by Roger Noons
strong instant coffee
It was all over by the time I arrived. Both Jonah and Sammy were looking sorry for themselves. The former had blood dribbling from his nose and was sucking the knuckles of his right hand, while Sammy’s left eye was within a centimetre of being closed and he had a gash over his right eyebrow. I looked from one to the other but neither would meet my gaze, so I repositioned the table and picked up the chairs. There was a waste bin near the hearth. I gathered up the bottles and the larger shards of glass and dropped them inside. Still silence, so I filled a kettle and placed it on a gas ring. A search in a cupboard yielded three half clean mugs into which I spooned instant coffee.
‘Get up off the floor, both of you.’ When there was no response, I yelled. ‘Now.’
Suffering obvious pain, each of them scrambled first into a kneeling position and then upright. Limping, they struggled to a position from which they could drop down onto seats. They winced in unison, breath coming in spasms.
‘So what was it about?’
‘He stole my pass,’ Sammy spat.
‘Didn’t, it’s mine.’
‘Don’t they have photos on them?’
Sammy nodded, while Jonah scowled, until I burst out laughing. Looking at their faces, now sixty eight years old, I’d never been able to tell the twins apart.
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