Guy lived in a small stone cottage on the outskirts of Oswaldtwistle. He was 53 years old and, since his mother had died the previous April, lived alone. He was 5′ 5″tall, tubby and balding. He bought his clothes in charity shops and shopped at one of those cheap German-owned supermarkets that was ruining the town’s Tesco and independent shops alike.
His cottage was sparsely furnished with plain chairs and a shabby mock-leather sofa he had bought at the Wednesday auction in Blackburn. His bedroom suite ditto.
The kitchen smelled of sour grease, the product of vapours given off by his blackened chip pan and the spatters of well-fried bacon clinging to the hob of his electric cooker.
He had a 54″ television in his lounge and an ashtray full of cigarette ash, ground out stubs and discarded filter tips untouched by human lip. Guy had developed the habit of buying filter tipped Embassy cigarettes on the grounds that he considered them less unhealthy than those without, like Capstan Full Strength. He snapped off the filter tips before lighting his ciggy on the grounds that they spoiled the taste.
Parked outside the cottage was a white Range Rover with tinted windows and black leather seats.
“The neighbours are really jealous of me,” he wrote in one of his regular letters to his brother, Jim, who he hadn’t seen in 10 years.
Jim never wrote back.