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Emma Guinness

Emma Guinness is a student from Glasgow and is currently studying English at the University of Strathclyde. She has written her first book ‘Return to Midnight’ and has been published in a number of poetry anthologies. Inspired by writers such as Edgar Allen Poe and Ian Stewart Black. Her work can be found at


“There are a few things you need to know before we start,” I declared.


     The officer pressed record.                 


     “He threatened me with a kitchen knife. I didn’t realise I’d broken his nose. I thought those girls were my friends.”    


     Of course, that’s not what really happened. I can be truthful now; it’s not likely that anyone will ever read this anyway. I broke Jamie’s nose. So what? What else does he expect after promising me the stars, and then giving me a high-rise council flat and a Bright House TV?


     That night wasn’t the first time I’d hurt him, but it was the first time I’d managed to break something. Jamie had gambled our last twenty pounds on the Grand National. The stupid cunt didn’t even back the favourite. When I found out, I pursed my lips, clenched my fist and punched him. I’m surprised that he didn’t dodge the blow. I’m not Mike Tyson. He even had the cheek to call it “abuse”. We had three days left until his next wage, and nothing to eat but Tesco Value noodles.


     He left the house covered in blood. He had it coming.


     “Do you and Jamie have a troubled relationship?” one of the officers replied, leaning back in his chair.


     “No. I’ve been with him since I was thirteen.”


     That was a half-lie. Jamie and I had been together since high school. Glancing over a file, another with caterpillar eyebrows asked:


     “So you’re aware he has a prior conviction for theft?”


     “No…” I said innocently.


     They turned to face each other and nodded. Their wide eyes suggested that they were buying my story. Once a criminal, always a criminal. I’m squeaky-clean.


     “Did you do anything to provoke him into threatening you?” the officer with the file questioned.


     “I’m not sure,” I answered. “He’s had suspicions about me and another man, and was pretty angry when I wouldn’t let him read through my emails.”


     I should be a professional actress.


     The next morning, I took our dog for a walk in the local park. Max was another one of Jamie’s bad ideas. He is always hungry. I hate that park: the flower beds are full of used condoms, and some eejit has scratched “Life Not Knifes” onto its surrounding wall.


     Anyway, shortly after arriving, I saw Squinty Eyes and Vulture Claws. Obviously that’s not their names, but this is my memoir and my rules. I don’t have control over many things in my life. Until this point, I had viewed them as my friends, so I walked over to the bench they were sitting on whilst watching their children in the playpark.  


     “Aw, George is getting so big!” I exclaimed, looking at Squinty Eyes’ youngest child.


     She avoided making squinty eye contact with me. Her husband and Jamie are best friends. I had been naive to think that he wouldn’t have gone to them the night before. In an instant, I was terrified that he had told her the extent of my “abuse”. She’d jump to conclusions. In the unlikely event that anyone ever reads this, I am telling you the truth so that you understand. I don’t publicise my relationship problems. Vulture Claws turned towards me, frowning, and pointed her tacky, talon-like acrylic nails at me.  


     “We are finished with you,” she stated, pushing one of her fingers into my chest, as one her false eyelashes began to fall off. She’d been told everything.


     Vulture Claws didn’t understand.


     “Can’t I explain my side of the story?” I pleaded.


     She rolled her eyes.


     “You’re not significant enough to even listen to.”


     I saw red. That’s precisely my problem. Everyone treats me like I’m nobody. I could have had any man I wanted, but I stayed with Jamie because I thought he was going places. I can’t change my situation because, let’s face it, no one would employ or marry a thirty-year-old who’s never done a day’s work. They then stood up, walked over to their children, took their hands, and escorted them from the playpark. Vulture Claws began to laugh as they walked away, and said:


     “She’s the biggest child here.”


     Without thinking, I screamed, “You’re a fucking bitch!”


     Strutting down the hill, she began to laugh even harder.


     “I’m phoning the police. I don’t like the idea of her being near my kids. Who swears in front of children? I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks she deserves locked up.”


     On my way home, her statement did not cross my mind. She never had the guts to do it (or so I thought); even Jamie wouldn’t report me.


     “Does either Miss Brown or Mrs Kelly hold a grudge against you?” the same officer asked, closing the file I assumed to be Jamie’s.


     “Cheryl, I mean, Mrs Kelly, fell out with me a year ago. The father of her children is gay, and when he told her, he revealed that he came out to me first,” I explained. “It was difficult, but we became friends again.”


     That was the first time I’d told the truth. I then began to feel guilty for lying about Jamie threatening me. At least, it felt like guilt. I was also consumed by shame that he had told the people who had been my friends about my “abusive” behaviour.


     “Thank you for your cooperation,” another said. “That’s all we need to know.”


     The officer pressed pause.   



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