The She-Devil

hidden

Well, the doors had been padlocked for sixty years or so. Rumours had been adjusted and embellished, and now there were several – tales of goblins, witches’ curses and even one about a stairway to the underworld. Anyway, us oldies knew the truth.Many of us had been unfortunate enough to have seen the she-devil that lurked inside the shed. She possessed a strange, alluring beauty that not all who gazed on her sweet curves and glowing skin could see, but many who were prone to her charms had fallen under her spell. It wasn’t just men; women could be equally powerless against her, though, in those days, it was less common, as women weren’t so open about that kind of fascination, or if they were they often kept it under wraps. Obviously, she had no power to harm you if you didn’t fancy her. That’s how it works with them.

So they kept her locked away. Quite right, too.

This pub was famed for miles around for its old-world ambience and fine home-cooking; deservedly so. I can personally recommend the steak-and-kidney pudding; it’s very tender and full of flavour, although my husband, George – may he rest in peace -preferred their toad-in-the-hole (with onion gravy). He liked his food did George. He was such a wonderful man. In twelve years he never once forgot to put out the bin, though I did feel he let me down a bit in the end… I mean, wasn’t I enough for him? I used to say to him, “Curiosity killed the cat.” But did he listen? Oh, no, he just upped an’… sorry, what was that you said? Oh yes, the pub.

As I was saying, the Ring-o’-Bells enjoyed an excellent trade – as you can see, it’s gone downhill since its present encumbents took it over. Back then it was crowded with both locals and tourists who holidayed in the nearby caravan park, so little old Maisie Goodenough from the thatched cottage… yes that’s the one, at the edge of the cliff… Maisie enjoyed a tipple, but didn’t like to pay for it, if you know what I mean, so she used to sit around in here waiting to pounce on the nearest visitor and tell them the gory story about her brother who’d been carried away by that she-devil in the old shed. It got her a few free drinks, you see. She was a scrounging old-so and so… the drink got her in the end. I say she was old; she couldn’t have been more than fifty, but she looked ancient. Mutton dressed as lamb… and she was no better than her brother, though I don’t like to speak ill of the dead. I could tell you a few tales about… what’s that? Oh yes, the story.

It was back in the early 60s. I remember it well, but I never went running around trying to scrounge drinks on the strength of it… oh – how kind; seeing as you’re buying, another rum and coke wouldn’t go amiss.

…………

Is that a double? Oh, no, never mind. Single’s fine. Oh, well, if it’s not too much trouble… I’m not much of a drinker, but the flavour of coke is a bit too strong for me…

…………

Cheers…

Her brother was a bit of a tear-away, and one night after they’d had a skinful, he and a couple of friends decided to break in and see what the fuss was all about. You know what young lads are like, egging each other on – all that silly bravado and that. So they forced the lock, and went in, and there she was, large as life, staring them in the face. The other two boys didn’t think much of her – one of them referred to her as a dusty old heap, would you believe, but Maisie’s brother – Sam, I think it was… or Michael… no, I think it was Stan… a good looking chap, but a bit forward, if you know what I mean. Between you and me, he tried it on with me a couple of times, and me only fifteen or so at the time… but I’m not here to tell you about that.

So Stan’s two mates couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. They even made fun of her. Said she was a bit front-heavy, and he’d be in for a bumpy ride, and stuff like that. But Stan just stared at her with this look on his face. It was love at first sight. He was a gonner. The other two must have been pretty drunk, ‘cos when she swallowed him up – and he went willingly, like they do; he was totally enchanted – they started laughing like idiots, and even when she ran off down the road with poor Stan, they were still laughing.

But I tell you what – they weren’t laughing when she turned round and spat him out over the cliff. When what was left of him was picked up, it wasn’t a pretty site. His face was all smashed in.

They drove the she-devil back to the shed, and put a new padlock on the door. About four years later I started courting George. I met him when I was on holiday at Bognar Regis. It’s lovely there? You ever been to Bognar? You should. I met him at an amusement arcade where he was working. He got the job because he was good with mechanics, and those one-arm–bandits were always going wrong. We got married a couple of years later. He moved in with me, as I’d been left the house by my parents… no, they’re not dead. Why would you think that?. Dad had a big win on the pools so they moved away. My George got a job in the garage – he loved ‘is cars, ‘e did – and we settled down all nice and quiet. I thought I had it made.

To start with, he didn’t seem all that interested in the monstrous beauty in the shed – and why would he be? He had me, and his cars in the garage, what more could he want? He even got us a nice little yellow mini. We used to go all over in that.

Then he started going on about the she-devil, asking for details about her. I had a nasty suspicion about what was on his mind, and I tried to distract him with my womanly wiles if you know what I mean, but he couldn’t stop thinking about her. Then one evening he said he was going to the Ring-o’-Bells to play darts – like he did every Thursday, an he upped and broke into the shed instead.

Well, I know what you’re expecting, but it wasn’t like that. You have to remember, my George was a man of experience. I’m not saying he wasn’t charmed – charmed is an understatement; He was besotted. He came home late that night with stars in his eyes. Told me straight out what he’d done. Admitted he’d been messing with her all that time, and said he was going back the next night. I warned him that she was dangerous, but he got offended and said he knew a lot more about these things than me. He said she wasn’t a monster, she was beautiful and she just needed the right handling. After that he went over to her every evening, messing about with her; said he was “toning her up”.

Yes, of course I was a bit jealous, but a man’s got to have a hobby, hasn’t he? And it’s not like she was the first. It was one after the other with him, all through our marriage. Once he got a taste for those little run-arounds, there was no stopping him, But this time it was different. He was in love, and she was dangerous.

Still, at the end of the day, he always came home to me, didn’t he? I could have done with him not going on about her all the time, but you can’t have everything in life. He thought he’d tamed ‘er. I thought it was going to be OK, but about six weeks after the affair started, he was on his way over there when he bumped into a neighbour whose wife had just given birth. A little boy, it was – so cute – at first. They spoilt him rotten, that was the trouble. He turned into a horrid child. Always up to no good, from the time he learnt to talk. There was one time… oh, my glass is empty… it’s my round…

I seem to have forgotten my purse… oh, I couldn’t possibly… well, if you’re sure?

…………

A double? Oh, you really shouldn’t have… bottoms up… oops… could you… just…slap me on… the… back…

Ahem… Where was I? Oh, yes. So George went to the pub for a coupla jars, and then maybe a couple more. By the time ‘e left there he was pretty wobbly, so they said afterwards. ‘e should’a come home, but instead ‘e went off with ‘er, an’ what with bein’ three sheets to the wind an’ all, ‘e didn’t exercise ‘is usual control. ‘E went too fast. I told ‘im she was unstable, that sort always are, and she’d killed before. Next thing, ‘e’s at the bottom of the cliff,  exact place they found young Stan, or Sam, or whatever ‘is name was.

After that they smashed ‘er up; Crushed ‘er ’til she was no more’n a… squashed thing..

Sorry. It still makes me cry. I miss ‘im so, you see. ‘E was so good when it come to putting up shelves… and the bedroom… you know… well, you can ‘magine, a man like ‘im…

Yes, p’r’aps another drink would ‘elp, feelin’ a bit sempi… ssental… sssentilental… oh, you know… thing…

…………

Ssheers… Anyway, before it… ‘appened, ‘e took a photo of ‘er. Would you like to see? I think it tells its own story… it’s in me bag somewhere… I’ll show you – it’s ‘coz there’s two at the front and only one at the back. It makes it unstable. Not safe to go too fast with one of them… ‘swhy they kept ‘er ‘idden ‘way and locked up. Bloody murderer… killed my Graham… whasat? Who wa’n’t wha’? Well, my George, then. Whatever… bloody stupid idiot, s’what ‘e was… thought ‘e knew it all…

‘Ere’s the photo of ‘er…

Messerscmitt KR200 1959.jpg
(Image Credit: Gjermundsen)

‘Sright… Messerschmitt Kabinenroller. German thing. What? Well, wha’ di’you thing I’s talkin’ ’bout?

My glash ish empty…

.

Written for The Daily Post #Hidden

©Jane Paterson Basil

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16 thoughts on “The She-Devil

  1. I certainly remember this car in 1950’s and into 60’s around London. Not too many around. I suspect that the maker was not too popular in Britain, then

    The BMW bubble car was more ubiquitous. What was the name? Isetta? A woman teacher at our school had one Isetta. A bunch of lads leaving at 16, placed it in the school pond at the entrance. Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Did they pick it up and carry it? 🙂
      Like most bubble cars had a reputation for handling badly, but the Messerschmitt was very unpopular. I had a friend who went to great lengths to get one. He took a corner too fast, went over a hedge and landed upside down in a field. It was nasty, but he made a full recovery – apart from the occasional ache now and again, but it was the end of the love affair with his car.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I believe so? Wasn’t there but saw it, when on my after school job. She was both popular and unpopular, with her students. I never had her as a teacher, so could not say. It was a thankless task looking after young teenagers through the day. My sister thought she was nice. While the concept was fine … three wheels. Most of them were unstable even the Reliant. Due to light weight and short wheelbase. Probably the best was the Morgan three-wheeler? They’re still made, I think? I rode motorcycles then. A friend had a Reliant … unstable in a crosswind. I am not surprised with your friend. They had a bad rep. In Germany post war, many vehicles were produced to make up for the lack of personal transportation. Think Citroen 2CV? Or Renault. Poor ol’ George … better a 4 wheeler? Cheers Jamie

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Like my friend, I think George was in love with the looks. they were pretty in their odd way.
          I saw a Morgan 3 wheeler a a coupla weeks ago. You have to go on a waiting list to buy one new. They’re not very comfortable to travel in – but then, I don’t suppose the Reliant was – and it was ugly. I remember a national competition that was run over here once. The prizewinner got Reliants -I think there were seven of them to give away, and one of my neighbours won one. he was a laughing stock with his bright orange wedge rolloing along the road

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yee-ahhh, I guess so ..? I never laugh at transportation. There are some I would not wish to have but why laugh for we are lucky to have such things. When I owned an acreage we had mammoth donkeys and they’re about as strange as all get out. Loved those animals. They could be ridden but I would not. Seemed unfair since I was a large person. Just seemed wrong to do so. They were also harness trained and used them occasionally to pull a rock boat or tree. Cheers Jamie

            Liked by 1 person

              1. It’s a sled for moving large rocks. Better than a wheelbarrow, for it slides over the ground.

                Living in Victoria BC. We get cruise ships every day. As they enter the harbour about a mile and a half away. They let loose the ship’s horn. Departing also. Through the day, between them and the Victoria /Seattle ferry. The air sings with their deep throated roars. Festival?https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festival_Cruises … like that?
                I hope you have more stories like this “She-Devil”? For good tales of transport are few … Yet so important for people. Cheers Jamie.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Thanks for your support and comments, Jamie, they add encouragement and interest to my day.
                  The different lives people live…
                  Stories like this surface every now and again, but they’re impossible to predict. I’m too tangled up in poetry these days – not a good thing, as it’s a bit obsessional, and obsession smacks of addiction… both strong family traits.

                  Liked by 1 person

  2. well what a scandal an all … tellin tales on ya old man just to get a pint … what a cutie she is, bet she seduced many a reckless fella .. dry pub .. I’m off to where I can whet the whistle 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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