“Put your hands in the air and give me all your money,” she said with a dark voice, which reminded me of brown rum. But when I looked up I saw a little woman with teeth like Jaws and a haircut like a senior banker. I smiled.
A foolish thing to do, because immediately she pointed a shiny gun at my nose.
“Laughing at me, ay?” she shouted fiercely. My smile went away like footballplayers at the ballet. I had heard that awful voice before! I looked carefully at her face, that was very near now. I smelled a hideous breath. It seemed to be my own. Whether she liked it or not, I smiled again. She gasped.
Before she could blink with an eye I was on my feet. I kicked against her hand in order to put the shiny gun to the floor. At least, that was what I tried to do. Instead, my foot touched the barstool I was sitting on. It caught stuck between the barstool legs. With a shattering noise I fell to floor with the barstool landing upon my head.
The woman shouted. While I was sitting on the floor, quite dizzy, she started kicking me on my back. At least, that was what she tried to do. Instead she slipped and fell backwards on the floor, next to me. The shiny gun went airborn and landed with a crisp sound on her head, leaving her unconscious on my lap.
At that precise moment my former girlfriend came in. A bit wiggly, as though she had quite a bit too many. But that’s how I knew her, alright. After a few steps she saw me sitting on the floor with the unconscious woman across my lap. Her fishy eyes went all round and wet. She took another look. Then she looked at the ceiling. Then she fainted.
So now I was sitting on the floor with two women across my lap. The other door went open and a tall man came in. Instantly he saw us on the floor.
‘Ho-ho-ho!’ he shouted very, very loud. I thought it was the worst imitation of Santa I had ever heard.
‘That’s the worst imitation of Santa I’ve ever heard!’ I said, still a bit dizzy. I felt quite a hump on my head.
The man’s face went sour. Obviously he didn’t like my remark. But I didn’t care. I had quite enough of this godforsaken place with its stupid people. I stood up and began to whistle a silly song called ‘The birdsong.’
The man stared at me, wondering he should cry or laugh. Instead he became angry. He took the shiny gun from the floor and began shooting. Glasses broke and a mirror went to pieces. I hid behind an old piano.
The little woman woke up. She shouted with her dark voice and her Jaws-like teeth glanced.
‘Stop, you fool!!’
The shooting stopped. The tall man stood there like a child. His shoulders went southbound. Like a puppy he handed over the shiny gun to the little woman. Immediately she came to me, as if she had smelled I was still hiding behind the piano. Just when she pointed the gun at me with a grimm face, my former girlfriend woke up.
With a jump that could lead a horse to water she landed on the little woman. The gun went off and both women laid still.
I looked at the two bodies. Then I looked at the tall man. At least, that was what I tried to do, but I just saw the back of his neck when he went out through the door he came in. He cried and shouted and ran surprisingly fast. I heard the sound of breaking glas and a final cry of the man. Then it was quit. Very quited. I sighed.
Slowly I went on my feet. I stepped over the two bodies which looked as if they were already deteriorating. I nearly puked and stumbled towards the door. On the outside I took a deep breath. I had come here to find out which of the inhabitants of this godforsaken place was the killer of Rita Carpenter, but I ended up with two dead women and a whimp that fled and fell to his death.
I lid a cigarette. Slowly I walked through the misty alley to my car, that was parked on Cumber Lane.