The Standalones

Chapter Six

Ken Preston

03 June 2024

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

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Chapter Six

Danny Lamb wasn’t happy. In fact, he was downright unhappy. As he lowered his fist and watched the van disappear around a corner, a fierce determination that he would get the rent money he was owed blossomed inside Danny Lamb’s chest.

A car horn honked behind him and he swung around and let loose a torrent of abuse at the driver. He stalked back into his terraced, four-storey townhouse and slammed the door shut. Alright, so the place needed some work doing on it. A bit of patching up here and there, that was all. And maybe the downstairs toilet had been backed up for a couple of weeks now, (or maybe it was months, he found it difficult to keep a track of time), but the landlady at The Galloping Horse had said they could use the toilets there anytime they wanted to. Well, when the pub was open, of course. They didn’t even have to buy a drink.

Danny Lamb hitched up his trousers and scratched his belly.

Lexi was standing in the dim hallway.

“You’ve gone soft in the head, you have,” Danny Lamb said. “What were you thinking, letting them all run off like that? You know they owe me rent money.”

Lexi tilted her head back and jutted her jaw out in defiance. “So? What’s that to me? They don’t owe me any money.”

“Maybe I’ll think about taking what they owe me out of your rent, that’s what,” Danny growled. “I ought to give you a smack across the back of the head, knock some sense into you, that I ought.”

Danny Lamb raised his hand as though ready to slap her.

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Lexi stepped back. “Don’t you dare, or I’ll scream the place down.”

Danny chuckled. “Nobody will hear you, love, and even if they did, I doubt anybody would bother doing anything to help you. This is London, people keep to themselves.”

Lexi eyed the big man warily.

Danny lowered his hand. “I don’t know why you’re so loyal to that lot, they threw you out of their poxy little band, didn’t they? What is it they’re called? The Standins?”

“The Standalones,” Lexi muttered.

“Stupid name, if you ask me.”

“Well, no-one did!” Lexi ran past Danny and up the stairs to her bedsit.

Sounded like she was crying. That kind of thing didn’t bother Danny Lamb, though. Girls were always crying about something, weren’t they?

Danny hitched his trousers up and tried his best to forget about Lexi. He had bigger problems than that jumped up little girl who thought she was a rock star. He’d show her one day, but in the meantime he was going to get that rent money he was owed, and he knew just who to call to help him.

Inside his first-floor flat, (complete with working toilet), Danny Lamb lifted the telephone receiver and dialled a number. After only three rings, a woman answered.

“Yeah?”

“Irene, it’s Danny.”

“Yeah?”

“Is Fred there?”

“Yeah.”

Danny Lamb rolled his eyes. “Well, put him on the phone, I need to speak to him.”

“Fred!” Irene yelled. “It’s Danny!”

Danny Lamb held the receiver away from his ear and winced. That woman had a voice like a foghorn.

“Yeah?” Fred’s voice rumbled down the telephone line.

“Fred, I’ve got a spot of bother. These kids who owe me money, they’ve only gone and done a runner, haven’t they?”

“You want me to do a bit of debt collecting?”

“Yeah.”

“On me own time?”

Danny Lamb rolled his eyes again. “I’ll pay you, alright?”

“Alright. You’ll have your money by tonight.”

There was a click and then silence.

Danny Lamb replaced the telephone in its cradle and smiled.

Fred was good at his job.

One of the best, in fact.

The telephone rang. Danny picked up the receiver.

“Yeah?”

“Who did you say I’ve got to collect this money off?”

Danny Lamb rolled his eyes. Maybe Fred wasn’t one of the best, but he was all Danny had.

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