Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Twist Of Noir 629 - David Barber


It was supposed to be an in and out job. Empty the cash register. No casualties, just a standard armed robbery. The only problem with it was the bloke I was working with. Thomas Titts was an arsehole and his name matched his personality.

“Were your parents taking the piss when they named you?” I asked when I first met him eight months ago.

“No, why?” was his reply.

And that’s the thing. He actually didn’t see the funny side of it.

“Tom Titts. It’s slang innit? Another word for the shits. You know, I’ve got a bad case of the Tom Titts.”

Laughter erupted round our table. Thomas just stared at me, his mouth unmoving until he spoke.

“My name’s Thomas, not Tom,” was all he said.

Our boss, Johnny Miles had settled us down that night. He was a bruiser of a man but a good one all the same. And, yes you noticed, even though his name rhymed with another word for haemorrhoids, you never said anything about it unless you liked wearing concrete shoes.

“Okay, lads. Let’s calm down now. Thomas, this is Michael and Kev.”

Thomas shook hands with the two men sat to my right.

“And this is Paul. You’ll be working with him so take in what he tells you. You’ll learn a lot from him,” Johnny finished.

We’d shook hands that night, albeit reluctantly, and had worked together since. Don’t get me wrong, the lad was okay but I wouldn’t trust him with anything, in particular a small robbery for some fast cash.

“So much for plan B then.”

“The fuck d’ya mean?”

I stared at Thomas, sucking on my cigarette. “I mean plan A wasn’t much cop and plan B was even worse.”

“Well, you never came up with anythin’, dickhead.”

“Watch your mouth, boy. I’ve been doin’ this longer than you’ve been jerkin’ off. For some reason Johnny put you in charge of this one and you’ve fucked up royal.”

Thomas looked at me through the holes in his hood. “Well, what do you suggest?”

I sucked hard on my cigarette again and blew out a long stream of smoke. My eyes darted from side to side, taking in everything in front of me. I picked up a can of beer from the counter, opened it and took a large mouthful.

“From what I see, Tommy, plan A was to come in here, hold up the place and empty the cash register. The only thing is, you decided to empty your gun into that bloke lyin’ in front of the fridge.”

“He came run...”

I held up my hand, stopping Tommy from wasting any more of his breath, and said, “So then plan B was to still empty the cash register but no more shootin’, only the owner decides to pull out his shotgun cos you killed his son, causin’ me to empty my gun into the owner. This is so fucked up.”

“So, what do we do now?” Thomas asked.

“Well, Tom Titts, if you were good at your job, which you are obviously not, you’d have counted the number of bullets I put into the owner. I saved this one for you. I ain’t goin’ down for an arsehole who ain’t got a fuckin’ clue.”

I pulled the trigger and disposed of most of Tommy’s brain via the exit wound at the back of his head. As he fell backwards, a small trail of smoke snaked out of the hole in the front of the hood he was wearing.

“I hate working with amateurs.”

I leaned over and emptied the till of notes, making a quick calculation as I did.

“Fuck me, a hundred and twenty a body. This crime game doesn’t pay like it used to.”

BIO: Manchester born and bred, but now living in Crieff, Scotland with his wife, Lisa, and their two daughters. He wrote some years ago but has recently been inspired to write again by an old friend and the beauty that surrounds him. He has been published on numerous e-zines, including Thrillers, Killers N Chillers and A Twist Of Noir and has a couple of pieces appearing in two forth coming anthologies. He is currently working on a few projects including a novel.


David Cranmer said...

Thomas Titts.

I'm still chuckling. I enjoyed that, Dave.

AJ Hayes said...

Man if that's an example of the British version of On The Job Training, I don't ever want to work there. The performance reviews are pure hell. Dark and funny. Cool.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Brilliant move with the Cockney Ryming references. Great narration, that put Uncle Archie of RocknRolla right in my head and so well done. Loved this!

R.S. Bohn said...

LOL. The names -- Johnny Miles too -- had me chuckling. And only one-twenty a body? Yeah, crime doesn't pay. Much. Good one, David!

Joyce said...

Great story, David. The characters are priceless. Clueless, but priceless still. Boy, when things go wrong...

Lee Hughes said...

Great work Dave, the dialogue was a treat.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Poor bugger. I mean the name, not the shooting...

It's a tough old word out there for the new guy. Nice story, David!

Matt Potter said...

I see characters from 'The Bill', I see 'Minder', I see 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' ... and yes, Thomas Titts was very funny.

Sue H said...

Well done - like that final line!!

Lily Childs said...

I just love your ability to combine thrilling fiction with humour. Really enjoyed this.

Paul D. Brazill said...

This is beauty. A craking last line, great dialogue and an accurate depiction of the British crim!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Nice job, David. Succinct and sharp.
I lived in Manchester for a year.

Lewis J Peters said...

Bearing in mind his lack of insight what would Mr Titts have chosen if he'd decided to change his name?

Good story well told, David.

Michael Solender said...

Thought I left one earlier, well done mate. A chuckler for sure.

nigel p bird said...

Tom Titts, huh? Nice work - I can imagine a few in this style coming from your pen.

Col Bury said...

You clearly had fun penning this, Dave. And so did I reading it. Suppose the credit crunch hits everyone eventually. Good stuff, bud.

Chris Allinotte said...

You've definitely got the knack for snappy dialogue and even snappier action.

I have to agree that Tom Titts and Paul would fit right into the world of Snatch or Lock, Stock n' Two Smoking Barrels.

Cool write.

David Barber said...

Thanks to all for the great comments. Even better that some of you have likened it to a scene that would fit into the Guy Ritchie movies. The thing is, I've never seen the movies mentioned but I suppose I should now go and rent them to see if you're right! :-)

Thanks again. Your comments and encouragement is much appreciated.

Naomi Johnson said...

I'm still grinning. Enjoyed this a lot.

Mike Wilkerson said...

Reading David's dialogue is like listening to a track off an old Beastie Boys album. Always good.

Alan Griffiths said...

Cracking story David; loved the dark humour and super dialogue. Very well done, sir.

David Barber said...

Naomi, Mike & Alan - Thanks a lot guys. Appreciate your comments.

Des Nnochiri said...

Wicked good fun.
Like it, Dave.

David Barber said...

Thanks a lot, Des. Appreciate it.

chad rohrbacher said...

love yer sense of humor, Dave. How you been?