Much Dithering in Little Botheringham – 30

‘Much Dithering in Little Botheringham’ is an everyday tale of village life and vampires, from Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook.

To say The Crown and Sceptre was crowded was to understate the case. Em found herself wedged firmly between Agnes and Ishmael listening to Ginny with, she was very much afraid, her mouth half open.
“So. I was digging through my files on DumpCorp and I came across some allegations about the behaviour of company employees when they were in Scotland ‘negotiating’. Nothing, it seemed, could be proved, but I knew in my gut that DumpCorp was as guilty as hell. I sat and read them through again and I promised myself that this time I wouldn’t be silenced.”
Agnes pushed a glass in Ginny’s hand.
“You sup up and explain properly missy.”
Ginny grinned. “Okay. In addition to the suggestion that at least one croft was torched, there were some complaints from the families of barely of age girls. And they concerned Dump and Schilling. Sadly it was the usual case of somebody’s word against somebody else’s. And it got swept under the carpet. Then there was the case I was involved in personally.”
She stopped speaking and Em thought tears were very close to the surface. But Ginny, as the sisterhood was beginning to learn, was made of stern stuff under the fluffy exterior and she pressed on.
“Okay. We had all the evidence and everything should have been on our side. But then Schilling took my ex-husband out to lunch and suddenly the bottom fell out of our case. It ended my marriage. And it took me five years to find out why the weak fool folded. I had always thought that Schilling paid him off. But he didn’t. Turns out my ex had another ‘wife’ and a child and he was simply told that the kid would disappear if he didn’t do as he was told. The rest, as they say, is history. But I did promise myself that I’d have my day with them two.”
Jamelia got up from her end of the table and managed to insert herself on the bench next to Ginny. She took Ginny’s hand in hers and Ginny’s smile grew stronger.
“Today seemed to me to be my only chance to face them so I made my plans.”
She was still wearing the ugly hat and put up her hand in a gesture that mirrored what she had done earlier in the day. When she opened her hand there was about six inches of needle sharp steel in the palm. It was an ornate Victorian hatpin.
“Old trick from when I was regularly attending protests. Wear a hat, then you have an excuse for a sharp weapon…”
Em leaned forward and picked the thing up. “That’s some weapon. Are you telling me you stabbed Dump with it?”
“Yup. Right in the fat bit under his thumb. I never thought I would be able to do that to another human being…”
She looked so shocked that Agnes laughed her most comfortable laugh. “I reckon you’re off the hook there, sister, whatever that thing may be biologically it isn’t a human being anywhere that counts.”
“That’s sophistry, and it shouldn’t make me feel any better. Although it does…”
Em put out a hand and touched Ginny’s shoulder. “You, my sister, have nothing to reproach yourself with. Your intervention may just have turned the day and stopped that madman blasting around him with his popgun.”
Ginny’s smile was so bright that it was all but blinding to look on. “Are we safe then? Have we really won?”
It was Jamelia who answered. “Oh yes. We’ve won right enough. And there is no wriggle room. The housing estate is safe.”
“And Dump?”
“Oh. Him? They hailed him away in a police van. Kicking and screaming. They were talking mental instability and asking for a doctor to be in attendance.”
Em took over. “His goose is cooked. Plus, of course, this is going viral online.”
She passed Ginny her phone and watched her sister’s face break into a delighted grin as she saw a grainy image of herself facing up to the two men and the close up of Schilling spitting in her face.
Jamelia put a finger on the screen. “And that, my brave friend, has just about put a huge nail in the coffin of DumpCorp’s plans for world domination.”
There didn’t seem to be much left to say when a huge pair of hands placed a tray of drinks on the centre of the table.
“Drink up ladies. I reckon you are owed a few drinks.”
Em looked into the eyes of one of the Saturday night fighters and he dropped her a huge wink.
“Wasn’t just us, you know.”
“Yeah. But you lot were like the bloke that stands in front of an orchestra waving a stick. We can all play our instruments, but we needed somebody to herd us together.”
Em supposed he had a point although she hadn’t a clue what to say to him, but it was okay – Agnes had her back.
“Just so long as everyone is safe,” she said. Then she chuckled fatly. “You and the Jocks made up your differences?”
The young giant gestured with his thumb and Em turned for a look. Almost all of the pub garden seemed to have been taken over for some sort of a congratulatory party involving the Saturday night boys, the older majorettes, the marching band, and the Scottish pipers. Someone had dragged in an electric piano from who knew where and the dancing was energetic if less than ballroom.
Em felt her grin grow wider as one of the majorettes came into the room and dragged a pair of rather rusty swords off the wall.
“It’s a challenge,” her speech was slurred and her eyes were bloodshot, but she was game for all that. “Them bliddy jocks has challenged us to have a bash as sword dancing.”
Agnes elbowed Em in the ribs.
“Get out there will you. The honour of the village is at stake.”
Em got up and toed off her shoes.
“Let the dog see the rabbit,” she said firmly.
As she formed the antlers with her fingers the Scottish pianist struck up Ghillie Callum. Em’s feet flew and the place fell silent around her save for one very pissed Caledonian.
“Well booger me backwards with a haggis. The old sassenach bird can bludy sword dance.”

Much Dithering in Little Botheringham by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook, will return to The Working Title Blog in 2021.

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