Second place – Grantham Writers Group 2021 flash fiction competition – The Iron Lady by Sheila Barker

Watching Margaret engaging with the crowd I knew I couldn’t let the plan go ahead, especially if her life could be put at risk. I had first spied the group of men in the King’s Arms a week ago. I was sitting two tables away, but they had no idea that I had read every word that came from their lips. Born partially deaf I learnt to lip read as soon as I could walk. Now a young woman and this was the time when Lady Thatcher was about to close down the mines and the men who worked down the pit were angry and hungry. For Arthur Scargill was determined to keep on striking.

I could see the same men were now congregating, and I knew that in ten minutes they would be putting their plan into action. My worried expression must have looked out of place for suddenly Margaret stopped and walked towards me, “I know you from somewhere,” she said observing me closely. I nodded then gave her the large written note that was under my magazine warning her of her abduction. Giving a signal to her detectives she handed him the paper, within minutes more police arrived at the scene. Most folk would say it was a coincidence that Mrs Thatcher caught my eye that day. But it could only be a canny woman to wonder why a young girl with polished manicured long nails, stylist eyebrows was wearing outdated clothes much too big for her. Like Mrs Thatcher once said when she visited my old girls school, ‘It’s in the eye of the beholder to watch and observe every detail.’ As I took off the curly grey wig and outdated clothes I decided that just for today I would leave the nail polish on.