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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 16:09 UK
Prose: Coming Home

By Kathryn Skoyles
Blogging Norfolk contributor

Kathryn Skoyles performs her commissioned prose - Coming Home

Harry Atkins - known as Clutch - squinted in the mirror to check what the lads in the back seat were up to.

Simon and Baz, they'd said last night on the way up from London.

They were just kids, he thought. Maybe he was getting too old for this.

"How long we gonna sit here?" asked Baz.

"Till it's time." Christ, they were impatient. "We wait till Donny gets back, then we go straight in."

He stared out the windscreen. Page Stair Lane, off the Tuesday Market Place, was quiet, no cameras, and with luck no-one would notice them parked in front of the timber yard.

"So, what was it like?" asked Baz. "When you were a kid?"

"You what?"

"Well, Donny said you was local. "Baz looked at Simon. "King's Lynn, innit?"

Simon grinned. "Not sure I'd admit it, neither. Seems a bit quiet-like to me."

Clutch kept his mouth shut. He'd have agreed with them once. When you were nineteen, there wasn't much going for a place with more churches than clubs, buildings so old they wobbled and a main square surrounded by banks and solicitors' offices. Convenient now, of course, but that was work.

He smiled as his mind drifted back. Saturday morning classes at the Majestic, stumbling over Edie McCormack who'd wiggle her boobs at him if he danced with her.

They still had bands at the Corn Exchange, but he bet you couldn't spit on the floor any more. The girls' school in King Street, where he'd waited for Edie every Wednesday afternoon, had long been converted into poncy flats and the...Christ, what was that?

An old lady was peering through the side window, knobbly knuckles poised to rap on the glass again. Not now, he thought. Donny would be back any minute and then they'd be on.

"Harry Atkins," she mouthed.

It was difficult to guess her age, but as he wound the window down he groaned. There was no mistaking those eyes, boring into him across a classroom forty years ago and just as piercing now. "Mrs Frobisher."

"I thought it was you. Didn't you...?"

He nodded. "Moved to London, Miss." The boys behind him giggled. "My nephews. We're on holiday. Bit of fishing like, show them where I grew up."

She smiled. "I didn't think we'd see you here again."

She knew. Of course she knew. His first job - a bank in Streatham. In panic, he'd stalled the car. The shoot-out. Prison. And a nickname - Clutch - that he couldn't shift, however hard he tried.

He leaned forward, hand on the ignition. The job was off, that was for sure. No way Mrs Frobisher would forget him now.

He swung the car round the Market Place and headed past the library to the South Gates.

"Hey," Baz protested. "What about Donny?"

He ignored the lad. Donny could catch a train. But he'd be back.

It was time to come home.





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