“Woke up this morning and just thought, hey why not?”
“Well I think you’re very brave Sue. It looks great. When did you last have it cut?”
“2008. Just before I met Kenny.”
There was an awkward silence between the two of them. Jackie wanted to say something about Kenny but decided it was best if she kept her thoughts to herself. Sue had once confided in her that Kenny had forbidden her to ever cut her hair.
“Well, as I said. It looks great. Short hair really suits you, AND, makes you look at least ten years younger!”
They both laughed.
Sue opened up a bottle of cheap white wine and poured them both a large glass. She handed one to Jackie and the two of them sat down at the kitchen table. They touched glasses.
“Cheers Sue. It’s nice to catch up, haven’t seen you for ages. So, apart from the new haircut, what’s new?”
She was avoiding asking the obvious question, which was, “Where’s Kenny?” The scumbag was usually lurking somewhere.
“Not much really. Works shit, but it’s a job and I did get a nice bonus last month because the department did well.”
“Great news. Spending it on something nice. Holiday perhaps?”
Sue put down her glass and smiled. In fact it was more than a smile. It was a full blown grin that made her cheeks puff up like a hamster storing its food.
“Sort of. But not for me. For Kenny.”
Jackie’s response was instant. She spat out a mouthful of wine all over the kitchen table.
“Yeh poor thing. He said he needed a break. You know, what with him being out of work for the past five years. He said it’s been really stressful. So I gave him the money to go to Marbella with his mates for a week.”
She looked at her watch.
“Should be getting on the plane right about now.”
Six Hours Earlier.
“You packed my case yet Sue?”
“Just doing it now honey. Ready in a tick.”
“Well fucking hurry up, the cab will be here in a few minutes.”
Flushed, she stumbled down the stairs carrying a posh holdall and a much larger suitcase.
Sue placed the bags by the front door and handed him a brown envelope.
“In here are your tickets and passport. When you get to the departure gate just give the man the envelope. Everything he needs is in there. “
“Yeh, yeh, yeh. Boring stuff, now what about the money?”
She gave him a large wad of notes.
“Here’s two hundred in sterling and another six hundred in euros.”
Kenny never said a word just took the envelope and put it in his pocket. He began to count the cash but was interrupted by the sound of a car horn from outside. He picked up his bags, opened the front door and headed down the path to the waiting taxi. With his back to her he shouted out.
“Don’t forget to tape the football on Sunday!”
She waived him goodbye but he was far too busy putting his bags into the cab to notice. Seconds later he was gone.
She smiled, put on her coat and headed for the hairdressers.
Twenty Four Hours Earlier.
Sue was amazed at how much stuff there was on the internet. Google, Youtube, Wikipedia all had the information she was looking for. She printed off pages of diagrams, lists of equipment, chemicals needed and formulas required. A few of these pages she put into a brown envelope with the tickets and passport and the rest she slipped into a suitcase between two immaculately ironed shirts. Underneath these were the twelve “D” sized batteries placed neatly in two rows of six along with Kenny’s old mobile phone that she’d found in the drawer of his bedside table. She went to the kitchen and took out a long ten inch carving knife and carefully wrapped a tea towel around it. This she placed at the bottom of a fake Louis Vuitton holdall.
She took out her mobile and dialled a number.
“Hi, I’d like to make an appointment for nine o’clock tomorrow morning please. Wash and cut.”
She paused and then began to laugh.
“It might take some time. I haven’t had it cut for seven years.”
Thirty Six Hours Earlier.
“Sue, have you ironed my blue check shirt?”
“Yes babe, it’s hanging in the wardrobe. I did it today.”
A few minutes later Kenny appeared slapping after shave on his designer stubble cheeks. He held out his hand.
“Forty quid should do it. I’ll need to buy a couple of rounds of drinks for the lads and then we might go for a curry.”
Sue picked up her purse and took out two twenty pound notes. She handed them to Kenny.
“Better give us another tenner. Just in case.”
She did as she was told and took out another ten pound note.
“Right I’m off. Don’t wait up. Might be a late one.”
She heard the door slam and breathed a sigh of relief. Now she could relax and watch whatever she wanted on TV. She heard a bell ring. The sound a mobile phone makes when a text or email comes through. Her phone was beside her. It wasn’t hers.
The bell rang again. The sound was coming from underneath the kitchen table. She got on her hands and knees and saw Kenny’s mobile on the floor. She picked it up. He’d be livid that he’d forgotten it. It would be her fault of course. It always was. She thought about taking it to the pub but Kenny was paranoid about his phone. She wasn’t allowed to go anywhere near it. In fact this was the first time she’d ever touched it. The screen lit up and she could see that the text was from someone called Babs. It simply said “Can’t wait.” But she could also see the text above it. The text that Kenny had sent. She read it. “She’s fallen for it babe. Stupid Cow. We’re off to Marbella! See you at the airport. XXXXX.”
Calmly she put the phone down on the table and sat down again in the chair. The door burst open. It was Kenny.
“You seen my phone? Can’t find the bloody thing.”
She composed herself.
“No I haven’t seen it.”
He saw it on the table. Walked over, picked it up and put it in his pocket. He walked back out without saying another word.
A full minute passed. She just stared into space. Then the shaking began, slowly at first, then faster and faster. She stood up, threw her head back and started to scream.
Forty Eight Hours Earlier.
“Look, all I’m saying is, it would do me good. Get the old batteries charged again. You know how stressed I’ve been since I was made redundant all those years ago. I just can’t seem to find a job and I hate relying on you for everything. So I thought that with that bit of bonus you got it would be best if I went off to Spain with the lads for a week. It’ll be about a grand all in, and you did get twelve hundred quid Sue so there’s a couple of hundred left for you. You could get a new dress or something.”
There was one thing she wanted. One thing more than anything. Perhaps now was the time to bring it up.
“Okay honey. You go off to Spain with the boys. I agree it will do you good. But can I do something. Something just for me?”
“Of course you can. What do you want to do?”
Sue took a deep breath.
“Can I get my haircut? It’s been seven years and it’s always getting in the way. Can I? Please Kenny.”
His face changed and he gave her “that look.”
“Don’t you fucking dare! Discussion over. I’m going. Now book the ticket and sort out the fucking euros and don’t you ever talk about cutting your hair again.”