Vincent Tabak arrived home from work on the 17th December with a swish of cold air and a crunch on the gravel of his mansion at 66 Canning Road, Bristol.
His breath was coming out in great white puffs. His fingers were painfully frost-bitten by the cold December wind. He dismounted from his bicycle only to see Wizard and one of his cronies parked at the front of the mansion.
Being a polite and helpful chap he went over to exchange pleasantries. He recognized his neighbour an affable bloke who was always going around with a smug grin on his face. He asked if he could help in any way. Apparently the young chap was going away for the weekend to Sheffield for a visit to his family.
Vincent realised that the beautiful Jo would be left on her own. He thought of inviting her in for a coffee.
Wizard bossily dismissed Vincent saying that it was all under control and no extra help was needed especially from a brilliant Dutch man who made him feel inferior. The old man tossed his mane of silvery hair and his wool lined parka made him look like an aging Roger Daltry.
"You are not required here Vincent, "go inside like a good chap. Leave this job to the experts my friend from the Neighbourhood Watch be here soon with his jump leads."
Vincent politely took his leave and went on his way to his cheerless little basement flat.
Vincent wondered what he would have for his tea. His fridge was empty. His girlfriend Tanja would be coming over to cook something later. She believed that the way to a man's heart was through his stomach.
He fondly thought of his beautiful, clever girlfriend and contemplated their future life as a married couple. They would make a life for themselves either here in Bristol or in the Netherlands. When he got to his door-step he could see a brightly coloured pizza box left temptingly on his doormat. It had a little note with "Happy Christmas from Jo".
Vincent was puzzled because he had never exchanged pleasantries with the pretty blond next door.
He picked up the pizza and was wondering what to do.
He walked around the front of the building and got to Jo and Greg's door - and was surprised to see two Bulmers bottles of cider on the slate doorstep.
He rang the bell.
There was no answer.
He didn't know what to do.
Tanja would be back soon.
He walked back to his own flat and his mobile phone rang, "Hello Vincent I'll be back soon. I am sorry I do not have any shopping; would you like to go out for a meal?"
Vincent had inspiration, "No darling why don't we have a romantic evening in I have a lovely pesto pizza and two bottles of cider. Why don't we watch a DVD and cuddle up on the settee?"
His girlfriend was delighted.
Vincent doubled back to the flat next door and retrieved the two bottles of cider. It would only freeze and burst open in the snow and ice.
He noticed that the door was slightly ajar. He could hear music and the sounds of voices.
A man's and a woman's; Greg was on his way to Sheffield. It must be some other friend of Jo's from work. Tabak didn't want to intrude.
He could see a hastily discarded sock on the hallway carpet and a pair of boxer shorts. He could read the signs and was worried that Wizard would get wind of it in his gossipy way and spread the news around their small community at 66 Canning Road. If the silly girl was having an affair it would be spread like wildfire by Wizard.
Greg had been hassled enough for one day by Wizard. Vincent was sure that he had a man crush on Greg. He would delight in malicious gossip about the beautiful Jo in his bitchy prima donna way.
Without a second thought Vincent picked up the slightly damp grey sock and the union jack boxer shorts and put them in his pocket. He softly pushed the door closed so as to give the couple some privacy.
Later on he and Tanja feasted on the Tesco finest pizza washed down by the sparkling, cider. Then they went to bed and made love passionately.
Vincent found the thought of his neighour's infidelity mildly erotic; as were the sounds of love making coming through the thin partition wall. Vincent put the pizza box into the recycling. As for the sock; he put it in his suitcase; it would do for one of his nephew or neices Christmas stockings he would fill it with nuts and satsumas and good things. He didn't believe in wasting anything.
Vincent was going to get an early morning ferry the next morning from Dover and hence he would have to drive through the night.
He efficiently packed his Peugeot with his suitcase and some carrier bags of presents for his family. Just as he was about to leave Wizard appeared in front of the car.
"Vincent, there's a good chap, please can you dispose of an old carpet which has been thrown out by one of the tenants it's cluttering up the hallway and it's making the place look a mess?"
Vincent politely agreed and helped lug a large bulky sausage shaped bag into the boot of his car.
"There's a good chap" said Wizard, "Take a short cut over the Clifton Suspension Bridge and dump it in the old quarry. It will save having to pay the council to take it away. Here's a tenner for your trouble. I am so glad to have an intelligent, quiet chap like you as a tenant; you're not like some of the other rabble that I have to contend with. It is getting like a knocking shop around here with all the comings and goings. I like to have a better class of tenant staying here. They have to be the right type or they have to go if they don't cut the mustard."
Vincent didn't think any more about it as he drove across the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
He drove to Failand and went towards a disused quarry but he got wheel spin in the snow. He was a bit annoyed and being taken out of his way.
He opened the holdall and to his surprise he saw a beautiful Turkish rug wrapped in a tight roll.
Vincent thought of taking back to show Tanya; she loved beautiful rugs and was talking of them buying one for their flat.
He realised that time was short and was sure that Wizard would snoop around his flat when he was out at work.
The old woman always let himself into the tenants flats; and tried on the women's dresses and minced around in their shoes.
Vincent through the carpet out of the boot of his car into the virginal snow.