The tent was pitched beside a secluded loch, well-known for its plump, golden trout. The surrounding moorland danced flame-like, as the sun flitted in and out of the clouds. Kendo happily cast his line into the pure, cold water and stretched back. Roddy looked out towards the island in the centre of the loch, where dark water lapped softly around the stones.
Kendo’s voice broke into his thoughts. “Remember when I tried to paddle out there on a plank of wood when we were kids?”
“Aye, Kendo. Bit hard to forget that one. Especially the part where you capsized half-way over and I had to go and get you.” He shuddered at the recollection. The waters were fresh, and without salt to give you buoyancy it was not an easy swim. Having a screaming ten year old half drowning on the end of your arm didn’t help either. He picked up his can and took a sip. “Just don’t fucking do it again.”
“Och, na,” replied Kendo. “I’m too big now anyway. Need to get myself a raft.”
Anne’s car bounced over the rutted peat track that connected the loch to the main road. Well, she thought. At least that’s them out the way for now. She turned the volume up on her tape deck and started to sing along. An hour and a half later she pulled into the driveway by her house, ‘Bad Moon on the Rise’ drifting forth from the stereo. She waited a moment before turning off the engine. Her sister Genie appeared at the corner of the house waving an apron and a pair of gardening gloves.
“C’mon Anne! I could do with some help here.” Reluctantly Anne turned off the stereo before the song had reached its conclusion.
“Ok, ok. What needs doing?” she asked. Genie started past the vegetable patch and headed for the little greenhouse where they grew the more delicate herbs.
“We need to get this stew on the go. You deal with the herbs, I’ll braise the meat.” Genie handed her sister the gardening gloves and headed back to the house. Anne examined the array of plants with satisfaction. The greenhouse had been expensive but it was definitely worth it. She carefully selected a small black basket and began to snip off certain leaves.
By six-thirty the sisters were ready. They both had on their Friday night gear – split skirts, high heels and low-cut tops.
“Do I need a bit more lipstick?” queried Genie. Anne scrutinized her sister. They were very similar in build and looks except Genie had green eyes and brown hair instead of her blue eyes and blond curls.
“Nope, I think you can leave it at that. I’d better go and fetch him then. Everything’s in place now?”
“Aye,” replied Genie with a laugh. “I’ve looking forward to checking out that recipe for a while. The stew itself was lovely don’t you think?”
“Mm. You know. we should maybe think about opening up a cafe. Lunches and dinners. Could make a fair bit doing that. Let Helen manage the Hairdo for us – see how she gets on.”
“I was thinking that myself. A nice sit-down place. We should have a look in the For Lets on Monday. Hey, you’re going to have to run if you want to make the park in time. Away you go Anne.” Genie pushed her sister toward the door.
Anne crossed the gravel at a steady pace. Years of experience in impractical footwear had given her the ability to cross all terrains regardless of how she shod herself. People had been known to stop and watch as she confidently sailed over cobbled streets in six-inch heels, never so much as casting a glance at the ground in front of her. She slowed as she approached a bench on the far side of the secluded park. At this time of night everyone was home for dinner or making preparations for the night ahead. The place would be deserted until the teenage drinkers, and later on the alfresco shaggers, started to filter in. She sat down just as a large and bull-like man entered by the far gate. He looked around scowling. Anne waved at him and he hesitated for a second. Anne smiled to herself. An attractive blond always tended to hold the attention.
“Hiya, are you looking for Roddy?” she asked as she bounced towards him.
“Yeah, he’s got something of mine. Who are you?” he asked suspiciously.
“I’m his girlfriend, Anne. He had to nip out for a few minutes you see. He asked if I’d come and meet you and take you back to the house. He won’t be long, you can have a beer while you’re waiting.” Anne gave him her full on stupid bimbo smile and made sure he was getting an eyeful of her strategically positioned cleavage. She watched as suspicion made its way across his face. Thankfully it was soon followed by a lecherous leer.
“All right then. I could do with a wee livener.”
On the walk back to the house Anne was careful to choose secluded streets, though as she had envisaged it was very quiet at that time of night, and the encroaching dark was a help too. Smiler however was not following quite as docilely as she had hoped. He was certainly not about to win any prizes for academic achievement but he was not as stupid as she had hoped he would be. He was even exhibiting signs of cunning. Luckily, she had her story of Roddy’s sudden departure – in a small but dramatic family emergency – carefully rehearsed, and between that and playing the flirt she managed to get back to the house without too much trouble. When they came in they were – as planned – assailed by wonderful cooking smells.
Smiler’s guts rumbled. “You got any food lying around here?” he asked. “Just something to soak up that beer you promised me.”
“Aye, we do. We’ve had ours but there’s enough left for you to have a spot of dinner. There’s even some potatoes left over. Would that do you?”
Smiler seated his bulky form at the kitchen table, the chair creaking in protest. “Yeah, dish some out then.” He leant towards Anne and slapped her on the arse. “I could do with something tasty.” Anne smiled back at him, and went to put out the stew. In her head she gave him her infamous double-handed slap.
“So where the fuck’s Roddy then?” growled Smiler when he had finished. “Hope he’s not hiding himself away from me. He borrowed a little something of mine and I’m dead keen to get it back.” He pushed his plate away and leant his elbows on the table. Right on cue Genie sauntered into the room, hips swaying.
“Hello. And who are you then?” she simpered.
“Oh, this is a friend of Roddy’s,” said Anne. “His name’s Smiler. Smiler this is my sister Genie.”
Faced with two young women in full Friday night battle dress, Smiler decided he might as well sit back and relax for a while.
An hour later he was still very much his usual self. Unfortunately for the sisters, this meant he was prone to making sexist remarks and intermittently squeezing any body parts which passed his way. In the interests of the grand plan they were having to put up with this.
“Excuse us a minute would you. Come and see if you can help me find the whisky Genie.” Anne tugged her sister’s arm and pulled her into the living room.
“What’s going on?” she whispered as soon as the door was shut. “He’s supposed to be unconscious by now!”
“You never said he was so big. I probably needed to put in twice the amount. I mean – he’s built like the gable-end of a blackhouse. What’ll we do?” Genie replied anxiously.
“Right,” said Anne. “Go in there, sit on his knee and snog him. Leave the rest to me.”
“What rest? What do you mean?”
“Just trust me for Christ sake. Go. Just pretend he’s that sexy builder you keep giving the eye to.” Anne gave her sister a push toward the door then she turned and went into the hall. She rummaged around in the cupboard under the stairs for a minute or two before she found what she was looking for. When she came back to the kitchen her sister was pinned against the cooker while Smiler was enthusiastically attempting to remove her top. Anne carefully lifted the heavy, solid metal flat-iron, positioning both hands on the curved handle. She paused for a moment and adjusted to a slightly better hold. Suddenly she swung it sideways with all her strength, connecting forcefully with the side of Smiler’s head.
“Well thank you very much Speedy Gonzales,” said her sister as they stood over the unconscious and bleeding man. “Don’t hurry yourself on my account when I’m getting molested by a thug. I mean, it was your idiot boyfriend that started all this. Don’t know what you see in him.”
“Don’t underestimate the value of a man who’s good-looking and easily twisted around the finger. After this little escapade he’ll be trained to my heel for life,” retorted Anne. “Now stop moaning and bring the wheelbarrow round. I’ll get the sacks and the gardening overalls. Better find some wellies too.” When they were kitted up in their gardening gear they started to load Smiler into two hessian sacks which they tied with string. Anne gave him another bash with her granny’s trusty heirloom iron just to make sure he wasn’t about to become annoyingly ambulant again. With the practised arms of drystone wall builders, they hoisted and heaved until finally they had him loaded into the barrow. Then with a handle each they trundled towards the back gate. Sweating heavily they stopped for a break.
“We’re going to have to shower after this you know,” said Genie. “There’s a hen night on tonight as well. That girl that works in the bank. I was looking forward to that.”
“Come on then,” replied Anne. “Get moving and we’ll catch the end of it. Don’t need too much make-up. Everyone will be too pissed to notice by now.”
Once again they took up their load, pushing the barrow along a sheep track that followed the side of their croft. They stopped at a particularly lush piece of ground that was covered in unusually green grass. Making sure they were both on firm ground they tipped the unfortunate Smiler into the middle of the patch of grass. He disappeared within a minute. Anne took up the barrow and followed Genie back to the house. After the iron and the kitchen floor were nicely scrubbed and the gardening gear was stowed away, they turned their attention to cleaning themselves up. Then they consulted the clock.
“Half-ten. Pubs don’t shut till one and there’s bound to be a party afterwards. Come on, let’s go,” said Genie.
“Ok. We’ll take the car though. Leave it at the Hairdo and we can walk in for it tomorrow. I could do with a drink.” Anne picked up the car keys.
“You know,” said Genie. “It’s really lucky we’ve got that bog so close by. Ma always used to say how handy it was, and granny too.” She let out a musical giggle. “Now I reckon I know what they meant.”
Anne gave her a quick hug. Then they got into the car and headed for town, singing along to the concluding chorus of ‘Bad Moon on the Rise’.