• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 03
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Crossing the line

‘You need a rolled up ten pound note, go on, use the one in my purse,’ Betty said, her polyester cardigan making her feel like a roast-in-the-bag chicken.

Hyacinth paused, this was it, the penultimate thing to do on her bucket list. They’d stolen expensive perfume from Harrods, slashed the tyres of the Born-Again Christian’s car two blocks away and spray painted a heart on Mrs. Duble’s prize toy poodle. They were feeling pumped and not just from the medications they were taking.

Hyacinth cleared her throat. Even though she was going to die very soon, the next thing still went against a deep, moral code. The other things were prankish, the sort of things kids would do; but this was serious, after all, old people don’t take drugs. She shifted position on the sofa.

‘Getting cold feet?’ Betty asked Hyacinth, hoping she would say yes. The thought of needles or smoking drugs scared the living daylights out of her, let alone inhaling drugs up her nose.

‘No, course not. It’s on my list.’

Hyacinth rolled the ten pound note, put it to her nose and leaned over the table. Betty burst out laughing. Hyacinth stopped in her tracks.

‘What is it?’

‘Just imagining what a great photo that would make, we should take one and leave it in the safe for your children to find!’

Hyacinth’s eyes lit up. ‘Not a bad idea Betty, grab the camera, it's in the bureau.’


Crossing the line

With much effort Betty stood up and shuffled over to the bureau. The camera was black and shiny with no obvious ON button.

‘How do I switch it on?’

‘Top left, small, round, black button. No, you’ll need to come nearer.’ Betty moved forward slowly, the camera close to her face.

An idea sprang into Hyacinth’s mind. Nearer. That’s it, nearer.

Betty edged closer not seeing the obstacle on the floor. She trod on it; tried to compensate, twisted her ankle and let out a cry before falling over the armchair. A sharp crack filled Hyacinth’s ears. Betty lay still.

Hyacinth watched her immobile body twitch momentarily. She rolled the ten pound note between her fingers, leaned over the table, covered one nostril - paused -then swept and sucked simultaneously along the top line of cocaine. She sniffed hard, felt the chemical cold and smart, slide down the back of her throat. Quickly switching nostrils, she sucked the other line in. She sat back and felt an enormous rush sweep through her body, it reminded her of a fast train.

‘That, my dear Betty is for screwing around with George in 1941. I have two lists, my dearest and closest friend.’