Monday, November 12, 2012

Lock In

Danny the fence sat a corner table with a treble Bushmills and an untouched pint of Guinness.  His dark suit jacket hung on the back of his chair and his black tie was half undone like the noose of a lazy hangman.  Danny downed the Bushmills and signalled to Ken behind the bar.  Ken brought a recharged glass and took away the empty.  The music switched from Sinatra’s My Way to S-Club Seven’s Reach.  Danny looked at Ken.

“Sorry, mate.”

Ken hurried behind the bar and replaced the CD with one of the Rat pack’s greatest hits, couldn’t go wrong with that, he thought.

The pub doors swung open and Connor Richards walked in with a heavily stuffed carrier bag dangling from his fist.  He looked around the empty pub and then threw a grin at Danny and Ken.

“Hello, lads, want to buy some meat?”

When no one spoke he took it as an acquiescence for him to continue with his pitch.

“Nice bit of rump steak for dinner, Danny.  Or some Ostrich mebbe?”

Danny held up his pint of Guinness.

“Got my dinner here, boy.”  He took a sip and replaced the pint on its beer mat.  “So fuck off.”

Connor looked over at Ken, his grin starting to falter.

“Top stuff, mate.  Straight out the coolers at Waitrose today like.  Got a couple of Guinea fowl if you fancy ‘em…”

“Not tonight eh, Connor.”  Ken inclined his head towards Danny and went back to polishing the bar top.  Connor disappeared out the door.

“Fucking prick.”  Muttered Danny.

“Ah, Danny, he’s just trying to get through.”

Danny eyed Ken.

“Alright, Dan, you’re right – he’s a prick.”

Danny nodded and downed his whiskey.

Ken had gone down to the cellar for another bottle of Bushmills when Jay Dixon walked in.  Jay swaggered across the worn carpet; dark grey hooded tracksuit, hair cut close to the skull and the dead look in his eye said he was well past an ASBO.

“What’s happening, Dan?”

“Fuck off, Jay.”

“Don’t be like that – I got something for ya.”

Jay sat himself down on a stool and Danny stared him, wishing him gone.

“Come on, just have a look.”

Danny took a bite out of his Guinness and then necked his Bushmills.  He looked behind the bar for Ken but he was still down in the cellar.  Danny sighed.

“Go on then, son.  Entertain me, what you got this time?”

Jay’s face split into a grin like a melon hit with a machete.

“Yeah, yeah.”  He looked over his should and then pulled a small bag from the front pocket of his hoodie.  He passed a watch across the table to Danny.  Danny felt the weight of it in his palm and then turned it over between his fingers.


“It’s a Rolex init?”

“Yeah.  An old one.  Not many people wearing these today.”

“Gotta be worth a bit like, I was thinking a oner?”

“Would’ve have thought you thought.  I’ll give you a score for it, Jay.”

Jay shrugged, knowing it was the best offer he’d get.

“What else you got?

A gold cigarette lighter, money clip and signet ring passed quickly across the table. Danny rolled each through his fingers and then dropped them into his pockets.

“How does another fifty sound?”

“Like you’re mugging me off but I’ll take it.”  Said Jay.

Danny took out his roll and peeled off four score notes.

“We’ll call it eighty then, goodwill like.”

Jay smiled.

“You wanna drink, Jay?”

“Cheers, Dan, I’ll have a JD and coke.”

For the first time in two hours Danny the fence got out of his seat.  Ken was back behind the bar.

“’Nother Bushmills for me, Ken, and a JD and coke for the kid.”  Danny was smiling.

Ken made the drinks and watched as Danny slipped the Rolex onto his wrist and the signet ring onto his pinkie.

“Ain’t they your Granddad’s?”  Asked Ken.

“Yeah.  They are.  Lock the door, Ken.”

Ken turned away but not before he saw Danny take the switchblade out of his pocket or before he heard Mack the Knife roll out of the speakers.