Mr and Mrs Joyce
The smell of coffee wafted through the kitchen as Mrs Joyce loaded breakfast plates into the dishwasher. It was a Monday and the children were upstairs getting ready for school, clumping loudly about the place as Thomas tried to get Becky into her uniform.
Mr Joyce sat at the kitchen table, newspaper in one hand, coffee in the other, enjoying the peace before he had to take the children to school.
Becky came trudging down the stairs, her uniform slightly ruffled. Thomas followed, his face flushed as though he had been running.
“Mummy I don’t want to go to school today!” Becky wailed, clinging to Mrs Joyce’s skirt.
“It’ll be all right when you get there,” said Mrs Joyce, bustling her daughter towards the front door. “Come on now, you musn’t be late.”
Mr Joyce leaned back in his seat, taking long gulps of coffee and reading a rather interesting article about a mysterious breed of fish in the Caribbean.
Eventually Mrs Joyce managed to bustle the children out of the house and across the road. She didn’t bother knocking on the door, just pushed her way in and hauled the children in after her.
“Daddy!” called Becky, “Please don’t make me go to school!”
Mr Joyce set down his paper and stood up, “Sorry Becky, all little girls have to go to school. Come on, let’s get you in the car.”
“Need the toilet,” muttered Becky.
“Thomas go with her will you?” said Mrs Joyce.
Thomas reluctantly followed Becky to the bathroom and closed the door.
The second the door closed, Mrs Joyce flew at Mr Joyce and began slapping him hard around the face. Mr Joyce retaliated by elbowing her in the ribs. Mrs Joyce doubled over, feigning pain, then head-butted Mr Joyce in the gut. He fell backwards against the table and Mrs Joyce was just about to throw a punch when they heard the sound of the toilet flushing.
“Right then,” said Mr Joyce, “Off to school.”
“Bye Mummy!” cried Becky as she was loaded into the car.
“Bye darling,” said Mrs Joyce.
As Mr Joyce drove away he glanced back at Mrs Joyce, who passed a finger across her throat before the car was round the corner and out of sight.