Saturday, September 7, 2013

VBT - How Not to Commit Murder by Robin Storey

Comedy Crime
Date Published: April 14, 2013

CAREER conman Reuben Littlejohn is determined to go straight this time after his release from prison, with the help of his new wife and her wealthy family.
But he hadn't counted on stumbling across a plot to kill his parole officer Lucy, with whom he is madly in lust.  The instigator, nefarious criminal Frank Cornell, blackmails Reuben into becoming his accomplice. The only way he can save Lucy is to pretend to go along with Frank's Operation Luce End, while making sure it doesn't succeed.  Never have his skills in lying and cheating been so vital!
But if Reuben's plan fails, it's his life at stake as well as Lucy's. Add to the mix a wife who’s trying to mould him into a pillar of respectability and in-laws who think he’s a lost cause, and Reuben soon discovers that going straight can be murder.


He hauled himself out of bed and surveyed himself in the ensuite mirror. Should he bother shaving? His three-day growth gave him a rugged appearance, as if he were about to mount a horse, rope in a few hundred head of cattle and a couple of bosomy cowgirls as well. A lot of women didn’t share his opinion on stubble, but it wasn’t as if he was out to impress his parole officer, the ugly old bag. Still, he had to go to the employment office afterwards. 
He appraised himself again when he’d finished shaving. Now he looked more the smooth, business type who’d hang out in a wine bar after work, and talk about synergies and operational efficiency. Women had often told him he resembled Brad Pitt, but he suspected it was for the same reason he told them they reminded him of Cameron Diaz. Warren, his cellmate, had told him he looked like Baby Face Nelson. Reuben wasn’t into the gangster scene – the violence and lack of morality repulsed him – although he didn’t dare say so, and pretended to be flattered by the comparison.
He struck a Mr Universe pose, noting with pride the ripple of muscle in his chest and the bulge of his biceps; and ignoring the soft roll he’d already developed on his belly since his release from prison two months ago. His build was naturally slim, but this time round he’d taken advantage of the facilities in jail and had beefed up. One of the inmates, a brawny, tattooed heavy who was in for armed robbery, had offered him steroids, assuring him they wouldn’t show up in a urine test. Reuben had politely declined. He was satisfied with his body – enough muscle to fill out a t-shirt without being bulky. Women didn’t like too much muscle. He wondered, not for the first time, if that was what had initially attracted Carlene – along with his charm. Of course there were plenty of good-looking, charming men on the outside, but he held the trump card: he was, in her eyes, a lost sheep who needed to be rescued.
Carlene and Nancy were sitting at the kitchen table yabbering – at least, Carlene was yabbering and Nancy was listening. Carlene had long conversations with her mother every day, either in person or on the phone. He wondered what she found to talk about. He himself had the gift of the gab, essential in the business of fraud; but when it came to himself, he could sum up his day’s activities in a couple of sentences.
‘Good morning, Nancy,’ he said, flashing her as brilliant a smile as he could muster at seven-forty in the morning.
‘Morning,’ she barked. He felt her watching him as he helped himself to bacon and eggs from the frying pan. From behind her spectacles, her sharp eyes roved constantly like a metal detector. 
He sat down at the table and began to eat. Both women had fallen silent. He looked up. ‘Don’t let me interrupt you.’
He put his head down again quickly, smothering a smile. Nancy reminded him of his Year Three teacher, Mrs Frost. Grey-haired and thin-lipped, she could make you quiver with just a look. One day, on playground duty, she bent over to help a first-grader with her shoelaces. A sudden gust of wind blew up her sensible tartan skirt to reveal voluminous, pink satin bloomers trimmed with lace – the kind that women might have worn in the Victorian era. Mrs Frost quickly smoothed her skirt down and whipped around, eyes flashing, defying anyone to laugh. Only Kenny Morrison dared to whistle and he got a week’s afternoon detention. But the damage was done – after that she didn’t seem quite as scary. Not that Nancy would wear pink bloomers, though he wouldn’t be surprised if she wore boxer shorts – there was something mannish about her. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise him at all if Nancy turned out to be a man in drag. 
‘Mum and Dad were thinking of buying you a car,’ Carlene said. 
Reuben paused, fork halfway to his mouth. ‘Really?’
I take that back about the boxers.
He noticed Carlene’s look of expectancy. ‘Wow, that’s very good of them.’
‘I mean, you,’ he said to Nancy.
‘You have to get a job first,’ she said.

Robin Storey is a freelance and creative writer from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. She’s published a number of short stories and comedy crime How Not To Commit Murder is her first novel. Her comedy romance novel Perfect Sex will be published on Amazon in August 2013.
Robin enjoys bushwalking and relaxing at the beach and would love to have the time to do more of both. She also loves travelling and is planning her next big adventure – doing the Camino Frances pilgrimage across Spain. She’s also an avid reader (of course) and her favourite authors include Colin Bateman, Christopher Brookmyre, Nick Earls and Nick Hornby.


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