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Regrettably, I am unable to post the second part of The Crossroads Of No Return this week. Why? Well the story line is growing with every sentence I write and I know you're going to love it much better when it's finished.

Normal service will be resumed next week but in the meantime here is a short story for your kind attention.


PLAYMATES by Rick Haynes

I was standing in the Horse and Jockey pub sipping away on a fresh pint of ale whilst looking at one of the large television screens dotted around the main bar area. I winced as yet another player decided that an elbow in the face was the new way of tackling an opponent. Still, it was only a Manchester derby so why should I care.

“Hello mate, remember me?” A hand squeezed my right shoulder like a vice.

As I turned a familiar face from the past loomed close to mine. He stunk of beer and cigarettes and I could see his aggression still burnt just as brightly as it did all those years ago. I couldn’t believe my luck for I’d been hoping to meet up with Long-Legs Lennie again.

Images of the end of the seasons’ works party came flooding back. Halfway through the night’s entertainment a giant of a guy had burst in and given Lennie a good kicking before the rest of the gang had time to intervene and save him. It was only later that we found out that Long-Legs had turned his sister’s lovely face into a bloody mess. Once we saw the photos of Helena Stewart, Lennie was an outcast.

“Bloody hell Lennie, you scared the shit out of me.”

“Always did mate, always did. So where you been all these years?”

“Living abroad but hang on, you were the one that left in a hurry.”

Lennie’s face changed in an instant, his hands gripping a glass as if trying to break it. “Bloody hell, will no one ever forget that? I did my time.”

“Did your time? The only time you spent in jail was a few weeks on remand until that dodgy lawyer got you off."

“So what?” Lennie sneered. “She deserved everything she got, that little slut shouldn’t have been talking to that bloke. I knew what she was up to.”

“That bloke was her cousin.”

“So…. whose side are you on anyway?”

“Not yours, that’s for sure.”

“Yeah! That’s about right Dave. You never were. So why don’t you just piss off, like you did before?”

Without saying a word, I moved forward and smashed my forearm into Lennie’s face, completely ignoring the golden rule from my ‘self- defence' class. This time, I thought it best to attack first.

Catching his limp body as it fell, I moved Lennie into a comfortable position with his head neatly resting on the table. I quickly checked his breathing was okay before looking around. None of the drinkers had noticed and in all likelihood, they would probably think of him as just another drunk. I even had time to finish my pint.

As I walked casually out of the pub, I felt a spring in my step.

I had waited ten years to do that for my beautiful wife, Helena, and by god, it did feel good.

The End

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