Just as he turned around to leave, he was approached by a young woman with long red hair. She was dressed in a long brown skirt and a white blouse and looked as though she might have just come from a factory job. She was pretty, in a course sort of way, and she wore no makeup.
“Can you help me, Sir?” she asked, and then turned and began to walk away before Terrence could answer.
He shrugged and followed her, a beer bottle in each hand, around the corner of the kiosk and between a pair of small sheds. As he made the second corner, Terrence came face to face with three men. Two of them were brandishing knives. For a second he didn’t recognize them. Then suddenly he did. They were three men outside Blackwood’s. The memory of the white opthalium made his eyes water slightly. What was it that Blackwood called the first fellow… Mickey, Mikey, Mika?
“Thanks luv. Hurry on your way,” said Mika to the girl, who quickly left. He then turned and smiled unpleasantly at Terrrence. “You’re so happy t’see me your eyes are waterin’ eh?”
“I’m sentimental,” Terrence replied.
The toughs had chosen their spot well. They were shielded from the street by a hedgerow and from the cricket game and the spectators by the sheds. Without conscious thought, Terrence’s mind ran through his options. He could drop one of the beers and go for the pistol in his pocket. He could simply bash the bottles into a couple of skulls. In either scenario, he’d probably take at least one knife blade. He could always yell for help. There were plenty of people within earshot, probably even a copper. Again, he’d probably get stabbed. Besides, he’d never yelled for help in his life.
“Care for a beer?” he asked.
“I’m goin’ t’enjoy lettin’ the air outa you.”
Suddenly there was a loud report followed by a wet smack and the man behind Mika, Mika’s brother Terrence suddenly remembered, dropped to the ground with a massive hole in his chest pouring out blood like a johnny pump. Before anyone had time to think or to move or to think about moving, three more shots rang out. The beer bottles in Terrence’s hands exploded and a good portion of Mika’s jaw was ripped off his face. He dropped to the ground with a gurgled scream, while the third man in the group turned and ran. Terrence turned to his left, still holding the shattered remains of the bottles, to find Iolanthe in a cloud of gun smoke, a forty five caliber pistol pointed in his general direction. It was an exact match to the one in his pocket save only that hers had a pearl handle.
“Kafira’s tit, Iolanthe! You almost hit me.”
“You’re welcome,” she replied, closing her left eye and taking a bead on the fleeing man’s back.
“Let him go,” he said, and looked down at the sad remains of Mika, now whining pitifully.
A police constable came jogging up from behind Terrence, followed by a few cricket players, one carrying a bat, as well as a few stout fellows from the grandstand.
“These men were trying to rob my brother,” said Iolanthe, stepping forward.
“Oh, it’s you, Miss Dechantagne,” said the constable. “Are you injured?”
“No PC, thank you for asking, but I believe one or both of the men I shot may be in need of ambulance service.”
The constable knelt down and checked Mika’s brother for a pulse.
“This one doesn’t need an ambulance. He’s dead. What are these boys doing so far from the Bottom?”
“Not to belabor the point,” said Iolanthe. “But I believe they were practicing daylight robbery.”