Coming Soon

The Gateway.
Jon spun a kitchen chair away from the table and sat astride it, arms across the back. Cliff lifted some greasy crockery from the table. The smell of the congealed remnants of food was unpleasant and the touch of the cold grease on the plate edges turned his stomach. He picked them up with finger tips, like they were diseased, and dropped them in the already overfull sink.
Jon looked around the tired old kitchen, his gaze coming to rest on the window. The broken blind hung askew. Anyone passing along the access balcony would only have to duck to be able to see right in. “Where’s ya mam?” he asked.
“Bingo. C’mon. Don’t muck about. Show me.”
Jon stood and crossed to the window. He fiddled with the blind for a moment until satisfied there was enough privacy.
He turned with a big grin on his face, the glare of the unshaded kitchen light threw deep shadows under his eyes. Slowly he lifted the left side of his coat and revealed the handle. It looked old and worn, as if it had seen lots of use. Only the handle and part of the trigger guard were visible and Cliff wanted to see more. He wanted very much to see more, but he stood there, transfixed. “It’s not real,” he said, but his words lacked conviction.
“It soddin’ is, mate.” Jon grasped the handle and pulled the gun from his waistband.
“Shit. Where’d you get it?” Cliff wanted to touch, but dared not ask.
Jon held it casually in his hand and it reflected the light of the bare bulb that hung from the kitchen ceiling. He laughed. “Rolled this old Irish geezer. Had it in his pocket, he did. Probably IRA.”
“What you gonna do with it?”
“Protection, innit? Nobody gonna mess me about while I got this.” He waved the barrel vaguely in Cliff’s direction.
Cliff was awestruck. He was looking down the barrel of a gun. True, it was Jon who was holding it, Jon was his mate and he wouldn’t pull the trigger, would he? What if he squeezed it by accident? Cliff moved around the table and waved the gun away from him.
Jon spotted his reflection in the dirty mirror and struck a pose.
“Shit, man,” said Cliff. “We could do lots with that. Let’s hit the Texaco, make some dosh.”
Jon’s response was quick. “Piss off. We’d be caught, you idiot.”
“Nah. Be in and out in a minute. That tart on the till there’d give us the cash straight off,” Cliff persisted.
Jon looked worried. “Yeah. An’ then tell the cops where we live, you prat. You ’ent got a soddin’ clue what you’re on about.”
“You’re scared,” sneered Cliff, “I bet it’s not even loaded.”
Jon didn’t answer.
“It’s not, is it? There’s no bullets, is there?”
Jon started to put the gun back in his waistband. Cliff laughed. The idea that the gun had no bullets seemed hilarious, like a scene in a comedy movie. His laughter stopped abruptly. It dawned on him it didn’t matter. The look of the thing was what mattered. Wave that under the nose of some city prat, he thought. Ask for his wallet and whaddya know, you got cash.
Cliff held out his hand and demanded, “Lemme see.”
Jon hesitated and Cliff’s voice took on a harder edge. “Com’on pillock. I’m your mate, lemme see.”
Slowly Jon pulled out the weapon and handed it over.
It felt heavy, far heavier than Cliff thought it would. He remembered toy guns from when he was a kid, always light, always ready to break. In those days the toys fed his fantasies, but never fulfilled his dreams. With this in his hand, he could be powerful. It felt good, but he didn’t waste time with pretence. It was a tool, a means to an end. He was going places. This was a gateway, a way out.
He turned it over in his hand and found the different mechanisms. The safety: he moved it off and on. The magazine release: he pressed it and the clip jolted out from the handle.
Carefully Cliff drew the magazine out. The lead tipped bullets, all seven of them, glisten under the kitchen light.
“Shit man!” His voice was awed. “It’s loaded. It’s bloody loaded.”
They began to laugh.

...more extracts to come between now and release date.


What happens when two underprivilidged lads find a gateway to riches?

What happens when a policeman gets in the way?