BySandra Harris, writer at


“I… I don’t have the rent,” Vera Stoker stammered, looking nervously up at her landlord. The enormous malodorous bulk of him filled the door-frame. “At least, I… I don’t have all of it. I have most of it.”

“Well, well,” said Jeremiah Nettles, elbowing past her into the small two-roomed dwelling in Whitechapel’s Stocking Lane that Vera shared with her seven children, the eldest of whom was fifteen. “You have most of it. Most of it. Well now, Missus Stoker,” he went on nastily, emphasising the Missus no doubt on account of Vera’s status as a deserted wife, “I’m sure that you know as well as I know that most of it just will not do. Will not do, in fact, at all. Am I to go back to my dear father in his sick-room and tell him that I have most of his rent for him? That he is to have most of his meals for the coming week but not all? That the fire he needs to warm his old and ailing bones is to be lit most days but not all? Is that what you expect me to tell my father, my dear Missus Stoker…?” Again the nasty tone in his voice. Tears of helplessness sprang to Vera’s eyes.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Nettles, sir,” she whispered, hanging her head dejectedly.

“Well now,” said Jeremiah Nettles pompously, scratching his huge, well-filled belly. Well-filled with steak dinners and savoury pork-pies and delicious sweetmeats, no doubt, thought Vera bitterly, remembering the two slices of bread and dripping she’d consumed earlier which most probably would have to serve as her only meal of the day. “Well now, well now, well now. Do you know, Missus Stoker, that I have the power to eject you and your seven brats from these here premises this very day if I so choose? I’d be well within my rights. This is my dear father’s building and I, my good woman, am his agent.”

His small piggy eyes gleamed spitefully out at her from between the folds of fat in which they were buried. Though probably only a few years older than Vera, he was obese from years and years of living too well. On the rent money of people like her and her children, Vera thought as she replied:

“P… Please don’t throw us out, Mr. Nettles, sir! We have nowhere else to go. We’d end up in the workhouse, that’s if they even had room for us. They’re full to bursting, sir, the workhouses these days, they are!”

“Hmmm,” said Nettles, stroking his double chin thoughtfully. Then he reached out and grabbed Vera’s breast, pinching it and tweaking the nipple painfully. “You could always pay me in kind, Missus Stoker, as I have kindly suggested to you on more than one occasion.”

He licked his thick red lips wolfishly in anticipation. Vera’s shoulders sagged in defeat. She’d known it would come down to this. He’d warned her often enough. Thank God she’d had the presence of mind to send the children out for a bit. Feeling sick and cold all over, she nodded dejectedly and led the way into the bedroom.

“I’m glad you’ve seen sense at long last, Missus… Vera,” Nettles said, rubbing his fat sweaty hands together gleefully as he followed her. “You’re a scrawny one, right enough,” he added as Vera began reluctantly to undress in front of him. “I’ve seen more meat on a yardstick. Dear, dear, dear. You should eat more meat, Missus. You should send for a hamper from the victuallers, you should! Fatten yourself up a bit. Only the best, juiciest cuts now, mind!”

He laughed uproariously at his nasty little joke, knowing that not even in her wildest dreams could Vera afford such a luxury. Vera had never in her life hated anyone as much as she hated Jeremiah Nettles just then, not even the drunken bastard of a husband who’d abandoned her and left her with seven young children- eight if you counted Bessie- to mind all by herself.

When she lay beneath Jeremiah Nettles, crushed by his huge bulk while he puffed and panted and laboured above her, she closed her eyes and tried to shut out the image of him, the smell of him. He reeked of sweat and the oil with which he’d plastered back his thinning sandy hair. It did not take him long to complete the act of copulation, after which he collapsed on top of Vera who could barely breathe under his immense weight. As he was leaving, he said with a smirk and one last grope of her breast:

“The same time next week, Missus! Make sure those brats of yours are out when I come a-calling.” When he was gone, Vera lay down on her bed and bawled heartbrokenly until her children returned home.


This story is a work of fiction and comes (almost!) entirely from the imagination of Sandra Harris. Any resemblance to any persons living or un-dead is purely coincidental.

This story is copyrighted material and any reproduction without prior permission is illegal. Sandra Harris reserves the right to be identified as the author of this story.

Sandra Harris. ©


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:

[email protected]



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