Monday, April 06, 2020


imagination is sparked by an Ethrick Brown Novel. Book with images exploding from it

Read Scottish thrillers with great plots and laugh out loud humour

ethrick card Tantallon

1 - Sunday

Malky was forty nine years old. Well, at least he was for another six hours. Tomorrow was his birthday, the big five-zero, 50 years old. For fifty, physically he was in reasonable health.  At 6’2” tall he was probably two stone over his recommended body weight. His 35” waist was too big for the 34” inch jeans he was squeezed into but too small for the 36” ones he had recently started buying. His height meant he could carry the extra weight without looking too fat as long as he didn’t relax his stomach muscles too much.  36 years of binge drinking had however taken their toll. He was bald as a coot, the bags under his eyes were luggage class and he no longer had the 28” waist he possessed as a 21 year old. These things aside he considered himself lucky and tonight’s luck included a free pass on the town courtesy of the fact his wife was staying in Hamilton. 

Tonight’s drinking partner was Watty. Malky had met Watty when they both bought second homes in the seaside town of North Berwick where they were partaking of a few beers that evening. The plan was a couple of drinks. It was a fluid plan in more ways than one. Fluid mainly because they knew it would not consist of just a couple of beers but probably gallons of fluid. The plan was also fluid because no night out really went to plan when drink was involved and tonight’s plan had already been amended within two minutes of leaving the flats. Instead of turning left towards the County Hotel, their local haunt, they had turned right and swallowed a pint each in the bars at the Golfers, the Quarterdeck and the Blenheim. The plan to have a couple of drinks in the County had already gone awry in more ways than one. Not only had they exceeded the planned couple of pints but Malky was drinking lager. Normally a connoisseur of heavy beer he had decided on a whim to order a lager tops for his first pint. The warm September day, the humid evening, the sweat induced by the walk to the pub or John Smiths being off in the Golfers may have influenced his decision but for whatever reason he was on the lager. He knew lager wasn’t a good thing to drink. The makers claimed it was all hops and stuff but the reality was it was just a crazy chemical soup that knocked the shit out of your brain cells. That aside it was a refreshing drink and Malky was enjoying it. Watty was drinking lager too and he was a well-educated chemist. If anyone should be aware of the chemical properties of lager he should, and he was, but like Malky he had started binge drinking in his early teens. He didn’t quite have the 36 years’ experience Malky had but that was only because he was a couple of years younger. When he hit 50 he would possibly even be more experienced than Malky. Watty was well qualified to know the dangers of drinking lager but it didn’t stop him drinking far too much of it.

The original plan had been aborted in favour of the hostelries in the west end of town but the rest of the drinking establishments in the west end of town had either a select membership, which excluded Malky and  Watty,  or were just too far away to walk. “Let’s go to the County for a couple of pints” announced one of them. The other agreed. They had a plan.

The County Hotel was bouncing. It was the holiday weekend and the hotel was fully booked due to a couple of golfing parties from Newcastle and a couple who were attending a wedding at the nearby MacDonald Marine Hotel. North Berwick had many attractions which made it popular and people with serious money owned some very large properties in the town. The Location by the sea on the Firth of Forth, the beaches, the scenery, the golf courses and the proximity to Edinburgh made it a very sought after place indeed. The couple attending the wedding were also from Newcastle but not from the same area as the Golfers. They had originally intended to stay at the MacDonald Marine Hotel but had delayed booking too long and finding it fully booked they had been left with the choice of booking a five star hotel in Edinburgh or staying at the nearby County Hotel in North Berwick. Logistics suggested The County Hotel was the more practical option. Reasoning that they would only be staying one evening they decided to try a night at the County.

The party of golfers had been there all week. North Berwick was at the centre of some of the greatest golf in Scotland. Its seaside location, top class condition and spectacular views provided a fantastic golf experience. The championship course at Muirfield was located in Gullane some 5 miles west of the town. This traditional links course was due to host the British Open Championship in 2013. The North Berwick Golf Club at the west end of the town was also a Club steeped in tradition. Dating from 1832 it was renowned for providing generous hospitality and a testing golf challenge. The course was also a traditional links, which started and finished at the clubhouse within the town. It wound its way along the Firth of Forth offering stunning views over white sandy beaches, islands and across to the hills of the East Neuk of Fife. The Glen Golf Club at the east end of town was another outstanding links course with arguably more spectacular views. The golfing parties were having a ball. The golf had been excellent and the hospitality of the golf clubs had been exceptional. The hotel owners had been looking after them extremely well too.  In fact, County Hotel manager, Ian Steel had been looking after them too well. As hotel guests the licensing laws in Scotland allowed them to drink 24hrs a day. Taking a week out of their lives, away from their wives and families, for a golf holiday, dictated that they had to try and drink for as many of those 24 hours a day as they could. 'It was okay for them' thought Ian, ‘They only have to stay awake for a week’s holiday. Same as the last weeks holiday squad and the mob the week before that. To keep the residents happy I’m at it 365 days a year.’ Ian had had enough of binge drinking. He decided it was going to be his night off and he promptly hid from his residents leaving Norma his trusty barmaid to keep the customers happy whilst he got some well-earned rest.

Norma had a good few years’ experience in the drinks trade both as an employee and a punter. It would probably be fair to say that she had even more experience of binge drinking than Malky or Watty. She was working her magic in the crowded bar pulling pints, dispensing shorts and pouring mixers. The tea time crowd were starting to leave. Hopefully soon it would just be the residents and the hard-core drinkers. Give it another hour and the younger ones would drift off to some of the other pubs as was the normal routine on a Sunday night. Another couple of hours and she could sit and enjoy a drink herself.

Brian Anderson had dropped in for a tea-time pint.  It hadn’t quite gone to plan. His evening meal time had come and gone hours ago. “Just another for the road", he announced. He was on halves now. Not English style half pint halves but Scottish halves as in spirits.  The patter had been good tonight and anything he had planned was out of the window now. Home and sleep off the effects of alcohol he thought but not just yet. The new plan was maybe just another for the road and then home but his plan like all drinking plans was fluid.

Malky and Watty’s new plan was going well.  “Two lagers” announced Watty on arrival at the County Hotel. Malky was now in full lager mode having dropped the lemonade tops that had accompanied his earlier pints. A chemical induced hangover was now a certainty tomorrow but the morning was some hours away and with the morning came his birthday.  So, he had a certain duty to see out the last few hours of his forties downing as many more lagers as he could before reaching his next major age milestone. He scanned the room. The bar was full of non-locals whom he deduced were residents and a splattering of regulars he recognised as fellow patrons of the establishment. He laughed to himself at the thought of being local. He had been born and bred in the West. He was what the locals referred to as a white settler. An incomer who had raised the house prices making it difficult for locals to purchase property in their own town. Malky had spoken to other so called white settlers who felt excluded by the indigenous population but he had always been made very welcome. The County Hotel had practically adopted him. He exchanged pleasantries with everyone. These locals were his friends. He reminded himself of a quote once made by an alcoholic workmate of his, Donny, who insisted “it’s not yir friend that buys you drink." He had been awful pessimistic though and finally topped himself with an overdose of some medicinal pills. Malky took his pint from Watty, “Cheers pal” he shouted to make himself heard in the din. ‘Quite ironic’, he thought, ‘that Donny’s warning comes into my head when I’m taking a drink from a chemist who’s a friend’. 

Watty and Malky squeezed in between Brian Anderson, who was sitting regaling a story about Russian holidays, and big Bradley Bone another white settler from Newcastle. White settler wasn’t really an appropriate description of Bradley. He was more of a white squatter. He had initially arrived in North Berwick to conduct some sort of work at the nearby mushroom factory in Fenton Barns and just never got round to going home. He had also been adopted by the County Hotel and was a permanent resident. Bradley was a bit of a mystery. He was a pipe lagger to trade and still did the odd lagging job but he seemed to just duck and dive picking up work here and there. Here being North Berwick and there being anywhere between North Berwick and Portsmouth. Bradley was a big boy At least six feet three with broad shoulders, dark hair and a small paunch possibly obtained through drinking too much beer and latterly Guinness. He was probably in his early thirties and his dark hair, strange accent and new boy in a small town status had allegedly meant a number of the young and not so young girls in North Berwick, who were that way inclined, had been introduced to Mr Bone.  This had on occasions also cost him some heavy grief but whatever he did he also knew some serious people in the South Shields Area. Malky had previously joked that Bradley was either a major North East gangster doing dodgy jobs or he had fallen foul of a North East gangster and was hiding in North Berwick. Bradley, who knew the truth wasn’t quite as exciting and liked to keep a veil of mystery surrounding his past life, just smiled and revealed nothing. He liked being mysterious especially when the girls were intrigued by Mr Bone. Bradley, Malky and Watty were also members of the County Hotel darts team so they had more in common than just binge drinking. They indulged in the usual jibes, niceties and speculations about the nocturnal activities of Mr Bone. This was followed by darts team updates and rumours that Stevie Duncan was signing for the County. After agreeing this would be a coup Bradley, Malky and Watty became aware of Brian Anderson's conversation about Russian holidays.

“Yes it’s the latest in action adventure holidays” continued Brian Anderson. The darts team trio weren’t quite sure how they got drawn into this conversation but fairly soon they were engrossed. Whoever Brian had been talking to, they were gone but he had now pulled in a new audience which caused his drinking plan to become slightly more fluid and another half for the road was ordered to facilitate a further telling of his holiday discovery. This also meant the second of Malky and Watty’s couple of pints had to be ordered so they could listen to the tale. Their plan was still on course. Bradley Bone, whose only plan was to drink Guinness all night, duly ordered another whilst Norma ran around like a blue arsed fly pulling, pouring and dispensing. “Somali pirates” Brian Anderson continued. “You get yourself into deepest darkest Russia and get in toe with the Russian mafia. They show you how to handle an AK47 and those big inboard machine guns that are fixed to boats. You get tons of target practice and trained in sea warfare. Once you’re up to speed they sail you into Somali waters and when the pirates come to get you, you can blow them away."

Malky was instantly enthralled by the idea. In two hours’ time he’d be fifty. He wasn’t exactly past it but how much longer would he be able to claim that. Neither had his life been dull. He was a retired policeman, having left Strathclyde Police after serving 31 action packed years which had been challenging and exciting. At 18, naive and innocent of the ways of the world he had donned the uniform and was initially identified and earmarked for promotion. Prior to joining he was no stranger to alcohol but the drinking culture embedded in the police at the time and the pressure associated with his preferred line of work, criminal investigation, soon meant he had fallen foul of the drink and those involved in the promotion selection process. That was not necessarily bad news however. Freed from the politics of promotion he had dedicated his career to catching criminals. He was soon identified and groomed for a life in the various squads that do the business in this line of work. This meant working long hours and devising innovative strategies to ensure success. It included world travel and long periods away from home. It meant shit loads of overtime and large pay packets. It meant he never worked for less than a Chief Inspectors salary even though he only ever attained the rank of Detective Sergeant. It meant he continued to drink far too much and fitted in perfectly with the clientele of the County Hotel who had adopted him, just over a year ago, on his retirement from what he had considered the best job in the world. Shooting Somali pirates had a ring of justice about it. Administering the ultimate punishment to those parasites dealing, in kidnap, extortion, murder and rape fitted right in with his lawman ethos.  This was a topic worthy of further conversation, ‘we could have some fun with this’ thought Malky. “Sounds fantastic, have your gangster mates got any contact with the Russian mafia, Bradley?", he asked of Mr Bone. Brian Anderson smiled and promptly ordered another half. His drinking plan was now well and truly fucked. It wasn’t the only one.

Bradley Bone and Watty were up for a laugh and they sensed Malky was too. Malky was famous for ripping the pish and starting ludicrous debates just to wind people up. Bradley and Watty decided to join in.  Ideas and views on the pros and cons of what would be involved in a Somali pirate shooting holiday, run by the Russian mafia, began to bounce about the bar.  Davy Kerr the darts team captain listened intently.

The big problem with the deal was the lack of guarantees. A mafia rip off was suspected. Give them a couple of hundred grand and they let you shoot a few bullets before taking you on an uneventful cruise where Somali pirates are as rare as last orders for residents in the County Hotel. It was decided that some guarantees would be required before any thought to signing up could be considered. A proper contract was probably needed but as the only contracts associated with the Russian mafia would probably mean a contract out on you, the whole Somali pirate shooting excursion was looking a dubious nonstarter. Then Davy Kerr had an idea. “Look, fuck the Russian mafia. Cut out the middleman. Ian and I can train you” announced Davy. North Berwick had several residents with military experience. Davy Kerr was one and Ian Steel was another. No one quite knew where Davy had served in the forces but Ian Steel took great delight in telling everyone that Davy had been in the catering corps. Davy wasn’t too talkative about his military experience. Someone said he had been in the Gulf war but no one really knew. Army folk said the ones that talk about active service have never seen any whilst those who have, normally don’t talk about it. Based on that premise Davy must have been Special Forces or something. He put Somali pirate shooting back on the starting blocks and the logistics of going freelance became the new topic of conversation.

It was decided Bradley and his shady contacts would sort out the guns and stuff. What quite stuff meant was never really disclosed but Bradley just nodded, winked and tapped his nose. He had it sorted. No problem, the gear was got, “Whay aye man, no worries!”

            Watty, with his chemistry set, was designated explosives officer with the task of making everything from fertilizer and other natural ingredients.  “Easy, it’s a dawdle!” announced Watty.

With the practicalities of the arsenal sorted, the matter of transport and logistics had to be solved. Benjy’s fishing boat was suggested as the ideal craft to attract Somali pirates with possibly one of the North Berwick life boats as back up. Benjy Pearson was the local lobster fisherman and his boat puttered about between his pots on the Firth of Forth. No one knew what size it was but the general consensus was it would probably be able to get from North Berwick to Somalia via South Shields to pick up the arsenal nae bother.

“Ah don’t think Benjy will give us it” someone voiced.

“Well we could borrow it” someone else suggested.

“But who would drive it” enquired another.

“Ah’ve got my Royal Yachting Association inland yachting certificate level two, a radio operator licence and an introduction to navigation course under my belt” boasted Malky who was now well aware the couple of pints plan was just about as far off course as he would be if he tried to pilot a boat to Somalia.  He was getting light headed and there was still an hour to go until his birthday. “Aye I’ll have another", he beckoned to Watty who was racking up another round of drinks.

“Where the fucks Somalia?” voiced a voice.

“Eh! I think it’s in East Africa. Somewhere, near Madagascar” suggested Malky.

“Well, you need to know, I’ve just made you navigator” said Davy.

“Easy just head out there to the Atlantic", said Malky pointing in the direction of the North Sea."

“The Atlantics over there” stated Watty pointing to the toilets.

“OK, head through the channel and go round the pointy bit at the bottom of Africa and up the other side till we get there” declared Malky.

“That’s the navigation sorted then and we can do all the weapons and tactical stuff on the open sea after we pick up the arsenal at South Shields” broadcast Davy

“What are we going to eat and who’s buying the petrol” squeaked someone in the corner.

“It’s a fishing boat and Ian’s a cook” offered Davy.

“Ian doesnae like fish” said Norma

“Fuck him” grunted Davy “He’ll just have tae eat it and Malky you’ve a yachting badge, we’ll rig up a sail on Benjy’s boat and that’ll save diesel.”

“What about the documentation to fool all the different Navy’s and Coastguards we might run into along the way” asked Watty. “Floating about in the South Atlantic or the Indian Ocean in a North Berwick Lobster boat, shooting fuck oot the place whilst stealing folks fishing quotas might draw us a bit of attention from the authorities.”

“Norma can shag them all", laughed Bradley.  Mr Bone was rising to the challenge. “If Norma gets on her back for a couple of coastguard cutters and the odd aircraft carrier they should turn a blind eye to our activities.”

“She might get sick of fish dinners too” giggled Watty.

“Norma we’ve a job for you” offered Malky and the boys took great delight in outlining Norma’s roll in the operation.

“Maybe Durex will sponsor you” offered Mr Bone. Norma was not impressed but Bradley persisted.  "You only have to shag half the world's navies. You can practice on me."

"That will be right" retorted Norma "you’re not even fit to be called a wanker. Your hand even rejected you. Last time you tried, it fell asleep."

"Aye you'd change your mind if I unleashed the trouser snake" boasted Bradley trying to regain the upper hand.

"Your two inch tadger and a cobra have certainly got one thing in common" suggested Norma. "I wouldn't fuck with either of them."

Watty nearly spilled his pint laughing at Bradley's expense.

Bradley disputed Norma's claim "Two inches, it's more like twelve you should suck it and see."

"Sod off I'd get foot in mouth then" replied Norma to the amusement of Davy, Malky, Watty and Brian who were now engaged in raucous laughter. Bradley surrendered "Fuck it's my round, you'll laugh on the other side of your face when the navy get you." Like it or not Bradley had decided Norma was in. It was essential if the plan was to work. Norma racked up another round and two blondes sauntered into the bar.

            Shemain and Theresa were good Irish girls. They were travelling through the area looking for opportunities. They were on route from the traveller site in West Boldon, Northumbria to the Carluke area of Lanark to visit relatives.

            The two blondes were tidy. Watty was single, divorced and available. Mr Bone was there to back him up and Malky was there too. The conversation about guns, bombs, shooting folk and meeting with gangsters continued in the corner where Norma was still disgusted at the thought of servicing an entire aircraft carrier. In another half hour Malky would be fifty. He had read somewhere that sex seeking females did not look at men over 55.  He still had five years and 30mins left before he was past it. One of the blondes was looking distressed maybe he could help?

            Theresa was 27 years old and aware of her looks. She looked around and saw a bar full of middle aged men. Plenty of opportunities here she thought looking at Shemain in that knowing way. Shemain nodded whilst also looking around. The tables occupied by the golfers were packed. Drink was abundant, cash was evident and the mood was merry. A group of guys were standing around the bar and they looked merry enough to be departed from their cash too. Shemain motioned to the bar and Theresa started crying.

            Malky assessed the problem. The poor girls were stranded in North Berwick trying to get to Carluke to visit their sick mother who was ill in the Law Hospital. They were distraught and beside themselves with worry. They needed the train fare to Carluke and money for their hotel. Most of the hotels were full because of the holiday weekend and they had been forced to book into a hotel they couldn’t afford. They had left a £50 deposit but faced another £100 bill in the morning.  Malky smiled, hoping to appear sympathetic but really amused at the affront of these two rogues who had strong Irish accents and hadn’t properly researched their scam. “Poor Girls, what do you think Walter?”

Walter thought one had a smashing pair of tits and the other had a cracking arse. He also recognised the accent and could smell something fishy. “Law Hospital", he murmured also realising the girls hadn't properly researched their scam. Malky noted Walter had cottoned on and thought it was time to move things to the next level. Law Hospital had been abandoned years ago. He had used its derelict buildings in various training exercises which allowed the police to practice techniques for rapid entry during drugs raids. The hospital was now a massive building site where new housing developments were springing up or would be if the economy could get back on track. Presently it was just a source of scrap metal thefts. One thing Malky did know about Irish travellers was that they are often involved in recycling scrap metals. Sixty percent of the raw material for Irish steel is sourced from scrap metal. Approximately fifty percent, roughly 75,000 metric tonnes, is collected and segregated by the travelling community at a value of over £1.5 million and percentages for more valuable non-ferrous metals were probably significantly greater.  Malky and Watty offered to put the girls up for the night and drive them to Carluke in the morning. Watty even offered to run them there in his BMW convertible but no one offered the girls a drink. Within five minutes the girls had melted away into the company of the golfers. They weren’t crying anymore and Watty and Malky were back planning an assault on Somalia.

            Malky was suddenly grabbed by Norma who pulled him across the bar threw her arms around his neck and planted a big kiss on his lips. “Fucks sake” thought Malky “She’s taking the practice for aircraft carrier servicing quite seriously.” He considered doing tongues and having a quick grope but then he realised he was getting his birthday kiss.  Before he knew it, he had a malt whisky in his hand. “Congratulations” voiced those in the know and “Happy birthday old bastard” reverberated around the room. He swallowed the whisky giving little thought to the state of his head in the morning, “A couple of pints, that plan was well and truly fucked now."

            The attack came from behind. Watty probably started it, Bradley joined in and Davy reluctantly followed. Malky was seized by three assailants who weren’t very well coordinated. Watty’s plan had been to bring him down and hold him whilst they removed his trousers and underwear leaving Malky naked from the waist down in a crowded pub. As Malky tried to work out their plan he fended off his assailants to stay on his feet. He was happy to be a sport but until he fully understood their intentions that was a risky thing to do. Watty was now fumbling with Malky’s trouser belt but was struggling to undo it. The others loosely held his arms. Bradley kicked at his leg as Davy pulled him and the four of them toppled to the floor. Malky decided to grab some insurance and grasped for Bradley’s left testicle seizing a lump of flesh in his hand.  Bradley winced as his inner thigh was squeezed and thought, “Thank fuck he never got ma baws." They were now grappling around on the floor. Who first saw and raised the swimming pool sized dog bowl was irrelevant. What was important was Malky was the one who dictated which way its contents spilled and that Watty and Bradley took the brunt of the soaking. Released from his captors Malky lifted himself from the floor and presented himself to Norma. “They wanted my tackle out, why don’t you do the honours” he laughed raising his arms in the air to give her unfettered access to his manhood. Norma giggled and acted all coy but in ten seconds flat she had his trousers at his ankles and his meat and two veg on public display. Malky took the subsequent applause from the crowd, twirled to ensure they had got the most from the experience and bowed before returning his gear to the security of his trousers. Bradley and Watty tried without much success to wring out the dog bowl contents from their shirts and trousers. The conversation quickly returned to Norma and her reluctance to service an aircraft carrier despite the fact she had dis-robed Malky quickly enough. This factor was enough evidence for the boys to decide she was back on board. Norma just shrugged her shoulders. "Men, if only vibrators could mow the lawn" she thought.

            The couple returned from their wedding at the Marine Hotel. It had been a good night. The wife had been enchanted by the whole affair. The lovely hotel with the turrets, the magnificent views, the happy couple, the romance, the atmosphere, the etiquette and the charming people had made her night. The noise from the bar attracted her attention, “Come on dear we’ll pop in for a night cap” she suggested. Her husband was delighted at the prospect of another drink. The bar was crowded and there were no seats so the wife stood at the inner doorway leading from the bar to the stairs giving access to the rooms. She found herself standing behind Davy and big Bradley who had their backs to her. 

            “Right”, Davy stated, looking at Bradley “It’s all sorted we get the guns from your underworld pals in Newcastle, We should get ammo there too." He turned to Watty “you can source the explosives."

“Aye” beamed Watty “I can get the stuff to make grenades, bombs, charges, everything to take out anything you want” 

Davy continued and looked at Norma “You have all the equipment necessary to overcome any attention from the authorities and the transport is sorted.”

Norma gave Davy a disapproving look.

Bradley smiled and then butted in looking at Malky “Aye and him being ex-Old Bill won’t do any harm either. That should add to our credibility. Those bastards don’t stand a chance we’ll take out hundreds of them with all the guns and shit we’re getting.”

They were all laughing now “we can get moving next week then” suggested someone.

            The wedding wife was shocked. When husband came back from the bar he was promptly pushed upstairs to the room. The two gin and tonics he had purchased were swilling about in the glasses and he juggled to save the liquid nectar from spilling over the sides. He then decided a swig from each of them would help minimise spillage danger. He was ushered into his room and greeted with “Terrorists, we’re in the company of terrorists."

            ‘What on earths got into her now?’ He mused. She had moaned about everything since she got here, in fact she had moaned about everything since he married her. He had been the product of a working/middle class family from South Shields but he had done well for himself in the boom and that had given him the money to move in the better circles but not the connections to open the doors to where the real power lay. That was where his wife came in. She was part of the elite. Her family had contacts and friends in the government and they were connected to royalty. Her choice of husband had been frowned upon but he had finally been tolerated if not accepted by Daddy. His lower standing in the family had been reinforced by his disorganised approach to the wedding. His lack of foresight in not booking a room in the five star McDonald Marine Hotel had not been missed and his wife had moaned like the neurotic bitch she was. He quite liked this place but she found fault in everything. He didn’t normally swear but he thought 'For fuck’s sake woman, terrorists, are you out of your mind?' Her attitude to this nice little hotel had been outrageous since he announced they were staying there. He had dismissed all her other frivolous complaints and now she had moved into fantasy complaints. Guys with guns and bombs were planning to kill hundreds of people and they were planning it in the bar. Complaining about the size of the shower or the spaces in the car park was one thing but claiming the world's leading international terrorists met in the bar for their conferences was outrageous, even by her standards. Like a good husband he agreed to investigate further. Get as much information as he could he was told, reconnoitre and survey. Get names, descriptions and listen to their plans. Uncle Rupert would need to know everything he could to thwart their operation.  Uncle Rupert was something to do with the Civil Service and he was apparently well connected with the Foreign Office and MI6. Buy them drinks and loosen their tongues he was told.  The first part was easy ‘another G&T’, he thought. It was always good to have a plan. He entered the bar which was now considerably quieter and emptier than before. The golfers were leaving and the crowd of guys who had been at the bar had left. Two blonde girls were eyeing him up and he thought they had obvious Irish accents. “As good a place to look for terrorists as anywhere” he thought ‘and well the wife told me to buy them drinks’. He turned to Norma. “A large G&T please and whatever the young ladies are having."

            One look at the size of his wallet was enough to convince Shemain and Theresa to spirit the golfers off to bed and change targets. The golfers were convinced they had performed a good deed and the girls would he happy sleeping in their hotel in the knowledge that they could catch a train in the morning to visit their sick mother. The girls tried their magic on the man with the large G&T and the even bigger wallet.

            He wasn’t getting anywhere. He had bought two rounds and all these two blonde Irish girls would talk about was their mum. Not a terrorist in sight, well apart from the two blondes trying to terrorise the cash from his wallet. He asked again about the guys at the bar. The blondes didn’t know them but claimed they hadn’t been enamoured by them. Old fuckers with disgusting habits they had been exposing themselves, rolling on the floor throwing water about and laughing all night.

“Terrorists, they were old farts and that was the limit to their explosive talents” snorted Shemain.

G&T man suspected their sick mum sob story might not be truthful and he considered that on any other night away he would probably have tried to exploit the situation, because they did look quite tidy, but not tonight as his wife was upstairs. He did not suspect for a minute that they were lying about the guys at the bar though. 

Both girls had heard bits and pieces about guns and explosives but hadn’t quite heard or understood what was being talked about. Theresa and Shemain knew better than to admit to knowing anything about anything especially when this cagey old prick was acting like a cop and asking about things people don’t normally talk about. If he had only been trying to get into their knickers they could have went with that but the interest in guns and explosives had set off alarm bells. They could smell the authorities a mile off and this guy smelt bad. They played him along acting innocent and demure but signalled to each other it was time to go. Cousin Seamus would be sitting in his pick up on the outskirts of town waiting on tonight’s pickings. Theresa flashed her cleavage again at G&T man whilst Shemain gathered their stuff together and they left. Theresa and Shemain were now convinced G&T man was Special Branch or some other kind of security scum. Their antics however had meant they had consumed free drink all night and obtained enough cash for two train fares they would never buy and the cost of a hotel room they would never book from twenty drunken Englishman. Oliver Cromwell would not have been proud of his countryman that night but then again hadn’t Oliver Cromwell caused the problem in the first place?  

           The little stirring in his loins brought about by the Irish girls natural assets diminished at the thought of his neurotic, fat wife waiting upstairs for the results of his mission.  He was convinced she was off her head. No one here knew anything about terrorists, he decided. He finished his G&T and headed upstairs thinking about Theresa’s tits but he was quickly brought back into focus when reunited with his wife and he was berated for finding out nothing of importance.  She told him she would phone Uncle Rupert and get him to sort it. Wishing he’d stayed for another G&T he persuaded her to sleep on it and contact Uncle Rupert in the morning. She made it abundantly clear sex was not on the menu and left him to wrestle with the images of the Irish girls. They would both have got it, it being a night of sordid sex.  His mind drifted back to the wedding and he thought the bridesmaid would have got it too but then again so would the bride. That just wouldn’t display etiquette though, would it? The idea of etiquette was quickly dismissed as he drifted off to sleep and experienced some strange erotic nightmare about Irish girls in wedding dresses trying to free his naked wife from the shower whilst she screamed for Uncle Rupert to make the shower wide enough for her big fat ass.

Cousin Seamus soon met up with Shemain and Theresa. Like the perfect gentleman he was, he alighted from his vehicle and opened the passenger door for them. Shemain gave him a quick run-down of the cash total for their nights work and alluded to secrets about weaponry and the Branch. He eagerly took his share of the nights haul and slapped the two girls firmly on the ass as they entered the pickup. “Now what’s all this talk about guns ‘n’ explosives and Special Branch?" He asked.

ethrick card the law


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