I’ve decided to have a bit of fun with Liz Thurlow, my character from Saturday’s Story Planning workshop, and will devote some upcoming posts to her. I have not planned out what she is going to do. I am thinking of this as an experiment in letting a character have their head and see where it leads. If you need to catch up, you can read the first part here. Thank you to all who gave me feedback from that first story, and for urging me to go on. Hope you enjoy the journey. I’ll try to keep each episode under five hundred words for a quick read.
Liz frowned. She knew her neighbour was away. When her husband had died suddenly, choking on the toasted ham and cheese sandwich that he’d grabbed and gobbled before he realised it was too hot to swallow, Jan, the neighbour, had changed. Took up tap dancing, went about the place singing and tip-tapping, started having her dance friends in for bubbles and brioche. Then she bought a camper van and announced she was ‘going on the road.’
‘Gone off to find herself,’ Bob had scoffed sarcastically. Bob’s idea of a holiday was two weeks in a caravan park. But he wasn’t a creature of habit, oh no, because they went to a different park every holiday. It was all the same to Liz. Cooking, cleaning and washing in one caravan was much the same as another. And none of it was much different to home – just less convenient. She’d put up with it all these years because she thought it would do the kids good to get away from their indoors lives and electronic toys, but the moment they moved away to uni they had stopped coming.
‘Since it’s just the two of us now,’ she’d said to Bob, ‘what about a trip to Hawaii?’
‘Hawaii? Why would you want to go all that way? We’ve got sun, sand and surf here. We’ve got Hawaii minus the airfare!’ he’d looked smug, pleased with his smart observation. Liz knew he thought it made him sound witty.
So with Jan away, why was this builder in her driveway? Liz was a founding member of neighbourhood watch, although no one came to meetings any more. Being home during the day meant she could keep a close eye on everything going on in her street, and others relied on her to note anything out of the ordinary. It was her civic duty, you could say.
Tony Babic, the builder, was 5’10”. She could say that with certainty because she was only a couple of inches shorter. Aged somewhere between forty and fifty, she couldn’t be sure. He had dark close-cropped hair, greying at the side and temples, and crinkling at the tips. The kind of hair which would grow curly if it was left longer. He was lean, not skinny, muscular lean – maybe around eighty-five kilos she guessed. His shorts were a snug fit, showing off a rounded bottom . . . and those thighs.
She took all this in as she watched him staring up at the front of the house. He paced back and forward, all the time craning up to the second storey.
‘What if he’s looking for a way to break in?’ she thought. She remembered the key point of neighbourhood watch. Note the vehicle details . . . It was a ute really, not a van. A white Toyota Hi-Lux, registration I BLD 4U. She ran to the kitchen and scribbled it on a piece of paper.