“Certainly in the topsy turvy world of rock and roll, having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is quite often useful.”
― Ian Faith, Spinal Tap
Solid Piece of Wood
“This plan of yours, Shelly, is getting too damn complicated,” Mabel said as she gazed with her two friends at the maze of scribbled papers now almost covering the kitchen table.
“Uh, Shel, not only that, but where did you get this Cab? It’s delicious,” said Alice as she sipped her third glass, stared at the liquid, then took a full gulp.
“Alice, you won’t believe it, but it’s from Aldi. It’s dirt cheap but mostly drinkable. And Mabel, I know it’s complicated, but that bastard Craig is not going to get away with this and it will take a careful plan to pull it off.”
“We won’t be able to do this ourselves,” Mabel said.
“We have to keep it secret,” said Shelly. “We will put the plan in motion and people will help us without even knowing they are.”
“Hey, pour me another glass,” said Alice.”I can’t believe this is from Aldi.”
“What if it doesn’t work?” said Mabel.
“It’ll work. That rat bastard Craig is into so much stuff, stealing money, dealing drugs, lying, cheating and everything else. We know that better than anyone because he did all that and more to all three of us.”
“Hey, the bottle’s empty,” was Alice’s only answer. “How late is Aldi open?”
The rack held nine Cricket bats at one time, all held vertically. Craig had one, so there were eight left. He could feel the blood running down his leg as he stared into the dim glow from the store’s emergency lighting system. Water dripped from the suspended ceiling in a dozen spots and something electrical was buzzing. The wet floor must be shorting out some sort of extension cords because Craig felt an occasional shock from his one bare foot soaking in the damp. He tried to stand on the foot that still had an insulating shoe, but that was the leg he was cut on and he’d wince at the pain from the extra weight.
Craig had no idea who had jumped him after luring him down to this third rate sporting goods store. He ran his list of enemies through his head – drug deals gone bad, real estate scams left in tatters, plenty of women left with broken hearts and negative bank accounts – and realized it was too long to recall. He had borrowed the money to buy the failing shop, specializing in European sports equipment (no wonder it was going broke), spent a quarter of the loan, then declared bankruptcy and was ready to turn the now-worthless real estate back to the bank – pocketing the balance. Someone had called him down to the store, and he would never have come, but she sounded sexy and desperate – and Craig had always been able to deal sexy and desperate to his advantage. Instead, this.
There was a crash from the darkness off to his right and Craig held the solid chunk of British wood as firmly as he could. He couldn’t imagine what kind of game was played with this damn thing, but it was all he had. Whimpering in pain and fear, he limped off in the quietest direction he could find.
Paul walked down the sidewalk on his way home from working a double shift when he came across the shattered windows of the sporting goods store. The glass across the sidewalk looked fresh and smashed out from the inside. He knew he should have kept going, gone home to get a good night’s sleep, but he had always been curious so he stepped through the broken threshold. He immediately stumbled into the rack of Cricket bats, knocked over. Looking down, he saw there were five in a jumble on the floor. He picked one up, feeling its firm strength. He swung it a bit and liked it’s balance and heft.
He had played baseball for decades and still had the shoulder muscles and fast-twitch nerves to move a heavy piece of wood through the air at high speed and pin-point accuracy. The feeling made him smile. Paul heard a noise off to his left and, swinging the Cricket bat back and forth with both hands, strode off to find out what it was.