MIND TRAP : Part 1
Ben Chatham pushed violently on the door of the Family Court building in Cambridge and strode out into the street, followed by Kyle Scott and Katie Ryan. Tears filled Ben's eyes as he stood on the pavenent, clenching his fists. Kyle held out Ben's jacket:
"You like forgot this Ben".
Ben grabbed the jacket without saying anything. As he did so the door swung open again and Emma Chatham emerged with Paul Jarvis, her solicitor. Ben glared at her:
"I suppose you're pleased with yourself. Well don't think this is over."
Emma walked towards him:
"Ben you know I never wanted it to end this way." Ben fixed her with an icy stare:
"You may well think you've won, you dim-witted doll. But I'll just hire another expensive lawyer to find a string of clever ways to avoid paying you any of the money you think you've stolen from me."
Emma turned away from him and walked away with Jarvis. Katie Ryan put her hand on Ben's shoulder:
"Just move on Ben. At least its just one big pay-off."
"Move on? Are you serious Katie? You heard how much the little slapper was awarded by that idiot judge. I'll have to sell my property portfolio and will be lucky to still keep the apartment. I'm just grateful that my parents are on holiday in the Algarve and not here to find out all the things she accused my of. That Jarvis called me a promiscuous homosexual who habitually committed adultery."
Katie could not resist a sardonic laugh:
"Well he did have photographs and witness statements to back that up."
Ben rounded on her:
"Yes and that is called creepy stalking. Any intelligent judge would have seen that. I am not homosexual, I am a straight guy who prefers to sleep with men. Besides I don't recall you complaining whenever I've given you what you want. Emma could well have cost me my inheritance as well as the legalised theft that she achieved today. Come on, lets go to that pub over there, I need a drink."
Ben, Kyle and Katie went into the pub across from the court, the Wig and Pen, and Ben ordered a double brandy, a pint for Kyle and a vodka and orange for Katie. He slumped down by the corner table and began to tear up the beermats out of frustration.
"Ere Ben look it might not come to you losin' everythin'. Ben wiped tears from his eyes:
"Oh yeah and what do you know Kyle? You've never had anything to lose. All your drug-addled mother will ever leave you is a stack of debts."
Kyle slammed his pint down on the table, spilling some:
"Don't fucking slag off my mum Ben. You wanna feel sorry for yourself an' wallow in self-pity then fine. But don't bring my mum into it."
Ben tore up another beermat:
"Look I'm sorry I said that Kyle. I'm grateful for you two supporting me today. I'm just so damn angry. Where the hell is my life going?"
Ben ordered several more drinks and downed them rapidly. As he stared into an empty glass a young man with a beard and a Mumford & Sons t-shirt approached their table:
"Hi, Ben. Remember me? Its Joe."
Ben looked up lethargically:
"Joe who? Hold on I think I do vaguely remember you. Joe Peters. From my practical fieldwork course at uni." Joe grinned:
"Yeah hows it goin' mate?
"I'm not your mate. I didn't like you. Thought you had the personality of a fourteen year old" Ben replied. Joe kept grinning:
"Hey you're kiddin' me Ben aren't ya. They've got some great beers on in here. How about we go over there and shoot some pool".
Ben looked up icily:
"I have no desire to 'shoot some pool'. I hate pool. I suggest you go and get yourself a beer and then pour it over your own head. It is the sort of thing that might amuse you."
Joe sat down still smiling:
"Hey I'm chuffed that you've lost none of your wit Ben. Look I'll be honest with you, my being here is not just a coincidence. I called round your place earlier. A young italian guy said he was your cleaner and that you were in the court over there this afternoon and that you were likely to come into the nearest pub to get plastered afterwards."
"Hmmm. That may well have just cost Luigi his job. What do you want by the way? I may as well listen to you witter on a bit more now you're here."
"Look Ben, I heard from a mate of ours, Jim Simmonds, all about how you're an investgator now. Into the paranormal and stuff."
"Jim Simmonds was not a mate of mine. He was your mate and just as immature." Joe had stopped grinning and now looked deadly serious:
"Look Ben, I need your help. I've come all the way here from Swindon to see you. Its my former girlfriend Lisa. She's been killed in a car crash. The driver is in the City General with concussion and other injuries. They say he was drunk and he drove the car into a crowd of people at a bus stop. Some of them were hurt as well. But it just doesn't add up. The car stopped before hitting any buildings so why was she killed? Also she went to stay at that guy Max Eastman's weird ESP research place. Have you heard of him? Recruits people for his mind over matter experiments and other stuff. She sent me this weird text the day before the accident saying that she was in danger and could I come and get her away from there."
Ben stared blankly at his glass:
"Why does any of this matter? If she's your ex then why are you bothered?"
"Look Ben I still love her.... loved her ok. She was the one who ended it. Said she was bored."
"I know how she felt" Ben muttered under his breath.
"Look mate, Ben ain't himself at the mo. But look we'd like to help investigate like. I'll cam an' shoot some pool an' you can fill me in with more details."
Kyle and Joe left for the pool table and Ben put his head in his hands:
"I suppose a new case will take my mind off everything Katie........"
...........to be continued.