The Devil's Playground

“Yes, yes,” Nigel nodded. “You’re right. Not deliberately, maybe, but I was the driving force. All because of my heart attack and all the publicity, we raised over a million pounds! You can’t imagine how happy everyone was. Then those bastards started backtracking, giving us a load of flannel about ‘budgetary constraints,’ ‘unforeseeable and exceptional circumstances,’ blah, blah, blah,” Nigel sniffed. “We were still chuffed to bits. They gave us the amount they reckoned they could reasonably have expected to fork out; a paltry amount in comparison to all those donations that had flooded in...”

“Humankind, so full of compassion,” said the stranger.

“Anyway, the site was shut for nine whole months. The kids missed their playground...”

“Bet the parents missed it more,” the stranger chipped in.

“But there was a lot of excitement. We were all expecting such great things. With all that money, I was sure we’d have the very best park in town, if not the whole county!”

Nigel avoided meeting the stranger’s gaze directly, but from the corner of his eye could see him pulling a face of mock-sympathy. He might as well have said “diddums,” but Nigel was past caring. His shoulders heaved as he sobbed. Tears and snot flowed freely. It was difficult to speak, but he was determined to finish his story.





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