Latest Flash

Christmas Wrapping

On the third Daze of Christmas,

Paul D. Brazill gives to us. . .

Christmas Wrapping by Paul D. Brazill

‘It’s child abuse, when you think about it,’ said David Ryan. He nodded toward the television screen, which was filled with McCauley Culkin’s screaming face.

‘It seems to me like poor old Joe Pesci is the one that’s being abused,’ said Niki. She wrapped more duct tape around Mark Shaw’s wrists, just to be on the safe side.

Shaw was still unconscious and strapped to the kitchen chair. He was a big man.

‘No not physical abuse,’ said Ryan. ‘Neglect.’  He was sweating. He took a bottle of Zico coconut water from the fridge. ‘You see, that poor kid’s yuppie parents are so wrapped up in themselves, so up their own arses, they forget about him. Their own kid. And then he turns wild. Feral. It’s sociology, like.’

‘You could have a point there,’ said Niki, rifling through Shaw’s wallet.

‘Any cash?’ said Ryan.

‘Not a lot.’

‘Sign of the times, that is. People use cards or pay by smartphone these days. I heard the Swedes have plans to do away with cash altogether by twenty-twenty.’

Niki flicked through Shaw’s iPhone and smiled. ‘Bingo! Everything’s here,’ she said. ‘Bank accounts left open, passwords saved, pin numbers for his credit cards.’

‘You’d think someone who’s clever enough to write all of those books would have more common sense.’

‘It’s a generational thing, dad,’ said Niki. ‘He’s an old fogey, like you. He probably has one of his kids do all his computer stuff for him. At least he can use a cash machine, mind you.’ She winked.

Ryan stuck out his tongue. ‘I could if I needed to. I just don’t need to.’

Niki laughed.

Ryan said, ‘Right, are we going to have a nosey through the rest of the flat now? I’ve still got your mum’s Christmas present to get.’

Niki picked up a red North Face holdall.

Ryan did the same. ‘Let’s get on with it, then.’ 

Niki put a pillowcase over Shaw’s battered and bruised face. ‘Just to be on the safe side.’ She went into the living room to see what was worth taking. When she went back to the kitchen, her father was sitting, drinking another coconut water.

‘I’m getting a taste for this,’ he said. ‘What did you get?’

‘A few bits and bobs on the gadget front. A couple of tasty watches. Was there anything in the bedroom?’

‘A few signed copies of his books and a load of overpriced artisan crap made by old lags. One of them was in Wandsworth Nick last time I was there. Croaked his whole family.’

‘Art is good for the soul, eh?’ Niki looked at Shaw. ‘Now, what do we do about him? We can’t leave him.’

So far, the scam had worked like a dream. Niki dressed as a schoolgirl and let some rich pervert pick her up. When they tried it on with her, she let her dad in. He beat the punter up and they robbed the place.

Shaw had been different. He hadn’t touched her. He’d wanted to talk and find out all about Niki's life. It had made her feel dirty, ravaged. ‘The thing is,’ she said. ‘Our usual punters never call the police because they don’t want people to know they’re nonces, right? But Shaw, well, he’s done nothing wrong. He’s the victim. He’ll call the cops, for sure.’

‘So, what do you want to do?’

Niki gazed out of the window. ‘Well, do you remember that body they found in a bag in a MI5 safe house? It was padlocked from the outside and the bloke had suffocated?’  

‘Yeah, was supposed to be some kinky sex game. Or the Russians. You thinking we do the same to Shaw?’ 

‘Maybe the coppers will think it was research, whatever.’

Niki picked up the bags. ‘One bag is easily big enough for all the stuff we got.’

‘Alright,’ said Ryan. ‘As long as we’ve got space for some of this coconut water, too. It’ll go well with my Christmas turkey.’

Paul D. Brazill is the author of books like Cold London Blues, The Last Laugh, Guns Of Brixton, and Kill Me Quick! He was born in England and lives in Poland. He is an International Thriller Writers Inc. member whose writing has been translated into Italian, German, Polish, Finnish, and Slovene. He has had writing published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Books of Best British Crime. He has even edited a few anthologies, including Exiles: An Outsider Anthology, and True Brit Grit.