Songs of Bliss
It is all that Arbnor Jasari can do to stop himself from reaching out and throttling
the ignorant little maggot in front of him, but he has to play for time. He needs money and
he needs somewhere to lay low. For the time being it is, he thinks, better to be shafted by
the devil you know. There?ll be a time and a place for getting even.
"Yes", is all that he says. He looks away, towards his desk.
Jock leans in a little closer. He can feel the heat of the doctor's skin. Both men are
sweating with tension.
"And don't go getting ideas about a little bit of nookie tonight, you dirty shit. I'm
keeping the key with me until I get back."
Davie's head appears in the doorway.
"Snug as bugs in cowshit, boss".
Jock breaks away from his pet chemist and almost saunters to the stairs. "See you
soon, Doc. Have a nice day."
Down in the car, as they head back up the lane towards the main Hartland road,
Jock turns to Ken and says, "Tomorrow you two come out here and check-up. You can
leave the girl for the time being, but Shaun is history. While you're at it you can get rid of
the van in the other barn. No point leaving it lying around for the Bizzies to find. Torch it."
Tyres crunch on loose stones in the courtyard. Arbnor Jasari waits for five minutes
to be sure that he is alone before going over to his desk and opening the central drawer. He
picks up a broken blister pack that contained the padlock now being used to lock Helen and
Shaun in the room downstairs. There is a spare brass key sitting snugly under the plastic
"Stupid arsehole!" he says to himself as he pockets the key.
Jump Through The Ring
All that Billy Whitlow wants is a quiet life, that same untroubled groove of a life
that is now being shredded right in font of his eyes. Sitting in the back of a cab in morose
silence, Billy lets the music in his head fade to dull static. He is exhausted. When the
mortuary technician found him on his knees in the mortuary?s ante-room, he tried to help,
making a sustained but weary effort to persuade Billy to sit down and have a cup of tea,
assuming that he was related to the girl on the trolley, but there were no handles by which
he could get a hold of the flaking singer. Grief unravels the knots that hold the fabric of
everyday lives together, and Billy is a loose arrangement of tangled threads and regrets.
Billy should have behaved with more grace, should have recognised the compassion
in the man's eyes, but he didn?t. A hand on his shoulder shrugged off. Spitting venom into
the face of kindness, shuffling away, unable to take his eyes off the porthole window to the
main mortuary room, Billy had lashed o ut one more time and spurned this small moment
of human kindness. Out of the static, circling and repeating comes a phrase that Billy has