‘Joe, NOW, not next week!’
I better go down and face the music, he thought.
Joe grabbed some tracksuit bottoms, slipped a black t-shirt over his head and run his hands through his black hair to calm it down a bit. He breathed in deeply, exhaled slowly and prepared himself for the onslaught of Hurricane Mom. But what could he tell her about the mess? Although he was coming to the conclusion that most of what he thought was a dream, wasn’t a dream, he didn’t really know which bits were really real. Did he really put a dead body in someone else’s grave? And, if he did, he couldn’t really tell her he’d done that, could he? So, what did he say? What possible explanation could there be for making all this mess?
Let’s get it over with, he thought as he opened his door.
‘Lola, come on girl,’ he said, turning back to make sure she followed him downstairs. But she was missing.
Shit, shit, SHIT! Had they loosed her out in retaliation for all the mess? They better not have hurt her. They better not have…
He spun on his heels, shot out of his room and down the stairs. The door to the living room was open and he could see his mom through the gap. She was bent over, her large cardigan hanging off her shoulders. He could see she was looking over at the sofa, a gormless look on her face.
He entered the room, looked at his mom then followed her gaze. He took a sharp intake of breath as he caught sight of Mrs Crow asleep on the sofa, Lola lying across her lap.
His mom shrugged. Her cream cardy fell off her shoulder revealing a rough looking tattoo of a bleeding heart. Joe hadn’t got anything against tattoos – having one was on his to-do list – he just had a problem with ones that looked like they’d been done by a six-year-old child.
‘Okay,’ he said, as his brain tried to process what was going on, ‘how long she been here?’
‘Never mind that. Why is a strange woman asleep on my sofa?’
‘Erm…’ Joe scratched his head. Why was Mrs Crow asleep on the sofa?
‘You know her? Please tell me you know her?’
‘Yes, I -‘
‘Well? Who is she?’
‘Mom, this is Mrs Crow.’
‘Yeah, she’s giving me a trial on a job -‘
‘What Job? How much? You know I’ll be needing rent. Water, electricity, gas,’ she said, counting them on her fat fingers, ‘and food. And food for that rat of a dog. That does not come cheap you know. And -‘
His mom jumped in the air as Mrs Crow gave a loud snort.