Welcome to "Farewell Gift", a 2,500 short story I wrote earlier this year. I've decided to present it to you here on Surge Bin in five parts. Why not start with part 1, and work your way through? Enjoy!
Marcelle glanced at the clock: three sixteen. It was only two minutes since she had last looked. She went to the kitchen and asked Laura, "You want some tea?"
"Sure thing," she replied, "Why don't you just relax. We know he took the suitcase, we know he got on the plane, and we know the plane has landed. It will all work out. He'll be tied up with customs and the police for a while. You may not get a phone call for hours, even days."
But the phone did ring. Marcelle rushed to answer it, leaving the kettle in the sink.
"Hello Marcelle." The sound of Gary's voice made her heart jolt.
"Gary. You landed safely?"
"Yes, we're all safe in Thailand now. It took me an hour longer than everyone else to get through customs, but never mind. You'd think they'd never seen Prada before."
"You're through customs?" Marcelle's voice tripped over her words. She began to realise that the plan had gone very wrong.
Gary continued, "Look Marcelle, I've decided to change our plans a bit. After the sessions with the university, Cindy and I are going hang out in Thailand for a few months, and really get to know the place, and each other."
"Cindy? Laura's Cindy?" Marcelle only became more confused.
"I suppose that may come as a bit of a surprise. I did try to prepare you by getting Cindy to tell her mother I was in a relationship with a student. I knew Laura wouldn't keep her mouth shut, of course. And then you didn't seem to bat an eyelid. I wondered what was going on, until you gave me my farewell gift."
"Farewell gift?" repeated Marcelle, struggling to keep up with what was happening. Laura was now standing beside her, craning her head, desperately trying to hear Gary's voice on the phone.
"Yes, the farewell gift," said Gary, his voice still relaxed. "Given that you were fully aware that I was in a relationship with a much younger woman, who was also a student, you can imagine my surprise that you wanted to give me an expensive new suitcase. So I looked into it, so to speak, and good thing I did. Beware of jilted women bearing gifts."
He chuckled at his own joke and then paused for a few seconds. "That was a lot of heroin, Marcelle. I've decided to return it to you however, as my own little farewell gift. It will be something to remember me by, until I come back to finalise my divorce. I really can't stay married to a drug dealer, you know. I'm sure the judge will see my point of view."
Gary hung up. Marcelle stood holding the beeping phone, reeling. What happened? She tried to explain to Laura, "Gary found the drugs. I think he's left them here with me. He's with Cindy, Laura. He's having an affair with your daughter Cindy. He's going to divorce me. What am I going to do? What are we going to do?"
Laura's face went pale, but she didn't reply. There was a thumping at the door. Marcelle went and opened it. It was the police – lots of them. They rattled through rehearsed phrases, showed some papers, and demanded her car keys. They went through her car, taking out panels and carpets. Very soon, small white packets began to appear. Marcelle and Laura sat down next to each other on the front steps and began to cry.