Banged to Rights | Katie Brice

 


Banged to Rights

Katie Brice

Death and Public Speaking Award


‘You’ve no actual evidence though?’ the detective asked her somewhat sceptically.
Holly took a deep breath. She knew how ridiculous this sounded, but she had the stage. She had to speak publically and to a complete stranger about her worst fears. Her audience of one was giving her his full attention and she was compelled to use it to her full advantage.
‘Look I know he’s out, I know how his mind works and I’m telling you he’s watching me’ she blurted.
Pretty unconvincing but it was all she had. Well, all she could give him at least.
The detective did his best to pacify her by scribbling something on his spiral notepad.
Probably, ‘PARANOID TIMEWASTER’.
As Holly walked back to her office through the theatre district amid obtrusive banners of Joseph in his brightly coloured robe, I thought about how circumstances had led me to this point.
Firstly, there was of course his release. Two years early. Her mother rang her with said news a fortnight previous.
‘He’s bloody out Holly. Tony’s out!’ she spat.
Her mother’s voice faded after that point and if she said anything Holly’s ears hadn’t received it.
He’d made the front page of the local rag. ‘EMBEZZLOR EDWARDS EARLY RELEASE’
Holly’s mother was never a fan of her husband way before he was found guilty of fraud. His card was marked by her when he turned up late for his own wedding.
Truth is however, on this occasion, Tony was entirely blameless.
Together, Holly and Tony ran a very lucrative air conditioning business that supplied large retail outlets all over the country. For the first few years they thought they had won the jackpot. They were the only show in town so to speak, and didn’t have to try particularly hard to win and retain business. Life was good.
When life was good, Holly was good. After all she’d been used to things falling in her lap her whole life. Men, looks, jobs. They all just happened.
So when the bubble burst, and the business began to feel the heat of competition, Holly was completely out of her comfort zone. Rather than getting the bit between her teeth and knuckling down to some hard work she kept the books balanced using far less effort and integrity.
Small amount by small amount she altered quotations and invoices of some of their largest and most valued customers. All signed off of course by the head honcho himself –Tony Edwards. Twice in fact. Once with her fair hand and counter-signed with his. The ultimate betrayal. Easy.
He was sentenced to 8 years. 8 years for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s going to want revenge. Without unburdening herself of the guilt, there can be no plausible explanation of why he would be looking for retribution.
She was feeling a little breathless. She sat down on a low, brick wall outside a popular children’s day care centre.
She could hear singing coming from inside the building. The children’s angelic voices had a calming effect on her.
‘Ten fat sausages…’
Her phone vibrated and she grappled around in her handbag for it.
‘Sizzling in a pan….’
A text from an unknown number.
‘Hi Holly, it’s me. Long-time no see’
She took a breath there was more to read.
‘One went pop and the other went……’
‘I see though you are no longer following your own advice about sitting on cold, brick walls’
‘BANG!’

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