Yestreen; during yesterday evening.
Finishing the washing up, I moved on to drying. I heard my wife moving around and it sounded like she was tidying the dinning room. I really hoped she was going to go out soon, I needed to phone Bob, Bill and Jim. My memory from yesterday evening was hazy and I needed them to confide in.
Putting the dried plates, cutlery and tea things away, I chased down the idea to question my wife about today’s activities. She was suspicious about me enough. I turned off the radio and went into the dinning room to get my newspaper, I hadn’t finished reading it. My wife had moved it and herself into the sitting room.
I settled into my favourite armchair and took the newspaper from the side table where she had placed it. The TV was on some drama show my wife liked and she was looking through her small diary. I turned the newspaper pages loudly and buried myself once more in the articles.
‘Perhaps,’ my wife said slowly, ‘I’ll go and visit the vicar’s wife. Though, everyone else is probably doing that. Their daughter was in my school, you know and I am a key member of the village council now.’
I nodded, tried of her reminding me about that.
‘Are you going to the allotment?’ she asked sharply.
‘What, darling?’ I asked, lowering the paper.
‘The allotment, dear. Are going today?’ my wife pressed.
‘Yes, yes!’ I cried, she had just given me a great idea and the perfect cover.
‘I’m not deaf,’ she tutted.
‘No, sorry, love. I had forgotten you see…I was going to show the lads my…erm…lettuces! I should give ’em a bell and remind them,’ I added.
Tossing my newspaper down, I hurried to the phone and called them one after the other. Bill, Bob and Jim were all confused at first but I talked them into it without giving away anything. Then I hurried to change and gather my things whilst trying to keep yesterday evening out of my head.
‘I’m off then, dear,’ I called from the front door.
‘Here,’ my wife called from the kitchen before hurrying down the hallway.
She give me a thermos of tea and a plastic box containing sandwiches.
‘Remember, be back before five. I’m cooking lamb chops,’ she stated.
We kissed goodbye and I left quickly. I hurried down the street, caught the local bus and went to the edge of the village. Getting off, I walked down the lane to the allotments’ gate. It was unlocked and as I walked to my patch, I could see a few other people moving about. Luckily, they were all too far away to over hear me.
I unlocked the wooden garden gate and stepped into my fenced allotment. In neat rows where growing all kinds of veg. I walked up down, checking them in the glowing sunny day.
‘Just a little water,’ I mused.
Soon after I’d done, that my friends arrived. We greeted each other and showed them the few things that were really coming up now.
‘What is that about really, Gerald?’ Bob asked.
‘The news this morning,’ I whispered, ‘did you see it?’
‘Of course! The whole village knows about the murdered vicar!’ Bill said loudly.
‘Hush!’ I hissed, ‘look, I don’t remember much, so I wanted to know if any of you saw anything in the church.’
They fall silent in thought.
‘We heard a scream, a thud and someone running out the other door,’ I said to jog their minds.
‘Yes, then we ran the other way,’ Bill put in with a shrugged.
‘We thought we’d be caught too, remember,’ Jim added.
‘I was too drunk,’ Bob announced with a scrunched up face.
‘And we didn’t…None of us saw the vicar?’ I asked.
They shook their heads.
‘We going to the police?’ Bill questioned.
We all looked shiftily at each other.
‘Why? What can we tell them?’ Bob cut in.
‘I don’t know….That we heard something and saw a figure but we didn’t know what had happened?’ I suggested.
‘Then they’ll want to know why we didn’t check the place out,’ Jim replied.
‘And what we were doing there,’ Bill tagged on.
‘Maybe, we should keep mum,’ Bob spoke out.
There was a muttering of agreements.
‘If they ask though…?’ I broke in.
‘Then…we weren’t there,’ Bill declared, ‘we were in the pub and everyone there can confirm that. When we left we dropped Bob off then went our separate ways.’
I flashed back to this morning. I’d rather face down a policeman then my wife.
‘So we agree then?’ Jim said.
‘Look at those clouds,’ Bob spoke, ‘don’t like the look of ’em.’
Looking up, I saw there was a bank of dark grey clouds rolling in. The sun seemed to have dimmed too. There wasn’t meant to be any rain today, but it seemed no one had told the clouds that.
‘I’m off,’ Bill said, ‘I’ve left Molly with the grandkids.’
‘I should mow the lawn before it rains,’ Jim spoke next, ‘Anne’s been getting on my nerves about it.’
‘I..got…’ Bob trailed with a scratch of his head.
‘It’s fine. See you all later,’ I said and waved everyone off.
Watching them all leave, I wondered if we had done the right thing. But what would we really told the police? And surely, because we all intoxicated they couldn’t really take our word? I shuffled around the bed where my carrots were, debating what to do.
‘Did we really witness a murder?’ I muttered.
I tried hard to recall what I’d seen but it was all shadows and dust. Deciding to go home, I finished my tea and packed everything up. As I waited for the bus, spots of rain fell. It seemed I had left just in time. My thoughts were still stormy like the sky when I got on the bus then off it at home.
My wife wasn’t in, I guessed she was still out visiting the poor vicar’s wife. I put the TV and lamps on then sit in my armchair. I couldn’t settle though. Finally, I reached for the phone and called the local police station.
‘Hello, I’d like talk to someone about the vicar’s murder….I have some information.’