On the second landing, Jaz can’t wait. He nips into the cludgie and pulls the door over, stands leaning, left hand splayed against peeling paint of the back wall, tinkling as he does a pee. It smells to him, a connoisseur of communal living, as if one of his brothers has been in the toilet shortly before him. A thud reverberates through the walls from one of the flats and he misses the toilet bowl and, in haste, splatters his sannies, before zipping up. He pulls open the door and the pistol falls from his pocket to the ground. The golf trolley remains where he left it on the landing, and his breathing returns to normal. He scratches the back of his head and pulls the bag into the toilet with him, picking up the gun, and locking the door. Sitting on the worn toilet seat he reaches back and pulls the cagoule over his head, bunches it up and flips it sideways, unravelling as it lies beside the stained ceramic bowl. The gun fits snuggly back in the pouch on the bag. His cock gets hard and he pulls down his zip, pops the button on his denims and sits wanking, but it quickly goes soft in his hand.
When he bumps the trolley through the front door, wheels it through the lobby and into the living room, he met by a blank gaze. ‘When did you take up golf?’ Karen asks, getting up from the couch. He can see she’s making an effort, pinning her hair, putting on a dress and blouse, not drifting through the day in her pyjamas and torn nightgown, but a wisp of hair escape across her forehead.
Angela ignores them, sitting cross-legged in front of the bubble of light from the new telly, watching Crown Court and waiting for Jackanory and Crackerjack to come on.
Jaz giggles, plays the fool. ‘Oh, I’ve been playin’ for quite a while.’ He whips a driver out of the bag, holds it horizontal, arm’s length, over the couch, shutting his left eye and looking down the length of it like a rifle.
The club has snagged a five-pound note and it flutters down onto scuffed linoleum. Angela rolls over and makes a grab for it, blue eyes sparkling and mouth open in astonishment. ‘Where did that come from?’ she screams. ‘Was it magic?’
‘Aye, fuckin’ magic.’ Jaz rocks on his heels, his hair falling over his face, and laughs to himself, the club dropping from his hand and bouncing off a cushion before falling to the floor with a clatter. ‘And there’s fuckin’ plenty mair where that came frae.’
‘Here!’ Angela holds the note up for him to take. She doesn’t like the way he is looking at her.
‘No, you keep it hen,’ Jaz says. Then changes his mind, grabbing it out of her hand, balling it up, and flinging it to Karen to catch.
Karen is as astonished as Angela. She looks at the note in her hand, and hiccups a laugh through her nose and encouraged by Jaz’s evident good humour, takes a step towards him and asks, ‘where did you get it?’
‘Och, never you mind.’ Jaz waves her towards the door. ‘There’s plenty mair where that came from. Just you go doon to the shops and get a bottle of whisky and a couple of cans of Pale Ale.’ He pulls the golf back towards him and pulls out the golf clubs, tossing them onto the couch. He delves inside the bag pulling out a handful of notes. ‘And go to the chippy and get us something to eat.’ He picks out a ten-pound note from the bird’s nest of money and hands it to her. ‘Nane of your shite. We want the best fish.’
‘But Jaz…’ she says.
‘Go on.’ Jaz has stopped listening to her. ‘Dae as I telt you.’
‘I’ll just get my coat on.’
Angela sits watching the Clangers. The Clangers whistle, don’t talk, and live on the moon made out of green cheese. The front door bangs shut. Out of the side of her eye she watches him stuffing notes down the side of the couch. Peering into the golf back, lifting it up and down, weighing its worth with his hand. He sweeps the golf clubs together and stuffs them back into the bag. Satisfied, he takes a few steps back and peers at the cushions for any evidence of his handiwork. Angela can smell him, she knows what cheese tastes like, it makes her boak. She wishes she could live on the moon with the Clangers.
‘Tell anybody and I’ll slit your throat,’ Jaz growls.
She shakes her head. ‘I won’t,’ she promises. The Clangers are going home, clanking down the lids to go to sleep.
‘C’mere,’ Jaz says.
‘No-oooh,’ she whines. ‘I don’t want to.’
‘You want me to hurt you?’ Jaz says. ‘You want me to hurt your mum? C’mere, I said.’
When Karen comes breezing through the door, her cheeks are red and her hands strain with too many bags and she smells of salt and vinegar. She stands in happy disarray on the threshold to the living room her twinkling eyes taking seconds to adjust. Jaz stands with his back to the door. And it takes her brain a little longer to work out what is happening. His denims are at his ankles and his bare bum is bobbling and his knees slightly bent. And he’s gripping something, but she can’t see what it is, but it’s not weighty, but he grunts and groans pushing against it with increasing intensity. Then he makes an animal groan and his back arches as he comes. The clatter of bags alerts him to Karen’s presence.
‘Yah, dirty cunt,’ Karen screams. She goes for him, her hands curved, nails raised out to rake across his face. ‘Yeh, cannae get it up a grown woman.’
He steps back from Angela, sweat on his forehead, his cock rigid as an A4 pencil, still breathing heavily, and smacks Karen across the cheek.
And all the fight goes out of her. ‘Yer nothin’ but a fuckin’ pervert,’ she whines.
He punches her, bloods her nose. ‘If you werenae such a fuckin’ slut, I wouldnae be reduced to this.’ His cock is flaccid and he hauls up his denims. Buttons them. Rearranges the flap of his shirt. Angela lies curled in a ball. ‘Get me a fuckin’ drink, and something to eat’ he shouts into Karen’s face.
She backs away, falling over the bags, clutching at her nose, a crumpled heap in the hall.
‘Look whit you’ve done now,’ Jaz says. ‘Yah stupid cunt. You could have broke something.’
Karen looks up at him, sobbing, her hands a streaky mess of red. ‘You want water in yer whisky?’
‘Aye,’ he says. ‘But just a wee drop, we don’t want to kill the taste.’