FLASH FICTION:BENNY SAID that he would have an early night as he was getting up at five to go shooting. Mags said she’d get up at 10 to five to soak his cornflakes.

“I’ll turn off the gas, so,” she said.

She stood on the caravan steps and reached down to close the nozzle on the gas cylinder. A pair of black boots was sticking out from under the caravan.

“Benny, are you leaving your boots . . . ” Her voice trailed off as she remembered that Benny’s boots were green. She watched as the boots began to slide forwards and, like a nightmare breech-birth, out came dirty, denim-jeaned legs, a checked shirt straining over a fat belly, and finally the scrunched-up face and tousled head of Mickey Crawley. Her screech, when it came, seemed to give Crawley the impetus he needed.

He was up in a flash, leaping over the house foundations, heading across to the gate and up and over it before Benny came out of the bathroom. Then they had to look for the car keys, and Mags ran and opened the gate while Benny was revving up.

“I’m coming too,” she said.

“No, you’re not. Go back in and lock the door. I’m going down for Pat.”

He had the shotgun on the back seat.

“He’ll come back after me,” she was crying, “he’ll come back.”

“Just go in and lock the door.”

She went back inside, locked the door and found the bottle of holy water that her mam had given her. She sprinkled it vigorously before pulling a rug over herself on the sofa. The bread-knife under the cushion made her feel reasonably safe and she fell into a doze on the sofa. She woke with a yelp when the men came back.

“What happened? You didn’t kill him or anything, did you?”

“No,” Pat Doyle said, “but we gave him a big f**king fright.”

“Where is he now?”

“Oh, we gave him a lift home.”

Benny laughed so much he had to sit down. He put his arm around Mags.

“I’ll be off,” Pat Doyle said, “three’s a crowd.”


Mags and Benny snuggled.

“What did you do to him?”

“We was pedalling like a hoor and we drove up behind him. He fell off with the fright and then Pat kinda lassoed him and tied him up. We put him in the boot.”


“We drove back to Doyle’s place and across the back field to the electric fence.”


“I pulled him out and Doyle put the electric fence on his you-know-what.”

“You could’ve killed him.”

“It wasn’t even switched on but it frightened seven kinds of shite out of him.  Then we dropped him back to his own place. I’d better leave the boot open to air out.”

“I feel sick.”

“Not half as sick as Mickey Crawley.”

“Shut up and go asleep.”

Mags got up at 4.30am and fried three sausages, two rashers, an egg and a big lump of pudding for her man.

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