I have been in the UK for a little over a month now and knew it wouldn’t be too long before I had that knock at the door. This morning, as I was getting ready for work, there was a loud banging on the glass window of the front porch. I recognised this hammering from old; it had a very familiar tone to it. As a rule I don’t usually open the door to strangers; I am a private person, who has had to deal with ‘toxic people’ in my life, so have always been very cautious; today, I was half asleep!
Bleary eyed, I looked through the opaque glass that adorned the vestibule; I could make out a figure wearing what looked like a hoodie. Not thinking about the consequences, I opened the aperture, facing the person on the other side. Their head was bent low, although I could just make out a coil of ginger hair, protruding through the rather dishevelled hood; instantly, my heart sank; I knew exactly who this was; it was Verruca, Verruca Almond! Verruca slowly moved her head upwards; wearing a pair dark sun glasses, smelling of woodbines and rum, she smiled; a sarcastic menacing grin, that always sent shivers down my spine.
“I knew you were back lovey; there’s not much you can keep from me these days!” Veronica retorted in her characteristic Bonnie Tyler, gravelly, smokers voice. I grimaced ever so slightly; not wanting to show Verruca my true feelings, I quickly produced a smile, bigger than a Cheshire cat. Extending my arms outwards I embraced Ms Almond momentarily; not for too long, she would have known there was something up. She had a confused look of cautiousness in her eyes; pursing her lips, nodding her head up and down, she knew I was pretending to be emotionally attached. “That’s enough lovey, you and I both know, we aren’t going to make babies anytime soon; cut the crap and invite me in!” she continued belligerently, awkwardly almost confrontational in reply.
Knowing Verruca the way I do, I invited her inside; it would cause more trouble not too. Probably not the best move, judging on her past, but the safer option under the circumstances. I understood it was best to ‘play the game’ where V was concerned. She was a clever, master of manipulation, but after three years I knew just what to say, in order to calm any impending situation. I escorted Verruca into the kitchen, where I switched on the kettle.
“Cup of Coffee V, just how you like it; dark, strong, a bit mysterious; no sugar sweet enough?” I asked knowingly!
“You understand me too well boyo!” she laughed ‘I’ll be standing right here, no funny business…..If you have a nip of rum, I wouldn’t say no!’ she continued.
“No rum, sorry V, just Vodka; not a big fan of Captain Morgan, as you well know, after that stint in hospital on New Years Eve 1988!” I replied.
“No worries, a shot of voddie will do. Keep it to the side, don’t mix it with the coffee,” she explained. I knew there was something up; she liked her drink, but never straight, at nine o clock in the morning.
Verruca finally removed the hood that was obscuring her face, unzipped the top and threw it on the back of the kitchen chair. Her face was dirty, eyes blood shot, hair matted. Not dissimilar to how she used to look, but this time her clothes were equally unkempt. There were holes and tears from the top to the bottom of her Laura Ashley dress. She had a chunky pair of stockings on, stained and riddled with holes. Her usual trademark patent leather shoes were scuffed and worn, the soles detached, broken straps, crooked heels! There was something missing, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what. Then after thinking for a minute I realised, her thick bottle top glasses were gone. She could barely see without them; there was indeed a problem!
Despite Verruca’s many faults, she always took pride in her appearance. Whatever she wore, she wore it well; she always looked immaculate. Not wanting to seem shocked, I quickly averted my eyes, stirring her coffee directing her to the breakfast table. Jeremy Kyle was on the television. “Turn it off, we don’t need that rubbish on, it’s time for a chat!” Veronica demanded; I duly responded, switching off the box. Verruca had never liked Jeremy Kyle, calling him a bully. I had a feeling the show was just too close to home for V and she preferred to avoid the many issues raised; I could be wrong of course!
“I need you to look after a package for me she said, something very important. I don’t want you to open it, just keep it safe, until I need it; you know the score right?” she asked!
“The score V, what are you talking about?” I replied, confused, as to where this was all leading.
“Do I really have to explain myself Lil man?” she shouted, “I’m on the run, after what happened in my office; the accidental death of a WPC. Oh I know you got that letter, so don’t try and deny it!” she whispered sternly in my ear. To be honest I couldn’t say a thing, so just sat there listening, to her tail of woe. Luckily for me, she had no idea I had phoned the Police, stupidly believing we were still ‘friends,’ which just goes to show how deluded this poor shadow of a woman had become.
I listened for a good half an hour, Verruca managed to get through three quarters of a bottle of Vodka and six cups of coffee. I felt exhausted by the end, but finally agreed to take the thick manila envelope, hidden beneath her jacket, sealed tightly with duck tape, the words ‘DO NOT FKING OPEN, EVER,’ emblazoned across the front.
“I’ve gotta go, things to do, but I will be in touch and remember DO NOT OPEN THE ENVELOPE!” Veronica snapped. ‘Don’t get up, I’ll go out the back way!’ she proclaimed. She stood tall, knocking her chair to the ground, fastened her coat, placing the hood over her face. Still sitting there, not saying a word, I watched as she climbed on top of the summer house and jumped over the wall; looking back momentarily, she smiled as she left!
I remained at the table for a good hour or so, looking at the envelope, touching it, shaking it, prodding it with my fingers, wondering what was inside. The clock was ticking, it was time to go to work. I gathered up the package and placed it upstairs, hidden away from prying eyes. Tomorrow is another day, for now I would do as I was told, what happens after, I really don’t know!
I first started writing about Verruca Almond, in my fist blog Bipolarcoaster. Verruca was a parody of my then boss Vera Lynham; the woman responsible for bullying, harassment, homophobia, lies and attacks against myself, my partner and other good members of staff. I created Verruca as a tool to offload my frustration and anger at the time and it worked.