The Standalones

Chapter Three

Ken Preston

31 May 2024

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

“What’s this, Ratzo?” Frankie Henderson said, holding up a hairbrush. “You planning on growing your hair back, are you?”

Ratzo yanked the holdall fully open and stared incredulously at the pile of clothing. “But, but, where’s the cash gone?”

Frankie Henderson let the hairbrush fall to the floor with a clatter. “That’s exactly what we’d like to know, isn’t it, boys?”

The two men, twins by the look of them, nodded in unison. “Yes, Frankie.” They spoke in unison, too.

Ratzo wiped a hand across his mouth. “It was here, Frankie, I swear it was. I packed it all up myself this morning.”

Frankie shook a cigarette out of his pack of Benson & Hedges and placed it in his mouth. He took his time finding a match and striking it. Once he had the cigarette lit, he took a deep drag and blew the smoke in Ratzo’s direction.

“Well, it ain’t here now, is it?”

Ratzo began dragging the clothes out of the holdall and throwing them across the warehouse floor. The money had to be in here somewhere, it had to be! He yanked out a sheaf of papers and rifled through them. What on earth were these? Song lyrics?

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