That Tuesday, Senán did not go to work in Francie’s. In fact, he never again set foot in the shop as an employee. He sent Luke a short text message notifying him of his retirement from shelf stacking, effective immediately. The reply was just one word: Grand. As part of their plan, Trish and Senán thought it advantageous to have Luke believe that his photographs had led to them breaking up, as well as frightening Senán off having anything to do with Luke. Thus, on arrival to work on Tuesday morning Trish asked to have a word with her boss. In the store room she thanked him for showing him the photos and told him she had dumped Senán.
“He denied everything, of course,” said Trish. “Came up with some cock and bull story that you were out to get him and that the photos were a set-up. But I didn’t believe a word of that. I could nearly smell the little slapper off him. The worst thing was, he was more worried about the cops seeing those photos and finding out about him having unlawful carnal knowledge, as he put it, than splitting up with me. I say: If he’s so worried about the cops finding out about him fucking that slut, he shouldn’t have gone near her in the first place. I wouldn’t touch him after knowing he’d been with her. Anyway, it’s over. You won’t see him around here anymore. And you definitely won’t see me knocking ’round with him. Good riddance to bad rubbish.”
“Gu-gu-glad to be of-of-of help,” said Luke, with his usual deadpan face, but Trish detected a swelling of triumphant pride in his pigeon chest.
She felt bad about misleading Debs and Susan and her other friends, and even worse about talking down Senán in front of them, but she knew the ruse could work in their favour. Luke would be less on guard in her company and would not suspect she was acting as Senán’s eyes and ears in the shop, as he surely had done in the past. Senán had even suggested she make efforts to befriend Luke to get information out of him, but Trish had drawn the line.
“My skin is going to be crawling for days just having to say those words to him,” she said. “There’s no fucking way I’m pretending to be his friend. Three minutes of sucking up to him is my dose of Gollum for the year.”
They decided to give Luke a few days’ space before they implemented their plan.
“Let him think he’s home free, that he can fuck the brains out of Farrah and stalk left, right and centre without anyone bothering him. Then we’ll close the trap,” said Trish.