The Standalones

Chapter Thirty-Five

Ken Preston

2 July 2024

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

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Chapter Thirty-Five

“This is it, everything I’ve got, two pounds and twenty-five pence.”

Chloe looked at Chris’s outstretched hand and the collection of coins in his palm.

Matt stuffed his hand in his pocket and pulled out the crumpled five-pound note that Nate the busker had given him. “I’ve got a fiver.”

Scarlett held out a collection of one and twopenny pieces. “Seventeen pence.”

Chloe showed the others what was left of her cash. “Six pounds.” She grimaced. “I didn’t bring much. I thought we’d be earning money straight away.”

The four band members were standing on the corner of Dunraven Street and Adelaide Road, outside a launderette. After they had caught up with each other, Chloe and Matt had filled the others in on what had happened since they last saw them. Despite Chloe’s fears, they took the news well. Even Chris seemed resigned to the fact that the holdall full of cash was more trouble than it was worth.

Now they were trying to decide what to do next.

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“Hey, what happened to the money we got for playing at The Dog and Whistle?” Chris asked.

“We didn’t get paid,” Matt replied. “We were too busy running for our lives to think about the money.”

“We should go back, get what’s owed to us,” Scarlett said.

“Not sure about that,” Chloe said. “The landlady probably blames us for the fight, and she might ask us for money to pay for all the damages. Or set Elsa on us.”

Scarlett sighed. “You’re probably right. Which means I might never get to see Max again.”

“But the van is yours. That mechanic can’t just keep it,” Chris said.

“If we don’t pay for the repairs he’s done, I think he can.”

“What about your gear?” Chloe asked. “Surely he can’t keep that?”

“The problem is, even if we do get our gear back, how are we going to transport it?” Matt said. “We can’t carry our gear from gig to gig.”

“Speaking of gigs, we’ve got one tomorrow night, remember?”

“Well, like I just said, how are we going to transport our gear to it?”

Chris sighed and looked up at the star-studded sky. “What we need right now is a miracle.”

“What about a drink, instead?” Scarlett pointed across the road at a pub. “We might as well spend what little money we have on enjoying ourselves. Who knows, maybe we could play on the one-armed bandit and win big.”

Chris shrugged. “Might as well, I suppose.”

The four of them traipsed across the road and entered the smoky pub. Despite how busy it was, they managed to find a table they could just about squeeze around.

“I’ll buy the drinks,” Chloe said. “What’s everyone having?”

“Hooch.”

“A Reef.”

“A Mule for me.”

“Okay.” Chloe headed to the bar, repeating the unfamiliar names in her head. She was just going to stick to a plain old-fashioned cider.

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