Brian - all parts together and updated
By moor land
Funny. I'd been reading about bilocation – a creepy phenonomon where people appear in two places at once, when there was a tap on my window, and Brian who should have been 300 miles away in Aberdeen stood there mouthing at me to let him in.
He pushed past me ran into the living room and closed the curtains. “What, not even a 'hi, how you're doing?'”
“Don't open those fucking things.” He ran into the kitchen and pulled down the blinds. “And put a muzzle on that dog.”
He grabbed the remote control. “Jesus, do you watch shit all day?”.
Jeremy Kyle faded out just as he was about to reveal the father. “Bloody hell Brian, that was the end.”
He grabbed my face and stared – last time he did that I'd bitten his tongue which, in defence, he'd put uninvited into my mouth.
“We have to...” He looked over his shoulder, “lay low.”
“Lay low? What? This is a joke?”
“No joke. I'm in big shit.” He let go of my face and put his hand through my hair.
“What the hell have you done now?"
“I can't tell you, but basically, I've killed someone.”
“What?!” I flicked an eye for the dog. Kevin stared back watery eyed and as primed for attack as a cushion.
“It was self defence”
“So go to the police”.
He picked up my magazine– “Bilocation, wish you were here... and here. Now there's a skill.”
“If I tell the police, they'll definitely know it was me. And then.. well... it's all over.”
“Right. You have to go.”
I pushed him out of the door and locked it.
The letterbox flap opened. “If they come here, you don't know where I am.”
“Yeah, right. If they come here, I'll give them a map and directions.”
I switched the tv back on. The new father sobbed, holding hands with the girlfriend. I couldn't tell if he was happy or sad.
Later on, after the chat shows, I switched channel. Kevin whimpered at the front door.
BBC lunchtime news. The usual stuff. Armed gangs in Syria, car crash on the M1, and a footballer arrested for under-age sex.
The screen flashed up 'Boat sinking in Scotland' then switched to a reporter in front of a metal hanger painted with 'High Line Off Shore' - Brian's employer.
"...the police suspect foul play."
It cut back to the studio.
I flicked over. Nothing on ITV. Flicked again. Sky rolling news. Nothing.
Kevin scratched at the door.
Outside, Kevin perked up. I pulled up my hood.
“Fuck Brian...Fuck... Fuck...”
“Ooh, what a lovely dog. What's his name?”
Kevin had stopped to smell the Old World Cafe's menu board.
“Um, my mother's dog - he came with the name.”
“Oh, right. Well he's very sweet”. Kevin wagged his tail and cocked his leg.
We crossed the street to Brian's local. It was hard to see through the grubby windows without getting too close. The lights were always dimmed as if a regular had died.
“Looking for Brian?” All-round bastard and landlord of the Black Lamb, Jim Turner stood in a half-lear. “He's in Aberdeen.”
"Well... that's good to know." I pulled Kevin but his nose was fixed to what looked like bird shit.
“He'll be back soon. I'm sure he'll be round.”
Kevin now dribbled with excitement. “Come on Kevin”
“I'll let him know you were looking for him.”
Right that was it. I mega-tugged at the lead and we left - me walking and Kevin scraping behind.
Outside the flat there was no sign of Brian. Thank god. I needed the toilet. I trotted back with Kevin and locked the door.
“Where've you been?”
I didn't scream but did that stupid looking involuntary thing where your legs run on the spot, really quickly.
“Hello Kevin, have you been for walkies with your new mummy?”
Kevin's day was on the up and up. Aunt Cath was an expert in beguiling dogs with snacks.
“How...” The adrenalin hadn't cleared. Deep breath.
“Brian let me in. Have one of these, yes, yummy isn't it?
“Where... is... he?”
“He's nipped out. Have you been running?”
There was a hard knock, and then hammering.
Through the security glass I could see two men, both in suits. One fiddled in his pocket and fished out an identify card which he held at eye level.
I opened the door.
“You got married? Lovely!” Aunt Cath had stopped seducing Kevin and hung by my shoulder.
“We'd like to speak to your husband.” The second man had a deep voice and wore his suit well.
“Er no. I don't have a husband”
“Oh, you haven't split up already?”
“If it's Brian you're after, he's just a friend – and by just I mean he's almost not that either”
“He went out earlier.” Aunt Cath flashed a helpful smile.
Deep voiced man looked at me. “Do you know where he is?”
Brian was a complete idiot and needed protecting from himself. But the voice helped.
From the police car, I saw Kevin balanced on the back of the sofa, his nose pushed against the window, eyes droopier than usual. I half-waved and gave him my best 'I'll be back face' when Aunt Cath appeared waggling a dog chew. In an instant, he was gone.
“Yup, it'll be like The Wire before you know it.” Deep voiced man's colleague nodded at the radio. “What the commissioner says goes. No more interesting stuff. Just shuffling teenagers off the street”.
“Let's see how interesting it gets.” deep voice man turned and winked.
Cheeky bugger. I smiled anyway and wondered what he was called.
“Come on Kev, let's get going”
Kev turned an offered a Malteser. “Thanks, but I don't really eat chocolate”.
The other guy laughed. “So who do you live with?”
“There's chocolate wrappers everywhere.”
“The dog – he won't eat anything else”
At last. Kevin now had a purpose. My cover.
“You shouldn't give dogs chocolate. It's a poison.”
A short-lived cover. But the lie had more legs.
“He only has a couple of bars a day, but it's really difficult saying no. He's really fond of Twixes... and dairy milk and sometimes he has Rolos, but only if he can catch them...”
“I definitely won't be giving him any more. I'd hate anything to happen to him.”
He shook his head in mock seriousness. I took a Malteser.
Outside the pub, Jim Turner stood, hairy arm against the door, scanning traffic like he was security for the whole street.
“That's your local?”
“No. It's a dump.”
“And the guy with the mangled face?”
“Looks like he's clocked us”
Jim's eyes followed the car like a heat seeking missile. I knew he was thinking. “What do the fuckers want? They're not going to fucking get it.”
“Friend of Brian's?”
“Not really. They just share the same space now and again.”
Jim tapped his head and pointed.
“This car, it is unmarked?”
“No, we like to advertise ourselves to the local crims.”
Kev turned. “We're from out of town – he won't know us.”
I got out at Tesco and bought essentials. Dog food for Kevin, a family sized pack of mars bars and a TV Weekly.
My phone vibrated. 'Back in Scotland. Don't let anyone in. B.'
The Old World Cafe teemed with pensioners hanging around for the bus. A boy, the owners' son I guessed, served the tables, avoiding pats to the head. I slipped out a mars bar, hid it under the table and broke off bits to eat.
“Ah, so this is your local.” Kev sat down.
“Where's your mate?”
“Back at base. Why, disappointed?”
Kev paid for my coffee and we walked to the flat. He slowed down so I could keep up. I wasn't unfit, just short.
“You think he's in Scotland?”
“He let my aunt into my flat an hour ago.”
“He has keys?”
“No. But he knows where I leave the spare.”
Kev opened the door. It was weirdly quiet, not even the statics from the TV. Aunt Cath must have switched it off when she left. I called the dog. Nothing.
“She must have him...” I walked into the kitchen and slipped. The tins rolled across the floor through the blood and into Kevin.