Millie is a dilly. Likes weird objects. She’s intrigued by strangers who have a story to tell, and does not care if it fact or fiction. Curries hotter than a desert. Bright clothes at a funeral, dark suits for Christenings. Never goes to weddings out of principle. Eats steak pie for breakfast and muesli for supper. Knows beer should always have a whisky chaser. Draught Guinness and port mixed in the same glass proves g-d exists. She say’s “Men are for using, work is for money and money is for spending, get out of my way and off my case I have a life to live.”

She is one point eight meters tall, short coffee colored hair, golden skin, emerald green eyes. Her dad comes from Liverpool “He can stay there.” Her mum works at Tesco. “ Say’s everything about me.”

When Millie returns home no matter if its day or night she goes to the kitchen and takes off all of her clothes. Yesterdays wash is in tumble dryer, this is emptied, its contents folded, the washing machines contents are placed into the dryer, it is switched on. By the washing machine are three baskets, whites, mixed and heavy soil, the baskets contents are washed by rotation one each day. Now the laundry is “Sorted” (favourite expression) Millie eats whatever is in the fridge, sometimes drinks a beer, often not. She shops when needed, calling her shopping “extinction shopping” She will spend one hundred and fifty pounds on food, household needs. The items are put away, she eats the perishables first then the tinned and frozen, whatever she runs out of is not replaced until the next shop. If you are unfortunate to visit when there is no coffee or tea you will have to do with Bovril, if there is no milk its water in the porridge, of course there will not be any fruit or fresh vegetables in the house after six days, seven at most. Visit on shopping day you’d believe she’s the healthiest eater in the block, visit when the supplies are depleted, you will have serious concerns for Millie’s health. This is her full domestic commitment. The way she lives. And the reason she rarely takes a holiday “Life’s a holiday, if you play it right.”

Laundry, food and now an hour in a steaming hot bath, its water saturated with Dead Sea Salt which kills the germs of the day and releases the tension caused by her clients. Dry, pyjamas, sit in bed, computer, final e-mails, quick look at tomorrow’s diary. Book and music or her favourite films. If asked “What films do you like?” the answer is always “Anything foreign, with sub-titles.” This is also used as a gauge for new friends and the very occasional lover. Those who do not like “Anything foreign with sub-titles.” Cannot be trusted. This is a principal learned from the misjudgment of her husband “(thankfully divorced)” who would never watch sub-titled films. Whilst on this subject Millie does not trust or like anyone who do not drink. Due to the fact her husband “(thankfully divorced)” left her for her (ex) best friend (now known as the bastard) who does not drink. Millie has had to adjust her opinion of non-smokers since she herself has given up tobacco, this is something which she regrets deeply, however she does not want to die like her (maternal) grand-father of cancer. There was a time when non-smokers were not be trusted.

Tonight she was watching ‘Peppermint Frappe’.  Vera her friend stroke/work colleague calls on her (should have been turned off) work iPhone. “Think you may be needed Mill,” “Vera, my name is Millie and the answer is no, my tumble dryer is turning, I’m in bed and the doctor is in his dark-room (best part of the film). “Come on Millie he’s a good looking client in need of some of your special expertise.”

Millie pauses, three clients today one more will not harm, and the extra money will go toward the new car. “Ok I haven’t had a drink (she’ll never drink and drive) text me the address Vera.” Millie has become too close to Vera, if she were to consider a queer relationship, she would corrupt Vera. Now what to wear? Black silk knickers, bra, calf length socks. Ankle length Levis, white tee shirt under lime green cotton shirt and emerald green sweater to match her eyes, not that the client will be very interested in what she is wearing. Shoes flat black leather Ecco trainers. A full length mirror reflects a beautiful woman. Red is supposed to be the colour of passion, this is untrue, green is the colour of passion. Always dress well for a client. ”Yes, Millie my sweet you are a Venus.”

From her apartment to the clients home is a twenty minute drive. The green Alfa sports is comfortable, she is looking forward to the new Alfa Quadrifoglio. Fifty- thousand but who’s counting. Millie loves Alfas, they are different, temperamental, head turners, a car should reflect the driver. His house is imposing, it is a great pity the interior is not. Vera has watched her arrival and opens the front doors. “He’s in his bedroom.” “Lets go straight up.”

Vera has already dressed in the special clothes, Millie opens her bag and takes out what is needed. He lays on his back already naked awaiting the ladies attentions. The pair are professionals, there is no wasting time with small talk, its over in an hour. They leave him in the bedroom, go downstairs find the kitchen, open the fridge and take two bottles of water, if Millie were not driving she would find something stronger, much stronger. “He was a very sick minded man Vera, to want to be tied so tightly by the wrists and ankles, and then to be whipped like that takes some working out.” “I have taken some images with my phone, it wouldn’t matter to him, its clear he enjoyed being filmed during his ‘exploits’.” “Exploits! Thats a bit tame Vera, its a good job we’re used to this type of work, its no game for the feeble.” The girls (they like to be called girls) look at each other and laugh. “I’ll leave the rest to you and yours then Vera. Will I see you in the morning?” “Yes, send me a text when you leave your apartment.” Millie pouts her lips as if to blow a kiss. In her mind she thinks an affair with Vera might be an interesting proposition.

This early morning reminds her of when she was younger, before she married. A few drinks in town, a club, then tea and a sausage sandwich in Jack’s Cafe. It has not changed, still immaculate, but how Jack has aged.  “How’s my lovely girl this morning, come and give an old man a kiss.” She loves Jack, his cafe and the Northern Soul music he’s played forever. “Remember when you used to work for me Millie? Cleaning tables, cooking fry-ups, serving drinks. Then you went off to college (he always calls the university ‘college’)  you broke my heart when you bought the boys in with you, always late, always last to go.”  “Yes, Jack but you’re the only one who owns my heart.” They laugh “You still working in that disgusting business Millie?” “Yes, Jack my love, any chance of a sandwich with three sausages and a mug of tea?”  “Of course Millie, lock the door for me I’ll have a beer with you.” He pours the tea, makes the sandwich, picks up two bottles of pale ale from under the counter and they sit at the window table watching the city go to sleep.

It was three thirty before she climbed into bed. The ritual had to be the same. Into the kitchen, remove her clothes, empty the dryer, fold the clothes, load the drier with the wash, load the washer with the contents of the most full basket. This time she showers, she pours a whisky, sits in bed, watches the end of ‘Peppermint Frappe’, finishes her liquor, thinks about Jack and how much she loves him, and how she broke his heart, and how he hates her work, and with a clear conscience falls asleep.

Black coffee, porridge made with water (no milk). Sensible clothes this morning there is much to do and she has to meet with a lawyer, and arrange a court hearing, there is no peace for the wicked.  She sends a text to Vera, ‘Meet me at the office’. Alfa to the City, parks in her usual spot. She wishes the security guy would not wink at her, sooner or later she’ll cause him some trouble. Who the ‘f’ does he think he is? He could not afford the laces in her shoes let alone an hour with her.

“Well, Vera our client was not as well man.” The body of the sex pervert is now on the slab, his autopsy has revealed an aortic aneurism as cause of death. Inspector Vera West is used to her friend and colleague Pathologist Millie Green’s matter of fact appraisals. “Foul play Millie?”  “No, he was unlucky, the person unknown who tied him made the bindings too tight, the flagellation closed the blood capillaries in his back, along with an increased blood pressure from sexual arousal his aorta split and he died.”  “Misadventure then Millie?”  “Yes, my sweetheart, we found no indication of foul play at the scene earlier this morning, so misadventure it is.” “He’d have died instantaneously?”  “Vera, he wouldn’t have known if he were coming or going.”


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