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Copyright Ben Westerham 2018. All rights reserved.

Good Investigations

“He's got all me money,” she sobbed, her face buried in a damp hanky.

“What a git,” I replied, thinking I'd heard this particular story so many times before that I'd long since lost count. “It never ceases to amaze me how nasty some husbands can be to their wives,” I added in a deeply sympathetic tone.

“I used to love him,” she said, followed by more tears.

“And now?” I asked.

“Now?” she stopped sobbing and looked confused. “What do you mean?”

“Do you still love him? After what he's done?”

Tracey Launch had made herself an appointment only that morning. In her mid-twenties, short, too big a belly, chubby legs and more make up on her face than you'd find in a small branch of Boots, she didn't do herself any favours wearing a green nylon tracksuit that had seen better days. Her black, bobbed hair needed a wash and it was hard ignoring the stale cigarette smell on her breath. Not the most appealing bird I'd ever met, but a punter's a punter and work is work, so who was I to complain. Get too fussy about who I take on as a client and I'd soon end up with none.

She'd been spilling her guts for the last ten minutes, a simple case of marriage gone bad. Simple, that is, to you and me, when we're looking in from the outside. For Mr and Mrs Launch it was anything but simple. It hardly ever was for those involved, even when they thought it was. Everyone's got their point of view and who's to say which one's right; maybe they're all right, in their own way, or at least in their own mind. To Tracey Launch's mind it was all as straightforward as it got. Her used-to-be-darling husband had been shagging one of her mates and now all their cash was gone. She'd put two and two together and come up with a big number; over three grand was now benefiting her former mate and she wanted it back, or at least her share of it; which seemed fair enough to me.

“Well … I ...” she looked meekly down at her hands before owning up. “Yes, I still love him. Can't help it,” she said quietly.

Funny, isn't it? Her old man has been shagging her friend for months and now he'd run off with all their cash, but despite all that she still wanted the money and the man back. Why, you have to ask yourself, would a sane person want that? The answer is as simple as my cousin Ralph; she's a member of the human race. We can't help ourselves. All those emotions swishing around inside us have a nasty habit of tripping us up and rubbing our sore little nose in the dog dirt, after which we jump right up and say 'thank you'. We're powerless to stop it. You've got more chance of shagging one of the girls out of Bananarama than you have of putting a stop to all those emotions. And dumpy Tracey, with the dirty tracksuit and the twitchy eye, was just the latest example to come calling at my office in search of a cure for this debilitating and confusing illness. Sadly, all I could offer was a sticking plaster and a nice cup of coffee, if I was feeling generous; the rest was down to her and her old man.

Excerpt from Good Girl Gone Bad