Last month, I re-launched my Ordinary People interview series by catching up with retired headtacher Julia Skinner from Julia’s place. Julia is also the founder of the the 100WC project, is a weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16. To read more about Julia, and find out more about the Ordinary People series, head back to last month’s interview.
Last week I was interviewed on the HonestSpeaks blog by Rachael Blair for her Ordinary People series.
Rachael asked me about the inspiration behind The Eight of Swords, whether I believe in reincarnation and to reveal a secret (or something surprising about myself.) There are other great questions too - do head to the HonestSpeaks blog not only to find out more about me and my writing but to enjoy Rachael’s short stories, poetry and other interviews.
Josie’s husband of twenty-two years, three months and eight days stared at her from across the restaurant table. ‘A housemaid, what do we need a bloody housemaid for? That’s your domain, who are you all of a sudden Lady Muck?’
A pretty young waitress reached across to take his plate, his eyes swivelled up to meet hers and charm positively oozed from his lips. ‘I enjoyed that thanks. I like your top by the way, very becoming.’
Smiling graciously the waitress turned on her heel and headed back to the kitchen.
‘I want more time to myself, I didn’t used to mind keeping house but I could do with some help.’
From the day they married, homemaker had become her role. She’d given up her burgeoning career as an accounts manager to look after her successful young husband and prepare the nest for the twins she soon produced as a result of their fervent lovemaking.
Determined not to grow into a frump, throughout their marriage she’d maintained her good looks with regular exercise and wore expensive clothes to accentuate her good points. Whatever her efforts, her husband soon seemed not to see her, he no longer bestowed compliments or spoilt her with unexpected gifts. Instead of asking about her day, he would ask about the boys, what was for dinner and the television would be switched on in search of sport a few minutes after he arrived home from work.
When invited to company dinners he would seat her between other wives who spent the evening complaining about their husbands while he sought out pretty secretaries to flatter. He would transform from bore into Mr Charming the minute any attractive woman returned his glances.
As the boys started sixth form, and spent much of their free time out with friends, Josie found herself alone, staring at unwashed socks and pants and waiting for the call from her husband to tell her he would be late, again.
Sundays they would go out for a walk in the morning, stop at the local pub for lunch; then return home where he would snore all afternoon in front of the television. Sometimes his mobile would ping with a message and she knew it would be from his latest ‘bit on the side.’
She knew about the ‘bits on the side.’ Call it a woman’s intuition, or just plain perception. Every once in a while he’d suddenly become most particular about his laundry, nothing she could say would be right and there would be weekly evening meetings that none of the other executives seemed to attend according to the wives she knew well enough to ask. He’d make critical comments and belittle her in front of their friends at every opportunity. She let it wash over her for the most part, occasionally retaliating with a sharp retort but generally taking it as her lot in life, the downtrodden wife.
A crystal ball would be a useful tool for women she thought from time to time, but then few would probably ever get married. She could remember happy times during their marriage but every time he charmed another woman she swallowed the insult as if it were a very bitter pill. And with each pill her resentment grew like a cancer.
Now middle aged, they lived in a perfectly charming Edwardian house in a village with amenable neighbours, well kept gardens, annual events and a parish council intent on keeping everything idyllic. Who’d want to upset the apple cart? Well not Josie, not until now.
‘Well that’s all very well, but how are we going to pay for it or her should I say?’
Josie smiled and thought of all the hotel rooms, expensive restaurants and lavish little gifts he’d treated his floozies to over the years.
Her little job as a part time sales assistant in one of Millwell’s boutiques paid peanuts. Max always called it ‘your little job’ with some derision. He didn’t like her working. You could describe their marital arrangement as somewhat old fashioned.
She poured herself some water and took a sip. ‘Marie-Ann knows a Thai girl who is here for a year and looking for work, I thought she’d be ideal.’
Max shifted in his chair and tried not to show his sudden interest. ‘Oh yes, is that right?’
‘Yes.’ Josie tried to sound nonchalant. ‘Apparently she’s adorable, and according to Marie-Ann, terribly pretty.’ She watched his face carefully to note the expected response.
After a moment or two, obviously trying not to appear too enthusiastic he said, ‘That’s all very well but is she any good at keeping house we don’t want someone pretty but vacant and there’s quite a bit to do?’
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So which side are you on? Despite just having published two short stories about revenge I have to say that on a personal level I am on the side of Karma because quite frankly I think life is too short for revenge.
Luckily I have been in few situations where I’d want to take revenge anyhow. You don’t seem to read so many of those media stories these days where a wife cuts all the sleeves off her husband’s shirts or empties a suitcase of his clothes onto the street. Unfortunately many stories take a more sinister turn and real damage gets done, nothing is worth that, however badly you have been hurt.
Life is for living and loving. If someone hurts you, my philosophy is to move on and make the most of the people who do care about you. Why let it ruin your life? Don’t let that person win. They say the best form of revenge is success so concentrate on that and being happy.
I do believe that karma tends to triumph, even if you don’t see it happening, I think you can rest assured that people who do bad things pay for them in some way or another. Meanwhile you can get on and get busy with your life, which is far more important.
My two short stories are pure entertainment. Although in real life I don’t believe in taking revenge, let’s be honest here, we all love to see a baddie get their come-uppance and in the realms of entertainment it provides a certain satisfaction.
Meet Josie and Tara who deal with their unfaithful husbands very differently. Josie takes her revenge into her own hands in a quite a unique way, she employs a housemaid with a difference. Tara on the other hand has been given a helping hand by fate and she turns that to her own advantage. They’ve both been hurt, are ready to move on and leave the husbands who didn’t love them enough, to their own karma.
I hope you enjoy them and please be sure to let me know what you think!
What Lurks Beneath and A Dish Best Served Cold have been published on Amazon, two short stories with one theme – revenge!
In What Lurks Beneath Josie has finally had enough of her husband’s philandering ways and sets out to teach him a lesson he will never forget. She waits until her twin boys are away at university then hires a new housemaid, with a difference…
Tara finds that revenge is A Dish Best Served Cold and takes her unfaithful husband out for an expensive meal to coolly tell him she knows what he’s been up to. He’ll have an even bigger shock when he gets home..
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Also by Petra Kidd
I am very happy to announce that my Revenge Double will be published as an eBook on Sunday 12th May and will be available via Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle you can download the app for free to your pc, mobile or tablet.
The Revenge Double comprises two short stories: What Lurks Beneath and A Dish Best Served Cold. Two different women with one thing in common: unfaithful husbands. They exact their revenge in very different but entertaining ways.
If you happen to be an errant husband, oh dear, I have to warn you, these stories may leave you with sleepless nights!