I wasn’t sure what I was thinking when I took the gun out of the drawer and place it in my handbag. It wasn’t the kind of thing I usually do. Well, you just don’t do you? I mean… Well, it’s weird isn’t it. To just take the gun out of your husband’s desk drawer and place it in your handbag. Ridiculous. Simply not civilized. If someone had told me I would ever do this, I’d have snorted derisively and asked them if the HRT actually helping. I’m a leading light in the Fisherton De La Mere WI. I volunteer in the mobile Library. I do gardening and wear the comfortable shoes.
On my way to the car, I had to pass the patch of slurry where the dog was tied up. I stood, aware of the heaviness of my bag digging into my shoulder. I wanted to take out the gun, aim it at the large black muzzle, watch as the bullet penetrated the brute right between the eyes. In my mind, I played through, with satisfaction, a slow motion film of the animal’s head exploding at impact, scattering blood and bone across the drive. If it hadn’t been such a messy prospect I may have gone through with it, shot the dog, and there might have been the end of it.
But I had a gun in my handbag. And I wasn’t sure where I was going. I had some vague idea for a public place. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do. The weight of the cold metal had felt good in my hand. Heavy and solid. I wanted to take it into the kitchen. Wave it about. Scream a bit. That would have been good, but I didn’t want to scare Maria. She was a darling, after all; so good at the ironing.
I decided to head for the designer village, a huge monument to greed and discounting. The drive to Swindon, up leagues of lifeless, grey motorway did little to crystallize my actions. I just kept thinking, I can’t believe I am doing this, this is not the kind of thing I do. I was aware of moisture. Sweat and saliva and tears and… other things. Fluids gushing forth from every orifice. It was like I was possessed. I imagine it was the kind of symptoms that once would have got a woman thrown into an asylum.
I pulled into the car park. Circling the circumference, I must have been hunched over the steering wheel, peering round queues of cars for spaces, like a vulture spiraling towards a carcass. I was aware, if indifferent, of the fact that people were staring through the car windows. As soon as I saw an opening I pushed down hard on the peddle, flung my head back and roared into the space, for the first time appreciating the 1600 CCs my husband has insisted were necessary to make a range rover worthwhile. The old man in the decrepit Metro certainly looked surprised.
I slung myself out of the car, flinging the bag over my shoulder. I had started to form a plan of action. Into the Mall. Into the nearest fast food chain, up to the counter, queue and then… I had to remind myself to breathe through the excitement bubbling up within me. Some suppressed instincts bit at the pit of my stomach, nudging me on through the smooth glass doors under the screaming yellow hoarding and into the gleaming palace of commerce. I walked down the fake Victorian arcade, replete with a highly polished steam train, past the designer shops and high street outlets, down to the sign of the great luminous letter M. I swerved into the garish interior by-passing the crowds of families consuming hydrogenated fat in a bun and squeezed my way to the end of the shortest cue. There was a huge blob of a man in front of me, chest heaving with exertion and with sweat patches the size of me head under each arm. I considered putting him out his misery but I doubted I would even hit a useful organ, which instantly put pay to that particular urge. The line went down surprising quickly. The young man at the front though gawky and acne-ridden appeared to be more than capable at his job, unusually so given the type of establishment. Probably a student working for his holidays. It was a shame he wasn’t totally ridiculous and useless really. Might even be a loss to society.
Finally the large man took his extra large me and waddled off to squeeze behind a table. The young man behind the counter, his name badge had two stars and declared him Adam, looked up, smiled and said, what can I get you madam? This threw me for a mere second. Quickly I scanned the board above Adam’s head. I fixed on an apple pie and ordered. Adam nodded and took the order; would I like a coffee with that, he asked. I thought that didn’t sound such an awful idea. I tapped some buttons on the screen in front of him, asked for the money. I opened my handbag and reached into the depths. My fingers closed round the butt of the pistol. It felt so good. So sure and solid. Reliable, precision engineering.
Adam smiled, are you ok Madam? This snapped me out of my appreciation. I looked at him. At his young smiling face, brows slightly furrowed with concern. I must have looked mad. This was not the kind of thing I did. I hadn’t been into a fast food chain since that disastrous holiday to the Lake District. I breathed out.
I reached for my purse, popped the clasp and handed the coins to the boy. I took my change and a brown paper bag. I walked out. I sat in the car and consumed the apple pie with the coffee. I drove home, hitting the rush hour traffic. I walked straight into the house, in to the office with the desk and put the gun back into its snug in the drawer. No one need ever know.
Maybe HRT isn’t such a bad idea…