The latest installment of my stalled novel idea.
The boys skidded to a halt with a screech of brakes outside the newsagent cum general store causing no small degree of consternation to a small Westie tied up to the litter bin outside. The dog barked his displeasure at them.
‘Oh haud yer weesht Mac,’ Jamie told it before bending down to pat it on the head. ‘It’s only us.’ The dog sniffed at him and then regarded both boys with a look of haughty disdain. Jamie scratched behind the dog’s ears to show he wasn’t offended.
They clattered through the door leaving Mac to carry on sniffing at their tyres.
‘Morning boys.’ Ryan’s dad called out from behind the counter where he was serving a customer. ‘Today’s the big day then?’
‘Hiya Mr McInnes. Aye it is that.’ Jamie replied.
‘Through the back with Jamie’s mum and the two special envelopes,’ he told them. ‘That will be £6.85 for your papers this week Mrs Crombie,’ he told the old women standing at the counter patiently watching what was going on.
‘Did you mind take off for the Express I didn’t get on Tuesday?’
‘I certainly did Mrs Crombie. I’m really sorry about that. We’ve taken on a couple of new lads this last couple of weeks and their still learning their rounds. It won’t happen again.’
Ryan’s dad gave both boys a look. Ryan rolled his eyes. Mrs Crombie wasn’t a bad old dear as far as it went, but her favourite past time was complaining. Ryan’s dad had become an expert at placating her over the years.
‘I should hope not. And tell the laddie to make sure he shuts my gate properly in future too – I wouldn’t want my wee Mac to get out and get knocked over.’
‘Of course not, Mrs Crombie. Perish the very thought. I’ll be sure to tell the lad. Will that be all?’
‘Yes thank you,’ she carefully unfolded a ten-pound note from her purse.
‘Just go on through lads,’ he said handing over the change.
‘Ok, Dad. Bye Mrs Crombie.’
‘Good luck boys.’
Mrs McInnes and Mrs Forbes sat around the table with steaming mugs of tea clasped in their hands. Two brown envelopes lay in front of them.
‘Hiya boys,’ said Mrs McInnes putting down her mug. Can I get you a cuppa?’
Ryan shook his head. ‘I think we’ll just cut to the chase Mum.’
‘I had a feeling you might say that. I don’t know who’s more nervous – Margaret and me or you two.’ She passed over the envelopes.
Ryan and Jamie took the envelopes. Ryan took out his Swiss Army knife and slit his open before handing the blade to Jamie to open his own. He reached his hand inside to pull out the certificate.
‘Let’s do this.’