Friday, June 01, 2012
BLEAK SPOUSE: Chapter 14 – An Unappealing Case
BELLEND HOUSE. Matt O'Gridley is sitting alone in his shabby room, perusing for the four-hundredth time the papers relating to his divorce and subsequent ill-fated application for contact with his children. Deep-down he doesn't know why he does this, as it only makes him angry again.
He is contemplating taking a walk down to the local internet café, where he can vent some of his anger by having another rant on the forums of fathers' rights group The Real Families Need Fathers 4 Justice, when there is a loud knock on his room door.
He looks up with a start. He is sure it's not going to be good news, and contemplates for a moment pretending to be out. He quickly realises that the shelter manager will know that's not true.
There is another, louder, knock. Matt starts to panic. He thinks about climbing out of the window, but he is three floors up and he doubts that the rusting drainpipe outside will hold his weight (he has previous experience of climbing buildings).
A deep voice outside calls: "Open the door, Mr O'Gridley, we know you're in there!"
Matt resigns himself to the inevitable. "Who is it?" He asks feebly.
"Inspector Gormless." Says the voice. "I've got some papers for you."
"Papers, what papers?" Asks Matt.
"Just open the door, there's a good sir." Says the voice.
Matt realises from past experience that he is about to be served with some court papers. He racks his brain to think what they might be - after all, it is some time since he last breached the injunction requiring him to stay away from his ex-wife. What could she be up to now? Whatever it was, it was bound to be bad for him.
He thinks of all the advice that other members of the forums have given for ways to avoid being served with papers, and comes up with a couple of ideas.
He opens the door, and is greeted by Inspector Gormless, flanked by two burly police constables. The presence of the latter convinces Matt that running away isn't an option, so he decides upon drastic action.
As Inspector Gormless goes to tap him on the shoulder with the papers, Matt theatrically grabs his chest, lets out a scream of pain and collapses to the floor, shouting: "My heart, my heart!"
Unfortunately, the performance is of insufficient quality even to fool Inspector Gormless, who quickly surmises that Matt has not, in fact, suffered a heart attack. He therefore completes service, and leaves Matt squirming on the floor.