Gloves from the charity shop.
“They’ll do – they fit.”
“Are you sure? Why don’t you buy a decent pair, not second hand cast offs.”
“These are good enough for me, they’ve hardly been worn.”
I sighed, knowing full well all he wanted was to get home and watch the golf on tele.
“Well, if that’s what you want …”
I took um to the lady behind the counter, who took me money and put the gloves in a second hand Tesco carrier bag, before passing um across with a knowing wink. I think she must have heard us discussin’ um. I must admit they were in good condition, hardly worn; the leather weren’t scuffed or anythink. When we got home I put um in the cloakroom – and forgot all about them for a few days – until he wanted to pop down the paper shop one morning.
“Where’s them gloves we bought, they’ll be just the job this morning, its bloody cold out there today.”
Eventually I found um. They’d slipped down behind the coats, onto the floor and got wedged in one of his welly boots. He were going to walk up to the shop and get some fresh air he said. Fresh air! When the sun’s shining and I suggest a walk in the park he turns up his nose – yet he’s prepared to go out on a miserable mornin’ like this – and he knew I had to wait in to pay the window cleaner.
After an hour or so I began to worry cause he weren’t back – and after two hours, well, panic set in. I put on me winter coat and fur ‘at and trundled me shopper on wheels up the road, presumably following in his footsteps. I reached the paper shop and went inside.
“Hello George,” I said, “has Alec been in for ‘is paper?”
“No love – do you want to take it?”
“I thought he were getting’ it … Oh, OK, yes I’ll take it … but where the ‘ell is he?”
As I came out the shop who should I bump into but her from number 30 -‘she who knows everything’ – and just as I was about to ask her if she’d seen Alec she laid into me.
“You should be ashamed of yourself, sendin’ him out to do your dirty work on a day like this.”
“And so you should be – a fine man like ‘im – and fool that he is he’d do it. Now you’ve gone and got ‘im arrested.”
“Don’t you come your high and mighty ‘what’ with me. We all know who wears the trousers in your house – but to send him out pinchin’ – when you’ve got money to pay for it un all.”
She sniffed, stuck her nose in the air and hurried on.
Arrested … did she say arrested?
I walked on towards the police station and went inside.
“Have you got my ‘usband locked in your cells?” I shouted.
“Never you mind what my name is – where’s my ‘usband?”
“If you don’t tell me your name madam, how do you expect me to know?”
Well, I suppose he had a point, so I told ‘im.
“Mrs Mavis Jones – wife of Mr. Alexander Jones.”
Well, that stopped ‘im in ‘is tracks – and he looked me up and down.
“Wait here,” he said.
Then another copper appeared and told me to follow ‘im – took me into a room … with a table and two chairs, one each side the desk
“Sit down,” he says. So I did … because he looked … angry..
He then started asking questions. I didn’t know what was goin’ on and he wouldn’t tell me. I said I wanted to see my ‘usband but he said he was ‘busy helping them with their enquires’.
Then he started asking about jewellery – if I’d had anything new lately – if Alec had been giving me gifts – was it me birthday? Well, I told ‘im the last gift I got from ‘im was a set of saucepans in 1988.
They kept me there for three hours.
Apparently they’d caught ‘im in the jewellers stuffin’ a ruby necklace into ‘is pocket. Well, you could ‘ave knocked me down with a feather. It certainly wasn’t my birthday – so who the heck was he buyin’ rubies for?
They kept ‘im in cells overnight – while his clothes was tested for DNA. When I went back this morning they said the tests had ‘revealed some interesting facts’ – there were ‘fibres’ on his clothes from a man who’d been murdered three years before. Well, I told them my Alec just didn’t have it in him to murder! He were useless – he’d have botched it! But they didn’t believe me.
They’ve just called to ask about the gloves. Alec had told um we’d got them from charity shop and they wanted to know if it were true. I said ‘go and ask the shop lady, she’ll remember us’ … they said they already had … and she was still checkin’ who the gloves had come in from.
It’s been a week now and they’ve still got ‘im.
I were asked down the station this mornin’ – the same constable saw me as I met t’other day. He seemed a bit friendlier. He told me they’d tracked down the gloves to a woman. She’d taken them to charity shop with a lot of other stuff … said they belonged to her ex-lover, who was now in Winson Green for burglary and GBH. Apparently the gloves were ‘is and the DNA on them was from a chap murdered in Castle Brom.
But that didn’t account for Alec havin’ rubies stuffed in his anorak pocket.
Silly sod, I should ‘ave known it. Trust ‘im to get it wrong! That mornin’ he said he were goin’ out to buy ‘is paper was a lie. He’d gone to jewellers for a 40th wedding anniversary present for me. Well, we’d never given anniversary presents before – what was he thinkin’?
Well, seems like he were just lookin’ at the necklaces and ‘she who knows everything’ comes in the shop … and he, silly sod, not wanting her big mouth to give the game away stuffs the rubies in ‘is pocket. Then the alarm goes off! The shop assistant thinks he’s pinchin’ … and the cops come and handcuff ‘im and throw ‘im in the cells.
I wouldn’t mind … but he couldn’t even get that right … it’s not our 40th weddin’ anniversary for another three years! I don’t think he can have known they were real rubies anyway – well he’s never been that generous before – bet he thought they was bits of coloured glass. But I’m not lettin’ ‘im off the hook, not that easily – after all he can’t come up with anything less than real rubies now can he – or I’ll think he really has got a bit on the side – eh.
So it all ended well – until Betty Smith called over the fence.
“Cooee, how are you Mavis,” she said. “I heard all about your little mishap from that nosy cow at number 30, you know Ruby Robotham …..”
RUBY Robotham – ‘she who knows everything’ – well I tell you straight … she better not know too much about my husband!