Want to read how it all started?
The tick, tick, tick of the clock was the only sound in the cell as Hortense lay awake in the small hours of the morning. Her peace was broken by MOB rolling over and snorting like a pig with its fat nose in a trough. “For God’s sake MOB, you bloody oinker”, she shouted in frustration as she threw a cushion at her. Mob jumped and groaned loudly as the cushion made contact with her head then she snorted rather loudly a few more times before rolling over and finally resting back into a quiet slumber leaving Hortense with the peace she craved to think. She was exhausted thinking, working out how she and Simondo could be together but she knew that with careful planning and calling in a few favours it might just happen.
“Pssst, are you awake fat arse?”. Hortense jumped at the interruption and looked over at Mob who was fast asleep, head to one side and dribbling so much that her pillow was soggy. She sat up in her bunk and strained to see who the hell was talking at this time of the morning. The owner of the voice moved closer towards her and repeated the question making Hortense jump out of the bed to wrestle the voice to the ground. “You couldn’t be too safe in a place like this”, she thought, “there was always someone after your fags, beers, after eight mints and god knows what”, she reminded herself as she pinned the voice down with the knee of her left leg firmly entrenched in the small of the back whilst twisting and locking both arms together.
“Oh dear lord, Hortense, do you have to overreact to everything and behave like you're in a wrestling smackdown final?”, said a rather posh but strained voice that Hortense recognised. “Camilla, is that you?” she asked surprised as she removed her knee from her back and released her hold. “Of course it is you peasant, who else do you know who speaks the Queen’s English unlike most of you oiks in here?”, she spat out haughtily, as she raised herself up from the floor and brushed herself down.
“Oh pardon me your effing ladyship”, said Hortense at the top of her voice whilst mimicking Camilla’s cut glass strangulated accent. So what do I owe the honour of having the Prada queen pay me a visit at such an hour?” Mob snorted and stirred in her sleep but merely rolled over to dribble on the dry side of her pillow.
“Look, keep your voice down Horty, you’ll wake Mob and the rest of B wing if you don’t drop it down a notch or two. So stick a sock in it, there’s a good girl”, she said condescendingly, as she rubbed her wrist where Hortense had held it in a vice like grip.
“Wake Mob, are you kidding me? She’s necked enough cider to fill a duck pond this evening. The only way you’d get through to her in that state is by holding a séance, so come on, spill the beans, what do you want you anally retentive upper class twit?
“If you stop with the insults, then I’ll enlighten you, you fat chav”, she said in return. Hortense considered getting Camilla in a head lock and using her head as a battering ram but she was intrigued as to why the prison posh totty had come to see her so she filed the insult for later. “What an obnoxious old tit”, thought Hortense, “no wonder Mob had had a bare knuckle fight with her the other day, with a bit of luck she’d knocked the old bag’s dentures down her throat”
“Look”, said Camilla interrupting Hortense’s fantasy of causing grievous bodily harm to her, “word is on the grapevine that you want to make a break for it, y’know dahling, really make a break and not come back and I can help you” she said with a sly look on her face.
Hortense stood mouth agape, “how the hell do you know that? Who grassed?, she demanded to know”, She racked her brain, no one except Mob and Simondo knew and for all she was an old gobshite, she knew Mob would never put her plans and future in jeopardy, she was too loyal and the closest thing to family that she’d ever had. No, it had to be someone else, “but who?” She moved to stand closer to Camilla, if she was going to get the truth out of the old trout, then better to use a bit of height and girth in a threatening sort of way.
“Erm, look, before you go off on one old girl, it’s no one in here”, said Camilla looking suddenly dwarfed and worried that Hortense might be planning to rip her head off her body and use it as an ice bucket. “Not even that old warthog lying snoring over there”, she gestured her head towards Mob. “She might kick start jumbo jets and roll her own tampons in her spare time but she’s loyal that one, I’ll give her that”. She leaned forward conspiratorially and whispered, “we have a mutual acquaintance, someone on the outside who can help”.
Hortense looked intently at Camilla. Her heart raced as she began to realise that just maybe this was a solution. Her cousin Debs was having difficulty getting the fake documents made as her supplier had been arrested for dogging and was in gaol awaiting a bail hearing. They needed to move fast because all their other plans were in place and time was running short if she and Simondo were to make it, to find a new life together.
Her heart flipped at the thought of Simondo and once again she felt the deep pain of separation that only new lovers feel; the kind of anguish where every second was a minute, every minute an hour and every hour a day until they could be together again. Hortense made herself a roll-up, lit it and took a deep drag on it before asking, “what’s in it for you Ms Marple?; why you, and why now?”
Camilla raised an eyebrow at the Ms Marple slight before responding, “look it’s no secret that I’m well connected and that my family has money, lots of it”. She balked at the mention of money for it was considered very vulgar indeed to talk about money if you hailed from the titled and landed gentry as she did. No matter that they all earned it in a nepotistic, old boy network and even ethically questionable kind of way, it was still improper to talk about how much of the green stuff you actually had stuffed away down the back of the inherited horse hair couch.
“And your point is?”, asked Hortense who was beginning to get frustrated at the seeming reluctance of Camilla to come clean.
“I know you’re having trouble getting your documents sorted because Weasel faced Willy got caught dogging again for the tenth time; Jesus Christ, you’d think the perverted little runt would have learnt not to get ‘little-Willy’ out in public any more. I sort of hoped.....”
“Camilla, where are you going with this, what’s any of this got to do with you?”, interrupted Hortense sharply, for she was losing patience and needed to get back to working out a new plan.
“Maltese Mick”, she offered and went quiet to let Hortense absorb the importance of the name; let her absorb the power behind the throne that was Maltese Mick.
“Isn’t that the guy that used to be on the bins here at the prison?”, she asked perplexed. “What the feck use is he to me?; what, is he going to secrete me out in a black bin bag along with the pig swill?” She scowled at Camilla, a complete look of misapprehension on her face and thought that she might just stick this silly old fart in a bin bag fairly soon herself. Only she’d be going out in several bags if she had her way.
“No, for God’s sake woman, keep up, that was Minging Monty, so called because....”
“Yes, yes I get the picture”, who the hell is Maltese Mick for Christ sake?
“Only the best and most expensive forger in the business; rumour has it he did the paperwork and the arrangements for Lord Lucan so he’s good alright”, she said, feeling quite triumphant. Secretly she feared and admired Hortense and if truth be told, had quite a girl crush on her from afar. That was really why she’d bloodied Mob’s nose and left teeth marks on her arse, she was jealous of their closeness and wanted to be Hortense’s best friend. She’d deliberately snatched that last canapé at the party because she saw Mob eyeing it up from across the cell and she was spoiling for a fight with her. “Hah, if only the girls at Bedales could have seen her now, they wouldn’t have dunked her head down the toilet bowl and pulled the flush if they’d known that one day she’d be able to take care of herself like a prize fighter. Prison had been good for her”, she thought, “toughened her up and no one, not even daddy would beat or bully her again”, she promised herself.
“I thought you said he was a mutual friend Camilla, I’ve never heard of him”.
“Well of course, you don’t know him as Maltese Mick. He’s only called that because his mum’s from Malta and his dad’s a ‘mick’ from county Clare in Ireland. Ring any bells?”
As recognition began to fall into place, the colour from Hortense’s face drained. She lifted her head to look at Camilla who had adopted a look of pity. “I know”, offered Camilla as her way of showing she understood the situation Hortense now found herself in.
Hortense suddenly burst out laughing, “not Jimmy the Giant?”, so called for he was 5’2 – even shorter than Simondo. Y’mean that wee pipsqueak finally did something useful with his life?, well bugger me”, she said, astonished.
Jimmy had been Hortense’s first boyfriend who had breath like fish paste and teeth that stuck out like a canopy. His acne was legendary and when one of his spots erupted and burst on Hortense as they snogged, it was the final straw for her. When she engineered it that 'he dumped her' she laughed all the way to the kebab van. For months she let him labour under the impression that she had lost the love of her life and that her life had been ruined - it didn’t do any harm to let the wee fella feel like it was all his idea and that he’d been the one in charge. “After all”, she reminded herself at the time, “he’d never get himself a babe like her again in his life so what was a bit of ego massaging costing her in the end?”.
“He’s never forgotten that he broke your heart Horty, wants to help and this is his way of making it up to you”.
“Well, well well”, she said as she shook her head and smiled. “One good deed deserves another”, she thought. “Who’d have thought wee Jimmy McKlusky would ride into town like the cavalry and save the day all these years later”.
“So, Camilla, now we’ve got that sorted out, I still don’t understand, I mean I’m grateful that you’ve told me all this but what exactly has any of this to do with you?”
“Oh that’s easy”, smiled Camilla. “ I’m coming with you...........”
*****I want to say thanks to Debs Lehner at The Lehners in France blog who got so totally involved in campaigning for this blog that she took my breath away. What a girl! What a great blogger too so visit her site folks - she is funny and entertaining and always a good read. Thanks Debs*****
*****A big thanks to everyone of you that voted, it was generous and kind and I am quite humbled by it all. There will be awards given out when I can work out how to do that!*****
*****And congratulations to wheel turning hamster dead for getting first place, it was a great laugh co-writing these Hortense and Simondo stories*****