They met for coffee as usual. Separately aware that it would be their last time, after so many years that nobody could remember exactly how long it was.
They had been at school together. The three of them had been inseparable as boys.
Jerry had been the smart one, he won a place at Oxford and had become a surgeon.
Mike, well Mike was practical. He had a building firm that had done well.
And then there was Luke. Luke hadn't done much at all really. He was a laid back easy going character. He lived in his mums old bungalow and pottered along with his job at the library.
Mum had lived to be very very old indeed and very demanding. Luke had looked after her like a good son should until she had finally croaked, now he had the bungalow.
He had spent his last few years before retirement, living out his hermit like existence.
Going to the Nags Head with the boys for a pint and generally living out his insignificant little life causing absolutely no harm to anyone.
They sipped thoughtfully.
Mike looked out over the car park to where his new BMW stood shining in the sun. It was his pride and joy and he never got tired of looking at it.
Next to it was Jerry’s beautiful old MG a true classic. He frowned, why did everything Jerry have make his own possessions seem a little less shiny and a lot less classy.
Then there was the eyesore. Luke typically had a complete wreck of a car. Different colours and looking like it would self destruct every time he started up that knackered old engine.
It was a total embarrassment, just like Luke himself!
In truth Mike was jealous of Jerry and had looked down on Luke since their school days.
It was the contentment with Luke, the lack of ambition and his complete satisfaction with his lot. The shabby bungalow, the crappy car, even the lack of a wife and kids never bothered him. He spent his weekends tinkering around with a lovely old yacht he had acquired, it was the only classy thing about him!
He was a happy man when he shouldn't have been, and it got right on Mike’s tits!
Mike had been married three times, it never lasted. The last one had taken him royally to the cleaners, but all that was about to change.
Jerry of course had a classy wife, Harriet. Beautiful and clever she always looked incredible. He had married her straight from University.
They never had kids because she was a career girl. A lawyer with her own practice. They had done well for themselves.
Luke went to get them all a refill.
Jerry gave Mike a look.
“What’s up?” he said
Mike shook his head
“Not much” he smiled “Just thinking that’s all.”
Luke came back with the coffees, “ there you go” he said cheerily. “Here's to Jerry’s retirement and Mikey’s mysterious new business venture.”
Mike smiled, “ok ok I'll tell you, you nosy sods.” He grinned “ I have a sweet little property deal going down, it means I can afford to retire without a care in the world.”
They both laughed, Mike always had something on the boil.
“What about you Lukey, what are you gonna do with yourself?” Mike asked, not that he really cared.
Luke shrugged. Typically he had no real idea. He thought he might move onto the yacht for a while and do a bit of sailing, but maybe not!
“Well I must be off” Mike said “here's to retirement lads.”
As he got into the car he could see the two of them chatting away. Jerry was always Mr Genial. Everyone liked Jerry and he liked people. Well that was just about to change.
Mike was really looking forward to wiping the smug smile off both their faces.
The affair had started years ago, Harriet had been more than happy to step into his life and into his bed.
Jerry she said had long ago taken his interests elsewhere. She neither knew or cared about them as long as appearances were kept up.
Harriet was finally ready to leave Jerry. She had no fancy to be a retired surgeons wife. There was no Kudos in that and she liked Kudos. She liked power and he was a spent force.
She had put up a lot of her own cash for this little venture. Together they had planned it. The whole idea of shafting Jerry was one enormous turn on for her.
Then there was Luke, he was due a kick in the pants too. A complete waste of space and organs that one.
He couldn't wait to see the look on that irritatingly happy little face when he found out. His scummy bungalow was going to be surrounded by a new industrial plant. He would have to sell, nobody else was going to want it. Luke was way too lazy to put up a fight. He would cave in and take whatever pitiable sum they offered him for it!
Mike had sunk every penny he had into winning this bid. He had bribed, intimidated and schmoozed until he could do no more.
By 4 pm when the decision was finally announced, his biggest competitor would be in for a shock. He would be laughing all the way to the bank.
He drove away to where he knew Harriet would be waiting. She had left Jerry a note and they were off to the sun for a month to wait until the heat died down.
Stupid bastards he thought, so smug and secure in their own little worlds. Smashing them down would be a positive pleasure.
Jerry finished his coffee, he looked at Luke and winked. Under the table they held hands.
They had been quietly holding hands for 40 years but Luke couldn't leave his mother, and Harriet would have taken Jerry to the cleaners in any divorce court.
So they had settled for a comfortable life of snatched moments together. Often they would meet at the boatyard for a few happy hours above and below deck. Jerry had become an expert at Yacht maintenance. He enjoyed painting. It was simple and it relaxed him after a week at the hospital holding someone's life in his hands
“How long do you think it will take them to realise?” Jerry said
“Oh not long. Selling the bungalow to their main rival as a ransom strip was a stroke of genius Jez, what would I do without you. That should put the kibosh on the development. After all it is a large plot, they can't build without it. The council won't want a long court case. They want this plant built. They will take the other bid!
Their backers will drop out and poor old Mikey will have to rely on Harriet's sympathetic nature for his bread and butter.”
Jerry laughed “he’s gonna starve then. If I know Harry she will be off up the road within a week. Ready to come back to me, all contrite and happy to make it up.”
“But you won't be there, how sad” Luke said.
“No we will both be gone. I've emptied my bank accounts, she can keep the house. We can go off with a clear conscience to the life we always wanted.”
“I made a nice little packet on the bungalow, they almost bit my hand off they were so keen” Luke said with a winning smile.
“Shall we go then” Jerry said “my car or yours Lukey?”
Luke laughed, “oh I've left mine for Mike, least I could do. If he's going to be strapped for cash he might need some wheels. I'll pop him a note in the post with the ownership docs”
“Living on the boat with you, and sailing wherever we want is going to be so much fun” Jerry said. “Suitcases are in the car, lets go.”
Luke looked at his watch. “Did you pick up the note”
“Yes, she's a real creature of habit. she left it on the kitchen table. Let's see her take me to the cleaners now. After all, she left me. I have it neatly written down in her own handwriting.
They roared off up the road happy and excited about their new life, just as Mike was finding out that a bottle of champagne can sometimes contain some very sour grapes!