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The Friday Flash – Crash – Friday Flash Fiction – Part 1 of 4

The Friday Flash – Crash – Friday Flash Fiction – Part 1 of 4

6 AM, July 25th, Sunday morning, number five, Acacia Avenue.

Crash.

“…what?”

Smash.

Tina Bryant was shaken from an erotic dream by the second alarming eruption. Opening her sleep encrusted eyes, the first thing she saw was the fat, greasy face of her still snoring husband, a trace of saliva dribbling from his open mouth.

“Gerry, wake up. Somebody’s trying to break into the house.”

“Christ, Tina Tina Titsalina, you’re dreaming. Get back to sleep.”

She wasn’t totally keen on her nickname, but it was one of the few endearments that passed for affection in their shambolic marriage. And she had set the precedent by calling him Gerry Jerkoff.

B-l-a-t.

“What the hell. Ok, babe, but the sound’s coming from outside.”

Meanwhile, TJ, their foster son began to wake up. His room was redolent with the smell of marijuana. Holy shit, he thought, opening the window to clear the miasma before his mother came to wake him for breakfast. He donned a pair of skinny black Levi jeans and a Sisters of Mercy t-shirt as he settled down to watch the spectacle.

Gerry’s corpulent pink paisley pyjama clad form moved from the bed and ambled towards the window. He peeled back the blue chintzy curtains and looked towards the immaculately manicured front garden of the house that faced them.

“Holy crap, it’s Brad Beausoleil. He’s chucking something into a skip!”

Wearing only a stained One Direction t-shirt, Tina leapt out of bed. Something unusual happening in the neighbourhood? Surely some mistake.

But then Brad was considered a bit ‘different’, something of an outcast who never attempted to fit in. The Neighbourhood Committee, also known as Stella’s Stasi, had extended the hand of friendship to him on innumerable occasions, but he never really wanted to know and made no attempt to ingratiate or integrate with them.

Brad was known as a rich, if somewhat frugal and eccentric fellow. He was still a bachelor, which triggered the usual rumours and whispered speculation from those with little else to do with their time. He’d inherited the house and all its antiquities from his mother Grace, a collector of antiquarian books, amongst other expensive and tasteful artefacts. This had not gone unnoticed by the residents of Acacia Avenue, and a cynic might think that this was the real reason they wanted to get to know him.

After all, Brad was in his fifties and unmarried, though he did have a slightly irritating penchant for teen speak that often infuriated some of the more ‘established’ Acacians, as dwellers of the Avenue oft referred to themselves. It was rumoured that he had a number of health-related issues and clearly wouldn’t live forever.

A few of the neighbours had visited the house and couldn’t resist gawping at the unprecedented collection of signed pictures (the Andrew Wyeth was especially admired by Hank and Ellie Schmidt, who lived in number three and originally came from Wisconsin). The shelves were bedecked with finely bound first edition books, many of which were signed by the authors, and there was elegant Scandinavian furniture too, all highly collectable one-off pieces, along with some Gustavian originals much admired by Tom Felcher, who worked for the local Museum of Modern Design.

What would happen to all his priceless treasures after he’d gone, he couldn’t take them all with him, right?

Crash.

By now, Betty Marlborough was awake. Betty was a merry widow in her late forties and had a bit of a soft and sometimes wet spot for Brad, despite or maybe because of his eccentricities. She also had an eye to the main chance, according to her somewhat disrespectful teenage daughter Gillian.

But then so did Gillian, who was currently asleep and enjoying a dream about terracotta hued dragons flying over Mount Olympus, dripping honey onto the gods.

Betty was one of the few people who could remember Grace Beausoleil. Now, Grace had promised her that rather elegant Ormolu Clock, the French nineteenth century one with the pearl accented face, on at least two occasions. That would grace Betty’s mantlepiece most elegantly, and no mistake. It wasn’t to Gillian’s taste, but eBay would be her friend there, once Betty had shuffled off her mortal coil.

But when Grace eventually succumbed to the cancer that ravaged her frail septuagenarian body, Brad had not honoured her bequest.

To say that Betty thought poorly of Brad would be like calling water wet. But Brad either hadn’t noticed, or wore his indifference with a degree of subtlety that would not disgrace an aspiring politician.

Crash.

The Ormolu Clock shattered into several pieces, its mechanism strewn out in the skip like entrails from roadkill. A few minutes later, it was joined by a hand crafted Chinese Vase from the eighteen sixties, once owned by the singer Donovan, apparently.

By now most of the neighbours in the immediate houses had woken up and were observing the events with a mixture of interest and mounting horror. All thought they had some claim on Brad’s possessions, either because of perceived promises from Grace or favours they thought they’d done for Brad.

Unfortunately for them, Grace had left her entire estate, valued at anything between two and five million pounds sterling to Brad, but had not stipulated whether anyone else should receive any particular item.

So, to put it indelicately, the neighbours, despite what they thought was due them, were as stuffed as a Thanksgiving Day turkey, a fact that had not escaped Brad’s attention. But then he wore his contempt for them with some mild amusement.

He could never really articulate or rationalise why he disliked most of them so much. Was it just their greed or hypocrisy, or was it something much deeper in his heart or soul, a misanthropy born of years of rejection because he never seemed to fit in wherever he ended up.

Either that, or he was just a cranky old miserabilist who tried to appear hip.

Or so the Acacians thought.

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