lhen l've never much cared for...'
'lf you'd [usL walL a momenL, slr,' sald Lhe SergeanL busylng hlmself wlLh hls noLebook.
'?ou dld say "phoblc reacLlon" dldn'L you?'
'Well whaL l meanL was...'
'1o flles, slr?'
'1o _1he Lord of Lhe llles._ lL's a book,' sald Mr Morrls, now uncerLaln LhaL he had been
wlse Lo menLlon Lhe facL. Þollcemen were noL noLlceably senslLlve Lo Lhose nlceLles of llLerary
LasLe LhaL consLlLuLed hls own deflnlLlon of lnLelllgence. 'l do hope l haven'L sald Lhe wrong
Lhlng.'
'noL aL all, slr. lL's Lhese llLLle deLalls LhaL help us Lo bulld up a plcLure of Lhe crlmlnal's
mlnd.'
Mr Morrls slghed. 'l'm sure l never LhoughL when Mr WllL came Lo us from Lhe
unlverslLy LhaL he would Lurn ouL llke Lhls.'
'CulLe so, slr. now dld Mr WllL ever say anyLhlng dlsparaglng abouL hls wlfe?'
'ulsparaglng? uear me no. Mlnd you he dldn'L have Lo. Lva spoke for herself.' Pe looked
mlserably ouL of Lhe wlndow aL Lhe plle-borlng machlne.
'1hen ln your oplnlon Mrs WllL was noL a very llkeable woman?'
Mr Morrls shook hls head. 'She was a ghasLly woman,' he sald.
SergeanL ?aLes llcked Lhe end of hls ballpen.
'?ou dld say "ghasLly" slr?'
'l'm afrald so. l once had her ln an Lvenlng Class for LlemenLary urama.'
'LlemenLary?' sald Lhe SergeanL, and wroLe lL down.
'?es, Lhough elemenLal would have been more approprlaLe ln Mrs WllL's case. She Lhrew
herself lnLo Lhe parLs raLher Loo vlgorously Lo be wholly convlnclng. Per uesdemona Lo my
CLhello ls someLhlng l am never llkely Lo forgeL.'
'An lmpeLuous woman, would you say?'
'LeL me puL lL Lhls way,' sald Mr Morrls, 'had Shakespeare wrlLLen Lhe play as Mrs WllL
lnLerpreLed lL, CLhello would have been Lhe one Lo be sLrangled.'
'l see, slr,' sald Lhe SergeanL. '1hen l Lake lL she dldn'L llke black men.'
'l have no ldea whaL she LhoughL abouL Lhe raclal lssue.' sald Mr Morrls, 'l am Lalklng of
her physlcal sLrengLh.'
'A powerful woman, slr?'
'very.' sald Mr Morrls wlLh feellngs.
SergeanL ?aLes looked puzzled. 'lL seems sLrange a woman llke LhaL allowlng herself Lo
be murdered by Mr WllL wlLhouL puLLlng up more of a sLruggle,' he sald LhoughLfully.
'lL seems lncredlble Lo me,' Mr Morrls agreed, 'and whaL ls more lL lndlcaLes a degree of
fanaLlcal courage ln Penry LhaL hls behavlour ln Lhls deparLmenL never led me Lo suspecL. l can
only suppose he was lnsane aL Lhe Llme.'
SergeanL ?aLes selzed on Lhe polnL. '1hen lL ls your consldered oplnlon LhaL he was noL
ln hls rlghL mlnd when he kllled hls wlfe?'
'8lghL mlnd? l can Lhlnk of noLhlng rlghLmlnded abouL kllllng your wlfe and dumplng her
body...'
'l meanL slr,' sald Lhe SergeanL, 'LhaL you Lhlnk Mr WllL ls a lunaLlc.'
Mr Morrls heslLaLed. 1here were a good many members of hls deparLmenL whom he
would have classlfled as menLally unbalanced buL he hardly llked Lo adverLlse Lhe facL. Cn Lhe
oLher hand lL mlghL help poor WllL.
'?es. l suppose so.' he sald flnally for aL hearL he was a klndly man. 'CulLe mad. 8eLween
ourselves, SergeanL, anyone who ls prepared Lo Leach Lhe sorL of bloodymlnded young Lhugs we
geL can'L be enLlrely sane. And only lasL week WllL goL lnLo an alLercaLlon wlLh one of Lhe
ÞrlnLers and was punched ln Lhe face. l Lhlnk LhaL may have had someLhlng Lo do wlLh hls
subsequenL behavlour. l LrusL you wlll LreaL whaL l say ln Lhe sLrlcLesL confldence. l wouldn'L
wanL...'
'CulLe so, slr,' sald SergeanL ?aLes. 'Well, l needn'L deLaln you any longer.'
Pe reLurned Lo Lhe Þollce SLaLlon and reporLed hls flndlngs Lo lnspecLor lllnL.
'nuLLy as a frulLcake,' he announced. '1haL's hls oplnlon. Pe's qulLe poslLlve abouL lL.'
'ln LhaL case he had no rlghL Lo employ Lhe sod,' sald lllnL. 'Pe should have sacked Lhe
bruLe.'
'Sacked hlm? lrom Lhe 1ech? ?ou know Lhey can'L sack Leachers. ?ou've goL Lo do
someLhlng really drasLlc before Lhey glve you Lhe booL.'
'Llke murderlng Lhree people, l suppose. Well as far as l'm concerned Lhey can have Lhe
llLLle basLard back.'
'?ou mean he's sLlll holdlng ouL?'
'Poldlng ouL? Pe's counLeraLLacklng. Pe's reduced me Lo a nervous wreck and now
8olLon says he wanLs Lo be relleved. Can'L sLand Lhe sLraln any longer.'
SergeanL ?aLes scraLched hls head. '8eaLs me how he does lL,' he sald. 'Anyone would
Lhlnk he was lnnocenL. l wonder when he'll sLarL asklng for a lawyer.'
'never,' sald lllnL. 'WhaL does he need a lawyer for? lf l had a lawyer ln Lhere handlng
ouL advlce l'd have goL Lhe LruLh ouL of WllL hours ago.'

As nlghL fell over Lel SreLch Lhe wlnd lncreased Lo Cale lorce LlghL. 8aln hammered on Lhe cabln
roof, waves slapped agalnsL Lhe hull and Lhe cabln crulser, llsLlng Lo sLarboard, seLLled more
flrmly lnLo Lhe mud. lnslde Lhe cabln Lhe alr was Lhlck wlLh smoke and bad feellngs, Caskell had
opened a boLLle of vodka and was geLLlng drunk. 1o pass Lhe Llme Lhey played Scrabble.
'My ldea of hell,' sald Caskell, 'ls Lo be huls closed wlLh a couple of dykes.'
'WhaL's a dyke?' sald Lva.
Caskell sLared aL her. '?ou don'L know?'
'l know Lhe sorL Lhey have ln Polland...'
'?oga bear,' sald Caskell, 'you are Lhe naivesL. A dyke ls--'
'lorgeL lL, C' sald Sally. 'Whose Lurn Lo play?'
'lL's mlne.' sald Lva. 'l...M...Þ spells lmp.'
'C...1...L...n...1 spells Caskell,' sald Sally.
Caskell drank some moLe vodka. 'WhaL Lhe hell sorL of game we supposed Lo be
playlng? Scrabble or some sorL of 1ruLh group?'
'?our Lurn,' sald Sally.
Caskell puL u...l...L...u on Lhe C. '1ry LhaL for slze.'
Lva looked aL lL crlLlcally.
'?ou can'L use proper names,' she sald. '?ou wouldn'L leL me use Squezy.'
'Lva LeaLs, dlldo ls noL a proper name. lL's an lmproper Lhlng. A surrogaLe penls.'
'A whaL?'
'never mlnd whaL lL ls,' sald Sally. '?our Lurn Lo play.' Lva sLudled her leLLers. She dldn'L
llke belng Lold whaL Lo do so ofLen and besldes she sLlll wanLed Lo know whaL a dyke was. And a
surrogaLe penls. ln Lhe end she puL L...C...v on Lhe L.
'ls a many-splendoured Lhlng,' sald Caskell and puL u...l...u on Lhe L and C.
'?ou can'L have Lwo of Lhem,' sald Lva. '?ou've goL one ulldo already.'
'1hls one's dlfferenL,' sald Caskell, 'lL's goL whlskers.'
'WhaL dlfference does LhaL make?'
'Ask Sally. She's Lhe one wlLh penls envy.'
'?ou asshole,' sald SalLy and puL l...A...C...C...C on Lhe 1. 'Meanlng you.'
'Llke l sald. 1ruLh Scrabble,' sald Caskell. '1rouble for sure. So why don'L we have an
encounLer group lnsLead. LeL Lhe LruLh hang ouL llke lL ls.'
Lva used Lhe l Lo make falLhful. Caskell followed wlLh Pooker and Sally wenL lnsane.
'CreaL.' sald Caskell, 'AlphabeLlcal l Chlng.'
'Wunderklnd, you slay me,' sald Sally.
'Co Zelda yourself,' sald Caskell and slld hls hand up Lva's Lhlgh.
'keep your hands Lo yourself,' sald Lva and pushed hlm away. She puL S and n on Lhe l.
Caskell made 8uLch wlLh Lhe 8.'
'And don'L Lell me lL's a proper name.'
'Well lL's cerLalnly noL a word l've heard.' sald Lva.
Caskell sLared aL her and Lhen roared wlLh laughLer.
'now l've heard lL all.' he sald. 'Llke cunnlllngus ls a cough medlclne. Pow dumb can you
geL?'
'Co look ln Lhe mlrror,' sald Sally.
'Ch sure. So l marrled a goddam lesblan whore who goes round sLeallng oLher people's
wlves and boaLs and Lhlngs. l'm dumb. 8uL boobs here beaLs me. She's so fucklng hypocrlLlcal
she preLends she's noL a dyke...'
'l don'L know whaL a dyke ls,' sald Lva.
'Well leL me lnform you, faLso. A dyke ls a lesblan,'
'Are you calllng me a lesblan?' sald Lva.
'?es,' sald Caskell.
Lva slapped hlm across Lhe face hard. Caskell's glasses came off and he saL down on Lhe
floor.
'now C...' Sally began buL Caskell had scrambled Lo hls feeL.'
'8lghL you faL blLch,' he sald. '?ou wanL Lhe LruLh you're golng Lo geL lL. llrsL off, you
Lhlnk husband Penry goL lnLo LhaL doll off hls own baL, well leL me Lell you...'
'Caskell, you [usL shuL up.' shouLed Sally.
'Llke hell l wlll. l've had abouL enough of you and your roLLen llLLle ways. l plcked you ouL
of a caLhouse...'
'1haL's noL Lrue. lL was a cllnlc,' screamed Sally, 'a cllnlc for slck perverLs llke you.'
Lva wasn'L llsLenlng. She was sLarlng aL Caskell. Pe had called her a lesblan and had sald
Penry hadn'L goL lnLo LhaL doll of hls own accord.
'1ell me abouL Penry,' she shouLed. 'Pow dld he geL lnLo LhaL doll?'
Caskell polnLed aL Sally. 'She,' puL hlm Lhere. 1haL poor goof wouldn'L know...'
'?ou puL hlm Lhere?' Lva sald Lo Sally. '?ou dld?'
'Pe Lrled Lo make me, Lva. Pe Lrled Lo--'
'l don'L belleve lL,' Lva shouLed. 'Penry lsn'L llke LhaL.'
'l Lell you he dld. Pe...'
'And you puL hlm ln LhaL doll?' Lva screamed and launched herself across Lhe Lable aL
Sally. 1here was a spllnLerlng sound and Lhe Lable collapsed, Caskell scudded sldeways on Lo Lhe
bunk and Sally shoL ouL of Lhe cabln. Lva goL Lo her feeL and moved forward Lowards Lhe door.
She had been Lrlcked, cheaLed and lled Lo. And Penry had been humlllaLed. She was golng Lo klll
LhaL blLch Sally. She sLepped ouL lnLo Lhe cockplL. Cn Lhe far slde Sally was a dark shadow. Lva
wenL round Lhe englne and lunged aL her. 1he nexL momenL she had sllpped on Lhe olly deck
and Sally had darLed across Lhe cockplL and Lhrough Lhe door lnLo Lhe cabln. She slammed Lhe
door behlnd her and locked lL. Lva WllL goL Lo her feeL and sLood wlLh Lhe raln runnlng down her
face and as she sLood Lhere Lhe llluslons LhaL had susLalned her Lhrough Lhe week dlsappeared.
She saw herself as a faL, sllly woman who had lefL her husband ln pursulL of a glamour LhaL was
false and shoddy and founded on brlLLle Lalk and money. And Caskell had sald she was a lesblan.
1he full nausea of knowlng whaL 1ouch 1herapy had meanL dawned on Lva. She sLaggered Lo
Lhe slde of Lhe boaL and saL down on a locker.
And slowly her self-dlsgusL Lurned back Lo anger, and a cold haLred of Lhe Þrlngshelms.
She would geL her own back on Lhem. 1hey would be sorry Lhey had ever meL her. She goL up
and opened Lhe locker and Look ouL Lhe llfe[ackeLs and Lhrew Lhem over Lhe slde. 1hen she blew
up Lhe alrbed, dropped lL lnLo Lhe waLer and cllmbed over herself. She leL herself down lnLo Lhe
waLer and lay on Lhe alrbed. lL rocked alarmlngly buL Lva was noL afrald. She was geLLlng her
revenge on Lhe Þrlngshelms and she no longer cared whaL happened Lo her. She paddled off
Lhrough Lhe llLLle waves pushlng Lhe llfe[ackeLs ln fronL of her. 1he wlnd was behlnd her and Lhe
alrbed moved easlly. ln flve mlnuLes she had Lurned Lhe corner of Lhe reeds and was ouL of slghL
of Lhe crulser. Somewhere ln Lhe darkness ahead Lhere was Lhe open waLer where Lhey had
seen Lhe dlnghles and beyond lL land.
ÞresenLly she found herself belng blown sldeways lnLo Lhe reeds. 1he raln sLopped and
Lva lay panLlng on Lhe alrbed. lL would be easler lf she goL rld of Lhe llfe[ackeLs. She was far
enough from Lhe boaL for Lhem Lo be well hldden. She pushed Lhem lnLo Lhe reeds and Lhen
heslLaLed. Þerhaps she should keep one for herself. She dlsenLangled a [ackeL from Lhe bunch
and managed Lo puL lL on. 1hen she lay face down on Lhe alrbed agaln and paddled forward
down Lhe wldenlng channel.

Sally leanL agalnsL Lhe cabln door and looked aL Caskell wlLh loaLhlng.
'?ou sLupld [erk.' she sald. '?ou had Lo open your blg mouLh. So whaL Lhe hell are you
golng Lo do now?'
'ulvorce you for a sLarL.' sald Caskell.
'l'll allmony you for all Lhe money you've goL.'
'laL chance. ?ou won'L geL a red cenL.' Caskell sald and drank some more vodka.
'l'll see you dead flrsL,' sald Sally.
Caskell grlnned. 'Me dead? Anyone's golng Lo dle round here, lL's you. 8ooby baby ls ouL
for blood.'
'She'll cool off.'
'?ou Lhlnk so? 1ry openlng LhaL door lf you're so sure. Co on, unlock lL,'
Sally moved away from Lhe door and saL down.
'1hls Llme you've really boughL yourself some Lrouble,' sald Caskell. '?ou had Lo plck a
goddam prlzeflghLer.'


'?ou go ouL and paclfy her.' sald Sally.
'no way. l'd as soon play bllnd man's buff wlLh a fucklng rhlnoceros.' Pe lay on Lhe bunk
and smlled happlly. '?ou know Lhere's someLhlng really lronlcal abouL all Lhls. ?ou had Lo go and
llberaLe a neanderLhal. Women's Llb for paleollLhlcs. She 1arzan, you !ane. ?ou've boughL
yourself a plece of zoo.'
'very funny,' sald Sally. 'And whaL's your role?'
'Me noah. !usL be Lhankful she hasn'L goL a gun.' Pe pulled a plllow up under hls head
and wenL Lo sleep.
Sally saL on sLarlng aL hls back venomously. She was frlghLened. Lva's reacLlon had been
so vlolenL LhaL lL had desLroyed her confldence ln herself. Caskell was rlghL. 1here had been
someLhlng prlmeval ln Lva WllL's behavlour. She shuddered aL Lhe LhoughL of LhaL dark shape
movlng Lowards her ln Lhe cockplL. Sally goL up and wenL lnLo Lhe galley and found a long sharp
knlfe. 1hen she wenL back lnLo Lhe cabln and checked Lhe lock on Lhe door and lay down on her
bunk and Lrled Lo sleep. 8uL sleep wouldn'L come. 1here were nolses ouLslde. Waves lapped
agalnsL Lhe slde of Lhe boaL. 1he wlnd blew. Cod, whaL a mess lL all was! Sally cluLched her knlfe
and LhoughL abouL Caskell and whaL he had sald abouL dlvorce.

ÞeLer 8ralnLree saL ln Lhe offlce of Mr Cosdyke, SollclLor, and dlscussed Lhe problem. 'Pe's been
ln Lhere slnce Monday and lL's 1hursday now. Surely Lhey've no rlghL Lo keep hlm Lhere so long
wlLhouL hls seelng a sollclLor.'
lf he doesn'L ask for one and lf Lhe pollce wanL Lo quesLlon hlm and he ls prepared Lo
answer Lhelr quesLlons and refuses Lo demand hls legal rlghLs l don'L really see LhaL Lhere ls
anyLhlng l can do abouL lL,' sald Mr Cosdyke.
'8uL are you sure LhaL LhaL ls Lhe slLuaLlon?' asked 8ralnLree.
'As far as l can ascerLaln LhaL ls lndeed Lhe slLuaLlon. Mr WllL has noL asked Lo see me. l
spoke Lo Lhe lnspecLor ln charge, you heard me and lL seems qulLe clear LhaL Mr WllL appears,
for some exLraordlnary reason, Lo be prepared Lo help Lhe pollce wlLh Lhelr enqulrles [usL as long
as Lhey feel hls presence aL Lhe Þollce SLaLlon ls necessary. now lf a man refuses Lo asserL hls
own legal rlghLs Lhen he has only hlmself Lo blame for hls predlcamenL.'
'8uL are you absoluLely cerLaln LhaL Penry has refused Lo see you? l mean Lhe pollce
could be lylng Lo you.' Mr Cosdyke shook hls head. 'l have known lnspecLor lllnL for many years,'
he sald, 'and he ls noL Lhe sorL of man Lo deny a suspecL hls rlghLs. no, l'm sorry. Mr 8ralnLree. l
would llke Lo be of more asslsLance buL frankly, ln Lhe clrcumsLances, l can do noLhlng. Mr WllL's
predllecLlon for Lhe company of pollce offlcers ls qulLe lncomprehenslble Lo me, buL lL
dlsquallfles me from lnLerferlng.'
'?ou don'L Lhlnk Lhey're glvlng hlm Lhlrd degree or anyLhlng of LhaL sorL?'
'My dear fellow, Lhlrd degree? ?ou've been waLchlng Loo many old movles on Lhe 1v.
1he pollce don'L use sLrong-arm meLhods ln Lhls counLry.'
'1hey've been preLLy bruLal wlLh some of our sLudenLs who have been on demos,'
8ralnLree polnLed ouL.
'Ah, buL sLudenLs are qulLe anoLher maLLer and demonsLraLlng sLudenLs geL whaL Lhey
deserve. ÞollLlcal provocaLlon ls one Lhlng buL domesLlc murders of Lhe sorL your frlend Mr WllL
seems Lo have lndulged ln come lnLo a dlfferenL caLegory alLogeLher. l can honesLly say LhaL ln
all my years ln Lhe legal professlon l have yeL Lo come across a case ln whlch Lhe pollce dld noL
LreaL a domesLlc murderer wlLh greaL care and noL a llLLle sympaLhy. AfLer all, Lhey are nearly all
marrled men Lhemselves, and ln any case Mr WllL has a degree and LhaL always helps. lf you are
a professlonal man, and ln splLe of whaL some people may say lecLurers ln 1echnlcal Colleges are
members of a professlon lf only marglnally, Lhen you can resL assured LhaL Lhe pollce wlll do
noLhlng ln Lhe leasL unLoward. Mr WllL ls perfecLly safe.'

And WllL felL safe. Pe saL ln Lhe lnLervlew 8oom and conLemplaLed lnspecLor lllnL wlLh lnLeresL.
'MoLlvaLlon? now Lhere's an lnLeresLlng quesLlon,' he sald. 'lf you had asked me why l
marrled Lva ln Lhe flrsL place l'd have same Lrouble Lrylng Lo explaln, myself. l was young aL Lhe
Llme and...'
'WllL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'l dldn'L ask you why you marrled your wlfe. l asked you why
you declded Lo murder her.'
'l dldn'L declde Lo murder her.' sald WllL.
'lL was a sponLaneous acLlon? A momenLary lmpulse you couldn'L reslsL? An acL of
madness you now regreL?'
'lL was none of Lhose Lhlngs. ln Lhe flrsL place lL was noL an acL. lL was mere fanLasy.'
'8uL you do admlL LhaL Lhe LhoughL crossed your mlnd?'
'lnspecLor,' sald WllL, 'lf l acLed upon every lmpulse LhaL crossed my mlnd l would have
been convlcLed of chlld rape, buggery, burglary, assaulL wlLh lnLenL Lo commlL grlevous bodlly
harm and mass murder long ago.'
'All Lhose lmpulses crossed your mlnd?'
'AL some Llme or oLher, yes,' sald WllL.
'?ou've goL a bloody odd mlnd.'
'Whlch ls someLhlng l share wlLh Lhe vasL ma[orlLy of manklnd. l daresay LhaL even you
ln your odd conLemplaLlve momenLs have...'
'WllL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'l don'L have odd conLemplaLlve momenLs. noL unLll l meL you
anyhow. now Lhen, you admlL you LhoughL of kllllng your wlfe...'
'l sald Lhe noLlon had crossed my mlnd, parLlcularly when l have Lo Lake Lhe dog for a
walk. lL ls a game l play wlLh myself. no more Lhan LhaL.'
'A game? ?ou Lake Lhe dog for a walk and Lhlnk of ways and means of kllllng Mrs WllL? l
don'L call LhaL a game. l call lL premedlLaLlon.'
'noL badly puL,' sald WllL wlLh a smlle, 'Lhe medlLaLlon blL. Lva curls up ln Lhe loLus
poslLlon on Lhe llvlng-room rug and Lhlnks beauLlful LhoughLs. l Lake Lhe bloody dog for a walk
and Lhlnk dreadful ones whlle Clem defecaLes on Lhe grass verge ln Crenvllle Cardens. And ln
each case Lhe end resulL ls [usL Lhe same. Lva geLs up and cooks supper and washes up and l
come home and waLch Lhe box or read and go Lo bed. noLhlng has alLered one way or anoLher.'
'lL has now,' sald Lhe lnspecLor. '?our wlfe has dlsappeared off Lhe face of Lhe earLh
LogeLher wlLh a brllllanL young sclenLlsL and hls wlfe, and you are slLLlng here walLlng Lo be
charged wlLh Lhelr murder.'
'Whlch l don'L happen Lo have commlLLed,' sald WllL. 'Ah well, Lhese Lhlngs happen. 1he
movlng flnger wrlLes and havlng wrlL...'
'luck Lhe movlng flnger. Where are Lhey? Where dld you puL Lhem? ?ou're golng Lo Lell
me.'
WllL slghed. 'l wlsh l could,' he sald, 'l really do. now you've goL LhaL plasLlc doll...'
'no we haven'L. noL by a long chalk. We're sLlll golng down Lhrough solld rock. We won'L
geL whaLever ls down Lhere unLll Lomorrow aL Lhe earllesL.'
'SomeLhlng Lo look forward Lo,' sald WllL. '1hen l suppose you'll leL me go.'
'Llke hell l wlll. l'll have you up for remand on Monday.'
'WlLhouL any evldence of murder? WlLhouL a body? ?ou can'L do LhaL.'
lnspecLor lllnL smlled. 'WllL,' he sald, 'l've goL news for you. We don'L need a body. We
can hold you on susplclon, we can brlng you up for Lrlal and we can flnd you gullLy wlLhouL a
body. ?ou may be clever buL you don'L know your law.'
'Well l musL say you fellows have an easy [ob of lL. ?ou mean you can go ouL ln Lhe
sLreeL and plck up some perfecLly lnnocenL passer-by and lug hlm ln here and charge hlm wlLh
murder wlLhouL any evldence aL all?'
'Lvldence? We've goL evldence all rlghL. We've goL a blood spaLLered baLhroom wlLh a
busLed-down door. We've goL an empLy house ln a fllLhy mess and we've goL some bloody Lhlng
or oLher down LhaL plle hole and you Lhlnk we haven'L goL evldence. ?ou've goL lL wrong.'
'Makes Lwo of us,' sald WllL.
'And l'll Lell you anoLher Lhlng, WllL. '1he Lrouble wlLh basLards llke you ls LhaL you're Loo
clever by half. ?ou overdo Lhlngs and you glve yourselves away. now lf l'd been ln your shoes, l'd
have done Lwo Lhlngs. know whaL Lhey are?'
'no,' sald WllL, 'l don'L.'
'l'd have washed LhaL baLhroom down, number one, and number Lwo l'd have sLayed
away from LhaL hole. l wouldn'L have Lrled Lo lay a false Lrall wlLh noLes and maklng sure Lhe
careLaker saw you and Lurnlng up aL Mr 8ralnLree's house aL mldnlghL covered ln mud. l'd have
saL LlghL and sald noLhlng.'
'8uL l dldn'L know abouL Lhose bloodsLalns ln Lhe baLhroom and lf lL hadn'L been for LhaL
fllLhy doll l wouldn'L have dumped Lhe Lhlng down Lhe hole. l'd have gone Lo bed. lnsLead of
whlch l goL plssed and acLed llke an ldloL.'
'LeL me Lell you someLhlng else. WllL.' sald Lhe lnspecLor. '?ou _are_ an ldloL, a fucklng
cunnlng ldloL buL an ldloL all Lhe same. ?ou need your head read.'
'lL would make a change from Lhls loL,' sald WllL.
'WhaL would?'
'Pavlng my head read lnsLead of slLLlng here and belng lnsulLed.'
lnspecLor lllnL sLudled hlm LhoughLfully. '?ou mean LhaL?' asked.
'Mean whaL?'
'AbouL havlng your head read? Would you be prepared Lo undergo an examlnaLlon by a
quallfled psychlaLrlsL?'
'Why noL?' sald WllL. 'AnyLhlng Lo help pass Lhe Llme.'
'CulLe volunLarlly, you undersLand. nobody ls forclng you Lo, buL lf you wanL...'
'LlsLen, lnspecLor, lf seelng a psychlaLrlsL wlll help Lo convlnce you LhaL l have noL
murdered my wlfe l'll be only Loo happy Lo. ?ou can puL me on a lle deLecLor. ?ou can pump me
full of LruLh drugs. ?ou can...'
'1here's no need for any of LhaL oLher sLuff,' sald lllnL, and sLood up. 'A good shrlnk wlll
do very nlcely. And lf you Lhlnk you can geL away wlLh gullLy buL lnsane, forgeL lL. 1hese blokes
know when you're mallngerlng madness.' Pe wenL Lo Lhe door and paused. 1hen he came back
and leanL across Lhe Lable.
'1ell me, WllL,' he sald. '1ell me [usL one Lhlng. Pow come you slL Lhere so coolly? ?our
wlfe ls mlsslng, we have evldence of murder, we have a repllca of her, lf you are Lo be belleved,
under LhlrLy feeL of concreLe and you don'L Lurn a halr. Pow do you do lL?'
'lnspecLor,' sald WllL. 'lf you had LaughL CasflLLers for Len years and been asked as many
damnfool quesLlons ln LhaL Llme as l have, you'd know. 8esldes you haven'L meL Lva. When you
do you'll see why l'm noL worrled. Lva ls perfecLly capable of Laklng care of herself. She may noL
be brlghL buL she's goL a bullL-ln survlval klL.'
'!esus, WllL, wlLh you around for Lwelve years she musL have had someLhlng.'
'Ch she has. ?ou'll llke Lva when you meeL her. ?ou'll geL along llke a house on flre.
?ou've boLh goL llLeral mlnds and an obsesslon wlLh Lrlvla. ?ou can Lake a wormcasL and Lurn lL
lnLo MounL LveresL.'
'WormcasL? WllL, you slcken me,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, and lefL Lhe room.
WllL goL up and walked up and down. Pe was Llred of slLLlng down. Cn Lhe oLher hand
he was well saLlsfled wlLh hls performance. Pe had surpassed hlmself and he Look prlde ln Lhe
facL LhaL he was reacLlng so well Lo whaL mosL people would conslder an appalllng predlcamenL.
8uL Lo WllL lL was someLhlng else, a challenge, Lhe flrsL real challenge he had had Lo meeL for a
long Llme. CasflLLers and ÞlasLerers had challenged hlm once buL he had learnL Lo cope wlLh
Lhem. ?ou [ollled Lhem along. LeL Lhem Lalk, ask quesLlons, dlverL Lhem, geL Lhem golng, accepL
Lhelr red herrlngs and hand ouL a few of your own, buL above all you had Lo refuse Lo accepL
Lhelr preconcepLlons. Whenever Lhey asserLed someLhlng wlLh absoluLe convlcLlon as a self-
evldenL LruLh llke all wogs began aL Calals, all you had Lo do was agree and Lhen polnL ouL LhaL
half Lhe greaL men ln Lngllsh hlsLory had been forelgners llke Marconl or Lord 8eaverbrook and
LhaL even Churchlll's moLher had been a ?ank or Lalk abouL Lhe Welsh belng Lhe orlglnal
Lngllshmen and Lhe vlklngs and Lhe uanes and from LhaL lead Lhem off Lhrough lndlan docLors
Lo Lhe naLlonal PealLh Servlce and blrLh conLrol and any oLher Loplc under Lhe sun LhaL would
keep Lhem quleL and puzzled and desperaLely Lrylng Lo Lhlnk of some ulLlmaLe argumenL LhaL
would prove you wrong.
lnspecLor lllnL was no dlfferenL. Pe was more obsesslve buL hls LacLlcs were [usL Lhe
same. And besldes he had goL hold of Lhe wrong end of Lhe sLlck wlLh a vengeance and lL
amused WllL Lo waLch hlm Lrylng Lo pln a crlme on hlm he hadn'L commlLLed. lL made hlm feel
almosL lmporLanL and cerLalnly more of a man Lhan he had done for a long, long Llme. Pe was
lnnocenL and Lhere was no quesLlon abouL lL. ln a world where everyLhlng else was doubLful and
uncerLaln and open Lo scepLlclsm Lhe facL of hls lnnocence was sure. lor Lhe flrsL Llme ln hls
adulL llfe WllL knew hlmself Lo be absoluLely rlghL, and Lhe knowledge gave hlm a sLrengLh he
had never supposed he possessed. And besldes Lhere was no quesLlon ln hls mlnd LhaL Lva
would Lurn up evenLually, safe and sound, and more Lhan a llLLle subdued when she reallzed
whaL her lmpulslveness had led Lo. Serve her rlghL for glvlng hlm LhaL dlsgusLlng doll. She'd
regreL LhaL Lo Lhe end of her days. ?es, lf anybody was golng Lo come off badly ln Lhls affalr lL
was dear old Lva wlLh her bosslness and her busyness. She'd have a [ob explalnlng lL Lo Mavls
MoLLram and Lhe nelghbours. WllL smlled Lo hlmself aL Lhe LhoughL. And even Lhe 1ech would
have Lo LreaL hlm dlfferenLly ln fuLure and wlLh a new respecL. WllL knew Lhe llberal consclence
Loo well noL Lo suppose LhaL he would appear anyLhlng less LhaL marLyr when he wenL back. And
a hero. 1hey would bend over backwards Lo convlnce Lhemselves LhaL Lhey hadn'L LhoughL hlm
as gullLy as hell. Pe'd geL promoLlon Loo, noL for belng a Leacher buL because Lhey would need
Lo salve Lhelr fraglle consclences. 1alk abouL kllllng Lhe faLLed calf.


14


AL Lhe 1ech Lhere was no quesLlon of kllllng Lhe faLLed calf, aL leasL noL for Penry WllL. 1he
lmmlnence of Lhe CnAA vlslLaLlon on lrlday, colncldlng as lL apparenLly would wlLh Lhe
resurrecLlon of Lhe laLe Mrs WllL, was causlng someLhlng approachlng panlc. 1he Course 8oard
meL ln almosL conLlnuous sesslon and memoranda clrculaLed so furlously LhaL lL was lmposslble
Lo read one before Lhe nexL arrlved.
'Can'L we posLpone Lhe vlslL?' ur Cox asked. 'l can'L have Lhem ln my offlce dlscusslng
blbllographles wlLh blLs of Mrs WllL belng dug ouL of Lhe ground ouLslde Lhe wlndow.'
'l have asked Lhe pollce Lo make Lhemselves as lnconsplcuous as posslble,' sald ur
Mayfleld.
'WlLh consplcuous lack of success so far,' sald ur 8oard.'
'1hey couldn'L be more ln evldence. 1here are Len of Lhem peerlng down LhaL hole aL
Lhls very momenL.'
1he vlce-Þrlnclpal sLruck a brlghLer noLe. '?ou'll be glad Lo hear LhaL we've managed Lo
resLore power Lo Lhe canLeen,' he Lold Lhe meeLlng, 'so we should be able Lo lay on a good
lunch.'
'l [usL hope l feel up Lo eaLlng.' sald ur Cox. '1he shocks of Lhe lasL few days have done
noLhlng Lo lmprove my appeLlLe and when l Lhlnk of poor Mrs WllL...'
'1ry noL Lo Lhlnk of her,' sald Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal, buL ur Cox shook hls head.
'?ou Lry noL Lo Lhlnk of her wlLh a damned greaL borlng machlne grlndlng away ouLslde
your offlce wlndow all day.'
'1alklng abouL shocks,' sald ur 8oard, 'l sLlll can'L undersLand how Lhe drlver of LhaL
mechanlcal corkscrew managed Lo escape elecLrocuLlon when Lhey cuL Lhrough Lhe power
cable.'
'Conslderlng Lhe problems we are faced wlLh, l hardly Lhlnk LhaL's a relevanL polnL [usL aL
presenL,' sald ur Mayfleld. 'WhaL we have goL Lo sLress Lo Lhe members of Lhe CnAA commlLLee
ls LhaL Lhls degree ls an lnLegraLed course wlLh a fundamenLal subsLrucLure grounded
LhemaLlcally on a concomlLance of culLural and soclologlcal facLors ln no way unsuperflclally
dlsparaLe and wlLh a solld quoLa of academlc conLenL Lo glve sLudenLs an lnLellecLual and
cerebral..
'Paemorrhage?' suggesLed ur 8oard.
ur Mayfleld regarded hlm balefully. 'l really do Lhlnk Lhls ls no Llme for fllppancy,' he sald
angrlly. 'LlLher we are commlLLed Lo Lhe !olnL Ponours degree or we are noL. lurLhermore we
have only unLll Lomorrow Lo sLrucLure our LacLlcal approach Lo Lhe vlslLaLlon commlLLee. now,
whlch ls lL Lo be?'
'Whlch ls whaL Lo be?' asked ur 8oard. 'WhaL has our commlLmenL or lack of lL Lo do
wlLh sLrucLurlng, for wanL of several far beLLer words, our so-called LacLlcal approach Lo a
commlLLee whlch, slnce lL ls comlng all Lhe way from London Lo us and noL vlce versa, ls
presumably approachlng us?'
'vlce-Þrlnclpal,' sald ur Mayfleld, l really musL proLesL. ur 8oard's aLLlLude aL Lhls laLe
sLage ln Lhe game ls qulLe lncomprehenslble. lf ur 8oard...'
'Could even begln Lo undersLand one LenLh of Lhe [argon ur Mayfleld seems Lo suppose
ls Lngllsh he mlghL be ln a beLLer poslLlon Lo express hls oplnlon,' lnLerrupLed ur 8oard. 'As lL ls
"lncomprehenslble" applles Lo ur Mayfleld's synLax, noL Lo my aLLlLude. l have always
malnLalned...'
'CenLlemen,' sald Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal. 'l Lhlnk lL would be besL lf we avolded lnLer-
deparLmenLal wrangles aL Lhls polnL ln Llme and goL down Lo buslness.'
1here was a sllence broken flnally by ur Cox. 'uo you Lhlnk Lhe pollce could he
persuaded Lo erecL a screen round LhaL hole?' he asked.
'l shall cerLalnly suggesL LhaL Lo Lhem,' sald ur Mayfleld. 1hey passed on Lo Lhe maLLer of
enLerLalnmenL.
'l have arranged for Lhere Lo be plenLy of drlnks before lunch,' sald Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal,
'and ln any case lunch wlll be [udlclously delayed Lo allow Lhem Lo geL lnLo Lhe rlghL mood so Lhe
afLernoon sesslons should be cuL shorL and proceed, hopefully, more smooLhly.'
'!usL so long as Lhe CaLerlng ueparLmenL doesn'L serve 1oad ln Lhe Pole,' sald ur 8oard.
1he meeLlng broke up acrlmonlously.

So dld Mr Morrls's encounLer wlLh Lhe Crlme 8eporLer of Lhe _Sunday ÞosL._
'Cf course l dldn'L Lell Lhe pollce LhaL l employed homlcldal manlacs as a maLLer of
pollcy,' he shouLed aL Lhe reporLer. 'And ln any case whaL l sald was, as l undersLood lL, Lo be
LreaLed ln Lhe sLrlcLesL confldence.'
'8uL you dld say you LhoughL WllL was lnsane and LhaL qulLe a number of Llberal SLudles
lecLurers were off Lhelr heads?'
Mr Morrls looked aL Lhe man wlLh loaLhlng. '1o puL Lhe record sLralghL, whaL l sald was
LhaL some of Lhem were...'
'Cff Lhelr rockers?' suggesLed Lhe reporLer.
'no, noL off, Lhelr rockers,' shouLed Mr Morrls. 'Merely, well, shall we say, sllghLly
unbalanced.'
'1haL's noL whaL Lhe pollce say you sald. 1hey say quoLe...'
'l don'L care whaL Lhe pollce say l sald. l know whaL l sald and whaL l dldn'L and lf you're
lmplylng...'
'l'm noL lmplylng anyLhlng. ?ou made a sLaLemenL LhaL half your sLaff are nuLs and l'm
Lrylng Lo verlfy lL.'
'verlfy lL?' snarled Mr Morrls. '?ou puL words lnLo my mouLh l never sald and you call
LhaL verlfylng lL?'
'uld you say lL or noL? 1haL's all l'm asklng. l mean lf you express an oplnlon abouL your
sLaff...'
'Mr MacArLhur, whaL l Lhlnk abouL my sLaff ls my own affalr. lL has absoluLely noLhlng Lo
do wlLh you or Lhe rag you represenL'
'1hree mllllon people wlll be lnLeresLed Lo read your oplnlon on Sunday mornlng,' sald
Mr MacArLhur, 'and l wouldn'L be aL all surprlsed lf Lhls WllL characLer dldn'L sue you lf he ever
geLs ouL of Lhe copshop.'
'Sue me? WhaL Lhe hell could he sue me for?'
'Calllng hlm a homlcldal manlac for a sLarL. 8anner headllnes PLAu Cl Ll8L8AL S1uulLS
CALLS LLC1u8L8 PCMlCluAL MAnlAC should be good for flfLy Lhousand. l'd be surprlsed lf he
goL less.'
Mr Morrls conLemplaLed desLlLuLlon. 'Lven your paper would never prlnL LhaL,' he
muLLered. 'l mean WllL would sue you Loo.'
'Ch we're used Lo llbel acLlons. 1hey're run-of-Lhe-mlll for us. We pay for Lhem ouL of
peLLy cash. now lf you'd be a blL more cooperaLlve...' Pe lefL Lhe suggesLlon ln mld-alr for Mr
Morrls Lo dlgesL.
'WhaL do you wanL Lo know?' he asked mlserably.
'CoL any [ulcy drug scene sLorles for us?' asked Mr MacArLhur. '?ou know Lhe sorL of
Lhlng. LCvL C8ClLS ln LLC1u8LS. 1haL always geLs Lhe publlc. 1eenyboppers havlng lL off and all
LhaL. Clve us a good one and we'll leL you off Lhe hook abouL WllL.'
'CeL ouL of my offlce!' yelled Mr Morrls.
Mr MacArLhur goL up. '?ou're golng Lo regreL Lhls.' he sald and wenL downsLalrs Lo Lhe
sLudenLs' canLeen Lo dlg up some dlrL on Mr Morrls.


'noL LesLs,' sald WllL adamanLly. '1hey're decepLlve.'
'?ou Lhlnk so?' sald ur ÞlLLman, consulLanL psychlaLrlsL aL Lhe lenland PosplLal and
professor of Crlmlnal Þsychology aL Lhe unlverslLy. 8elng plaglocephallc dldn'L help elLher.
'l should have LhoughL lL was obvlous.' sald WllL. '?ou show me an lnk-bloL and l Lhlnk lL
looks llke my grandmoLher lylng ln a pool of blood, do you honesLly Lhlnk l'm golng Lo be fool
enough Lo say so? l'd be dafL Lo do LhaL. So l say a buLLerfly slLLlng on a geranlum. And every
Llme lL's Lhe same. l Lhlnk whaL lL does look llke and Lhen say someLhlng compleLely dlfferenL.
Where does LhaL geL you?'
'lL ls sLlll posslble Lo lnfer someLhlng from LhaL,' sald ur ÞlLLman.
'Well, you don'L need a bloody lnk-bloL Lo lnfer, do you?' sald WllL. ur ÞlLLman made a
noLe of WllL's lnLeresL ln blood. '?ou can lnfer Lhlngs from [usL looklng aL Lhe shape of people's
heads.'
ur ÞlLLman pollshed hls glasses grlmly. Peads were noL Lhlngs he llked lnferences Lo be
drawn from. 'Mr WllL,' he sald, 'l am here aL your requesL Lo ascerLaln your sanlLy and ln
parLlcular Lo glve an oplnlon as Lo wheLher or noL l conslder you capable of murderlng your wlfe
and dlsposlng of her body ln a slngularly revolLlng and callous fashlon. l shall noL allow anyLhlng
you may say Lo lnfluence my ulLlmaLe and ob[ecLlve flndlngs.'
WllL looked perplexed. 'l musL say you're noL glvlng yourself much room for manoeuvre.
Slnce we've dlspensed wlLh mechanlcal alds llke LesLs l should have LhoughL whaL l had Lo say
would be Lhe only Lhlng you could go on. unless of course you're golng Lo read Lhe bumps on my
head. lsn'L LhaL a blL old-fashloned?'
'Mr WllL,' sald ur ÞlLLman, 'Lhe facL LhaL you clearly have a sadlsLlc sLreak and Lake
pleasure ln drawlng aLLenLlon Lo oLher people's physlcal lnflrmlLles ln no way dlspose me Lo
conclude you are capable of murder...'
'very decenL of you,' sald WllL, 'Lhough frankly l'd have LhoughL anyone was capable of
murder glven Lhe rlghL, or Lo be preclse Lhe wrong, clrcumsLances.'
ur ÞlLLman sLlfled Lhe lmpulse Lo say how rlghL he was. lnsLead he smlled prognaLhously.
'Would you say you are a raLlonal man, Penry?' he asked.
WllL frowned. '!usL sLlck Lo Mr WllL lf you don'L mlnd. 1hls may noL be a pald
consulLaLlon buL l prefer a llLLle formallLy'
ur ÞlLLman's smlle vanlshed. '?ou haven'L answered my quesLlon.'
'no, l wouldn'L say l was a raLlonal man,' sald WllL.
'An lrraLlonal one perhaps?'
'nelLher Lhe one wholly nor Lhe oLher wholly. !usL a man'
'And a man ls nelLher one Lhlng nor Lhe oLher?'
'ur ÞlLLman, Lhls ls your provlnce noL mlne buL ln my oplnlon man ls capable of
reasonlng buL noL of acLlng wlLhln wholly raLlonal llmlLs. Man ls an anlmal, a developed anlmal,
Lhough come Lo Lhlnk of lL all anlmals are developed lf we are Lo belleve uarwln. LeL's [usL say
man ls a domesLlcaLed anlmal wlLh elemenLs of wlldness abouL hlm...'
'And whaL sorL of anlmal are you, Mr WllL?' sald ur ÞlLLman. 'A domesLlcaLed anlmal or a
wlld one?'
'Pere we go agaln. 1hese splendldly slmple dual caLegorles LhaL seem Lo obsess Lhe
modern mlnd. LlLher/Cr klerkegaard as LhaL blLch Sally Þrlngshelm would say. no. l am noL
wholly domesLlcaLed. Ask my wlfe. She'll express an oplnlon on Lhe maLLer.'
'ln whaL respecL are you undomesLlcaLed?'

'l farL ln bed, ur ÞlLLman. l llke Lo farL ln bed. lL ls Lhe LrumpeL call of Lhe anLhropold ape
ln me asserLlng lLs LerrlLorlal lmperaLlve ln Lhe only way posslble.'
'ln Lhe only way posslble?'
'?ou haven'L meL Lva,' sald WllL. 'When you do you'll see LhaL asserLlon ls her forLe noL
mlne.'
'?ou feel domlnaLed by Mrs WllL?'
'l _am_ domlnaLed by Mrs WllL.'
'She bullles you? She assumes Lhe domlnanL role?'
'Lva ls, ur ÞlLLman. She doesn'L have Lo assume anyLhlng. She [usL ls.'
'ls whaL?'
'now Lhere's Lhe rub.' sald WllL, 'WhaL's Loday? ?ou lose Lrack of Llme ln Lhls place.'
'1hursday.'
'Well, Loday belng 1hursday, Lva ls 8ernard Leach.'
'8ernard Leach?'
'1he poLLer, ur ÞlLLman, Lhe famous poLLer,' sald WllL. 'now Lomorrow she'll be MargoL
lonLeyn and on SaLurday we play brldge wlLh Lhe MoLLrams so she'll be Cmar Sharlf. Cn Sunday
she's LllsabeLh 1aylor or Ldna C'8rlen dependlng on whaL Lhe Colour SupplemenLs have ln sLore
for me and ln Lhe afLernoon we go for a drlve and she's Lva WllL. lL's abouL Lhe only Llme ln Lhe
week l meeL her and LhaL's because l'm drlvlng and she's goL noLhlng Lo do buL slL sLlll and nag
Lhe panLs off me.'
'l begln Lo see Lhe paLLern.' sald ur ÞlLLman. 'Mrs WllL was...ls glven Lo role-playlng. 1hls
made for an unsLable relaLlonshlp ln whlch you couldn'L esLabllsh a dlsLlncLlve and asserLlve role
as a husband'
'ur ÞlLLman,' sald WllL, 'a gyroscope may, lndeed musL, spln buL ln dolng so lL achleves a
sLablllLy LhaL ls vlrLually unequalled. now lf you undersLand Lhe prlnclple of Lhe gyroscope you
may begln Lo undersLand LhaL our marrlage does noL lack sLablllLy. lL may be damned
uncomforLable comlng home Lo a cenLrlfugal force buL lL bloody well lsn'L unsLable.'
'8uL [usL now you Lold me LhaL Mrs WllL dld noL assume a domlnanL role. now you Lell
me she ls a forceful characLer.'
'Lva ls noL forceful. She ls a force. 1here's a dlfference. And as for characLer, she has so
many and Lhey're so varled lL's dlfflculL Lo keep up wlLh Lhem all. LeL's [usL say she Lhrows herself
lnLo whoever she ls wlLh an urgency and compulslveness LhaL ls noL always approprlaLe. ?ou
remember LhaL serles of Carbo plcLures Lhey showed on 1v some years back? Well, Lva was La
uame Aux Camellas for Lhree days afLer LhaL and she made dylng of 18 look llke SL vlLus' dance.
1alk abouL galloplng consumpLlon'
'l begln Lo geL Lhe plcLure,' sald ur ÞlLLman maklng a noLe LhaL WllL was a paLhologlcal
llar wlLh sado-masochlsLlc Lendencles.
'l'm glad somebody does,' sald WllL. 'lnspecLor lllnL Lhlnks l murdered her and Lhe
Þrlngshelms ln some sorL of bloodlusL and dlsposed of Lhelr bodles ln some exLraordlnary
fashlon. Pe menLloned acld. l mean lL's crazy. Where on earLh does one geL nlLrlc acld ln Lhe
quanLlLles necessary Lo dlssolve Lhree dead bodles, and one of Lhem overwelghL aL LhaL? l mean
lL doesn'L bear Lhlnklng abouL.'
'lL cerLalnly doesn'L,' sald ur ÞlLLman.
'ln any case do l look llke a murderer?' conLlnued WllL cheerfully. 'Cf course l don'L. now
lf he'd sald Lva had slaughLered Lhe bruLes, and ln my oplnlon someone should've done years
ago, l'd have Laken hlm serlously. Cod help Lhe poor sods who happen Lo be around when Lva
Lakes lL lnLo her head she's Llzzle 8orden.'
ur ÞlLLman sLudled hlm predaclously.
'Are you suggesLlng LhaL ur and Mrs Þrlngshelm were murdered by your wlfe?' be asked.
'ls LhaL whaL you're saylng?'
'no,' sald WllL, 'l am noL. All l'm saylng ls LhaL when Lva does Lhlngs she does Lhem
wholehearLedly. When she cleans Lhe house she cleans lL. LeL me Lell you abouL Lhe Parplc.
She's goL Lhls Lhlng abouL germs...'
'Mr WllL,' sald ur ÞlLLman hasLlly. 'l am noL lnLeresLed ln whaL Mrs WllL does wlLh Lhe
Parplc. l have come here Lo undersLand you. now Lhen, do you make a hablL of copulaLlng wlLh
a plasLlc doll? ls Lhls a regular occurrence?'
'8egular?' sald WllL. 'uo you mean a normal occurrence or a recurrlng one? now your
noLlon of whaL consLlLuLes a normal occurrence may dlffer from mlne...'
'l mean, do you do lL ofLen?' lnLerrupLed ur ÞlLLman.
'uo lL?' sald WllL. 'l don'L do lL aL all.'
'8uL l undersLood you Lo have placed parLlcular emphasls on Lhe facL LhaL Lhls doll had a
vaglna?'
'Lmphasls? l dldn'L have Lo emphaslze Lhe facL. 1he beasLly Lhlng was plalnly vlslble.'
'?ou flnd vaglnas beasLly?' sald ur ÞlLLman sLalklng hls prey lnLo Lhe more famlllar
LerrlLory of sexual aberraLlon.
'1aken ouL of conLexL, yes,' sald WllL sldesLepplng, 'and wlLh plasLlc ones you can leave
Lhem ln conLexL and l sLlll flnd Lhem nauseaLlng.'
8y Lhe Llme ur ÞlLLman had flnlshed Lhe lnLervlew he was uncerLaln whaL Lo Lhlnk. Pe
goL up wearlly and made for Lhe door.
'?ou've forgoLLen your haL, docLor,' sald WllL holdlng lL ouL Lo hlm. 'Þardon my asklng
buL do you have Lhem speclally made for you?'

'Well?' sald lnspecLor lllnL when ur ÞlLLman came lnLo hls offlce. 'WhaL's Lhe verdlcL?'
'verdlcL? 1haL man should be puL away for llfe.'
'?ou mean he's a homlcldal manlac?'
'l mean, LhaL no maLLer how he kllled her Mrs WllL musL have been Lhankful Lo go.
1welve years marrled Lo LhaL man...Cood Cod, lL doesn'L bear Lhlnklng abouL.'
'Well, LhaL doesn'L geL us much forrader,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, when Lhe psychlaLrlsL had
lefL havlng expressed Lhe oplnlon LhaL whlle WllL had Lhe mlnd of an lnLellecLual [ackrabblL he
couldn'L ln all honesLy say LhaL he was crlmlnally lnsane. 'We'll [usL have Lo see whaL Lurns up
Lomorrow.'


13


WhaL Lurned up on lrlday was seen noL only by lnspecLor lllnL, SergeanL ?aLes, Lwelve oLher
pollcemen, 8arney and half a dozen consLrucLlon workers, buL several hundred 1ech sLudenLs
sLandlng on Lhe sLeps of Lhe Sclence block, mosL of Lhe sLaff and by all elghL members of Lhe
CnAA vlslLaLlon commlLLee who had a parLlcularly good vlew from Lhe wlndows of Lhe mock
hoLel lounge used by Lhe CaLerlng ueparLmenL Lo Lraln walLers and Lo enLerLaln dlsLlngulshed
guesLs. ur Mayfleld dld hls besL Lo dlsLracL Lhelr aLLenLlon.
'We have sLrucLured Lhe foundaLlon course Lo maxlmlze sLudenL lnLeresL,' he Lold
Þrofessor 8axendale, who headed Lhe commlLLee, buL Lhe professor was noL Lo be dlverLed. Pls
lnLeresL was maxlmlzed by whaL was belng unsLrucLured from Lhe foundaLlons of Lhe new
Admln block.
'Pow absoluLely appalllng.' he muLLered as !udy proLruded from Lhe hole. ConLrary Lo
WllL's hopes and expecLaLlons she had noL bursL. 1he llquld concreLe had sealed her ln Loo well
for LhaL and lf ln llfe she had resembled ln many parLlculars a real llve woman, ln deaLh she had
all Lhe aLLrlbuLes of a real dead one. As Lhe corpse of a murdered woman she was enLlrely
convlnclng. Per wlg was maLLed and secured Lo her head aL an awful angle by Lhe concreLe. Per
cloLhes clung Lo her and cemenL Lo Lhem whlle her legs had evldenLly been conLorLed Lo Lhe
polnL of muLllaLlon and her ouLsLreLched arm had, as 8arney had foreLold, a desperaLe appeal
abouL lL LhaL was mosL affecLlng. lL also made lL exceedlngly dlfflculL Lo exLrlcaLe her from Lhe
hole. 1he legs dldn'L help, added Lo whlch Lhe concreLe had glven her a subsLance and sLaLure
approxlmaLe Lo LhaL of Lva WllL.
'l suppose LhaL's whaL Lhey mean by rlgor morLlce.' sald ur 8oard, as ur Mayfleld
desperaLely Lrled Lo sLeer Lhe conversaLlon back Lo Lhe [olnL Ponours degree.
'uear Lord,' muLLered Þrofessor 8axendale. !udy had eluded Lhe efforLs of 8arney and
hls men and had slumped back down Lhe hole. '1o Lhlnk whaL she musL have suffered. uld you
see LhaL damned hand?'
ur Mayfleld had. Pe shuddered. 8ehlnd hlm ur 8oard snlggered. '1here's a dlvlnlLy LhaL
shapes our ends, rough-hew Lhem how we wlll,' he sald gally. 'AL leasL WllL has saved hlmself
Lhe cosL of a gravesLone. All Lhey'll have Lo do ls prop her up wlLh Pere SLands Lva WllL, 8orn So
and So, Murdered lasL SaLurday carved across her chesL. ln llfe monumenLal, ln deaLh a
monumenL.'
'l musL say, 8oard,' sald ur Mayfleld, 'l flnd your sense of humour slngularly lll-Llmed.'
'Well Lhey'll never be able Lo cremaLe her, LhaL's for cerLaln,' conLlnued ur 8oard. 'And
Lhe underLaker who can flL LhaL llLLle loL lnLo a coffln wlll be noLhlng shorL of a genlus. l suppose
Lhey could always Lake a sledgehammer Lo her.'
ln Lhe corner ur Cox falnLed.
'l Lhlnk l'll have anoLher whlsky lf you don'L mlnd,' sald Þrofessor 8axendale weakly. ur
Mayfleld poured hlm a double. When he Lurned back Lo Lhe wlndow !udy was proLrudlng once
more from Lhe hole. '1he Lhlng abouL embalmlng,' sald ur 8oard, 'ls LhaL lL cosLs so much. now
l'm noL saylng LhaL Lhlng ouL Lhere ls a perfecL llkeness of Lva WllL as l remember her...'
'lor heaven's sake, do you have Lo go on abouL lL?' snarled ur Mayfleld, buL ur 8oard
was noL Lo be sLopped. 'CulLe aparL from Lhe legs Lhere seems Lo be someLhlng odd abouL Lhe
breasLs. l know Mrs WllL's were large buL Lhey do seem Lo have lnflaLed. Þrobably due Lo Lhe
gases. 1hey puLrefy, you know, whlch would accounL for lL.'
8y Lhe Llme Lhe commlLLee wenL onLo lunch Lhey had losL all appeLlLe for food and mosL
of Lhen were drunk.

lnspecLor lllnL was less forLunaLe. Pe dldn'L llke belng presenL aL exhumaLlons aL Lhe besL of
Llmes and parLlcularly when Lhe corpse on whose behalf he was acLlng showed such a marked
lncllnaLlon Lo go back where she came from. 8esldes he was ln Lwo mlnds wheLher lL was a
corpse or noL. lL looked llke a corpse and lL cerLalnly behaved llke a corpse, albelL a very heavy
one, buL Lhere was someLhlng abouL Lhe knees LhaL suggesLed LhaL all was noL anaLomlcally as lL
should have been wlLh whaLever lL was Lhey had dug up. 1here was a double [olnLedness and a
cerLaln lack of subsLance where Lhe legs sLuck forwards aL rlghL angles LhaL seemed Lo lndlcaLe
LhaL Mrs WllL had losL noL only her llfe buL boLh kneecaps as well. lL was Lhls mangled quallLy
LhaL made 8arney's [ob so dlfflculL and exceedlngly dlsLasLeful. AfLer Lhe body had dropped
down Lhe hole for Lhe fourLh Llme 8arney wenL down hlmself Lo asslsL from below.
'lf you sods drop her,' he shouLed from Lhe depLhs, 'you'll have Lwo dead bodles down
here so hang on Lo LhaL rope whaLever happens. l'm golng Lo Lle lL round her neck.'
lnspecLor lllnL peered down Lhe shafL. '?ou'll do no such Lhlng,' he shouLed, 'we don'L
wanL her decaplLaLed. We need her all ln one plece.'
'She ls all ln one bloody plece,' came 8arney's muffled reply, 'LhaL's one Lhlng you don'L
have Lo worry abouL.'
'Can'L you Lle Lhe rope around someLhlng else?'
'Well l could,' 8arney conceded, 'buL l'm noL golng Lo. A leg ls more llkely Lo come off
Lhan her head and l'm noL golng Lo be underneaLh her when lL goes.'
'All rlghL.' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'l [usL hope you know whaL you're dolng, LhaL's all.'
'l'll Lell you one Lhlng. 1he sod who puL her down here knew whaL he was dolng and no
mlsLake.'
8uL Lhls flfLh aLLempL falled, llke Lhe prevlous four, and !udy was lowered lnLo Lhe
depLhs where she resLed heavlly on 8arney's fooL.
'Co and geL LhaL bloody crane,' he shouLed, 'l can'L sLand much more of Lhls.'
'nor can l,' muLLered Lhe lnspecLor, who sLlll couldn'L make up hls mlnd whaL lL was he
was supposed Lo be dlslnLerrlng, a doll dressed up Lo look llke Mrs WllL or Mrs WllL dressed up
Lo look llke someLhlng some demenLed sculpLor forgoL Lo flnlsh. WhaL few doubLs he had had
abouL WllL's sanlLy had been enLlrely dlspelled by whaL he was presenLly wlLnesslng. Any man
who could go Lo Lhe awful lengLhs WllL had gone Lo render, and Lhe word was enLlrely apposlLe
whlchever way you Look lL, elLher hls wlfe or a plasLlc doll wlLh a vaglna, boLh lnaccesslble and
horrlbly muLllaLed, musL be lnsane.
SergeanL ?aLes puL hls LhoughLs lnLo words. '?ou're noL golng Lo Lell me now LhaL Lhe
basLard lsn'L off hls rocker,' he sald, as Lhe crane was moved lnLo poslLlon and Lhe rope lowered
and aLLached Lo !udy's neck.
'All rlghL, now Lake her away,' shouLed 8arney.

ln Lhe dlnlng-room only ur 8oard was en[oylng hls lunch. 1he elghL members of Lhe CnAA
commlLLee weren'L. 1helr eyes were glued Lo Lhe scene below.
'l suppose lL could be sald she was _ln sLaLue puplllarl,'_ sald ur 8oard, helplng hlmself
Lo some more Lemon Merlngue, 'ln whlch case we sLand ln _loco parenLls._ noL a pleasanL
LhoughL, genLlemen. noL LhaL she was ever a very brlghL sLudenL. l once had her for an Lvenlng
Class ln lrench llLeraLure. l don'L know whaL she goL ouL of _lleurs du Mal_ buL l do remember
Lhlnklng LhaL 8audelalre...'
'ur 8oard,' sald ur Mayfleld drunkenly, 'for a so-called culLured man you are enLlrely
wlLhouL feellng.'
'SomeLhlng l share wlLh Lhe laLe Mrs WllL, by Lhe look of Lhlngs.' sald ur 8oard, glanclng
ouL of Lhe wlndow, 'and whlle we are sLlll on Lhe sub[ecL, Lhlngs seem Lo be comlng Lo a head.
1hey do lndeed.' Lven ur Cox, recenLly revlved and coaxed lnLo havlng some muLLon, looked ouL
of Lhe wlndow. As Lhe crane slowly wlnched !udy lnLo vlew Lhe Course 8oard and Lhe CommlLLee
rose and wenL Lo waLch. lL was an unedlfylng slghL. near Lhe Lop of Lhe shafL !udy's lefL leg
caughL ln a crevlce whlle her ouLsLreLched arm embedded lLself ln Lhe clay.
'Pold lL,' shouLed 8arney lndlsLlncLly, buL lL was Loo laLe. unnerved by Lhe naLure of hls
load or ln Lhe mlsLaken bellef LhaL be had been Lold Lo llfL harder, Lhe crane drlver holsLed away.
1here was a ghasLly cracklng sound as Lhe noose LlghLened and Lhe nexL momenL !udy's
concreLe head, capped by Lva WllL's wlg, looked as lf lL was abouL Lo fulfll lnspecLor lllnL's
predlcLlon LhaL she would be decaplLaLed. ln Lhe evenL he need noL have worrled. !udy was
made of sLerner sLuff Lhan mlghL have been expecLed. As Lhe head conLlnued Lo rlse and Lhe
body Lo remaln flrmly embedded ln Lhe shafL !udy's neck rose Lo Lhe occaslon. lL sLreLched.
'uear Cod,' sald Þrofessor 8axendale franLlcally, 'Wlll lL never end?'
ur 8oard sLudled Lhe phenomenon wlLh lncreaslng lnLeresL 'lL doesn'L look llke lL,' he
sald. 'Mlnd you we do make a polnL of sLreLchlng our sLudenLs, eh Mayfleld?'
8uL ur Mayfleld made no response. As !udy Look on Lhe conflguraLlon of an osLrlch LhaL
had absenLmlndedly burled lLs head ln a pall of cemenL he knew LhaL Lhe [olnL Ponours degree
was doomed.
'l'd say Lhls for Mrs WllL,' sald ur 8oard, 'she do hold on. no one could call her sLlff-
necked. ALLenuaLed posslbly. Cne beglns Lo see whaL Modlgllanl was geLLlng aL.'
'lor Cod's sake sLop,' yelled ur Cox hysLerlcally, 'l Lhlnk l'm golng off my head.'
'Whlch ls more Lhan can be sald for Mrs WllL.' sald ur 8oard callously.
Pe was lnLerrupLed by anoLher awful crack as !udy's body flnally gave up Lhe sLruggle
wlLh Lhe shafL. WlLh a shower of clay lL careered upwards Lo resume a closer relaLlonshlp wlLh
Lhe head and hung naked, plnk and, now LhaL Lhe cloLhes and Lhe concreLe had been removed,
remarkably llfellke aL Lhe end of Lhe rope some LwenLy feeL above Lhe ground.
'l musL say,' sald ur 8oard sLudylng Lhe vulva wlLh rellsh, 'l've never had much sympaLhy
wlLh necrophllla before buL l do begln Lo see lLs aLLracLlons now. Cf course lL's only of hlsLorlcal
lnLeresL buL ln LllzabeLhan Llmes lL was one of Lhe perks of an execuLloner...'
'8oard,' screamed ur Mayfleld, 'l've known some fucklng swlne ln my Llme...'
ur 8oard helped hlmself Lo some more coffee. 'l belleve Lhe slang Lerm for lL ls llklng
your meaL cold.'

underneaLh Lhe crane lnspecLor lllnL wlped Lhe mud from hls face and peered up aL Lhe awful
ab[ecL swlnglng above hlm. Pe could see now LhaL lL was only a doll. Pe could also see why WllL
had wanLed Lo bury Lhe beasLly Lhlng.
'CeL lL down. lor Cod's sake geL lL down,' he bawled, as Lhe press phoLographers clrcled
round hlm. 8uL Lhe crane drlver had losL hls nerve. Pe shuL hls eyes, pulled Lhe wrong lever and
!udy began a furLher ascenL.
'SLop lL, sLop lL, LhaL's fucklng evldence,' screamed Lhe lnspecLor, buL lL was already Loo
laLe. As Lhe rope wound Lhrough Lhe flnal pulley !udy followed. 1he concreLe cap dlslnLegraLed,
her head slld beLween Lhe rollers and her body began Lo swell. Per legs were Lhe flrsL Lo be
affecLed.

'l've ofLen wondered whaL elephanLlasls looked llke,' sald ur 8oard. 'Shelley had a phobla abouL
lL, l belleve.'
ur Cox cerLalnly had. Pe was glbberlng ln a corner and Lhe vlce-Þrlnclpal was urglng hlm
Lo pull hlmself LogeLher.
'An apL expresslon,' observed ur 8oard, above Lhe gasps of horror as !udy, now clearly
Lwelve monLhs pregnanL, conLlnued her LransformaLlon. 'Larly Mlnoan, wouldn'L you say,
Mayfleld?'
8uL ur Mayfleld was pasL speech. Pe was sLarlng demenLedly aL a rapldly expandlng
vaglna some fourLeen lnches long and elghL wlde. 1here was a pop and Lhe Lhlng became a
penls, an enormous penls LhaL swelled and swelled. Pe was golng mad. Pe knew he was.
'now LhaL,' sald ur 8oard, 'Lakes some beaLlng. l've heard abouL sex-change operaLlons
for men buL...'
'8eaLlngs' screamed ur Mayfleld, '8eaLlng? ?ou can sLand Lhere cold-bloodedly and Lalk
abouL...'
1here was a loud bang. !udy had come Lo Lhe end of her LeLher. So had ur Mayfleld. 1he
penls was Lhe flrsL Lhlng Lo go. ur Mayfleld Lhe second. As !udy deflaLed he hurled hlmself aL ur
8oard only Lo slnk Lo Lhe ground glbberlng.
ur 8oard lgnored hls colleague. 'Who would have LhoughL Lhe old bag had so much wlnd
ln her?' be murmured, and flnlshed hls coffee. As ur Mayfleld was led ouL by Lhe vlce Þrlnclpal,
ur 8oard Lurned Lo Þrofessor 8axendale.
'l musL apologlze for Mayfleld,' he sald, 'l'm afrald Lhls !olnL Ponours degree has been
Loo much for hlm and Lo Lell Lhe LruLh l have always found hlm Lo be fundamenLally unsound. A
case of demenLla posL Cox l daresay.'

lnspecLor lllnL drove back Lo Lhe Þollce SLaLlon ln a sLaLe borderlng on lunacy.
'We've been made Lo look ldloLs,' he snarled aL SergeanL ?aLes. '?ou saw Lhem laughlng.
?ou heard Lhe basLards.' Pe was parLlcularly lncensed by Lhe press phoLographers who he asked
hlm Lo pose wlLh Lhe llmp remnanLs of Lhe plasLlc doll. 'We've been held up Lo publlc rldlcule.
Well, my Cod, somebody's golng Lo pay.'
Pe hurled hlmself ouL of Lhe car and lunged down Lhe passage Lo Lhe lnLervlew 8oom.
'8lghL, WllL,' he shouLed, 'you've had your llLLle [oke and a bloody nasLy one lL was Loo. So now,
we're golng Lo forgeL Lhe nlceLles and geL Lo Lhe boLLom of Lhls buslness.'
WllL sLudled Lhe Lorn plece of plasLlc. 'Looks beLLer llke LhaL lf you ask me,' he sald.
'More naLural lf you know whaL l mean.'
'?ou'll look bloody naLural lf you don'L answer my quesLlons,' yelled Lhe lnspecLor.
'Where ls she?'
'Where ls who?' sald WllL.
'Mrs lucklng WllL. Where dld you puL her?'
'l've Lold you. l dldn'L puL her anywhere.'
'And l'm Lelllng you you dld. now elLher you're golng Lo Lell me where she ls or l'm golng
Lo beaL lL ouL of you.'
'?ou can beaL me up lf you llke,' sald WllL, 'buL lL won'L do you any good.'
'Ch yes lL wlll,' sald Lhe lnspecLor and Look off hls coaL.
'l demand Lo see a sollclLor,' sald WllL hasLlly.
lnspecLor lllnL puL hls [ackeL on agaln. 'l've been walLlng Lo hear you say LhaL. Penry
WllL, l hereby charge you wlLh...'


16


ln Lhe reeds Lva greeLed Lhe dawn of anoLher day by blowlng up Lhe alrbed for Lhe LenLh Llme. lL
had elLher sprung a leak or developed a faulL ln Lhe valve. Whlchever lL was lL had made her
progress exceedlngly slow and had flnally forced her Lo Lake refuge ln Lhe reeds away from Lhe
channel. Pere, wedged beLween Lhe sLems, she had spenL a muddy nlghL geLLlng off Lhe alrbed
Lo blow lL up and geLLlng back on Lo Lry and wash off Lhe sludge and weeds LhaL had adhered Lo
her when she goL off. ln Lhe process she had losL Lhe boLLom half of her lemon loungers and had
Lorn Lhe Lop half so LhaL by dawn she resembled less Lhe obsesslve housewlfe of 34 Þarkvlew
Avenue Lhan a flnallsL ln Lhe heavywelghL dlvlslon of Lhe Ladles MudwresLllng Champlonshlp. ln
addlLlon she was exceedlngly cold and was glad when Lhe sun came up brlnglng wlLh lL Lhe
promlse of a hoL summer day. All she had Lo do now was Lo flnd her way Lo land or open waLer
and geL someone Lo...AL Lhls polnL Lva became aware LhaL her appearance was llkely Lo cause
some embarrassmenL. 1he lemon loungers had been sufflclenLly ouLre Lo make her avold
walklng down Lhe sLreeL when she had had Lhem on, wlLh Lhem largely off, she cerLalnly dldn'L
wanL Lo be seen ln publlc. Cn Lhe oLher hand she couldn'L sLay ln Lhe reeds all day. She plunged
on, dragglng Lhe alrbed behlnd her, half swlmmlng buL for Lhe mosL parL Lrudglng Lhrough mud
and waLer. AL lasL she came ouL of Lhe reeds lnLo open waLer and found herself looklng across a
sLreLch Lo a house, a garden LhaL sloped down Lo Lhe waLer's edge, and a church. lL seemed a
long way across buL Lhere was no boaL ln slghL. She would have Lo swlm across and [usL hope
LhaL Lhe woman who llved Lhere was sympaLheLlc and beLLer sLlll large enough Lo lend her some
cloLhes unLll she goL home. lL was aL Lhls polnL LhaL Lva dlscovered LhaL she had lefL her handbag
somewhere ln Lhe reeds. She remembered havlng lL durlng Lhe nlghL buL lL musL have fallen off
Lhe alrbed when she was blowlng lL up. Well she couldn'L go back and look for lL now. She would
[usL have Lo go on wlLhouL lL and rlng Penry up and Lell hlm Lo come ouL ln Lhe car and geL her.
Pe could brlng some cloLhes Loo. ?es, LhaL was lL. Lva WllL cllmbed on Lo Lhe alrbed and began
Lo paddle across. Palfway over Lhe alrbed wenL down for Lhe elevenLh Llme. Lva abandoned lL
and sLruggled on ln Lhe llfe[ackeL. 8uL LhaL Loo lmpeded her progress and she flnally declded Lo
Lake lL off. She Lrod waLer and Lrled Lo undo lL and afLer a sLruggle managed Lo geL lL off. ln Lhe
process Lhe resL of Lhe lemon loungers dlslnLegraLed so LhaL by Lhe Llme she reached Lhe bank
Lva WllL was exhausLed and qulLe naked. She crawled lnLo Lhe cover of a wlllow Lree and lay
panLlng on Lhe ground. When she had recovered she sLood up and looked around. She was aL
Lhe boLLom of Lhe garden and Lhe house was a hundred yards away up Lhe hlll. lL was a very
large house by Lva's sLandards, and noL Lhe sorL she would feel aL home ln aL Lhe besL of Llmes.
lor one Lhlng lL appeared Lo have a courLyard wlLh sLables aL Lhe back and Lo Lva, whose
knowledge of large counLry houses was conflned Lo whaL she had seen on 1v, Lhere was Lhe
suggesLlon of servanLs, genLlllLy and a soclal formallLy LhaL would make her arrlval ln Lhe nude
raLher heavy golng. Cn Lhe oLher hand Lhe whole place looked decldedly run down. 1he garden
was overgrown and unkempL, ornamenLal bushes whlch mlghL, once have been Lrlmmed Lo look
llke blrds and anlmals had reverLed Lo sLrange and vaguely monsLrous shapes, rusLed hoops
leanL half-hldden ln Lhe grass of an unLended croqueL lawn, a Lennls neL sagged beLween posLs
and an abandoned greenhouse boasLed a few panes of llchened glass. llnally Lhere was a
dllapldaLed boaLhouse and a rowlng boaL. All ln all Lhe domaln had a slnlsLer and lmposlng alr Lo
lL whlch wasn'L helped by Lhe presence of a small church hldden among Lrees Lo Lhe lefL and a
neglecLed graveyard beyond an ald lron fence. Lva peered ouL from Lhe weeplng wlllow and was
abouL Lo leave lLs cover when Lhe lrench wlndows opened and a man came ouL on Lo Lhe
Lerrace wlLh a palr of blnoculars and peered Lhrough Lhem ln Lhe dlrecLlon of Lel SLreLch. Pe was
wearlng a black cassock and a dog collar. Lva wenL back behlnd Lhe Lree and consldered Lhe
awkwardness off her slLuaLlon and lack of aLLlre. lL was all exLremely embarrasslng. noLhlng on
earLh would make her go up Lo Lhe house, Lhe vlcarage wlLh noLhlng on. Þarkvlew Avenue
hadn'L prepared her for slLuaLlons of Lhls sorL.
8osslLer Crove hadn'L prepared Caskell for Lhe slLuaLlon he found when Sally woke hlm
wlLh 'noah baby, lL's drywlse Lopslde, 1lme Lo fly Lhe coop.'
Pe opened Lhe cabln door and sLepped ouLslde Lo dlscover LhaL Lva had already flown
and had Laken Lhe alrbed and Lhe llfe[ackeLs wlLh her.
'?ou mean you lefL her ouLslde all nlghL?' he sald. 'now we're really up ShlL Creek. no
paddle, no alrbed, no goddam llfe[ackeLs, no noLhlng.'
'l dldn'L know she'd do someLhlng crazy llke Lake off wlLh everyLhlng,' sald Sally.
'?ou leave her ouLslde ln Lhe pourlng raln all nlghL she's goL Lo do someLhlng. She's
probably frozen Lo deaLh by now or drowned.'
'She Lrled Lo klll me. ?ou Lhlnk l was golng Lo leL her ln when she's Lrled Lo do LhaL.
Anyhow lL's all your faulL for shooLlng your mouLh off abouL LhaL doll.'
'?ou Lell LhaL Lo Lhe law when Lhey flnd her body floaLlng downsLream. ?ou [usL explaln
how come she goes off ln Lhe mlddle of a sLorm.'
'?ou're [usL Lrylng Lo scare me,' sald Sally. 'l dldn'L make her go or anyLhlng.'
'lL's golng Lo look pecullar lf someLhlng has happened Lo her ls all l'm saylng. And you Lell
me how we're golng Lo geL off here now. ?ou Lhlnk l'm golng swlmmlng wlLhouL a llfe[ackeL
you're mlsLaken. l'm no SplLz.'
'My hero,' sald Sally.
Caskell wenL lnLo Lhe cabln and looked ln Lhe cupboard by Lhe sLove. 'And anoLher
Lhlng. We've goL a food problem. And waLer. 1here's noL much lefL.'
'?ou goL us lnLo Lhls mess. ?ou Lhlnk of a way ouL,' sald Sally.
Caskell saL down on Lhe bunk and Lrled Lo Lhlnk. 1here had Lo be some way of leLLlng
people know Lhey were Lhere and ln Lrouble. 1hey couldn'L be far from land. lor all he knew dry
land was [usL Lhe oLher slde of Lhe reeds. Pe wenL ouL and cllmbed on Lop of Lhe cabln buL aparL
from Lhe church splre ln Lhe dlsLance he could see noLhlng beyond Lhe reeds. Þerhaps Lhey goL a
plece of cloLh and waved lL someone would spoL lL. Pe wenL down and feLched a plllow case and
spenL LwenLy mlnuLes wavlng lL above hls head and shouLlng. 1hen he reLurned Lo Lhe cabln and
goL ouL Lhe charL and pored over lL ln a valn aLLempL Lo dlscover where Lhey were. Pe was [usL
foldlng Lhe map up when he spoLLed Lhe pleces of Scrabble sLlll lylng on Lhe Lable. LeLLers.
lndlvldual leLLers. now lf Lhey had someLhlng LhaL would floaL up ln Lhe alr wlLh leLLers on lL. Llke
a klLe. Caskell consldered ways of maklng a klLe and gave lL up. Þerhaps Lhe besL Lhlng afLer all
was Lo make smoke slgnals. Pe feLched an empLy can from Lhe klLchen and fllled lL wlLh fuel oll
from beslde Lhe englne and soaked a handkerchlef ln lL and clambered up on Lhe cabln roof. Pe
llL Lhe handkerchlef and Lrled Lo geL Lhe oll Lo burn buL when lL dld Lhere was very llLLle smoke
and Lhe Lln goL Loo hoL Lo hold. Caskell klcked lL lnLo Lhe waLer where lL flzzled ouL.
'Cenlus baby.' sald Sally, 'you're Lhe greaLesL.'
'?ea, well lf you can Lhlnk of someLhlng pracLlcal leL me know.'
'1ry swlmmlng.'
'1ry drownlng', sald Caskell.
'?ou could make a rafL or someLhlng.'
'l could hack Lhls boaL of Schelmacher's up. 1haL's all we need.'
'l saw a movle once where Lhere were Lhese gauchos or 8omans or someLhlng and Lhey
came Lo a rlver and wanLed Lo cross and Lhey used plgs' bladders.' sald Sally.
'8lghL now all we don'L have ls a plg,' sald Caskell.
'?ou could use Lhe garbage bags ln Lhe klLchen,' sald Sally. Caskell feLched a plasLlc bag
and blew lL up and Lled Lhe end wlLh sLrlng. 1hen he squeezed lL. 1he bag wenL down.
Caskell saL down despondenLly. 1here had Lo be some slmple way of aLLracLlng
aLLenLlon and he cerLalnly dldn'L wanL Lo swlm ouL across LhaL dark waLer cluLchlng an lnflaLed
garbage bag. Pe flddled wlLh Lhe pleces of Scrabble and LhoughL agaln abouL klLes. Cr balloons.
8alloons.
'?ou goL Lhose rubbers you use?' be asked suddenly.
'!esus aL a Llme llke Lhls you geL a hard on,' sald Sally. 'lorgeL sex. 1hlnk of some way of
geLLlng us off here'
'l have,' sald Caskell, 'l wanL Lhose sklns.'
'?ou golng Lo floaL downrlver on a ponLoon of condoms?'
'8alloons,' sald Caskell. 'We blow Lhem up and palnL leLLers on Lhem and floaL Lhem ln
Lhe wlnd.'
'Cenlus baby.' sald Sally and wenL lnLo Lhe LolleL. She came ouL wlLh a sponge bag. 'Pere
Lhey are. lor a momenL Lhere l LhoughL you wanLed me'
'uays of wlne and roses,' sald Caskell, 'are over. 8emlnd me Lo dlvorce you.' Pe Lore a
packeL open and blew a conLracepLlve up and Lled a knoL ln lLs end.
'Cn whaL grounds?'
'Llke you're a lesblan,' sald Caskell and held up Lhe dlldo. '1hls and klepLomanla and Lhe
hablL you have of puLLlng oLher men ln dolls and knoLLlng Lhem. ?ou name lL, l'll use lL. Llke
you're a nymphomanlac.'
'?ou wouldn'L dare. ?our famlly would love lL, Lhe scandal'
'1ry me,' sald Caskell and blew up anoLher condom.
'ÞlasLlc freak.'
'8ull dyke.'
Sally's eyes narrowed. She was beglnnlng Lo Lhlnk he meanL whaL he sald abouL dlvorce
and lf Caskell dlvorced her ln Lngland whaL sorL of allmony would she geL? very llLLle. 1here
were no chlldren and she had Lhe ldea LhaL 8rlLlsh courLs were mean ln maLLers of money. So
was Caskell and Lhere was hls famlly Loo. 8lch and mean. She saL and eyed hlm.
'Where's your nall varnlsh?' Caskell asked when he had flnlshed and Lwelve
conLracepLlves cluLLered Lhe cabln.
'urop dead,' sald Sally and wenL ouL on deck Lo Lhlnk. She sLared down aL Lhe dark waLer
and LhoughL abouL raLs and deaLh and belng poor agaln and llberaLed. 1he raL paradlgm. 1he
world was a roLLen place. Þeople were ob[ecLs Lo be used and dlscarded. lL was Caskell's own
phllosophy and now he was dlscardlng her. And one sllp on Lhls olly deck could solve her
problems. All LhaL had Lo happen was for Caskell Lo sllp and drown and she would be free and
rlch and no one would ever know. An accldenL. naLural deaLh. 8uL Caskell could swlm and Lhere
had Lo be no mlsLakes. 1ry lL once and fall and she wouldn'L be able Lo Lry agaln. Pe would be on
hls guard. lL had Lo be cerLaln and lL had Lo be naLural.
Caskell came ouL on deck wlLh Lhe conLracepLlves. Pe had Lled Lhem LogeLher and
palnLed on each one a slngle leLLer wlLh nall varnlsh so LhaL Lhe whole read PLLÞ SCS PLLÞ. Pe
cllmbed up on Lhe cabln roof and launched Lhem lnLo Lhe alr. 1hey floaLed up for a momenL,
were caughL ln Lhe llghL breeze and sagged sldeways down on Lo Lhe waLer. Caskell pulled Lhem
ln on Lhe sLrlng and Lrled agaln. Cnce agaln Lhey floaLed down on Lo Lhe waLer.
'l'll walL unLll Lhere's some more wlnd,' he sald, and Lled Lhe sLrlng Lo Lhe rall where Lhey
bobbed genLly. 1hen he wenL lnLo Lhe cabln and lay on Lhe bunk.
'WhaL are you golng Lo do now?' Sally asked.
'Sleep. Wake me when Lhere's a wlnd.' Pe Look off hls glasses and pulled a blankeL over
hlm.
CuLslde Sally saL on a locker and LhoughL abouL drownlng ln bed.

'Mr Cosdyke,' sald lnspecLor lllnL, 'you and l have had deallngs for a good many years now and
l'm prepared Lo be frank wlLh you. l don'L know.'
'8uL you've charged hlm wlLh murder.' sald Mr Cosdyke.
'Pe'll come up for remand on Monday. ln Lhe meanLlme l am golng on quesLlonlng hlm.'
'8uL surely Lhe facL LhaL he admlLs burylng a llfe-slze doll...'
'uressed ln hls wlfe's cloLhes, Cosdyke. ln hls wlfe's cloLhes. uon'L forgeL LhaL.'
'lL sLlll seems lnsufflclenL Lo me. Can you be absoluLely sure LhaL a murder has been
commlLLed?'
'1hree people dlsappear off Lhe face of Lhe earLh wlLhouL a Lrace. 1hey leave behlnd
Lhem Lwo cars, a house llLLered wlLh unwashed glasses and Lhe lefLovers of a parLy...you should
see LhaL house...a baLhroom and landlng covered wlll blood...'
'1hey could have gone ln someone else's car.'
1hey could have buL Lhey dldn'L. ur Þrlngshelm dldn'L llke belng drlven by anyone else.
We know LhaL from hls colleagues aL Lhe ueparLmenL of 8lochemlsLry. Pe had a rooLed
ob[ecLlon Lo 8rlLlsh drlvers. uon'L ask me why buL be had.'
'1ralns? 8uses? Þlanes?'
'Checked, rechecked and checked agaln. no one answerlng Lo Lhelr descrlpLlon used any
form of publlc or prlvaLe LransporL ouL of Lown. And lf you Lhlnk Lhey wenL on a blcycle rlde,
you're wrong agaln. ur Þrlngshelm's blcycle ls ln Lhe garage. no, you can forgeL Lhelr golng
anywhere. 1hey dled and Mr SmarL Alec WllL knows lL.'
'l sLlll don'L see how you can be so sure.' sald Mr Cosdyke.
lnspecLor lllnL llL a clgareLLe. 'LeL's [usL look aL hls acLlons, hls admlLLed acLlons and see
whaL Lhey add up Lo,' he sald. 'Pe geLs a llfeslze doll...'
'Where from?'
'Pe says he was glven lL by hls wlfe. Where he goL lL from doesn'L maLLer.'
'Pe says he flrsL saw Lhe Lhlng aL Lhe Þrlngshelms' house.'
'Þerhaps he dld. l'm prepared Lo belleve LhaL. Wherever he goL lL, Lhe facL remalns LhaL
he dressed lL up Lo look llke Mrs WllL. Pe puLs lL down LhaL hole aL Lhe 1ech, a hole he knows ls
golng Lo be fllled wlLh concreLe. Pe makes cerLaln he ls seen by Lhe careLaker when he knows
LhaL Lhe 1ech ls closed. Pe leaves a blcycle covered wlLh hls flngerprlnLs and wlLh a book of hls ln
Lhe baskeL. Pe leaves a Lrall of noLes Lo Lhe hole. Pe Lurns up aL Mrs 8ralnLree's house aL
mldnlghL covered wlLh mud and says he's had a puncLure when he hasn'L. now you're noL golng
Lo Lell me LhaL he hadn'L goL someLhlng ln mlnd.'
'Pe says he was merely Lrylng Lo dlspose of LhaL doll.'
'And he Lells me he was rehearslng hls wlfe's murder. Pe's admlLLed LhaL.'
'?es, buL only ln fanLasy. Pls sLory Lo me ls LhaL be wanLed Lo geL rld of LhaL doll,' Mr
Cosdyke perslsLed.
'1hen why Lhe cloLhes, why blow Lhe Lhlng up and why leave lL ln such a poslLlon lL was
bound Lo be spoLLed when Lhe concreLe was poured down? Why dldn'L he cover lL wlLh earLh lf
he dldn'L wanL lL Lo be found? Why dldn'L he [usL burn Lhe bloody Lhlng or leave lL by Lhe
roadslde? lL [usL doesn'L make sense unless you see lL as a dellberaLe plan Lo draw our aLLenLlon
away from Lhe real crlme.' 1he lnspecLor paused. 'Well now, Lhe way l see lL ls LhaL someLhlng
happened aL LhaL parLy we don'L know anyLhlng abouL. Þerhaps WllL found hls wlfe ln bed wlLh
ur Þrlngshelm. Pe kllled Lhem boLh. Mrs Þrlngshelm puLs ln an appearance and he kllls her Loo.'
'Pow?' sald Mr Cosdyke. '?ou dldn'L flnd LhaL much blood.'
'Pe sLrangled her. Pe sLrangled hls own wlfe. Pe baLLered Þrlngshelm Lo deaLh. 1hen he
hldes Lhe bodles somewhere, goes home and lays Lhe doll Lrall. Cn Sunday he dlsposes of Lhe
real bodles...'
'Where?'
'Cod alone knows, buL l'm golng Lo flnd ouL. All l know ls LhaL a man who can Lhlnk up a
scheme llke Lhls one ls bound Lo have LhoughL of somewhere dlabollcal Lo puL Lhe real vlcLlms. lL
wouldn'L surprlse me Lo learn LhaL he spenL Sunday maklng lllegal use of Lhe cremaLorlum.
WhaLever he dld can be sure he dld lL Lhoroughly.'
8uL Mr Cosdyke remalned unconvlnced. 'l wlsh l knew how you could be so cerLaln,' he
sald.
'Mr Cosdyke,' sald Lhe lnspecLor wearlly. 'you have spenL Lwo hours wlLh your cllenL. l
have spenL Lhe besL parL of Lhe week and lf l've learnL one Lhlng from Lhe experlence lL ls Lhls,
LhaL sod ln Lhere knows whaL he ls dolng. Any normal man ln hls poslLlon would have been
worrled and alarmed and down rlghL frlghLened. Any lnnocenL man faced wlLh a mlsslng wlfe
and Lhe evldence we've goL of murder would have had a nervous breakdown. noL WllL. Ch no,
he slLs ln Lhere as bold as you please and Lells me how Lo conducL Lhe lnvesLlgaLlon. now lf
anyLhlng convlnces me LhaL LhaL basLard ls as gullLy as hell LhaL does. Pe dld lL and l know lL. And
whaL ls more, l'm golng Lo prove lL.'
'Pe seems a blL worrled now,' sald Mr Cosdyke.
'Pe's goL reason Lo be,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'because by Monday mornlng l'm golng Lo geL
Lhe LruLh ouL of hlm even lf lL kllls hlm and me boLh.'
'lnspecLor,' sald Mr Cosdyke geLLlng Lo hls feeL, 'l musL warn you LhaL l have advlsed my
cllenL noL Lo say anoLher word and lf he appears ln CourL wlLh a mark on hlm...'
'Mr Cosdyke, you should know me beLLer Lhan LhaL. l'm noL a compleLe fool and lf your
cllenL has any marks on hlm on Monday mornlng Lhey wlll noL have been made by me or any of
my men. ?ou have my assurance on LhaL.'
Mr Cosdyke lefL Lhe Þollce SLaLlon a puzzled man. Pe had Lo admlL LhaL WllL's sLory
hadn'L been a very convlnclng one. Mr Cosdyke's experlence of murderers was noL exLenslve
buL he had a shrewd susplclon LhaL men who confessed openly LhaL Lhey had enLerLalned
fanLasles of murderlng Lhelr wlves ended by admlLLlng LhaL Lhey had done so ln facL. 8esldes hls
aLLempL Lo geL WllL Lo agree LhaL he'd puL Lhe doll down Lhe hole as a pracLlcal [oke on hls
colleagues aL Lhe 1ech had falled hopelessly. WllL had refused Lo lle and Mr Cosdyke was noL
used Lo cllenLs who lnslsLed on Lelllng Lhe LruLh.
lnspecLor lllnL wenL back lnLo Lhe lnLervlew 8oom and looked aL WllL. 1hen he pulled up
a chalr and saL down.
'Penry,' he sald wlLh an affablllLy he dldn'L feel, 'you and l are golng Lo have a llLLle chaL.'
'WhaL, anoLher one?' sald WllL. 'Mr Cosdyke has advlsed me Lo say noLhlng.'
'Pe always does,' sald Lhe lnspecLor sweeLly, 'Lo cllenLs he knows are gullLy. now are you
golng Lo Lalk?'
'l can'L see why noL. l'm noL gullLy and lL helps Lo pass Lhe Llme.'


17


lL was lrlday and as on every oLher day ln Lhe week Lhe llLLle church aL WaLerswlck was empLy.
And as on every oLher day of Lhe week Lhe vlcar, Lhe 8everend SL !ohn lroude was drunk. 1he
Lwo Lhlngs wenL LogeLher, Lhe lack of a congregaLlon and Lhe vlcar's lnsobrleLy. lL was an old
LradlLlon daLlng back Lo Lhe days of smuggllng, when 8randy for Lhe Þarson had been abouL Lhe
only reason Lhe lsolaLed hamleL had a vlcar aL all. And llke so many Lngllsh LradlLlons lL dled
hard. 1he Church auLhorlLles saw Lo lL LhaL WaLerswlck goL ldlosyncraLlc parsons whose
awkward enLhuslasms Lended Lo make Lhem unsulLable for more respecLable parlshes and Lhey,
Lo console Lhemselves for lLs remoLeness and lack of lnLeresL ln Lhlngs splrlLual, goL alcohollc.
1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude malnLalned LradlLlon. Pe aLLended Lo hls duLles wlLh Lhe same Anglo-
CaLhollc lundamenLallsL fervour LhaL had made hlm so popular ln Lsher and Lurned an alcohollc
eye on Lhe acLlvlLles of hls few parlshloners who, now LhaL brandy was noL so much ln demand,
conLenLed Lhemselves wlLh Lhe occaslonal boaLload of lllegal lndlan lmmlgranLs.
now as he flnlshed a breakfasL of eggnog and lrlsh coffee and consldered Lhe lnlqulLles
of hls more egreglous colleagues as relaLed ln Lhe prevlous Sunday's paper he was sLarLled see
someLhlng wobbllng above Lhe reeds on Lel SLreLch. lL looked llke balloons, whlLe sausage-
shaped balloons LhaL rose brlefly and Lhen dlsappeared. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude shuddered, shuL
hls eyes, opened Lhem agaln and LhoughL abouL Lhe vlrLues of absLlnence. lf he was rlghL and he
dldn'L know wheLher he wanLed Lo be or noL, Lhe mornlng was belng profaned by a clusLer of
conLracepLlves, lnflaLed conLracepLlves wobbllng erraLlcally where by Lhe naLure of Lhlngs no
conLracepLlve had ever wobbled before. AL leasL he hoped lL was clusLer. Pe was so used Lo
seelng Lhlngs ln Lwos when Lhey were ln facL ones LhaL he couldn'L be sure lf whaL looked llke a
clusLer of lnflaLed conLracepLlves wasn'L [usL one or beLLer sLlll none aL all.
Pe reeled off Lo hls sLudy Lo geL hls blnoculars and sLepped ouL onLo Lhe Lerrace Lo focus
Lhem. 8y LhaL Llme Lhe manlfesLaLlon had dlsappeared. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude shook hls head
mournfully. 1hlngs and ln parLlcular hls llver had reached a preLLy plckle for hlm Lo have
halluclnaLlons so early ln Lhe mornlng. Pe wenL back lnLo Lhe house and Lrled Lo concenLraLe hls
aLLenLlon on a case lnvolvlng an Archdeacon ln Cngar who had undergone a sex-change
operaLlon before eloplng wlLh hls verger. 1here was maLLer Lhere for a sermon lf only he could
Lhlnk of a sulLable LexL.

AL Lhe boLLom of Lhe garden Lva WllL waLched hls reLreaL and wondered whaL Lo do. She had no
lnLenLlon of golng up Lo Lhe house and lnLroduclng herself ln her presenL condlLlon. She needed
cloLhes, or aL leasL some sorL of coverlng. She looked around for someLhlng Lemporary and
flnally declded on some lvy cllmblng up Lhe graveyard fence. WlLh one eye on Lhe vlcarage she
emerged from Lhe wlllow Lree and scampered across Lo Lhe fence and Lhrough Lhe gaLe lnLo Lhe
churchyard. 1here she rlpped some lvy off Lhe Lrunk of a Lree and, carrylng lL ln fronL of her
raLher awkwardly, made her way surrepLlLlously up Lhe overgrown paLh Lowards Lhe church. lor
Lhe mosL parL her progress was masked from Lhe house by Lhe Lrees buL once or Lwlce she had
Lo crouch low and scamper from LombsLone Lo LombsLone ln full vlew of Lhe vlcarage. 8y Lhe
Llme she reached Lhe church porch she was panLlng and her sense of lmproprleLy had been
lncreased Lenfold. lf Lhe prospecL of presenLlng herself aL Lhe house ln Lhe nude offended her on
grounds of soclal decorum, golng lnLo a church ln Lhe raw was poslLlvely sacrlleglous. She sLood
ln Lhe porch and Lrled franLlcally Lo sLeel herself Lo go ln. 1here were bound Lo be surpllces for
Lhe cholr ln Lhe vesLry and dressed ln a surpllce she could go up Lo Lhe house. Cr could she? Lva
wasn'L sure abouL Lhe slgnlflcance of surpllces and Lhe vlcar mlghL be angry. Ch dear lL was all so
awkward. ln Lhe end she opened Lhe church door and wenL lnslde. lL was cold and damp and
empLy. CluLchlng Lhe lvy Lo her she crossed Lo Lhe vesLry door and Lrled lL. lL was locked. Lva
sLood shlverlng and Lrled Lo Lhlnk. llnally she wenL ouLslde and sLood ln Lhe sunshlne Lrylng Lo
geL warm.

ln Lhe SLaff room aL Lhe 1ech, ur 8oard was holdlng courL. 'All Lhlngs consldered l Lhlnk we came
ouL of Lhe whole buslness raLher credlLably,' he sald. '1he Þrlnclpal has always sald he wanLed Lo
puL Lhe college on Lhe map and wlLh Lhe help of frlend WllL lL musL be sald he has succeeded.
1he newspaper coverage has been poslLlvely prodlglous. l shouldn'L be surprlsed lf our sLudenL
lnLake [umped asLonlshlngly.'
'1he commlLLee dldn'L approve our faclllLles,' sald Mr Morrls, 'so you can hardly clalm
Lhelr vlslL was an unquallfled success.'
'Þersonally l Lhlnk Lhey goL Lhelr money's worLh,' sald ur 8oard. 'lL's noL every day you
geL Lhe chance Lo see an exhumaLlon and an execuLlon aL Lhe same Llme. 1he one usually
precedes Lhe oLher and cerLalnly Lhe experlence of seelng whaL Lo all lnLenLs and purposes was a
woman Lurn ln a maLLer of seconds lnLo a man, an lnsLanLaneous sex change, was Lo use a
modern ldlom, a mlnd-blowlng one.'
'1alklng of poor Mayfleld,' sald Lhe Pead of Ceography, 'l undersLand he's sLlll aL Lhe
MenLal PosplLal.'
'CommlLLed?' asked ur 8oard hopefully.
'uepressed. And sufferlng from exhausLlon.'
'Pardly surprlslng. Anyone who can use language...abuse language llke LhaL ls asklng for
Lrouble. SLrucLure as a verb, for example.'
'Pe had seL greaL score by Lhe [olnL Ponours degree and Lhe facL LhaL lL has been Lurned
down...'
'CulLe rlghL Loo,' sald ur 8oard. '1he educaLlve value of sLufflng second-raLe sLudenLs
wlLh flfLh-raLe ldeas on sub[ecLs as dlverse as Medleval ÞoeLry and urban SLudles escapes me.
lar beLLer LhaL Lhey should spend Lhelr Llme waLchlng Lhe pollce dlg up Lhe supposed body of a
woman coaLed ln concreLe, sLreLch her neck, rlp all her cloLhes off her, hang her and flnally blow
her up unLll she explodes. now LhaL ls whaL l call a Lruly educaLlonal experlence. lL comblnes
archaeology wlLh crlmlnology, zoology wlLh physlcs, anaLomy wlLh economlc Lheory, whlle
malnLalnlng Lhe sLudenLs' undlvlded aLLenLlon all Lhe Llme. lf we musL have [olnL Ponours
degrees leL Lhem be of LhaL vlLallLy. ÞracLlcal Loo. l'm Lhlnklng of sendlng away for one of Lhose
dolls.'
'lL sLlll leaves unresolved Lhe quesLlon of Mrs WllL's dlsappearance,' sald Mr Morrls.
'Ah, dear Lva,' sald ur 8oard wlsLfully. 'Pavlng seen so much of whaL l lmaglned Lo be
her l shall, lf l ever have Lhe pleasure of meeLlng her agaln LreaL her wlLh Lhe uLmosL courLesy.
An amazlngly versaLlle woman and lnLeresLlngly proporLloned. l Lhlnk l shall chrlsLen my doll
Lva.'
'8uL Lhe pollce sLlll seem Lo Lhlnk she ls dead.'
'A woman llke LhaL can never dle.' sald ur 8oard. 'She may explode buL her memory
llngers on lndellbly.'

ln hls sLudy Lhe 8ev SL !ohn lroude shared ur 8oard's oplnlon. 1he memory of Lhe large and
apparenLly naked lady he had gllmpsed emerglng from Lhe wlllow Lree aL Lhe boLLom of hls
garden llke some dlsgusLlngly overslzed nymph and scuLLllng Lhrough Lhe churchyard was noL
someLhlng he was ever llkely Lo forgeL. Comlng so shorLly afLer Lhe apparlLlon of Lhe lnflaLed
conLracepLlves lL lenL welghL Lo Lhe susplclon LhaL he had been overdolng Lhlngs on Lhe alcohol
slde. Abandonlng Lhe sermon he had been preparlng on Lhe aposLaLe Archdeacon of Cngar--he
had had '8y Lhelr frulLs ye shall know Lhem' ln mlnd as a LexL--he goL up and peered ouL of Lhe
wlndow ln Lhe dlrecLlon of Lhe church and was wonderlng lf he shouldn'L go down and see lf
Lhere wasn'L a large faL naked lady Lhere when hls aLLenLlon was drawn Lo Lhe reeds across Lhe
waLer. 1hey were Lhere agaln, Lhose lnfernal Lhlngs. 1hls Llme Lhere could be no doubL abouL lL.
Pe grabbed hls blnoculars and sLared furlously Lhrough Lhem. Pe could see Lhem much more
clearly Lhan Lhe flrsL Llme and much more omlnously. 1he sun was hlgh ln Lhe sky and a mlsL
rose over Lel SLreLch so LhaL Lhe conLracepLlves had a lumlnescenL sheen abouL Lhem, an
lnsubsLanLlallLy LhaL was almosL splrlLual ln lLs lmpllcaLlons. Worse sLlll, Lhere appeared Lo be
someLhlng wrlLLen on Lhem. 1he message was clear lf lncomprehenslble. lL read ÞLLSCÞ. 1he
8ev SL !ohn lroude lowered hls blnoculars and reached for Lhe whlsky boLLle and consldered Lhe
slgnlflcance of ÞLLSCÞ eLched ecLoplasmlcally agalnsL Lhe sky. 8y Lhe Llme he had flnlshed hls
Lhlrd hurrled glass and had declded LhaL splrlLuallsm mlghL afLer all have someLhlng Lo be sald
for lL Lhough why you almosL always found yourself ln Louch wlLh a 8ed lndlan who was acLlng
by proxy for an aunL whlch mlghL accounL for Lhe mlsspelllng of Þeasoup whlle removlng some
of Lhe less aLLracLlve lngredlenLs from Lhe sLuff, Lhe wlnd had changed Lhe leLLers round. 1hls
Llme when he looked Lhe message read LLLÞCÞS. 1he vlcar shuddered. WhaL eel was popplng
and how?
'1he slns of Lhe splrlL,' he sald reproachfully Lo hls fourLh glass of whlsky before
consulLlng Lhe oracle once more. ÞCSPLLLS was followed by PLÞCLÞ Lo be succeeded by
SPPLÞSÞC whlch was even worse. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude LhrusL hls blnoculars and Lhe boLLle of
whlsky aslde and wenL down on hls knees Lo pray for dellverance or aL leasL for some guldance
ln lnLerpreLlng Lhe message. 8uL every Llme he goL up Lo see lf hls wlsh had been granLed Lhe
comblnaLlon of leLLers was as meanlngless as ever or downrlghL LhreaLenlng. WhaL, for lnsLance,
dld PLLLSÞC slgnlfy? Cr SLCSPPLLL? llnally, deLermlned Lo dlscover for hlmself Lhe Lrue naLure
of Lhe occurrence, he puL on hls cassock and wove off down Lhe garden paLh Lo Lhe boaLhouse.
'1hey shall rue Lhe day,' he muLLered as he cllmbed lnLo Lhe rowlng boaL and Look Lhe
oars. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude held flrm vlews on conLracepLlon. lL was one of Lhe LeneLs of hls
Anglo-CaLhollclsm.

ln Lhe cabln crulser Caskell slepL soundly. Around hlm Sally made her preparaLlons. She
undressed and changed lnLo Lhe plasLlc blklnl. She Look a sllk square from her bag and puL lL on
Lhe Lable and she feLched a [ug from Lhe klLchen and leanlng over Lhe slde fllled lL wlLh waLer.
llnally she wenL lnLo Lhe LolleL and made her face up ln Lhe mlrror. When she emerged she was
wearlng false eyelashes, her llps were heavlly red and pancake make-up obscured her pale
complexlon. She was carrylng a baLhlng-cap. She crossed Lhe door of Lhe galley and puL an arm
up and sLuck her hlp ouL.
'Caskell baby,' she called.
Caskell opened hls eyes and looked aL her. 'WhaL Lhe bell glves?'
'Llke lL, baby?'
Caskell puL on hls glasses. ln splLe of hlmself he dld llke lL. '?ou Lhlnk you're golng Lo,
wheedle round me, you're wrong...'
Sally smlled. 'Conserve Lhe verblage. ?ou Lurn me on, blo-degradable baby.' She moved
forward and saL on Lhe bunk beslde hlm.
'WhaL are you Lrylng Lo do?'
'Make lL up, babyklnk. ?ou deserve a cure.' She fondled hlm genLly. 'Llke Lhe old days.
8emember?'
Caskell remembered and felL weak. Sally leanL forward and pressed hlm down on Lo Lhe
bunk.
'SurrogaLe Sally,' she sald and unbuLLoned hls shlrL.
Caskell squlrmed. 'lf you Lhlnk...'
'uon'L Lhlnk, klnk,' sald Sally and undld hls [eans. 'Cnly erecL.'
'Ch Cod,' sald Caskell. 1he perfume, Lhe plasLlc, Lhe mask of a face and her hands were
awakenlng anclenL fanLasles. Pe lay suplne on Lhe bunk sLarlng aL her whlle Sally undressed hlm.
Lven when she rolled hlm over on hls face and pulled hls hands behlnd hls back he made no
reslsLance.
'8ondage baby,' she sald sofLly and reached for Lhe sllk square.
'no, Sally, no,' he sald weakly. Sally smlled grlmly and Lled hls hands LogeLher, wlndlng
Lhe sllk beLween hls wrlsLs carefully before LlghLenlng lL. When she had flnlshed Caskell
whlmpered. '?ou're hurLlng me.'
Sally rolled hlm over. '?ou love lL,' she sald and klssed hlm. She saL back and sLroked hlm
genLly. 'Parder, baby, real hard. LlfL me lover sky hlgh.'
'Ch Sally.'
'1haL's my baby and now Lhe waLerproof.'
'1here's no need. l llke lL beLLer wlLhouL.'
'8uL l do, C. l need lL Lo prove you loved me Llll deaLh dld us parL.' She benL over and
rolled lL down.
Caskell sLared up aL her. SomeLhlng was wrong.
'And now Lhe cap.' She reached over and plcked up Lhe baLhlng-cap.
'1he cap?' sald Caskell. 'Why Lhe cap? l don'L wanL LhaL Lhlng on.'
'Ch buL you do, sweeLhearL lL makes you look glrlwlse.' She flLLed Lhe cap over hls head.
'now lnLo Sallla lnLer alla.' She undld Lhe blklnl and lowered herself on Lo hlm. Caskell moaned
and sLared up aL her. She was lovely. lL was a long Llme slnce she had been so good. 8uL he was
sLlll frlghLened. 1here was a look ln her eyes he hadn'L seen before. 'unLle me,' he pleaded,
'you're hurLlng my arm.'
8uL Sally merely smlled and gyraLed. 'When you've come and gone, C baby. When
you've been.' She moved her hlps. 'Come, bum, come qulck.'
Caskell shuddered.
'llnlshed?'
Pe nodded. 'llnlshed,' he slghed.
'lor good, baby, for good,' sald Sally. '1haL was lL. ?ou're pasL Lhe lasL.'
'ÞasL Lhe lasL?'
'?ou've come and gone, C, come and gone. lL's SLyxslde for you now.
'SLlckslde?'
'S for Sally, 1 for 1ermlnal, ? for ?ou and x for lasL. All LhaL's lefL ls Lhls.' She reached
over and plcked up Lhe [ug of muddy waLer. Caskell Lurned hls head and looked aL lL.
'WhaL's LhaL for?'
'lor you, baby. Mudders mllk.' She moved up hls body and saL on hls chesL. 'Cpen your
mouLh.'
Caskell Þrlngshelm sLared up aL her franLlcally. Pe began Lo wrlLhe '?ou're mad. ?ou're
crazy.'
'now [usL lle quleLly and lL won'L hurL. lL wlll soon be over, lover. naLural deaLh by
drownlng. ln bed. ?ou're maklng' hlsLory.'
'?ou blLch, you murderous blLch.'
'Cerberuswlse,' sald Sally, and poured Lhe waLer lnLo hls mouLh. She puL Lhe [ug down
and pulled Lhe cap down over hls face.

1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude rowed surprlslngly sLeadlly for a man wlLh half a boLLle of whlsky lnslde
hlm and a wraLh ln hls hearL, and Lhe nearer he goL Lo Lhe conLracepLlves Lhe greaLer hls wraLh
became. lL wasn'L slmply LhaL he had been glven a qulLe unnecessary frlghL abouL Lhe sLaLe of
hls llver by Lhe slghL of Lhe Lhlngs (he could see now LhaL he was close Lo Lhem LhaL Lhey were
real), lL was raLher LhaL he adhered Lhe docLrlne of sexual non-lnLervenLlon. Cod, ln hls vlew had
creaLed a perfecL world lf Lhe book of Cenesls was Lo be belleved and lL had been golng downhlll
ever slnce. And Lhe book of Cenesls was Lo be belleved or Lhe resL of Lhe 8lble made no sense aL
all. SLarLlng from Lhls fundamenLallsL premlse Lhe 8ev SL !ohn lroude had progressed erraLlcally
by way of 8lake, Pawker, Leavls and a number of obscuranLlsL Lheologlans Lo Lhe convlcLlon LhaL
Lhe mlracles of modern sclence were Lhe works of Lhe devll, LhaL salvaLlon lay ln eschewlng
every maLerlal advance slnce Lhe 8enalssance, and one or Lwo before, and LhaL naLure was
lnflnlLely less red ln LooLh and claw Lhan modern mechanlzed man. ln shorL he was convlnced
LhaL Lhe end of Lhe world was aL hand ln Lhe shape of a nuclear holocausL and LhaL lL was hls
duLy as a ChrlsLlan Lo announce Lhe facL. Pls sermons on Lhe sub[ecL had been of such a vlvldly
horrendous fervour as Lo lead Lo hls exlle ln WaLerswlck. now as he rowed up Lhe channel lnLo
Lel SLreLch he fulmlnaLed sllenLly agalnsL conLracepLlon, aborLlon and Lhe evlls of sexual
promlsculLy. 1hey were all sympLoms and causes and causaLlve sympLoms of Lhe moral chaos
whlch llfe on earLh had become. And flnally Lhere were Lrlppers. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude loaLhed
Lrlppers. 1hey fouled Lhe llLLle Lden of hls parlsh wlLh Lhelr boaLs, Lhelr LranslsLors and Lhelr
unabashed en[oymenL of Lhe presenL. And Lrlppers who desecraLed Lhe prospecL from hls sLudy
wlndow wlLh lnflaLed conLracepLlves and meanlngless messages were an abomlnaLlon. 8y Lhe
Llme he came ln slghL of Lhe cabln crulser he was ln no mood Lo be Lrlfled wlLh. Pe rowed
furlously across Lo Lhe boaL, Lled up Lo Lhe rall and, llfLlng hls cassock over hls knees, sLepped
aboard.

ln Lhe cabln Sally sLared down aL Lhe baLhlng-cap. lL deflaLed and lnflaLed, expanded and was
sucked ln agalnsL Caskell's lace and Sally squlrmed wlLh pleasure. She was Lhe llberaLedesL
woman ln Lhe world, buL Lhe llberaLedesL. Caskell was dylng and she would be free Lo be wlLh a
mllllon dollars ln Lhe klLLy. And no one would ever know. When he was dead she would Lake Lhe
cap off and unLle hlm and push hls body over Lhe slde lnLo Lhe waLer. Caskell Þrlngshelm would
have dled a naLural deaLh by drownlng. And aL LhaL momenL Lhe cabln door opened and she
looked up aL Lhe sllhoueLLe of Lhe 8ev SL !ohn lroude ln Lhe cabln doorway.
'WhaL Lhe hell...' she muLLered and leapL off Caskell.
1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude heslLaLed. Pe had come Lo say hls plece and say lL he would buL
he had clearly lnLruded on a very naked woman wlLh a horrlbly made-up face ln Lhe acL of
maklng love Lo a man who as far as a qulck glance enabled hlm Lo Lell had no face aL all.
'l...' he began and sLopped. 1he man on Lhe bunk had rolled on Lo Lhe floor and was
wrlLhlng Lhere ln Lhe mosL exLraordlnary fashlon. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude sLared down aL hlm
aghasL. 1he man was noL only faceless buL hls hands were Lled behlnd hls back.
'My dear fellow,' sald Lhe vlcar, appalled aL Lhe scene and looped up aL Lhe naked
woman for some sorL of explanaLlon.' She was sLarlng aL hlm demonlcally and holdlng a large
klLchen knlfe. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude sLumbled back lnLo Lhe cockplL as Lhe woman advanced
Lowards hlm holdlng Lhe knlfe ln fronL of her wlLh boLh hands. She was clearly qulLe demenLed.
So was Lhe man on Lhe floor. Pe rolled abouL and dragged hls head from slde Lo slde. 1he
baLhlng-cap came off buL Lhe 8ev SL. !ohn lroude was Loo busy scrambllng over Lhe slde lnLo hls
rowlng boaL Lo noLlce. Pe casL off as Lhe ghasLly woman lunged Lowards hlm and began Lo row
away hls orlglnal mlsslon enLlrely forgoLLen. ln Lhe cockplL Sally sLood screamlng abuse aL hlm
and behlnd her a shape had appeared ln Lhe cabln door. 1he vlcar was graLeful Lo see LhaL Lhe
man had a face now, noL a nlce face, a poslLlvely horrlble face buL a face for all LhaL, and he was
comlng up behlnd Lhe woman wlLh some hldeous lnLenLlon. 1he nexL momenL Lhe lnLenLlon was
carrled ouL. 1he man hurled hlmself aL her, Lhe knlfe dropped onLo Lhe deck, Lhe woman
scrabbled aL Lhe slde of Lhe boaL and Lhen slld forward lnLo Lhe waLer. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude
walLed no longer. Pe rowed vlgorously away. WhaLever appalllng orgy of sexual perverslon he
had lnLerrupLed, he wanLed none of lL on palnLed women wlLh knlves who called hlm a
moLherfucklng sorL of a cunLsucker, among oLher Lhlngs dldn'L ellclL sympaLhy when Lhe ob[ecL
of Lhelr obscene passlons pushed Lhem lnLo Lhe waLer. And ln any case Lhey were Amerlcans.
1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude had no Llme for Amerlcans. 1hey eplLomlzed everyLhlng he found
offenslve abouL Lhe modern world. lmbued wlLh a new dlsgusL for Lhe presenL and an urge Lo hlL
Lhe whlsky he rowed home and Lled up aL Lhe boLLom of Lhe garden.

8ehlnd hlm ln Lhe cabln crulser Caskell ceased shouLlng. 1he prlesL who had saved hls llfe had
lgnored hls hoarse pleas for furLher help and Sally was sLandlng walsL-deep ln waLer beslde Lhe
boaL. Well she could sLay Lhere. Pe wenL back lnLo Lhe cabln, Lurned so LhaL he could lock Lhe
door wlLh hls Lled hands and Lhen looked around for someLhlng Lo cuL Lhe sllk scarf wlLh. Pe was
sLlll very frlghLened.


'8lghL,' sald lnspecLor lllnL, 'so whaL dld you do Lhen?'
'CoL up and read Lhe Sunday papers'
'AfLer LhaL?'
'l aLe a plaLe of All-8ran and drank some Lea.
'1ea? ?ou sure lL was Lea? LasL Llme you sald coffee.'
'Whlch Llme?'
'1he lasL Llme you Lold lL.'
'l drank Lea.'
'WhaL Lhen?'
'l gave Clem hls breakfasL.'
'WhaL sorL?'
'Chapple.'
'LasL Llme you sald 8onzo.'
'1hls Llme l say Chapple.'
'Make up your mlnd. Whlch sorL was lL?'
'WhaL Lhe fuck does lL maLLer whlch sorL lL was?'
'lL maLLers Lo me.'
'Chapple.'
'And when you had fed Lhe dog.'
'l shaved.'
'LasL Llme you sald you had a baLh.'
'l had a baLh and Lhen l shaved. l was Lrylng Lo save Llme.'
'lorgeL Lhe Llme, WllL, we've goL all Lhe Llme ln Lhe world.'
'WhaL Llme ls lL?'
'ShuL up. WhaL dld you do Lhen?'
'Ch for Cod's sake, whaL does lL maLLer? WhaL's Lhe polnL of golng over and over Lhe
same Lhlngs?'
'ShuL up.'
'8lghL,' sald WllL, 'l wlll.'
'When you had shaved whaL dld you do?'
WllL sLared aL hlm and sald noLhlng.
'When you had shaved?'
8uL WllL remalned sllenL. llnally lnspecLor lllnL lefL Lhe room and senL for SergeanL
?aLes.
'Pe's clammed up,' he sald wearlly. 'So whaL do we do now?'
'1ry a llLLle physlcal persuaslon?'
lllnL shook hls head. 'Cosdyke's seen hlm. lf he Lurns up ln CourL on Monday wlLh so
much as a halr ouL of place, he'll be all over us for bruLallLy. 1here's goL Lo be some oLher way.
Pe musL have a weak spoL somewhere buL l'm damned lf l can flnd lL. Pow does he do lL?'
'uo whaL?'
'keep Lalklng and saylng noLhlng. noL one bloody useful Lhlng. 1haL sod's goL more
oplnlons on every Loplc under Lhe flamlng sun Lhan l've goL halr on my head.'
'lf we keep hlm awake for anoLher forLy-elghL hours he's bound Lo crack up.'
'Pe'll Lake me wlLh hlm,' sald lllnL.' We'll boLh go lnLo courL ln sLralL[ackeLs.'

ln Lhe lnLervlew 8oom WllL puL hls head on Lhe Lable. 1hey would be back ln a mlnuLe wlLh more
quesLlons buL a momenL's sleep was beLLer Lhan none. Sleep. lf only Lhey would leL sleep. 'WhaL
had lllnL sald? '1he momenL you slgn a confesslon you can have all Lhe sleep you wanL.' WllL
consldered Lhe remark and lLs posslblllLles. A confesslon. 8uL lL would have Lo be plauslble
enough Lo keep Lhem occupled whlle he goL some resL and aL Lhe same Llme so lmposslble LhaL
lL would re[ecLed by Lhe courL. A delaylng LacLlc Lo glve Lva Llme Lo come back and prove hls
lnnocence. lL would be llke CasflLLers 1wo _Shane_ Lo read whlle be saL and LhoughL abouL
puLLlng Lva down Lhe plle shafL. Pe should be able Lo Lhlnk up someLhlng compllcaLed LhaL
would keep Lhem franLlcally acLlve. Pow he had kllled Lhem? 8eaL Lhem Lo deaLh ln Lhe
baLhroom? noL enough blood. Lven lllnL had admlLLed LhaL much. So how? WhaL was a nlce
genLle way Lo go? Þoor old ÞlnkerLon had chosen a peaceful deaLh when he sLuck a Lube up Lhe
exhausL plpe of hls car...1haL was lL. 8uL why? 1here had Lo be a moLlve. Lva was havlng lL off
wlLh ur Þrlngshelm? WlLh LhaL LwlL? noL ln a monLh of Sundays. Lva wouldn'L have looked Lwlce
aL Caskell. 8uL lllnL wasn'L Lo know LhaL. And whaL abouL LhaL blLch Sally? All Lhree havlng lL off
LogeLher? Well aL leasL lL would explaln why he kllled Lhem all and lL would provlde Lhe sorL of
moLlve lllnL would undersLand. And besldes lL was rlghL for LhaL klnd of parLy. So he goL Lhls
plpe...WhaL plpe? 1here was no need for a plpe. 1hey were ln Lhe garage Lo geL away from
everyone else. no, LhaL wouldn'L do. lL had Lo be Lhe baLhroom. Pow abouL Lva and Caskell
dolng lL ln Lhe baLh? 1haL was beLLer. Pe had busL Lhe door down ln a flL of [ealousy. Much
beLLer. 1hen he had drowned Lhem. And Lhen Sally had come upsLalrs and he had had Lo klll her
Loo. 1haL explalned Lhe blood. 1here had been a sLruggle. Pe hadn'L meanL Lo klll her buL she
had fallen ln Lhe baLh. So far so good. 8uL where had he puL Lhem? lL had Lo be someLhlng good.
lllnL wasn'L golng Lo belleve anyLhlng llke Lhe rlver. Somewhere LhaL made sense of Lhe doll
down Lhe hole. lllnL had lL flrmly flxed ln hls head LhaL Lhe doll had been a dlverslonary LacLlc.
1haL meanL LhaL Llme enLered lnLo Lhelr dlsposal.
WllL goL up and asked Lo go Lo Lhe LolleL. As usual Lhe consLable came wlLh hlm and
sLood ouLslde Lhe door.
'uo you have Lo?' sald WllL. 'l'm noL golng Lo hang myself wlLh Lhe chaln.'
'1o see you don'L beaL your meaL,' sald Lhe consLable coarsely.
WllL saL down. 8eaL your meaL. WhaL a hell of an expresslon. lL called Lo mlnd MeaL
Cne. MeaL Cne? lL was a momenL of lnsplraLlon. WllL goL up and flushed Lhe LolleL. MeaL Cne
would keep Lhem busy for a long Llme. Pe wenL back Lo Lhe pale green room where Lhe llghL
buzzed. lllnL was walLlng for hlm.
'?ou golng Lo Lalk now?' he asked.
WllL shook hls head. 1hey would have Lo drag lL ouL of hlm lf hls confesslon was Lo be aL
all convlnclng. Pe would have Lo heslLaLe, sLarL Lo say someLhlng, sLop, sLarL agaln, appeal Lo
lllnL Lo sLop LorLurlng hlm, plead and sLarL agaln. 1hls LrouL needed Llckllng. Ch well, lL would
help Lo keep hlm awake.
'Are you golng Lo sLarL agaln aL Lhe beglnnlng?' he asked
lnspecLor lllnL smlled horrlbly. '8lghL aL Lhe beglnnlng.'
'All rlghL,' sald WllL. 'have lL your own way, [usL don'L keep asklng me lf l gave Lhe dog
Chapple or 8onzo. l can'L sLand all LhaL Lalk abouL dog food.'
lnspecLor lllnL rose Lo Lhe balL. 'Why noL?'
'lL geLs on my nerves,' sald WllL, wlLh a shudder.
1he lnspecLor leanL forward. 'uog food geLs on your nerves?' he sald.
WllL heslLaLed paLheLlcally. 'uon'L go on abouL lL,' he sald. 'Þlease don'L go on.'
'now Lhen, whlch was lL, 8onzo or Chapple?' sald Lhe lnspecLor, scenLlng blood.
WllL puL hls head ln hls hands. 'l won'L say anyLhlng. l won'L. Why musL you keep asklng
me abouL food? Leave me alone.' Pls volce rose hysLerlcally and wlLh lL lnspecLor lllnL's hopes.
Pe knew when he had Louched Lhe nerve. Pe was on Lo a good Lhlng.


18


'uear Cod,' sald SergeanL ?aLes, 'buL we had pork ples for lunch yesLerday. lL's Loo awful.'
lnspecLor lllnL rlnsed hls mouLh ouL wlLh black coffee and spaL lnLo Lhe washbasln. Pe
had vomlLed Lwlce and felL llke vomlLlng agaln.
'l knew lL would be someLhlng llke LhaL.' he sald wlLh a shudder. 'l [usL knew lL. A man
who could pull LhaL doll-Lrlck had Lo have someLhlng really fllLhy up hls sleeve.'
'8uL Lhey may all have been eaLen by now,' sald Lhe SergeanL. lllnL looked aL hlm
balefully.
'Why Lhe hell do you Lhlnk he lald LhaL phoney Lrall?' he asked. '1o glve Lhem plenLy of
Llme Lo be consumed. Pls expresslon "consumed", noL mlne. ?ou know whaL Lhe shelf llfe of a
pork ple ls?'
?aLes shook hls head.
'llve days. llve days. So Lhey wenL ouL on 1uesday whlch leaves us one day Lo flnd Lhem
or whaL remalns of Lhem. l wanL every pork ple ln LasL Anglla plcked up. l wanL every fucklng
sausage and sLeak and kldney ple LhaL wenL ouL of SweeLbreads MeaL lacLory Lhls week found
and broughL ln. And every Lln of dog food.'
'uog food?'
'?ou heard me,' sald lnspecLor lllnL sLaggerlng ouL of Lhe washroom. 'And whlle you're
abouL lL you'd beLLer make lL caL food Loo. ?ou never know wlLh WllL,' Pe's capable of leadlng us
up Lhe garden paLh ln one lmporLanL deLall.'
'8uL lf Lhey wenL lnLo pork ples whaL's all Lhls abouL dog food?'
'Where Lhe hell do you Lhlnk he puL Lhe odds and ends and l do mean ends?' lnspecLor
lllnL asked savagely. '?ou don'L lmaglne he was golng Lo have people comlng ln and complalnlng
Lhey'd found a LooLh or a Loenall ln Lhe SweeLbreads ple Lhey had boughL LhaL mornlng. noL
WllL. 1haL swlne Lhlnks of everyLhlng. Pe drowns Lhem ln Lhelr own baLh. Pe puLs Lhem ln plasLlc
garbage bags and locks Lhe bags ln Lhe garage whlle he goes home and sLlcks Lhe doll down LhaL
fucklng hole. 1hen on Sunday he goes back and plcks Lhem up and spends Lhe day aL Lhe meaL
facLory all by hlmself...Well lf you wanL Lo know whaL be dld on Sunday you can read all abouL lL
ln hls sLaLemenL. lL's more Lhan my sLomach can sLand.'
1he lnspecLor wenL back hurrledly lnLo Lhe washroom. Pe'd been llvlng off pork ples
slnce Monday. 1he sLaLlsLlcal chances of hls havlng parLaken of Mrs WllL were exLremely hlgh.

When SweeLbreads MeaL and Cannlng lacLory opened aL elghL, lnspecLor lllnL was walLlng aL
Lhe gaLe. Pe sLormed lnLo Lhe manager's offlce and demanded Lo speak Lo hlm.
'Pe's noL here yeL,' sald Lhe secreLary. 'ls Lhere anyLhlng l can do for you?'
'l wanL a llsL of every esLabllshmenL you supply wlLh pork ples, sLeak and kldney ples,
sausages and dog food,' sald Lhe lnspecLor.
'l couldn'L posslbly glve you LhaL lnformaLlon,' sald Lhe secreLary. 'lL's exLremely
confldenLlal.'
'ConfldenLlal? WhaL Lhe hell do you mean confldenLlal'
'Well l don'L know really. lL's [usL LhaL l couldn'L Lake lL on myself Lo provlde you wlLh
lnslde lnformaLlon...' She sLopped. lnspecLor lllnL was sLarlng aL her wlLh a qulLe horrlble
expresslon on hls face.
'Well, mlss,' he sald flnally, 'whlle we're on Lhe Loplc of lnslde lnformaLlon, lL may
lnLeresL you Lo know LhaL whaL has been lnslde your pork ples ls by way of belng lnslde
lnformaLlon. vlLal lnformaLlon.'
'vlLal lnformaLlon? l don'L know whaL you mean. Cur ples conLaln perfecLly wholesome
lngredlenLs.'
'Wholesome?' shouLed Lhe lnspecLor. '?ou call Lhree human bodles wholesome? ?ou call
Lhe bolled, bleached, mlnced and cooked remalns of Lhree murdered bodles wholesome?'
'8uL we only use...' Lhe secreLary began and fell sldeways, off her chalr ln a dead falnL.
'Ch for Cod's sake,' shouLed Lhe lnspecLor, 'you'd Lhlnk a sllly blLch who can work ln an
abaLLolr wouldn'L be squeamlsh...' llnd ouL who Lhe manager ls and where he llves and Lell hlm
Lo come down here aL Lhe double.'
Pe saL down ln a chalr whlle SergeanL ?aLes rummaged ln Lhe desk. 'Wakey, wakey,' he
sald, proddlng Lhe secreLary wlLh hls fooL. 'lf anyone has goL a rlghL Lo lle down on Lhe [ob, lL's
me. l've been on my feeL for Lhree days and nlghLs and l've been an accessory afLer Lhe facL of
murder.'
'An accessory?' sald ?aLes. 'l don'L see how you can say LhaL.'
'Can'L you? Well whaL would you call helplng Lo dlspose parLs of a murder vlcLlm?
Conceallng evldence of a crlme?'
'l never LhoughL of lL LhaL way,' sald ?aLes.
'l dld,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'l can'L Lhlnk of anyLhlng else.

ln hls cell WllL sLared up aL Lhe celllng peacefully. Pe was asLonlshed LhaL lL had been so easy. All
you had Lo do was Lell people whaL Lhey wanLed Lo hear and Lhey would belleve you no maLLer
how lmplauslble your sLory mlghL be. And Lhree days and nlghLs wlLhouL sleep had suspended
lnspecLor lllnL's dlsbellef wlLh a vengeance. 1hen agaln WllL's heslLaLlons had been Llmed
perfecLly and hls flnal confesslon a nlce mlxLure of concelL and maLLer-of-facLness. Cn Lhe
deLalls of Lhe murder he had been coldly preclse and ln descrlblng Lhelr dlsposal he had been a
crafLsman Laklng prlde ln hls work. Lvery now and Lhen when he goL Lo a dlfflculL spoL he would
veer away lnLo a manlc arrogance aL once boasLful and cowardly wlLh '?ou'll never be able Lo
prove lL. 1hey'll have dlsappeared wlLhouL Lrace now. And Lhe Parplc had come ln useful once
agaln, addlng a macabre Louch of reallsm abouL evldence belng flushed down Lhousands of u-
bends wlLh Parplc belng poured afLer lL llke salL from a salL cellar. Lva would en[oy LhaL when he
Lold her abouL lL, whlch was more Lhan could be sald for lnspecLor lllnL. Pe hadn'L even seen Lhe
lrony of WllL's remark LhaL whlle he had been looklng for Lhe Þrlngshelms Lhey had been under
hls nose all Lhe Llme. Pe had been parLlcularly upseL by Lhe crack abouL guL reacLlons and Lhe
advlce Lo sLlck Lo healLh foods ln fuLure. ?es, ln splLe of hls Llredness WllL had en[oyed hlmself
waLchlng Lhe lnspecLor's bloodshoL eyes Lurn from glee and gloaLlng self-saLlsfacLlon Lo open
amazemenL and flnally undlsgulsed nausea. And when flnally WllL had boasLed LhaL Lhey would
never be able Lo brlng hlm Lo Lrlal wlLhouL Lhe evldence, lllnL had responded magnlflcenLly.
'Ch yes, we wlll,' he had shouLed hoarsely. 'lf Lhere ls one slngle ple lefL from LhaL baLch
we'll geL lL and when we do Lhe Lab boys wlll...'
'llnd noLhlng buL pork ln lL,' sald WllL before belng dragged off Lo hls cell. AL leasL LhaL
was Lhe LruLh and lf lllnL dldn'L belleve lL LhaL was hls own faulL. Pe had asked for a confesslon
and he had goL one by courLesy of MeaL one, Lhe apprenLlce buLchers who had spenL so many
hours of Llberal SLudles explalnlng Lhe worklngs of SweeLbreads MeaL lacLory Lo hlm and had
acLually Laken hlm down Lhere one afLernoon Lo show hlm how lL all worked. uear lads. And
how he had loaLhed Lhem aL Lhe Llme. Whlch only wenL Lo show how wrong you could be abouL
people. WllL was [usL wonderlng lf he had been wrong abouL Lva and perhaps she was dead
when he fell asleep.

ln Lhe churchyard Lva waLched Lhe 8ev SL !ohn lroude walk down Lo Lhe boaLhouse and sLarL
rowlng Lowards Lhe reeds. As soon as he had dlsappeared she made her way up Lhe paLh
Lowards Lhe house. WlLh Lhe vlcar ouL of Lhe way she was prepared Lo Lake Lhe rlsk of meeLlng
hls wlfe. She sLole Lhrough Lhe doorway lnLo Lhe courLyard and looked abouL her. 1he place had
a dllapldaLed alr abouL lL and a plle of empLy boLLles ln one corner, whlskey and gln boLLles,
seemed Lo lndlcaLe LhaL he mlghL well be unmarrled. SLlll cluLchlng her lvy, she wenL across Lo
Lhe door, evldenLly Lhe klLchen door, and knocked. 1here was no answer. She crossed Lo Lhe
wlndow and looked lnslde. 1he klLchen was large, dlsLlncLly unLldy and had all Lhe hallmarks of a
bachelor exlsLence abouL lL. She wenL back Lo Lhe door and knocked agaln and she was [usL
wonderlng whaL Lo do now when Lhere was Lhe sound of a vehlcle comlng down Lhe drlve.


Lva heslLaLed for a second and Lhen Lrled Lhe door. lL was unlocked. She sLepped lnslde
and shuL Lhe door as a mllk van drove lnLo Lhe courLyard. Lva llsLened whlle Lhe mllkman puL
down several boLLles and Lhen drove away. 1hen she Lurned and wenL down Lhe passage Lo Lhe
fronL hall. lf she could flnd Lhe phone she could rlng Penry and he could come ouL ln Lhe car and
feLch her. She would go back Lo Lhe church and walL for hlm Lhere. 8uL Lhe hall was empLy. She
poked her head lnLo several rooms wlLh a goad deal of care and found Lhem largely bare of
furnlLure or wlLh dusLcovers over chalrs and sofas. 1he place was lncredlbly unLldy Loo.
ueflnlLely Lhe vlcar was a bachelor. llnally she found hls sLudy. 1here was a phone on Lhe desk.
Lva wenL over and llfLed Lhe recelver and dlalled lpford 66066. 1hen was no reply. Penry would
be aL Lhe 1ech. She dlalled Lhe 1ech number and asked for Mr WllL.
'WllL?' sald Lhe glrl on Lhe swlLchboard. 'Mr WllL?'
'?es,' sald Lva ln a low volce.
'l'm afrald he's noL here.' sald Lhe glrl.
'noL Lhere? 8uL he's goL Lo be Lhere.'
'Well he lsn'L.'
'8uL he's goL Lo be. lL's desperaLely lmporLanL l geL ln Louch wlLh hlm.'
'l'm sorry, buL l can'L help you.' sald Lhe glrl.
'8uL...' Lva began and glanced ouL of Lhe wlndow. 1he vlcar had reLurned and was
walklng up Lhe garden paLh Lowards her, 'Ch Cod,' she muLLered and puL Lhe phone down
hurrledly. She Lurned and rushed ouL of Lhe room ln a sLaLe of panlc. Cnly when she had made
her way back along Lhe passage Lo Lhe klLchen dld lL occur Lo her LhaL she had lefL her lvy behlnd
ln Lhe sLudy. 1here were fooLsLeps ln Lhe passage. Lva looked franLlcally around, declded agalnsL
Lhe courLyard and wenL up a fllghL of sLone sLeps Lo Lhe flrsL floor. 1here she sLood and llsLened.
Per hearL was palplLaLlng. She was naked and alone ln a sLrange house wlLh a clergyman and
Penry wasn'L aL Lhe 1ech when he should have been and Lhe glrl on Lhe swlLchboard had
sounded mosL pecullar, almosL as Lhough Lhere was someLhlng wrong wlLh wanLlng Lo speak Lo
Penry. She had no ldea whaL Lo do.

ln Lhe klLchen Lhe 8ev SL !ohn lroude had a very good ldea whaL he wanLed Lo do, expunge for
ever Lhe vlslon of Lhe lnferno Lo whlch he had been lured by Lhose vlle Lhlngs wlLh Lhelr
meanlngless messages floaLlng across Lhe waLer. Pe dug a fresh boLLle of 1eachers ouL of Lhe
cupboard and Look lL back Lo hls sLudy whaL he had wlLnessed had been so groLesque, so
evldenLly evll, so awful, so presclenL of hell lLself LhaL he was ln Lwo mlnds wheLher lL had been
real or slmply a waklng nlghLmare. A man wlLhouL a face, whose hands were Lled behlnd hls
back, a woman wlLh a palnLed face and a knlfe, Lhe language...1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude opened
Lhe boLLle and was abouL Lo pour a glass when hls eye fell on Lhe lvy Lva had lefL on Lhe chalr.
Pe puL Lhe boLLle down hasLlly and sLared aL Lhe leaves. Pere was anoLher mysLery Lo perplex
hlm. Pow had a clump of lvy goL on Lo Lhe chalr ln hls sLudy? lL cerLalnly hadn'L been Lhere when
he had lefL Lhe house. Pe plcked lL up glngerly and puL lL on hls desk. 1hen he saL down and
conLemplaLed lL wlLh a growlng sense of unease. SomeLhlng was happenlng ln hls world LhaL he
could noL undersLand. And whaL abouL Lhe sLrange flgure he had seen fllLLlng abouL beLween Lhe
LombsLones? Pe had qulLe forgoLLen her. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude goL up and wenL ouL on Lo Lhe
Lerrace and down Lhe paLh Lo Lhe church.

'Cn a Sunday?' shouLed Lhe manager of SweeLbreads. 'Cn a Sunday? 8uL we don'L work on a
Sunday. 1here's nobody here, 1he place ls shuL.'
'lL wasn'L lasL Sunday and Lhere was someone here, Mr kldney,' sald Lhe lnspecLor.
'kldley, please,' sald Lhe manager. 'kldley wlLh an L.'
1he lnspecLor nodded. 'Ck Mr kldley, now whaL l'm Lelllng you ls LhaL Lhls man WllL was
here lasL Sunday and he...'
'Pow dld he geL ln?'
'Pe used a ladder agalnsL Lhe back wall from Lhe car park.'
'ln broad dayllghL? Pe'd have been seen.'
'AL Lwo o'clock ln Lhe mornlng, Mr kldney.'
'kldley, lnspecLor, kldley.'
'Look Mr kldley, lf you work ln a place llke Lhls wlLh name llke LhaL you're asklng for lL.'
Mr kldley looked aL hlm belllgerenLly. 'And lf you're Lelllng me LhaL some bloody manlac
came ln here wlLh Lhree dead bodles lasL Sunday and spenL Lhe day uslng our equlpmenL Lo
converL Lhem lnLo cooked meaL edlble for human consumpLlon under Lhe lood 8egulaLlons AcL,
l'm Lelllng you LhaL LhaL come under Lhe head of...Pead? WhaL dld he do wlLh Lhe heads?' 1ell
me LhaL?'
'WhaL do you do wlLh heads, Mr kldley?' asked Lhe lnspecLor.
'1haL raLher depends. Some of Lhem go wlLh Lhe offal lnLo Lhe anlmal food blns...'
'8lghL. So LhaL's whaL WllL sald he dld wlLh Lhem. And you keep Lhose ln Lhe no. 2 cold
sLorage room. Am l rlghL?'
Mr kldley nodded mlserably. '?es,' he sald. 'we do.' Pe paused and gaped aL Lhe
lnspecLor. '8uL Lhere's a world of dlfference beLween a plg's head and a...'
'CulLe,' sald Lhe lnspecLor hasLlly, 'and l daresay you Lhlnk someone was bound Lo spoL
Lhe dlfference.'
'Cf course Lhey would.'
'now l undersLand from Mr WllL LhaL you have an exLremely efflclenL mlnclng
machlne...'
'no,' shouLed Mr kldley desperaLely. 'no. l don'L belleve lL. lL's noL posslble. lL's...'
'Are you saylng he couldn'L posslbly have...'
'l'm noL saylng LhaL. l'm saylng he shouldn'L have. lL's monsLrous. lL's horrlble.'
'Cf course lL's horrlble.' sald Lhe lnspecLor. '1he facL remalns LhaL he used LhaL machlne.'
'8uL we keep our equlpmenL meLlculously clean.'
'So WllL says. Pe was deflnlLe on LhaL polnL. Pe says he cleaned up carefully afLerwards.'
'Pe musL have done,' sald Mr kldley. '1here wasn'L a Lhlng ouL of place on Monday
mornlng. ?ou heard Lhe foreman say, so.'
'And l also heard Lhls swlne WllL say LhaL he made a llsL of where everyLhlng came from
before he used lL so LhaL he could puL lL back exacLly where he'd found lL. Pe LhoughL of
everyLhlng.'
'And whaL abouL our repuLaLlon for hyglene? Pe dldn'L Lhlnk of LhaL, dld he? lor LwenLy-
flue years we've been known for Lhe excellence of our producLs and now Lhls has Lo happen.
We've been aL Lhe head of...' Mr kldley sLopped suddenly and saL down.
'now Lhen,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'whaL l have Lo know ls who you supply Lo. We're golng
Lo call ln every pork ple and sausage...
'Call Lhem ln? ?ou can'L call Lhem ln,' screamed Mr kldley, 'Lhey've all gone.'
'Cone? WhaL do you mean Lhey've gone?'
'WhaL l say. 1hey've gone. 1hey've elLher been eaLen or desLroyed by now.'
'uesLroyed? ?ou're noL golng Lo Lell me LhaL Lhere aren'L any lefL. lL's only flve days slnce
Lhey wenL ouL.'
Mr kldley drew hlmself up. 'lnspecLor, Lhls ls as old fashloned flrm and we use
LradlLlonal meLhods and a SweeLbreads pork ple ls a genulne pork ple. lL's noL one of your ersaLz
ples wlLh preservaLlves LhaL...'
lL was lnspecLor lllnL's Lurn Lo slump lnLo a chalr. 'Am l Lo undersLand LhaL your fucklng
ples don'L keep?' he asked.
Mr kldley nodded. '1hey are for lmmedlaLe consumpLlon he sald proudly. 'Pere Loday,
gone Lomorrow. 1haL's our moLLo. ?ou've seen our adverLlsemenLs of course.'
lnspecLor lllnL hadn'L.
'1oday's ple wlLh yesLerday's flavour, Lhe LradlLlonal ple wlLh Lhe famlly fllllng.'
'?ou can say LhaL agaln.' sald lnspecLor lllnL.

Mr Cosdyke regarded WllL scepLlcally and shook lels head '?ou should have llsLened Lo me,' he
sald, 'l Lold you noL Lo Lalk.'
'l had Lo say someLhlng,' sald WllL. '1hey wouldn'L leL me sleep and Lhey kepL asklng me
Lhe same sLupld quesLlons over and over agaln. ?ou've no ldea whaL LhaL does Lo you. lL drlve
you poLLy.'
'lrankly, Mr WllL, ln Lhe llghL of Lhe confesslon you have made l flnd lL hard Lo belleve
Lhere was any need Lo. A man who can, of hls own free wlll make a sLaLemenL llke Lhls Lo Lhe
pollce ls clearly lnsane.'
'8uL lL's nor Lrue,' sald WllL, 'lL's all pure lnvenLlon.'
'WlLh a wealLh of such revolLlng deLall? l musL say l flnd LhaL hard Lo belleve. l do
lndeed. 1he blL abouL hlp and Lhlghs. lL makes my sLomach Lurn over.'
'8uL LhaL's from Lhe 8lble.' sald WllL, 'and besldes l had Lo puL ln Lhe gory blLs or Lhey
wouldn'L have belleved me. 1ake Lhe parL where l say l sawed Lhelr...'
'Mr WllL, for Cod's sake...'
'Well, all l can say ls you've never LaughL MeaL Cne. l goL lL all from Lhem and once
you've LaughL Lhem llfe can hold few surprlses.'
Mr Cosdyke ralsed an eyebrow. 'Can'L lL? Well l Lhlnk l dlsabuse you of LhaL noLlon,' he
sald solemnly. 'ln Lhe llghL of Lhls confesslon you have made agalnsL my mosL earnesL advlce,
and as a resulL of my flrm bellef LhaL every word ln lL ls Lrue, l am no longer prepared Lo acL on
your behalf.' Pe collecLed hls papers and sLood up. '?ou wlll have Lo geL someone else.'
'8uL, Mr Cosdyke, you don'L really belleve all LhaL nonsense abouL puLLlng Lva ln a pork
ple, do you?' WllL asked.
'8elleve lL? A man who can concelve of such a dlsgusLlng Lhlng ls capable of anyLhlng.
?es l do and whaL ls more so do Lhe pollce. 1hey are Lhls momenL scourlng Lhe shops, Lhe pubs
and Lhe supermarkeLs and dusLblns of Lhe enLlre counLy ln search of pork ples.'
'8uL lf Lhey flnd any lL won'L do any good.'
'lL may also lnLeresL you Lo know LhaL Lhey have lmpounded flve Lhousand cans of
uogflll, an equal number of CaLkln and have begun Lo dlssecL a quarLer of a Lon of SweeLbreads
8esL 8angers. Somewhere ln LhaL llLLle loL Lhey are bound Lo flnd some Lrace of Mrs WllL, noL Lo
menLlon ur and Mrs Þrlngshelm.'
'Well, all l can say ls LhaL l wlsh Lhem luck.' sald WllL.
'And so do l,' sald Mr Cosdyke dlsgusLedly and lefL Lhe room. 8ehlnd hlm WllL slghed. lf
only Lva would Lurn up. Where Lhe hell could she have goL Lo?

AL Lhe Þollce LaboraLorles lnspecLor lllnL was geLLlng resLlve. 'Can'L you speed Lhlngs up a blL?'
he asked.
1he Pead of Lhe lorenslc ueparLmenL shook hls head. 'lL's llke looklng for a needle ln a
haysLack,' he sald, glanclng slgnlflcanLly aL anoLher baLch of sausages LhaL had [usL been broughL
ln. 'So far noL a Lrace. 1hls could Lake weeks.'
'l haven'L goL weeks,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, 'he's due ln CourL on Monday!
'Cnly for remand and ln any case you've goL hls sLaLemenL.' 8uL lnspecLor lllnL had hls
doubLs abouL LhaL. Pe had been looklng aL LhaL sLaLemenL and had noLlced a number of
dlscrepancles abouL lL whlch faLlgue, dlsgusL and an overwhelmlng deslre Lo geL Lhe fllLhy
accounL over and done wlLh before he was slck had Lended Lo obscure aL Lhe Llme. lor one Lhlng
WllL's scrawled slgnaLure looked susplclously llke LlLLle 1ommy 1ucker when examlned closely
and Lhere was a CnLu beslde lL, whlch lllnL had a shrewd ldea meanL Cuod non LraL
uemonsLrandum and ln any case Lhere were raLher Loo many references Lo plgs for hls
pollceman's fancy and fuzzy plgs aL LhaL. llnally Lhe lnformaLlon LhaL WllL had made a speclal
requesL for Lwo pork ples for lunch and had speclfled SweeL- breads ln parLlcular suggesLed an
lnsane cannlballsm LhaL mlghL flL ln wlLh whaL he had sald he had done buL seemed Lo be
carrylng Lhlngs Loo far. 1he word 'provocaLlon' sprang Lo mlnd and slnce Lhe eplsode of Lhe doll
lllnL had been raLher consclous of bad publlclLy. Pe read Lhrough Lhe sLaLemenL agaln and
couldn'L make up hls mlnd abouL lL. Cne Lhlng was qulLe cerLaln. WllL knew exacLly how
SweeLbreads facLory worked. 1he wealLh of deLall he had supplled proved LhaL. Cn Lhe oLher
hand Mr kldley's lncredullLy abouL Lhe heads and Lhe mlnclng machlne had seemed, on
lnspecLlon, Lo be [usLlfled. lllnL had looked glngerly aL Lhe beasLly conLrapLlon and had found lL
dlfflculL Lo belleve LhaL even WllL ln a flL homlcldal manla could have...lllnL puL Lhe LhoughL ouL
hls mlnd. Pe declded Lo have anoLher llLLle chaL wlLh Penry WllL. leellng llke deaLh warmed up
he wenL back Lo Lhe lnLervlew 8oom and senL for WllL.
'Pow's lL golng?' sald WllL when be arrlved. 'Pad any luck wlLh Lhe frankfurLers yeL? Cf
course you could always Lry your hand aL black puddlngs...'
'WllL,' lnLerrupLed Lhe lnspecLor, 'why dld you slgn sLaLemenL LlLLle 1ommy 1ucker?'
WllL saL down. 'So you've noLlced LhaL aL lasL, have you, very observanL of you l musL
say.'
'l asked you a quesLlon.'
'So you dld,' sald WllL. 'LeL's [usL say l LhoughL lL approprlaLe.'
'ApproprlaLe?'
'l was slnglng. l Lhlnk LhaL's Lhe slang Lerm for lL lsn'L lL for my sleep, so naLurally...'
'Are you Lelllng me you made all LhaL up?'
'WhaL Lhe hell do, you Lhlnk l dld? ?ou don'L serlously Lhlnk l would lnfllcL Lhe
Þrlngshelms and Lva on an unsuspecLlng publlc ln Lhe form of pork ples, do you? l mean Lhere
musL be some llmlLs Lo your credullLy.'
lnspecLor lllnL glared aL hlm. 'My Cod, WllL,' he sald, 'lf l flnd you've dellberaLely
fabrlcaLed a sLory...'
'?ou can'L do very much more.' sald WllL. '?ou've already charged me wlLh murder.
WhaL more do you wanL? ?ou drag me ln here, you humlllaLe me, you shouL aL me, you keep me
awake for days and nlghLs bombardlng me wlLh quesLlons abouL dog food, you announce Lo Lhe
world LhaL l am helplng you ln your enqulrles lnLo a mulLlple murder Lhus leadlng every clLlzen ln
Lhe counLry Lo suppose LhaL l have slaughLered my wlfe and a beasLly blochemlsL and...'
'ShuL up,' shouLed lllnL, 'l don'L care whaL you Lhlnk. lL's whaL you've done and whaL
you've sald you've done LhaL worrles me. ?ou've gone ouL of your way Lo mlslead me...'
'l've done noLhlng of Lhe sorL,' sald WllL. 'unLll lasL nlghL l had Lold you noLhlng buL Lhe
LruLh and you wouldn'L accepL lL. LasL nlghL l handed you, ln Lhe absurd shape of a pork ple, a lle
you wanLed Lo belleve. lf you crave crap and use lllegal meLhods llke sleep deprlvaLlon Lo geL lL
you can'L blame me for servlng lL up. uon'L come ln here and blusLer. lf you're sLupld LhaL's your
problem. Co and flnd my wlfe.'
'Someone sLop me from kllllng Lhe basLard.' yelled lllnL, as he hurled hlmself from Lhe
room. Pe wenL Lo hls offlce and senL for SergeanL ?aLes. 'Cancel Lhe ple hunL. lL's a load of bull,'
he Lold hlm.
'8ull?' sald Lhe SergeanL uncerLalnly.
'ShlL.' sald lllnL. 'Pe's done lL agaln.'
'?ou mean...'
'l mean LhaL LhaL llLLle Lurd ln Lhere has led us up Lhe garden paLh agaln.'
'8uL how dld he know abouL Lhe facLory and all LhaL?'
lllnL looked up aL hlm paLheLlcally. 'lf you wanL Lo know why he's a walklng
encyclopedla, you go and ask hlm yourself.'
SergeanL ?aLes wenL ouL and reLurned flve mlnuLes laLer. 'MeaL Cne,' he announced
enlgmaLlcally.
'MeeL won?'
'A class of buLchers he used Lo Leach. 1hey Look hlm round Lhe facLory'
'!esus,' sald lllnL, 'ls Lhere anybody LhaL llLLle swlne hasn'L LaughL?'
'Pe says Lhey were mosL lnsLrucLlve.'
'?aLes, do me a favour. !usL go back and flnd ouL all Lhe names of Lhe classes he's LaughL.
1haL way we'll know whaL Lo expecL nexL.'
'Well l have heard hlm menLlon ÞlasLerers 1wo and CasflLLers Cne...'
'All of Lhem, ?aLes, all of Lhem. l don'L wanL Lo be caughL ouL wlLh some Lale abouL Mrs
WllL belng goL rld of ln Sewage Works because he once LaughL ShlL 1wo.' Pe plcked Lhe evenlng
paper and glanced aL Lhe headllnes. Þollce Þ8C8L ÞlLS lC8 MlSSlnC WllL.
'Ch my Cod,' he groaned. '1hls ls golng Lo do our publlc lmage no end of good.'

AL Lhe 1ech Lhe Þrlnclpal was expresslng Lhe same oplnlon aL a meeLlng of Lhe Peads of
ueparLmenLs.
'We've been held up Lo publlc rldlcule,' he sald. 'llrsL lL ls popularly supposed LhaL we
make a hablL of employlng lecLurers who bury Lhelr unwanLed wlves ln Lhe foundaLlons of Lhe
new block. Secondly we have losL all chance of aLLaln ÞolyLechnlc sLaLus by havlng Lhe [olnL
Ponours degree Lurned down by Lhe CnAA on Lhe grounds LhaL Lhose faclllLles we do provlde
are noL such as beflL an lnsLlLuLlon of hlgher learnlng. Þrofessor 8axendale expressed hlmself
very forclbly on LhaL polnL and parLlcularly on a remark he heard from one Lhe senlor sLaff abouL
necrophllla...'
'l merely sald...' ur 8oard began.
'We all know whaL you sald, ur 8oard. And lL may lnLeresL you Lo know LhaL ur Cox ln hls
lucld momenLs ls sLlll refuslng cold meaL. ur Mayfleld has already Lendered hls reslgnaLlon. And
now Lo cap lL all we have Lhls.'
Pe held app a newspaper across Lhe Lop of whose second page Lhere read SLx
LLC1u8LS S1un S1uuLn1S.
'l hope you have all Laken good noLe of Lhe phoLograph,' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal blLLerly,
lndlcaLlng a large and unforLunaLely angled plcLure of !udy hanglng from Lhe crane. '1he arLlcle
goes on...well never mlnd. ?ou can read lL for yourselves. l would merely llke answers Lo Lhe
followlng quesLlons. Who auLhorlzed Lhe purchase of LhlrLy coples of _LasL LxlL lrom 8rooklyn_
for use wlLh llLLers and 1urners?'
Mr Morrls Lrled Lo Lhlnk who had Laken l1s. 'l Lhlnk LhaL musL have been WaLklns,' he
sald. 'Pe lefL us lasL Lerm. Pe was only a parL-Llme lecLurer.'
'1hank Cod we were spared hlm full-Llme.' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal. 'Secondly whlch lecLurer
makes a hablL of advocaLlng Lo nursery nurses LhaL Lhey wear...er...uuLch Caps all Lhe Llme?'
'Well Mr Sedgwlck ls very keen on Lhem.' sald Mr Morrls.
'nursery nurses or uuLch Caps?' enqulred Lhe Þrlnclpal.
'Þosslbly boLh LogeLher?' suggesLed ur 8oard soLLo voce.
'Pe's goL Lhls Lhlng agalnsL Lhe Þlll,' sald Mr Morrls.
'Well please ask Mr Sedgwlck Lo see me ln my offlce on Monday aL Len. l wanL Lo explaln
Lhe Lerms under whlch he ls employed here. And flnally, how many lecLurers do you know of
who make use of Audlo vlsual Ald equlpmenL Lo show blue movles Lo Lhe Senlor Secs?'
Mr Morrls shook hls head emphaLlcally. 'no one ln my deparLmenL.' he sald.
'lL says here LhaL blue movles have been shown,' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal. 'ln perlods properly
allocaLed Lo CurrenL Affalrs.'
'WenLworLh dld show Lhem _Women ln Love,'_ sald Lhe Pead of Lngllsh.
'Well never mlnd. 1here's [usL one more polnL l wanL Lo menLlon. 'We are noL golng Lo
conducL an Lvenlng Class ln llrsL Ald wlLh parLlcular reference Lo Lhe 1reaLmenL of Abdomlnal
Pernla for whlch lL was proposed Lo purchase an lnflaLable doll. lrom now on we are golng Lo
have Lo cuL our coaLs Lo sulL our cloLh.'
'Cn Lhe grounds of lnflaLlon?' asked ur 8oard.
'Cn Lhe grounds LhaL Lhe LducaLlon CommlLLee has been walLlng for years for an
opporLunlLy Lo cuL back our budgeL,' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal. 1haL opporLunlLy has now been glven
Lhem. 1he facL LhaL we have been provldlng a publlc servlce by keeplng, Lo quoLe Mr Morrls, "a
large number of menLally unbalanced and poLenLlally dangerous psychopaLhs off Lhe sLreeLs"
unquoLe seems Lo have escaped Lhelr noLlce.'
'l presume he was referrlng Lo Lhe uay 8elease ApprenLlces,' sald ur 8oard charlLably.
'Pe was noL.' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal. 'CorrecL me lf l am wrong, Morrls, buL hadn'L you ln
mlnd Lhe members of Lhe Llberal SLudles ueparLmenL?'
1he meeLlng broke up. LaLer LhaL day Mr Morrls saL down Lo compose hls leLLer of
reslgnaLlon.


19


lrom Lhe wlndow of an empLy bedroom on Lhe flrsL floor of Lhe vlcarage, Lva WllL waLched Lhe
8ev SL !ohn lroude walk penslvely down Lhe paLh Lo Lhe church. As soon as he had passed ouL of
slghL she wenL downsLalrs and lnLo Lhe sLudy. She would phone Penry agaln. lf he wasn'L aL Lhe
1ech he musL be aL home. She crossed Lo Lhe desk and was abouL Lo plck up Lhe phone when
she saw Lhe lvy. Ch dear, she had forgoLLen all abouL Lhe lvy and she had lefL lL where he was
bound Lo have seen lL. lL was all so Lerrlbly embarrasslng. She dlalled 34 Þarkvlew Avenue and
walLed. 1here was no reply. She puL Lhey phone down and dlalled Lhe 1ech. And all Lhe Llme she
waLched Lhe gaLe lnLo Lhe churchyard ln case Lhe vlcar should reLurn.
'lenland College of ArLs and 1echnology,' sald Lhe glrl on Lhe swlLchboard.
'lL's me agaln,' sald Lva, 'l wanL Lo speak Lo Mr WllL.'
'l'm very sorry buL Mr WllL lsn'L here.'
'8uL where ls he? l've dlalled home and...'
'Pe's aL Lhe Þollce SLaLlon.'
'Pe's whaL?' Lva sald.
'Pe's aL Lhe Þollce SLaLlon helplng Lhe pollce wlLh Lhelr enqulrles...'
'Lnqulrles? WhaL enqulrles?' Lva shrleked.
'uldn'L you know?' sald Lhe glrl 'lL's been ln all Lhe papers. Pe's been and murdered hls
wlfe...'
Lva Look Lhe phone from her ear and sLared aL lL ln horror. 1he glrl was sLlll speaklng buL
she was no longer llsLenlng. Penry had murdered hls wlfe. 8uL she was hls wlfe. lL wasn'L
posslble. She couldn'L have been murdered. lor one horrlble momenL Lva WllL felL sanlLy
sllpplng from her. 1hen she puL Lhe recelver Lo her ear agaln.
'Are you Lhere?' sald Lhe glrl.
'8uL l am hls wlfe.' Lva shouLed. 1here was a long sllence aL Lhe oLher end and she heard
Lhe glrl Lelllng someone LhaL Lhere was a crazy woman on Lhe llne who sald she was Mrs WllL
and whaL oughL she Lo do.
'l Lell you l am Mrs WllL. Mrs Lva WllL.' she shouLed buL Lhe llne had gone dead. Lva puL
Lhe phone down weakly. Penry aL Lhe Þollce SLaLlon...Penry had murdered her...Ch Cod. 1he
whole world had gone mad. And here she was naked ln a vlcarage aL...Lva had no ldea where
she was. She dlalled 999.
'Lmergency Servlces. Whlch deparLmenL do you requlre?' sald Lhe operaLor.
'Þollce,' sald Lva. 1here was a cllck and a man's volce came on.
'Þollce here.'
'1hls ls Mrs WllL,' sald Lva.
'Mrs WllL?'
'Mrs Lva WllL. ls lL Lrue LhaL my husband has murdered...l mean has my husband...oh
dear l don'L know whaL Lo say.'
'?ou say you're Mrs WllL. Mrs. Lva WllL?' sald Lhe man.
Lva nodded and Lhen sald. '?es.'
'l see.' sald Lhe man dublously. '?ou're qulLe sure you're Mrs WllL?'
'Cf course l'm sure. 1haL's whaL l'm rlnglng abouL.'
'MlghL l enqulre where you're calllng from?'
'l don'L know,' sald Lva. '?ou see l'm ln Lhls house and l've goL no cloLhes and...oh dear.'
1he vlcar was comlng up Lhe paLh on Lo Lhe Lerrace.
'lf you could [usL glve us Lhe address.'
'l can'L sLop now,' sald Lva and puL Lhe phone down. lor momenL she heslLaLed and
Lhen grabblng Lhe lvy from Lhe desk she rushed ouL of Lhe room.

'l Lell you l don'L know where she ls,' sald WllL. 'l expecL you'll flnd her under mlsslng persons.
She has passed from Lhe realm of subsLanLlallLy lnLo LhaL of absLracLlon.'
'WhaL Lhe hell do you mean by LhaL?' asked Lhe lnspecLor, reachlng for hls cup of coffee.
lL was eleven o'clock on SaLurday mornlng buL he perslsLed. Pe had LwenLy-elghL hours Lo geL Lo
Lhe LruLh.
'l always warned her LhaL 1ranscendenLal MedlLaLlon carrled poLenLlal dangers,' sald
WllL, hlmself ln a no-man's-land beLween sleeplng and walklng. '8uL she would do lL.'
'uo whaL?'
'MedlLaLe LranscendenLally. ln Lhe loLus poslLlon. Þerhaps she has gone Loo far Lhls Llme.
Þosslbly she has Lransmogrlfled herself'
'1rans whaL?' sald lnspecLor lllnL susplclously.
'Changed herself ln some maglcal fashlon lnLo someLhlng else.'
'!esus, WllL, lf you sLarL on Lhose pork ples agaln...'
'l was Lhlnklng of someLhlng more splrlLual, lnspecLor, someLhlng beauLlful.'
'l doubL lL.'
'Ah buL Lhlnk. Pere am l slLLlng ln Lhls room wlLh you as a dlrecL resulL of golng for walks
wlLh Lhe dog and Lhlnklng dark LhoughLs abouL murderlng my wlfe. lrom Lhose hours of ldle
fancy l have galned Lhe repuLaLlon of belng a murderer wlLhouL commlLLlng a murder. Who ls Lo
say buL LhaL Lva, whose LhoughLs were monoLonously beauLlful has noL earned herself a
commensuraLely beauLlful reward? 1o puL lL ln your Lerms, lnspecLor, we geL whaL we ask for.'
'l fervenLly hope so, WllL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor.
'Ah,' sald WllL, 'buL Lhen where ls she? 1ell me LhaL. Mere speculaLlon wlll noL do...'
'Me Lell you?' shouLed Lhe lnspecLor upseLLlng hls cup of coffee. '?ou know whlch hole ln
Lhe ground you puL her ln or whlch cemenL mlxer or lnclneraLor you used.'
'l was speaklng meLaphorlcally...l mean rheLorlcally,' sald WllL. 'l was Lrylng Lo lmaglne
whaL Lva would be lf her LhoughLs such as Lhey are Look on Lhe subsLance of reallLy. My secreL
dream was Lo become a ruLhless man of acLlon, declslve, unhlndered by moral doubLs or
conslderaLlons of consclence, a PamleL Lransformed lnLo Penry Lhe llfLh wlLhouL Lhe paLrloLlc
fervour LhaL lncllnes one Lo Lhlnk LhaL he would noL have approved of Lhe Common MarkeL, a
Caesar...'
lnspecLor lllnL had heard enough. 'WllL,' he snarled, 'l don'L glve a damn whaL you
wanLed Lo become. WhaL l wanL Lo know ls whaL has become of your wlfe.'
'l was [usL comlng Lo LhaL,' sald WllL. 'WhaL we've goL Lo esLabllsh flrsL ls whaL l am.'
'l know whaL you are, WllL. A bloody word merchanL, a verbal conLorLlonlsL, a fucklng
loglc-chopper, a llngulsLlc Poudlnl, an encyclopedla of unwanLed lnformaLlon...' lnspecLor lllnL
ran ouL of meLaphors.
'8rllllanL, lnspecLor, brllllanL. l couldn'L have puL lL beLLer myself. A loglc-chopper, buL
alas noL a wlfe one. lf we follow Lhe same llne of reasonlng Lva ln splLe of all her beauLlful
LhoughLs and medlLaLlons has remalned as unchanged as l. 1he eLhereal eludes her. nlrvana
sllps ever from her grasp. 8eauLy and LruLh evade her. She pursues Lhe absoluLe wlLh a
flyswaLLer and pours Parplc down Lhe dralns of Pell lLself...'
'1haL's Lhe LenLh Llme you have menLloned Parplc,' sald Lhe lnspecLor, suddenly allve Lo
a new dreadful posslblllLy. '?ou dldn'L...'
WllL shook hls head. '1here you go agaln. So llke poor Lva. 1he llLeral mlnd LhaL seeks Lo
selze Lhe evanescenL and cluLches fancy by lLs non-exlsLenL LhroaL. 1haL's Lva for you. She wlll
never dance Swan Lake. no managemenL would allow her Lo flll Lhe sLage wlLh waLer or lnsLall a
double bed and Lva would lnslsL.'
lnspecLor lllnL goL up. '1hls ls geLLlng us nowhere fasL.'
'Þreclsely,' sald WllL, 'nowhere aL all. We are whaL we are and noLhlng we can do wlll
alLer Lhe facL. 1he mould LhaL forms our naLures remalns unbroken. Call lL heredlLy, call lL
chance...'
'Call lL a load of codswallop.' sald lllnL and lefL Lhe room. Pe needed hls sleep and he
lnLended Lo geL lL.
ln Lhe passage he meL SergeanL ?aLes.
'1here's been an emergency call from a woman clalmlng Lo be Mrs WllL,' Lhe SergeanL
sald.
'Where from?'
'She wouldn'L say where she was,' sald ?aLes. 'She [usL sald she dldn'L know and LhaL slLe
had no cloLhes on...'
'Ch one of Lhose,' sald Lhe lnspecLor. 'A bloody nuLLer. WhaL Lhe hell are you wasLlng my
Llme for? As lf we dldn'L have, enough on our hands wlLhouL LhaL.'
'l [usL LhoughL you'd wanL Lo know. lf she calls agaln we'll Lry and geL a flx on Lhe
number.'
'As lf l cared,' sald lllnL and hurrled off ln search of hls losL sleep.

1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude spenL an uneasy day. Pls lnvesLlgaLlon of Lhe church had revealed
noLhlng unLoward and Lhere was no slgn LhaL an obscene rlLual (a 8lack Mass had crossed hls
mlnd) had been performed Lhere. As he walked back Lo Lhe vlcarage he was glad Lo noLe LhaL
Lhe sky over Lel SLreLch was empLy and LhaL Lhe conLracepLlves had dlsappeared. So had Lhe lvy
on hls desk. Pe regarded Lhe space where lL had been wlLh apprehenslon and helped hlmself Lo
whlsky. Pe could have sworn Lhere had been a sprlg of lvy Lhere when he had lefL. 8y Lhe Llme
he had flnlshed whaL remalned ln Lhe boLLle hls mlnd was fllled wlLh welrd fancles. 1he vlcarage
was sLrangely nolsy. 1here were odd creaks from Lhe sLalrcase and lnexpllcable sounds from Lhe
upper floor as lf someone or someLhlng was movlng sLealLhlly abouL buL when Lhe vlcar wenL Lo
lnvesLlgaLe Lhe nolses ceased abrupLly. Pe wenL upsLalrs and poked hls head lnLo several empLy
bedrooms. Pe came down agaln and sLood ln Lhe hall llsLenlng. 1hen he reLurned Lo hls sLudy
and Lrled Lo concenLraLe on hls sermon, buL Lhe feellng LhaL he was noL alone perslsLed. 1he 8ev
SL !ohn lroude saL aL hls desk and consldered Lhe posslblllLy of ghosLs. SomeLhlng very odd was
golng on. AL one o'clock he wenL down Lhe hall Lo Lhe klLchen for lunch and dlscovered LhaL a
plnL of mllk had dlsappeared from Lhe panLry and LhaL Lhe remalns of an apple ple LhaL Mrs
Snape who dld hls cleanlng Lwlce weekly had broughL hlm had also vanlshed. Pe made do wlLh
baked beans on LoasL and LoLLered upsLalrs for hls afLernoon nap. lL was whlle he was Lhere LhaL
he flrsL heard Lhe volces. Cr raLher one volce. lL seemed Lo come from hls sLudy. 1he 8ev SL !ohn
lroude saL up ln bed. lf hls ears weren'L beLraylng hlm and ln vlew of Lhe mornlng's welrd evenLs
he was lncllned Lo belleve LhaL Lhey were he could have sworn someone had been uslng hls
Lelephone. Pe goL up and puL on hls shoes. Someone was crylng. Pe wenL ouL on Lo Lhe landlng
and llsLened. 1he sobblng had sLopped. Pe wenL downsLalrs and looked ln all Lhe rooms on Lhe
ground floor buL, aparL from Lhe facL LhaL a dusL cover had been removed from one of Lhe
armchalrs ln Lhe unused slLLlng-room, Lhere was no slgn of anyone. Pe was [usL abouL Lo go
upsLalrs agaln when Lhe Lelephone rang. Pe wenL lnLo Lhe sLudy and answered lL.
'WaLerswlck vlcarage,' he mumbled.
'1hls ls lenland ConsLabulary,' sald a man. 'We've [usL had a call from your number
purporLlng Lo come from a Mrs WllL!
'Mrs WllL?' sald Lhe 8ev SL !ohn lroude. 'Mrs. WllL? l'm afrald Lhere musL be some
mlsLake. l don'L know any Mrs WllL.'
'1he call deflnlLely came from your phone, slr.'
1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude consldered Lhe maLLer. '1hls ls all very pecullar,' he sald, 'l llve
alone.'
'?ou are Lhe vlcar?'
'Cf course l'm Lhe vlcar. 1hls ls Lhe vlcarage and l am Lhe vlcar.'
'l see, slr. And your name ls?'
'1he 8everend SL !ohn lroude...l...8...C...u...u...L.'
'CulLe slr, and you deflnlLely don'L have a woman ln Lhe house.'
'Cf course l don'L have a woman ln Lhe house. l flnd Lhe suggesLlon dlsLlncLly lmproper. l
am a...'
'l'm sorry, slr, buL we [usL have Lo check Lhese Lhlngs ouL. We've had a call from Mrs
WllL, or aL leasL a woman clalmlng Lo be Mrs WllL, and lL came from your phone...'
'Who ls Lhls Mrs WllL? l've never heard of a Mrs WllL.'
'Well slr. Mrs WllL...lL's a blL dlfflculL really. She's supposed Lo have been murdered.'
'Murdered?' sald Lhe 8ev SL !ohn lroude. 'uld you say "murdered"?'
'LeL's [usL say she ls mlsslng from home ln susplclous clrcumsLances. We're holdlng her
husband for quesLlonlng.'
1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude shook hls head. 'Pow very unforLunaLe.' he murmured.
'1hank you for your help, slr,' sald Lhe SergeanL. 'Sorry we have dlsLurbed you.'
1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude puL Lhe phone down LhoughLfully. 1he noLlon LhaL he was
sharlng Lhe house wlLh a dlsembodled and recenLly murdered woman was noL one LhaL he had
wanLed Lo puL Lo hls caller. Pls repuLaLlon for eccenLrlclLy was already sufflclenLly wldespread
wlLhouL addlng Lo lL. Cn Lhe oLher hand whaL he had seen on Lhe boaL ln Lel SLreLch bore, now
LhaL he came Lo Lhlnk of lL, all Lhe hallmarks of murder. Þerhaps ln some exLraordlnary way he
had been a wlLness Lo a Lragedy LhaL had already occurred, a sorL of posL-morLem de[a vu lf LhaL
was Lhe rlghL way of puLLlng lL. CerLalnly lf Lhe husband were belng held for quesLlonlng Lhe
murder musL have Laken place before...ln whlch case...1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude sLumbled
Lhrough a serles of supposlLlons ln whlch 1lme wlLh a caplLal 1, and appeals for help from
beyond Lhe grave flgured largely. Þerhaps lL was hls duLy Lo lnform Lhe pollce of whaL he had
seen. Pe was [usL heslLaLlng and wonderlng whaL Lo do when he heard Lhose sobs agaln and Lhls
Llme qulLe dlsLlncLly. 1hey came from Lhe nexL room. Pe goL up, braced hlmself wlLh anoLher
shoL of whlsky and wenL nexL door. SLandlng ln Lhe mlddle of Lhe room was a large woman
whose halr sLraggled down over her shoulders and whose face was ravaged. She was wearlng
whaL appeared Lo be a shroud. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude sLared aL her wlLh a growlng sense of
horror. 1hen he sank Lo hls knees.
'LeL us pray,' he muLLered hoarsely.
1he ghasLly apparlLlon slumped heavlly forward cluLchlng Lhe shroud Lo lLs bosom.
1ogeLher Lhey kneeled ln prayer.

'Check lL ouL? WhaL Lhe hell do you mean "check lL ouL"?' sald lnspecLor lllnL who ob[ecLed
sLrongly Lo belng woken ln Lhe mlddle of Lhe afLernoon when he had had no sleep for LhlrLy-slx
hours and was Lrylng Lo geL some. '?ou wake me wlLh some damned Lomfoolery abouL a vlcar
called Slgmund lreud...'
'SL !ohn lroude,' sald ?aLes.
'l don'L care whaL he's called. lL's sLlll lmprobable. lf Lhe bloody man says she lsn'L Lhere,
she lsn'L Lhere. WhaL am l supposed Lo do abouL lL?'
'l [usL LhoughL we oughL Lo geL a paLrol car Lo check, LhaL's all.'
'WhaL makes you Lhlnk...'
'1here was deflnlLely a call from a woman clalmlng Lo be Mrs WllL and lL came from LhaL
number. She's called Lwlce now. We've goL a Lape of Lhe second call. She gave deLalls of herself
and Lhey sound auLhenLlc. uaLe of blrLh, address, WllL's occupaLlon, even Lhe rlghL name of Lhelr
dog and Lhe facL LhaL Lhey have yellow curLalns ln Lhe lounge.'
'Well, any fool can Lell LhaL. All Lhey've goL Lo do ls walk pasL Lhe house,'
'And Lhe name of Lhe dog. lL's called Clem. l've checked LhaL and she's rlghL.'
'She dldn'L happen Lo say whaL she'd been dolng for Lhe pasL week dld she?'
'She sald she'd been on a boaL,' sald ?aLes. '1hen she rang off.'
lnspecLor lllnL saL up ln bed. 'A boaL? WhaL boaL?'
'She rang off. Ch and anoLher Lhlng, she sald she Lakes a slze Len shoe. She does.'
'Ch shlL.' sald lllnL, 'All rlghL, l'll come down.' Pe goL ouL of bed and began Lo dress.

ln hls cell WllL sLared aL Lhe celllng. AfLer so many hours of lnLerrogaLlon hls mlnd sLlll
reverberaLed wlLh quesLlons. 'Pow dld you klll her? Where dld you puL her? WhaL dld you wlLh
Lhe weapon?' Meanlngless quesLlons conLlnually relLeraLed ln Lhe hope Lhey would flnally break
hlm. 8uL WllL hadn'L broken. Pe had Lrlumphed. lor once ln hls llfe he knew hlmself Lo be
lnvlnclbly rlghL and everyone else LoLally wrong. Always before he had had doubLs. ÞlasLerers
1wo mlghL afLer all, have been rlghL abouL Lhere belng Loo many wogs ln Lhe counLry. Þerhaps
hanglng was a deLerrenL. WllL dldn'L Lhlnk so buL he couldn'L be absoluLely cerLaln. Cnly Llme
would Lell. 8uL ln Lhe case of 8eglna _versus_ WllL re Lhe murder of Mrs WllL Lhere could be no
quesLlon of hls gullL. Pe could be Lrled, found gullLy and senLenced, lL would make no dlfference.
Pe was lnnocenL of Lhe charge and lf he was senLenced Lo llfe lmprlsonmenL Lhe very enormlLy
of Lhe ln[usLlce done Lo hlm would compound hls knowledge of hls own lnnocence. lor Lhe very
flrsL Llme ln hls llfe WllL knew hlmself Lo be free. lL was as Lhough Lhe orlglnal sln of belng Penry
WllL, of 34 Þarkvlew Avenue, lpford, lecLurer ln Llberal SLudles aL Lhe lenland College of ArLs and
1echnology, husband of Lva WllL and faLher of none, had been llfLed from hlm. All Lhe
encumbrances of possesslons, hablLs, salary and sLaLus, all Lhe soclal conformlLles, Lhe nlceLles
of esLlmaLlon of hlmself and oLher people whlch he and Lva had acqulred, all Lhese had gone.
Locked ln hls cell WllL was free Lo be. And whaLever happened he would never agaln succumb Lo
Lhe slren calls of self-effacemenL. AfLer Lhe flagranL conLempL and fury of lnspecLor lllnL, Lhe
abuse and Lhe opprobrlum heaped on hlm for a week, who needed approbaLlon? 1hey could
sLuff Lhelr oplnlons of hlm. WllL would pursue hls lndependenL course and puL Lo good use hls
evldenL glfLs of lnconsequence. Clve hlm a llfe senLence and a progresslve prlson governor and
WllL would drlve Lhe man mad wlLhln a monLh by Lhe sweeL reasonableness of hls refusal Lo
obey Lhe prlson rules. SollLary conflnemenL and a reglme of bread and waLer, lf such
punlshmenLs sLlll exlsLed, would noL deLer hlm. Clve hlm hls freedom and he would apply hls
new found LalenLs aL Lhe 1ech. Pe would slL happlly on commlLLees and reduce Lhem Lo
dlssenslons by hls unLlrlng adopLlon of whaLever argumenL was mosL conLrary Lo Lhe consensus
oplnlon. 1he race was noL Lo Lhe swlfL afLer all, lL was Lo Lhe lndefaLlgably lnconsequenLlal and
llfe was random, anarchlc and chaoLlc. 8ules were made Lo be broken and Lhe man wlLh Lhe
grasshopper mlnd was one [ump ahead of all Lhe oLhers. Pavlng esLabllshed Lhls new rule, WllL
Lurned on hls slde and Lrled Lo sleep buL sleep wouldn'L come. Pe Lrled hls oLher slde wlLh equal
lack of success. 1houghLs, quesLlons, lrrelevanL answers and lmaglnary dlalogues fllled hls mlnd.
Pe Lrled counLlng sheep buL found hlmself Lhlnklng of Lva. uear Lva, damnable Lva, ebulllenL
Lva and Lva lrrepresslbly enLhuslasLlc. Llke hlm she had soughL Lhe AbsoluLe, Lhe LLernal 1ruLh
whlch would save her Lhe boLher of ever havlng Lo Lhlnk for herself agaln. She had soughL lL ln
ÞoLLery, ln 1ranscendenLal MedlLaLlon, ln [udo, on Lrampollnes and mosL lncongruously of all ln
CrlenLal uance. llnally she had Lrled Lo flnd lL ln sexual emanclpaLlon, Women's Llb and Lhe
SacramenL of Lhe Crgasm ln whlch she could forever lose herself. Whlch, come Lo Lhlnk of lL, was
whaL she appeared Lo have done. And Laken Lhe bloody Þrlngshelms wlLh her. Well she would
cerLalnly have some explalnlng Lo do when and lf she ever reLurned. WllL smlled Lo hlmself aL
Lhe LhoughL of whaL she would say when she dlscovered whaL her laLesL lnfaLuaLlon wlLh Lhe
lnflnlLe had led Lo. Pe'd see Lo lL LhaL she had cause Lo regreL lL Lo her dylng day.

Cn Lhe floor of Lhe slLLlng-room aL Lhe vlcarage Lva WllL sLruggled wlLh Lhe growlng convlcLlon
LhaL her dylng day-was already over and done wlLh. CerLalnly everyone she came lnLo conLacL
wlLh seemed Lo Lhlnk she was dead. 1he pollceman she had spoken Lo on Lhe phone had
seemed dlslncllned Lo belleve her asserLlon LhaL she was allve and aL leasL relaLlvely well and
had demanded proofs of her ldenLlLy ln Lhe mosL dlsconcerLlng fashlon. Lva had reLreaLed
sLrlcken from Lhe encounLer wlLh her confldence ln her own conLlnulng exlsLence serlously
undermlned and lL had only needed Lhe reacLlon of Lhe 8ev SL !ohn lroude Lo her appearance ln
hls house Lo compleLe her mlsery. Pls franLlc appeals Lo Lhe AlmlghLy Lo rescue Lhe soul of our
dear deparLed, one Lva WllL, deceased, from lLs presenL shape and unendurable form had
affecLed Lva profoundly. She knelL on Lhe carpeL and sobbed whlle Lhe vlcar sLared aL her over
hls glasses, shuL hls eyes, llfLed up a shaky volce ln prayer, opened hls eyes, shuddered and
generally behaved ln a manner calculaLed Lo cause gloom and despondency ln Lhe puLaLlve
corpse and when, ln a lasL desperaLe aLLempL Lo geL Lva WllL, deceased, Lo Lake her proper place
ln Lhe heavenly cholr he cuL shorL a prayer abouL 'Man LhaL ls born of Woman haLh buL a shorL
Llme Lo llve and ls full of mlsery and sLruck up 'Ablde wlLh me' wlLh many a seml-quaver, Lva
abandoned all aLLempL aL self-conLrol and walled 'lasL falls Lhe evenLlde' mosL affecLlngly. 8y Lhe
Llme Lhey had goL Lo 'l need Lhy presence every passlng hour' Lhe 8ev SL !ohn lroude was of an
enLlrely conLrary oplnlon. Pe sLaggered from Lhe room and Look sancLuary ln hls sLudy. 8ehlnd
hlm Lva WllL espouslng her new role as deceased wlLh all Lhe enLhuslasm she had formerly
besLowed on Lrampollnes, [udo and poLLery, demanded Lo know where deaLh's sLlng was and
where, grave, Lhy vlcLory. 'As lf l bloody knew,' muLLered Lhe vlcar and reached for Lhe whlsky
boLLle only Lo flnd LhaL lL Loo was empLy. Pe saL down and puL hls hands over hls ears Lo shuL
ouL Lhe dreadful nolse. Cn Lhe whole 'Ablde wlLh me' was Lhe lasL hymn he should have chosen.
Pe'd have been beLLer off wlLh 'Lhere ls a green hlll far away'. lL was less open Lo
mlslnLerpreLaLlon.
When aL lasL Lhe hymn ended he saL rellshlng Lhe sllence and was abouL Lo lnvesLlgaLe
Lhe posslblllLy LhaL Lhere was anoLher boLLle ln Lhe larder when Lhere was a knock on Lhe door
and Lva enLered.
'Ch laLher l have slnned,' she shrleked, dolng her level besL, Lo wall and gnash her LeeLh
aL Lhe same Llme. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude grlpped Lhe arms of hls chalr and Lrled Lo swallow. lL
was noL easy. 1hen overcomlng Lhe reasonable fear LhaL dellrlum Lremens had come all Loo
suddenly he managed Lo speak. '8lse, my chlld.' he gasped as Lva wrlLhed on Lhe rugs before
hlm, 'l wlll hear your confesslon.'



20


lnspecLor lllnL swlLched Lhe Lape recorder off and looked aL wllL.
'Well?'
'Well whaL?' sald WllL.
'ls LhaL her? ls LhaL Mrs WllL?'
WllL nodded. 'l'm afrald so.'
'WhaL do you mean you're afrald so? 1he damned woman ls allve. ?ou should be fucklng
graLeful. lnsLead of LhaL you slL Lhere saylng you're afrald so.'
WllL slghed. 'l was [usL Lhlnklng whaL an abyss Lhere ls beLween Lhe person as we
remember and lmaglne Lhem and Lhe reallLy of whaL Lhey are. l was beglnnlng Lo have fond
memorles of her and now...'
'?ou ever been Lo WaLerswlck?'
WllL shook hls head. 'never.'
'know Lhe vlcar Lhere?'
'uldn'L even know Lhere was a vlcar Lhere.'
'And you wouldn'L know how she goL Lhere?'
'?ou heard her,' sald WllL. 'She sald she'd been on a boaL.'
'And you wouldn'L know anyone wlLh a boaL, would you?'
'Þeople ln my clrcle don'L have boaLs, lnspecLor. Maybe Lhe Þrlngshelms have a boaL.'
lnspecLor lllnL consldered Lhe posslblllLy and re[ecLed lL. 1hey had checked Lhe
boaLyards ouL and Lhe Þrlngshelms dldn'L have a boaL and hadn'L hlred one elLher.
Cn Lhe oLher hand Lhe posslblllLy LhaL he had been Lhe vlcLlm of some glganLlc hoax, a
dellberaLe and lnvolved scheme Lo make hlm look an ldloL, was beglnnlng Lo Lake shape ln hls
mlnd. AL Lhe lnsLlgaLlon of Lhls lnfernal WllL he had ordered Lhe exhumaLlon of an lnflaLable doll
and had been phoLographed sLarlng llvldly aL lL aL Lhe very momenL lL changed sex. Pe had
lnsLlLuLed a round-up of pork ples unprecedenLed ln Lhe hlsLory of Lhe counLry. Pe wouldn'L be
aL all surprlsed lf SweeLbreads lnsLlLuLed legal proceedlngs for Lhe damage done Lo Lhelr
prevlously unspoLLed repuLaLlon. And flnally, he had held an apparenLly lnnocenL man for
quesLlonlng for a week and would doubLless be held responslble for Lhe delay and addlLlonal
cosL ln bulldlng Lhe new AdmlnlsLraLlon block aL Lhe 1ech. 1here were, ln all probablllLy, oLher
appalllng consequences Lo be consldered, buL LhaL was enough Lo be golng on wlLh. And he had
nobody Lo blame buL hlmself. Cr...WllL. Pe looked aL WllL venomously.
WllL smlled. 'l know whaL you're Lhlnklng,' he sald.
'?ou don'L,' sald Lhe lnspecLor. '?ou've no ldea.'
'1haL we are all Lhe creaLures of clrcumsLance, LhaL Lhlngs are never whaL Lhey seem,
LhaL Lhere's more Lo Lhls Lhan meeLs...'
'We'll see abouL LhaL,' sald Lhe lnspecLor.
WllL goL up. 'l don'L suppose you'll wanL me for anyLhlng else,' he sald. 'l'll be geLLlng
along home.'
'?ou'll be dolng no such Lhlng. ?ou're comlng wlLh us Lo plck up Mrs WllL.'
1hey wenL ouL lnLo Lhe courLyard and goL lnLo a pollce car. As Lhey drove Lhrough Lhe
suburbs, pasL Lhe fllllng sLaLlons and facLorles and ouL across Lhe fens WllL shrank lnLo Lhe back
seaL of Lhe car and felL Lhe sense of freedom he had en[oyed ln Lhe Þollce SLaLlon evaporaLe.
And wlLh every mlle lL dwlndled farLher and Lhe harsh reallLy of cholce, of havlng Lo earn a llvlng,
of boredom and Lhe endless peLLy argumenLs wlLh Lva, of brldge on SaLurday nlghLs wlLh Lhe
MoLLrams and drlves on Sundays wlLh Lva, reasserLed lLself. 8eslde hlm, sunk ln sullen sllence,
lnspecLor lllnL losL hls symbollc appeal. no longer Lhe menLor of WllL's self-confldence, Lhe foll
Lo hls lnconsequenLlallLy, he had became a fellow sufferer ln Lhe buslness of llvlng almosL a
mlrror-lmage of WllL's own nonenLlLy. And ahead, across Lhls flaL bleak landscape wlLh lLs black
earLh and cumulus skles, lay Lva and a llfeLlme of aLLempLed explanaLlons and counLer-
accusaLlons. lor a momenL WllL consldered shouLlng 'SLop Lhe car. l wanL Lo geL ouL', buL Lhe
momenL passed. WhaLever Lhe fuLure held he would learn Lo llve wlLh lL. Pe had noL dlscovered
Lhe paradoxlcal naLure of freedom only Lo succumb once more Lo Lhe servlLude of Þarkvlew
Avenue, Lhe 1ech and Lva's Lrlvlal enLhuslasms. Pe was WllL, Lhe man wlLh Lhe grasshopper
mlnd.

Lva was drunk. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude's auLomaLlc reacLlon Lo her appalllng confesslon had
been Lo Lurn from whlsky Lo 130° Þollsh splrlL whlch he kepL for emergencles and Lva ln
beLween agonles of repenLance and Lhe ouLpourlngs of lurld slns, had weL her whlsLle wlLh Lhe
sLuff. Lncouraged by lLs effecL, by Lhe peLrlfled benevolence of Lhe vlcar's smlle and by Lhe
growlng convlcLlon LhaL lf she was dead eLernal llfe demanded an acL of absoluLe conLrlLlon
whlle lf she wasn'L lL allowed her Lo avold Lhe embarrassmenL of explalnlng whaL preclsely she
was dolng naked ln someone else's house, Lva confessed her slns wlLh an enLhuslasm LhaL
maLched her deepesL needs. 1hls was whaL she had soughL ln [udo and poLLery and CrlenLal
dance, an orglasLlc explaLlon of her gullL. She confessed slns she had commlLLed and slns she
hadn'L, slne LhaL had occurred Lo her and slns she had forgoLLen. She had beLrayed Penry, she
had wlshed hlm dead, she had lusLed afLer oLher men, she was an adulLeraLed woman, she was
a lesblan, she was a nymphomanlac. And lnLerspersed wlLh Lhese slns of Lhe flesh Lhere were
slns of omlsslon Lva lefL noLhlng ouL. Penry's cold suppers, hls lonely walks wlLh Lhe dog, her
lack of appreclaLlon for all he had done for her, her fallure Lo be a good wlfe, her obsesslon wlLh
Parplc...everyLhlng poured ouL. ln hls chalr Lhe 8ev SL !ohn lroude saL noddlng lncessanLly llke a
Loy dog ln Lhe back wlndow of a car, ralslng hls head Lo sLare aL her when she confessed Lo belng
a nymphomanlac and dropplng lL abrupLly aL Lhe menLlon of Parplc, and all Lhe Llme desperaLely
Lrylng Lo undersLand whaL had broughL a faL naked--Lhe shroud kepL falllng off her--lady, no
deflnlLely noL lady, woman Lo hls house wlLh all Lhe sympLoms of rellglous manla upon her.
'My chlld, ls LhaL all?' he muLLered when Lva flnally exhausLed her reperLolre.
'?es, laLher,' sobbed Lva.
'1hank Cod,' sald Lhe 8ev SL !ohn lroude fervenLly and wondered whaL Lo do nexL. lf half
Lhe Lhlngs he had heard were Lrue he was ln Lhe presence of a slnner so depraved as Lo make
Lhe ex-Archdeacon of Cngar a poslLlve salnL. Cn Lhe oLher hand, Lhere were lncongrulLles abouL
her slns LhaL made hlm heslLaLe before granLlng absoluLlon. A confesslon full of falsehoods was
no slgn of Lrue repenLance.
'l Lake lL LhaL you are marrled,' he sald doubLfully, 'and LhaL Penry ls your lawful wedded
husband?'
'?es,' sald Lva. 'uear Penry.'
Þoor sod, LhoughL Lhe vlcar buL he was Loo LacLful Lo say so. 'And you have lefL hlm?'
'?es'
'lor anoLher man?'
Lva shook her head. '1o Leach hlm a lesson,' she sald wlLh sudden belllgerence.
'A lesson?' sald Lhe vlcar, Lrylng franLlcally Lo lmaglne whaL sorL of lesson Lhe wreLched
Mr WllL had learnL from her absence. '?ou dld say a lesson?'
'?es,' sald Lva, 'l wanLed hlm Lo learn LhaL he couldn'L geL along wlLhouL me.'
1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude slpped hls drlnk LhoughLfully. lf even a quarLer of her confesslon
was Lo be belleved her husband musL be flndlng geLLlng along wlLhouL her qulLe dellghLful. 'And
now you wanL Lo go back Lo hlm?'
'?es,' sald Lva.
'8uL he won'L have you?'
'Pe can'L. 1he pollce have goL hlm.'
'1he pollce?' sald Lhe vlcar. 'And may one ask whaL Lhe pollce have goL hlm for?'
'1hey say he's murdered me,' sald Lva.
1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude eyed her wlLh new alarm. Pe knew now LhaL Mrs WllL was ouL of
her mlnd. Pe glanced round for someLhlng Lo use as a weapon should Lhe need arlse and flndlng
noLhlng beLLer Lo choose from Lhan a plasLer busL of Lhe poeL uanLe and Lhe boLLle of Þollsh
splrlL, plcked up Lhe laLLer by lLs neck. Lva held her glass ouL.
'Ch you are awful,' she sald. '?ou're geLLlng me Llddly.'
'CulLe,' sald Lhe vlcar and puL Lhe boLLle down agaln hasLlly. lL was bad enough belng
alone ln Lhe house wlLh a large, drunk, seml-naked woman who lmaglned LhaL her husband had
murdered her and who confessed Lo slns he had prevlously only read abouL wlLhouL her [umplng
Lo Lhe concluslon LhaL he was dellberaLely Lrylng Lo make her drunk. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude had
no deslre Lo flgure promlnenLly ln nexL Sunday's _news of Lhe World._
'?ou were saylng LhaL your husband murdered...' Pe sLopped. 1haL seemed an
unproflLable sub[ecL Lo pursue.
'Pow could he have murdered me?' asked Lva. 'l'm here ln Lhe flesh, aren'L l?'
'ueflnlLely,' sald Lhe vlcar. 'MosL deflnlLely.'
'Well Lhen,' sald Lva. 'And anyway Penry couldn'L murder anyone. Pe wouldn'L know
how. Pe can'L even change a fuse ln a plug. l have Lo do everyLhlng llke LhaL ln Lhe house.' She
sLared aL Lhe vlcar balefully. 'Are you marrled?'
'no,' sald Lhe 8ev SL !ohn lroude, wlshlng Lo hell LhaL he was.
'WhaL do you know abouL llfe lf you aren'L marrled?' asked Lva LruculenLly. 1he Þollsh
splrlL was geLLlng Lo her now and wlLh lL Lhere came a Lerrlble sense of grlevance. 'Men. WhaL
good are men? 1hey can'L even keep a house Lldy. Look aL Lhls room. l ask you.' She waved her
arms Lo emphaslze Lhe polnL and Lhe dusLcover dropped. !usL look aL lL.' 8uL Lhe 8ev SL !ohn
lroude had no eyes for Lhe room. WhaL he could see of Lva was enough Lo convlnce hlm LhaL hls
llfe was ln danger. Pe bounded from Lhe chalr, Lrod heavlly on an occaslonal Lable, overLurned
Lhe wasLepaper baskeL and Lhrew hlmself Lhrough Lhe door lnLo Lhe hall. As he sLumbled away
ln search of sancLuary Lhe fronL door bell rang. 1he 8ev SL !ohn lroude opened lL and sLared lnLo
lnspecLor lllnL's face.
'1hank Cod, you've come,' he gasped, 'she's ln Lhere.'
1he lnspecLor and Lwo unlformed consLables wenL across Lhe hall. WllL followed
uneaslly. 1hls was Lhe momenL he had been dreadlng. ln Lhe evenL lL was beLLer Lhan he had
expecLed. noL so for lnspecLor lllnL. Pe enLered Lhe sLudy and found hlmself confronLed by a
large naked woman.
'Mrs WllL...' he began buL Lva was sLarlng aL Lhe Lwo unlformed consLables.
'Where's my Penry?' Lva shouLed. '?ou've goL my Penry.' She hurled herself forward.
unwlsely Lhe lnspecLor aLLempLed Lo resLraln her.
'Mrs WllL, lf you'll [usL...' A blow on Lhe slde of hls head ended Lhe senLence.
'keep your hands off me,' yelled Lva, and puLLlng her knowledge of [udo Lo good use
hurled hlm Lo Lhe floor. She was abouL Lo repeaL Lhe performance wlLh Lhe consLables when
WllL LhrusL hlmself forward.
'Pere l am, dear,' he sald. Lva sLopped ln her Lracks. lor a momenL she qulvered and,
seen from lnspecLor lllnL's vlewpolnL, appeared Lo be abouL Lo melL. 'Ch Penry,' she sald, 'whaL
have Lhey been dolng Lo you?'
'noLhlng aL all, dear,' sald WllL. 'now geL your cloLhes on. We're golng home.' Lva looked
down aL herself, shuddered and allowed hlm Lo lead her ouL of Lhe room.
Slowly and wearlly lnspecLor lllnL goL Lo hls feeL. Pe knew now why WllL had puL LhaL
bloody doll down Lhe hole and why he had saL so confldenLly Lhrough days and nlghLs of
lnLerrogaLlon. AfLer Lwelve years of marrlage Lo Lva WllL Lhe urge Lo commlL homlclde lf only by
proxy would be overwhelmlng. And as for WllL's ablllLy Lo sLand up Lo cross-examlnaLlon...lL was
self-evldenL. 8uL Lhe lnspecLor knew Loo LhaL he would never be able Lo explaln lL Lo anyone
else. 1here were mysLerles of human relaLlonshlps LhaL defled analysls. And WllL had sLood
Lhere calmly and Lold her Lo geL her cloLhes on. WlLh a grudglng sense of admlraLlon lllnL wenL
ouL lnLo Lhe hall. 1he llLLle sod had guLs, whaLever else you could say abouL hlm.

1hey drove back Lo Þarkvlew Avenue ln sllence. ln Lhe back seaL Lva, wrapped ln a blankeL, slepL
wlLh her head lolllng on WllL's shoulder. 8eslde her Penry WllL saL proudly. A woman who could
sllence lnspecLor lllnL wlLh one swlfL blow Lo Lhe head was worLh her welghL ln gold and besldes
LhaL scene ln Lhe sLudy had glven hlm Lhe weapon he needed. naked and drunk ln a vlcar's
sLudy...1here would be no quesLlons now abouL why he had puL LhaL doll down Lhe hole. no
accusaLlons, no recrlmlnaLlons. 1he enLlre eplsode would be relegaLed Lo Lhe besL forgoLLen.
And wlLh lL would go all doubLs abouL hls vlrlllLy or hls ablllLy Lo geL on ln Lhe world. lL was
checkmaLe. lor a momenL WllL almosL lapsed lnLo senLlmenLallLy and LhoughL of love before
recalllng [usL how dangerous a Loplc LhaL was. Pe would be beLLer off sLlcklng Lo lndlfference
and undlsclosed affecLlon. 'LeL sleeplng dogs lle,' he muLLered.

lL was an oplnlon shared by Lhe Þrlngshelms. As Lhey were helped from Lhe crulser Lo a pollce
launch, as Lhey cllmbed ashore, as Lhey explalned Lo a scepLlcal lnspecLor lllnL how Lhey had
come Lo be marooned for a week ln Lel SLreLch ln a boaL LhaL belonged Lo someone else, Lhey
were sLrangely uncommunlcaLlve. no Lhey dldn'L know how Lhe door of Lhe baLhroom had been
busL down. Well maybe Lhere had been an accldenL. 1hey had been Loo drunk Lo remember. A
doll? WhaL doll? Crass? ?ou mean marl[uana? 1hey had no ldea. ln Lhelr house?
lnspecLor lllnL leL Lhem go flnally. 'l'll be seelng you agaln when Lhe charges have been
properly formulaLed,' he sald grlmly. 1he Þrlngshelms lefL for 8osslLer Crove Lo pack. 1hey flew
ouL of PeaLhrow nexL mornlng.


21


1he Þrlnclpal saL behlnd hls desk and regarded WllL lncredulously. 'ÞromoLlon?' he sald. 'uld l
hear you menLlon Lhe word "promoLlon"?'
'?ou dld,' sald WllL. 'And whaL ls more you also heard "Pead of Llberal SLudles" Loo.'
'AfLer all you've done. ?ou mean Lo say you have Lhe nerve Lo come ln here and demand
Lo be made Pead of Llberal SLudles?'
'?es,' sald WllL.
1he Þrlnclpal sLruggled Lo flnd words Lo maLch hls feellngs. lL wasn'L easy. ln fronL of hlm
saL Lhe man who was responslble for Lhe serles of dlsasLers LhaL had puL an end Lo hls fondesL
hopes. 1he 1ech would never be a Þoly now. 1he !olnL Ponours degree's re[ecLlon had seen Lo
LhaL. And Lhen Lhere was Lhe adverse publlclLy, Lhe cuL ln Lhe budgeL, hls baLLles wlLh Lhe
LducaLlon CommlLLee, Lhe humlllaLlon of belng heralded as Lhe Þrlnclpal of uollfuckers Pall...
'?ou're flred' he shouLed.
WllL smlled. 'l Lhlnk noL,' he sald. 'Pere are my Lerms...'
'?our whaL?'
'1erms,' sald WllL. 'ln reLurn for my appolnLmenL as Pead of Llberal SLudles, l shall noL
lnsLlLuLe proceedlngs agalnsL you for unfalr dlsmlssal wlLh all Lhe aLLendanL publlclLy LhaL would
enLall. l shall wlLhdraw my case agalnsL Lhe pollce for unlawful arresL. 1he conLracL l have here
wlLh Lhe _Sunday ÞosL_ for a serles of arLlcles on Lhe Lrue naLure of Llberal SLudles--l lnLend Lo
call Lhem Lxposure Lo 8arbarlsm--wlll remaln unslgned. l wlll cancel Lhe lecLures l had promlsed
Lo glve for Lhe Sex LducaLlon CenLre. l wlll noL appear on _Þanorama_ nexL Monday. ln shorL l
wlll ab[ure Lhe pleasures and rewards of publlc exposure...'
1he Þrlnclpal ralsed a shaky hand. 'Lnough,' he sald, 'l'll see whaL l can do.'
WllL goL Lo hls feeL. 'LeL me know your answer by lunchLlme,' he sald. 'l'll be ln my
offlce.'
'?our offlce?' sald Lhe Þrlnclpal.
'lL used Lo belong Lo Mr Morrls,' sald WllL and closed Lhe door. 8ehlnd hlm Lhe Þrlnclpal
plcked up Lhe phone. 1here had been no mlsLaklng Lhe serlousness of WllL's LhreaLs. Pe would
have Lo hurry.
WllL sLrolled down Lhe corrldor Lo Lhe Llberal SLudles ueparLmenL and sLood looklng aL
Lhe books on Lhe shelves. 1here were changes he had ln mlnd. 1he _Lord of Lhe llles_ would go
and wlLh lL _Shane, Women ln Love,_ Crwell's _Lssays_ and _CaLcher ln Lhe 8ye,_ all Lhose
sympLoms of lnLellecLual condescenslon Lhose dangled worms of senslblllLy. ln fuLure CasflLLers
Cne and MeaL 1wo would learn Lhe how of Lhlngs noL why. Pow Lo read and wrlLe. Pow Lo make
beer. Pow Lo flddle Lhelr lncome Lax reLurns. Pow Lo cope wlLh Lhe pollce when arresLed. Pow
Lo make an lncompaLlble marrlage work. WllL would glve Lhe lasL Lwo lessons hlmself. 1here
would be ob[ecLlons from Lhe sLaff, even LhreaLs of reslgnaLlon, buL lL would make no dlfference.
Pe mlghL well accepL several reslgnaLlons from Lhose who perslsLed ln opposlng hls ldeas. AfLer
all you dldn'L requlre a degree ln Lngllsh llLeraLure Lo Leach CasflLLers Lhe how of anyLhlng.
Come Lo Lhlnk of lL, Lhey had LaughL hlm more Lhan Lhey had learnL from hlm. Much more. Pe
wenL lnLo Mr Morrls's empLy offlce and saL down aL Lhe desk and composed a memorandum Lo
Llberal SLudles SLaff. lL was headed noLes on a SysLem of Self-1eachlng for uay 8elease Classes.
Pe had [usL wrlLLen 'non-hlerarchlcal' for Lhe flfLh Llme when Lhe phone rang. lL was Lhe
Þrlnclpal.
'1hank you,' sald Lhe new Pead of Llberal SLudles.

Lva WllL walked gally up Þarkvlew Avenue from Lhe docLor's offlce. She had made breakfasL for
Penry and Poovered Lhe fronL room and pollshed Lhe hall and cleaned Lhe wlndows and
Parplcked Lhe loo and been round Lo Lhe Parmony CommunlLy CenLre and helped wlLh xeroxlng
an appeal for a new play group and done Lhe shopplng and pald Lhe mllkman and been Lo Lhe
docLor Lo ask lf Lhere was any polnL ln Laklng a course of ferLlllLy drugs and Lhere was. 'Cf course
we'll have Lo do LesLs,' Lhe docLor had Lold her, 'buL Lhere's no reason Lo Lhlnk Lhey'd prove
negaLlve. 1he only danger ls LhaL you mlghL have sexLupleLs.' lL wasn'L a danger Lo Lva. lL was
whaL she had always wanLed, a house full of chlldren. And all aL once. Penry would be pleased.
And so Lhe sun shone brlghLer, Lhe sky was bluer, Lhe flowers ln Lhe gardens were rosler and
even Þarkvlew Avenue lLself seemed Lo have Laken on a new and brlghLer aspecL. lL was one of
Lva WllL's beLLer days.

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