by Simon Evans
Nurinder Prassad tapped her desk gently with her pen as she listened to yet another ringing tone. When the answering machine message started she terminated the call and clicked on the next customer record on her screen. She glanced out of the window at the early evening traffic, the bleary lights and the endless drizzle.
“Hello,” snapped an impatient male voice.
Nurinder turned her attention quickly to her screen.
“Good evening, could I please speak with Mr Jeremy Brunt?”
“Jeremy Brunt speaking, who is this?”
“Hello Sir, my name is Nurinder Prassad and…”
“You’re who?! What the hell is this?”
“My name is Nurinder Prassad Sir a…”
“Naranga what? What the hell is this? I’m in the middle of my dinner.”
“I’m calling from C-Plan Services on behalf…
“WHAT? Why the bloody hell are you disturbing me? Where the hell are you calling from? India?”
“I’m sorry to disturb you Sir, would there be a better…”
“Who the hell are you? Why are you calling me? I’m in the middle of my dinner.”
“What’s your name?”
“My name is Nurinder Pr…”
“Well listen to me Naranga. I want to know where you’re calling from. I’m not happy about this. Not happy at all. I’m in the middle of my dinner.”
“Are you calling from India?”
“No Sir, I’m calling from Enfield.”
“Why are you disturbing me? I’m in the middle of my dinner. Where did you get my number?”
“Sir, if I could just explain.”
“How dare you interrupt me?!”
“Sir, I didn’t…”
“THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! Do you know who I am?!”
“You’re Mr Jerem…”
“I know who I am you silly moron! Where the hell are you calling from?!”
“Sir, I can call bac…”
“Bloody Indian call centres, bothering me in the middle of the night. This is a disgrace. I want the name of your manager, or whoever is in charge there.”
“Sir, I’m very sorr…”
“You’re not sorry. You don’t care. As long as you get your hand full of blasted rupees or whatever you don’t bloody care. Don’t tell me you’re sorry. But you will be sorry. I’m going to the Press with this. Do you know Timothy House? Do you?”
“He’s the Mayor of Lincoln and a very good personal friend and I think he’d have a thing or two to say about immigrants calling me at all hours when I’m in the middle of my dinner. I want to know your company registration number, whereabouts in India you’re calling from and your full name, your REAL name. And I want to speak to whoever is in charge at your Mickey Mouse operation.”
“Oooh, now you go quiet. Not so mouthy now. I bet you’re sat there with all my personal information in front of you aren’t you? How can I trust some random little foreigner with my data?! How do I know that you won’t sell it on? Why do people like you see fit to hassle the hard working people of this country in their own homes! I’m going to the papers with this. And Watchdog. I want some answers from you, you little shit. Is it jealousy? Are you jealous of what I am? Sat there in your shitty Indian call centre like a little fucking phone monkey. Is that it?”
Nurinder pressed ‘Cancel’ and ripped her headset off. Her heart was pounding and tears were welling in her eyes.
“You alright ‘Rinder?” asked Brian, who sat next to her.
“I just need a quick break,” said Nurinder, locking her screen.
Nurinder returned to her desk a few minutes later and wrote some details on a post it note.
This all happened on Thursday evening. On Sunday evening Nurinder Prassad arrived, by train, at Lincoln Station. She took a taxi to Gordon Road. She checked the post it note again. ‘Jeremy Brunt, Hedge Bottom House, The Glades, Gordon Road, Lincoln’.
Jeremy Brunt was in the middle of his dinner. This evening he planned to watch a spot of Morse and tie up a few odds and ends in his study, walk the dog, have a snifter of single malt and then hit the hay. He was just pouring a second glass of Pinotage when the doorbell rang.
“Who the devil could this be?” asked Brunt, looking at the kitchen clock and then at his wife.
“Do you want me to go?”
“No Darling, you finish your dinner. I’ll deal with this.”
Nurinder stood to one side of the door, under the wooden sign ‘Hedge Bottom’. As the hall way light came on and a figure could be seen approaching through the mottled glass of the front door, Nurinder unzipped her bag.
As the various chains, bolts and locks were undone on the other side of the door she slipped the hammer out of her bag.
Jeremy Brunt opened the door to be confronted by a pretty girl holding a back pack to her chest.
“Mr Brunt?” she asked. He was a small, fussy looking man. His hair was combed into a neat parting. On his face he wore a clipped moustache and some spectacles. His torso was bedecked in a patterned cardigan. He wore corduroy trousers and corduroy slippers.
“Yes, that is I. How can I help you?”
Nurinder burst into tears and dropped the bag, revealing the hammer.
Nurinder raised the hammer and screamed.