Thursday, 1 March 2012

Pippa Drake

Pippa Drake
 
Roger Noons
 
Vodka tonic with a ice and lemon
 
Pippa’s eyes were focussed on the traffic lights; her ears were concentrating on the husky tones of Sting, who was leading her through a field of barley; her taste buds were savouring the caramel which she had just popped into her mouth and her fingers were caressing the familiar contours of the van’s steering wheel.
Having completed the morning’s deliveries, she was looking forward to returning to the shop, when there was an explosive crash and vibration, generated on the near side. She covered her head with her hands and arms and pressed herself against the off side door. She closed her eyes tight and tried to protect her ears from any further attack. Hence she had no knowledge of the passenger side door being opened and a gloved hand snatching her shoulder bag from the seat. When she experienced no further violation she slowly lowered her arms, and she heard the blaring, persistent horn from the white Transit van which was immediately behind her.
 
*
 
It was almost five pm when she reached the shop and found Lucy in a state of panic.
‘Thank God you’re alright,’ her assistant said, taking Pippa’s hands between her own. ‘It must have been awful. You’ve no cuts though,’ she added after scanning the older woman’s face.
‘No, no injuries, except a bruise on my shoulder where I banged against the door.’
‘Was there much money in your bag?’ Lucy asked tentatively.
‘About thirty pounds I think, all but one of the customers paid by cheque. Those can be stopped.’
‘The most important thing is that you’re OK. Everything else can be replaced. I suppose it will be covered by the insurance?’ Pippa nodded. ‘Why did he smash the window, he could have just opened the door and grabbed the bag?’
‘The police reckon it was to cause me to react the way I did and therefore see nothing. I don’t know a single thing about him, or her for that matter. So far no witnesses have come forward.’
‘No, I suppose they don’t want to get involved,’ said Lucy, almost to herself.
 
*
 
Two days later, in the afternoon, Pippa was making up a bouquet in the back room, when the telephone rang. ‘Hello,’ she said, her attention mainly on the task in hand.
‘Is that Philippa Drake?’
‘Yes, speaking.’
‘I’ve found your bag,’ the male caller said. That claimed her full attention.
‘Oh, that’s …’
‘I’m afraid there’s no purse or phone, but there’s a pen, lipstick, comb, a diary, keys, all the usual things you find in a woman’s bag.’
‘Oh, thank goodness, that is very welcome news.’
‘Might there be a reward involved?’ the caller asked.
‘Oh, yes, of course. Will twenty five pounds be alright?’
‘I thought it might be more than that. You see there’s also a letter … signed by Tim, I think it is. He appears to enjoy inserting his tongue inside your ear, and other more intimate places.’ He paused. ‘Your husband’s called James isn’t he?’
‘Er …’
‘Perhaps you’d like to think again, about the reward. I’ll call back tomorrow.’   
 
BIO - Roger Noons began writing in 2006, when he completed a screenplay, for a friend who is an amateur film maker. After the film was made, he wrote further scripts, then began short stories and poems. He occasionally produces non fiction, particularly memoirs from his long career in Environmental Health. 

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