Seven o’clock on a Sunday morning – Mablethorpe seafront was almost deserted. I felt guilty and a bit shabby. Me, Alf Wilkins, retired greengrocer, slipping out from our guest house bedroom, leaving my wife Maisie still asleep. All to contact a stranger on the beach. But as he had paid for my weekend here, I felt I ought to go and meet with him. And this cloak and dagger stuff made me feel a bit like James Bond!
I guess this is him now, running quickly towards me. He’s stocky, sweating and out of breath. It’s hardly From Here to Eternity! I try to stifle a laugh. The guy slows to a walk. He pushes a small brown envelope into my hand, catches my eye, but says nothing. Then breaks into a run again.
I slowly head back to the seafront. Grabbing a cuppa from Babs’ Burger Bar, and sit on a nearby bench.
The envelope contains a cheap mobile phone wrapped in a £5 note. I read the text message, ‘Resign by next week and there’s another fiver in it for you. Reply ASAP. You can keep the phone by the way, there’s three pounds credit still on it!’
I think back through my years as Treasurer of Forest Worth Crown Green Bowling League. It was fun in the early days, but not any more. They all take it way too seriously now. It used to be a job for life, but I guess now it’s a young man’s game.
I used to be Alf Wilkins, Greengrocer, and Bowls League Treasurer. A somebody. But who am I now?
I think of my letter of resignation that I wrote last year but didn’t have the heart to post. I just wanted a bit longer in the job. It gave me a bit of prestige in the village, I’m sure. And now they’re paying me to get out. I guess it’s time to go…
I text back, ‘ I Quit. Regards, Alf’ and slip the phone into my pocket. I spend the fiver on a bacon roll and another cuppa, and walk slowly along the deserted seafront.
Maisie is dressed when I return and waiting to go down for breakfast. She’s wearing casuals, and a broad smile. Suddenly, the penny drops. She’s set the whole thing up! The League could easily have voted me off, but she figured it was better for me to go out in style.
Maisie’s telling me she’s picked out a Murder Mystery night for us.
I am somebody after all. Alf Wilkins, husband.
The story was inspired by the photo, provided for Sunday Photo Fiction May 31st 2015, by Al Forbes. Please click the logo for more details.
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