The Standalones

Chapter Thirty-Four

Ken Preston

1 July 2024

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

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Chapter Thirty-Four

There was something he was supposed to be doing. Something important. Someone was coming to visit, and he had to get ready. He struggled to think, to connect the thoughts floating around in his head, but a thick fog obscured everything and made it difficult to concentrate.

Why did he have to get ready for visitors? What was he supposed to do, run a Hoover through the place? Get out the duster and the polish?

Danny Lamb never had visitors, and even if he did, he wasn’t going to dust and vacuum. That there, that was a woman’s job. That stupid punk girl Lexi could do the tidying up. After all, she owed him a ton of money for rent. She would get the place ready for the visitors.

Danny scrunched up his face as he worked hard at putting his thoughts together. Thinking wasn’t one of Danny Lamb’s strong points, but it wasn’t usually this difficult. Why was that?

Wait a minute…

He remembered now. All day he’d been suffering with a killer hangover. That was why he was struggling more than usual today at this thinking lark.

Danny opened his eyes. Hot needles no longer pierced his skull, and his stomach wasn’t trying to crawl out of his throat. Danny gazed at the cigarette yellowed ceiling and realised he was feeling better.

Visitors.

Oh.

Danny sat up in his bed. “Fred!”

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The visitors he was expecting were Frankie Henderson’s hard men; the twins. And getting ready for them meant having that holdall full of cash ready to hand over.

“Fred!”

But they didn’t have the money anymore, and instead of looking for it, Danny had spent the day sleeping off his hangover. He picked up his bedside clock and peered at it. Nine o’clock. Was that morning or evening? Nine in the evening, stupid.

Oh no, what time were the twins due back?

“Fred!”

“Alright Danny, hold your horses mate, I’m here.”

Danny dropped the alarm clock in surprise. “Where have you been?”

Fred leaned against the bedroom door frame. “Waiting for you to wake up.”

Danny swung his legs out of bed and planted his bare feet on the floor. “You should have woken me up!”

“I tried, mate, but it were like trying to wake the dead.”

Danny stood up. “We need to find that money. Where’s that stupid punk girl? She took the money, didn’t she?”

“I haven’t seen her all day, mate.” Fred decided not to mention that he had been asleep for most of it, too.

“She’ll be back soon enough,” Danny growled. “And I don’t care how tough she thinks she is, she’s telling us where that money is. If she doesn’t, she’ll soon realise she’s not tough at all, not when I’ve had my way with her.”

Just then, they heard the front door opening and closing.

A slow, mean grin crept over Danny Lamb’s face.

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