Thursday, 16 February 2012
It had been another hard day at work, Brian thought, and that is why he had left earlier than usual, as he once more suffered the uncomfortable journey through the evening commuter traffic, with the screeching windscreen wipers struggling to clear the rain away. In fact it had been one stressful week after another for the last two months. It has been a nightmare time he thought, with pressure both at work and at home.
He hadn't been sleeping too well with the result that the tiredness was building up within him. He hoped this hadn't affected his judgement in making the decisions he'd chosen to rectify both the problems, and subsequent taut atmosphere, at home and at work. The week-end break starting tomorrow would act as a barrier between the old and the new. Or was this a dream scenario and he was fooling himself. It couldn't get worse between him and Jane!
As he turned into his driveway he was surprised to see an old shabby transit van, that he didn't recognise, parked there. When his wife Jane had left abruptly for work, after their argument, that morning she hadn't mentioned that she would be home before him or that someone was coming to do some work. The lights were on in the house and he could hear music and voices. He didn't want company, there were bridges to mend.
He parked his car to the left of the van, close to the front door, so he wouldn't get too wet in the rain. He activated the central locking and alarm as he walked quickly to the front door of the house. As he put his Yale key into the lock of the door he thought the turn of it would unlock the door to the start of the new better future he had planned. But it wouldn't turn! He tried again but it wouldn't budge. He withdrew it to check it was the right one as sometimes he confused the office key with the house key. He'd got the right one so he tried again; but still it wouldn't turn.
Not worrying at that time he walked around to the rear of the house to go in through the kitchen door. He pushed the handle down to open it. It didn't open! It must be locked: but why if Jane was home he thought. He selected the bronze five lever key, on his key ring and inserted it into the lock and turned it anti-clockwise. He tried, but like the front door key episode, it didn't turn.
He was confused, why couldn't he get into his own home when he could see the lights were on behind the drawn curtains and the noise from inside showed that Jane was home. He shouted her name loudly after his knocking on the back door had failed to attract her attention. With still no Jane at the back door he decided to go around to the front of the house and try again. There was a gap in the curtains in the bay window of the lounge so he looked in to see if she was there.
Who was the scruffy stranger in his lounge, sitting on his new leather recliner, in dirty clothes, drinking one of his beers from the bottle, and watching his 52 inch surround sound television system. He couldn't see Jane, but she must be there as the man was talking to someone. Where was she and why was she letting this happen. Why was she home at this time, who was this man? Were his wild suspicions right that she was having an affair. Had he caught her out and this was her lover?
After trying the front door key again without success, knocking on the lounge window without a response from inside, Brian shouted “Jane” towards the house as loud as he could, and waited. No response from Jane, no response from within the house at all.
Brian was totally baffled as to what was happening. He did know that the rain had trickled from his wet hair, his shirt collar was wet and cold, and added to that it was starting to snow. He could feel the temperature falling just like the weather-lady had predicted. His stress level was rising in contrast. He put his hand in his pocket to fetch out his mobile telephone to ring Jane and put an end to this nightmare situation. It wasn't there, it must be in his holdall. His hand fumbled amongst the contents of the bag, but no mobile. “Bloody hell” he exclaimed realising he must have left it in the office.
He had had enough of this situation. He had realized that Jane had not been happy with him and his attitude in the last few weeks, and that she was angry this morning. But, there was no need to be spiteful, vindictive even, to bring her lover home, lock him out of his own home and ignore him. It was too much and had gone too far. He was tired, cold and wet.
He stepped back a few paces from the house, cupped his hands around his mouth to act as a megaphone, took a deep breath and shouted “Jane open up now; – Jane stop mucking about; – let me in” with all his might, as loud as he could.
He got two results from this; both totally unexpected.
The front door was thrown open. The large man that he had seen through the lounge curtains sitting in his favourite chair stood there blocking the entrance completely, and in a rough southern accent asked Brian, “What the bleeding hell do you want?”. Brian trying to appear calmer than he was and in a manner superior to that which he had been subjected to said “I'd like to get into my house. Who are you and what are you doing in my home?” He received the short reply “I fucking live here now, fuck off” as the front door was slammed shut in his face.
Almost simultaneously he heard Jane ask him, “Brian what's all the noise about; what are you shouting about? You'll disturb the neighbours.” as she walked quickly from the road into the driveway.
He was shocked to see her. He quickly explained what had happened, omitting, of course, his thoughts about her having a lover.
It was then that he realised every property owners worse nightmare, squatters had taken over his and Jane's home. During the last few months, they had read and listened to tales of problems other householders in the area had had with illegal squatters and getting them out of their properties. Brian wasn't going to accept this happening to him and Jane.
They quickly agreed their immediate action was to telephone the police to come and help them get the intruders out. Jane would have to do this on her mobile phone. Whilst she was telephoning the police Brian decided that another stronger direct approach was needed; he wasn't going to let the ignorant scum and his friends take over his home that easy. He'd worked hard for the house and everything in it and no low life was going to be allowed to take it away from him.
His stress level was increasing, the adrenaline was pumping, his temples were throbbing. He started shoulder barging the front door as hard as he could and continued until the door suddenly opened. He was about to go through the doorway until he saw the two men coming out, one carrying something wooden in his hand like a weapon that he intended to use. Brian stepped back quickly from the house suddenly fearful for his safety.
“I fucking told you we live here now and you're becoming a bleeding nuisance” said the man Brian had seen before, and who was continuing menacingly towards him, “Fuck off now if you know what's good for you”. With that the unknown bully said to his mate “Show him what will happen to him if he don't piss off Bill”. Bill swung the baseball bat that he had in his hand slowly in a large circle and brought it down hard on the bonnet of Brian's car.
This shocked Brian to the core and as he stepped back to get further away from the men he stumbled, slipped on the snow and fell to the ground. The men continued towards him. Bill was twirling the bat like a cheerleader's baton. Brian couldn't get up. Was he to be next to feel a blow from Bill's bat?
The car's alarm suddenly activated, with the lights flashing and the horn continually sounding off beep..beep..beep..beep. . . Brian was suddenly aware that he could feel Jane repeatedly tugging strongly on his arm, trying to help pull him away to safety, but she couldn't and started shouting at him, “Brian...Brian...get up Brian!”
“Will you turn that dam alarm off—it's time to get up or you'll be late for work—and it's my day off!”