Daughter: Apparently the man next door didn't murder his girlfriend after all.
Mother: How do you know that? Why haven't we seen her around then?
Daughter: Alpha told me what he has found out about her. She's still around, but she's changed a lot. Now she smokes, and gets drunk, and he thinks she's turning into an alcoholic. She slips into the house next door at one am in the morning, after leaving the pub with the man next door.
Mother: He has obviously given up trying to impress her by showing how well he can look after himself. I can't see any food in his kitchen, and for a long time there has only been something white at the bottom of his wire fruit basket. I can't tell whether it's garlic, or just a crumpled up piece of paper.
A COUPLE OF DAYS LATER.
(Mother and Peter were saying goodbye, after a lovely time together)
Peter: I'll park here to kiss you goodbye, rather than kiss you near your house, in case someone is watching us.
Mother: That reminds me about something strange that happened to me yesterday. I was waiting to cross the road outside the station, (on my way to my daughter's house,) when I turned my head just in time to see a young Asian man close to me, with a camera to his eye, pressing the button and taking my photo. Why on earth would he be taking my photo?
Peter: That's strange. You have to be careful. Maybe he wants to steal your identity or something. Has any of your mail gone missing lately?
Mother: I'm still waiting for some things to arrive.
(Mother hadn't told Peter anything about the madman and the small red car, in case he got anxious.)
Mother: I've just seen something very interesting. On my way here, as I walked down the lane, I saw a small red car driving in through the side gate behind the house at the bottom of the lane.
This may have been the car that frightened me in the lane that night. The most interesting thing is that it had different number plates from the madman's small red car, and it was being driven by a young Asian woman.
I felt so glad I hadn't rung the police to complain about a madman in a small red car chasing me, and trying to kill me
On the other hand, if it was this car that followed me up the lane that night, maybe there is some connection between the Asian woman driving it, and the Asian man who took my photo near the station recently.
Older Daughter: But the car that frightened you that night might have been another small red car.
Mother: Of course. It could still have been the madman's car, or it could have been yet another small red car.
Mother: I just saw the madman's red car being pulled up onto the back of an NRMA tow truck. It was the same car. I know the number plates by heart. But there was a dark haired young woman there. I could hear her voice, then I saw her sitting in the passenger seat of the tow truck. Her thick, tousled black hair was cut in a boyish bob.
So I wonder, does this red car really belong to the madman, or does it belong to this girl?
Was this girl in fact the madman?
Older Daughter: I think you made the whole story up.
Mother: I did not! It's all true.
Maybe the car was always her's, and never the madman's. Maybe it was just a coincidence that, on two occasions when I saw the madman, he was close to that small red car, so that I assumed it was his.
WEEKS WENT BY.
Mother (to Older Daughter): I often see "the madman's" car parked in the street, but I haven't seen the madman again. I haven't seen the girl with tousled black hair again either.
Have you seen them?
Older Daughter: Not that I know of.
Mother: After I crossed the road to your place, on my way here, I turned around and saw "the madman's" small red car pull up in front of the flats across the road, and I wondered who would get out.
What happened is what always happens. Whenever I see "the madman's" car pulling up I look to see who will get out, but no one ever does.
(To be continued.)