Mary had one last surprise for Livia. As she left, Livia had expected a social peck on the cheeks, but Mary grabbed her cheeks and gave her a full-on kiss on the lips, albeit not French-style.
Stopping, she stepped back
“There, look at ya... yer so pretty, y’are, I simply had to do that! If I were that way inclined, which I’m not by the way, so you can relax, you’d be me first choice!”
Livia was shocked, only recovering by asking.
“Surely you’re not going to drive home, Mary? I’ll get you a cab... on my account.”
Before Mary left, Livia asked her for details of her brother Donal, the undertaker, which she was happy to give. Mary offered to speak to him and to go along to see him with Livia. “To make sure the fecker doesn’t rip you off!”
Livia thanked Mary and said she would think about it. Trust her she might, but Livia was nonetheless hard-wired to be cautious. Besides, she had only just started thinking properly about Terry’s funeral. She would probably take Mary up on her offer, but needed thinking time first.
Right now Livia needed to process the lunch.
Lunch with Mary Flaherty was coming to and end. Mary’s warmth, sense of humour and even foul mouth had won over Livia, who was usually suspicious of new people. She liked what she saw as Mary’s fundamental honesty, Christian faith and how she was able to interpret the Ten Commandments to suit her needs. Livia liked Mary’s simple knack of making her laugh.
Somehow, through a single meeting, Livia actually trusted this woman, something enjoyed by nobody else except perhaps her own son.
Had Mary not bewitched Livia, she might have thought differently. She was after all a serious rival
Tony said little during the journey back to the office and Paolo didn’t try to start a conversation anyway. The trip was generally against the traffic flow and they arrived with five minutes to spare before the accountant’s scheduled arrival. As it happened, the accountant was 10 minutes late.
“Fucking accountant... he’s s’posed to be accurate and, like you, the fucker can’t get anywhere on time!” was the only thing Tony said, except “Paolo... thanks. Why don’t you fuck off home now!”
Paolo was in one respect delighted to go home... but would have preferred to eavesdrop on Tony’s meeting.
So engrossed was Paolo in discovering things about the business, he left himself little time to clear up the mess. Having wanted it to be spotless for Tony’s return at 4pm, Paolo worked extremely hard in order to dispose of the finger, sealing it and all the packaging in a black plastic bag, which he would throw into a convenient builder’s skip along his route to Tony’s house. The only problem was that he didn’t leave himself much time and lost some finding a skip.
Arriving at Tony’s house somewhat late he lost some of the ground he’d gained earlier.
With Tony out of the way, Paolo had free rein in his office. There was little danger of the boss turning up unannounced, so Paolo set about finding out some of the aspects of the ‘business’ that Tony didn’t share. Like names of contacts Tony preferred to keep to himself, like the bank statements Tony had got out ready for his accountant’s visit later in the day. ‘Knowledge is power, big time’, thought Paolo, with takeover plans seeded way back by Livia and growing fast in his mind.
Paolo was finding out what made the business tick, how and who.
Marcia came to the conclusion that Franco must have escaped the house and safely made his getaway. Had she known, she would have been horrified that he had been wanking all over her shrub. It wasn’t a shrub, it was a very well-established rosemary bush which she regularly used in her cooking. Lamb a la jizz wouldn’t have gone down well, albeit proteinacious.
Whilst Franco might have satisfied himself by himself, she had been left wanting. Maybe, just maybe, she might provide Tony some distraction from his ills and woes. But Tony wasn't having it... so neither was she!
Franco was about to leave his calling card under one of the shrubs outside the kitchen door. ‘It’ll be good for the soil’ he might have thought were he not so caught up in his self-induced pleasure. However, it was the leaves of the shrub that benefitted from Franco’s ‘fertiliser’. When he was done, he felt he needed to wash or wipe off the evidence, but didn’t have anything to do it with. Quick thinking again, he put away his overactive penis, broke off the soiled twig and headed for the side gate.
He drove off feeling doubly relieved.
Had he thought about it, Tony might have wondered why Marcia, frosty and distant at the best of times, was fussing over him. She squeezed past him in the bathroom closer than necessary, or usual, and went to get him a clean, dry bath towel.
“I’ll close the bedroom curtains for you so you can take a nap later. Is there anything I can get you? A cuppa maybe? Hot water bottle? Aspirins, paracetamol?” she offered. ’Arsenic?’ she thought.
She quickly tidied up the mess in the spare bedroom. ‘Phew! That was close!’ she thought... ‘where the hell is Franco?’
Franco was a big bloke... a big bloke on the point of ejaculation... but he too was quick thinking, his mind quicker than his penis to react to new circumstances. He leapt up, grabbed his jeans and attempted, in a clumsy way, to get them on. He managed, but his penis wouldn’t play ball, so he took a chance and, using quick, long, quiet, stealthy strides, he entered the kitchen and quietly opened the back door.
He had to hide in the garden a while though as his penis hadn’t caught up with events. So he gave it a hand.
Tony burst into the bathroom. “What’s going on? Who’s in here?”
Marcia, naked, poked out of the now steaming hot shower.
“A clever bloke like you Tony... thought you’d realise I’m having a shower!”
“Oh, yeah, sorry. Why ain’t you using your own shower?”
Marcia was quick. “The water comes through hot quicker here because it’s downstairs.” That seemed to satisfied Tony. “Why are you home so early?
“Feeling a bit sick. Gonna lie down in the spare room.”
It was Marcia’s turn to feel sick as Tony turned to go.
“I’m finished here. Why don’t you freshen up first?”
Tony was lost in his thoughts, oblivious to anything going on under his nose. His nose had caused enough trouble already. He headed towards the downstairs bathroom where Marcia had fled. She got a shock as she hopped into the shower and turned the water on fully. It started very cold and she couldn’t stifle an involuntary shriek at the thermal shock.
As it happened, that shriek saved Franco’s bacon. On hearing Marcia’s shriek, Tony went straight past the spare bedroom, door ajar, without glancing sideways at Franco’s rocket.
“What’s the fuck’s going on?” shouted Tony, which was unwittingly apposite.
Being on foot Tony didn’t use the main gates, so he went in through a side gate. The sound of the gate-opening mechanism was Marcia’s usual early warning system of Tony’s return. Tony always travelled by car.
This time she was caught unawares. Franco was on top of her grinding away in the spare bedroom on the ground floor when she heard keys in the front door. Quickly, with difficulty, she pushed Franco up off her and raced out into the adjacent shower room.
Franco remained, on his back, enormous erection pointing aloft, like an inter-continental ballistic missile.
Paolo drove Tony home at a modest pace, thinking that if he had a chance he would open up the sporty SUV on his return and give it a blast.
Stopping outside Tony’s house, Paolo couldn’t help but smile to himself as he spotted Franco’s van parked about thirty yards along the road. He thought the prospect of Tony finding Franco up to his nuts in Marcia hugely amusing.
“Come in,” invited Tony, more from gratefulness than politeness. Tony didn’t do polite.
“I’d best not. I’ll be back at three Tony.”
Tony headed for his gate. Paolo grinned.
“Got the accountant coming later, four o’clock,” Tony managed to get out, “gotta be here. Important.” He retched again, splattering the floor.”
“I’ll get you home and make sure you’re back here before four. Best place for you is home right now. I’ll come back, clean this lot up and get rid of that finger.” Paolo taking charge was the best thing for Tony right then.
“OK,” Tony agreed, “take my car.”
“Will do,” replied Paolo, quickly getting a towel. “Here, use this to wipe off any mess on yourself Tony.” Things were panning out nicely.
And off they went.
Tony moved his head to get a closer look. The awful smell of putrefaction hit his nose and he instantly threw up all over the finger itself, ironically replacing the smell of rotting flesh with one of bile. Paolo was quick to help, getting a chair for Tony to sit on.
“Are you OK boss?” he asked with a false note of concern. “Can I get you anything?”
“Get me outa here will you?”
“Sure Tony, sure. Tell you what, I’ll drive you home for a while, come back here and clear all this up and pick you up later.”
“Are you taking the fucking piss, Paolo? Cos if you are I’ll cut your fucking nuts off!” Clearly Paolo had gone too far.
“No Tony, absolutely not. I don’t know what I’m saying. This whole business has been so shitty for you and for me, as well as for Terry of course. Sorry Tony. I only want to help you... honestly I do.”
Somehow, Paolo’s apparent penitence did the trick and Tony’s attention turned to the rotting finger. Paolo became his ally and support again. His anger turned towards the perpetrators.
“Bastards! Fucking vicious bastards!”
‘Et tu, Antonio.’ thought Paolo.
It wasn’t Terry’s cock of course, but Paolo couldn’t resist winding up Tony. He heard Tony’s exclamation of shock through the office walls and smiled. If he’d been a betting man he’d have wagered on Tony’s legs being firmly crossed. Paolo continued..
“Whatever it is, it smells fucking awful. It’s rotting!”
Tony came racing out of his office. He couldn’t curb his horror, disgust... and curiosity.
Having laid the bait, Paolo had expected Tony to come through to see for himself. So he got in first..
“Looks like another finger,” he continued, “more bone than boner!”
Tony wasn’t laughing though.
“Bloody hurry up Paolo!” Considering Tony had insisted he didn’t want to know the contents of the package, he was mighty impatient to find out.
Paolo trod a fine line, taking his time over the layers. He wanted to wind Tony to the maximum without getting extreme anger focused on himself. Paolo was masterly. He debated whether to remind Tony that he’d not wanted to find out what was inside, but thought the better of it.
Instead, unwrapping the final layer he called. “Tony, you don’t want to see this!”
“Why? What is it? Is it Terry’s cock?”
Paolo did as told. Tony was in such a state that he shouldn’t cross him. But Paolo unwrapped it very carefully, meticulously, layer by layer, almost as if he was waiting for the music to stop each time. It was part of his strategy of winding Tony up so tight his spring might snap. A dangerous game, but if challenged on his snail-like progress, Paolo would argue that he didn’t want to miss anything that might be in the intermediate layers, or risk damaging whatever was inside.
“What’s inside?” shouted Tony.
“Still unwrapping.” Paolo replied, his strategy working well.