Overt Surveillance

So I’m sitting at work in the office as you do. Opening the post, answering emails and I’m bored. The April sky outside is duck egg blue and I find myself wishing I was on holiday. So I indulge my guilty pleasure. Its on my desktop favourites as ICE. A live webcam from the office of the holiday company we rent with every August. After it buffers its as if I’m there. On the harbour. In fact, the camera view has moved. Its been set up on the sea wall, slap bang behind my favourite bench. Our favourite bench. The same bench that Frank (chubby hubby) and I always sit on, eating Fish and Chips from the same place, during the same week every year. Creature of habit, is my Frank. Bad habits, most of em. And then I get a shock. A double-barrel to the eyes. There, lolling on our bench, is Frank. My Frank. Caressing the shoulders of a coiffed stick insect.

It is quite a thing to see one’s husband of eighteen years being unfaithful. In HD, too. Ho Definition. As if she’s sensed my venom I see her head turn. Slowly. I must admit, I feel a modicum of satisfaction that she’s older. No cleavage that I can see. In profile she looks like Joanna Lumley (albeit Mz Lumley mid-siezure). So what d’you think I do? Well, I call up the holiday company. Wharf office. The camera is in their window.  No time like the present, and all that. Linda introduces her. After a bit of smalltalk I appraise her of the situation. Turns out old Linda was once a woman scorned, too. Fancy that. Linda says they’ve been there all morning, smooching like teenagers ( it stung me, hearing that). Frank wasn’t even a teenager when he was teenage.

So I dictate a message for Linda to give to Lumley. It goes like this: Greetings, scarlet woman. You have recently aquired my husband, I see. Yes, I can see you in your Joules top and linen trousers. How nice. Here is the manual for Frank ( who is actually christened as Ken, in case he didn’t tell you). 1. He is not allergic to washing up liquid. He is lazy. 2. NEVER attempt to clean under the seat cushion of any chair he habitually sits on. There WILL be bogies. 3. Being unfaithful is the one thing he has ever done to truly surprise me. God only knows what he is capable of. Yours faithfully, Julia x

I watch the screen as Linda strides purposefully out of the door and in to shot, tapping Lumley’s shoulder and passing her the note. I watch until I am convinced that it really is him, which he shows by pulling off his glasses and scratching his bald spot with the left ear rest (classic guilty Frank). I turn off. I ask Linda where they are staying, knowing the answer even before she replies. No 1, Seychelles. Ah yes, the one we couldn’t afford to stay at for my Fortieth. Lovely. Well. It turns out Linda knows someone who knows someone in the Seychelles. The actual, real Seychelles. Turns out Linda has three weeks leave stored up. Turns out I remember the account number of our nest egg. So its now 9.56 pm and Linda and I are not sitting on a bench. We are seated in First Class, two cocktails down and currently  flying somewhere over Africa. So there, Frank. st-ives-harbour


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