A clash of loyalty to family and friends and the brutal consequences of ill-advised actions. A pleasant day at the beach interrupted by the unexpected.
My eyes scream with pain. Everything is blurred. Syd pulls against me, as I yank on his collar and struggle over the dunes. Bloody dog! He’ll get a right kicking if he doesn’t start behaving, and my so-called mates, deserve the bash too, running off like a pair of sissy’s.
As for that fat cow and her lethal spray, I’ll get her when she’s least expecting it. No-one shames Jimmy Rankin, and gets away with it.
As I reach the roadside, Syd jerks free from my grasp and bounds across the road.
Outside the dairy, the two sissy’s kneel down and pet Syd. “You dumb-arse dog,” I shout, rubbing my eyes furiously.
“Thanks for the support, you pair of weasel-arsed sissy’s,” I shout as I stomp across the road.
“Yeah, sorry mate. That cow meant business and I didn’t fancy getting sprayed.” Jono mumbled.
“You ain’t no mate,” I snarl. “Maybe you fancy this,” and I pop Jono right on his hooter. He clutches his face as the blood spurts out.
“Wow! Jimmy, steady on. It wasn’t Jono’s fault.” Stevie says.
“You want one too?” I sneer, clenching my fist. He holds up his hands and backs away.
“Nah, sorry Jimmy,” then he points to a water-tap on the side-wall of the dairy. “Splash some water into your eyes. It’ll take the sting away.”
I squat down, turn on the tap and splash water into my eyes. The pain eases.
“My nose, I think it’s broken.” Jono groans.
“Shut it or I’ll whack you again.”
Springing to my feet, I pull out Syds lead from my pocket and clip it onto his collar. “Tie Syd to that post,” I say to Stevie, pointing to a lamp-post a hundred metres away. “You and I are gonna do over the dairy. Bozo here,” I jab a finger at Jono, “Can stand guard.”
“Jimmy, that ain’t a good idea, not in broad daylight.”
Stevie takes the lead and drags the dog, snarling and growling, to the lamp-post. Tied to the post, Syd Vicious goes into a barking frenzy. Bloody dog, he sure is gonna get one hell-of-a-kicking, later.
“And you, you useless bag of shit, when we’re inside the dairy, bang on the door if anyone comes along. You got that, pea-brain?”
“Yeah, I got it.” Jono mumbles, spitting a gob of bloody snot onto the pavement.
Stevie returns and I fling my arm around his shoulder, “Let’s do this!” Visualising the smack seeping into my veins, I feel pumped as we enter the dairy.
Soaking in the rays of the hot summer sun, at the far end of the beach, away from the Sunday beach crowd, Bethany and I listen to the latest drama in Carla’s life.
“I woke to a noise coming from downstairs. I crept down the stairs and along the hallway to the kitchen. The door was half open, and I could see a figure beside the bench. I couldn’t see his face properly, because he was wearing a hoodie. He was searching through the messy drawer, the one where everything gets dumped, including dad’s wallet when he’s not got it on him.”
“Weren’t you frightened?”
“I was absolutely petrified. I stood frozen to the spot, too frightened to move. The back door was open, and the porch light glowed into the kitchen. I could see the meat cleaver on the bench.”
“Oh my God!” Bethany shrieks. “What happened?”
“I must have made a sound because the intruder grabbed the cleaver, and spun round, facing me. I got such a shock when I saw the face inside the hoodie. Sunken eyes, hollow cheeks and red-raw scabs around his mouth. It was my brother, Jimmy.” Carla pauses, her eyes watering. Bethany, reaching for Carla’s hand, squeezes it. “I haven’t seen him since dad and he had that big blow-up when dad caught him burgling the house. Dad threatened blue-murder if he ever dared to come back.”
“Did he say anything?” I ask.
“No, but I did. I was shaking all over and my voice sounded weird, not like my voice at all. None of it felt real. It was like I was on the outside, watching someone else. I told him to leave before he woke mum and dad.”
“And did he?”
“No. He took a step towards me and raised the cleaver over his head. I screamed like I’ve never screamed before, and shouted, ‘get out, get the fuck out’. That’s when the car pulled into the driveway. Mum and dad had come home. He dropped the cleaver and took off out the back door.”
“So your parents weren’t even in the house?” Bethany says.
“What did they say when you told them he’d been there?” I asked.
“I didn’t tell them. I just said that I got up to check if I’d locked the back door.”
“Carla, are you crazy? You should have told them.”
“He may be a loser, but he’s still my brother.”
“He’s a psycho, Carla. What would have happened if your parents hadn’t come home when they did?”
“But they did come home and nothing happened and no matter what he’s done, he’s my brother and I care about him.”
“Will you still care about him, when he’s wedged a meat cleaver into your skull?”
Carla’s body stiffens, and her eyes burn with anger. “I’m going for a swim.”
She scrambles to her feet, sprints to the water and dives under the waves.
“Wow, that was a bit brutal, Tammy. He wouldn’t have hurt her. He’s her brother.”
“Don’t be naive, Bethany. He’s an addict, desperate for a fix with a meat cleaver in his hand. It wouldn’t matter to him who it was standing there. She should have told her parents.”
“ ‘Spose,” Bethany shrugs.
“You want some crisps?” I offer, taking two packets from my tote bag.
A fat bulldog, coming from the sand dunes bounds towards us and rushes straight to Bethany’s open crisp bag, gobbling the crisps. Drool dribbles from his meaty mouth. Bethany squeals. Three yobs appear from the dunes, laughing at the dog’s antics.
“No need to be afraid of Syd Vicious, girls. He just wants to be your friend,” says the skinny dude, dressed in black jeans and hoodie, with chains hanging from his belt.
Holy shit, it’s Clara’s brother, Jimmy! I look towards the waves, trying to make out which swimmer is Clara. The dog, circling us, growling and snarling, is eyeing up my bag of crisps.
Jimmy approaches. “What juicy little flesh-pots have you found for us, Syd?” he smirks, crouching beside Bethany, who has huddled herself into a tight ball.
“I’ll have this one,” he says rubbing her leg. “I’ll do her in the sand-dunes and then I’ll do her again. You two can fight over fatty there!”
Grabbing my tote-bag and jumping to my feet, I screech, “Get lost, Jimmy Rankin, and take your low-life mates and your smelly dog with you.” I swing my bag wildly at him.
“You gonna make me, fatty?” Jimmy, on his feet, steps towards me. Stepping back, I nearly trip on my towel. His mates laugh.
“You tell her, Jimmy,” one says.
Bethany whimpers. Holding my bag to my chest, I frantically search for the small, cylindrical tube. Finding it, I aim my hand and squirt Jimmy Rankin in both eyes.
He screams an anguished cry, “You sadistic cow!”
Rubbing his eyes, he splutters, “Get the bitch!”
The other two look towards me. I point the cylinder in their direction and take a step towards them. They turn and run back over the sand dunes. With one hand rubbing his eyes, Jimmy grabs the collar of the dog with his other hand and stumbles over the sand dunes.
“Wow, that was amazing Tammy,” Bethany hugs me. “I was so scared.”
“What was amazing?” Clara returned from her swim, dabs her hair dry.
“Nothing, it was nothing.”
“It wasn’t nothing, Tammy,” Bethany continues. “These three yobs and a savage dog came out of the sand dunes and were saying vulgar stuff. Tammy yelled at one of them and sprayed him with pepper spray.”
“And they left?”
“Yep. They ran off. You knew him, didn’t you?” she says to me.
“Yeah, no, not really,” I stutter. “Anyone want a coke? I’m going to pop over to the dairy.”
“No thanks,” they chorus. I tie my sarong around my hips and pull on my T-shirt. As I scramble up the first dune, my heart thudding against my rib-cage, I clench the cylinder in my hand, fearful they’ll be lying in wait. Reaching the roadside, I see the dog, Syd Vicious, tied to a power pole, barking madly. Outside the dairy, one of the yobs is standing beside the door, blood streaming down his face. The door flies open and a black figure, half turned, yelling something over his shoulder, dashes out onto the road. A car comes speeding down the hill towards the dairy. Brakes screech.