Unforgiven by Darren Sant.

So I'm sat in the murky interior of the Grapes trying not to smile at the irony of the name. Grapes of Wrath see? Bert knows why I'm here he ain't stupid, never was. He knows some scores have to be settled regardless of their age. He's cool with it. I can see it in his eyes. Resigned to it. We sip our mild and blather about old times like they was yesterday. I miss having a smoke in a pub. That haze that used to hang around the bar, a kind of fine mist. What was it Simon and Garfunkel used to sing how terribly strange to be seventy. They got that one right. We avoid any talk of arthritis or cancer or grandkids. We pretend we are eighteen again and stupid as a piece of two by four like we were back then. Stupid or not we have no regrets. We'd do it all over again and laugh just the same as we did back then.

So we start laughing' and talkin'. Bert starts telling me about one time when Big Davey bawled him out for chewing gum behind the wheel. He whacked him so hard on the back of the head that he'd swerved and nearly taken some old granny wandering along minding her own business. Davey was the nastier brother so I heard. They reckoned he was a repressed puff. No one would have said that to his face though, not if they wanted to keep their kneecaps. You could see why he was such a head case though all that pent up sexual tension. It didn't matter to me. A psychotic bastard was still dangerous regardless of which team he batted for. Bert offers no opinion on that subject. Still loyal after all this time, over half a century. Still loyal despite the time he did in Strangeways. You had to admire Bert for that.

Some young guns at the bar were starin' daggers at us like we ain't supposed to laugh what with being old and all. I gave ‘em the old dead eye back. They ain’t never seen a look like mine. Back in the day they'd have been in hospital for that kind of aggression. These days I just feel World weary I think they call it. Anger seems such an effort and my ticker ain’t what it used to be.

My lot were on the other side to Bert's boys. We rolled with mad Tony. But don't matter now half of 'em are dead anyway. As for me I still got this one last score to settle with Bert. It was my brother he run over outside the Blue Pearl club. That’s why he did time in Strangeways. We was exchanging fire and he was just a driver but I can't let that go not even after all these years. It don’t matter that he retired and moved north when he got out. Blood was still spilled. Bert would do the same in my shoes. He gets up his knees creaking and shuffles off to the gents. His aged prostate speakin' loud and clear to him.

I follow him to the gents. His aged hips give him a rolling walk like a cowboy or somethin'. Casually I slip the cosh out of my pocket and follow him inside. Shame really I like Bert.


Darren Sant is a 40 year old writer living in the badlands of Hull. His writings only get more twisted and cynical with age. His insane musings have enjoyed publication in Byker Books Radgepacket series and also online.
Darren can be found on Twitter here: @groovydaz39. He blogs once a week under the name 'Old Seth' here: http://www.craigrobertdouglas.com and has a new book review site here: http://santsrants.blogspot.com/
Darren's E-Books can be purchased from Amazon.

13 comments:

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Really smooth telling of that tale. I'm from the US, but still get a huge kick out of the "UK" way some of you write in. Well done!

Julia Madeleine said...

Nice icy dish you served up there Darren. Love it! :)

Groovydaz40 said...

All actions have a reaction....
A cautionary tale perhaps but somewhere down the line there are consequences ALWAYS.

That's the premise for the story.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Smack! Always nice to see a kick back!

David Barber said...

Enjoyed this one, Darren. It's tough and gritty with a smack in the face ending. Revenge is sweet.

Well done, buddy!

ajhayes2 said...

Honor does as honor must (that's Honor Blackman -- Pussy Galore -- I'm talkin' about, mind. What she has in common with the story is . . . hell I don't know what she has in common with the damn story, she's Pussy-flippin-Galore.) Anothe of Daz's multilayered tales that have you quandray-ized between sad and chuckling and just plain shakin' your head at the hard, hard ways of the world. Cool

Chris Rhatigan said...

Beautifully done. The character's voice creates a rich atmosphere.

Luca Veste said...

One of your best here Darren. Loved the voice throughout, and the bleakness you created.

Job done Sir.

Thomas Pluck said...

A fine story Darren, real depth to the characters without wasting a word.

seana said...

I guess they're right--growing old is not for sissies.

Very much enjoyed hearing you, Paul and Luca on the blogradio today. Nice to see a sample of your writing so soon after.

Charlie Wade said...

Really good characters. Revenge is so much sweeter the longer it's left.

Chris Allinotte said...

Really enjoyed this. In a way, it answers the question, "What happens to bad guys when "the old" sets in?" In this codger's case, he's still got the wherewithal... and his cosh.

Great story.

Nick Boldock said...

Good stuff mate. Like this a lot.