Thriller Mystery Suspense

'HOW COME WE are meeting in here?' Alex asked.

'What? Not good enough for you?' Grimsy answered.

'I thought we had moved on a bit.'

'Who ordered the full brekkie?' asked the cafe owner, slapping a greasy plate in the centre of the table.

'Mine's a coffee. The food is for him,' said Alex, pointing across the table.

'Just because you wear a suit now, you can eat here, with me, you know.'

Alex snorted and studied the sausages and the rest of the stuff he wouldn't feed his Alsatian. His coffee arrived in a chipped mug, filled to the brim.

'When you empty your mouth, maybe you can tell me why we are here,' said Alex.

Grimsy skidded his sleeve across his pinched lips; a belch escaped, and both men smiled.

'That's better, more like the Alex I remember. We laughed and joked about farting and burping, remember?'

'Yes, but I think we've grown up since then, don't you?'

Another fork full of bacon covered with beans didn't touch the sides; Grimsy licked his knife.

'More coffee, mate,' asked the owner, 'Aw bout you, Grimsy?'

'This one is not finished, thanks.'

'I'll have a pot of tea, thanks,' said Grimsy.

The tea arrived as Grimsy wiped his mouth on a paper tissue. 'We are here to talk.'

'Why can't we talk at my place or the golf club?'


'What do you mean?'

'Because I don't feel comfy in your snooty club, and your place is too far to go.'

'So, we're in a greasy spoon. Does that suit you better? I don't get it.'

Grimsy looked around, and the other customers were chatting about last night's football, about what arseholes their bosses were, and roaring with the punchline of dirty jokes.

'That is what I miss.'

'Jesus, man, have you lost it?'

'We were best of mates since when? Five years old? Remember that bully kid? What was his name? Polmer?'

'Yes, Steve Polmer, what about him?'

'We joined forces, and he wouldn't touch us, remember?'

'Yes, so what?'

'I'm just saying we've been mates forever.'


'We shouldn't let anything split us up.'

'Who said anybody was?'

'Things have changed. I mean, look at you. Fancy suit, the food in here, not good enough, company car and the rest of it.'

'So, I've got a better job. What difference does that make?'

'You started, same as me, as an apprentice craftsman.'

'Yes, I know, I remember, scrabbling for overtime to pay the rent,' Alex sighed as he cast his mind back.

'Well, I'm still there, still doing it.'

'Not really, you have your own business. I work for bosses.'

'Yes, that's true.'

'So what are you on about?'

'How much did your house cost you?'

'Whatever it costs, it makes no difference. I've got a huge mortgage, don't forget.'

'I bought my council house. It is paid for fully.'

'Congratulations. I still don't know what your problem is?'

'There is another huge difference between us.'

'We both support the same football team. Or have you changed to the arseholes in red?'

'Nah, that will never happen.'

Smiles returned to both men, remembering the street fights outside the ground, being chased by police officers trying to keep the sets of teenage thugs apart.

'Happy days,' said Grimsy.

'We were lucky to remain in one piece and never got arrested.' Both nodded with a grin.

 'Whatever happened to Little Jen, that cute babe you were dating for ages?' asked Grimsy.

'We weren't meant for each other, I guess. I didn't want to settle down, she did.'

'Shame, lovely lass.'

'So now it's a marriage guidance session?'

'No, not really. It's more about my wife.'

'Oh, is she pregnant?'


'What then?'

'I suspect she is seeing someone else.'

Silence draped them, both struggling to find suitable words.

'Come with me,' said Grimsy. He pointed at the door behind the counter. The owner of the cafe nodded and stood aside.

'What? You gonna teach me to cook, now?'

'Yeah, exactly what I'm going to do.'

'Where the hell did you get that?' Alex asked.

The dated, well-used, sawn-off shooter appeared as Grimsy dragged it from a shelf under the counter.

'Do you remember my old man had one of these? That's what got 'im put away.'

'Yeah, so what do you need it for? Are you planning on robbing a cafe?'

The sixties rock music suddenly got louder outside the kitchen door.

'On your knees,' said Grimsy. 'Don't worry about the grease on the floor messing up your fancy suit.'

'What the hell? What's going on? For Christ's sake, we've been mates forever.'

'Right, would you expect any mate of yours to screw your wife?'

Alex' Now I know you are joking,' Alex said, surprising himself by noticing the cobwebs on the ceiling, then snapping back.

The volume outside increased again.

'Don't do anything stupid. Ask what you want to know,' said Alex.

'Why has my wife got your mobile number?'

'Why not? She may have asked where you are if you failed to answer her call. Sure, she has my number, as I have hers.'

'Answer this then: why did she suddenly wipe a FaceBook video of you when she realised I was looking over her shoulder?'

'Okay, okay, I'll tell you.'

Only one trigger cocked. That was the only sound Alex heard, whatever racket went on in the next room.

'Next week, you are forty, yes?'

'You know damn well it is my birthday.'

Both barrels rammed into Alex's throat. When he freed his larynx, he said, 'Your wife and I were planning a surprise party for you.'

'Sure, she was planning to run off with you.'

'Look, Grimsy, as nice as your Mrs is, she is not my type. Dark-skinned and skinny, she is not. So no, the only planning we were doing was hiring a hall and sorting out the catering. Ring her. Tell her the surprise party is not a secret anymore. I let the cat out of the bag. No need to mention two cartridges stuffed in my mouth.'

'There is only one cartridge in the shooter. And no, I can't ring my wife.'

A solitary tear fought its way from his eye. It escaped and slid down Grimsy's cheek. The music next door was incapable of drowning out the gun's blast.

The owner burst in, slamming the door behind him. Alex was lying on his best mate's chest. From the top of Grimsy's mouth to the contents of his skull, had splattered and decorated the sink, the washing up and the window behind.

'Grimsy got things mixed up, I'm afraid.'


September 27, 2023 10:17

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