The Take Over, a short story by Kevin Hogan at
Light Field Studios

The Take Over

The Take Over

written by: Kevin Hogan


‘I’ve told you not to speak to me during the day. You have your hour at night. You agreed.’
‘But I need to know if you are going to see Jenny?’
‘I am, but not until tomorrow evening.’
‘Are we going to her place?’
‘I’m going to her place.’
‘We’re going to her place.’
‘We’re not, but I am. You can have your hour, but not when, we’re, I’m at Jenny’s. You agreed to the arrangement to avoid the chaos.’
‘Yes. I’m sorry. The arrangement.’

‘When is Jeremy coming round?’
‘Tomorrow evening, why are you asking? You shouldn’t be talking to me until later.’
‘I’m sorry. I get so excited when Jeremy comes round.’
‘Look Mel, we made this arrangement and people are watching.’
‘Put your mobile phone to your ear then.’
‘People are listening.’
‘People are always listening.’
‘And anyway you won’t be around when Jeremy comes to visit. You promised.’
‘I did. I’m sorry.
‘I am, but I get so excited.’
‘We made this arrangement so we could have a more normal life.’
‘Your stop is coming up. Have a good day.’
The bus jerks to a halt. A couple of dismal side streets later, Jenny enters a textile warehouse and aims for the stairs and the top floor where she has an office. She throws her coat and bag onto her filing cabinet and sits down at her desk, which is piled high with mail and packages and immediately she begins to open the mail.

‘Jeremy. Jeremy. Wake up.’ Jeremy wakes up with a start. ‘You nodded off again.’
‘God, I’m so tired. I was in bed early, but I’m still tired.’
‘People are watching you. They’ll think you’re crackers.’
‘Little do they know! Thanks Marcus. I’ll speak with you tonight.’
Jeremy walks through the station exit flashing his season ticket to the eagle-eyed ticket inspector. At the entrance to the station Jeremy purchases a newspaper and his usual morning breakfast, a latte. Five minutes later Jeremy strides into Jasper Jones Bespoke Tailors.

A young man enters after a sharp knock on Jenny’s door. The man carries a tray full of sandwiches.
‘Hello Jenny. What can I entice you with today?’
‘What’s the special?’
‘Ham, egg, cheese and relish with red onion.’
‘You’ve talked me into it.’
‘I usually do.’
‘With specials like these how can I refuse?’
‘Red onion. Yuk!’
‘Pardon?’ the young man looks momentarily bemused.
‘Sorry. I’m just thinking aloud.’
‘I must get on, I’ve still several floors to visit.’
‘I thought I told you to keep quiet.’
‘Oops! Sorry, but I hate red onion.’
‘Tonight, tell me tonight when I get home.’

Jeremy is cutting out the shape of the suit. He stops and stares aimlessly into space. Within a minute he continues cutting as if nothing had broken his concentration.

Jenny is sat at her desk. The surface is finally free of all mail. The freshly made cup of tea is steaming and the special has been cut into three sections. Jenny selects the middle piece and is about to sink her teeth into it when the phone rings. She lifts the handset. The special remains in Jenny’s hand, her gaze is unfocussed. She remains motionless.
‘Who else would it be?’
‘We have about a minute before we could be noticed.’
‘Have you got the passports?’
‘Arrived last night.’
‘Did you check?’
‘Yes, they gave me a code to track the delivery.’
‘What about the medical cards?’
‘Delivered to the PO box. The new cards are there as well.’
‘Are they good?’
‘The best I could get. No one will ever know the difference. Have you organised the bank accounts?’
‘Ready for next Monday. The money will automatically transfer in the early hours, and then we are done.’
‘Tomorrow night, are we?’
‘Definitely. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a shame they don’t know how much fun they are having.’
‘I can’t wait.’
‘Are you testing Jenny? I’ve done Jeremy today just for a few minutes. Last night he was up for three hours. The night before I did the full eight hours he was asleep. That’s three nights this week.’
‘I got that temporary job using my new identification and qualifications.’
‘I’ve seen a similar job to Jeremy’s. I’ve emailed my, well, his CV.’
‘Times up. Tomorrow.’
Jenny returns the phone to its base and suddenly sinks her teeth into the crusty special and savours the taste as she chews.

Jeremy sits down and begins to eat his lunch. The ping of the microwave snaps him out of his daydream as the remainder of his coffee is warmed up.
‘Damn. I thought I’d timed the warm-up better than that.’ He goes to the microwave to check the coffee. As he touches the cup he can feel the heat. ‘Bloody hell, that’s hot.’ Jeremy returns to the corner table with his newspaper and his cold fish finger sandwiches.

‘Okay, Marcus what do you want to say?’
‘Good evening Jeremy, thanks for letting me in. How did work go today?’
‘Fine. I’ve finished that suit for Sir Geoffrey and I’ve cut out the cloth for that Army General. God is he fussy or what.’
‘But he appreciates quality work.’
‘One of the few.’
There is a moment of silence as Jeremy is thinking.
‘I could do with an early night. I was so tired this morning I must have had a restless night?’
‘Can we have a game of chess before we go to bed?’
Jeremy picks up the board and pieces and begins to set out the game.

‘Is that a zit on your chin?’ Jenny is looking into the mirror.
‘Thank you Mel. I don’t want Jeremy to see me like this.’
‘Use that cream. It will be gone in the morning.’
‘Thank you Mel.’
‘Bit of sarcasm Jenny?’
‘Anyone would think it’s you that’s on show?’
‘I just want you to look good for Jeremy.’
‘That is thoughtful of you.’
‘When are you going to take your relationship with Jeremy to the next level?’
‘Where did that come from?’
‘You must know he loves you?’
‘And I love him. To be honest I’m frightened.’
‘Of the sex thing?’
‘That, and putting all my eggs in one basket so to speak.’
‘With our history, I thought you would be grabbing at the pleasures withheld from you for so long?’
‘When you’re locked away you miss out on all that pent-up emotion. Now I’m…’
‘Now that we’re that bit older my sensible head can, control is the right word. It’s, it’s, I didn’t, haven’t learned how to use my emotions to make my life better, more rewarding, more loving.’
‘You mean you’ve never had a relationship?’
‘Not what you mean. I’ve had friends, but I’ve never had a physical relationship, a rip your clothes off and jump into bed relationship.’
‘You could with Jeremy?’
‘I could. I should. I love him so much. I just don’t want to scare him away?’
‘By being someone he doesn’t want us to be.’
‘I think given the opportunity Jeremy would rip your clothes off and you wouldn’t even make the bed.’
‘I’ll think about it, and anyway how come you are suddenly so interested in my love life?’
‘Oh! I just want you to enjoy life. After what you have been through you deserve a better life.’
‘Why thank you. I didn’t realise how much you care about me.’

‘So tomorrow night, you’re finally going to tell Jenny how much you love her?’
‘Possibly. I don’t want to rush things.’
‘Rush things! You’ve been trying to tell her how you feel since you met her in the hospital.’
‘Why have you got a sudden interest in my love life?’
‘I’ve always been interested. It’s just that I’ve never said. I didn’t want to interfere.’
‘Hmm. We’ll see.’
‘Oh, by the way Jeremy, Bishop takes Queen, checkmate.’
Jeremy looks at the board and smiles.
‘Seven eleven to me.’
‘But you were ten nil up at one point. You must be worried?’
‘I’m always worried.’

Jenny opens the door wearing a figure-hugging powder blue dress. Jeremy stutters out some words.
‘You, you, you look beautiful. And you smell nice.’
‘Thank you for noticing.’ Jenny is smiling to herself. She knows that Jeremy can’t take his eyes off her as she turns and walks down the hallway.
‘Come through. Our meal is ready, as are three bottles of cold wine.’
‘I love you!’ Jeremy is surprised by his sudden confidence.
‘Oh! That’s good because I love you.’
Jeremy has hold of Jenny’s hand. As they reach the table they kiss. If the food wasn’t already on the table Jenny would have had her clothes ripping session.
There is a loud silence during the meal and a great deal of eye catching and smiling. The second bottle of wine is even colder and lasts nowhere near as long as the first.
‘I think the afters can wait?’ Jenny looks at Jeremy.
‘Oh. I always like my afters.’ Jenny is about to say something when Jeremy smiles and then stands.
Two pairs of shoes are on the bottom step. Then clothes are abandoned on the stairs with underwear on the corridor and into the bedroom.
‘This desert is perfect. It was worth the wait.’
‘Yes, it was.’
‘Are there more afters?’
‘Cold one in the fridge and a warm one soon to be in the bed.’
By the time Jeremy reaches the bedroom Jenny is waiting for him.
Jenny and Jeremy are asleep wrapped in each other’s arms.
‘Mel, are you there?’
‘Just getting there.’
‘You feel, er, soft and warm.’
‘We have a few minutes.’
‘I hope it’s going to last more than a few minutes.’
‘We’ll soon be together forever.’
The sun is shining through the kitchen window. Jeremy has made tea and toast and Jenny is sat in her dressing gown, just her dressing gown.
‘As it’s Sunday how would you like to have a pub lunch somewhere nice?’
‘And then come home for afters?’
‘If you insist.’

‘Marcus. Marcus. Wake up. What time is it?’
‘What! Oh. I’ll be awake in a minute. It’s, it’s, er, six-thirty, well nearly.’
‘Do you know what today is?’
‘Monday. Jeremy doesn’t get up until seven, go back to sleep…… bloody hell! It’s Monday and I’m awake. I’m really awake. It’s me, it really is me.’
‘Of course it’s you. And it’s me as well. We’ve done it. We’ve taken over.’
‘Quick, get the ipad and check the bank accounts.’
‘Are your bags ready to go?’
‘My one bag is ready. It’s in the shed outside.’
‘I put mine in the attic.’
‘All my letters are ready to send.’
‘We can send mine when we pick up my bag. You get showered first.’
‘I’d rather do something else first?’
‘Shower. We need to be on the train just after nine and we have to check our Post Office box.’
‘Okay, but tonight?’
‘Tonight. The bank account is, is, hang on a second….. we’re done, the money is there.’
‘Right. Let’s get ready and go.’

‘I can’t believe we’ve been in control for a month. Having our own flat is great. I love you so much.’
‘I never thought I’d be so happy.’
‘Shall we have an early night?’

‘You’re hurting me. Stop it. Get off me. You’re hurting me. Marcus stop. Marcus, my throat.’

‘Police! Open the door! Open the door!’ There is no answer.
‘Right. Break down the door. We need to get in there.’
‘We’re in.’
A group of police officers rush into the flat checking the rooms as they move towards the bedroom.
‘Wake up you murdering bastard.’
‘What! What’s happening? Who the fuck are you?’
‘Get up and get dressed.’
‘Where’s Mel?’
‘Sarge. There’s a woman on the floor. She’s, she’s dead.’
‘Looks like that woman in the flat below was right.’
‘Get dressed you murdering bastard.’
‘I didn’t do that. I would never hurt Mel. I love her.’
‘No, but I would.’
‘Who the hell are you?’
‘You didn’t think yours was the only voice my friend Jeremy heard, did you?’
‘You killed my Mel, you bastard.’
‘Sarge. He’s talking to himself.’
‘It wasn’t me officer. It wasn’t me. It really wasn’t me.’

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