This week, I’d like to talk about faith. No, not about Faith, but about the everyday ideas, objects, even people, in which we place our trust. We trust that, if we have a job today, we’ll have a job tomorrow. We trust that, if we are love today, we’ll be in love tomorrow. We aren’t always right – but then again, that’s the nature of faith. Most of us trust, at least, that the world itself will be there when we wake up.
And if we can’t rely on that, we can’t rely on anything.
Part two is online HERE
Jerry was drunk. It wasn’t the standard, weekend drunk – which for Jerry, had long since ceased to be standard – and it was also different from the glow to be had from drinking nice, expensive whisky. No, this was something else entirely. This was game-changing drunk, this was the deep from which some never surfaced, the fathomless murk which made best friends with sleeping pills, or with that old pistol that came from your grandfather that you never got round to throwing away. Squeezing the trigger, half of you might wonder if it still worked, while the other half would hope like hell that it did.
But Jerry was too comfortable for that. A less dynamic man you would be hard-pushed to find. It was not that Jerry couldn’t kill himself, more that he would do it on his own terms. And those terms happened to be sitting on rich leather and drinking everything in his collection, hoping against hope to go in his sleep by some sort of happy accident. Jerry couldn’t hurt a fly; his mother had always said so.
Somewhere in the crystal glassware on the table, his shattered reflection looked back at him, with an accusation he could not deny. It didn’t matter at all that someone else would be doing the deed, the blood that was spilled would be splattered across Jerry’s hands as surely as if he held the knife himself. And there was no way to call it off. There was an email address that bounced back everything he wrote, a phone number that gave two beeps and rang off, and a large sum of money no longer in his safe.
It was drink that had started it, and in drink it would no doubt end. It wasn’t his fault. His friends were gone. Archie had disappeared; no word where. Ron was probably still hanging in his office. His family were no longer at the house. Jerry had checked. Toby, at least, was in the ground; knifed for a couple of hundred and some Wrigley’s spearmint. So much death in the air. It was all around. Those at the top had the furthest to fall.
So paying a man to off the head of a rival company, that bastard who had scuppered the deal with AEG, had seemed the proper thing to do. At least, after three bottles of Merlot with whisky chasers. The phone number had lain in a drawer since the day before Archie disappeared, pushed into Jerry’s hand with a meaningful glare and the words “For when negotiations break down.” Nudge, nudge; wink, wink; goodbye, Archie.
This new world was horrible. Jerry wanted no part of it, certainly didn’t want to end up like the people he saw from his window. The things they did to each other…he had heard things in the night, seen the bloodstains on the street the next day. They couldn’t hurt him, though. Not up in his plush lounge. But as his supplies dwindled, he knew he would eventually have no choice but to die out there, or starve up here; Jerry couldn’t hurt a fly.
I want my mother.
Well that, at least, was a different thought. And yet, why not? When Westminster happened, he had phoned her. Last he heard, she was OK. “We live in Hope.” Always the same joke. But of course, there was no reception on the coast, and the landlines had gone down three weeks ago. She was an old lady. She needed him.
You need her.
Yes, perhaps that was more accurate. He had always needed her. Her love had raised him; her money had put him through university; her contacts had got him a job. Now all he had was a safe full of useless money. And five or six bottles of whisky.
Jerry filled up his glass, and wept.