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Gwen, the mother of a down-and-out teenager, and husband to a good-for-nothing husband, gives the pair an ultimatum which sets about the most harebrained scheme the world has ever seen..Share Tweet LinkedIn Embed pszr.co/nZkXY 347 views
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Born into an outcast family on the fringes of Welsh society, Bevan (18), resides with his parents in a grotty caravan on a forgotten field on the outskirts of town. The mugging of an elderly lady shocks the small community, and Taffy (40s), Bevan's disreputable father and most infamous swindler, becomes the number one suspect. For Taffy's long-suffering wife, Gwen (40s), this proves to be 'final straw' and she gives him an ultimatum: to change his ways or she's out. They must clean up the mess they're in — the seemingly endless cycle of poverty and crime, the drugs, the alcohol — it's all driving her insane. Having no concept of playing by the rule book, and having zero grasp of how to earn an honest living — as a last-ditch attempt to save his tattered marriage, Taffy contrives a two-part ruse — and it's the most staggeringly harebrained scheme ever. Even for him this is bonkers!
The cutup conman slaps his scheme together, simultaneously attempting to keep the 'wolf from the door' with a variety of hilarious, sneaky scams that just have a habit of backfiring. He confides in Bevan, insisting that his compliance is integral to his elaborate ploy, saying he's been casing a certain local business, and that he's discovered vast wealth that could be theirs if his plan is executed properly. With the all-important riches, he advises that the second part of the scheme is to commence straight after the robbery — so long as the vital storm hits as forecast. Bevan agrees to participate in the crazy caper, but knowing full well it couldn't possibly go to plan, he sees an opportunity of his own. Armed with sensitive information, he confides in his mum, and the two devise an ingenious ruse. The two approach the owner of the business that Taffy intends to target. Bevan, Gwen and the business proprietor weave their own web, conspiring to encourage the robbery and lure Taffy into a trap of their own. A collection is set up in aid of their scheme, and the townsfolk give generously — desperate to see the infamous flimflammer finally receiving some form of comeuppance. The funds are stashed in the business' safe alongside wads of fake cash.
On the night of the storm, the two break into the business and its stuffed safe. Bevan swipes the real money, while Taffy clears it of counterfeit cash. They make their getaway, then get into position: Taffy in the caravan, Bevan in the Jeep. It all seems to be going according to Taffy's plan. As far as he's aware, he and Gwen will wake up in the place of her dreams — saving his marriage. This may have been the case if the Jeep and caravan hadn't been detached, a spiked mug of tea hadn't been switched, and Bevan hadn't driven to Spain instead of France. The next day, Taffy swings open the door, expecting to give Gwen the surprise of her life, but instead finding they haven't moved an inch, and he's been well and truly had. Taffy is arrested for the crimes, but is clearly only guilty of the robbery into which he was entrapped. He and his dodgy lawyer expose the police's part in the conspiracy to frame him — he walks away scot-free and well compensated. The double-crossing scheme proves to be life-changing in the most positive way... even for Taffy.
It's uproarious humour can be crude in parts, and will mostly appeal to young men between the ages of 18 and 30.
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Officer Powell and my dad went back a long way. Dad was only
two months older than Powell, and the two were peers throughout
their school lives. At school they were rivals in every game,
contest and competition that was ever held. Dad had had an
extremely competitive nature in his younger years, but had had no
interest in winning anything fairly, preferring to scheme his way
to success. Back in the day, Dyllbrooke was renowned for its love
of competitions, but there was nobody as eager to win, or as
ruthless as Taffy. With seething resentment, Powell recalled a
vast number of occasions in which Taffy had cheated his way to
victory. In school, Taffy had no understanding of the concept of
One particular occasion proved Taffy couldn't even be
trusted to play a simple game of conkers without cheating,
smashing Powell and his conker from the lead with his homemade
cement-filled conker. Powell recalled Taffy continuing a lengthy
stretch of flagrant violations of order. On another occasion, for
example, he applied grease to Powell's end of rope prior to a tug
o' war contest. It was never proven that it was Taffy, but that
was the thing, it never was. A seemingly innocent hamster wheel
race was sabotaged in another of Powell's rancorous recoll-
ections, Taffy having drugged his furry competitors before the
race commenced. The list was endless.
The levels of sabotage rose to levels of what can only be
described as reckless criminality. The robot wars competition,
for example, ended in a series of small explosions from
particularly dangerous devices that Taffy must have somehow
procured on the black market. That particular incident resulted
in the evacuation of the school, an emergency lockdown of the
entire town, and the deployment of the bomb squad, but surprise,
surprise, Taffy escaped reprisal. Most dangerous of all, though,
was the prank he pulled at the carnival day raft race…
It was the annual Dyllbrooke Carnival Olympic Games, a most
auspicious occasion — this year with the most dazzling prize any
twelve year old could ever wish for: tickets for the grand
opening of The Pleasuredome, a brand-new theme-park on the
outskirts of Clywllyndd. The theme-park would be closed for an
entire day to allow the winning team free reign of the park.
Pleasuredome PLC had welcomed councils from across the UK to
apply for the prize, specifying that the tickets must be awarded
at a public event of a competitive nature. Dyllbrooke Council
applied. They were flabbergasted when they received the news that
their little town had been picked. On being granted the prize
tickets, Dyllbrooke Council had agreed to allow the media full
access to the event in which the prize would be awarded. The
contestants and their parents had also given the media full
access to film the winners on their dream day inside The
Pleasuredome. It was a huge promotional effort on The
Pleasuredome's part, and the entire package would be promoted and
televised across the whole of Europe. The winning kids would give
numerous interviews and their pictures would be on the front
pages of every national newspaper. It was huge.
That day was the hottest that had ever been recorded in
Wales, and so the whole country had descended on Sugarhill park,
or so it had felt. Face-painted, sugar-high monsters battled with
supersoakers, while flip-flappers, swine-diddlers, danzies,
danziettes and every bizarre, multi-coloured subspecies in
between, guzzled pink fizz. As monsters squirted, adults
flirted — descending into a dizzy haze. While the chaos ensued,
Taffy, intent on wreaking his own havoc, sneaked around by the
riverbank like a summertime Grinch, giving minuscule punctures to
the inflatable rafts of his competitors.
An animated announcement for the commencement of the raft
race, blasted through the loudspeaker, creating hysteria and a
mass exodus. The fiesta of townsfolk jiggled, jigged and jived
from the carnival field, a swarm of media around them. The
swishing, waltzing conga of freaks descended on the riverbank
where a purple pirate with a loudspeaker hushed the enlivened
gathering. The pirate proudly proclaimed that it was a 'momentous
day for Dyllbrooke', and that the 'prestigious award was beyond
every child's wildest fantasy.' It was next level, like all your
childhood Christmases at once. There was a tense silence, then
the whistle blew.
Powell's team took an early lead, Taffy's team trailing far
behind. Sun-starved, fun-starved, over-prescribed, sex-denied,
alcoholically stewed, virtually nude parents cheered and screamed
alongside their brats as they bobbed and bounced downstream. The
more sober, more astute were the first to pick up on the
gradually deflating rafts, but it was around about the halfway
mark when things turned notably disastrous to all. Swans sagged,
flamingos flopped, dolphins drooped and seahorses sank.
While panic ensued, Taffy pushed through, splishing and
splashing his way to the lead, and leaving behind him a trail of
plastic pollution and the chaotic scenes of a throng of parents
launching themselves into the perishing river to save their
little delinquents. The icy waters left some particularly nasty
mental scarring on many minds, least not Powell's. Not only did
that trick cheat Powell from being the first over the finishing
line and free reign of The Pleasuredome, it almost caused him to
drown in his waterlogged plastic shark. As he flailed around
choking on plastic and fish shit, he witnessed Taffy's killer
whale diving over the finish line in first position, like Free
Willy on his jump to freedom.
As if that wasn't enough torture for Powell, his spiteful,
overactive mind created an image of a newspaper headline which
read: 'Dyllbrooke Boy Killed in (Rubber) Shark Attack'. Even at
the time, he was unsure which he dreaded more, the humiliation of
it all, or his own premature death. These images were etched in
Powell's mind forevermore. It was completely unforgivable.
To Powell, the most infuriating thing about Taffy's
perpetual cheating, was the lack of punishment he faced for his
reckless acts. The raft race incident, for example, not only went
unpunished, but was instead rewarded with the best prize since
Willy Wonka printed his golden tickets. Taffy's stupid face was
plastered on every front page in the country. On top of that, the
little stunt he pulled was aired all over the world, the chaotic
scenes even becoming somewhat of a cult classic in the world of
comedic fails. It was dubbed 'The Disaster of Dyllbrooke',
mimicking the newspaper headlines. Constable Powell burned up
inside when he thought about the amount of satisfaction and
hubris Taffy would've garnered from the entire ruse. Powell often
imagined Taffy watching the two greatest days of his life on that
promotional documentary — the ridiculous raft race, followed by
what was presumably the most magical experience of a lifetime:
The Pleasuredome. Powell bet that Taffy would watch it on repeat,
day and night. It boiled his piss.
Taffy continued with this trend of flim-flamming his way to
success right throughout his school life, ultimately drifting
through the flawed education system with straight 'A's. Taffy's
competitive predisposition was a trait that was left behind in
the school yards and playing fields of his youth, though his
conniving propensities were not.
Powell could neither forgive, nor forget these most
unconscionable acts, as he was a man who believed in justice.
These crimes against fairness could not go without penalty.
Powell was cheated out of cups, titles and the glory of winning —
he couldn't count how many times. He despised this degree of
iniquity to such an extent, that it had given him the impetus to
join the police force, where he believed he would have the power
to right some of the wrongs in the world, especially those
Powell had managed to put some justice back in the world
since joining the force, but had still not been able to scratch
the itch that was Taffy. Was it justice that he was obsessed
with, or revenge? Getting the better of Taffy, one way or
another, had become an all-consuming private quest. Powell had
arrested Taffy on a hand-full of occasions, but he'd had little
gratification in doing so, as each time it had been for minor
misdemeanours, and nothing much really came out of the charges.
To Powell, this felt as though Taffy had again got the
upper-hand. He was always walking away scot-free or with overly
lenient penalties. The powers that his badge had granted him, had
so far failed him in this arena, and the longer it went on, the
more hungry for revenge Powell became. The mugging and stabbing
was the most heinous crime he had committed, it was low even for
Taffy, Powell admitted, but it must have been him, he surmised.
Who else could be stupid enough to believe that a Dyllbrooke's
winning bingo numbers would have been such a windfall, that the
theft of it through means of an armed robbery, was an applicable
move? And who else, but Taffy, could be dumb enough to think that
the four hundred quid jackpot would be handed out there and then,
in cash, to a vulnerable, old lady?
Powell tripped on a loop of cable that laid in wait like a
snare as he navigated the thirteen steps flanked with Dad's
unsightly, hazardous scrap that snaked right up to the front
door, that day. He cussed, the stinging memories from that long-
ago raft race, flooding back. Oh, how he wished he was knocking
on that door to arrest him for that stunt… or for any of his
childhood stunts, for that matter. Imagine his face after all
these years! What would the charge be? he wondered. Criminal
damage with intent to cause harm? Attempted murder?
Big Kit was a hoarder of thirty-six stone — the fattest
of men with the filthiest home. His dump was so vast, he
needed a ladder — Mum swore at the screen, "the world's
fucked, getting madder." With each step he took, the ladder
did creek — you could only imagine the extent of the reek.
"The Yanks make strong ladders," my old mum observed — as
his crack flashed the camera she was truly unnerved. Dad
laughed at Mum's line, but he knew what she meant — if made
in the UK, that thing would've bent, and fallen to pieces,
just poles, screws and nuts — a scrap heap of metal,
intestines and guts. Big Kit would've fallen, sure death in
a flash, like a huge sack of tatties — now basically mash.
Big Kit had huge problems, he was almost housebound —
but for sake of the programme, he'd got to the ground. The
old ladder wobbled, my God they were stiff — think
Attenborough's walrus scaling a cliff. My parents were
glued, on the edge of their seat — he was sweating profusely
with the scale of the feat. He finally made it, he was up on
the top — overexerted and ready to drop. Wheezing, he
crawled, head close to the ceiling — it was hard to imagine
just how he was feeling.
His state, his hoarding, his absolute size — but
nothing shocked more than the following surprise. The lady,
his carer was his wife, not his mum — she was pretty and
sane and did not seem dumb. He called for his dinner, she
was awfully slow — then came a reply from deep down below.
Through a hole near the ceiling where bricks were knocked
through — was a window to real life, a regular view.
Normality, space and a kitchen, no clutter — poor Pat at the
worktop, spreading his butter. Big Kit was walled in, the
flat redesigned — the two had been separated, Big Kit left
behind. Gammon and eggs and bread for the juice — all
slopped in a bucket with no time to lose 'cause Kit's tummy
was rumbling, 'twas a big gut to feed — not a morsel was
wasted, not a crumb nor a seed. His food in a bucket zipped
through the clearing — Mum couldn't believe what she saw or
was hearing. Pat hoisted the meal with a pulley and a
string — it swayed as it climbed to the glutenous thing.
Mum sighed, "what a woman! What selfless true love" —
she must really have cared for the giant above. It was plain
that Patricia sure loved her mad hoarder — despite his
neurosis, his size, his disorder. He was mentally ill, all
kinds of psychosis — diabetes, weak heart and deep-vein
thrombosis. Grunting and snuffling like a pig at a trough —
Big Kit snatched the bucket and started to scoff. This pig
was free-range, he'd always been free — he'd done this to
himself, that much he did see. His mouth full of food, said
he'd lie there all night — with one eye open, and ready to
fight. For his hoard was his treasure, guarded it with his
life — nobody could enter, just film crew and wife. Mum
presupposed that Kit's brain-cells were sparse — so he tried
not to waste them, just sat on his arse. Three litres of
cola each day he did drink — it kept him alert, he got not a
wink. He candidly spoke like life was okay — like he had it
together, it was only his way. In his hand it did seem there
was always a snack — and often his gun, his cock and his
sack. It was all so explicit, so spelled out, so crude — not
a person alive wished to think of him nude. He spoke
straight to the camera, explaining the latter — that his
poor wife could no longer get up the ladder. It was spoken
so plainly, to him it made sense — there were no airs or
graces, no alarm, no offence. In most southern drawl he was
ever so frank — he was up there alone so he needed to wank.
"My gosh!" this was aired, a BBC show — but at least they
were honest, that much Mum did know. That said, it was
early, Mum looked at the clock — it was way before
watershed, really a shock.
Up there on his throne, Big Kit was a sight — his
mountain, his kingdom, compacted so tight. Used nappies, up
there, and bottles of piss — Kit's crap was his castle, on
top it was bliss. The tip was a hazard, the problem
gargantuan — mouldy plates, smutty mags, leaky pens, mostly
chew-en. "She'd hoard it up to here," the voice over said —
Patricia was worried soon Kit would be dead. Some things had
to change, their lives were a mess — Pat wanted a clean-up,
a trip to de-stress. Her rational brain on the blink, out of
order — she called up the Beeb, and spoke of the hoarder.
All logical thought no longer existed — it made sense to
her, she really insisted. She'd tell him to clean up or that
she was out — it was gonna be calm, there was no need to
shout. His choice would be aired all over the planet — a cry
out for help from Pat and the gannet. She'd stuck by his
side, but enough was enough — she'd obeyed her vows, but now
she'd get tough. Was she calling his bluff? There was no way
to know — was it all just performance for sake of the show?
It was more than reasonable, it really was fair — he soiled
his nappies eight foot in the air. She had thought of
leaving, to give him a fright — she'd lied there thinking
night after night. It wasn't that easy, she hadn't a cent —
since he'd eaten their savings there was nothing for rent.
She worried one day he'd find himself stuck — squashed
to the ceiling, glued there with muck. He'd suffocate there
like a slowly-squashed fly — a sad situation, no way to die.
The after-show poll said viewers agreed — that Pat should
get out, away from Kit's greed. The consensus was almost a
hundred percent — the outcome was clear, there's one thing
that meant: that before Kit yelled down for his course of
pavlova — she'd be gone out of there and it would be over.
The voice over guy made it light with his rhyme — but it was
gripping, hard-hitting for UK prime time. Yet there's one
thing he said that did resonate — 'bout the hoarder's wife
and unenviable state. They said if she'd sense she'd have
left him behind — but her love for her husband was the
deepest you'd find.'
At the end of the ode, I added a note — this wasn't
about Kit or Pat or the vote. The afterword read:
'For this poem competition, the theme of "home life",
for me, was a mission. The games were extensive, the ones
that Dad played — the poem illustrates just how he behaved.
Always pointing the finger at those down on their luck —
then hoped Mum compared him, getting him off the hook. Dad
was lazy and selfish and outside the law — his hoarding was
one fault, he had plenty more. But compared to Big Kit, yes,
Dad had it together — he was tidy and clean and as light as
a feather. "Guilt-tripping" to Dad was the best in the
book — he'd said not a word, just forced Mum to look.
Mum swallowed the lot, thought that Dad was okay — he
was greedy, pig-headed and led me astray, but his faults
were quite mild compared to Big Kit — festering there on his
mountain of shit.'
Mum put down the poem, at long last she saw — did they call
that "gaslighting"? Was it against the law? Whatever they called
it, it was clear now to Mum — it was not only Pat with an
Dad had used this kind of trick on a number of occasions,
and this method had garnered some leniency on not only his
hoarding, but also a coke habit and a porn addiction he'd
developed — both of which he'd managed to kick years ago. But
now, as things were deteriorating by the day, and culminating
into one giant shit-storm, Dad realised that he was getting so
tightly tied into a tangle of troubles, that this old trick could
no longer save him. There were no fly-on-the-wall documentaries
that he was aware of, that dealt with gambling addictions,
alcoholism, criminality, severe debts, squalor and rebellious
teenage sons that were being led astray by their fathers. There
were no situations as pitiful as theirs, and possibly no one out
there that could make him look good anymore. And even if there
was, he could tell Mum was wising up to him, anyway.
Mum thought about calling the authorities to get his scrap
heap removed, more out of spite than anything else. Surely they'd
take it away — it was a health risk, after all. Imagine his face.
There was no doubt that if we lived anywhere other than no man's
land — anywhere other than a forgotten field on the outskirts of
Dyllbrooke, the authorities would've actually demanded that Dad's
scrap pile be dismantled and destroyed — illness or no illness.
First-time visitors to the caravan would tread cautiously
along the walkway, both horror and intrigue on their clammy
faces, as if they were being guided through the dank dungeons of
a medieval torture museum. Mum had been so ashamed of it, and for
years she would not open up to visitors for love nor money, but
now she realised that things could be much worse, and she sort of
just got used to it. She just put up with it in the same way she
did with the slovenly lump in the chair.
Dad glared gormlessly at the TV. A documentary aired. On the
screen, a tropical spider crawled onto the leaves of a pitfall
pitcher plant. It was classic daytime TV for people who had all
the time in the world. Wildlife documentaries had been Dad's only
real source of education since his school years. The narrator
dreamily explained that 'the beguiling pitcher plant lives on
Borneo's Mount Kinabalu. It allures its prey with a nectar,
honey-like treat laced onto the surface of the plant's leaves.'
Dad slurped his pilfered pilsner. 'Not only are the leaves
irresistibly sweet,' he lilted, 'they're incredibly slippery, and
the unsuspecting prey invariably slip, fall, and find themselves
drowning in the digestive fluids within the plant's core.' On
cue, the spider slipped and tumbled into the centre cup of the
plant to join the soup of dead and decaying arachnids and flies.
Dad swigged the beer. 'A sorry, sticky end,' he crooned. Dad
belched, his timing perfect as always.
Mum had observed the whole thing through the back of her
head. She donned her irritated smirk as if were a snug bobble hat
on a cold day. Anyone who knew my mum — even those who knew her
well, didn't quite understand the emotions behind the visage,
they just called it her 'Taffy face'. It was the expression of
the anguish of a thousand years, mixed with the mild
entertainment of his folly, and the futility of complaining about
it. But to the vacuous buffoon that was Taffy, it was just her
face. He enraged her beyond comprehension. Everyone knew it.
Everyone besides Dad himself, perhaps.
The clattering of dishes was getting louder, and that was
one sign Dad did understand, which in itself, infuriated Mum, as
it was the one signal that she gave that interfered with his
watching the TV. How convenient, she thought, wondering if he
wasn't actually as stupid as he made out to be, and that it was
all one big, lifelong ruse so that he could lounge on the sofa
drinking himself into an early grave — blissfully ignorant until
disturbed. What he lacked in sense, he made up for in ignorance.
Dad twisted his neck to eye her, his bushy eyebrows
furrowing. 'You alright, love?' 'Yeah, just forget it,' Mum
squawked back in the thickest version from the range of
Dyllbrooke twangs. The Dyllbrooke accent was unlike many of the
sonorous intonations of nearby areas. To my ear, some regional
Welsh tones were as sweet and dulcet as morning birdsong, but the
distinct Dyllbrooke way of speaking was inflected in a horribly
harsh shriek. And when my mum was vexed, a sharp sound rose from
within her — a castrated parrot in mating season kind of squawk.
She knew he wouldn't just forget it and leave her alone, his
verbal inertia was, to her, as predictable as mud after heavy
rain. He'd ask persistently until she was so infuriated she'd
want to throttle him. If not, he'd say something else, something
so ridiculously stupid or thoughtless, something that would
absolutely boil her piss. Her fists propping her up against the
kitchen sink, Mum, her patience all but expired, counted back
Dad shrugged his shoulders, and turned his attention back to
the TV. He shivered, pulling a blanket over his lap. Mum slowly
mouthed the words 'three, two…'. 'Bloody freezing in here,' he
moaned. Mum sighed as she inspected a cobweb on the ceiling.
'Brass bloody monkeys, it is,' he clarified as he reached over
and flicked the radiator on. There was a thump at Mum's chest.
She spun around, a dishcloth grasped in her hand like a whip. 'If
you got off your fat arse and did something, you wouldn't be
cold, would you?!' Snoop shuffled off into the bedroom — unlike
Taffy, he was able to read the signs. My old man, still somehow
in the learning stages of his marriage, used the voice he saved
to 'placate' his long-suffering wife. 'It's okay, love, heater's
on now.' Passive voice and resolution — beat that, he thought.
There was silence except for Taffy's noisy snack-munching.
Mum glanced at the microwave. It blinked 16:59. 'Where the hell
is Bevan, anyway?' she whined, fearing that I'd be in a ditch
somewhere and that I was quite quickly turning into my dad. 'How
should I know? Looking for a job with a bit of luck.' 'Where is
he these days? He's never around anymore.' 'It's you picking on
him all the time, it is.' 'Does him good. Anyway, he's eighteen,
love'. Dad shuffled in his chair as if putting that record
straight deserved extra comfort. 'Does him good? Does it hell!
You're pushing him away, you are. We're gonna lose him if
you--' 'Lose him?' Dad interrupted. 'Where's he gonna go? What?
Independent, like? I wish. He hasn't got the brains, love,' he
scoffed erroneously as he flicked through the TV channels.
'Sometimes I wish he would get out of here. Far away from this
shit-hole. Far away from your influence,' Mum squawked
tremulously. 'Far away? On his own?' Taffy splurted. 'He'll never
hold down a job, and it's not likely he's gonna go all Bear
Grylls on us, like.' 'Stop, Taffy,' Mum implored. But Dad was on
a roll. There was nothing to be done when Dad was on a roll.
'Tell ya what, drop Bevan in a forest with nothing but a sharp
stick, he'd scoff that stick before he'd even think of trying to
catch something with it.' He could be surprisingly witty when he
wanted to be. Stupid and witty in fairly equal measures.
Mum's bubbling tension was about to boil. She had unusual,
but easily identifiable signals when it came to her fuse burning.
She reddened from the neck, which quickly spread around her jaw,
rose up into her cheeks, before bursting through her entire head,
ears, and all. She blew her top as was only otherwise seen in
animations, but it was only once the searing fury beamed red in
her cheeks, that it was at the point of no return. Right
now, it was popping up like a blotchy rash around her jawline.
There was still time, and all Taffy had to do was shut up. Surely
he recognised the signs.
Dad never ceased to amaze us, though. The fact was, all he
had to do was look at his wife, remember what happened last time
she looked like that, and stop. It was baffling. It was basic
The scalding rage was blistering her veins and spreading
like wildfire through her jaw, but there was still time for her
to suppress the surge. When my mum struck, it was like the lash
of a viper's tongue, as sharp as a whip and loaded with venom.
Just one more word, she swore. Dad patted his swollen belly,
blurting, 'what we having tonight, love? I wouldn't mind some of
that shepherd's pie you make, to be honest.' Mum slapped the
worktop with near wrist-breaking force, sending a couple of
drying bowls to their shattering ends. Blushing a flaming red to
the tips of her ears, she spun around like a voodoo doll
possessed. 'I wouldn't mind a country retreat and a bastard
Caribbean cruise, but life's a bitch,' she struck, stinging him
with the most fiery, venomous lash.
Ominous clouds loomed over Dyllbrooke. There was no giant
rainbow serpents bearing gifts behind those clouds, that was for
sure. As we sat in the dusk on the park bench that day, smoking
our rollies and guzzling our cheap cans, I braced myself for
Dad's revelation. So far, all I knew was that his brainchild (it
was Frank's, but he was giving him no credit for it), involved
The Crown Inn, that I was to be an integral accomplice, and that
this was going to be a 'big one'. No, it was going to be the big
one. The suspense was killing me, but I had to stay cool.
'Yesterday, me and your mum did some reminiscing. We were talking
about the good old days before you were born.' I sarcastically
thanked him. He swore he hadn't meant it like that. He told me
all about the new caravan and my mum's dreams to travel, part-
icularly to Peiviennes. He told me of the loose plan they'd had
to move abroad, somewhere warm, and start their own vineyard. He
said that this dream could still be made into a reality and that
it may be the only way to stop Mum from leaving and to save his
marriage. So far, I'd believed every word. He looked like a man
on the brink of losing it all. For a brief moment, I felt for
him. He seemed sincere.
My sympathy was short lived, as just then, an athletic woman
in tight Lycra jogged into view, lightening his mood. Taffy's
gaze followed the jogger's firm buttocks along the path, his
mouth agape as she bounced past. He wolf-whistled loudly. The
jogger looked back and scowled. I wished he wouldn't — I honestly
think he sometimes forgot I was his son, not his mate. "Be plenty
of that there, too, you know.' 'What?' I asked, slightly
distracted by the jogger myself. 'What do you think? Muff!' he
asserted. Did he have to? 'When was the last time you entered
the furry tunnel? Ages, I bet,' he slurred. How would he know? He
continued in his uncouth ramblings. 'Do you know what they call
it in France, boy?' I shrugged. 'Le--' I guessed, humouring him
before being interrupted.' 'They don't. They're sophisticated.
They're real ladies there, they are. Not like the scabby, old
trollops round here. Tell ya what, though, what they lack in
foul-mouthedness, they make up for in bed. Dirty as hell they
are. Lovely. You'll be up to your nuts in it in no time, boy,' he
eloquently postulated. He was blatantly pissed.
He knew nothing about me, nothing about my ‘thing’ with
Beth. Anyway, fuck Beth. He knew nothing about anything. My sex
life was not the baron wasteland he thought it was, but I had to
admit he was right about one thing, there was nothing here for
us, and it would be good to broaden our horizons. I couldn't wait
to leave Dyllbrooke behind.
I just wished he'd hurry up and quit with the charades
before it started pissing down. I really was going to punch him
in his dumb face. I'd give him two more minutes, then I was out.
'Look, all we need is the money to get us to the south of France,
and buy a small plot of land,' he began. 'We'll get a boat. Me
and you can spend our days out on the water, catching fish,
soaking up the sun, you'll love it.' I would, but I didn't need
his sales pitch, just his plan.
Fine raindrops pattered on the sodden ground. The dark,
heavy clouds were moving in fast. One more minute, Taffy, I
swore. He got to his feet, and rested his can on the bench. He
clapped his hands together like a children's entertainer about to
break into a corny song. The angry heavens burst open, firing
soaking missiles at us. We dived for cover under a twisted oak
tree, the thunder clapping in the distance. 'Plan is,' he began,
flicking his palms open repeatedly like the entertainer was on
the cusp of his favourite trick. The lightning created a strobe
effect around him, giving him the air of some kind of crazed
wizard. 'We're gonna hook the Jeep to the caravan, then break
into The Crown. There's a safe in the cellar. It's stuffed full
of Eddie's dodgy money. I mean, we're talking thousands… tens of
thousands. We'll do it on Sunday night, the night before your
mum's birthday, which as luck would have it, is the night the
storm is going to get nasty.' His eyes dampened with excitement.
'With the stolen loot (he amused me when he called it loot),
you'll get in the Jeep, and I'll get into the caravan. The
banging and swaying of the caravan moving — your mum will just
think it's the storm. I'll pop a sleeping tablet into her tea,
just to be sure, and you'll drive us to France. I'll wake her up
the next day after her marathon sleep, open the caravan door, and
surprise… the place of her dreams. Marriage saved!' he roared
ecstatically over the thunderous storm. He shrieked with
laughter. 'Brilliant isn't it!?' he exclaimed as if he'd just
invented the light-bulb.
Lightning struck a nearby tree with a hollow bang, but I was
too intrigued by my father's bizarre expressions of elation to
pay much attention to it. I was gobsmacked, dumbfounded,
flabbergasted, almost thunderstruck.
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