No Less, No More
The knock came late one night. I knew it was coming but I thought I’d at least get a phone call first. I answered it and was dragged outside before I was even properly awake.
“C’mon Macca, get ya fuckin’ arse in gear. We’re gettin’ it tonight.”
I pulled up and shook the hands off me. “Fuck, Ducks, at least let me get me coat.” I pushed past the sweaty hands and skinny shoulders of Ducky, my elder brother and went back into the house.
By the time I came out again, Duck was sitting behind the wheel of his car, a quivering manifestation of impatience. “What were fuckin’ doin’, knitting the fuckin’ thing? Let’s go, for fuck’s sake.” He fired up the car and revved the motor hard. I sauntered around to the passenger side, casually opened the door and climbed in. He looked ready to burst furiously.
He threw the car in gear and wrenched the steering wheel hard, throwing it in a side spin as he charged through the gears, raising a huge cloud of smoke. As he did, he screamed out the window, a great bellowing “fark”. I smiled quietly to myself and offered him a cigarette. He instantly forgave me. The car sprang up the road, leaving a trail of rubber.
Ducky casually steered it out onto the freeway. “Dags gave me the nod today. He told me where to find the coordinates and what we needed to take to dig it up. I’ve got it all in the boot.” He fairly buzzed with anticipation.
“So, do you know where we’re goin?”
He was doing his yell-speaking. “I’ve got a fuckin’ GPS, so, yeah; I know where we’re goin’.” The cigarette glowed and dimmed in the dark as he filled the cab with clouds of smoke.
“So where’s the GPS, Duck?”
“I already told ya. It’s in the boot.”
“Then I have to ask again, do you know where we’re goin’?”
The car screeched to a stop and he threw open the door. I felt it shudder as he rummaged around in the boot before the lid slammed shut. He threw himself back in the car and handed me the device. “He said all we had to do was enter the coordinates and it’d guide us there.”
I waited for him to continue but he gave me a look of confused expectancy. “So, do you know how to turn it on?” he quietly said after a short silence.
I looked over the device before figuring it out. The screen lit up and a tinny, mechanical voice asked for coordinates. Ducky sprang into action, pulling a notepad from his pocket and reeling off numbers loudly.
“Minus thirty three degrees, fifty six minutes and fourteen point three eight eight seconds by one hundred fifty one degrees, two minutes and fifty four point eight eight zero two seconds, no less, no more, ahm… I didn’t have to say that bit.” He employed his expectantly confused look again to great effect.
“Ah, Duck, you have to enter the coordinates, not shout them at it. Can I have the notebook?” I stuck my hand out and he slammed it into my palm. The notepad was burnt at the edges and smelt of petrol. “Where the hell has this been?”
“He’s a fuckin’ genius, Dags is. He hid it in the tank of his bike, wrapped up in a plastic bag. I had to cut the fuckin’ thing open to get it out. I nearly blew meself up before I remembered to empty the tank first. As it was, I set the fuckin’ thing on fire anyway. I burnt meself savin’ it, see.” He held out his hand, showing off a nasty burn on top of it.
I shook my head and laughed quietly to myself. It was so like Ducky to do things without thinking of the consequences. I was amazed hadn’t killed himself a dozen times. I entered the coordinates and hoped for the best. The GPS pinged and an arrow pointed behind us.
“Okay, Ducks, we’re gonna have to turn around.” Before I could draw another breathe, he threw the car into gear and spun the steering wheel into a hard u-turn, right in front of some horn-screaming traffic. He laughed his crazy man laugh as he straightened the car out while casually sticking his finger up at the irate drivers still bashing their horns.
The GPS directed us onto the M5, heading west. Ducky drove like he was being chased, weaving in and out of non-existent traffic while hooting and shouting over the engine and road noise. I tuned him out and concentrated on the device in my hands. I had a role to play and I stuck to it.
It directed us off the motorway and into Punchbowl. I tried to get Ducky to slow down and he eased off for a bit, particularly when a cop car appeared in front of us. Ducky was so panicked, he turned at the next intersection, messing the GPS reading up. We drove around some back streets, trying to get the unit to catch up. Eventually, we went back onto one of the main roads and the reading sorted itself out.
I guided us up a quiet street and Ducky slowed to a crawl. We were getting really close to the coordinates so I made him stop. He pulled up outside an ordinary home, one of a street full of ordinary homes. It kind of reminded me of the house we grew up in except none of the windows were broken and the grass didn’t need mowing.
I hopped out of the car, watching unit’s display as it ticked slowly over. Dags’ instructions were to find the exact point then dig. Ducky, the epitome of subtlety, opened the boot and emerged with two large shovels and a torch. He voice carried all the way back to the city. “So, where are we diggin’, Macca?”
I frowned at him. “Could you be any louder, Ducks, for gawd’s sake? Do you wanna wake the whole bloody neighbourhood?” I looked down at the GPS as it ticked over the last few numbers. The exact coordinates stopped me right in the middle of a neat garden bed a few doors down from where we’d parked.
Looking back to the car, I waved at Ducks to come over. He threw the shovels back in the boot, slammed it shut, started the car and drove it up to where I was waiting. I shook my head at him and looked to see if he’d woken any of the neighbourhood.
He looked pissed off when he hopped out of the car. “What the fuck’s your problem, little bro?”
“You’re bloody clueless, aren’t you? You’ve got no flamin’ idea?” I let him think about this as I got the shovels out of the boot again. I handed him one, walked back to the spot and started digging.
Ducks leant on the front fender of his car and watched. “You wouldn’t talk to me like that if Dags was around. He’d fuckin’ kick your arse.” For once, he was right so I let it ride. After a short while, he joined me started digging as well.
We must have been there for at least half and hour and hadn’t hit anything other than rocks and bits of rubbish. The hole was getting bigger and deeper and Ducky was getting more and more frustrated. We were both so preoccupied, we didn’t hear the approaching police car.
Ducky failed to tell me he’d stolen the car and his long record spoke volumes to the police. While I didn’t have a record, the fact I was Ducky’s brother guaranteed I was going to spend at least the night in cells. They figured I was just as bad but hadn’t been caught.
As for Dags, our eldest brother, he was already in prison for a number of armed robberies. On his last job, Ducky and I had gone along for the ride. Dags said he was going to hide the cash until things cooled off. Hence the GPS and coordinates.
Before Dags could retrieve the buried loot, he got caught and was locked up. Stupidly, he trusted Ducky more than he trusted me (he never liked that I was smarter than the two of them put together) and told Ducks where to look, as I knew he would.
See, I had a plan all along. Dags isn’t as smart as Ducks would like to believe. I knew he’d hide the notebook in his tank. He always hid stuff in there. So I got the book out and changed the coordinates by a few minutes. The longitude coordinates were supposed to be one fifty one degrees, nine minutes and fifty four point eight eight zero two seconds. It is amazing the difference seven minutes can make.
I went back to the right spot two weeks after I’d made bail. Ducks wasn’t so lucky and ended up with a hefty sentence. The money is now sitting in a safer, closer place. All I have to do is keep my nose clean for the next twelve months then I’ll be going where Ducks and Dags will never find me. Serves the stupid bastards right.