They found him lying face down in his bath. Donna, the barmaid in the Grapes where the elderly man had been drinking on that fateful Saturday afternoon,informed WPC Margaret Thomas that, to the best of her recollection he had consumed at least 10 pints of lager. The post mortem revealed a blood alcohol level consistent with Donna’s testimony and there being no suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident a verdict of accidental death was returned. As his friends remarked
“Poor Stan must have banged his head on the bath, lost consciousness and drowned”.
George hated the bathroom. Nothing unusual about that one might say and, indeed as a small boy he shared with his friends a detestation of cleanliness. Playing football, getting caked in mud was all tremendous fun but washing constituted barbarism perpetrated on children by unsmiling adults. In the case of his friends bath time meant gentle cajoling to enter the water. If they refused to wash then their parents driven to distraction might, to howls of protest take hold of the recalcitrant child and soap him from head to toe with imperial leather. Years later George’s friends smiled as they recalled bath time, not so George.
Have you ever felt the cold enamel of a basin as it touches your face? Yes very possibly you have my dear readers. Let me rephrase the question, have you ever felt strong hands holding your head under water? Have you felt the panic rising in you, the terrible unspeakable fear that you would drown? Have you wondered why man does evil unto man? I hope that the answer is no. Little George could unfortunately answer yes to all these questions. He lived in terror of the man. Outwardly charming, the life and soul of the party. He was such a charmer was Stan, no one would have dreamed that he was abusing his step son. Oh reader is that really the case? Shouldn’t someone have seen the terror in George’s eyes when Stan was in the room? Some no doubt remarked on the fact that when Stan was absent how George seemed happy and relaxed. Had someone acted then would Stan’s fate have been averted? Would he have died peacefully in his bed rather than struggling for breath as his lungs filled with water? Perhaps we should ask George but he, like Mccavity wasn’t there, or was he?