Diamond geezers

by James

No matter which way they cut it, fourteen into three did not go evenly. They had lost the bag with the scales so they could not weigh the diamonds to share them out. Pilgrim suggested they divide twelve of the diamonds between them and one of them get the other two cut and then share them out.

Silence around the table. Which of them would they trust to get the diamonds cut?

A ping from the microwave in the other room so Danny stood. ‘Soup’s up.’

Pilgrim and Matty watched him leave the room. They looked at each other and then both looked at the saucer of diamonds on the table between them.

Matty looked away first. He smiled at Pilgrim. He crossed the fingers of both hands and put them behind his head, leaning back in his chair to stare at the stains in the ceiling above. The room was a mess, smelling of damp, with horrid green wallpaper hanging in fetid strips from the walls.

Matty said, ‘Nice place you found.’

Pilgrim said, ‘Deserted house in the country. Ideal, no?’

Danny was still making sounds in the kitchen. Matty took his hands from his head and leaned in closer to Pilgrim.

Matty said, ‘Fourteen into two goes pretty good.’

Pilgrim waited for another sound from the kitchen, then said, ‘He’s my brother-in-law.’

‘Please! The way your sister bitches about him when we’re in bed together.’ Matty paused at the sound of Danny whistling, then continued at the scrape of a metal spoon around a saucepan. ‘Right now, he’s banging that Sandra works at his place.’ Another pause, then Matty added, ‘Think about it: you and me. Bro’s-in-law. Tight.’

Danny returned carrying two bowls of soup. He set one down in front of Pilgrim and the other in his place. He sat.

Danny said to Matty, ‘Sorry, mate. Misjudged it.’

Matty scowled and went into the kitchen. The sound of pans being dropped rang out. Silence, then the sound of them being kicked across the floor.

Danny shook his head. ‘That guy. Sometimes he’s like an out of control toddler. You remember that time he kicked off in Majorca and we missed our flight? We should call a doctor, get him sedated.’

Pilgrim watched his brother-in-law spoon soup into his mouth, pursing up his lips to suck it from the spoon.

Pilgrim said, ‘What’s the name of that girl, works in your place? Sandra? Can I have her number? I’ve not had a bit in months, and she looks easy.’

Danny choked on his soup. He wiped his lips and set his spoon down.

Pilgrim said, ‘Or, is she seeing someone?’

Danny said, ‘Yeah, she’s seeing someone.’

Pilgrim said, ‘He a good guy, because I don’t want to screw over a good guy.’

Danny nodded. ‘Yeah, he’s pretty good.’

Pilgrim smiled at him. ‘You and my sister. Man. How many years you been married? Eleven years, is it?’

Danny nodded. ‘Sometimes, I have to pinch myself.’ He looked to the door, then leaned closer to Pilgrim. He nodded at the saucer of diamonds. ‘Fourteen into two goes pretty good.’

Pilgrim said, ‘He’s my partner.’

Danny said, ‘But we’re family.’ He waited for another sound from the kitchen. ‘I didn’t want to say it, make waves. But.’ He checked one more time, then whispered, ‘You remember, five years ago, someone ratted you out to the Driscoll boys?’

Danny gravely inclined his head in the direction of the kitchen.