BLEAK SPOUSE: Chapter 22 – Closing Time

AT THE OFFICES of Messrs. Venal & Grabbit, Solicitors, it is a bright, sunny morning. Edgar Venal is sitting at his desk pondering how much it would take to bribe an arbitrator to find in favour of his client, when he is disturbed by a commotion on the roof above.

Edgar goes outside, and is irritated to see most of his staff there, rather than working. When he looks up he see Matt O'Gridley on the roof, naked and unfurling a banner. Matt spies Edgar below and shouts out: "There you are, Venal you bastard! I'm going to stay up here on naked hunger strike until I get my kids! When the court sees what I'm prepared to do to get them, they'll change their mind!"

Edgar does not reply. He watches as Matt unfurls the banner, which reads simply: "Venal & Grabbit - child abuse speshialists".

Edgar sighs. He takes his mobile phone from his pocket and calls Inspector Gormless...

*            *            *

Gormless arrives shortly afterwards, with a squad of men. He takes one look at Matt on the roof and turns to Edgar.

"Sorry, Mr Venal, " he says, "I can't send my men up there. Health and Safety, and all that. We'll have to wait until he comes down."

"I'm not having that!" Replies Edgar.

Edgar goes inside and returns moments later, armed with a fire hose and blanket. He instructs Gormless's men to hold out the blanket. When they have done so, he tells his secretary Brunhilde to turn the hose on, and then trains a powerful stream of cold water up at Matt.

Matt tries to cling on, but quickly loses his footing, and slides helplessly from the roof. He comes tumbling onto the blanket that Gormless's men are holding, and is promptly arrested by them.

As they drag him off to the waiting meat wagon, Matt is heard shouting “I’ll get you, Edgar Venal!”

*            *            *

Later that day, Edgar closes the office (he has been working late, putting the finishing touches to the article he has been writing for Practical Family Lawyer). He makes his way downstairs to the firm's underground car park.

As he enters the car park, Edgar senses there might be someone else there, hiding in the shadows. He calls out: "Who's there?"

No reply.

Edgar thinks he must be imagining things, and walks across to his Bentley. As he does so, a gunshot suddenly rings out, its sound booming around the garage.

Edgar falls to the floor.

Footsteps run from the scene.