‘Give us the fucken money.’
Beggsy was on his knees, a gun barrel rammed into the back of his neck. Uncomfortable. But at least he was still alive, unlike the bird who’d been swallowing his cock when the Irishman burst in. Before he’d won the money, she wouldn’t have swallowed his chat up lines. Now she was stone cold, blood and semen congealing on her sweet, young face. What a waste.
‘Give us the fucken money.’ The Irishman rammed home his point with the gun. Beggsy toppled forward.
‘Let me up. I can’t do anything down here.’
The Irishman considered. ‘All right, then. But no fucken funny business.’
Beggsy nodded and the Irishman took a step back. Beggsy clambered awkwardly to his feet, pulled up his jeans and fastened them. Difficult to muster any dignity with your knob swinging in the breeze. He turned to look at the Irishman. Ugly fucker. Face like a spud. Looked as thick as his accent. Beggsy nodded at the girl. ‘What d’you have to kill her for?’
Irish shrugged. ‘Easier that way. Now it’s one on one.’
Irish pistol whipped him. Beggsy hit the floor again. He sat up slowly, woozy, a bloody rose blossoming on his cheek.
Beggsy was scared out of his wits. He wasn’t a hard man. Just a bloke who’d come into some money. Irish watched while he got it together, climbed to his feet again, jelly legs making him wobble like a newly birthed colt.
‘Give us the fucken money.’
But he wasn’t about to hand anything over to this potato-faced Mick.
‘What, you think I’ve got it in the house? All seventeen million?’
‘You’ll have enough. Scum like you, you want cash. You like the feel of it, the smell. You probably wank over it every night.’ Long speech for a fucking idiot. ‘Give us the fucken money.’ Back to the loop tape.
‘I haven’t got any here.’
‘Then we’ll go and get some.’
‘There’s a limit on what I can get out of the machine. Three hundred tops. Same as for every other fucker.’
‘You’re a liar.’ Said with calm detachment. ‘Now give us the fucken money.’
‘For fuck’s sake!’
Irish threatened with the pistol. Beggsy flinched. Irish smiled. ‘You know what I’m gonna say.’
Six months earlier. Beggsy’s round at his gran’s flat, a regular Wednesday night visit. His mam did Saturdays. Gran was desperate to win the Lotto, get out of the cold, damp, council flat, buy a bungalow. Somewhere small and cosy, all mod cons. Buy a house for her daughter. An apartment for her grandson. Something posh on the coast, set him up nice. Gran wanted to win big so she could share it out amongst the family. Get that nice warm feeling you get when you can give somebody what they want. Play God awhile.
Gran pitched a regular two quid stake per draw. A scratch card and a lucky dip. She struggled to afford it out of her pension, but reckoned it was worth it. After all, it was her only pleasure. That and the Superkings. The wall behind her chair was tarry with nicotine, her hair at the front discoloured by the smoke.
Beggsy’s sitting on the settee, no give in the cushions, plywood holding them up now. He’s got his ticket and his gran’s in his hand. He’s taken to getting one on a Wednesday as well, keep the old girl company. Puts his lucky numbers on, same ones every week. Once you start with that, you can’t stop. Gran’s eyes aren’t so good, she can’t check the tickets for herself. Tonight it’s a rollover, seventeen million up for grabs. It could be you, he thought, peering at his gran through the perpetual fog she inhabited. It looked like the fucking tide had come in.
The draw starts, Wednesday night more straightforward. None of that palaver they have at the weekend. Get the numbers out, smarmy voice announces them, bird grins, job done. Here we go.
First ball: miss for him, hit for Gran. Second ball: miss for him, hit for Gran. Third ball: same story. On and on until all six numbers are out.
Beggsy feels sick. He knows he shouldn’t, she’s his gran, for Christ’s sake. She’ll buy him an apartment, see him right for spends. But it’s a waste, isn’t it? All that money going to such an old woman? He could just as easy buy the cosy bungalow for her, buy his mam the house, give them both some cash. Get a little of the warm fuzzies for himself. He’s a young man, young enough to enjoy the win. It’s only right that he should have the money.
‘Hey Gran,’ he hears himself saying. ‘I’ve won!’
‘What’s that, son?’
‘The seventeen million. I’ve only f… flippin’ well won it!’
‘Eeeh, are you sure, pet?’
He nods. ‘Dead sure. It’s all mine, Gran.’
Irish had him face down on the carpet. It was deep and soft. It even smelt expensive. Good fucking shit. Everything in here was good fucking shit and Beggsy loved it all. Loved the lifestyle. Loved being rich.
He was calculating. How much would it take to get Paddy O’Muppet off his case? If he could just get out of this, he could call the police, claim on the insurance. Send somebody after the spud muncher, get him wasted.
The whole thing about giving his money away to this dickhead was burning him. Even if it was only temporary.
But he didn’t want to die. Fucked if he did. He was having far too much fun.
‘Give us the fucken money.’
‘No fucken funny business. Just makes you hurt and bleed.’
He backed off. Beggsy breathed a sigh of relief. Stood up, slowly and carefully. Stretched. Irish raised an eyebrow.
‘This way,’ Beggsy said, pointing to the stairs. Resigned to coughing up.
Beggsy headed up to his bedroom. Swung back the full length mirror on the wall and only hesitated a moment before tapping in the combination and opening the safe. The Irishman smiled. Motioned Beggsy into the corner and loaded money into a sports bag.
‘Just out of interest, who inherits if you die? Your mam or your gran?’
‘What makes you think it’d be my mam or my gran?’
‘You’re famous, son.’
The papers. They’d been full of stories about Beggsy and his generosity. He’d wanted the publicity, wanted the world to know he was rich. Irish packed the cash into the bag, then turned and grinned at Beggsy.
‘Proper little saint, you are.’
Beggsy sighed, hung his head. ‘Gran. Gran gets the lot.’
‘Was it really your ticket that won?’
‘Well, if it had been me, I’d have said it was mine whichever it was.’
‘All that money. Wasted on an old woman. It’s not like you didn’t buy her a bungalow, now, is it? And that was all she wanted, wasn’t it?’ Irish put the gun in his pocket, zipped up the sports bag.
Beggsy nodded, relieved now that the gun was out of sight.
‘So. Was it really you that won?’
Beggsy shrugged. ‘I signed the back of the ticket. I got the money. Course it was me.’
Irish shook his head. ‘She said you’d lie.’
‘Your gran. She said you were a no good, thieving, lying little guttersnipe.’ He took the gun back out. ‘You shouldn’t have left her the losing ticket. It wasn’t a lucky dip.’ He raised the gun, took aim.
Beggsy went cold. He fell to his knees. ‘She can have it all! Or you can…. Please, don’t do this.’ He was sweating, gibbering.
Irish lowered the gun. Beggsy dared to hope. Then Irish strode over to Beggsy, put the barrel under his chin. ‘Your Gran says “tara, son”.’ He pulled the trigger. The top of Beggsy’s head exploded. Irish wrapped Beggsy’s fingers round the grip and left with the sports bag. Payment for the job. The client would get what was coming to her in due course.
This story first appeared in Bullet 6 in 2006.