Sunday, 9 March 2014

Wicked People

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

Macbeth ~ by William Shakespeare

What a wicked game to play, to make me feel this way.
What a wicked thing to do, to let me dream of you.
What a wicked thing to say, you never felt this way.
What a wicked thing to do, to make me dream of you and,
I don't want to fall in love (This world is only gonna break your heart)
No, I don't want to fall in love (This world is only gonna break your heart)
With you

~ Wicked Game by Chris Isaak

Sounds of faded wedding bells (by sidradiggitydangbang

The Kiss Of Death

The big old clock chimes on the wall.

In the massive old mansion with its acres of estate.

As the family of the aged Oswald Chambers keep silent vigil beside his big antique bed.

Dark red roses surround them like offerings.

Blood red roses.

Red as the ancient heart that beats in his chest.

Red as the lips of the black widow sitting beside his large antique bed.

Red as the blood soon to be shed.

The black widow.

Honey Chambers.

Perched by his large antique bed like a crow waiting for crumbs to fall from the table.

A dark shadow hovering over a dying ancient.

An evil spirit in the form of a treacherous wife.

Honey Chambers.

One time exotic dancer.

Now a professional widow.

Dressed in black velvet with a fine black veil.

She carefully applied her make-up and adorned herself with trinkets and baubles.

Like Jezebel.

A thin and birdlike woman.

Anticipating an ancient man's demise.

And dreaming of the riches to come.

A cold blooded huntress.

The black widow waits.

And waits.

Her game plan has been simple.

She seduces her prey with the promise of endless love.

Disarming her quarry with the milk of human kindness.

So that they are barely aware when she pours poison into their ears.

Injecting them with lies.

Oswald Chambers lies in his big antique bed attached to medical equipment - lifeless and flaccid.

Like a wet leaf on the ground.

Grasping onto life with his gnarled hands.

His pursed mouth covered by an oxygen mask.

The beeping equipment - the only signs of life.

As a priest intones from his Bible beside the big antique bed.

Father James.

Guiding the old timer to his Maker.

As his family members pray in unison.

The big old clock ticks away

And the black widow silently prays with them.

"Die you old bastard!"

Honey Chambers desires her husbands death.

"Die!Die Die!"

Circled by family members in a suffocating embrace.

They cling to the ancient patriarch like drowning men clinging to a raft.

His fragile life hanging in the balance - reminding them that they too are mortal.

As the big old clock keeps ticking away.

The black widow fingers her fresh water pearls with her finely manicured red talons.

She licks her thin red lips.

Showing her sharp white teeth.

She is a lioness about to feast on the carcass of her prey.

Everything has gone into slow motion.

Old father time is biding his time today.

And the grim reaper has put up his feet.

As the black widow perches beside his large antique bed.

There is life in the old dog yet.

The thin and birdlike woman hovers over her twisted husband like a vulture.

Waiting for him to breathe his last.

So she can begin to breathe.

The ancient is taking too damn long to die.

And the black widow has never had to act so much in all her life.

She is a praying mantis.

Once upon a time she was Honey Dulay.

A one-time exotic dancer at The Coconut Club.

A calculated manipulator with her eye on the big prize.

Killing her mates with their good intentions.

Using their weaknesses against them.

And sucking the life right out of their bones.

Most of her former lovers have only lasted a brief spell.

Satisfying her lust for money and the finer things of life before being discarded.

The black widow is a glittery eyed seductress.

But old Oswald Chambers is different.

He is the perfect catch.

A billionaire with more money than the others put together.

She licks her thin red lips again.

The black widow is a vampire.

Preying on the living to give her life.

The thin white face and cold blue eyes.

The thin red mouth and blood red nails.

She is the Bride of Dracula.

The big old clock chimes on the wall.

Time is crawling by.

The ancients two strapping sons kneel reverentially beside the big antique bed.

Their heads bowed in reverent supplication.

The black widow has also been on her knees.

But those days are behind her now.

Now Honey Chambers sits stiffly and demurely beside the big antique bed of her dying husband.

Playing the dejected wife with aplomb.

Anticipating his death in widows weeds.

She has paid a high price.

Eighteen unlovely months of marriage to a wheelchair bound ancient.

Acting the doting wife.

A small price to pay for all that wealth.

And the black widow has played her part superbly.

Occasionally the skinny woman participates in the cacophony of mourning and flamboyantly wipes away her crocodile tears with a lace handkerchief.

The touching display of emotion is a soft focus piece of cinema.

For the intermittent time has certainly been stretching her limited acting ability.

Hours of it.

There is nothing standing between the ancient man and eternity now.

But time.

The black widow allows herself to eat luncheon in the enormous dining room as family and close friends eat their pea soup and Southern steaks in virtual silence.

Honey Chambers - consummate actress.

The large eyes.

The baby-woman voice.

The heartfelt pronouncement of undying love for her ailing husband.

A bravura performance.

Enough to bring a tear to any eye.

"He's very close now" Father James informs the family in the vast drawing room.

The black widow can barely contain her glee as she watches everyone silently depart.

Like sheep.

Gradually they file back into the bedroom to wait out the ancients final moments.

The black widow slips away to her private suite.

Other Interests (by Aconitum-Napellus
To collect herself.

To freshen herself up with La Prairie make-up.

And a dab of Coco Chanel.

And to give a great roar of triumph.

The old goat is almost dead.

And she is about to inherit his enormous wealth.

Her feminine wiles have gained her precedence over everyone else.

Including his two sons - the rightful heirs to his vast fortune.

Honey Chambers will soon have enough money to buy silence if she has to.

She has stolen the ancients immense fortune from under his very nose.

The black widow laughs lightly.

All too easy.

She lights up a Marlborough Light and takes a long drag.

Her days as a dancer in lugubrious bars is far behind her.

Once upon a time she was Honey Dulay dancing for money and using sex as a weapon.

Now she is a superannuated Honey Chambers with the world at her feet.

And she has won the ultimate prize.

She has had to kiss many frogs to get her prince.

Oswald Chambers.

A prince too decrepit to bother her in bed.

A prince plenty rich enough to fulfil her every need.

Her daddy-lover.

Honey Chambers grins broadly at her reflection in the big gold mirror.

Her triumph is assured.

She is unaware of the soft knocking at first.

The black widow quickly stubs out her cigarette and pulls down her veil.

She fixes the most mournful expression on her face.

As she summons up the crocodile tears.

"Enter!" The black widow commands in faltering voice.

It is Elena Rivera - the dutiful Mexican maid.

The black widow fixes her with her most dejected eye.

The wan look of grief.

Perhaps the old timer has finally shuffled off his mortal coil?

The black widow anticipates the answer that will change her world forever.

Inwardly she quakes with positive expectation.

"Rich beyond my wildest dreams"

"I am sorry to intrude Mrs Chambers" Rivera informs her breathlessly "But there has been a miracle! Mr Chambers ... he is making a remarkable recovery!"

The black widow gasps as shock waves race through her body.

"It is a miracle!" The maid exclaims "Praise the Virgin!"

Elena Rivera crosses herself.

The black widow is struggling to compose herself at the startling news.

Her castles of imagination have evaporated.

She takes a perfume bottle from the elegant dressing table and throws it against the wall with a roar of anger and frustration.

Then she grabs a hairbrush and throws it at the mirror.

The mirror shatters into thousands of glittering pieces.

Elena Rivera watches with horror as her mistress explodes in a fury of curses and expletives.

She is behaving like a mad woman.

"Get out!" The black widow suddenly screeches at the maid like a banshee "Get out I said! Get the hell out!"

The maid vanishes in fear.

And the black widow is alone again.

She stares at her reflection in the broken mirror.

Her thin face is contorted with rage.

Her red lipstick is smeared across her cheek.

She tears off her black veil with disdain.

Honey Chambers is panting heavily.

There is time enough to retrace her steps.

To put on the show.

Time enough to device a dastardly plan.

To help her decrepit husband on his way.

To rid herself of the pestiferous ancient once and for all.

The black widow smiles darkly as she reenters the bedroom.

She is ready to give Oswald Chambers the kiss of death.

As the old clock chimes on the wall.

Treacherous Bedfellows

"Dude - I'm really sick!" Lester Powers declares loudly.

He is standing in the designer kitchen of his business partner and leaning over the sink.

Powers is copiously splashing cold water on his hot face.

He has already retched into the sink three times and his body is convulsing with pain. 

Walter Boothe has been silently observing his guest for several moments. 

Lester Powers is doubled up in agony as he grasps his stomach. 

His handsome face is as white as a sheet and he has just vomited into the kitchen sink again.  

Walter Boothe invited the man and his wife to his picture perfect Massachusetts abode for a surprise dinner party.

A celebratory soiree. 

The two men can even hear their wives gossipping and giggling from the elegant living room. 

"How long have I known you, Lester?" Walter Boothe asks his guest as he draws a chair and sits at the large oak kitchen table.

The man clutches his chest and winces with pain.

"Since high school I guess" Lester Powers responds as he stumbles to the table and sits beside him.

"And how long have our wives known each other would you say?" Boothe requests thoughtfully.

The ailing man looks at his host with a ghostly white face.

Tiny beads of sweat are forming at his brow. 

"I guess since Marisa first became my secretary" Lester Powers gasps.

The questioning host grins knowingly at him.

He takes out a packet of Marlborough's from his pocket and offers a cigarette to his sickly guest. 

Lester Powers shakes his head.

"That's right!" Walter Boothe declares "Four years! Your wife and mine have become very good friends!"

Lester Powers suddenly jerks out of his chair and rushes to the kitchen sink where he retches violently.

His entire body convulses with each spasm.

The two wives can still be heard talking animatedly.

Walter Boothe calmly checks his watch.

His guest is doubled up in pain at the sink - whilst Boothe nonchalantly takes a long drag from his cigarette.

"Walt - please dude!" Lester Powers pleads "I'm really sick! Please call the paramedics!"

His host slowly shakes his head.

"It's only a little indigestion!" Walter Boothe replies breezily "C'mon - you can take it! It will all be over very soon!"

The guest continues to retch into the sink as his host observes him dispassionately from his chair at the kitchen table. 

Lester Powers.

The handsome one-time high-flyer of De Havilland and Sons

With his inventive mind and ruthless determination - Lester Powers is the favourite son of America's seminal advertising agency.

An object of jealousy for the ambitious.

Including Walter Boothe.

Lester Powers is classically good-looking with bright blue eyes, wavy blond hair and a firm jutting chin.

But his handsome face hides a calculated mind.

Ten years of resolution and application has transformed Boothe and Powers into millionaires before they are even forty. 

The shining lights of De Havilland and Sons.

Leading by example.

Walter Boothe is the complete opposite to Lester Powers.

Neither captivating or charismatic.

He lives in Lester Powers shadow.

Walter Boothe is stocky and unattractive with a ruddy face, grey eyes and black wavy hair.

Everything he has earned he has earned through hard graft and opportunism.

Walter Boothe met his wife among the ambitious secretaries at De Havilland and Sons.

Marisa Francesco.

A statuesque Italian from Milan.

While Lester Powers met his wife at a New York conference.

Corina Radley.

A mousy blonde intern.

Walter Boothe married Marisa Francesco on a bright summer day in Hawaii.

Lester Powers was his best man.

Powers married Corina Radley a week later in Boston.

Walter Boothe was his best man.

Now it was six years and two expensive Boston penthouses later.

Boothe and Powers had now become one of the most successful advertising agencies in the States.

They were riding on a crest of a wave.

And tonight they were celebrating their achievements.

Walter Boothe checks his watch.

"What did you give me?" Lester Powers demands as he stumbles back to the chair.

"Exactly what you deserved" Walter Boothe replies coldly.

Lester Powers is now deathly pale and he is breathing heavily in raspy rattling gasps.

The women are also quiet.

There is an eerie silence in Walter Boothe's expensive penthouse this dark evening.

"We always planned to stop" Powers declares weakly "but our feelings for each other were always too strong"

Marisa Boothe.

A striking Italian brunette with a penchant for the finer things of life.

And one man evidently wasn't enough for her anymore.

Walter Boothe glares at the writhing man as he takes another drag from his cigarette.

"The affair began three years ago" Lester Powers continues "We were careful but Marisa always felt guilty. We were both in too deep"

Boothe continues to smoke as he listens without sympathy.

"We never meant to hurt anyone!" Powers proclaims finally "Marisa just fell out of love with you!"

Walter Boothe and Corina Powers have known about Lester and Marisa's affair for over a year.

It came to light when Lester Powers admitted to his wife that he had paid Marisa Boothe to have an abortion.

She had been having an affair and she was terrified that her husband would find out.

Corina Powers suspicions were pricked - but she never dreamt that Marisa Boothe was having an affair with her husband.

"Strychnine!" Walter Boothe informs his dying guest "I put it in your wine! It will all be over soon!"

"Bastard!" Lester Powers snarls contemptuously - but his strength is fading fast.

He reaches out to grab his murderous host by the throat but his big hand falls limply onto the kitchen table.

Walter Boothe smiles grimly at his writhing victim.

The dying man's last thought as he slumps back in his chair is that he has finally met his nemesis.

Lester Powers twitches one last time and is still.

Walter Boothe stubs out his cigarette in a sliver ashtray and checks his victim's pulse.


Then he calmly walks out of the designer kitchen and into his tasteful designer living room.

Corina Powers is breathing heavily and standing over the body of Marisa Boothe.

The attractive woman is lying spreadeagled on the cold wooden floor.

Her black Marc Jacobs dress is disarrayed and a broken wine glass is still held tightly in her right hand.

The woman's face is as white as the walls.

Her eyes are staring fixedly.

The pretty red mouth is slightly open.

Marisa Boothe lets out a final death rattle and is still.


The murderous couple share a devilish glee as they survey the scene.

Then they embrace and kiss passionately.

Tonight is the culmination of months of planning.

"I thought she'd never die!" Corina Powers declares with a shudder.

"It's all over now" Walter Boothe informs her with a big grin "We can deal with the bodies later! Let's go to bed!"

"Plenty of time for that lover!" Corina Powers replies with a sly look in her eye "Let's clean up"

The two dead bodies are wrapped up in plastic bags and shovelled into the back of Walter Boothe's old Cadillac.

Then they make love with abandon in the big designer bedroom.

"Now a little drink" Corina Powers informs her lover a couple of hours later as she hands him a glass of wine.

"Here's to the rest of our lives!" Walter Boothe declares brightly as they chink glasses and he takes a sip.

Corina Powers is standing before him with a broad grin and hard blue eyes.

Her eyes are like two glittering stars in a dark sky.

The frumpy little intern has been replaced by a devious schemer.

Walter Boothe's smile fades.

There is malice in Corina's eyes.

The man suddenly drops his glass as he clutches at his chest.

"You little bitch" Walter Boothe exclaims angrily as he staggers out of the bedroom where they have spent two hours arduously making love.

Corina Powers is no longer smiling.

The play acting is over.

She watches calmly as her lover convulses in agony.

"Did you honestly think I would allow you to live?" Powers informs Walter Boothe icily "How can I be sure you won't rat on me in the end?"

"We've been having an affair for nearly a year!" Boothe cries weakly as he stumbles towards the large front door "Why would I trick you?"

Corina Powers smiles darkly.

"Because you're a man!" She says coldly.

Walter Boothe manages to open the door - still clutching his heaving chest.

He stands unsteadily on his feet for several long moments.

Then he falls to the ground like an old rag doll.

It is all over very fast.

Walter Boothe lets out a final rasp before becoming still.

Corina Powers towers over his corpse now.

"So long Walt" she murmurs mockingly.

A large full moon has risen in the starless sky.

As the treacherous woman surreptitiously wraps another corpse in a plastic bag and shovels it into the boot of a Cadillac between the other two.

Corina Powers celebrates her moment of glory with a glass of wine in the car.

"Here's to me!" She declares enthusiastically.

Then she tosses the glass away with the flick of her wrist as she hits the accelerator.

By the time Corina Powers has decided what she would like to do with the rest of her life - she is already experiencing severe chest and stomach pains.

Driving in Walter Boothe's old Cadillac - the agonising pains are affecting her capabilities.

"This can't be happening"

It is not surprising that a police car siren sounds behind her.

Corina Powers was clever.

But not clever enough.

She mixed up the wine glasses and drank the wine containing the strychnine.

Excruciating pain is blurring her vision.

The Cadillac veers off the road and tumbles down a hill.

Spinning round and round.

For a brief pain free moment - Corina Powers believes she can see a bright white light.

Then the Cadillac suddenly explodes into flames and she is engulfed in a fiery hell.

The Harder They Fall 

“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection"

English class at St Martha's Senior School in Ealing, West London. 

Nihal Banerjee is just finishing his reading from Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy.

Mr Graham smiles and nods with approval. 

"Thank you Nihal!" The English teacher declares.

Nihal Banerjee.

A bright Asian lad growing tall with bushy black hair and onyx black eyes.

He has a fierce intellect and capacity for learning that leaves many of his fellow pupils in the shade.

Quietly spoken and studious - Nihal Banerjee is expected to make Oxford University in a couple of years time.  

But he is not without his detractors.

Jeffrey Ashton sits behind the Asian lad.

He is a forceful boy with strawberry blond hair and bright hazel eyes.

Jeffrey Ashton has no pretencions to academia.

"School is for sissies" 

Jeffrey Ashton has quickly acquired a reputation as the best athlete in his year and he has dreams of becoming a world class footballer. 

And he has an image to maintain.

Jeffrey Ashton is cock of the walk.

And all too painfully aware that his prowess on the field does not translate to his aptitude in class.

So Jeffrey Ashton's competitive nature finds its outlet in decrying his academic opposition.

And his animal instinct is to strike down anyone or anything he cannot understand or accept. 

Jeffrey Ashton has spent most of Nihal Banerjee's reading making jokes about it with his best friends.

The prize athlete has been mercilessly mocking the Asian lad since the class started.

Nihal Banerjee is at the top of his hate list.

He is a non-white intellectual with a photographic memory. 

The kind of perfect pupil that Jeffrey Ashton believes deserves to be made into a figure of fun.

Jeffrey Ashton has been launching a brutal campaign of bullying since the Asian lad arrived at the school from Leicester a year ago.

Nihal Banerjee has endured the calculated cruelty with stoicism.

But it is getting harder to ignore. 

"Master Ashton!" Mr Graham declares "Would you like to tell the class what you find so funny?"

"Nothing sir!" Jeffrey Ashton replies - red faced with embarrassment. 

books (by sainthallow
"Then perhaps you'd like to stay behind at the end of the day and write me a little essay about the life and times of Jude Fawley" Mr Graham finishes smoothly.

Ashton shoots Nihal Banerjee a dagger look.

The Asian boy buries his head in his book anticipating the bullies future reprisals.

That night Nihal listens carefully to his father at the dinner table.

'It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection'- the Bhagavad Gita says" Sunil Banerjee wisely informs his son "Racists are all blind. Keep to your studies son because you are forging your future"

"Your father is right!" Aashi Banerjee "One day you will leave all of this behind"

She puts her hand affectionately upon her son's.  

"It  will all pass like a bad dream!" Sunil Banaerjee adds knowingly.

Later in his bedroom, the young Asian boy muses on his parent's words.

He only has to stick it out a little longer.

Nihal Banerjee picks up his elegant copy of the Bhagavad Gita from the bedside table.

He opens the book and begins reading.

It is already daylight outside when he eventually closes his eyes.

Three Days Later

Nihal Banerjee has had a good day.

He even enjoyed the endless cross country run this afternoon and after a quick shower he goes to the locker room to collect his belongings.

It is here that he is cornered by his tormentors. 

Nihal has been unable to evade Jeffrey Ashton.

Suddenly the days achievements evaporate.

He is accompanied by his three cronies; Mike Tibbs,  Russell Weekes and Chris Castle.

Jeffrey Ashton's three dark shadows. 

Three talented athletes who are hardly the brightest sparks in the school room.

All three of them have the same blond hair and clear blue eyes.

Three little pigs. 

Jeffrey Ashton and his acolytes crowd Nihal Banerjee in like a hunted prey.

All the other boys in the locker room whisper nervously among themselves and cower in fear.

Apparently they have also suffered Jeffrey Ashton's taunts before. 

Nihal Banerjee braces himself for another hellish ride.

His tormentors are like vultures circling around a carcass. 

"Look what we have here!" Jeffrey Ashton declares loudly.

He draws closer to the Asian boy - pushing him hard into the lockers.

Ashton's snarling face is just inches away from his.

Nihal Banerjee can feel the bully's hot breath on his cheek as he is pushed up against the lockers.

The Asian lad turns his head and averts his eyes.

"Don't you know it's rude to ignore people when they are talking to you?" Jeffrey Ashton demands forcibly.

"Yeah, paki!" Russell Weekes interjects nastily.

Nihal Banerjee does not respond.

Jeffrey Ashton suddenly pulls away from him.

Then he begins sniffing dramatically around him.

"What is that fucking terrible smell?" Jeffrey Ashton exclaims viciously "Reeks like a hell!"

"It's the shit they eat!" Chris Castle asserts with disdain "That curry shit!"

"The fucking paki stinks of that shit!" Mike Tibbs adds with a look of revulsion. 

All four persecutors burst into gales of laughter.

The other boys have fled the locker room in fear.

This is a show they do not want to witness. 

"You little girly-boy!" Jeffrey Ashton snarls as he rolls up his sleeves "I think it's time I showed you who is king!"

"Beat the curry out of the fucking nig nog!" Mike Tibbs urges him evilly.

"I'm going to fucking pulverise you!" Jeffrey Ashton sneers at Nihal Banarjee "Say goodnight - you shitty paki!"

"What is going on in here!" A strong male voice suddenly booms.

Mr Mackenzie.

The 6 ft tall well built sports teacher.

One of the escaping boys must have informed him of Nihal Banerjee's plight.

Jeffrey Ashton snarls with deflation as he backs away. 

Castle, Tibs and Weekes quickly disperse leaving the Asian lad breathing heavily by the lockers.

"Ashton!" Mr Mackenzie commands as he strides into the locker room "My office - now! You three other dimwits can get your things together and get out!"

Jeffrey Ashton slinks moodily off - closely followed by his three followers.

"Are you alright lad?" Mr Mackenzie asks the frightened youth.

"Yes, sir" Nihal Banerjee replies in his small voice.

"Your time will come, son" Mr Mackenzie assures him. 

And for the moment the tormented young boy desperately wants to believe it.

Three Years Later


Nihal Banerjee has graduated from Oxford University with a first class Law degree. 

He is no longer the timid little Asian boy from St Martha's Senior School but a tall and much more self assured young man with a promising future ahead of him as a lawyer.

Banerjee hasn't lost his integrity or his humility.

He is making his way through life in a principled manner.

The new job is a stepping stone for Nihal Banerjee.

A small part of the bigger picture. 

As he stands outside Meyer and Goldstein's Law Firm and adjusting his Italian silk tie - the young Asian man feels a mixture of emotions.

Expectation and fear.

Nihal Banerjee fresh out of university is about to step into the unknown. 

He remembers the words of Mahatma Gandhi as he stands on the big steps of the imposing building.

"The future depends on what we do in the present"

Nihal Banerjee takes a deep breath and strides purposefully into the building.

Thirty minutes later he is quietly sitting in the big glass office as the man scans his brief yet glowing CV. 

Marty Gould is mightily impressed by Nihal Banerjee's credentials and his endearing personality.

The charming young man is ideal.

And the smartest interviewee that Marty Gould has seen in some time. 

"You are the kind of young man this firm needs!" Gould declares firmly "The kind of intelligent and aspiring young man that will become an asset to this industry. I am confidant that you will do well!"

"Thank you, Mr Gould!" Nihal Banerjee replies politely. 

"The job is yours" Marty Gould informs him "You can start on Monday!"

"Thank you, sir" Banerjee replies enthusiastically "I hope to make you proud!"

"Good lad!" Marty Gould exclaims as he rises to his feet and vigorously shakes the young man's hand "Mr Ashton will show you to your new office!"

Gould motions to a smartly dressed man through the glass.

"Mr Ashton will show you to your new office!"

Nihal Banerjee's throat has closed.

He suddenly feels as if his heart has stopped beating.

And that his blood has frozen in his veins.

It is as if somebody has just walked over his grave. 

Nihal Banerjee turns slowly around.

Standing in the doorway is the man who had once been the bane of his life.

Jeffrey Ashton.

He hasn't changed much - he is only a feet taller and a little more thick set perhaps.

Dreams of a football career are apparently behind him now.

The young Asian man's last experience of Jeffrey Ashton and his cronies was of them flushing his head down the toilet on the final day of school. 

His former tormentor smirks back.

There is still a devilish glint in the sharp hazel eyes.

"Certainly Mr Gould" Jeffrey Ashton cries.

"This cannot be happening" 

Nihal Banerjee realises with mounting horror that this is not a bad dream.

His arch enemy has found him.

"What a surprise" Jeffrey Ashton declares wryly as Nihal Banerjee follows him obediently out of the glass office.

"I am only here to do a job" Banerjee informs him.

Jeffrey Ashton lets out a snort of derision.

Nihal Banerjee has already deduced that Ashton must be an office clerk.

He has already surpassed his former tormentor at Meyer and Goldstein's Law Firm.

Every term of endearment from Marty Gould's mouth must be like a dagger to Jeffrey Ashton's heart.

The wheel of fortune has spun round.

And Jeffrey Ashton is already experiencing the kind of bitterness that will blight his life.

"I am only here to do a job" Nihal Banerjee repeats.

Jeffrey Ashton sneers back at him.

Then he motions the young Asian man to his new office.

"You stay out of my way and I'll stay out of yours!" Jeffrey Ashton snarls.

As he pulls away, Nihal Banerjee suddenly notices a pretty young Asian woman sitting at her desk.

Priya Patel.

She looks up and smiles warmly at him as he walks past.

She must be an angel.

Nihal Banaerjee takes a deep breath as he surveys his new office.

It is spartan but comfortable.

A first step into a bigger world.

Then he wonders how long he will have to spend in purgatory with Jeffrey Ashton.

It already feels like lifetimes.

And Nihal Banerjee is crying out for Moksha.

Monday arrives too quickly.

The young Asian man has several case studies waiting for him on his desk.

Nihal Banerjee is acutely aware of Jeffrey Ashton whispering conspiratorially to several work colleagues by the coffee machine earlier in the morning.

He can tell by some of the cold stares and indifference that Ashton has been filling his work colleagues heads with poison.

There is a decided lack of cooperation from the former bully and a frosty aloofness.

Jeffrey Ashton is like Nihal Banerjee's shadow self - following him everywhere.

And shooting him down behind his back in the pub or in the dark corners of the office.

"I thought you might like this!" A sweet voice suddenly declares shaking Nihal Banerjee out of his reverie.

Priya Patel is standing in the doorway of his new glass office - holding a small potted plant.

"I thought it might brighten the place up a bit!" Patel adds cheerfully.

She is wearing a Marks and Spencer cream blouse and a grey Monsoon pencil skirt.

Her thick black hair is rolled up in a bun and a pair of golden spectacles are perched on her pretty nose.

"Thank you!" Nihal Banerjee responds.

He is more grateful for the sight of his beautiful Asian work colleague than he is for the plant.

Priya Patel has a sweet face and a comforting presence.

She is also fiercely intellectual and innately wise.

Nihal visibly relaxes.

Just then, Jeffrey Ashton walks past the office with another work colleague and they both laugh together as they stare through the glass.

"I see you've already met Jeff Ashton" Priya Patel proclaims with a touch of disdain as she places the potted plant on Nihal's big desk.

"We've already met!" Banerjee replies knowingly.

"I don't think he likes darkies!" Priya Patel asserts with a wry smile and a sparkle in her almond shaped black eyes.

"If only you knew"

"If you need anything - just ask!" she adds.

"Oh - of course!" Nihal Banerjee replies enthusiastically.

"Didn't Mr Gould tell you?" Priya Patel asks with a bright smile.

Banerjee shakes his head.

"I'm your new secretary!" Priya finishes breezily as she glides out of the glass office with a smile.

Nihal Banerjee cannot shake off the broad grin upon his handsome face.

Perhaps he and the soothing Priya Patel can live in purgatory together...

Then he notices a shadowy figure glaring at him through the glass.

Jeffrey Ashton.

The angel of death.

Nihal Banerjee remembers his father's words.

"It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection"

Six Months Later

The entire work force of  Meyer and Goldstein's Law Firm are gathered in the main office as Marty Gould proffers his most promising employees for promotion.

"Lastly I would like to commend one of our newest colleagues at Meyer and Goldstein's Law Firm - Nihal Banerjee!" Gould declares.

The office erupts into enthusiastic clapping.

Nihal Banerjee nods shyly.

"We would like to make Mr Banerjee a partner of this law firm!" Marty Gould continues "And we hope that this young man will be an inspiration to all of you!"

Gould shakes the young Asian man's hand enthusiastically as his work colleagues burst in fresh applause and sounds of appreciation.

"Well done" Priya Patel whispers in Nihal Banerjee's ear.

Then she kisses him lightly on the cheek and the young Asian blushes brightly.

Jeffrey Ashton skulks among the throng.

He is unable to conceal his rage and disbelief.

Jeffrey Ashton has already finished several cans of lager and is working himself up into a fighting mood by the time most of Meyer and Goldstein's Law Firm depart to The Soleil d'Or Hotel in Mayfair for a celebratory soiree.

He staggers out and corners Nihal Banerjee and Priya Patel in the company car park.

"What do you have that I don't?" Jeffrey Ashton demands as he confronts Banerjee by his car.

"I don't know what you mean" Nihal replies simply.

"I've been working at Meyer and Goldstein's Law Firm for three and half years and I'm nowhere!" Ashton continues "You show up and within six months you are promoted and made a fucking partner! How does that work?"

"It's not personal" Nihal Banerjee informs him steadily.

In Love (by nairafee
But the glitter eyed Jeffrey Ashton slowly shakes his head. 

"I've worked so goddamn hard and it's all been for nothing!" Ashton declares bitterly.

"You're drunk!" Priya Patel informs him crisply"I really think you should go home and sleep it off!"

"Fucking pakis!" Jeffrey Ashton growls  "Is it a racial thing? Do wogs get preferential treatment?"

"And now it comes" Nihal Banerjee cries "You just can't help yourself!"

Banerjee and Priya Patel climb into the car.

"Rivers of blood mate!" Jeffrey Ashton shouts as the car pulls slowly away "The English work hard all their goddamn lives only for fucking immigrants to take it all away! Fucking pakis and coons taking our jobs and running our fucking country! Thieving fucking bastards"

He throws the empty can of lager in his hand at the departing car.

"Fucking pakis and wogs!" Ashton rants "Go back to your fucking countries!"

But only his voice can be heard echoing around the empty company car park.

Nihal Banerjee and Priya Patel sit silently in the car for several long moments.

Then they look at each other and then break out into gales of laughter.

Ten Years Later

"I'll be home in thirty minutes!" Nihal Banerjee informs his wife on the phone "Just going to pick up Rohan's present from John Lewis!"

"Hurry!" His wife urges him gently "We can't start the party without you!"

Nihal Banerjee smiles as the phone clicks off.

Priya Patel agreed to be his wife five years ago.

She had always been Nihal's guardian angel.

And the couple were married in a traditional Hindu ceremony in a temple in Leicester surrounded by family and close friends.

Little Rohan followed a year later.

Nihal Banerjee is head of Banerjee & Co.

A successful and expanding London law firm.

Banerjee's time at Meyer and Goldstein's Law Firm is but a memory now.

The timid young Asian boy has been replaced by a confident man who is sure of himself.

Nihal's trials and tribulations have taught him the value of compassion and even-handedness and everyone respects him.

Banerjee can afford to live in a smart apartment in the much sought after Chelsea area and to afford expensive holidays to exotic locations.

Not so long ago, these were just dreams.

But at last Nihal Banerjee has realised them.

He has indeed done well and life is good.

Nihal Banerjee sidles down a bustling Oxford Street with a spring in his step.

The celebrated street is alive with tourists and shoppers this cool evening.

He smiles to himself as he casually swings his brief case.

The young man has plenty to be grateful for.

And it is only the beginning.

Just as he reaches John Lewis, Nihal Banerjee notices a dishevelled homeless man sitting cross legged on an old blanket on the pavement outside the department store.

The man is wearing a tatty black puffa jacket and soiled jeans which are ripped at the knees.

His face and hands are smeared with dirt and his unkempt blond hair is unwashed and matted.

A frayed cap on the ground before him contains a handful coins that have been flung in as charity by passersby.

"Spare some change please!" The poor man pleads.

He has lost most of his teeth.

Nihal Banerjee pauses. 

Something in the man's plaintive cry has made him stop in his tracks.

And suddenly Nihal Banerjee feels the urge to share some of his good fortune with someone less fortunate than him.

Suddenly he is moved to assist a fellow human in need.

His late father would be proud of him and in that moment, Nihal can feel Sunil Banerjee smiling approvingly at him.

But as the young Asian man takes out his wallet he suddenly notices something oddly familiar about the homeless man before him.

Nihal can't quite put his finger on it ...

The homeless man slowly looks up at Banerjee.

And suddenly all time converges into one moment.

Beneath the unshaven and dirty visage is a face that Nihal Banerjee had thought to forget.

"Ashton?" Banerjee cries.

This can't be real ...

Jeffrey Ashton.

Nihal Banerjee stares in disbelief for several long moments at the homeless man before him.

The broken man on the pavement was once his arch enemy.

A relentless bully who fed off the fear of others to cover up his own deep seated insecurities and weaknesses.

A bitter young man who believed the world owed him everything.

He has finally lost it all.

"How did this happen?" Nihal Banerjee exclaims with incredulity.

Jeffrey Ashton smiles grimly showing a few rotting teeth.

"Game over !" Ashton declares bitterly.

But he isn't smiling anymore.

Wicked Game


"I can't marry you!" The bride-to-be declared as her voice echoed around the Gothic church.

A low gasp and sharp intake of breath rippled through the wedding congregation that fateful morning.

St Peter's Church, Cambridge on a bright spring morning.

A small Gothic church on a hill.

Chantelle Burrows.

She stood at the altar beside her intended in an uber expensive ivory Harrods wedding dress with cascading tulle veil.

Burrows was pert, pretty and blonde with large doe blue eyes and rose bud lips.

She pulled up her veil to reveal a tear streaked face.

Her husband to be stared back at her in horrified disbelief.

Mark Andrews.

He was dressed in a black Moss Bros suit replete with a blue Italian silk tie.   

Andrews was tall and slim with chestnut hair and bright green eyes.

Up until a few moments ago he was beaming with pride at the sight of his lovely bride to be.

Now his whole world had been torn apart by just a few fateful words.

Like deadly arrows to his heart.

And the young man was struggling to comprehend what was happening to him.

"Why?" Mark Andrews implored his bride to be with large sad eyes "I thought you were happy?"

"I was happy" Chantelle Burrows answered "But things have ... changed"

"Is there someone else?" Andrews asked her - inwardly dreading the response.

Chantelle Burrows slowly nodded her head. 

Fresh tears were streaming down her face.

Burrows and Andrews were childhood sweethearts where they grew up in Colchester, Essex. 

The two were inseparable from the age of six.

Everyone had been charmed by the two little love birds and it seemed inevitable that they would one day marry.

Until today.

Mark Andrews parents - Parker and Janice Andrews - were glaring from the front row of the pews.

Shock and bewilderment had been replaced by anger.

Parker Andrews was a stocky and good looking man with brown hair and quick grey eyes. 

He ran his own construction company in Colchester.

As a result of Andrews success, the family resided in a comfortable mansion and were able to enjoy frequent holidays to far flung destinations. 

Janice Andrews was small and portly with auburn hair and bright green eyes. 

She worked in the local library. 

On the other side of the aisle sat Chantelle Burrows parents - Garry and Mandy Burrows.

Garry Burrows was tall and thin with blond hair and clear blue eyes.

He ran his own plumbing business.

The family lived in an expensive gated apartment in Colchester and owned a small boat which was permanently moored outside on the drive.

Mandy Burrows was tall and attractive with strawberry blonde hair and bright sky blue eyes.

She worked as a masseuse in the Deluxe Beauty salon in town.  

The couple were staring at each other  in their pew.

Their daughter's rejection of Mark Andrews had come as a complete shock to them.

The best man shifting uneasily on his feet.

He was dressed in the identical suit to Mark Andrews - sans blue tie.

Carl Mathers was good looking and well built with black hair and blue eyes.

He was a keen rugby player and had met Mark Andrews during a game in Manchester.

The present state of affairs was news to Mathers too - and he didn't know where to look.

Chantelle Burrows maid of honour had a guilty look on her face and she was fighting the urge to run out of the church. 

She was the only one in the congregation who already knew that Chantelle would spurn her so called husband-to-be on this bright spring morning.

The burden of knowledge had been killing her for the last couple of months.

She felt as if she was colluding in a crime.

Petula Burrows - the bride's sister.

Pretty and blonde with bright blue eyes and a winning smile.

But she didn't have much to be happy about today.

All the Andrews and Burrows family members were present from far and wide that morning at St Peter's Church.

Except for one person.

The black sheep of the Andrews family. 

Richard Andrews.

Tall and good looking with dark brown hair and bright green eyes.

Dangerous and adventurous.

Richard Andrews had joined the army against his father's wishes.

Then he went AWOL.

And nobody had heard from him in six years. 

"How long has it been going on?" Mark Andrews demanded from his one time bride to be.

"A couple of years" Chantelle Burrows replied.

"How could you do this to me?" Andrews declared with mounting desperation.

"I'm so sorry" Burrows responded with emotion.

"I suggest we continue this conversation in the church office" Father Michael urged the couple.

But the couple were too enmeshed in the web they were caught in to hear him.

All Mark Andrews hopes and dreams had evaporated into thin air.

And the congregation were getting restless now.

It was so tense and quiet in the small Gothic church that you could hear a pin drop. 

There were so many considerations and Mark Andrews head was spinning.

"What about the reception?" Andrews entreated his errant bride-to-be  "And the holiday to the Seychelles? What do we do with all the guests and everything?"

"I'm just so sorry!" Chantelle Burrows responded.

"Will you please stop saying your sorry!" Mark Andrews exploded.

He had been holding himself together by a fine thread.

But now hot rage had possessed him.

"You're not sorry!" Mark Andrews continued furiously "You're not sorry at all! You've been laughing at me all this time! Knowing you weren't going to marry me! Shagging some bloody loser behind my back while we talked about and planned our future together. You're not fucking sorry at all!"

"I am sorry!" Chantelle Burrows cried.

"Was he good in the sack?" Andrews demanded forcefully. 

"Please - don't do this!" Burrows pleaded.

"You fucking dirty slag!" Mark Andrews erupted nastily. 

A low murmur arose among the unsettled throng.

The tragic set of circumstances was turning into a drama. 

"Did you know about this?" Perry Andrews demanded bullishly from Chantelle Burrows parents. 

"This is the first we've heard of it!" Garry Burrows replied. 

"I bet!" Perry Andrews exclaimed forcibly "I always said our son was too good for Chantelle Burrows!" 

"Steady, Perry!" Gary Burrows warned him.

Now the would be in-laws were locked in a bitter war. 

"I'm sorry Mark, I just don't love you anymore" Chantelle Burrows informed her one time husband-to-be "And I can't marry you!"

"I'll change!" Mark Andrews pleaded "I'll be anything you want me to be. Just don't go!"

"Goodbye, Mark" Chantelle Burrows replied sadly.

And with that - the bride strode out of the church closely followed by the maid-of-honour as the wedding congregation broke out into outraged exclamation.

Mark Andrews stood frozen to the spot as his family crowded around him.

He watched with mute despair as Chantelle Burrows walked out of his life forever.

Outside the church,  the one time bride tore off her veil and pulled off her silver Jimmy Choo heels. 

The sun was shining but dark clouds had already filled the sky. 

A small crowd of curious onlookers had already begun to form outside the Gothic church. 

Chantelle Burrows turned to her sister and handed her the bouquet.

"Take it!" Burrows declared "You'll have more use of it than me!"

Petula Burrows wiped away a tear as she accepted the bouquet.

A black car suddenly pulled up sharply beside them.

The window wound down and a man in dark sunglasses leaned nonchalantly out.

"Is it over?" He asked Chantelle Burrows.

"Yes - it's all over!" She replied.

Richard Andrews grinned back at her.

"Get in then!" He cried.

Chantelle Burrows climbed into the car.

She flashed her sister one last smile.

As the car sped away,  Chantelle Burrows caught sight of Mark Andrews running after them and pleading with his arms flailing.

Very soon he was just a distant figure on her journey. 

dear love (by kharax


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