by Mark Robinson

Today he was the irritating man from accounts who so loved to sneer at all and sundry and he was going to screw him big time. His wife did not expect him back until eleven. Starting the wine tasting club had been so convenient, Sarah would have no idea.

It had taken several months to organise the visit that had put Price within reach, but the carefully observed campaign placing himself in the man's sphere of influence had been worthwhile and now it was payback time.

His own body lay where he had left it locked in the garage, warm and comfortable waiting for his return. He had Price's. He was Price. Price's mind was dormant in the machine.

With Price's keys he took Price's car and drove the three miles to Price's house. He was going to enjoy this. When Price had closed down the programme, his brainchild, he had made a mistake. No one had realised quite how far the research had already gone, and, whilst suppressing the success of early experiments was publicly frowned upon, it was also common practice in such a high risk, ethically questionable business. Never publish until you are sure.

He was sure now.

Parking outside Price's house he carefully straightened his tie and, whistling tunelessly as he had rehearsed, he strolled to the front door, inserted the key and called, "It's only me." 'Ironic that,' he thought and made his way through the garishly decorated hallway to the lounge. The wife was sitting primly on the edge of the sofa, knees together, skirt smooth. This was going to be fun.

"What a day!" he piped. The high pitch of the voice still came as a surprise. He did not, however, intend to keep it long enough to get used to it. "I don't feel myself at all," he said. "Get me a drink."

She looked at him quizzically.

"You don't normally drink during the week," she retorted rising and pressing the creases out of her skirt.

"No, no, it's just that devil Mills from research. I closed down his programme recently and from the scowls he's been sending in my direction, I think he's rather sore about it. Tough shit."

"Which one is Mills?" she asked. This was delicious.

"Oh, I don't expect you would remember him. Nondescript, not much hair, not much character, not much in the brain department." (Not much!)

"And he's driven you to drink?" Wonderful!

"Not really, I can take it. Actually, now I come to think of it, he was there when you picked me up last week. I could see his grubby little eyes crawl all over you." And in just a little while after another drink or two...

"Here, don't spill it. It's unusual for you to let work affect you. You're normally so in control." Was there was a trace of sarcasm in her tone?

"Well, it's been a busy time and tonight I feel like relaxing. Come and sit down."

She settled on the other end of the settee strangely tense. He slid across, his arm snaking around her shoulders, hand resting idly on the slope of her breast.

"What the hell do you think you're doing? We've been through all this!" She leapt off the settee sending a fountain of Scotch over the room. "How dare you!" she stormed and slapped him powerfully. It might have been Price's body, but he felt the sting.

"I told you never to touch me again. I don't care who she is and I don't want to know. You've made your bed and you can go and screw in it!"

'Christ Price, you 're a bigger bastard than I thought,' he thought.

"My cases are in the bedroom and the taxi's due in ten minutes. I'm still leaving, it's no good." Her determination and disgust were both apparent as she headed upstairs. Within minutes her luggage was by the door, the taxi had arrived and she was gone.

"Bugger!" he said. He rose from the settee and poured himself more of Price's malt. It was less of a victory than he had expected, but it still felt good. "I'm drinking your whiskey and your wife's pissed off." He raised his glass to the wedding photo on the mantelpiece.

As the warmth of the whiskey reached the back of his throat the phone rang. He smiled -more chance for mischief.

He lifted the receiver ready for revenge.

"I saw the taxi. Has she gone?" said Sarah.

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