Three Men in a Boot

Written on April 26th, 2010 by Adam in Short Stories + Flash Fiction

Terry’s teeth clashed together as the car went over another bump in the road and slammed his head against the spare tyre.

Terry’s brother Perry was still talking and Terry was getting to the point where he was considering testing just how long he could make it last.

“We need a plan, come on, we need to be methodical about this,” said Perry.  “What are we going to do to them, how are we going to deal with this?”

Terry stared into the darkness.  Methodical was easy.  Methodical was choosing the right weapon.  Methodical was knowing how to use it.  Knowing that if you did it just right you could cause someone to bleed to death in maybe ten seconds.  The car turned a sharp corner and he rolled forward into his brother.

“Watch it,” said Perry, his voice still echoing slightly, even in here.  “Hang on, they’re slowing down aren’t they?”

Terry breathed in again, the rusted metallic smell filling his nostrils.  Of course, he reasoned, it was rarely as simple as that, it usually took a few minutes before they bled out.

“Are you awake?” said Perry.  “Of course you’re awake, now listen I’ve got a plan.   Think you can manage to follow some simple instructions, fucknut?”

Terry finally managed to work the Swiss Army knife out of his pocket and into his hand. He nodded into the darkness.

“When we hear the engine go off we kick off. I’ll attack you or something. In the struggle of trying to get us out of the boot one of us’ll get loose and bob’s your mother’s brother. Yeah?”

“Whatever,” said Terry.


“There it is.  The turning’s there, right there!” said the coach.

Tom yanked the steering wheel right, “Oh right, sorry.  No need to get all worked up.”

“No point in getting worked up you moron, we’ve got two kidnapped dwarves in the boot of the car and you say there’s no point in getting worked up?”

“I’m just saying…” said Tom, pulling the car into the school car park.

“Never mind what you’re just saying, what I’m just saying is that you need to be a bit more worked up.  We’ve got to teach these little bastards a lesson.  Together.”

The coach nodded, pulled the car alongside the gym and cut the engine.

“You do want to teach them a lesson don’t you Tom?”

“Of course I do, coach.”

“Right then,” a loud banging noise began to emanate from the back of the car. “Is that them?”

Tom thought for a moment, the slow gears of his mind processing the question as the car rocked and bounced.

“I think so,” he said.

“It was a rhetorical… oh never mind.  Help me with them before someone notices.


As the boot popped open Perry was ready to execute his malformed plan and in spite of having his hands taped behind his back, hopped up on to his knees.

“Come here you shit,” he shouted at Terry and launched himself into a falling head-butt.

“Oi,” said the coach, reaching forward and grabbing the top of Perry’s head and turning it to face him.  “No.”

Perry was ready and spat straight in the coach’s eye.

Terry just lay there and stared, working the Swiss Army knife in his hands behind his back.  The scissors might be the way to go but there were so many options each of which offered so many different variations on what damage could be done.

The coach grabbed Perry and slung the struggling midget over his shoulder. Tom followed suit, Terry leaning forward slightly to allow himself to be grabbed a little easier. It wasn’t time yet.


“So, you two,” said the coach, staring at Terry and Perry in their matching dinner jackets, trousers and polished black leather shoes.  “We know what you’ve been up to.  Let’s not piss about denying it, okay?”

The coach paced first one way then the other, carefully addressing Perry then moving on to Terry.

“We know, for example that you’ve been paying Oliver to throw games.”

The coach’s words echoed around the empty gym, his every footstep amplified and hurled back at him.

“I mean, what is this about?  Why are you messing with my boys? Are you betting on the games? What is it?”

“I could tell you,” said Perry finally.  “But I’d have to kill you.”

He laughed, the coach nodded to Tom who lunged forward and kicked Perry hard in the stomach.

“Don’t roll out you pathetic clichés on me little fella,” said the coach before turning his attention back to Terry.  “And what about you?  Got anything smart to say?”

Terry glanced at his brother.  Then back at the coach.  The knife attachment was getting through the electrical tape that held his wrists but it wasn’t quite there yet.

“No,” continued the coach.  “I didn’t think so.”

“You’ve got no idea who we are, do you?” said Perry as he rolled himself back up into a sitting position.

“I know exactly who you are,” said the coach.  “I met people like you my whole life, people who…”

“Can I just stop you there for a second?” said Perry.  “This really isn’t what you think.

“Well what is it then?”

“We don’t make any money from Oliver.  There was no bet made.”

“But… I…”

“Don’t understand?” said Perry.  “No, I wouldn’t expect you to.  Oliver was just being tested.”


“Tested.  You see no one is going to make any money from betting on school football matches.  But once Oliver has proved he is a worthwhile investment we will fast track him up to one of the big teams where he can throw matches and we can make real money.”

“Hang on,” said the coach, wagging his finger in an increasingly limp manner.

“I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking ‘there’s no way they have the clout to do that’.  Remember Jones last year?”

“Jones?  There’s no way – he’s playing for…”

“Exactly.  You’ve got to grease a lot of palms to fast-track that fast.”

The coach was just staring, frowning, as the pieces gradually began to fall into place.

“But to have those sorts of resources,” he began eventually.  “You would have to be…”



“Or the Penguins?”


Tom laughed.  The coach didn’t.

“You two?” said the coach.  “You two are the…  Oh shit.”

“Oh shit is right,” said Terry, springing to his feet and rattling across the floor.  Tom stared with bewilderment as Terry’s head smashed into his stomach.  He hit the floor and slid backwards across the polished floor coming to a halt just inside a metal storage cupboard.

Terry stood up and picked up a hockey stick, holding the grip in his right hand, the shaft in his left, staring at the hook as he weighed the tool.  Tom stared up at Terry, confused he looked over to the coach.  Terry took half a step back then swung the hockey stick at him.  Tom’s hands went up instinctively to protect himself but Terry caught him square on the side of his head, knocking him into the open cupboard.  Stepping forward once more, Terry slammed the cupboard door and slid the hockey stick through the handle to bar Tom’s escape.


“Time for him later, eh bro?” Perry laughed.  “I’ve got some bad news for you, coach. I think my brother here wants a word with you.”

Terry took the Swiss Army knife out of his pocket, examining it again, trying to decide what to use.

“Can’t we talk about this, lads?” said the coach, managing to muster a laugh.  “Discuss it like gentlemen?”

“Gentlemen?  Gentlemen?” screamed Perry.  “Do you know what I was in the middle of when you grabbed me, you tit?”

“Well, er…”

Terry began to advance.  The blade should do the trick.

“I was just about to get my end away and you…” Perry trailed off, glancing at Terry.

Terry faltered for a second.

“Hang on,” he said.

“Never mind hang on,” Perry continued.  “Stick him Terry now before the other one gets out.”

Terry stepped up onto one of the long gym benches and walked towards the coach.

“Perry,” said Terry, speaking as carefully as he was stepping.  “You said he grabbed you at my house.”

“You mean that ugly dumpy bird was your wife,” the coach beamed.  “He was boffing your wife?”

Terry reached up, taking the coach by the hair with his left hand and bringing the knife up deep into the coach’s neck.  He stood still for a moment, waiting, watching until the blood began to pour out of the meat of his neck and onto Terry’s hand then, in one motion, withdrew the knife and pushed the coach down towards the polished wooden floor.

The coach struggled briefly, clawing at his throat as the blood hosed out of him and  his muffled, gurgled screams echoed around him.  But not for long.  Terry watched as  the coach was reduced to small twitches, the blood-flow becoming slower with each beat of his heart.

Terry jumped from the end of the bench to the floor and inhaled sharply. The air of the gym smelled like the inside of the boot of the car now, the rusty, metallic stench of blood all-pervading.  He carefully wiped the blade against the coach’s trouser leg and folded it back into itself before placing it in the inside pocket of his jacket.

“Is that right?” said Terry.  “You were fucking my wife?”

“Listen, bro,” Perry smiled.  “Get me loose and we can go and kill the boxer together, eh?”

Perry didn’t sound as sure now.  He stared at Terry.

Terry stared back.


“So,” said Terry eventually.  “That bloke in the cupboard.  He knows.  He knows that you were…”

Perry nodded.

Terry walked over to a rack of weights, running his hand over the cold metal.

“How long?” Terry picked up one of the hand-weights, lifting it, considering it, then putting it back down again.

“Oh er,” said Perry.

Terry turned his back on his brother, scanning the equipment.  Looking for something.

“How long?”  Terry looked up, on the wall was a dartboard.  He reached out and picked up one of the darts and rolled the cold metal between his thumb and index finger.  “How long?”

“A year.  On and off.”

Terry exploded, his scream filling the gym as he bore down on his brother, who was panicking, bucking and writhing trying to work his hands free of the bindings.  Jumping into the air, Terry came down hard on his brother’s wrists, freeing them but snapping something in the process, something that, when snapped made Perry’s own scream fill the gym.

Rolling across the floor, Perry came to rest half-in and half-out of the dark, dark pool of blood that surrounded the coach.  He lay on his back panting and cradling his broken wrist.  Terry didn’t miss a beat, striding his short strides over the floor, dropping to his knees to slide the final distance and bringing the dart, clenched in his fist down on his brother’s head.

Perry’s one good arm went up to cover the target; his eye and the dart pierced the flesh of the palm of his hand.  Perry howled again, his arm shaking as he held up his brother’s weight baring down on his.  He stared at the tiny drops of blood dripping from the back of his hand, where the dart stuck through.

“A year?”  Terry shouted, pulling out the dart and bringing his fist down again, Perry catching him by the wrist this time, staring into the shaft of the dart, the point just millimetres from his pupil.


Terry brought the dart down in time to each word.


Once, twice, three times.  Perry’s hands no longer going up in defence, his body only moving with the force of Terry’s fist coming down with the dart.


Again. Again. And again.


Tom finally managed to kick the cupboard door out but instantly regretted it seeing first the coach obviously dead then this lunatic Terry character standing, panting over his brother, a flightless dart jutting from what used to be his brother’s eye socket.

Tom swallowed, resisting the urge to throw up and tried to take a step back.

“You work for me now right?” Terry said.

“Y-yes,” Tom stammered.

“Get these two in the boot of the car,” Terry said, softly.  “I need to wash this shit of me.  Where’s the toilet?”

Tom pointed.  Terry walked.  Tom watched as the blood-soaked dwarf walked out of the gym.

By the time the coach and the dead dwarf were in the boot of the car the blood that covered  Tom was beginning to congeal.  Terry walked slowly around the corner still wearing his polished black shoes but his smart dinner jacket and trousers had been replaced with oversized shorts and bright yellow football shirt.

Tom stared and tried not to retch at the smell coming from the car.  Watching Terry approach he felt that he should say something.

“I’m – er -All done,” he managed.  “And don’t worry, Terry, I won’t tell anyone anything.”

“It’s Big Terry now.  None of this penguin shit,” said Terry.

Tom nodded.  “Big Terry.  Right.”

Terry took the Swiss Army knife out of his pocket and studied it for a second before selecting the corkscrew.

“And you’re right,” continued Terry.  “You won’t be telling anyone anything.”

  • amharte

    Ha! Awesome. They’re not real penguins though are they?

    The one thing that confused me is at one point Tom looks *up* at Terry? For some reason when I imagined the dwarves I thought that they were short.

  • Adam

    No, they’re not real penguins, I admit. I thought I’d written too many stories featuring real animals so I’d go for this instead!

    Re: confusion – that’s the great thing about internet, if you missed something you can change it and future readers will simply be confused by your comment ;)

    I dunno though I thought the fact he had hit the floor and slid backwards was enough to justify it but might consider modifying it. Will have a re-read later.

    Glad you liked it though.

  • amharte

    I guess I pictured Tom only half lying down (as in, propped up against the wall) so if anything he’d be at eye level with the dwarves. Maybe that’s my bad imagining skills!