kind of self-explanatory, right? We seem to have some impressive thread-wrappers that lurk around this board. let's try to keep your "first booger" posts at a minimum.
the train pulled into a small hamlet where once a famous battle had been played out
the creek was where they met their demise
Trojans and Persians
he said, "it's always fucking cold and grim here, fuck me..." and handed me a cigarette...
I said nothing, fired up, and started walking through the dark.

we approached a small building decked out in Tuscan white and clay roof pans...
the smell of oregano, olive oil, and fresh bread punctuated the heavy damp air...
"fuck the medals" I said, "all in, or all out..."

we strode in only to see CREW hunched over their hemlock at a corner table, both self-loathing misanthropes...
they frequently eat their young...
"why'd ya bring me HERE" you moaned, "these cunts have always been jealous of my medals..."

the Roma pizza lay at the counter, remarkably quiet...
mute witness to the epochal...

"now what?" you said...
"no worries..." I say, "I'm big and feeling awesome; just like that time at the Gown and Gavel with those rangers who took a one-way ticket up here..."
"of course you are..." you said, "but I already knew that, why did I fucking bother..."

"all in, or all out?" I ask...
prison rules...
around the time mountbatten was wondering where his legs went we were wondering why the hell we agreed to come back here.
it had been almost six years.

''well. I never thought I'd see this fucking place again.'' I sighed.
he looked at me, out the window, and then back at me. he took a deep breath and smiled.
'same again?' he asked.

"go on then" I said, not actually looking forward to another black and tan... "pretty dead tonight, this place."
'well it's monday... though it feels like thursday morning' he handed me my pint 'and I fucking hate funerals' he added as he lit another cigarette.

three lads stood at the end of the bar slightly swaying.
I couldn't figure out if the older one was staring at me, the clock on the wall or the door behind me.
this particular fella had his eyes rolling all over the shop. he was bitterly angry about something and I secretly hoped it was the other two he was with.
sure as a coffin cover closing a small argument ensued and the other two yelled something unintelligible to us before they left.
wonky eyes half chased them out the other door before returning to the bar and settling back into staring at us.

"have a look" I said, nodding towards him. "he's looking for something..."
'well I ain't selling' he quipped. 'and fuck that mick. that's not why we're here.'


"we're never going to find this fella... we're running on nothing more than rumours. we've absolutely no chance of finding him in this city."
'we'll find him, don't worry' he assured me 'and then we'll get back to see about getting you home.'
it had started to rain. I'd no idea where our hotel was and now it was dark.

wonky started to yell from his end of the bar.
"oi, you. you two... yeah... I recognise you."
I looked over at him. "nah... not you, the other one. that twat with the wee fucking pony-tail."

this wasn't going to end well. we'd been back for all of half an hour outside the airport taxi fare.

"oi. oi you..." he continued "you don't fucking remember me, do you? you thought you could walk back in here and pick up where you left off... come back after three or four or five fucking years with your bloody long hair thinking no one would fucking recognise you. well I do! and I know why you're back. I'll tell you this, my lad... you're here to bury your fucking mate. your fucking mate who had it coming to him. he knew the fucking risks and he fucked up just like you two have."

I knew we shouldn't have come back here so soon.
the two of us walked away years ago... flicking lit matches over our shoulders if I remembered correctly.

"so tell me mr. fucking pony-tail..." he yelled as he started towards us "what makes you think you can prance in here with your nancy-boy hair and pick up where you left off?"
wonky pulled a lead cosh from his belt, now fixated on the pair of us. he picked up his pace.

I looked to the door behind me as mr. fucking pony-tail got between us.
he then reached over the bar, grabbed the limey lemon knife and immediately cut off his pony-tail.
wonky had slowed down now almost to a near stop, totally nonplussed.
mr. freshly cropped then threw his locks at him.

wonky knew not to catch it as it fell to the floor.
as he rose his whirly eyes to look up at mr. newly shorn he received an inside kick to the knee cap which made his body seem almost electrocuted... I had never seen anybody jolt in their body like that... and as he fell forward our hero stuck the paring knife in the back of his neck.


the barman never stopped wiping glasses. this was nothing he hadn't seen before.
this was something very similar to what he'd seen nearly six years ago.

'I trust you'll have this cleaned up before morning.' I rhetorically asked.
"yes, sir" he answered "and if I may say so, it's been an absolute pleasure having you two return... as we've been waiting."

I lazily offered acknowledgement and looked away from him to the rain, now pounding thick at the public house windows.
"what time do you reckon we should get to the service?" I asked.

'well I suppose that depends, shawn o'shaughnessy' the cc humoured in his best cockney and wiping his hands on a bar mat.
' depends on what time you get us down the bloodletters to clean this barnet up, yeah?'
around the time joe mccann was burning down the bakery in the markets area we were wondering how long it would take to return to where this had all started.

'one last job and we're finished' he laughed '...but it's always one last job, isn't it?'
"generally where it all goes to shit from everything I've ever read." I offered, rather uselessly.
'yeah? and what book might that have been, young sir?' he mocked.
''sometimes a great notion...''
"you didn't let me finish'' I said ''sometimes a great notion is a book that I've started... but I put it down because it made me want to kill the lads at the timber mill.''

he looked down at the abode we were to visit from the hilltop. there was a faint hint of smoke coming from the chimney and I assumed that the occupants were long gone. they knew we were coming as someone from the last incident would've informed them.
I reckoned we were a day late. easy.

"I can't believe we walked all this way for nothing..." I said, watching thin smoke vanish into the grey sky.
'well we couldn't very well drive up the road, could we? what sort of surprise would that offer? I didn't want them to know we were coming.'
"if you didn't want them to know we were coming why did we make such a mess last week?" I asked, incredulously "everyone knows we're here. we'll be lucky if we can even get out of here... everybody will be looking for us."
'you cannot find what you cannot see...' he said as he lit a cigarette from his case.

"well fuck it. we're here now and I'm not about to stand around in this pissing rain" I said, as I started down the hill towards the cottage "let's go and finish this... if we can."
'wait' he whispered as he grabbed me by the arm 'what if they are there? I mean, where are they going to go? they know we're coming, right? well if that's the case where would they go? there's no place to go.'
"so you reckon they're in there just waiting for us?" I whispered back, for no reason other than the tone was already set.
'I fucking hope so' he said, winking and reaching for his chest pocket 'we've come a long way, babyface.'


we started down the hill approaching the rear of the house. I was expecting to hear someone, something, anything... but it was not to be. we arrived at the paddock fence; a small stable covering our whereabouts.

''through the back or the front?" I asked.
'we're going through the front door' he snorted 'we're not bleedin' burglars, mate...'

we crept along the fence keeping ourselves low in the long grass.
surely there must be a dog of some description here, I thought. I contemplated on whether it would be friendly. we only needed the dog to be friendly for two minutes. then we would be gone. job done and be gone.
maybe get myself home finally.

we heard a woman crying inside; small stifled whimpers.
and then it dawned on me... maybe not.
maybe this was as far as I would go.


I stopped him at the corner of the house before he took his first step onto the rotting porch.

"wait'' I said "just wait a fucking minute."
'what?' he whispered again, this time with intent.
"I want to do this. you just stay outside. I'll be quick and quiet and then we'll be on our way."
'you think you can handle this on your own?' he asked, handing me my satchel.
"mate, I've done this more than you've had hot breakfasts... it will be my pleasure" I smiled "this last one, boac and then home. I cannot wait. our last job."

'now you just wait a minute, lad' the cc condescended. frowning and crouching and looking at his rubbing hands rather sheepishly he finished, 'you keep saying last. this isn't our last job... you've one more after this. you know that. and I think that's when it's really going to go to shit... as you say."
around the time the la mon was being splintered I was sitting in a small cafe waiting for a guest.
I had been waiting roughly eight and half years.

the door swung open and a cold brace that never seemed to end flew up the back of my pea jacket. I looked down at my coffee as he sat down at the booth. had it not been for the vacant stare we both shared I may have had trouble recognising him... so much had changed. he looked smaller... harder... perhaps just older.

'the crowbar... ha ha... quite fitting.' he said.
"it's a shithole at best" I offered ''but it's nice to have coffee without dish liquid in it."
'been a while...'
"no need to tell me how long, me old china..." I sighed.
'sorry I never came to see you. it just didn't seem like a good idea...'
"well that seemed to be the story with everyone..."
'I was at the sentencing, mind...'
"again, seemed to be the story with everyone" I snorted "and I didn't hear any sobbing. fuck this... let's get the fuck out of here.''

he threw some shrapnel on the table. most of the coins I didn't recognise.
decimalisation was something I would have to get used to.


we left the cafe, me following him as I had no idea where we were going.
suddenly and swiftly he turned to me away from the wind. I winced and immediately thought that was it. it would finally be over.
instead he flipped the collar of his jacket up to his face and lit a cigarette.
of course it wasn't over. it's never over.

'do you want one of these?' he asked 'they're new. look, a packet of twenty-five with a wee sailor on them.'
"I quit about eight years ago once I realised I couldn't pay for them."
'what..? no one came to see you? no one put anything in your account?'
"jesus fucking christ" I yelled "I'm in the same fucking clothes! does it look like anyone came to fucking see me? I've been forgotten about... left to fucking rot. and the whole fucking time I never said a word. never. there isn't one fucking chap in there who knows who I am. they used to call me 'the ghost' for fuck sake."
'fair enough, whitey' he reasoned 'but in all that time how many people came at you?'
"I beg your pardon?''
'how many people did you see cop it?... I mean, properly cop it.'
"I don't know... half a dozen..." I reckoned.
'right... and how many people tried it on?' he asked again 'go on, tell me. how many?'
"none" I said "not a one."
'well there's your fucking answer.' he looked over me again 'and those fucking drain pipes and gibsons are the least of your worries.'

he flagged a taxi. the driver took one look at us and kept going.
it was starting to rain. soon we'd be on our asses if it persisted.
I hated this grey smog covered country. all of it. I didn't belong here.
I needed to get home.

'fuck this' he said as he lit another 'we'll never get a cab you looking like that. I know a place where we can go... but we'll need to be out before morning... it's getting turned over.'
"how could you possibly know that?" I asked, absolutely flummoxed.
he turned to me and tapped his nose.
suddenly I wished I'd never left that cafe. hell, even the institution was looking better than this run down block of flats.

he knocked on a door. shave and a haircut never occurred to me to be a secret knock but there it was.
the eye slot opened up and then slammed shut. after what seemed like five minutes a slight man of roughly eighty years old summoned us in with a gesture of his hand.
no words were spoken so I immediately and wrongly assumed he was deaf.

''what the fuck are we doing here?" I demanded ''and who the fuck is he?"
'you don't recognise him?' he laughed 'my god, man... that's the man you've been working for.'
"yeah... working for fucking free" I shouted "and I'm finished. that was ten years all up and gone... and I'm fucking well finished."


'shhh... keep it down for fuck sake' the cc whispered with a wry smile 'not only is he the one that has kept you alive for the last ten years... he's also the one that is going to finally get you home... providing he can put it together tonight.'
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Salt Again

proper :smile

R.I.P. Herb Tarlek

Is that Don Cherry ?

2021 Smalljaw Swap

Nice smallmouth. :coffee

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