Previously, on Alfie Twitch:
1 – Alfie Twitch
2 – Making a Killing
3 – Purple Daubs of Cloud
4 – Bland, Blind Acceptance
Alfie Twitch rubs his wrists, sore from the plastic ties that had him strapped to the chair. He watches as Jess eyes the painting above his desk. With flick-knife still in hand, she approaches the scene of London at night and cuts a St Paul’s-shaped hole out of the canvas.
‘What are you doing?!’
Jess moves towards Alfie and for a moment he thinks she’s going to stab him after all, but instead she reaches for the inside pocket of his jacket and slides in the loose piece of canvas.
‘I don’t know why you’re so upset,’ she says, patting him on the chest. ‘You thought you were going to die two minutes ago.’
‘But that hardly seems – ‘
‘Oh shut up.’ Jess twirls the knife skilfully in her hand. ‘Think of it as a reminder, for when you’re pondering not doing what you’re told.’
Alfie stares at her, gormless.
‘Now, go. Godspeed brave Alfie Twitch. For the Northern Line waits for no man.’
Still Alfie stares.
Jess lunges at him with a stamp of her foot on the wooden floorboards, the loud echo making him jump and fall backwards off his chair.
Collecting himself, Alfie picks up his Pittsburgh Penguins baseball cap and hustles out of his apartment. His own apartment, he registers as he spills out onto the street. His own apartment, where that woman is now, having just tied him to a chair and threatened to kill him. He should go to the police. The station is just around the corner. He starts to walk that way while he thinks about it, until a voice from above pierces through the busy street noise.
‘Not that way Alfie! That’s the way to the police station.’
He looks up and sees Jess leaning out of a window. She is eating one of his organic yoghurts, licking the spoon with relish.
‘Turn around, there’s a good boy.’
On the other side of the road, two workmen sunk halfway into a hole in the pavement and wearing orange hi-vis safety vests and white helmets, laugh loudly and whistle at Jess, who leans so far out of the window it looks like she will surely fall to the street below.
‘I will come down and personally cut you up,’ she shouts to the workmen. ‘You’ll look like waffles.’
The workmen smile uncertainly, look at each other and then at Alfie, who raises his eyebrows in solidarity.
‘She will,’ he says.
The workmen return to their task at hand and Alfie starts walking. It has been raining, he realises now, and he’s sure the glare of the sun bouncing off the wet road is giving him a headache and making him feel a little sick. He has a craving for waffles. He ducks into Sunshine Cafe. Whatever it is he has to do today will have to wait. Everything will feel better after waffles.