The Standalones

Chapter Seventeen

Ken Preston

14 June 2024

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

Listen to the audio version, or scroll down to read the post.

Chapter Seventeen

Ratzo scurried between men punching each other, and out of The Dog and Whistle’s back door. He leaned against the brick wall, panting. Tonight’s plan had been so simple; just get in there and steal the money back from those stupid kids and their stupid band, and make everything right with Frankie. He’d even brought that girl’s travel bag with him so that he could swap it, and then maybe take a moment to watch her confusion when she realised she’d got her stuff back but lost the money.

That would have been sweet.

But that wasn’t how it had gone down. The fight breaking out had been a brilliant diversion for Ratzo, but it had also made it difficult for him to get to the drum kit and the holdall. Seemed like every idiot in the building wanted to give him a good kicking as soon as they saw him, and Ratzo had found himself pushed and shoved all over the place.

Then, when he finally got to the stage, he had found the bass drum empty. The holdall had gone.

Writing in the Shadows is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Fred had to have got there before him and snatched the money. He’d already be on his way to Frankie with it, which meant Ratzo was going to be in some deep trouble.

Ratzo had shoved Chloe’s holdall into the bass drum. There was no point in him carrying it around for the rest of the night, was there? She might as well have it back, at least somebody would have got what they wanted.

But not Ratzo. Wasn’t that just the story of his life? He never could seem to get a decent break. All he wanted was a quiet, simple life, but here he was, in the middle of a pub brawl and wondering what his next move should be. Run away, or go back to Frankie and face the music?

Ratzo closed his eyes and swallowed. There was no choice in the matter, really. No matter how far Ratzo ran, Frankie would find him eventually. And then he would send the twins to deal with him.

Ratzo might as well just go back and own up now.

Stuffing his hands in his pockets, his shoulders drooping and his head down, Ratzo shuffled away into the night.