Paradise and Mr Sheen

6 Dec

Feet set apart, shoes shining, jeans neatly ironed, he was feeling confident. Ronnie drew himself up to his full five foot seven and squared up to the hole in the wall. He challenged it to give him the cash.

Only want £100.Only need £100. Come on!

Ronnie was eager to be on his way. Lola would be waiting.

Questions, questions. For God’s sake. Yes, I want it in English. Yes, I want cash only. No, I don’t want to top up my mobile. Mobile? What Mobile? No I don’t want another service. I want £100 quid. Come on!

The woman, immediately behind Ronnie was sighing. Heaving, sighing and tapping her foot. She was impatient, agitated. He could tell.

Well I’m impatient and agitated too.

He could see her reflection in the glass. A tart. She smelt of cheap and nasty perfume.

No right to be impatient and agitated and tapping if you’re a tart he thought. His urgency made him spiteful.

At last the £100 arrived, in five twenties.


He could have done with a couple of fivers. Lola charges £45 and doesn’t give change. He grabbed the notes, swivelled as best he could in the confined space and gave the tart a dirty look.

Ronnie impatiently weaved his way in and out of the shoppers and at last left the main street. He knew a back way to Lola’s. Narrow streets, no more than alleys and less chance of being followed. Not that Muriel would follow him, or have him followed. She hadn’t got the savvy. Poor Muriel, dim as a Toc H Lamp. She looked the business when he met her thirty years ago but time had not been kind. She’d let herself go, not like him, always well turned out. He didn’t fancy her anymore and that was and end to it.

Mind, what she lacked in the bedroom she made up for in the kitchen. Good cook, good housekeeper, she’d been a good mother. But no, dim as a Toc H Lamp and clueless. She’ll back there now, getting ahead of herself with the hoovering and dusting, so tomorrow she can get ahead of herself with the washing and ironing. One day, she’ll disappear up her own arse.

Nearing Lola’s place and with a few minutes to spare Ronnie looked around furtively. A sudden sharp breeze, straight off the sea, caught his hair and ruffled it up from behind. It stood on end and for a second, made him look and feel slightly ridiculous. My god, he was aggravated. Straightening it with one hand, he grabbed the door handle with the other. It was sticky. He grimaced. The paintwork was peeling, the whole building was shabby and dilapidated but once inside, yes, inside, Ronnie was in heaven. He manoeuvred his way along a black corridor until his eyes became accustomed and he reached the stairway to paradise. Music beckoned him above and he placed his hand on the banister.

Christ, this is sticky as well. Some dirty bugger’s been here before me

He reached Lola’s room, took a deep breath, rubbed his tacky hands on his jeans, smoothed his hair, just in case, and knocked. His heart skipped a beat as Lola’s honeyed voice, responded, ‘Come in.’

Lola had been awaiting her next client. She’d just said goodbye to one of her regulars. Nice enough bloke but his palms were always clammy. She hoped it was sweat refusing to allow her thoughts to wander any further.

She needed to change. This next one preferred a Spanish theme.

She chose a strapless black dress which embraced her cleavage and stayed put, more by good luck than management. It was split to the thigh. She popped a red rose into the ravine between her breasts. Her dark hair was piled up and the locks that escaped the comb hung down over one shoulder. A lace mantilla kept it all in place. Lola planned to lower her dark eyes and remove the veil very slowly as he came through the door, drawing it across her face before letting it drop and then tap, tap, tap towards him to the beat of a flamenco guitar. She must remember to get another CD, she was sick of that one. Lola hoped he wouldn’t be too excited but she needed to get him in the mood quickly or he would still be at it when the alarm went off. She never offered extra time, not since he objected when she once refused to give him change.

How dare he? Her services were like the words in a book. Priceless.

Lola thought Ronnie an upstart. A neat, tidy little upstart. Pressed and polished and clean. Clean enough to make you sick. No clammy palms and no smell of sweat, not even after the bell tolled time. He would just smooth his hair, it had a tendency to stick up at the back as if the wind had caught it, put his jacket on and leave.

Lola gathered her thoughts and put them to the back of her mind. She awaited his knock. His supreme politeness made her as sick as his supreme cleanliness. She resisted shouting ‘Come in for god’s sake and let’s get this over with.’ When it came she breathed in deeply, lowered her tone and breathed, ‘Come in.’

At home.

He’s gone. At last. I thought he’d never stop preening and prancing about in front of that mirror’

Muriel hastily wound in the cord of the hoover and stashed it away, under the stairs.

That’ll do for today.

Muriel loved her home, had worked hard to get it nice. Beavering about from room to room, duster in one hand, dragging the hoover with the other, she resented sharing it.

She despised Ronnie. Married thirty years and had despised him after that many months. But, with a mortgage and a child, she was stuck with him.

Then he retired. He was constantly under her feet, in her face. Fussing, moving things about. Whining.

‘What do you want this for? What does this do? Do you need this?’ and when the bad weather came he complained that the washing, drying in the spare room, made the house smell like a Chinese laundry.

‘What exactly is a Chinese laundry?’ she wanted to ask.

‘Mrs Wishee Washee’ he would sneer, ‘Mrs Wishee Washee.’

The words which went through Muriel’s head, and the ones which came out of her mouth, were not the same. Eventually she stopped talking to him. Just the necessary words to shut him up. She just dusted and hoovered, washed and ironed and served his dinner up between twelve and one. He was very particular about dinner time.

Her loathing grew.

Just lately he’d taken to going out on a regular basis. He thought she hadn’t noticed the money leaving the bank.

Silly sod!

Muriel wondered, vaguely, where he went, but didn’t care. It gave her a free afternoon. An afternoon without his constant twitter, whinging, nit picking and nagging. An afternoon to do as she liked. So as soon as he left the house she changed into her sexiest underwear. Stockings and suspenders seemed to be out of fashion with the youngsters, but she liked them. Then her red dress, the slinky one she kept at the back of the wardrobe. It slid over her head, and flowed down her body. She loved the feel of the fabric against the places it touched; it made her feel sensual. A light spray of No 5, and with one last look in the mirror, Muriel flicked her hair, pouted scarlet and winked. Then grabbing her Mr Sheen and her feather duster she hastened next door, where she was giving Brian an hour or two.

One Response to “Paradise and Mr Sheen”

  1. Christine Smith October 13, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

    Another Brilliant one Anne xx

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