A taster for Three Sheets to the Wind

Whittlesey Wordsmiths’ new book, “Three Sheets to the Wind” is nearing completion and will be published soon. As a small taster here is a shortened version of one of the stories, if you want to read the full version you will find it in the book. Don’t worry we will let you know when it’s available.

We have revised the front cover see the new version in the picture below.

Three Sheets to the Wind new cover
Three Sheets to the Wind new cover

An unusual job for a woman.

Written by Philip Cumberland

The guided bus was an unlikely getaway vehicle but it had served her well in the past.

“It’s their vanity that makes them vulnerable,” she thought.

She had been glad to get out of her waitresses uniform and into something less conspicuous. What politician full of their own importance could refuse a honorary doctorate from one of the World’s leading universities.

 “More wine Mr Ambulant? Yes the glass is a bit dirty I will fetch you a clean one, it was the Chardonnay wasn’t it?”

Fortunately she was in the kitchen when he collapsed, nowhere near him. When they all rushed to see what was happening she was in the ladies, changing into jeans and a tee shirt. Then nipping out through the Masters Garden, a bit naughty really but not as naughty as poisoning someone. Thank goodness for the tourists it was easy to get swallowed up by the crowds. The bus was waiting in its bay when she arrived at Drummer Street. Some of those academics can be a bit handy when a girl is carrying a tray of drinks, the women were the worst, and she wondered if she had been missed yet. The Park and Ride is very useful you can park for free get into the middle of Cambridge then back to pick your car up. The luggage lockers are useful too, the jiffy bag was waiting for her, Sheila; would count it later no doubt the next job was in there too. The policemen standing waiting by her car was a surprise; she noticed them as she closed the locker door, always sensible to park near the bus shelter. Fortunately the bus was still waiting to move on, she climbed back on flashed her day rider ticket at the driver then found a seat next to the emergency exit.

As she left the bus at Huntingdon she thought it was always good to have a plan B. The elderly Renault Clio was inconspicuous and could be left anywhere there wasn’t yellow lines or parking restrictions and not arouse suspicion.

She drove to her cottage in Wistow, it wasn’t her main address but somewhere out of the way when life got complicated. There was a wry smile on her face as she opened the Chardonnay and poured herself a glass, then reached for the Jiffy bag. There was a few hundred in twenties and tens for expenses the lottery ticket was there too, the photograph of her next target was a bit of a surprise. He was nasty and odious enough but well connected. He must have really upset someone Sheila thought, then remembered a story, well a rumour of a story circulating, that would explain it. No matter how big a bully you are there is always someone bigger and nastier.

Right, London on Monday to claim her lottery prize and perhaps a call to Grandmother. The Sunday papers headlined Ambulant’s sudden death, a heart attack was the suspected cause, hopefully the college had secured his endowment before his demise.

Sunday passed quietly and it was the eleven thirty train from Huntingdon that delivered Sheila to Kings Cross. The newsagents was small scruffy and inconspicuous, located in an anonymous side street.  

The newsagent, certainly the man behind the counter was elderly bald and stooped, his nicotine stained fingers suggested that a few years ago a cigarette would have been between his lips. He took Sheila’s blank lottery ticket and took it into a back room, returning after a few minutes he inserted it into the lottery machine. The tune from the machine announced it was a winner,

“Congratulations young lady five numbers and the bonus ball, £180,000 and 3p. You will have to contact Camelot, keep your ticket safe.”

Sheila called Camelot’s special number using her mobile phone, identified herself, scanned the QR code and arranged the transfer of the winnings to her bank in Switzerland. She left the newsagents with a copy of the Times and found a call box.

The call was answered on the third ring by an elderly male doddery voice,

“Hello, who is it?”

“Mr Wolf?”

“Yes,” the voice had changed to something younger, no longer doddery.

“Its Little Red Riding Hood, can I speak to Grandmother please?”

“Grandmother’s familiar voice was calm as usual,”

“Hello my dear, what can I do for you?”

“I am a little concerned about my next job.”

“He has got a history of heart problems, you are an attractive young lady and very clever.”

“There were two policemen waiting by my car at St Ives after Mr Ambulant died.”

“You should have a list of your next targets engagements in your pack; you need to be very careful about how you manage things.”

“I am a little concerned about how quickly the police were onto my car.”

“The payment for the next job will be a lot higher; a million from the Euro-millions draw there is less interest in those winners.”

“Who else knows about me and the next target?”

“Just Mr Woolf, the Woodcutter and myself.”

“What about the Witch?”

“She’s dead.”

“Okay then, I will do it but won’t notify you first, once I have done the job I will phone you.”

“That’s absolutely fine my dear, we know you well enough by now.”

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