[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…Now, being a project of sorts, over the summer holidays, I have pieced together the story from beginning to end, and then revised it. A main thread has evolved. Something to do with murder and Letitia’s unfortunate involvement in it. I have worked on developing some of the other characters. In this episode (14.1), we get to see inside the younger stolen boy’s (Liam’s) head.]
10 Days before Murder
Saturday 28th of January 1967
Liam remembered sourly the call that changed everything. One minute the fourteen-year-old was blissfully ignorant; aware only that his father was almost no-so-unhappily widowed, that his mum had returned but with that smelly character Boris, and two ratty kids, that there is no God and when he died, that was it, no accountability. The next minute, the phone rang and his whole world view was cracked. That minute there was a Jemima on the other end of the line demanding to speak to his father. It was then as this intruder insisted, demanded and hollered on the line, that Liam began to change his mind about God. Liam remembered considering, “How dare this lady invade my space! There has to be a God and my parents have to be accountable to him! This is too much! I can’t handle any more! What right had she to interrupt my life?!”
Liam clutched the telephone receiver in one hand and fended off Jemima’s advances with firm “Nos” and lies that Dad was not home at present. He could hear the rising beat of his heart, punctuating Jemima’s whiney protests. Clueless he was, how to combat this woman.
‘What do you mean he is not home?’ Jemima persisted.
‘He’s just not,’ Liam fibbed. He watched his Dad slink behind him, his old clothes high on manure.
‘But he said he would be home,’ she said.
‘Well, he’s not.’ He fanned the pungent passageway air. ‘Poor, Dad, you stink!’
‘Ha! Did I just hear you mention your dad in conversation?’
‘I did,’ Jemima, now a smug Jemima, ‘you said to him that he stinks.’
‘Look, Liam, dear, it is very important that I speak to him. He said, he promised that he would be home. Your father, he keeps his promises. He’s a man of his word,’ she spoke in a softly and evenly.
‘Yeah, right!’ Liam remarked cynically. ‘Like he promised us a holiday in Tasmania but all we got was mum going off to Antarctica and getting herself…’ He paused unsure whether he should be passing on classified information. After all, his mum had returned, wearing kaftan and beads in her hair, in possession of a new Kombi Van, and unscathed. Liam had been delighted to acquire a new cool van, but not so pleased to have his mother back. Of course, the novelty of kaftaned mother and new Kombi wore off when the van broke down and had to be towed away for repairs. S
Still, Liam couldn’t complain. Just before the recent, yet brief escape up north to Alice Springs, his dad had bought a new Holden Premier. Liam was pleased with his art of persuasion as he had convinced his father to purchase this icon of motoring history. Well, so a recent Wheels magazine had recommended.
‘I know! I know!’ Jemima cut in. ‘He told me all about it. Isn’t it obvious why she did that?’
‘Nup?’ Liam bit his nail. Jemima’s argument was advancing into areas that were uncertain. ‘She won a prize, a competition.’
‘Who are you talking to?’ Dad’s voice boomed in the background.
Liam had to think quickly, but Max who was passing by was nimbler. ‘A girlfriend. Ha! Ha! Liam has a girlfriend. What a loser!’
Liam covered the mouthpiece. ‘Yeah! So?’.
Meanwhile the Jemima intruder had come to her own conclusions. ‘He is there! You liar! Put him on! Now!’
Liam had had enough. ‘No!’ he retorted. ‘Go away, you freak!’ with that he slammed the receiver down. He then picked up the phone and hurled it towards the bookcase at the end of the room. A few unfortunate ornaments, namely Max’s prized “Lord of the Rings” dragon figurines crashed to the floor.
‘Oi! What do you fink you’re doing? You could’a smashed the tele,’ Tails yelled.
Max emerged from preening himself in the bathroom. His face turned red, and he pulled at his hair. ‘My dragon! You killed my dragon! How could you do that?’ He cradled the broken bits of ceramic dragon in his hands. ‘They are so hard to get in 1967.’ Then, with teeth bared, he cried, ‘Why, I’ll get you!’ With one swift move, he lunged onto his younger brother and began to throttle him.
‘Oi! Oi! Stop that you boys!’ Dad tore the fighting youths apart. ‘Right, that’s it! no tele or suppa tonight for you lads! Go to your rooms! Bof ov you! Right! I’m pulling out the plug to the tele, now!’ Tails marched both protesting Liam and Max to their rooms with as much strength as his fatherly muscles could muster.
Meanwhile the phone chirped, unheeded and ignored.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022
Feature painting: Kombi from the Hitch-hiker © L.M. Kling 2015
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