The Standalones

Chapter Forty-Two

Ken Preston

10 July 2024

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

The last time Danny Lamb had cried had been when Arsenal had lost to Man City and had then been relegated.

Now he felt like crying again, but for completely different reasons.

“It’s not here, Fred,” he wailed.

“What isn’t there, Danny lad?” He rubbed at his eyes and tried to stare at Danny. Unfortunately, there were two Danny Lambs in his field of vision right now, and Fred couldn’t decide which one to look at.

“The money, you idiot!” Danny yelled. “All the money has disappeared!”

Fred rubbed his eyes again. What was that Danny had just said? It seemed like he could hear Danny perfectly well, but his brain couldn’t make sense of what he was saying.

“What did you say, Danny?”

Danny Lamb lurched at his friend and grabbed him by his shirt. “I said the money’s gone! We’ve got the wrong bag!”

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Fred still wasn’t entirely sure what Danny was trying to tell him, but decided to humour him. “How did that happen, then?”

Danny screwed up his face while he thought about this. “It must have happened when we were outside the pub. The bags must have got mixed up in the fight.”

“Oh, right.” Fred hiccuped. Gazed at the bag of clothes and notebooks. “Er, Danny, I don’t think that’s our bag. Where’s the money gone?”

Danny raised his fist as he groaned in frustration. Maybe he should just try to knock some sense into Fred. Danny froze at the pounding on the door.

“Who’s that?” Fred said.

“How on earth should I know?” Danny gesticulated in the general direction of the front door. “Why don’t you answer it?”

Grumbling, Fred slouched to the door and opened it.

The twins stared back at him.

“Frankie wants his money back,” they said in unison.

Fred swallowed. “We haven’t got it.”

The twins pushed Fred out of the way and entered the house.

Danny Lamb clambered to his feet. Sweat ran down his face. His stomach turned over, but whether it was due to his hangover or just plain and simple fear, he wasn’t sure.

“Now lads, I know we said we’d have the cash for you, but there’s been a bit of a mix-up.”

“Frankie wants his money back,” they said again.

“But we haven’t got it!” Fred wailed.

The twins scowled and bunched their hands into fists.

“But we can tell you who has got it,” Danny said quickly.

“Go on,” the twins replied.