Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Issue #33 -- August, 2012

by Fiona Johnson

Beeny found a mangy dog, dead for days. It was lying on the council rubbish dump and he knew it would make perfect target practice, a gift from the gods. He wondered what damage a handgun could do to real flesh. Would there be a thwump as the bullet hit the carcass?

He poked at its scrawny arse. Would the bullets go right through the dog’s body? Gingerly he toed it again. Gave him a funny sensation the dog could still jump up at him, suddenly spring back to life.

“Agh! Fuck, shit!” Beeny swung round to see that Jango had pounced ninja-like at him, pulling his parka hood over his head. Bloody hilarious.

“Oh man, that was dead brilliant. Look there’s keech running down your leg!”

“Fuck off Jango, there is not; you’re just a fuckwit. The gun could’ve gone off, I could have just pulled the trigger…”

“Aye, and shot yourself up the arse!”

Jango laughed at the funniest stunt he’d pulled for a long time but Beeny seethed with indignant rage.

“Its no’ a real gun anyways,” pointed out Jango, “do you think I’m daft. Where would you get a real gun, you know, one that fires actual bullets?”

“Is so real!”

“Don’t be stupid, give it here. Let me see, it’s one of them imitation jobs.”

“No, it’s mine and it’s the real fuckin’ deal. It’s a semi-automatic Makarov pistol. So stick that up yours!”

“Bollocks! You been having a wiki-leak again? Let me see it.”

Jango held out his hand for the gun.

“Naw, you’re not having it. I got it last night in the pub from a Polish guy, took me out the back. He had it wrapped up in a black bin bag.”

“And what? He just ‘gave’ it to you?”

“Stop being a wanker, course he didn’t.” Beeny kicked at a stone, hitting the dead dog. “He said I could have it on a five-day trial and if I like it I can buy it off him for a hundred spondulicks.”

“And this Polish guy just let you walk away with it? What did you do? Stick it up yer jumper?”

“No…Aye…well, what else was I supposed to do with it?”

“What was the Polish guy’s name? Did he give you his mobile number?”

“Don’t know and nope.”

“And you don’t think that there’s anything unusual about all that? No wee bells ringing or no wee lights coming on in that huge brain of yours?”

“I’ve just got it for five days. If I don’t like it he’ll take it back…”

Jango closed his eyes and rubbed his close-cropped head. Never in his life, knowing already how stupid and naive Beeny could be, did he ever, ever think that he was this stupid.

“Give me the gun.” Jango stretched out his hand.

“No. Fuck off. It’s mine.” Beeny stuck the gun into his parka pocket.

“Is it loaded?”

“Aye. Course it is, it’s a bloody gun!” Beeny grinned at Jango and stuck his chest out, proud of his new found power.


“What? You’re just jealous ’cause I’ve got a piece and you haven’t. With this I’m going to hit the high times. I don’t need you any more and your poxy wee robberies. Now I can do anything I want and get some real dineros.” Beeny turned, and just to make the point to Jango about what a big man he now was, he fired off a couple of rounds into the dog’s rear end. “You wee shitting beauty!”

“Stop it! That’s enough. Fine, if you’re sure that’s how you want it.” Jango looked Beeny straight in the eye. “So come on, share your master plan because this I have to hear, and put the bloody gun away.”

“K Jango, Here’s my offer. Let’s do a job on Friday night but this time I’m in charge. I’ll call the shots and you’ll go along with me. Let’s see if you can take it Mr. I Know Fuckin’ Everything. I’ll select the target and then I can have first dabs at the good stuff for once. Got it? Do we have a deal?”

Jango nodded his head. Give Beeny enough rope and all that…

“Is that an affirmative?”

“Aye, it is. You’re on. You’re the big man. Let’s see what you’re made of.”


One a.m. and Jango cut the lights in the battered white transit and crept into the crescent. There’s not many posh areas in Irvine but Beeny had managed to find one in a secluded, green-hedged and wrought-iron gated oasis, far away from the damp high-rises and pigeon-splattered pavements of their more regular stomping grounds.

“You sure about this Beeny? Is this not a wee bit out of our league?”

“Fuck’s sake man, I tell you, I know what I’m doing. This is an old house, the windows and locks are going to be dead easy to do. A wee breenge from your shoulder and we’ll be in.”

“And your auntie told you this? Is she sure? Sounds a bit too good to be true to me!”

“I tell you, it’s true. She’s cleaned for them for years and she says they’re so fuckin’ rich, go abroad on holidays all the time but too fuckin’ stupid to put in proper double glazing or new locks on the doors! Anyway, folk like them, they’ll just claim back on the insurance if anything is missing. It’s win, win.”

“Right, okay, what do you want us to do?”

“She says they’re all out tonight, away to some big do in Glasgow so all we do is get in and back out without the neighbors seeing us. C’mon.”

Leaving the van at the end of the drive, Beeny and Jango slid out, stayed off the crunching gravel and stepped out into the pitch-blackness. They could just make out the house in the distance with its white painted gable looming. Silence hung in the velvet air. Beeny gripped the gun.

An owl hooted and Beeny’s heart froze before doing a triple flip.

“Get a fuckin move on man,” wheezed Jango.

Heading off again, at a brisker pace, Beeny repeated their mantra, “Quick in, quick out.”

A few minutes later they reached the side of the building, quickly slipped around the corner and looked for the back door. Reaching out his hand, Beeny felt the cold iron of the doorknob, gave a quick breenge to the door with his shoulder, the lock gave way and they were in. Standing in the dark of the room, they both gasped for air.


Upstairs, old Mrs. Reynolds stirred in her bed. She had changed her mind about going out but woke when she heard the slightest creak coming from the ancient oak floorboards. Beside her Hugo sniffed the air, hair on the scruff of his neck already standing on end.

“What is it boy? Do you hear something?”

Stepping into her slippers, she got out of bed; Mrs. Reynolds patted the dog on the head as they both listened for any more movement.


The dog moved first, heading straight for the door with Mrs. Reynolds only a few steps behind. Pretty sure somebody was moving around downstairs in the old laundry and they’d just walked into the old tin bath that sat in front of the sink where the family put their outdoor shoes before tramping mud through the house.

“Shoosh boy, let’s take this quietly, we don’t want to give ourselves away,” the old woman whispered to the dog, keeping a hold on his collar to stop him from bolting down the stairs as he so obviously wanted to do.

“Right Hugo, let’s go see who we’ve got visiting tonight, shall we? Let’s have a bit of fun with them!”


“Could you not see that great big tin bath right in front of your nose, you stupid eejit?”

Beeny glowered back at Jango, “It’s fine, chill, there’s naebody at home, it doesn’t matter. Come on. Quick in, quick out.”

Jango shook his head and sighed at Beeny, hoping for once that their luck might be in.

Beeny knew he needed to open the door from the laundry just far enough, squeeze through, head into the hallway, look for the room on the left where he’d been told to go by his auntie; look for paintings and small knick-knacks. Better money than Xboxes and Argos jewelry.

“This way Jango, come on, get the bags ready,” Beeny whispered over his shoulder as he pushed open the sitting room door.

Once inside he shone the torch around and gawped at the opulence; over-stuffed sofas, open fire with a high mantelpiece, grand piano covered in family photos and glass display cabinets clinging to every wall.

“I think we’re in fuckin’ Buckingham Palace, Jango!”

The boy stood in awe and it was only when Jango threw the bags down on the floor beside him that he awoke from his stupor and remembered why he was there.

“Right, come on, grab stuff and fill the bags up, but watch out just in case the corgis bite your ankles,” Jango laughed as he pushed past Beeny.


Behind the sitting-room door Evelyn stood with Hugo, listening to her two unannounced visitors. Chuckling, she waited her moment, knowing that it wouldn’t be long before they attempted their escape. Saw her son’s fat face discovering he’d been burgled. Lazy toad. Deserved everything he got.

“Okay, Hugo, here we go, remember to play along with me,” and at that she let out a terrified moan.

Beeny and Jango froze in their tracks, unable to move or breathe.

Pushing the heavy white door open, Evelyn asked, “Is there anybody there?” in her best shaky old woman voice. She flicked on the light switch and saw the two scallies in front of her.

“It’s okay missus, just don’t move and we’ll be out of here.” It was then that they saw the dog move from behind Evelyn’s legs and heard the low growl.

“Shit Jango, she’s got a dug! A bloody big Alsatian!”

Beeny, gun out of his pocket, waved it at the old woman.

“Lose the dog missus or I’ll shoot him, I will, just you watch!”

“You’d better do as he says missus, that gun could go off at any time. Come on, don’t be daft about this.”

Evelyn, standing up straight, smirked at Beeny and Jango, no flicker of fear, and addressed them both, still holding onto her snarling dog.

“Do you think I’m some useless, old codger? My name is Evelyn Reynolds and I’m 83 years old, but I’m not gaga despite what my family thinks.”

“Nobody said you were gaga gran, but seriously, we don’t want to hurt you.”

“Hey missus, the dug gets it if you make one wrong move,” Beeny spat out at her trying to keep the fear from his voice.

“Come on then, just do what my mate says. We’re no’ wanting any trouble, we’re just taking a few things. Be sensible, move the dog.” Jango tried to look reasonable holding his hands out in a gesture of trust.

“I don’t know who you are and I don’t actually care,” explained Evelyn, addressing Jango, “but I’ve got a plan, if you would care to listen. I’ve seen more of life than you ever will, you know.” Evelyn looked at Beeny straight in the eye. “I got my pilot’s license at twenty-three, flew solo across the Atlantic to New York where I met my husband, a wealthy investment banker. I returned to Scotland when he died ten years ago.”

“I’m not interested in your life story granny! Move the dug now!” Beeny headed towards Evelyn.

“You don’t scare me young man. Before I had my two children I canoed down the Orinoco River, I’ve climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and trekked to Machu Picchu long before tourists could go there on a bus. A burglar or two is nothing to me; in fact the thought of a bit of excitement is quite delicious! Living with the family as the ‘aged granny’ is quite suffocating and if you would put down that little toy you call a gun, I’ll tell you what we are going to do. Let’s have some fun!”


Evelyn led the way upstairs taking Jango and Beeny to the master bedroom.

“This is where the real loot is,” announced Evelyn, “so let’s hurt the bastard and make it really count!” The tough old bird slid open the huge walk-in wardrobe lined on every side with hangers of suits and dresses organized by color, while beneath lay shelf upon shelf of shoes of every colour and design.

“This boys, is what my son fritters his father’s fortune on. Go look for yourself, every one has a designer label, Savile Row, made to measure, cashmere, Italian leather and as for her,” Evelyn spun round to the opposite side, “straight from the catwalks of Paris and Milan! Shoes that she’s never even worn once. This is what they live for, this is what my children value.”

Evelyn’s eyes blazed as she remembered trekking in the Himalayas, crossing the Andes and seeing the street children in Calcutta.

“Help yourself to whatever antiques you wish, but first I need you to destroy every item in here. Slash, rip, tear. Make sure everything’s destroyed. Then tie me up and leave me downstairs for Roger to find on his return. Hurry, time waits for no man, as someone once said.”

“Are you mad? You’ll just report us to the polis as soon as we’re gone. You’ve seen us both and you’ll be able to pick us out in a line up any day,” Jango exclaimed.

“No, I certainly will not. I’m a woman of my word and the reward for me will be to see the horror on my son’s face when he discovers what’s been done. As far as being able to identify you, I’m perfectly capable of telling the police that my attackers were two young men of Eastern European origin who spoke with heavily accented English.”

Beeny and Jango stared at each other.

“Now do we have a deal?” Evelyn stuck out her hand.

“Deal!” Beeny and Jango replied together.


Back in Jango’s flat the next day, as they examined the loot spread out around their feet, the boys watched a bit of TV and drank a couple of tins.

“Did that really happen, man?”

“Aye, it did, I think anyways, bizarre old bird though!”

And in other news, an 83-year-old woman has had a lucky escape after being tied up during a robbery at her son’s home where she lives. The robbers escaped with an unspecified amount of antiques whilst also causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to the family home. When called to the house in the early hours of this morning, the police discovered a handgun that has been identified as the weapon used in a recent hold up at a post office in Kilmarnock.”

“That wouldn’t be your gun they’re talking about by any chance?”

“Aye, I think it might be…” Beeny stared down at his left sock and tried to
maneuver his big toe back inside the hole it was sticking out from.

“So you actually did realize the gun was hot and the Polish guy had dumped it on the
first sucker he could find? My god, Beeny, I never had you down as being as smart
as that!” Jango ruffled Beeny’s hair.

“Eh, well, actually…I think I just put the gun down on a shelf when we were ripping
up the clothes and I…eh…just forgot to pick it up again…”

“Oh shite! You’re a jammy wee dodger!”

Beeny grinned at the compliment from his mate as he popped open another tin.

“Cheers, mate.”

Fiona Johnson, aka McDroll, is the author of the serialized crime novel The Wrong Delivery
and the short story collection Kick It Together; a mix of drama, crime, noir and comedy. The charity anthology The Lost Children was the culmination of a 50th birthday project that benefits Protect in the US and Children 1st in Scotland through sales on both sides of the Atlantic. Other short stories by McDroll are littered around the online world, most notably in Shotgun Honey, The Flash Fiction Offensive and Near 2 the Knuckle as well as in the anthologies Off the Record, Burning Bridges and True Brit Grit. She reviews & blogs here:
Goodreads – Follow @mcdroll Facebook - mcdroll


  1. Nailed it. I had no idea where you were going, but loved staying with you.

  2. Terrific story. The dialog is brilliant and it went in unexpected places. Bravo.

  3. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it Patti - thanks so much!

  4. I just read this for the first time and I can see I will have a busy day of reading Fiona's stories. This was spectacular.