Jeannie

There was a dead body in the bushes at the end of our street, but this isn’t a detective story. There’s no cynical old inspector with a personal problem and a sidekick who smokes too much like you see on the telly, because everyone knew who did it.

We take care of ourselves in this street, and if any stranger believes he can just wander in and take one of our own, well, he’s got another think coming.

The body was young Jeannie from number twenty-seven, no more than sixteen years old. Though, when she went out on a Saturday night, you’d have thought she was more like twenty. Eighteen, at least. She had heels that were so high she could hardly walk on them and a pathetic excuse for a skirt that showed everything she had to offer, no matter how cold it was. She tottered off towards the bus stop for a night on the town with her mates, and never came back.

We all knew it was that funny bloke who lives on his own at number six. What’s a man his age doing in our street, with no wife to look after him or kids to spend all his money? No, he had a shifty look from the start, and when a group of us called around to check him out, he as good as admitted it, just standing there and crying like a baby. So we sorted him out, and he won’t be troubling anyone else’s daughter again, not round here nor anywhere else.

But I can still see Jeannie’s face as she lay, blinking, in the bushes.

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