‘J’ is for Jennings

Night-VisionI’D FOLLOWED THEM for months. Not like a groupie follows a band but like a stalker. You might wonder who buys night vision binoculars. Well, me, the ones I’m currently looking through from my average car as my chosen victim potters about in their living room, the TV throwing out a blueish glow. Die Hard by the looks of it, hard to tell which one. The fourth one was terrible.

A car came towards me full-beam, parking opposite. I lowered my binoculars, naturally. After husband wife exited car and disappeared into their apartment I pressed the glasses to my eyes again. They looked relaxed with a beer in one hand and kept reaching for something out of view then eating it. A picture of modernity. Their girlfriend had fled the scene several weeks ago. She was home alone one day, I decided to have a little stranger to friend chat. Her ear was filled with horrible untruths, ones you can’t prove or disprove, benign seeds, all about her boyfriend. It had been interesting to watch the breakdown of a three year relationship in the space of two days. Wild gestures, accusations, doors slamming: all before the sad conclusion of packing up and shipping out.
Guilt? None.

I dialed the home number, masking my number of course. A couple of cars rumbled past. I didn’t even bother putting the mobile to my ear. This was a two or three ringer. He would ignore at least the first call from his sofa laze. Sure enough – the eyes conveyed the annoyance but no movement. A beat later I tried again. A look of mild irritation this time, that ‘if it’s that important they’ll call again or leave a message’ look. Third time a charm. Beer and snack abandoned with reluctance. His voice was unsurprisingly curt: ‘Hello?’

‘How was your reduced sushi on Monday?’
I alter my voice of course, opting for a mild German accent on this occasion.

He mulled this over, puzzled and worried at the same time.

A habit had been made of doing this call thing. Ocassionally the same accent but I didn’t want to limit myself.

I could tell he was intrigued but more alarmed. Do I hang up or engage?

Die Hard Four trundled on, like so many things an abject continuation of something once successful. I like to think that him watching the dirge of an aged Bruce Willis primarily shooting bad guys, and secondly acting, inspired him to continue on the phone.

‘What sushi?’

‘The reduced fish selection box. I believe you bought it around 7:43PM.’

Hesitation.

‘How do you know about that…who the fuck are you?’ All said with a mild tremor in his voice.

‘How about the latest edition of Q magazine? Anything interesting? Can’t believe Oasis got the cover again.’
His eyes darted over to the other side of the room. Sure enough, there it was on a table.

‘What the fucking hell? I’m calling the police.’

‘You didn’t last time.’ I let that eat at him for a second. ‘It’s what, 10:45? They won’t be out until after midnight at best. Plus you have an early start tomorrow.’

‘Why are you doing this? You and your friends have ruined my life. You’re pathetic horrible people..I’m calling them now.’
He actually hung up and briefly dialled before putting the receiver to his ear. About time.

I’d had my fun. He actually thought I was a group on account of the accents. Time to move on to the next one. I looked down at my passenger seat where a once crumpled slip of paper lay, a receipt I’d fished out of my victims bin one night. So simple, so effective. As my engine turned over a faint wailing could be heard. Entirely coincidental and in any event an ambulance judging by the pitch.
Tomorrow I would randomly select a name from the ‘K’ section of the phonebook. I just hoped it would be as much fun as ‘J’ before it.

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