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Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

Part 30

In the shop opposite the bank, the Dray twins and their henchmen were tucking into some ham and mustard sandwiches and a home-made Victoria sponge kindly provided by the twin’s mother, whilst a small camping stove provided them with enough hot water for a brew up. Another couple of hours and it would be dark. All had been safely gathered in at the bank and the final two members of staff were setting the alarms and locking the front doors behind them. Donald and Derek were confident that nothing could go wrong for them, their planning had been meticulous and not only had the twins’ Aunty Nellie provided them with an accurate set of floor plans for the building and the impressions of the main keys, but she had also managed to locate the codes for disabling the alarm system. At 5pm, traffic on the High Street would be at its busiest with everyone rushing home to enjoy the bank holiday weekend. This hubbub would hopefully mask the sound of the small underground explosion at the rear of the bank. The gang would then wait for another hour to pass, to ensure that that the noise had not drawn the attention of a member of the public or of any beat officers. The crooks had also set up a bell system from the shop and through the tunnel under the High Street, so as to allow the lookout, secreted in the front, upstairs room of the shop, the ability to give an early warning of any suspicious activity outside of the bank. Everything was set. Time for another slice.

Billy Nutmeg was sitting in his dressing room, clothed only in his silk dressing gown, getting slowly sozzled. He was fuming. He wanted to murder Shadwell Crump and strangle his cats. He’d taken a telephone call from London earlier in the day, advising him that due to unforeseen circumstances, they wouldn’t be able to book him for the future tour of the London and Southern counties’ theaters. Billy quickly drained another tumbler of whisky and spoke to his reflection in mirror. “Unforeseen circumstances, yeah, right, what they mean is the unforeseen circumstances of my nut sack being clawed to shreds in front of the biggest talent scout in the country”. Meanwhile, in a dressing room down the corridor, Shadwell was entertaining a few of the other artistes and regaling them with his good news. Lionel White, the talent scout who had witnessed Billy’s recent naked antics, had been so impressed with Shadwell’s cat juggling act, that he’d returned to London and spoken with his boss, which in turn had led to Shadwell and his cats being given a contract for a string of comedy shorts to be filmed at the Stoll Film Studios in Cricklewood. Future films featuring Shadwell and his feline performers would include, ‘Cat on a hot brick wall’, The Soho cat burglars’, ‘Paws in peril’ and the extremely popular series aimed at children, ‘Fur coat funnies’. Billy could hear them all laughing, “Probably laughing at me”, he thought to himself. “I’ll give those bleeders something to laugh at”. A plan had started to formulate in his head. He’d wait until they were all out of their dressing rooms, and then he’d show them who the star turn was.

At the empty shop opposite the bank, one of the tunnellers was now making his way under the High Street in order to set off the pre-positioned gelignite. The explosion was just large enough to smash the concrete flooring under the bank manager’s office. Once the planned hour’s wait was over, the tunnellers would finish their work with a heavy iron bar. They only needed to create a hole big enough for the largest of them to  squeeze through; any more would simply be a waste of precious time. The gang would have two full days in which to complete their task and make a getaway. If everything were to go to plan, then they would be in and out of the bank in half that time.

Billy heard Shadwell and the other revellers pass his dressing room door, he waited a while just to be sure that no one had been left behind. Billy knew that Shadwell always locked his dressing room door, so he opened the window of his own room and climbed out onto the narrow concrete ledge which surrounded the building. This was probably a foolish endeavour for anyone to attempt, especially in nothing but a silk dressing gown, barefooted,  and pissed as a newt. Billy placed his back to the wall and shuffled along the ledge towards Shadwell’s dressing room. His idea was to enter his rival’s room, bar the door to stop Shadwell getting back in, and then to let the cats loose. “Cats are agile”, Billy thought. “Once they are on the ledge outside, they’ll soon find a way down and then run off, that’ll teach that lanky streak of piss!”. Billy made it along the ledge to Shadwell’s window and luckily for him, the window was slightly ajar. He manoeuvred himself so that he was now facing the wall but as he moved his hand to grab the open window, he heard the revellers return. Billy now had nothing to grab on to, and in his drunken state, was quickly losing what little semblance of consciousness that was left to him. In the guttering above Billy’s head, a pigeon had made its nest. Obviously disturbed by Billy’s antics, the bird reared its backside over the edge of the nest and let Billy have the remnants of its last few meals. It caught Billy square on his forehead and ran down his face. Another pigeon settled itself on the ledge next to Billy and pecked at his bare foot. In a vain attempt to kick the bird away from him, whilst at the same time trying to wipe the bird mess off his face, Billy and the ledge finally parted company.

Billy lay unconscious on the top of a tarpaulin covered lorry. The driver of this vehicle had just finished loading the scenery from the previous production onto his wagon and after tying everything down, had gone off for a cup of tea. He reappeared with the driver of the second lorry, and as he climbed up into his cab, he called back to his mate, “See you in Southampton, Jimmy”. The thud had alerted the attention of Shadwell who was now looking out of his window and down at the unconscious body of Billy Nutmeg. “Bye, Bye, Billy” he shouted as the lorry pulled away from the theater. “Safe Journey”. It was just starting to rain. Billy didn’t reply….  


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

7 thoughts on “Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

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