The Standalones

Chapter Eleven

Ken Preston

8 June 2024

Silhouette of a rock band against a spotlight and the words The Standalones

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Chapter Eleven

Fred had on a denim jacket over a white T-shirt, a pair of jeans, and Doc Martins on his feet. He patted his jacket pocket for the familiar shape of the knuckledusters he kept in there.

He was ready to go and do what he did best; collecting unpaid debts.

In his own way, Fred had a moral compass, and he followed it no matter what. People should pay what they owed. It was that simple, really. And it was the law, wasn’t it? You owed someone money, you should pay them back.

Unfortunately, the methods Fred used to reclaim these unpaid debts quite often fell outside of the law. Fred couldn’t understand it; how come it was always him who got in trouble with the cops when all he was doing was leaning on a… wait, what did the judge call them? Oh, yes… a debtor to pay what they owed. It wasn’t like Fred hurt people badly. He slapped someone around a bit, broke a few items, maybe even got the knuckledusters out once in a while, but they were there mainly for show. He’d only ever used them a couple of times, although he had been delighted at how much damage they did to a person’s face.

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But the cops never saw it like that, and Fred was always the one wound up in court, pleading his case before a judge. Not that they ever listened. They were too posh to listen to someone like him. They had no respect for the working class, that was their problem. Fred doubted judges ever managed a full day’s work, sitting around all the time and handing out prison sentences. It wasn’t exactly rocket science, was it?

Still, the occasional spell in the clink was worth it. Fred enjoyed his work, and it wasn’t like he could do anything else. Debt collecting was what he did, and that was never going to change.

Now this job for Danny Lamb, it wasn’t going to pay much, that was for sure. But Danny was a mate, wasn’t he? And you always looked after your mates, that’s what Fred believed.

Besides, Fred had already found the kids who’d run off without paying their rent. It hadn’t been difficult, the flyers for their next gig had been all around town.

The Dog and Whistle.

He’d have to be careful there, he didn’t want to run into Elsa. Other than that, this was going to be like stealing candy from a child.