Colin Galbraith Author (Official Website)

Slick by Colin Galbraith



The roads were surprisingly quiet. He turned on the radio, the first time he had ever done so in his Porsche. Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd was playing. It seemed as appropriate a song as he could have asked if he was to choose the soundtrack to his life. He drove to East London Cemetery, unseen he hoped, and chose a quiet spot close to the side gates to park the car.

He hoped there would be fresh graves, then remembered the procession he got stuck in on his way over to see the burnt out wreckage of his office the other day. He had never been to a cemetery before, never mind during the middle of the night. Guilt tried to prick him when he thought of his mother wasting away in her care home, another place he had never visited.

It all seemed very surreal, too quiet and undisturbed. The feeling of being watched by someone, something, followed him as he searched out new turf over a grave. There would probably be flowers and maybe some ornaments. He would leave them undisturbed; place everything back where he found it as a sign of respect.

Soon enough, he found one. Kenny Maverish, dead and buried within a week, soon to be exhumed for a greater purpose. Who would notice? He started to dig, trying to keep the slicing of the metal spade through the earth as quiet as possible. He was in the far depths of the cemetery but even with his torch resting on the headstone he found it difficult to see. The sweat from his toil burned his eyes and a chill rattled him as the wind picked up slightly and cooled the sweat onto his skin.

Eventually he hit the coffin. He cleared it of dirt and used the edge of the spade to prise the lid but it wouldn't budge. There was only one thing for it; he had to go through the wood. It was a flimsy piece of manufacturing, or perhaps the weight of the earth had weakened it, but his spade splintered the wooden exterior on the first blow, and after another five or six, the face of the dead man became clear.

Kenny Maverish looked at peace, as though he was sleeping. Ronnie shone his torch down and thought the old man looked like some latex replica of a rotting corpse used in some low budget horror movie. The stench of decaying flesh and bone convinced him otherwise, and he dry retched where he stood.

Ronnie laid out the plastic sheets on the grass and jumped into the grave. He hauled up the lid of the coffin and pulled Mr. Maverish from his resting place, hoisting his body up and out onto the sheets. He wrapped up what was left of his stiff body, then lowered the lid back down on the coffin and began replacing the earth it had taken him over an hour to remove.

With the last flower back in place, Ronnie lifted Mr. Maverish onto his shoulder and made his way steadily back through the graveyard towards the car. The railings were low enough not to cause a problem, but he still had to hoist the body over to the other side. Mr. Maverish landed with a sickening thud. Ronnie followed and lowered the car roof, manoeuvred the corpse into the back seat and got into the car.

He sat for a moment and reflected on what he had just done. He had just exhumed a dead man from his grave. Would he go to hell for such an act? Or had he committed enough acts of depravity in his life that one more would make no difference? He was starting to think again, so he started the engine and reversed the car back out onto the main street.

He drove north through the city, onto Islington, through Tottenham, and onwards to Enfield where there was a place he knew suited his requirements perfectly.

* * *

Ronnie drove to Bus Hill Park Golf Club in the heart of Enfield. On the western side of the railway track is its big brother, Enfield Golf Course, part of Grange Park, which houses the local school and an area more commonly known as World's End. It's a sprawling patch of green in the northern tip of Greater London, used by the local community in all manner of respects; dog walkers, golfers, footballers, ramblers, but tonight it would add another recreation to its list of activities catered for; suicide.

The irony of the park's name was not lost on him as he drove along the northern edge and turned into a dirt track running alongside a small brook. He turned the headlights off and took the car as far from the town lights as possible.

The stench from Mr. Maverish's corpse was growing fiercer as he pulled the Porsche into position. He opened the roof and lifted out his sports bag, leaving everything else where it was. He moved the corpse from the back and placed it in the driver's seat, and retrieved the spare can of petrol from the storage compartment, splashing it all over the silver metallic body of his Porsche, the interior leather, and Mr. Maverish. He unlocked the handbrake and pushed the car down the steep slope leading into the brook, watched it gather speed, bump and bounce off the track, and plummet down into the streaming water below with a sickening crumple; his pride and joy already a write-off.

The Zippo pinged happily as Ronnie flicked it open with his finger, the flame insignificant against the darkness surrounding him. He threw it down toward the car, and almost before it touched the vehicle, the heat from its flame sparked the fire that would engulf the Porsche.

Ronnie picked up his bag and turned away, looking back only once at the night sky, now aglow with the fierce rush of energy concentrating on his car, his life story, and Mr. Maverish. The car exploded as the fire spread to the fuel tank, followed by orange embers gently floating out of the night sky around him. Ronnie walked into the darkness, the hint of a regret-tinged smile creeping over his face. He was now a dead man.