Elvis couldn’t believe it either.
“They can’t do it. We’ll have to stop them.”
“We’ll go on strike.”
I had to admit it was a great idea. Elvis may have walked with a crutch but his brain had obviously had a nudge in the right direction during the accident.
“Fantastic,” I said. “How?”
“I don’t really know. I’ve seen a few on the telly, they just seem to shout a lot and wave banners around.”
“Well, that’s right up our street. We can all shout and wave banners, even Gilbert.”
“My Mam was right when she said I should watch the news. It’s an education in itself.” Elvis was proud of himself.
“That’s the thing about strikes, they’re always on the news,” I said confidently. “Nobody’s going to take a field away from kids who have been on the news.”
“Come on, I can’t wait to tell the others.” Elvis hobbled towards the door.
“I can’t believe it. We’re going on strike,” I shouted. “and we’re going to win.” I leapt triumphantly in the air, accidentally rapping my knuckles off the doorframe.
“I’m going out Mam,” shouted Elvis as we headed for the door.
“Where are you going?”
“On strike,” we replied.
As Tomma opened the door he could hear the theme music from Eastenders coming from the television.
“All right mate,” he shouted through to Jamie.
He didn’t get any response so popped his head through the door. The television was on but nobody was there. He walked through to the kitchen and filled the kettle. It was still warm. Tomma took a walk upstairs, the toilet door was open but the bathroom was empty. He knocked on Jamie’s door and walked straight in. He wasn’t expecting the sight he was greeted with. Sat on the bed were Ingham and two henchmen, all three brandishing shotguns.
“Good evening Mr Thompson, I think me and you need a little chat.” Ingham pulled back the barrel on his gun. “We helped ourselves to a cuppa, hope you don’t mind.”
“No,” Tomma was still trying to take it all in, “what do you want, what have I done?”
“Oh, I think you know the answer to that one Tomma. The small matter of a failed delivery.”
“But I delivered the parcel to Cullen yesterday, like you said.”
“Yes, you delivered a parcel to Cullen just not the one we were expecting. It was a little light if you know what I mean.”
“No, I fucking don’t know what you mean, you mad bastard.”
“Now there’s no need for foul language, just tell us where the money is and we’ll think about letting you keep that filthy tongue of yours.”
“Why have you come to me? Why haven’t you gone to Cullen?”
“We have and after we conducted extensive enquiries we are satisfied he is not the culprit.” Ingham raised his eyebrows.
“What do you mean, extensive enquiries?” Tomma looked worried.
“Well, we removed each of his nails, one by one, starting with his toes and then moving up to his fingers.”
Tomma started to feel sick.
“When that didn’t produce any answers we started to get a little bit nasty, sticking knitting needles where you wouldn’t want knitting needles to go. Do you understand now?”
Tomma retched and threw up all over the bedroom carpet.
“Now you are really starting to annoy me. Where’s the bleeding money?” Ingham was now standing with his gun pointing straight into Tomma’s face.
“I swear it was all there. Nick counted it, every last penny it was there.”
“What the fucking hell is Nick Couzens counting the money for?”
“He wanted to make sure that we weren’t being stitched. You can never trust anyone these days.”
“That’s exactly my point. It appears that Mr Davison and friends are trying to have my pants down.”
“I swear, I’m not involved.”
“Glad to hear it but it’s all a little convenient isn’t it. Someone attacks my family and then a delivery turns up short and the one person you put in the frame is now dead. That is why I don’t believe your little story about Nick Couzens.” Ingham smacked the butt of the gun in Tomma’s face, knocking out one of his front teeth. “If Couzens was involved, it was through direct orders from above. He’s greedy but not stupid. He wouldn’t try it on without back up.”
“I swear I know nothing about it. You have to believe me.”
“I don’t have to do anything. You’re lucky I haven’t killed you already. I’m going to do some more investigating before I visit our mutual friend Mr Davison. If you breathe a word of this conversation to him I’ll kill you. I trust you know not to take any holidays in the near future, I wouldn’t like to have to come looking for you.” Ingham headed for the door but first he launched a fierce kick into Tomma’s groin that left him doubled up in his own vomit.
“See you soon.”
“We’ll be famous when we go to St Patrick’s. There’s not going to be many kids who’ve been on the telly during the school holidays.” Bumper seemed to like the idea.
“Apart from James Duffy, ” said Elvis, ”he was stuck on the cliffs at Seaburn when the tide came in. He started crying for his Mam and the helicopter had to be called out.”
“I would love to go in a helicopter, ” said Bumper.
“Me as well, that would be excellent,” Gilbert agreed.
“Not if you’re James Duffy,” explained Elvis, “his Mam knacked him when he got home, he was grounded for the rest of the holidays. They even had a close up of him with tears streaming down his face, the big lass! You can keep your helicopters, I would rather go on strike.”
Another installment to follow same time next week.
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