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.


14. 14

"Thanks’ I'm like a fish out of water at the moment.' I have to find a job as well Gary.'

"Well we will go to the job centre in Whitley Bay and see what they can offer you have you got a CV?'

"Yes somewhere.'

"Good dig it out and you can show them at the Job centre. it will help you.' every qualification you have put it in the file.'

Gary munched on his sandwich and gulped coffee as he tried to help Shirley. Excuse my manners said Gary but I haven't long he looked at his watch. "Here write down your sister's address and I will pick you up later.'

Shirley wrote down the address then gave it to him.'

Joyce is going out with Ritchie tonight for a meal we could join them if you like?'

"Anything Gary I just need to get out. I'm going to be interrogated by my sister for a couple of hours at least so it will be nice to escape. "We can go somewhere alone if you wish you know.'

"No,' a bit of company will be good.'

"Looking at his wrist watch Garry said "Okay then let's get your shopping over to the bus stop and I will get the bus that will be just about to come down Station Road.'

Gary picked up all of the bags and Shirley held the door for him. he set off at a pace and Shirley was hard pushed to keep up. He was six feet one inches tall and had longer legs than her. She was only five feet seven.'

Gary Marched her to the bus stop then said he would see he shortly as he crossed the road. The bus that he would be driving was coming the other way stopped and he got on.

"Not many bus driver's like him hinney said an old lady who was sitting down in the bus shelter.'

"Yes, you're right there.' Shirley reflected on her life and she couldn't recall a time that Bob had helped her with the shopping. That's women's work he would say.'

Gary was totally different to her husband she thought, she liked him more every time she thought about him.

The bus was down at the terminus ten minutes as the drivers changed over then picked up passengers from the Metro station. When it arrived, he carried her bags on board and placed them into the luggage rack and she sat down. Gary gave her a lovely smile and she felt better.

She sat in the same seat near the front as Gary took the fares from other people getting on.'

"When everyone was seated Gary pulled away.'

"What time are you going to your sister's?'

"As soon as I get this shopping put away and look for my CV.' Shirley had five O' levels from her days at school. She excelled at Maths and English, Science, History and Art.

"You’re going to be fine you know Shirley so don't worry I'll help you all I can.'


"It took me a while to adjust after the Falklands, but I’m fine now.' Gary swung the bus right onto Mullen Road and then let passengers off at Noble's shop before pulling away. "Is that the taxi office where Bob works?'


Gary kept looking over and smiling at Shirley which made her feel a whole lot better.

When the bus reached her house, Gary stopped to let her off. There were only two young lads sitting at the back now.'

"See you later then said Gary with a wink.'

Shirley opened the gate then went up the path and into the back door that led to the kitchen.'

"I thought you weren't going to be long?'

"I had quite a lot to get and carry you know.'

"I've got to go to the bookies before my first race gets underway.'

"I won't be here when you get back then.'

"I'm going to put this shopping away and pack the rest of my clothes; I'll order a taxi to take me to our Kates. I'll drop into Iceland first to tell our Margaret then go to  Waves and see our Jimmy and tell him.'

"Suit yourself.'

"I'll leave the keys on the table.'

Bob put on his coat then turned towards Shirley and said "Well good luck, have a nice life Shirley. I hope you will be happy. He then opened the front door then closed it on his way out.'

There was a touch of sadness in his voice and it took all of her restraint not to call him back but she had made a decision and she was going to stick to it.' She unpacked the shopping and began to put it away. She had used the twenty- five pounds she had been given from Joyce to buy the shopping with and had only ten pounds left in her purse. She left some things in the bag she'd bought to take down to her sisters for her keep. Shirley didn't expect to stay there for nothing. She went to her room after placing all the tinned food away and then looked inside her jewellery box there was a gold chain with a heavy twenty- four carat gold locket that her grandmother had left her before she died and a ruby ring. She put the ruby ring and the gold chain and locket into her purse. She found a set of step ladders used for painting the house and climbed up so she could look on top of the wardrobe where she kept the file with all of her certificates. She found a wooden box behind the coving on the front of the wardrobe that could not be seen from below; it was hidden next to her file. She brought it down to have a look inside. It was locked and Shirley looked in Bob's drawer amongst his passport and birth certificates and other paperwork where she found a key. she nervously put the key into the lock and it opened with a click. Inside there were some sepia coloured old photographs of his grandparents and some of Bob and her as they played on the beach together when she was a teenager. then underneath that was a large pile of bank notes all in order with Queen Elizabeth’s head on them. She counted almost ten thousand pounds in fifty- pound notes. Bob had been salting away all of his winnings from the horses she thought at first until she saw the letter from the bank explaining about his final withdrawal of twelve thousand pounds. He'd spent over two grand and had told her that there was no money left when she had asked him about his compensation when they had nothing to live on after his accident other than sick pay. He must have drawn out the money unbeknown to her and hidden it. How devious can you get she thought; no wonder he wasn't bothered about her leaving. He would be well off.

She was furious to think he could do such a thing and picked up the telephone. She rang Paul Dodd’s solicitors and explained about the money and all of his coin collections that was worth several thousands of pounds.

"Please take photographs of all of his coin collections and the money we can use that as evidence said Paul Dodd’s. This is in case he tries to get rid of it before the divorce is finalised.'

She locked the box after taking a photo of the cash before replacing everything as she had found it. the digital camera had the date on every photo as she snapped away at his coin collections. Then she packed the camera into a carrier bag along with her CV and rang for a taxi to pick her up in one hour. She couldn't get out of her mind the thought of how Bob had kept her short for years. especially when he had all that money hidden away. Shirley got an even bigger shock whilst looking for her dress shoes. The cupboard that they were kept hadn't been painted for years and it was dark inside so she found Bob's torch under the sink unit where he kept his tools. Shirley turned on the flashlight and scanned it inside where there were several boxes unopened from when they first moved in. each box had been sealed with duct tape and on the top was written what was inside like old porcelain china. silverware and old oil paintings all belonging to her from her grandmother. She pulled them out and decided to take them with her. She came across another box it was sealed but had nothing written on it and Shirley was curious to find out if her shoes were inside it. Shirley was one for buying new shoes but not throwing them away. Instead they were worn a few times and then packed away. She used a sharp pair of scissors to open the box and sat back in amazement when the contents were revealed. The box was crammed with twenty- pound notes, all in bundles of a thousand pounds and all tied neatly with ribbon. she emptied the box on the kitchen table and began to count it and there was twenty- five thousand pounds. Again, Bob had lied to her he said that he'd only received ten thousand pounds from his accident was he lying about that as well. She went back into the bedroom and searched in his drawer for the letters from his solicitor during his accident and it was there that she found the letter stating he'd actually got £125.000 pounds in compensation. Where was the rest of it she wondered? Next, she removed the cover from the loft and climbed inside with the torch she shone it around until she came to another box again it was sealed. she slid the scissors along it and found another stash of money all told there was sixty thousand pounds. More money that she had seen in all of her life. Where was the other £65.000 though she wondered.'

She resealed the boxes and put them back minus £30.000 that she kept. Shirley figured that it was recompense for the years she'd slaved after him.

She wrote Bob a note explaining that she'd found all of his cash and had taken a share of the money. Then added for him not to try coming after her for the money because she would inform the social security whom he'd been defrauding for years by claiming benefits that he wasn't entitled to. She added that the police would be interested to hear this as well. She left the keys and her wedding ring on the table. before writing. "Good luck have a nice life Bob.'

The taxi arrived and Shirley asked the driver to help her with the boxes and her suitcase into the boot. She got in and told the taxi to drive to Whitley bay.







Mrs Patricia Kimber the YTS advisor in charge at the Job centre in North Shields sat in a room instructing teenagers how to produce a good CV. Many of them would go on to do thirteen weeks work on a YTS Scheme for £23.00 pounds per week. Kevin Matuszewski had been sent to work at Dutton Forshaw's car showroom and garage. His boss Brian Sneddon had asked young Kevin to come in on the Saturday morning.

"Don't wear your suit Kevin just put on some casual clothes said Brian, I have a big job for you.'

Kevin went home and told his parents that he was working that Saturday. Kevin was only meant to work on the scheme five days a week by law but his boss had asked him to come in and he said that he would pay him cash in hand. Stephan told his son to go as it might improve his chances of landing a full- time job with them if he showed that he was willing to work anywhere.'

"Work is work son, as long as you get money at the end of it.'

Kevin showed up on the Saturday at 7.30am a half hour earlier than he was meant to.

"Here put this overall on and take this bucket and sponge and wash every car on the parking lot. when you are finished give them all a good coat of wax. I want them shining like shit on a barn door Kevin okay.'

"Yes, Mr Sneddon.'  Kevin took the bucket and sponge with a bottle of car wash solution and a wax spray and some cloths and went to get some hot water. It was a cloudy day and the wind was cold as Kevin filled a bucket then added the car wash and set to work washing the forty odd cars on the forecourt. he took real pride in his work and each car was cleaned with fresh water then rinsed with a water spray. The wheels were all cleaned and it took him most of the morning to wash them all then he got straight on waxing and polishing each one to a high shine. It was just after one thirty that afternoon when he'd finished. all the cars looked brand new and they were gleaming.

Brian came out of his office and inspected them. "You've done a splendid job Kevin keep working hard and you never know the boss might give you a permanent job here.

Brian handed Kevin fifteen pounds and thanked him and said he would see him on Monday.

Kevin looked at the money he'd been given for washing and polishing forty- six cars. he'd been paid about 35p per car. he took off his overall and went home and told his mother.

"Kevin when you have been there thirteen weeks you will see all of your hard work appreciated.' Kevin gave his mother ten pounds and kept five for himself. he went and took a shower then changed into some clean jeans, a tee shirt and his training shoes. He put on a base ball cap and his bomber Jacket and went to his friends house. He grabbed a pork cutlet in batter for his dinner then hurried along the road. His friend Ian Toby had a scrambling bike and they used to ride it on the dirt ground in Percy Main all the way to East Howdon. They'd take turns riding it over the slag heaps. Ian like him did not have a job, he was stacking the shelves in Presto's in the Mall in North Shields for the same money he was getting.

"It's slave labour Kev’ he would say, that bastard of a boss I have is on my back all day long. you never get a minute to yourself. they know that you cannot complain because if you do they kick you out and the bloody social stop your benefit. I'm bloody sick of it.'

Kevin told Ian about how he'd washed and polished forty- six cars that morning for fifteen pounds.

"Jesus your gaffer is taking the piss Kev.' fifteen quid,' that’s a sodden joke mate.'

"Dad says it will pay off in the end because they will see that I work hard.

" Bullshit,' don't tell me your father has told you that they'll keep you on.'  Ian began to laugh. "listen Kev,' why would they keep you on when after thirteen weeks when they will be paid by the government to take on someone else. They will just keep on doing that as long as the government keep paying them. I'll bet you my motor bike they don't keep you on. You are wasting your time and your energy.'

Kevin thought for a moment then had to agree that Ian was right. He climbed on the back of the bike then Ian set off for home again. When they got back Kevin found his father was still out at Helen Judd’s house. his mother was in the kitchen crying and Kevin went to her to ask what was wrong. look we've had a letter from the council about excessive noise. they a threatening to evict us if it continues.

But we didn't make any noise mother. the house is relatively quiet all day. we don't play loud music or have the television on too loud. "What is their problem.' I am going to see John Copsey, I'm not having you upset mother.'

"Don't Kevin; leave it to your father.'

"Alright but I want this sorted mother.' I mean we don't complain about him and his son who honks the horn of his car in the early hours each weekend and parks his car right in front of our house so dad cannot get in with his car; he is forced to park his car further up the street.

"There is no law preventing him from doing so son.'

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