Paul D. Brazill
It wasn’t like everyone said it but then they all had their own agenda anyway. Their own axe to grind. Their own boil to burst. They certainly weren’t starting from a neutral place, that was for sure.
But, you know, Boom Boom Bailey wasn’t the sort of person that engendered neutral feelings. He was a bullying bastard or a have-ago-hero depending on how you looked at the situation. Like a prism, or something.
Yes, Boom Boom broke both of Mucky Sid’s arms, no doubt about it. He snapped them in pieces with his bare hands, which wasn’t too difficult for him but then you didn’t earn the nickname Boom Boom for nothing, did you? Boom Boom was a big, hard bastard and he’d always been good at hurting people. Sometimes he’d broken arms, legs and more delicate parts of the anatomy, for fun. Sometimes for money. But where Mucky Sid Kilvington was considered it had been more of a public service. Even if he had taken him up the Jed Bramble’s farm and fed him to the pigs. Alive.
‘The twat had it coming to him,’ said Boom Boom. He was sat on a wobbly bar stool, crunching pork scratchings.
‘Aye,’ I said.
I was behind the bar in The Shaggy Dog, standing in for the usual barman, Kenny Cokehead, who had been picked up by the busies the night before.
‘Everyone knows Sid …’ Boom Boom gulped. Choked. Spat. He took another drink. ‘Everyone knows what he is. Was.’
‘Agreed,’ I said.
I put another bottle of beer in front of Boom Boom. I knew that he preferred draught lager but not being a proper barman I didn’t know how to pull a proper pint. Much to the chagrin of the regulars.
‘As far as I’m concerned,’ I said. ‘You did us all a favour.’
‘Well, ta much for the support, Ordy but the missus doesn’t see it like that does she?’
I opened a can of Carling. Knocked it back.
‘Well, she wouldn’t would she. Bella’s Sid’s big sister. She’ll always be protective of him. Twat or no twat.’
He drummed his fingers on the bar.
‘He had a free pass for too long.’
‘True. If he fell in the river he’d come out with a pocket full of fish,’ I said.
‘It’s not right, though, Ordy,’ said Boom Boom.
‘What’s right ever had to do with anything,’ I said.
Boom Boom smirked.
‘He didn’t half squeal, mind you. He offered me his car. His house. His missus …’
I grimaced. Sid’s wife, Janet, was as rough as toast.
‘But you know,’ said Boom Boom. ‘It was a pleasure.’
He finished his drink.
I pulled a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue from under the bar and gave it to him.
‘On the house,’ I said.
Boom Boom’s eyes twinkled.
‘You know what he told me,’ he said.
He opened the whisky. Sniffed it and swigged.
‘What did he tell you? I’m all Prince Charles.’
He leaned close and whispered in my ear.
Boom Boom whispered it again.
‘What a …twat,’ I said.
Boom Boom nodded.
‘I never knew he was that bad,’ I said.
Boom Boom shrugged.
I poured us both a whisky.
We sat in silence listening to Billy Joel singing about New York.
‘It’s nice to do a good thing once in a while, though,’ said Boom Boom.
‘Indeed,’ I said. ‘But don’t make a career out of it.’