Monday, 29 June 2020
Monday, 22 June 2020
Monday, 15 June 2020
Friday, 12 June 2020
Monday, 8 June 2020
Friday, 5 June 2020
Monday, 1 June 2020
It started with a debt. Well quite a big debt.
Albert liked a bet and when he’d had a drink or two, it all got a bit out of control. Frankie Collins had helped out, lending him money so he could continue paying for his addiction. But he knew there’d come a day when Mr Collins would want his money back.
That day had arrived.
It began with a knock at Albert’s front door – a sound loud enough to waken the dead. The man who’d lent him all that money stood on the doorstep and invited himself in.
They sat in the front parlour, two glasses of stout and a trilby on the Sunday tea table, a photo of Mabel looking down on them from the mantlepiece. It was cold enough for a fire, but there’d been no chance to lay one.
“You can’t pay me back, can you?” Albert shook his head.
“So, what are you going to do about it?” Albert said he didn’t know.
“How about this then. There’s a feller who’s caused me more than enough bother, so much so, that he’s got to go. You can choose which way to complete the job. Once you’ve done the necessary. Your debt will disappear – like magic.”
Mr Collins pulled a strange face, a bit like a crocodile, removed a photograph from the inside pocket of his black overcoat and placed it face down on the table.
“That’s your man.”
From a second pocket he took out a piece of paper and put it face down next to the photo.
“And that’s his address.”
There was no more to be said. After the coat, the hat and the man had left, Albert started to breathe more normally.
It would be nice to get rid of the debt. But Albert Smith – hit man – didn’t sound right. It was the sort of name you’d give to someone like him who kept Belisha beacons in good working order.
And yet, he’d got the job of bumping someone off.
But when he turned over the photograph, it was clear that it wasn’t just someone. It was Harry. Albert didn’t need to look at the address because he knew Harry lived only three streets away, a bit too close for comfort. And to make matters worse it was on his dog walking route. That would have to change!
As luck would have it, he bumped into Harry the very next evening. An idea, a very good one, popped into his head in the snug of the Cat and Fiddle. The two of them talked it over.
It might just work.
Harry could raise a bit of cash and Albert would pay a visit to the pawn shop. He still had Mabel’s diamond ring and told himself he’d only be lending it – temporarily.
The thing was to pick the right horse at the right odds – and then just pray. A 50-1 outsider in the 4:30 at Wreston seemed to fit the bill nicely.
Albert placed the bet. If the horse didn’t come home a winner, they’d be well and truly stuffed. It was the gamble of his life, or more accurately, Harry’s life.
+ + +
There were so many mourners at the funeral. He’d been well known and people hadn’t wanted to miss the chance to say goodbye…and the opportunity to make sure he really had gone.
Wearing his only suit, Albert stood at the back of the church, near the porch door ready for a quick exit. He and churches had never got on. He stared straight ahead, not wanting to catch Harry’s eye and watched as the pall bearers brought in the coffin, topped with wreaths – and a trilby.
Their winnings had been put to good use. Harry had found a real hitman who’d done the necessary.
And as if by magic, Albert’s debt had disappeared.