By all accounts the human mind is a many layered and complex muscle and one that has never truly been understood. Why are certain things remembered or forgot? How is it possible that someone can recite a whole Shakespearean speech, but forget to put the rubbish out on a Monday morning? What exactly is the point in having a brain with a bigger capacity than any computer processor, but forgetting a loved one’s birthday? And how is it possible that something right at the front of your thoughts; something you had been thinking about the entire way home on your sixty minute drive from work, could just vanish from your mind? Perhaps we’ll never know, perhaps our minds are just a little too complex for us puny humans, or perhaps it’s just easier to put it all down to fate. If that is the case, then fate was certainly playing an ugly game that June afternoon on David Strutter.
‘Oh shit!’ Dave shouted to himself and swerved left at the roundabout instead of the right he was indicating. A huge 4x4 let out a blast from behind and Dave caught a glimpse of the driver motioning a rarely seen Dick Head sign as he pulled away. ‘I can’t believe I forgot.’
It was June 13th, a Wednesday, nothing special other than the fact it was about ninety five degrees and he’d been stuck in the car for twice as long as he normally would be. His back and ass crack were dripping with sweat and every now and then he felt the odd trickle from under his armpits making its way down south. As usual he was running late, his business partner had double booked another client and left Dave to pick up the pieces, make the apologies and generally lick ass. This wasn’t something he particularly minded doing (ass licking was a day to day occurrence in his job anyway), but he and Jenny, his wife, had been going through a rough patch these last few months and he wanted to make the effort, or more importantly make it look like he was making the effort, of getting home on time for once.
Jenny was pissed at his crazy working hours and pissed at him for not seeming to care how it was affecting their marriage. Mainly though she was pissed at Simon. Simon Giles was Dave’s business partner and Jenny had never liked him, in fact she made it obvious she detested the man. She was behind Dave one hundred percent when he suggested leaving the old firm and going freelance, but was less than enthusiastic when she learnt it was Simon Giles he was going into business with. Simon had never married and appeared to have a different girlfriend each week, Jenny felt that Simon was always checking her out – or checking out her rack, as she put it.
Dave and Simon worked in the local town as freelance financial advisors. They had formed the company four years ago with the catchy title of Giles & Strutter Financial Solutions. Giles was clearly the more ambitious of the two but that’s not to say that Dave wasn’t into the business. On the contrary, the first few years were fantastic. The money was good, he and Jenny got that detached house they had their eye on and they went on that second honeymoon they were always talking about. Life was generally good.
Jenny then fell pregnant with their second boy Aaron in 2004 and just when Dave thought things would settle down into more of a steady routine, Simon wanted to up the ante and expand the business. He wanted to open another office in the neighbouring town which he would run, leaving Dave to run the first branch by himself. Simon was the driver; the go-getter. It was his idea to form the company in the first place and to steal all the clients from their old firm. It was his idea to go door to door and deal with after hours private meetings. It meant they had lots of clients but the more they took on, the more and more it ate into any home life Dave had. With Simon now in theory doubling Dave’s workload, Dave could see no end to his and Jenny’s fights.
On this particular day, Dave had promised to get home at a decent-ish hour and was actually not doing too bad. He had rushed the last meeting with a couple from the other side of town. A couple that Dave felt were going to be bankrupt in less than a year, but yes of course he would still arrange their £200,000 mortgage. He got into his car and had actually been on the road by 5:15pm. A quick thirty minute drive across town and bob’s your live in lover, in before 6 o’clock. Job done, good boy Davey get yourself a lolly on your way out.
But things hadn’t gone exactly to plan. Every car in town seemed to be out enjoying the late afternoon sun and taking great pleasure in driving as slow as possible. There also seemed to be twice as many holes being dug in the road than there were this morning. On top of that, he had just remembered the strange answer machine message his father had left him a week ago.
‘David, it’s….….your father,’ the message had began. ‘I need to ask you……..a small……….favour,’ the message had rambled like that for over two minutes, but the general gist was they were going on a trip the next day and wondered whether Dave could drop in on the old house and pick up their post a couple of times whilst they were away.
They were due back tomorrow and obviously he hadn’t been round once. So he thought a little detour on the way home wasn’t going to make him much later than he already was.
It was this little memory nugget that had slipped out and then slipped back in just as he had been turning for home which caused his last second change of direction. If the memory recall had been two seconds later then Dave would have made the right turn and would have put his parents’ house off until the next morning. But as it was, fate played itself out and Dave turned left.