Saturday Sampler: Repent at Leisure by Stevie Turner
May 7, 2016
In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Saturday’s Sampler features an excerpt from Repent at Leisure by Stevie Turner. Who killed Cat, and why did she have to die?
About Stevie Turner:
I began my writing career as far back as 1969, when I won an inter-schools’ writing competition after submitting a well-thumbed and hastily scribbled essay entitled ‘My Pet’. A love of words and writing short stories and poems has carried on all throughout my life, but it is only now in middle age that I’ve started writing novels full-time and taking this author business seriously.
So far I have published 8 novels, 4 novellas, and a collection of 18 short stories (Life) relating to significant life events. My novels are realistic, but tend to shy away from the mainstream somewhat and focus on the darker side of relationships. However, you’ll find I do like to add in a little bit of humour along the way.
Paul McAdam wakes up with a strange girl in his bed, with no idea who she is or where she came from.
Cat Taylor worms her way into Paul’s life, eventually moving into his flat. The arrangement suits Paul quite well until he meets Anita Fairfax, the love of his life and the girl he wishes to marry. Cat has to go, but Paul finds that she is not interested in moving out.
When Cat is found dead in Paul’s flat, he’s the number1 suspect, even though there’s not a shred of evidence. Anita and Paul are happily married, but she soon begins to wonder whether her new husband could have been Cat’s killer all along…
Darren must have spiked my bloody drink again; I’ll kill the bastard.
I sit up in bed, rub my eyes and give her the once over as I inch back the covers. She’s naked and reasonably good-looking, but the blonde hair doesn’t quite reach the roots and the face is caked in make-up. I’ve always liked the natural look, so God knows why I went and picked her. Perhaps I didn’t; probably Darren gave her a good time and then lumbered me with her after I’d passed out.
My mouth’s as dry as a badger’s chuff, and my head is throbbing. I need some coffee. Whoever she is sleeps on as I climb out of bed and slide into some jeans. As I open the bedroom door I can see Darren, fully clothed and dead to the world on the settee. We must have had a fucking ace time of it last night; if only I could remember.
The noise of the kettle brings Darren out of his stupor. As he comes into the kitchen his mullet’s awry like he’s got a surfboard on his head. Yawning, I reach for two mugs from the cupboard and heap a spoonful of coffee in each. I indicate with a thumb over in the direction of the bedroom.
“Who’s the bird?”
Darren hacks up enough tar to fill all the potholes along the M1.
“You’re asking me? You’re the one who was with her all night.”
“Yeah, but some bastard spiked my drinks.”
My look of venom informs him in no uncertain terms whom I suspect of perpetrating the crime. Darren, innocence personified, shrugs his shoulders, picks up the kettle, and pours boiling water into the mugs.
“Nothin’ to do with me, mate.”
“Yeah, and my dick’s two foot long.”
“You should be so lucky.” Darren adds coffee to an extra mug. “Here; give her one.”
I already did, didn’t I?” I sigh.
“Possibly; you were going at it hammer and tongs in there last night.”
The girl stumbles out into the living area wearing my shirt.
“Coffee; great.” She takes a steaming mug from the worktop. “Any sugar?”
“You’re sweet enough, darlin’” Darren eyes her up and down.
“I forgot to buy any.” I mumble.
“I’ll pop out and get some later.” The girl settles herself down in my armchair,
takes small sips from the mug, and puts her feet up on the coffee table.
Did she think she was staying then? I swallow a wave of irritation at her proprietary air, and wish both of them would piss off and leave me alone to rattle
around my flat in peace and recover in my own time from the previous night’s excesses.
“That won’t be necessary. Look; I’ve got relatives visiting this afternoon. I assume the two of you have got homes to go to?”
I hope I sound convincing enough. Darren nods as he drains the last of his coffee and looks at the girl.
“It’s already the afternoon, but hey, I’m gone. D’you want a lift, darlin’?”
“The name’s Cat, and I’m not your darling.”
The girl gives him the evil eye. By this time I don’t care whose darling she is, just so long as she isn’t mine.
“You’ll pay a fortune for a taxi on New Year’s Day.” Darren smooths down his mullet with one hand and searches for his car keys with the other. “Last chance for a lift. Where do you live?”
“Abercrombie Road, but Paul can take me home later.”
I must have told her my name at some point, although I have no recollection of ever doing so. I try to mask a rising fury as I look at her.
“I’m low on petrol, and there won’t be any garages open today. Wherever Abercrombie Road is, you’ll have to walk if you don’t go with Darren now.”
“Okay, okay.” She exhales with venom and jumps up. “It’s nice to be wanted, I must say.”
Fuck off! The drums in my head start playing that Cozy Powell song that I can never remember the name of. She goes back into the bedroom and emerges wearing a tight red mini-dress, a black jacket, and black stilettos.
“I can’t find my mobile phone, so I’ll give you a chance to find it and I’ll come back tomorrow.”
Yeah, whatever. Just go.
“See you later, mate.”
I nod to Darren as he ushers the girl out of the door. I suddenly feel decidedly sick, and only just about make it to the toilet before violently upchucking the coffee and whatever else is festering in my stomach from the night before. After rinsing my mouth I stumble back to bed and am asleep almost as soon as my head touches the pillow.
When I wake up again the flat is in darkness. I check the digital clock, which shows 6:08 pm. I can still smell the girl’s cloying, musky perfume on the sheets, which only adds to my foul mood. With one fluid motion I turn on the lamp, climb out of bed, and then unhinge the duvet from its cover. After ripping off the fitted sheet and pillowcases and stuffing them into the washing machine with the duvet cover I feel somewhat calmer. I add more soap powder than usual in an effort to rid myself of any trace of my night-time companion, and hit the shower with more eagerness than usual. After towelling myself dry I look at my reflection in the mirror; reddish-brown hair in need of a cut, atop a pale, washed out face featuring the sharp Campbell nose inherited from my mother’s side of the family, and tired-looking brown eyes.
“Happy New Year.” I say out loud to myself. “You’re a real horse’s arse.”