11 Jul

Part ONE of this tale is The Sports People.

Part Two is The Real Simone

Part Three is A Drink in Time

Part Four is A Sunday Lunch for Three

Part Five is Salutary Tales and Downright Lies

Part Six is The Monster Next Door

Part Seven is Quizzing the Night Away


tennis girl photo: Tennis Girl TennisGirl-1.jpg

The rest of the week leading up to the next Sunday and the traditional games of tennis at the Recreation Ground passed in three very different ways for three very different people.

Paula was bitter even though she suspected that Simone’s tale of her pregnancy was a tissue of lies, and the bigger part of her mind believed what David had said about having nothing to do with Simone. But toxins will spread wherever they can, and that bigger part of her mind left a smaller part that had become a torment of poisonous doubt.

David was angry because he knew what he hadn’t done and he hadn’t even thought of doing anything to do with sex with Simone because he disliked the girl since she had tried to snog him behind the school bike sheds years ago when he’d been desperate for a wee and in no mood for snogging anyone, and anyway he rather suspected that if there was a repository for sexually transmitted diseases anywhere on Earth, rumour suggested it might be her vagina.

Simone wasn’t the sort of person to be over-troubled by the opinions of others. What mattered most to her was that she got her own way and at the moment her own way involved making sure that Paula (her friend) and David never became an “item”. It wasn’t jealousy- she considered David to be weak and insipid and he was nothing like the kind of boy she liked to spend her time with. But she was motivated by a need to be happier and more successful than her best friend and it crossed her mind that David might provide Paula with a great deal of honest happiness. To her mind that could not be permitted. It would give Paula one up on her and that could never be allowed.

So the next Sunday arrived and before she left home Paula went out of her way to appeal to David with her appearance even though the poisonous doubt in a fraction of her mind made that tiny part of her want to ignore him. So to that end she dressed in last year’s tennis outfit, which had become rather short and revealing on her now she was a year older, and she made her way to the tennis courts.

Simone was already there, and she felt like spitting into the girl’s face, but she didn’t. Instead she glowered at her and shook her head.

Humph! You trying to get into his shorts wearing an outfit like that?” she asked, sneeringly

I wouldn’t dream of it!” responded Paula, not quite truthfully but indignantly, “and anyway, surely you shouldn’t be cavorting around a tennis court in your condition?” she asked.

What do you mean, my condition?” asked Simone, smiling brightly.

What you told me and my dad last week,” reminded Paula. “About being pregnant,” she added, doing her darnedest to make the word “pregnant” sound dirty.

Oh, that was a mistake,” grinned Simone. “I was absolutely certain that I’d got caught – and then my period came on! Imagine that! I was popping in and out of Mothercare looking at baby stuff, when all I needed was a fresh supply of tampons!”

Oh. So it was a lie, was it?” asked Paula.

Oh no, Paula. I thought I might have caught, I really did!”

Paula shook her head. She’d been on the planet long enough to recognise signs and portents, and the way Simone was speaking, that casual matter-of-fact attitude she adopted when she was veering from the truth, was as familiar to her as were her father’s famous “salutary stories”.

No, you were lying, Simone,” she said evenly.

Ask your little friend David what he thinks!” smirked Simone, choosing the moment when David joined the little throng to make the suggestion.

I don’t need to,” murmured Paula. “Are you ready to play – look, it’s our turn on the court.”

I feel on top of the world,” beamed Simone. That was another easily recognised sign, and a knot of hatred started tying itself in the base of Paula’s stomach. Here was her best friend trying to play her for a fool, and she was getting away with it!

I’m betting on you winning, Paula” David said to her quietly. “I’ve been watching you girls for weeks, and you’re by far the better player.”

What do you know about it?” hissed Simone, swinging her racquet, scowling at him, suddenly angry.

Come on then,” urged Paula, and she turned to David. “Thanks,” she said. His words had calmed her. They were all she had needed to suppress the poisonous doubt that still persisted in a tiny part of her mind.

I’m coming!” snapped Simone. It seemed that Paula and David were still friends, and she didn’t like that. Why should Paula have a boyfriend, especially one as widely respected as David? She forgot for the moment that she’d had quite a few boyfriends over the past couple of years, and somehow lost them. And despite all the boasting and bragging and talk of making love in old sheds and on the back seat of cars, in truth she was still a virgin – a condition she suddenly found herself doubting in Paula with her clear bright eyes and really quite attractive smile.

Mood can dictate play in many a physical game, and it dictated play in this one.

Simone was serving, and all she wanted to do was serve hard and straight at Paula’s body. She wanted to hurt the girl, but she had no clear idea why. Hatred can be like that, uncertain, misdirected.

The kind of jealousy she was suffering from was something she barely recognised. Instead she invented reasons for her mood, make-believe little disputes. David ought to be her boyfriend, oughtn’t he? She’d know him first, hadn’t she? They’d been at nursery together and she rather thought he’d been the first boy she had ever kissed, back when they were both three. So she should have preference when it came to dating, shouldn’t she? Why should sloppy Paula have all the fun?

I’ll bet he’s shagging her, she thought, I’ll bet they’re at it hammer and tongues, and it should be me!

And in that moment as she tossed the ball in the air there was venom and spite and everything unworthy in her service, and the ball, like a fluffy canon-ball, flew straight at Paula…

And Paula, seeing it with a sudden clarity, intercepted it and sent it back whence it came, and Simone, eyes blinded by irrational hatred, didn’t see it.

Which is why, despite its furry softness, that ball took the sense from her brain as it struck her firmly on her scowling temple.

©Peter Rogerson 11.07.14


2 Responses to “TRUTH AND LIES”

  1. pambrittain July 11, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Love it and love that last line.

    • Peter Rogerson July 12, 2014 at 7:57 am #

      I, too, like to see the baddie get his/her comeuppance!

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