The four stooges floundered through the night, sharing a bottle and aerosol can between them.
‘If he’s awake we’ll chin him,’ Bun said.
‘I don’t want to chin no one, especially no pensioner. Won’t your dad be pissed, Porky?’ Slop said.
‘Dad won’t find out. The old man’ll be asleep; we go in, find the bag and go back out. We get some gear along the way, then pay off Burnt Dave. Easy.’
‘Where’s he keeping the money?’ Nose said.
‘I don’t know, but I heard dad gave it to him in a rucksack,’ Porky said. ‘He don’t hear good and I took dad’s spare key, so we won’t wake him.’
The door opened slow and Porky scouted the place from the safety of the entrance. Darkness. Thoughts of Burnt Dave pushed him through. He caught his foot on something, the stairs, he thought. His equilibrium was off but he caught his balance on the bannister. He ushered the others through.
‘You two search down here, me and Bun will go up top,’ Porky said.
Nose headed for the living room, Slop the kitchen. After a quick scan of the room Nose lost interest and headed for the television.
Slop opened up the refrigerator: no bag here. He took out a jar of peanut butter and found some bread.
‘Fucking bag isn’t going to be on the television is it?’ he said to Nose, leaning from the kitchen with his mouth full of food.
‘I don’t want to miss Big Brother,’ Nose said.
Bun found a child’s room with no child. On the walls were his childhood heroes; viewing them he remembered innocent days. He searched the toy box, sifting through the items with a breastroke, and found one he liked. He laid on the bed with the Thomas the Tank Engine to his chest like a dead man and, with twiddling toes, was lost in fantasy.
All Porky found in the bathroom was the man’s shed skin and hairs in the bathtub. He’d procrastinated long enough. He entered the old man’s bedroom.
He saw in the bed the shape of a man, the quilt slowly undulating. The breathing stopped, chugged, and then continued normally, like an ancient car.
Look. The room produced no bag. He decided to look underneath the bed. There was something there. He went prone to reach it. He made contact. He started to drag it closer when the floor shook, and a Geordie accent vibrated through the structure of the house. He jumped and slammed his head on the bedframe before retreating from it like a cowering dog. The cunts below had turned on the television of a near-deaf man.
The old man watched him. He sat up in bed with his eyes like coins and his mouth agape; he looked like he was screaming. Porky withdrew further, kicking at the floor, shouting aloud for help.
Bun appeared at the doorway, Thomas still in hand. He saw the back of the old man and freaked. Bun’s shock startled the pensioner out of paralyses and he turned to face him, taking his pistol from beneath the quilt, firing three waving shots. The doorframe splintered and caught Bun’s cheek. Thinking himself shot he dropped like any self-respecting shot man would.
The old man then fired at the shadow against the wall. Three more shots and Porky’s head was wallpaper.
Bun had jumped up, lithe and alive, and connected Thomas with the old man’s temple. The man fell forward on his piss-bag and it exploded; he half slid from the bed, his head propping him against the floor with his ass to the air.
‘The fuck’s going on?’ Nose and Slop appeared, mouths full. The room smelled of piss and peanut butter.
‘Am fuckin’ bouncing,’ Bun said, leaving Thomas behind with the others. He ran down the stairs two steps a time and hit something at the bottom, clashing the ground with his chin. His hand slipped. Slipped on the Queen. Hundreds of her.
‘You fucking beauty,’ Bun said.
‘What you stop for?’ Nose said as he came crashing down.
‘It’s the Queen boys, we’re kidnapping the bitch,’ he said.