It could be said without an iota of doubt that Yannick Peterson was a city man to the core. That fact was indisputable. Indeed, until the 4th January 2001 the old fella had never once set foot outside of a metropolitan area, and nor had the thought of doing so ever crossed his exceedingly urbanised mind.
Circumstances, however, had changed: his wife, Muriel Hancock, had left him for a man she claimed to be the ghost of Frank Sinatra, and if truth be told, Yannick needed a getaway – a break from the pulsating intensity of city life. And so, carrying everything he owned in a rather impractical handkerchief on a stick, he left for the country.
To be more precise, he left for a village by the name of St Maurice, a quiet, unassuming place, in which the inhabitants mainly kept to themselves -only differing from their deeply introverted behaviour patterns when came the rare occasion of an exciting sporting event or a murder. This should instantly have set the alarm bells ringing for Yannick – who was anything but an introvert, and, worse still, a fan of neither sporting events nor murders, but his decision making process was hampered by the fact that he was concerned with nothing but the need to escape.
His lodgings in St Maurice were simple yet comfortable; he had rented for an indefinite period a room at the bed and breakfast owned by the village’s most beautiful woman – Carrie Smithers, and it made for rather a homely environment. The B&B regulars eyed him with suspicion as he walked through the bar area – they were not used to strangers. Nor were they used to people who wore clothes - St Maurice, after all, was a nudist settlement. Blissfully unaware of the stir he had caused, Yannick went up to his room, making sure to lock the door behind him.
Whilst alone, Yannick had his now customary evening sob, thinking of his last conversation with his wife Muriel and reminiscing about how similar the man she claimed to be the ghost of Frank Sinatra looked to her high school boyfriend Kenneth. It was SUCH a coincidence. But, shedding what he imagined would be his last tear of the night, Yannick decided there and then that it was time to move on; the country offered him so many new opportunities and avenues with which to change the direction of his miserable life. Satisfied with his radical decision to move, he fell asleep.
But it was to be a short-lived kip.
Yannick was woken in the dead of night by the eerie sound of a ghostly voice singing four, significant words: “New York, New York!” He heard the lock click, the door creaked open, and a translucent figure walked in.
“Wh..wh..who are you?!” came the startled voice of the barely awake Yannick.
The figure regarded him with a sceptical eye, and proclaimed: “I did it myyyyyyy waaaaaaaay!”
“With respect,” Yannick began, “That doesn’t really answer my question, does it?”
The figure ignored him.
“Seriously, who the everlovin' flip-flop are you, and WHAT are you doing in my room?” Yannick begged, each syllable sounding slightly more desperate than the last. But deep down, Yannick knew who this was, and he knew that it was not the man eloping with his wife.
“You.. you’re the ghost of Frank Sinatra, aren’t you?" Yannick sobbed, "The..the real ghost of Frank Sinatra?”
Once again, the ghost chose to ignore Yannick’s question, and instead burst into a smooth rendition of ’Fly Me to the Moon’.
This settled it for Yannick. Without doubt, this was the real ghost of Frank Sinatra – and the man with which Muriel was now spending her days and nights was nothing but an imposter. Rage filled Yannick, a rage unlike any emotion he had ever felt in his banal and featureless life.
“I will murder her!” he screamed, his face contorting into a twisted shadow of what it normally resembled. He did not pause to consider the fact that until a few seconds ago, he had maintained steadfastly that he had not been a fan of murder, nor did he pause to consider that Carrie Smithers was sitting below in the bar area, listening to his every word. But there was no going back now – Yannick would stay in his room, planning a meticulous operation to bring his wife’s life to a sorry sorry end. With the sound of ghostly swing music playing in his ears, he started to plot his fiendish plan.
TO BE CONTINUED