The Jolly Boys

Shirley Stephenson is a bored housewife who never stops day in day out, its the same humdrum existence. Bob her husband is a lazy good for nothing. who lost his leg in an industrial accident and is claiming benefit fraudulently. he keeps her short and moans because she goes to the bingo. Shirley finds the courage to file for a divorce and free herself. her life is suddenly transformed after she finds all of the compensation that Bob has been hiding from her. she orders a taxi she takes £30.000 and takes a box with some things that her gran had left her.

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Hello Mrs Miller, I’m Barbara Connors Fowler this is my Husband Alan we have come to view the house.

“Hello Mrs Fowler. It is M’s Miller but please call me Shirley.’ Please come this way and I will show you the house.’

Shirley led Barbara through the house they inspected all the rooms which were bright and spacious. She loved the Fitted Kitchen and shower in the bedroom. The three bedrooms reflected the high- end quality of the property that looked out onto the sea. The garden was spacious with a fence right around and was not overlooked. It was perfect and just what Barbara and Alan wanted.

“We’ll take it said Barbara.’

 “We have the papers here Barbara, if you would care to sign for the property as soon as your cheque clears then the house will be yours.

“So, when can we move in?’

“It takes three days normally for a cheque to clear: said Gary.’

“Oh,’ that’s fine, it means we can order the delivery of our furniture this weekend.’

“Is this your first house together?’

Yes, we’ve only been married a month.’

“Just a moment said Gary, he went to his van outside and came back with a bottle of the finest champagne and four glasses.

“We must celebrate your first house.’

He opened the bottle with a pop and poured the four flutes with champagne and they toasted Mr and Mrs Fowler’s first house.’

“Hope you’ll be happy here said Shirley.’

“I’m sure that we will.’

After a while they left telling the Fowler’s that they would have the keys delivered as soon as the Cheque cleared.

Shirley got into her silver BMW sports car and drove away as Gary got into the van and drove back home.’

Shirley got onto the phone and was busy booking them tickets for their holiday as Gary rang Tony Parker to ask him to drop the keys to the property in Blyth on Wednesday afternoon. He then told him that he and Shirley were off for a week on holiday and that the flats in Seaton Delaval were ready to start and would he mind taking charge until he returned.

“No problem sergeant, replied Tony respectfully.’

“Good man, I’ll bring you a nice bottle of Jack Daniels back.’

 

When Bob Stephenson returned from his holiday in Turkey he picked up the pile of letters off the floor then dumped them on the breakfast bar. He wheeled his case in then opened it and took out his dirty washing and placed the coloureds in first he poured some Ariel colour into the plastic cup and added it to the wash then set it away. Then he filled the kettle and switched it on. His sister had been to the shops and got him a few provisions for coming home. He took out his favourite mug with Fred Flintstone on it and popped a teabag into it then took out the carton of fresh milk his sister had brought him. Once he’d sorted his whites from his colours he saw the sandwiches that Maggie had made for him and he smiled. He filled the mug and left it for three minutes for the tea to infuse before adding milk and four sugars. The phone rang, it was Paula Robinson asking if he’d had a nice holiday he spent forty minutes telling her about it then said he’d see her at the club the next night. Then he rang Maggie and thanked her for tidying up the house for him and getting him a few things in.

“Did you see the sandwiches that I made for you. I had some pork left and some stuffing from the Sunday roast so I thought you’d like them. ‘

“I’m eating them now Maggie, they are lovely.’

“You haven’t forgotten that I’m driving you to Arden house on Tuesday have you Bob.’

“Who could forget Maggie, I’ve thought about nothing else for two weeks.’

“Don’t worry I will sort this for you.’

Maggie worked for social services and was well ofay with employment law and incapacity benefit.

“I’ll see you on Tuesday then Maggie.’

“Goodnight Bob.’

Bob hung up then unpacked the rest of his case taking out his shower leg from the other case where he had his gifts for Maggie and his father and his kids. Not that Jimmy or Margaret came to visit very often these days. Since his divorce they had cut him practically and went to see their mother more than him. Bob knew nothing about his ex-wife’s wealth or the fact that she’d changed her name.

He picked up the pile of letters and began to open them three were from the coin collection society with two new ten cent coins he was collecting from every state in America. The others were his gas and electric bills. Then he saw the letter in Shirley’s hand writing. He cursed thinking she had been to a solicitor again and wanted half of his coin collection as well.

Bob began to read the letter that Shirley had written.

A slip of paper fell into his lap and he picked it up and glanced at it. He couldn’t believe his eyes. it was a cheque for £250.000 pounds.  He set it aside then read the letter.

 

 

 

Dear Bob,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am returning the money I took from you and there’s a little interest for you. Please invest it well and it will see you until your pension comes. If you are wondering where I got the money from. Well,’ it was from the old tat that my gran left me. It turns out that those old paintings and those vases and bowls were worth a few bob after all. Pardon the pun.

 I saw you a few months ago with a young woman. I hope you are happy with her and making a new life for yourself. I would suggest that you marry the woman; she’s in love with you; I saw the way she looked at you. It was that same look I had when we first met.  Buy yourself new house with some of the money Bob and start a fresh. Take some advice from someone who knows you. Look after yourself Bob, join a gym and get yourself on a diet or you’ll lose her.’

Bob looked down at his belly then smiled.’

He read the closing statement which wished him luck and to have a nice life.

It was just signed Shirley.

 

 A quarter of a million pounds was a lot of money he thought. More money than he’d ever had. He was now a wealthy man and he could certainly change his life. With the sixty thousand pounds he already had, he was in a position to buy a nice place. He had seen a nice bungalow for sale across the road from the club. It was low maintenance and he was sure Paula would like it. He wasn’t worried about his Incapacity benefit now. He could still claim it as it was not means tested. He had his private pension and could still claim carer’s allowance. He would have no rent to pay but would have to pay poll tax but with over £300.000 in the bank he wasn’t bothered. He said a silent thank you to Shirley as he ate his sandwiches and drank his tea. Bob turned out the light and went to bed. He sat on the edge of the bed and took off his false leg and stood it next to the bedside cabinet in case he had to get up and go to the toilet during the night. He’d done it many times before, when he’d dived out of bed half asleep and fell onto his face. He leaned across and turned out the bed side light.

 

The next morning at 9 a.m. he rang Fletcher James Estate Agency where he’d seen the bungalow for sale and asked for a viewing.

“Could you be there in an hour Mr Stephenson said Miss Anne Burdis.’

“Yes, I’ll see you there in an hour.’

Bob put down the phone then rang for a taxi from Westholme to pick him up in half an hour. He quickly washed and shaved then had a quick shower before putting on some shirt and trousers that he’d bought from a catalogue company who dealt in extra- large sized men like him.’

The blue shirt looked nice, he even put on a tie and then wore a blue jacket he’d bought from Marks and Sparks.

The taxi arrived and Bob took the sixty grand in cash in a large carrier bag.

“He told Phil Hunter to take him to the bungalows beside the ex- servicemen’s club.

Bob paid Phil then got out and walked to the bungalow that he was going to buy. Anne Burdis met him as he walked up the little ramp with a metal rail on either side. It had been made especially for a disabled person.

The bungalow was perfect for him it had two bedrooms, a walk-in in wet room like his at home and a bath. The kitchen was again made for someone in a wheelchair. The cupboards were easy to reach. It was brand new and was made of maple. The work benches were black marble with flakes of silver grain in them and the floor had black and white diamond patterned tiles on it. There was a green house and a vegetable garden with a small lawn area with a potting shed.   The best feature was the conservatory attached to the house. The bay window at the front looked out onto the club but Bob wasn’t bothered about that.

“How much is the asking price Miss Burdis?’

“It is currently on the market for £65.000 pounds Mr Stephenson.’

“Would you like to ring the seller and ask him if he would accept £60.000 in cash which I have with me. Bob opened the carrier bag and showed Anne Burdis the money.

“I’ll give the seller a ring on my mobile if you would care to wait Mr Stephenson.’

She went into her bag and took out a Nokia phone and tapped in a number and waited for an answer.

Hello Mr Johnstone I have a client here who is interested in buying the property you have for sale with us. However, he says the asking price is a little high. He is prepared to pay you £60.000 pounds cash which he has here now if you will accept his offer.’

“There was a silence on the other end of the phone and Anne looked at Bob and gave him a tight smile.’

“Hello Mr Johnstone are you still there.’

“Bob could hear a voice on the other end deliberating with the estate agent before finally agreeing to the asking price. Anne stuck up her thumb in the air and Bob let out a sigh of relief.

“He’d done it he had bought his first home and he was elated. No more council houses for him. He could now move in after it was redecorated. He rang Joe pallozzi and asked him to call at his new address with his choice of pastel shades for the bungalow and asked when he could do it.

Joe told him it could be done tomorrow if it was alright.’

“Can I have the keys for the property today?

“Yes, as soon as we complete the paperwork down at the office. I can give you a lift if you wish I wouldn’t want you walking around with all of that cash on your own.

 Bob got into the red ford fiesta and drove back to the office where he spent fifteen minutes signing and reading the deeds to the property he’d just bought. He was so excited he couldn’t wait to see Paula and tell he what he’d bought.

From the estate agents, Bob went to Lloyds bank and deposited £250.000 pounds into a high interest account then he drew out £350 pounds from his pension account then walked to the jeweller’s shop and bought Paula the nicest engagement ring he could buy. He then took a taxi back home. He sat watching the clock in his house until it was time to leave to meet Paula. Again, he rang a taxi to take him. He was like a love- struck teenager as he placed the ring intro his jacket pocket and got into the taxi and it pulled away. He sat in the club waiting until she walked through the door and he got up and asked her if she wanted a drink.

“Yes, please.’

Bob asked for a bottle of champagne at the bar came back to the table with it.

“Champagne, are we celebrating something Bob?’

“Well that kind of depends on you.’

“How is that?

“Well you have to answer the question correctly.’

“I thought quiz night was on Thursday.’

“This is a special quiz.’

“Go on then ask me the question. Mind you, it better not be hard, you know how bad I am at quizzes.’

“You’ll know the answer to this question.’

“Don’t keep me in suspense then Bob said Paula as the room went silent and Bob took the ring out of his pocket then went down on his good knee and asked Paula if she would marry him.

The punters all stood up shocked as they waited for Paula’s answer.’ There was a long silence before Bob spoke again.

“Please give me quick answer will you laughed Bob, I’m going to fall over in a minute.’

Paula looked at Bob then said “of course I’ll marry you. You daft bugger.’

A huge cheer went up as Paula went around to help him get back up. Once on his feet he placed the ring on her finger and they kissed to a round of applause.

“Now we can open the bottle and celebrate.’

“That is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me Bob.’

“I promise you it won’t be the last Paula.’

“Did I tell you I love you so much.’

“No, but it’s nice to hear.’

Betty Bumface walked in with his father.

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