Read That Will Do Nicely Online

Authors: Ian Campbell

Tags: #Fiction, #Retail, #Suspense, #Thriller

That Will Do Nicely

BOOK: That Will Do Nicely
8.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

 

 

 

 

That
Will Do Nicely

 

by

 

Ian Wallace Campbell

Acknowledgements

 

Although this novel is a work of fiction, the 'mechanics' of the fraud are those of the mid-nineteen eighties concerning the world of printing technology. Certain details have been glossed over and nowadays many of the processes would be carried out on computers.

 

My thanks to the various guinea pigs who not only read but listened to the narrated version of this work especially to Lynn Bridgland, Len Sorrell and Neil Drakley who 'road tested' the work.

 

Ian
Wallace Campbell, Dover, England, 2008

That Will Do Nicely
                                                                                                 
by                                                                                                        Ian Wallace   Campbell

 

Copyright © Ian Campbell 2013

 

ISBN : 1453713700

ASIN: B004183MXE

 

The right of Ian Campbell to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988.

 

You may not copy, store, distribute, reproduce or otherwise make available this publication (or any part of it) in any form, or by any means (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any
unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

Chapter 1

'Hell hath no fury…'

 

The man had nursed a fantasy since early childhood that he would have loved to have been a criminal. In childhood games he had always played the 'baddie' by choice... for the simple reason that they had more fun. From boyhood, the devious mind fascinated him and even now, whenever a sophisticated crime was reported involving large sums of money, the news of it invariably brought a smile to his face. For as long as he could remember, he had planned imaginary crimes, deriving the same sort of pleasure from doing so as others did from solving the Times crossword in less than seven minutes. To him, they were but different intellectual exercises. Only two factors had prevented him from turning to crime... the lack of motivation and the possibility of getting caught, which meant he was as normal as anyone else working in the City of London. Morality didn't come into it... there were few successful men of morals in the city!

The ancient pub known as the Falstaff, stands outside the tourist trodden precincts of Canterbury, in England’s county of Kent, opposite the city's Westgate Towers. Its clientele no longer consists of Chaucerian pilgrims, but rather of students from the University of Kent who use it as a watering hole between campus and an antiquarian bookshop further along the lane. Even on this bitter January day when the yellow-tinged clouds threatened snow at any time, the students seemed oblivious of the cold as they scuttled to their afternoon lectures, clad only in denim, the ubiquitous uniform of students the world over.

Inside the Falstaff, the landlord had already called 'time' several times and shuffled between the remaining people, clearing the lunchtime debris from the tables. Tucked away in a secluded corner of the saloon bar, flanked by Hogarth framed prints of the city, Tom Pascoe paid no heed, but sat staring into the open fire, nursing a glass of scotch. The landlord had noticed him earlier, noting him as someone obviously down on his luck; a deduction made from the man's Tweed jacket, which although of good quality and cut, was threadbare around its cuffs and elbows. It lent Pascoe a worldly-worn look, as though there were no woman in his life.

"Your glasses please!
" bellowed the landlord again, edging his way to where Pascoe was sitting. "Time, Sir," he addressed him directly, expecting him to finish his drink, but when Pascoe didn't stir, he deftly plucked the glass from his hand and placed it on the tray with the others.

Bastard!"
Pascoe muttered. Another time he might have made something of it, but not that day. That day he had other things on his mind. He rose unsteadily from his fireside seat, gathered his anorak from the back of the chair and left by the saloon-bar entrance.

The cold grey north-light showed Pascoe's true age; a face which although firm and slightly tanned, was covered with a network of finely etched lines. Greying temples and a slightly sagging waist-line completed the picture of a man fighting and losing the first skirmishes with ‘middle age’. Turning up the collar of his anorak and narrowing his eyes against the bitter north-east wind, he crossed the lane to the car-park opposite, a snow-flake settling on his cheek as he did so. He looked up into the heavily leaden sky and knew instinctively that there would be more snow to come.

He had spent the lunch-hour drowning his sorrows, occasionally eavesdropping on student conversations, as if by listening to their problems, his would disappear, but it had been to no avail. The student's problems had been purely acquisitive; to take or not to take - the pill; the educational grant or the veiled opportunity when and if proffered and other peoples’ problems had neither helped him nor made him feel any better.

He slumped behind the wheel of the car, buried his face in his hands and
let the events of the last few months flood back into his mind. It was almost an hour before he shivered himself awake, by which time he was sure of only one thing... that he was a failure. He knew it. His wife and friends knew it and if there ever was such a thing as a Supreme Being - which he seriously doubted, he knew it too. He was a failure because he had been unable to obey the unwritten eleventh commandment, 'Thou shall put thyself first, above and before everyone else' - the creed of modern day life. But what he didn't understand was why he was so out of step with society. He didn't know if it was because of his mixed parentage, an American father and an English mother, or of having grown up in both countries. Whatever the reason, he had spent the last 20 years putting other people first - his parents, his clients, his friends and his wife. Playing by the rules had got him absolutely nowhere!

In his early years in the States he had been picked on because of his English accent. Later, he hadn't fitted into the scheme of things at his English public school because by that time he sported a slight American accent, but also possessed neither psychopathic nor homosexual tendencies. He had finally completed his fall from grace by eschewing Oxbridge in
favor of a career as a photographer, a profession which had lasted only until his marriage to the honorable Teresa, his wife's family insisting on a change of job as a condition of the marriage contract. Afterwards, by which time it was too late, he had rued the day that he had accepted that particular condition and later realized how besotted he must have been to have let lust gain the better of pride. The mistake had cost him dear; 10 years as a glorified clerk in a city import/export office, just to pacify 'daddy' and recalling the memory still sent shivers down his spine. Respectable it may have been, but being a glorified filing-clerk hadn't been his idea of a career, even if the pay-cheques had been regular. Whatever gain there had been in salary, the Honorable Teresa had always managed to spend it faster than he had made it. Indeed, if there had ever been a surplus, it had quickly disappeared into the period cottage they could ill-afford in the Kentish commuter land.

In short, all he had gained for playing the role of hard-working faithful husband for 10 arduous years to the '
Honorable' lady, was an unbelievable mortgage, an incredible overdraft and the recent discovery that his darling wife, had cuckolded him with anything in pants at each and every opportunity. Of course he had been the last to find out, but what no-one had guessed, was that he had been taken for granted once too often. On the evening of the party, three months earlier, he had reached the end of his 'English' tether and had let the American side of his personality take over. On discovering his wife,
in flagrante delicto
with the stuffed-shirt known as Mainwaring-Chrichton, a colleague from his own office, there had been nothing remotely 'English' about his reaction. Instead, he had prized the lovers roughly apart and kicked them downstairs in naked disarray and thrown them out into a very cold night. Physically. Simply. Unceremoniously and in front of all their so called friends. Tom Pascoe, at the ripe old age of forty had finally come of age!

The debacle had marked the start of a strange metamorphosis from which he had emerged a new and better man; a realist who
recognized that troubles were but part of life and that by living by his new code and thinking only of himself, he would not only survive but thrive. This bubble of new found self-confidence had lasted all of three months, until that very morning, when his wife Terri's revenge had arrived by the morning's post. A revenge which threatened to punish him not only for him throwing her out, but for a crime of which he was entirely innocent.

A letter, from a popular American credit card company, claimed he owed them money
... £18,463.90 to be precise... more than he had ever amassed at any one time, more than he could reasonably borrow and more than he normally made in a year; an academic point as Terri had had her lover get him dismissed from his job.

When he had first read the letter, he hadn't been sure what to make of it and had innocently asked his wife if she knew anything about it, but far from denying knowledge of it, her voice had actually brightened at the mention of the letter.

"It's quite simple," she had explained on the phone, "When I decided to leave you, I thought I'd treat myself to all those things you've been denying me, so I applied for a credit card and did it their way." He could still picture her gloating.

"I applied for the card in
your name, with your references; that's why they gave me a gold one. I wouldn't have done it at all unless I had checked all my facts first. You see darling, we've got the same initials, so I didn't have to forge your signature and as for the references, I gave them daddy's address in the city."

When he had warned her that she wouldn't get away with it, she had just laughed at him.

"You've always known how to lose gracefully, Tom, so why stop now? You've been a gutless wonder all the time I've known you. You haven't got the balls for something like turning me in and if you did, it wouldn't do you any good... a husband can't testify against his wife. It'd be your word against mine and I come from a decent background and family."

Her parting words had told him to accept it as a going away present; a little legacy. So, it had been goodbye and good riddance.

He knew now that she was out to ruin him, which was why he'd spent the morning arranging an appointment with Wilkinson, a friend from his school days and more appropriately, his solicitor.  

He left the cottage in Patrixbourne next morning, in good time for his
appointment and drove by way of the old A2 road to the solicitor's office in Canterbury arriving with a  few minutes to spare and sat  waiting in the small vestibule for  his  friend Wilkinson to appear. He didn't have to wait long.

"Morning Tom
." Bellowed Wilkinson in his usual hale and hearty manner. Nothing ever seemed to upset the man, thought Pascoe. Although they had been at school together, with Pascoe one year ahead, Wilkinson seemed younger than his years and would easily have passed for 30. He was, in appearance, most of the things that Tom wasn't; tall and slim, with a full head of curly blond hair. Only his premature, gold-rimmed bifocals gave him the air of the profession at all. It was a carefully cultivated image and one which had served him well. Now after eight years in the Canterbury legal practice, Wilkinson had become one of its senior partners.

Pascoe followed him through a rabbits' warren of corridors until they came to a room which overlooked the ancient City wall.

"Come in Tom... make yourself comfortable... you sounded terrible on the phone... what sort of mess have you got yourself into, eh?" Wilkinson, dressed in a leather elbow-patched tweed jacket, perched owl-like on the corner of his desk and directed an incessant stream of trivial remarks at him. Pascoe settled into a leather clad chair.

"How about the door, before we start?" Pascoe asked. His friend got up and closed it, ensuring some privacy.

"Now Tom, tell me everything right from the beginning... "

Pascoe told his story as simply and baldly as he could, but it still took 20 minutes to cover everything. Wilkinson listened attentively, occasionally jotting down the odd note.

"From what you say Tom, things haven't been good between you and Teresa for quite some time... a couple of years in fact... mainly due to the fact that you couldn't or wouldn't support her in the style she wanted... is that right?"

"Not in as many words but, yes,... except that I didn't have much choice in the matter... her father got me the position in the import/export firm and I went along with it because I wasn't exactly making a fortune in my photographic studio, at that time."

"Was that at her request
... the change of job?"

"I suppose it must have been."

"When did she start complaining about your life-style?"

"She had little digs about it right from the time we returned from our honeymoon
... we bought the cottage to keep her happy - it was right out of my price range."

"How did you afford it then?"

"By cutting down on other things... cheaper holidays, or none at all... a second-hand, economical car instead of the latest model - now that was something which really annoyed her... not being able to go out with the girls occasionally, with a little sports car of her own to match theirs."

"But you managed otherwise
... "

"I did for the first few years, but lately it's become more and more difficult."

"How difficult? In what way?"

"It was the little things at first
... I'd give her the money to take care of the domestic bills and then get the odd visit from a tradesman, claiming payment... that sort of thing."

"Did it happen often?"

"Not to begin with... they were just isolated occasions... I didn't even suspect anything odd was happening."


And now?"

"Now I know better. A few weeks ago she misplaced our holiday money that I had given to her. It was to be our first real holiday abroad since the honeymoon. I gave her £1,200 to make all the arrangements and when I asked her about the confirmation from the holiday compan
y, she calmly told me that she'd lost the money... you can guess how I felt."

"Did she give you an explanation?"

"As soon as I read the letter, I suspected Teresa was behind it - so I tried to speak to her. I phoned her parents and her friends first but they hadn't seen her. Finally I tried Mainwaring-Crichton's number and she answered the phone. I confronted her about it and she admitted it; pretty blatant about it in fact and added that she was glad she was now with someone now who really appreciated her."

BOOK: That Will Do Nicely
8.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Shaman's Blood by Anne C. Petty
Poppy's Garden by Holly Webb
Valley of the Templars by Paul Christopher