“You can’t go down that road, Sir.” The constable put his hand on Dan’s chest to stop him.
“Electric reader,” Dan said, flashing him his ID.
“I don’t care if you’re the King of England. You can not go down that road. Find another route.” This time the constable turned to face him and puffed his chest out.
“Bloody jobsworth,” Dan said, under his breath, as he turned around and walked back.
Dan had got into meter reading by accident. A job for a year to clear some debt so he could go travelling. That had been six years ago. Dan was still walking the streets, knocking on doors asking to read electric meters. Still, it kept him fit, he reasoned with himself.
Dan crossed the cul-de-sac to a group of locals gathered nearby.
“What’s going on here there?” He asked the closest person to him.
“Not sure mate, a wheelie bin has been found full of body parts.”
“Really!” Dan shuddered.
“Yea that’s what that lady said over there.” The neighbour pointed his head towards an elderly woman. She was sat on the curb being comforted by two younger women.
“It’s rubbish day, she took her last bag out and there was an arm in the bin. She thought it was a toy until she touched it. The police came and found more parts in other bins.”
Dan was suddenly pleased he wasn’t reading meters down that road today.
Dan said his goodbye’s and walked away. He’d had enough excitement for one day. Checking his computer when he got back into his van, he went to the next road on his route.
Twenty minutes later Dan arrived in Mill Road. The road was on the outskirts of town. It was an area of greater prosperity than the last. The houses were all four bedrooms and above.
After an hour, Dan knocked on the final door. When he finished he was going to have an early finish.
An elegant lady in her fifties opened the door drying her hands on a towel. She wore a floral dress with an apron over the top of it. Even her slippers were the posh type with a proper sole. She smiled at Dan.
“Come to read your electric meter, Madam,” Dan said, showing his ID.
Oh come in, it’s under the stairs.”
She opened the door for Dan to a hall that was completely oak panelled. The house smelt of a mixture of polish and delicious stew.
“You have a lovely house.” Dan smiled, as he walked up the hall.
“The meter is here,” she said.
Dan bent down with his torch to read the meter and the lights went out. Well, at least that’s what Dan thought had happened. He came to and opened his eyes. It took him five seconds to realise he had a headache and another minute to realise he was tied to a chair.
As the fog cleared in his brain, he saw the lady of the house standing in front of him, smiling. The elderly guy who stood beside her was equally as well dressed. He wore cord trousers, a cardigan and slippers. He reminded Dan of his Grandad.
“The best thing about delivery men, cold callers and meter readers is no one knows exactly where they disappear.” The guy said, ending any resemblance he may have had to Dan’s Grandad.
Dan started to struggle, as he struggled the restraints got tighter. Dan started to shout for help as the couple giggled.
“They all try to escape. Thirty years in the Navy taught me how to tie a knot or two. Now, Mother, don’t you think those ribs will make a nice stew, plenty of meat?”
The lady of the house giggled again. “Certainly will, going to have to dump the arms again Harry. I can’t get on with the chewy meat.”
“Don’t worry darling, I will find another council estate to dump them in,” Harry answered.
Dan used every last ounce of strength to escape. He tipped the chair, he forced his arms up ripping at the skin, anything to break free. Nothing worked. The couple left the room laughing.
As soon as the couple left. Dan calmed down, he needed to think this through if he was going to survive. Then an idea came to him. Dan went to work chewing the knots binding his hands. After two hours of chewing, pulling and biting, Dan had managed to loosen one wrist. His mouth was sore, his neck ached but, he was going to escape he knew it. He now had enough room to remove one wrist from its restraint. At that point, the couple came back in with a tray of food.
Dan didn’t dare move the last thing he needed was the couple noticing one restraint was loose. Sweat ran a path down his back under his shirt as he watched them move about the room. The couple got a small table out and set it up in front of him. Sitting on either side of him they put the tray of stew down on the table.
“We thought you might like some food?” Harry said. “Some nice pork stew.”
“I’m not hungry,” Dan stuttered.
“Oh come on, one mouthful.” She said spooning food into his mouth like he was a toddler. Dan clamped his mouth shut, spilling the stew down his shirt.
“Here mother, let me have a go,” Harry said.
With that, Harry forced a spoonful into Dan’s mouth. He tasted the fatty meat and did the only thing he could think of. He spat the whole mouthful as hard as he could into Harry’s face. For the second time that day, the lights went out for Dan.
Dan was woken this time by a knocking sound. It took him a couple of seconds to realise there was someone knocking on the couple’s door. He heard Harry go to the door and the murmur of voices from the hall. Dan yelled for all he was worth and removed his hand from the restraint, he clawed at the other restraint. Removing his right wrist and a great deal of skin, he then started on his legs. Releasing his legs with two hands took moments.
Dan burst out into the hall, as Harry shut the door on the visitor. Harry walked towards Dan smiling. He reached into his pocket and withdrew a yellow gun. Dan started to cry as the taser hit him in the chest. The pain continued to explode through his nerves until he once again passed out.
Dan regained consciousness tied back to the chair. This time, however, the chair was sat on a sheet of plastic. Dan cried, he felt utterly helpless. He was still crying when the crash sounded in the hall. He cried, even more, when the constable untied his hands and legs and helped him stand.
After Dan had been treated, the constable came to speak to him. As the arms had been removed from the wheelie bin the constable recognised the sleeve on one. Having dealt with the idiot at the roadblock wearing a similar shirt. Five hours later a man had called in an abandoned electrical van blocking his view. The pieces had fallen in place. During door to door, the constable had noticed a discarded meter machine in the hall of an elderly couple. Searches had pulled up and unusual pattern to the elderly couples locations. Breaking the door down had provided more evidence of the couple’s behaviour. The only thing that had not been found were the couple, they had completely vanished.
Dan tried to thank the constable for saving him. Words seemed inadequate to express what this young man had done for him.
The constable shook his hand, “Don’t worry, it’s all in a days work for a jobsworth,” he said, as he walked away from Dan, smirking.