Without Conscience by David Stuart Davies

Without Conscience by David Stuart Davies

Author:David Stuart Davies
Language: eng
Format: azw3
ISBN: 9780312382100
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: 2008-11-25T05:00:00+00:00

James Dolan had been putting off going home since he left the bank. Just at the moment, his domestic life was not particularly enjoyable to say the least. His wife’s sister had come to stay and the two women were making his life intolerable. They had joined forces to organize his life, upset his daily routines and belittle and ridicule him at every turn. They had turned him into a downtrodden lodger in his own home. His protests and requests went unheeded or were greeted by bouts of sarcastic laughter. The situation was exacerbated by his position at the bank. As the manager, he was respected, even feared by his workforce. They deferred to him for all decisions and sought his advice on the most trivial of matters. In the bank he was king, but at home he was derided and abused. That was why he had taken to staying in the city on the pretence of attending a series of meetings – ‘secret meetings concerning the war effort’ – to avoid going home so early. In reality, he grabbed a bite to eat in a café and then sat in a pub nursing a pint of beer while he attempted The Times crossword, passing the evening away in quiet contentment until it was time to catch the tube train home. He was aware that the harridans waiting for him to return had probably guessed he was lying. They would have smelt the alcohol on his breath and put two and two together. However, it didn’t seem to bother them. It gave them more time to plot and plan to make his life more miserable. Sometimes when he heard the German planes overhead, he wished they would make a direct hit on number 11 Bradley Avenue.

Glancing at his watch, his heart sank. It really was time for the tube. With at least half the crossword incomplete, he stuffed the paper into his pocket, drained the glass of beer and left the pub.

It was a chilly night and he pulled up his coat collar against the cold. A bright, newly minted sharp-edged moon creamed the streets in a pale-yellow light. Knowing now that the best of his day was over, Arthur turned down the little side street that would eventually lead him to the Tottenham Court Road tube station, and eventually home.

He was preoccupied with his own miserable thoughts when he saw her – the solitary woman standing on the corner of the next street. Oh, no, he thought, not another prostitute. He hated being accosted by them because he never quite knew what to say. He had no desire to go with one – well, he had two women at home and that was enough for him – and yet he didn’t want to be rude to them because he was aware that many of them had turned to this profession out of desperation, by dreadful circumstances brought on by the war.

However, he knew he had to pass her to


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