It’s Friday! I know I only work 3 days a week and only for 15 hours but Friday is starting to become a thing again. I haven’t had a proper job since before Sash was born. Even then, not really that proper. The only true 9-5 job I ever had was in an accounts office. That ended up being alright once I realised that all the invoices I checked were double checked by someone else in the next room. After that I just moved a few across from one pile to the other over the course of the day and no one seemed to notice. I lasted 7 months there until one really nice sunny day and I stayed in the park drinking chablis instead of going back to my desk.
I get to the gallery and Martin is already there. Which is unusual. He turns to me as he hears the door go. ‘Oh hi Martha, how are you?’ he smiles pleasantly, which is also a bit odd. ‘I, erm, don’t need you to work today...I’m going to be here you see, meetings that sort of thing..and, and the guys are coming to box up those paintings and…’ I think I am probably looking quizzical. ‘oh, I’ll still pay you, look…’ he pulls out his wallet and fishes out some notes. He hands them to me and I take them without looking at them. I am looking at him though. He is sweating on his cheeks and he very much avoids my gaze. I hold the money out in front of him and go for full on dramatic slow return of my arm. I have questions. They can wait. I need to talk to Gemma. ‘ok Marty, you’re the boss’ and I turn and leave. I start to walk hurriedly around to the pharmacy. I light a cigarette as I walk, What the fuck is going on? Why did he pay me to fuck off? I get halfway to the pharmacy and remember that it is Friday and she doesn’t work Fridays.
‘Gems, what you up to? xx’ I go into Tesco Express and get two cans of ready mix gin and tonic. I pop one before I am even out of the door. No mister security man, I didn’t rob it. Wanker. No reply from her. I could go to her flat but it’s miles from here. Well, about 2 miles but also fuck that. If she’s not picking up her phone messages I doubt that she’s going to answer the door. I walk around the corner to the little park and find a bench away from people. It’s lunchtime I guess and men in shirts walk with women in their third best shoes. Where is Gems and what the fuck has she done? Or maybe my mate Marty really does have meetings all day and that makes him sweat a lot. Phone goes, Sash ‘I do like ponies but I miss you xx’ which is of course the perfect text right now. ‘I like ponies too and I miss you a lot xx’ Whilst I am staring at my phone I text Jimmy ‘hey Jimmy boy have you spoken to Gems recently? xx’ ‘nope, not all week. why?’ ‘oh nothing really, just I texted her and she didn’t reply. Where are you today?xx’ ‘on ferry, going to Belgium’ Oh fuck, yeah he did tell me. His mate’s band are doing some gigs over there. He’s not back till Sunday night. No Sash, no Jimmy, Gemma gone missing. I say missing, she hasn’t responded to a text I sent her 23 minutes ago. I walk around the park and drink the second can. There are lumps of dread bouncing around inside of me. Maybe Martin paid me off to fuck off and not just for today. Phone goes ‘in the Monty xx’ she's in the pub at half twelve. This is not good. I chuck my can in the bin and start to walk back the way I came. I almost walked past the pub on the way here.
She’s sat at the bar with a bottle of Prosecco. She turns to me as I walk in. She barely smiles when she sees me. I put my hand on her arm. She puts her other hand on mine. ‘Gems babes, what the fuck is going on?’ she shakes her head ‘it’s fucking Martin isn’t it?’ she purses her lips so hard I think she might fold in on herself. ‘It’s his wife Marth’ she takes a deep breath ‘he’s being doing the tango with her’ ‘He’s fucking her? The stupid prick’ I say as the barman stands over us waiting for me to order. He sees our faces and retreats back along the bar ‘no babes, he really is doing the tango with her, like dancing. I mean, in a way it’s worse’ ‘how the fuck is doing the tango worse than him fucking her?’ she takes a glug of her wine ‘cos that’s what he should be doing with me Marth’ Fucking hell, she really does love the old cunt.