Read Lady Bag Online

Authors: Liza Cody

Lady Bag

How
do
you
evaluate
books
when
you
haven’t
seen
published
reviews?
Well,
here
is
a
selection
of
reader’s
reviews
for
my
last
three
books
from
US
and
UK
Amazon.
Nobody
pays
readers
to
post
reviews

so
thank
you,
readers!

 

MISS
TERRY

 

Julie Greeman

Loved this book!

Pam Caswell

Well told story

Kathleen O’toole

Brilliant

C. Fairweather

Wow! Miss Terry is one of the best books I have read in a long time… Wow!

K. Maxwell

Different, thought-provoking mystery

iChas “Biologist”

An unusual—and very topical—book that I strongly recommend.

Lovetoread

A great read

 

 

BALLAD
OF
A
DEAD
NOBODY

 

Kathleen O’toole

Fascinating

Kathryn Bennett

So glad to see Liza Cody is still writing

Hilde

Another great Liza Cody

iChas

A gripping story very well told…

A. B. King

What a writer!

Esskayee

Good outing by Cody

Ian S. Maccarthy

Half of a good novel

 

 

GIMME
MORE

 

Merle K. Gatewood

Fresh and Different

Likesmysterystories

Liza Cody’s the best!

Jacques Coulardeau

A masterpiece, of sorts

A Customer

I loved this book/Leading the field again (
bought
2 copies

yay!
)

Mrs L C Harvey

The Truth About Rock and Roll

Ed “ramblingsyd”

The music biz, the seventies, born again rock chicks…

 

 

 

Other books by Liza Cody

 

 

Anna Lee series

 

DUPE

BAD COMPANY

STALKER

HEADCASE

BACKHAND

UNDER CONTRACT

 

Bucket Nut Trilogy

 

BUCKET NUT

MONKEY WRENCH

MUSCLEBOUND

 

Other novels

 

RIFT

GIMME MORE

BALLAD OF A DEAD NOBODY

MISS TERRY

 

Short stories

 

LUCKY DIP and Other Stories

LADY BAG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liza Cody

 

 

 

iUniverse LLC

Bloomington

 

Lady Bag

 

 

 

Copyright © 2013 by Liza Cody.

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

 

iUniverse books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:

 

iUniverse LLC

1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403

www.iuniverse.com

1-800-Authors (1-800-288-4677)

 

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

 

 

ISBN: 978-1-4917-0746-3 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4917-0747-0 (e)

 

 

 

iUniverse rev. date:
11/18/2013

 

Cover drawing and design by Elsie and Emzel

Contents

Chapter 1 In Which I Bump Into The Devil

Chapter 2 I Follow The Devil And His Doxy

Chapter 3 I Am Advised By A Dog

Chapter 4 Plagued By Joss, Beer And Jealousy

Chapter 5 I Find Myself At The Wrong End Of A Boot

Chapter 6 Hospitalised

Chapter 7 I Become Natalie

Chapter 8 Leaving Harrison Mews

Chapter 9 A Dodgy Nun And Electra

Chapter 10 I Am Persuaded To Move South Of The River

Chapter 11 Abiding In Babylon

Chapter 12 In Which I Try To Review The Situation

Chapter 13 Money, Violence And A New Flatmate

Chapter 14 We All Wear The Mark Of Kev

Chapter 15 Fire!

Chapter 16 I Do A Deal With The Devil

Chapter 17 Exposure

Chapter 18 More Exposure

Chapter 19 Electra Needs A Roof Over Her Head

Chapter 20 The Doggy Who Burnt Her Toes

Chapter 21 Smister’s Dreadful Story

Chapter 22 Jerry-cop And The Mouse Momster

Chapter 23 Torpedoed By A Shock Encounter

Chapter 24 Threats, Thieves And Pierre

Chapter 25 The Last Straw

Chapter 26 In Which The Cops Catch Up

Chapter 27 I See Natalie’s Ghost

Chapter 28 I Become An Ambulance Driver

Chapter 29 I Drive Back To Where I Started

Chapter 30 Called By The Devil

Chapter 31 I See The Devil’s Feet

Chapter 32 What Hairy Clairey Said

Chapter 33 So I Remembered

Chapter 34 Smister Takes A Stupid Risk

Chapter 35 A Quarrel On A train

Chapter 36 Drives Badly Bradley

Chapter 37 Back With The Man In The Machine

Chapter 38 It Gets Worse

Chapter 39 Just A Little Comfort…

Chapter 40 … After Which It Gets Even Worse

Chapter 41 Toxic Hope

 

About the Author

 

For Mike

 

And with love to Sue, Brigid, Ben and Nell—in memory of Brian Garvey who, in a very real way, made all this happen.

 

With a big thankyou to Julie Lewin for her sharp eyes
and generosity.

 

 

LADY BAG

 

Chapter
1

In Which I Bump Into The Devil

 

T
he silvery man looked plump and prosperous in his fine wool coat. Through the glass door he’d seemed good natured as well. My mistake. Never judge a man through glass. Always wait till you can smell him. This one smelled of tomato soup and single malt—a smug smell.

He said, ‘We’ve all got to work—except, apparently, you. Why should I give you money? No one gives me any.’

He pinned me back against a no-parking sign with contemptuous eyes, and in front of all the city workers rushing to go home he said, ‘I’m not going to feed your habit or encourage your laziness.’ He had a rich brassy voice, loud enough to be heard a mile off.

Then he walked away. I hate it when they do that. It’s like saying, ‘I don’t even want to
look
at you.’

What does he mean—no one gives him any money? What about all the tax breaks, business expenses and bonuses? People are giving him money all the time.

You think I don’t know about playing the system? I haven’t always looked like this, you know. I wasn’t born out here. If you make your mind up about me too quickly you’ll be as guilty of bigotry as that snotty guy.

Electra pushed her wet snout into my hand and I stroked her sleek narrow skull. ‘Never mind,’ I said.

Public rejection is hard to recover from. Bastards like him in their clean wool coats never imagine you might need a pick-me-up to help swallow their self-righteous words.

A woman in a black city suit said, ‘I heard that.’ She held out a pound coin. ‘I’m not saying I disagree, but what about the dog?’ She smelled far more womanly than she looked—of breath mints and rose-water.

I held my hand out for the coin. At the last moment she snatched it away and said, ‘This is for the greyhound; not you. You’ve got to promise you’ll spend it on him.’ Like she was offering me a fortune instead of one measly pound coin that would hardly feed Electra her supper.

‘Her,’ I said. ‘She’s called Electra. She’s a rescue dog. If I don’t look after her the animal shelter people can take her away.’

‘I should hope so,’ the woman said. ‘Why did you name her after a girl who killed her own mother?’ Maybe the breath mints covered the acid scent of cheap white wine.

I said, ‘Her racing name was RPA Radiovista’s Electra of South Slough. Nobody murdered a mother.’

‘Electra did.’ She released the coin into my hand and started to walk away.

‘Why?’ I followed. I love stories.

‘Sorry, I’ve a train to catch. Look her up. Google her.’

Of course I will, on my thousand quid laptop which I can plug into any fucking lamp-post in London. Know what? The shelter where I sometimes sleep makes you buy a key before they let you charge your mobile phone for an hour. If you’ve got a mobile phone and haven’t been robbed when you were sleeping rough because your stupid dog was too much of a pussy-cat even to bark and wake you up. Murder her mother? Hah! You got that one wrong, office lady—this Electra couldn’t kill a crippled bunny. Unless of course she just stared at it with her big tragic eyes and the bunny committed suicide out of sympathy.

Those eyes are why I got her in the first place. Electra can screw coin out of the coldest of hard hearts. Me? They don’t care if I live or die, but then I’m not Ms Pitiful like she is. Sometimes when I really need extra cash I bandage her paws. It isn’t dishonest: she actually does have arthritis in her legs and feet. A lot of ex racing dogs do, and trudging around on stone-cold pavements doesn’t help. Bandages just make her pain visible. And they make me look like the caring owner I am when normally nobody sees me at all.

People like dogs more than they like people. And they’re right. You can actually help a dog but you can never really help people.

Look at me and Electra—she’s old and arthritic. The bastards who raced her would’ve put her down. When I first got her all she knew how to do was run, but not fast enough anymore to escape a lethal injection. She didn’t know how to sit on a sofa and be sociable or sleep snuggled up. She’d never seen a sofa in her life and greyhound trainers don’t snuggle worth a damn.

I took her and fed her and kept her warm. I’ll feed her and keep her till the day one of us dies. I wouldn’t do that for a broken down old human athlete with social problems, would I? And nor would you, unless you were maybe a saint or related by blood or way better at solving human problems than I am.

Then again, if you look at it from her point of view, I’m not the disappointment you’d expect me to be. She was brought up in a cold concrete kennel block without human kindness. I’m not letting her down in that department, am I? She isn’t lonely because she’s got me twenty-four seven. If she didn’t like me she could just walk away—she isn’t tied up.

When I first got her she used to stand with her tail between her legs, shivering and not making eye contact. She used to flinch when anyone tried to touch her. Now she lets strangers give her a pat and she sticks her nose into my hand when she wants to be noticed and petted. We didn’t go for couples therapy or any of the shit you’d have to go through with a human being. No. Electra just got into the habit of trusting me and trust made her happier. You could never do anything that simple for a human being. I think people are too complicated to be content with simple happiness. That’s why I’d rather talk to Electra than anyone else on earth.

We collected about seven quid and when rush-hour was over we walked west to get ready for the evening entertainment crowd. When people get too drunk and abusive, we go to the hostel if we managed to keep enough coin to pay for it or we find somewhere safe-ish to put our heads down. Or we do the rounds of the charity shops to see if there’s anything in the bags outside that’ll fit me.

First though I had a little taste of the Algerian red—just enough to recover from the insults and to make the evening warmer. Then I wandered down St Martins Lane towards Trafalgar Square. If you can’t get a seat on a bench there, you can always sit on the steps. I like Trafalgar Square. There are masses of tourists to listen to and someone always makes you laugh by jumping in the fountains or falling off one of the bronze lions.

That’s when I bumped into the Devil, also known as Gram Attwood, coming out of the National Portrait Gallery. Him with his cool blue eyes and his vicious little smile. I didn’t think it was vicious in the old days—I thought it was cute. I thought
he
was cute. And he was—for a thief and a killer.

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