Short Story Preview: The Black Leather Jacket – Josie Arden
‘Is that Mark’s leather coat you’re wearing?’
‘Yes…he said I could borrow it.’
‘Yes, please don’t. Take it to Robert as soon as you get home. He will need it for his new moped. You’ve already got the brown one.’
‘Can’t I just…?’
‘No! If you lost it, I couldn’t buy another.’
‘Oh, alright then.’
I had dropped David off at the station and set off for the shops. It was not unusual for the three boys to borrow each other’s things and normally I didn’t mind. I objected this time because, not only had Mark outgrown the wretched thing, but clearly David was too big for it also. Soon he would split it and Robert, the middle one and the smallest, deserved better than that. David, the youngest, at fifteen was larger and taller than his father.
That evening, I found the black leather jacket draped across my sewing machine. I assumed it was for me to pass on to Robert. Lazy David, I thought. Long experience of laundering pound notes led me, automatically to feel the pockets. There was indeed, something in one of the top pockets. I slid the zip open and felt inside, unprepared, totally, for what I then drew out. I sat down, weakly.
‘Oh, my Lord…’ I breathed, ‘not David.’
After the first shock I tried to rationalise: a joke, schoolboy bravado…or were they Mark’s? No, they couldn’t be his.’ David had left the jacket there by accident – because he must have known what was in the pocket – or had he wanted me to discover…? He wasn’t really using them, was he? Or had he become – worse still one of those horrid, very modern, very blasé, adult kids of today?