From Presumed Dead by Shirley Wells
Sandra had a quick glance at Mabel, decided that another five minutes under the dryer wouldn’t hurt her, and headed for the stairs.
“Won’t be a minute, love!”
Once upstairs, she picked up the phone and tapped in Yvonne’s number.
“Yvonne, it’s me. I can’t stop, I’ve got Miserable Mabel drying to a frazzle, but you’ll never guess what. Some bloke’s just been in and he were asking after—well, you’ll never guess.”
“Then you’d better tell me, hadn’t you?”
“Anita Bloody Champion!”
Silence met her statement. Sandra wasn’t surprised—it had been years since any of them had mentioned that name.
“You still there, Yvonne?”
“Yes. Course I am. You took me by surprise, that’s all.”
“It took me by surprise, too. Can you believe it? After all these years?”
“What did you tell him?”
“What do you think?” Sandra demanded. “I told him that she went out with you three one night and vanished. Said I’d have gone too but that my Eddie were home on leave.”
“He were desperate to find someone who knew her. Preferably someone who were with her on that last night.”
“What? Oh, no!”
“What could I do? I tried to put him off, but it were looking suspicious.”
“He’s all right. Nice enough to look at, the right side of forty, good tipper. He told me he had a bit of a fling with Anita and gave her a ring—another bloody sucker for a pair of legs and tits by the sound of it.”
“Please don’t tell me you gave him my name. Please!”
“I had to. It would have looked as if we had something to hide if I hadn’t. I gave him your phone number, not your address. Anyway, he’s okay. As I said, he’s not bad looking really. Just under six feet, dark hair, not overweight. Clothes are a bit creased, but nice enough. As you’re on your own now, you can get him to take you out for a meal or something.”
“Bloody hell, Sand! And what am I supposed to tell him?”
“The truth. Anita vanished, remember?” There was another long pause. “I can’t talk to him,” Yvonne said. “Why the hell did you have to give him my name? The very thought of that night makes me want to throw up.”
“She vanished, Yvonne. She went off with some bloke, like she always did—and usually one of our blokes at that—and didn’t come back. That weren’t our fault, were it?”
Yvonne didn’t answer.
“I’ll have to go,” Sandra said, “or Mabel’s hair’ll be dropping out. I’ll ring you later, okay?”
“God, Sand, I wish you hadn’t done this. I really do.”
“Yeah, well, I’ll speak to you later.”