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Authors: Jim Carrington

In the Bag (10 page)

BOOK: In the Bag
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We walk right past all the mobile classrooms and then go round the back of the last one – Mr Robert’s French room, where some of us go at break time to have a smoke. Rabbit doesn’t usually smoke though, only when he’s drunk. There’s no one else here right now.

Rabbit turns and looks at me. He puts his hand into his pocket and pulls out his mobile. He looks at it, presses a few buttons and then holds it up for me to see. And as soon as he does, my stomach ties itself in knots. There’s a picture of me on there, holding a gun. The gun. Trying to look like a gangster or something.

‘Explain this!’ he says. He sounds angrier than I think I’ve ever heard him before.

‘Shit!’

‘That’s your fucking bedroom,’ he says. ‘I must have taken that photo on Saturday night.’

I take a deep breath and look away. Shit. I don’t remember that photo being taken.

‘That sure as hell isn’t my gun,’ Rabbit says, ‘so it must be yours. Now explain. Where the fuck did you get a gun from?’

I open my mouth to speak, but don’t say a word. I’m not sure what to say. ‘It’s not what it seems.’

Rabbit stares impatiently at me. He looks like he’s gonna hit me any second.

So I tell him the lot. About me and Joe and how we found the car and the bag and the money. Except I don’t tell him the complete truth. There are parts of this he doesn’t need to know. Like the fact that there was twenty grand in the bag. I tell him five hundred instead. Don’t know why, it just comes out. And I tell him how I found the gun the next day, just before he came round.

‘I don’t believe this,’ he says when I’ve finished. He runs his hands through his hair, looks at the picture on his phone again and then back at me. ‘Fuck!’ he says, kicking at the floor. ‘Did I touch it as well? Are my prints on it?’

I shrug. ‘I don’t remember much from Saturday night. I don’t know.’

‘You haven’t got any pictures on your phone?’

‘I don’t know,’ I say. ‘I haven’t looked.’

‘Fucking well look now, then,’ he says.

I get my phone out of my pocket. Rabbit comes and stands at my shoulder. And sure enough, when I open up my pictures, there’s one of him wearing my shades and holding the gun, pointing it at the lens.

He kind of wheels away as soon as he sees it. He kicks at the fence. ‘Shit. Shit. Shit.’

Neither of us says anything for a second. I keep flicking through the photos on my phone. There’s another one of Rabbit smoking a spliff, with a handful of money.

Rabbit takes a long, deep breath and then blows it out slowly. It’s ages before he finally speaks. ‘This is serious.’

‘I know.’

He shakes his head like he can’t take all this in. ‘My prints’ll be all over the gun.’

I nod. ‘Both our prints are on it.’

‘Did you say that you didn’t find it till Saturday afternoon?’

‘Yeah. When I heard the phone ringing I checked through the bag and found it.’

‘So does Joe know?’

I shake my head. ‘No. And I don’t intend to tell him. He’d freak out.’

‘No shit, Sherlock,’ Rabbit says. ‘Course he’d freak out.’

‘He’d go straight to the police,’ I say.

‘Yeah?’ Rabbit says. ‘Maybe that’s not such a bad plan.’

I shake my head. ‘No way.’

‘Why not?’

‘Because me and Joe have already spent some of the money. Because me and you have already smoked some of the weed. Because it’s gonna look a bit weird that we found the bag on Friday and waited until now to hand it in . . .’

Rabbit doesn’t say anything. He looks at the ground, where the grass has been worn away by the feet of all us smokers, at the fag ends. It feels like hours before he looks back up at me. ‘In that case, we need to get rid of it,’ he says.

‘What? Sell it?’

He shakes his head, looks at me like I’m mad. ‘No. Get rid of it. Hide it somewhere where it’s never gonna get found.’

‘Like where?’

‘I don’t know. Throw it in the sea or something.’

‘Throw it in the sea? How we gonna do that? The sea’s ten miles away.’

In the distance, I hear the school bell going for the start of registration.

‘Well, what about the woods, then?’ he says. ‘We could bury it.’

‘That’s better. That could work. You won’t tell anyone, will you?’ I say. ‘No one else can know this.’

Rabbit nods. He doesn’t look at me. He seems stressed and angry.

‘I’ll cut you in on the money if you want. A hundred quid?’

Rabbit looks at me now. There’s something in his eyes, as though he’s deciding whether he’s gonna hit me or not. ‘I don’t want anything to do with the money,’ he says. ‘I just want that gun to go away and never be found.’

‘Course.’

‘I’ll come over to yours after school,’ Rabbit says.

 

As soon as I get home, I go straight to my wardrobe and take everything out. I hold the gun in my hands, turning it round and round, staring at it for ages, wondering who it used to belong to. Whether it’s killed anyone. And I feel creeped out by the thought that the object I’m holding might have ended someone’s life. So I check the safety catch is on and put it back in the bag. I lie on my bed.

From downstairs, I hear the door knocker. I run down the stairs two at a time. I pause before I open the front door and I realise how nervous I feel, how serious this situation is. Rabbit is standing on the step. He doesn’t smile as I answer the door; he doesn’t even say hello. He walks into the house without saying a word, a weird mix of fear and determination on his face. I close the door behind him. And then we stand in the hallway, looking at each other, awkward.

‘So how do we do this?’ I say.

‘We should try and wash our prints off the gun first,’ Rabbit says.

‘Can you get rid of fingerprints?’

Rabbit shrugs. ‘I don’t know. I’ve never had to clean my prints off a gun before,’ he says. He starts off sounding sarcastic, but halfway through his voice changes and he sounds serious, scared. ‘I saw it on some detective show once. It worked when they did it.’

‘What do we need?’

‘Bleach,’ Rabbit says. ‘Cloths and rubber gloves or something so we don’t have to touch the gun with our skin.’

I nod. ‘Right.’ I head straight to the kitchen, to the cupboard under the sink, where Mum keeps all the cleaning things. I grab a bottle of bleach, a brand new cloth and two pairs of rubber gloves, and we head straight back out of the kitchen, up the stairs to my room.

I drop the cleaning stuff on my bed, chuck a pair of rubber gloves to Rabbit, put a pair on myself and then take the gun from the bag.

‘We should do this in the bathroom,’ Rabbit says. He picks up the bleach and cloth and we go into the bathroom.

I pull the door closed behind us and lock it, then put the gun down on the edge of the basin with a metallic
clunk
.

Rabbit shrugs. ‘I dunno how to do this exactly,’ he says. ‘We need to make sure that we get rid of any trace of us on the gun, though. No prints, no clothes fibres.’

I nod.

‘We’ll have to get rid of all the cleaning stuff afterwards too,’ Rabbit says.

All we need to do is dump it in a bin somewhere. No one’ll find it.’

‘OK.’ I take a deep breath. My heart’s racing faster than ever. This is making me feel like we’ve done something bad, like we used the gun to kill someone, even though all we did was find it. I have to remind myself that what we’re doing is the right thing to do now. It’s the only thing we can do without having to go to the police. So we don’t get in shit up to our necks. We have to do this. There’s no other choice. And I need to focus.

I squeeze some bleach on to the cloth. I take the gun off the basin and start cleaning it, scrubbing at the handle first, then the barrel. I turn it over and do the other side. We’re both silent, staring intently at it. I’m even holding my bloody breath. We exchange a serious glance, but that’s it. After a bit, I stop scrubbing. I turn the gun round and round in my gloved hands, inspecting every inch of it. But I can’t tell whether our prints are off it or not. So I squirt some more bleach on to the cloth and start scrubbing again.

‘We can’t afford any mistakes,’ Rabbit says. ‘We have to do this right.’

I nod. I feel panicked. How can we ever be sure that the gun is clean?

Downstairs I hear a key in the front door. The door opens and then closes.

We both freeze.

‘What’s that?’ Rabbit whispers.

‘Mum,’ I say. ‘She must be back from work.’

Rabbit doesn’t say anything for a second. I can see him taking deep breaths, trying to compose himself. ‘Shit.’

‘It’s all right,’ I say. ‘The bathroom door’s locked.’

I go back to cleaning again. And then when I’m done, I look at Rabbit and say, ‘Do you want to have a go, make sure it’s clean?’

Rabbit shakes his head. ‘No. Let’s just get rid of it.’

‘Yeah. Right.’

‘We need a plastic bag or something,’ Rabbit says, ‘to put all this stuff in.’

‘Wait here,’ I say. ‘I’ll go and get one.’

Rabbit takes the gun from me. He holds it awkwardly, like it’s gonna go off or something. I take off the rubber gloves and leave them on the floor with the bleach and unlock the bathroom door. As soon as I’m outside I look up and see Mum’s just about to go into her bedroom. She turns and looks at me. Behind me, the lock clicks shut on the bathroom door. Mum’s brow kind of furrows, like she’s confused.

I roll my eyes. ‘Rabbit,’ I say. I’m about to come up with some excuse, about why we were in the bathroom together, but something stops me.

Mum nods. ‘Is he all right?’

I nod. ‘Yeah, course.’

Mum rolls her eyes, opens her bedroom door and goes inside.

I rush along the landing, down the stairs and into the kitchen. Mum keeps plastic bags in one of those bag for life things, on a peg. I grab the first one that comes to hand. I screw it up into a little ball. And then I turn and run back up the stairs and knock on the bathroom door. ‘It’s me,’ I hiss.

The lock clicks and the door opens a crack. Rabbit cranes his head out and looks around the landing. ‘Come in,’ he says.

I go into the bathroom and pass the bag to Rabbit, who puts the gun, the cloth, the bleach and the rubber gloves straight into it.

Then we leave the bathroom together. I look across at Mum’s door, kind of expecting it to open. But it doesn’t and me and Rabbit rush down the stairs, not daring to breathe the whole time.

We go through the kitchen out into the back garden and I search around for something to dig with. There’s nothing on the patio, so I go across the lawn into the shed, grab a trowel and put it in my pocket.

We go back through the house and out of the front door to get our bikes. Then we ride silently down my road, along the main road and into the woods.

Once we’re in the woods we pedal for all we’re worth, going deeper and deeper into the forest. And all the time I’m completely on edge: sweaty palms, racing heart, eyes and ears on stalks.

Eventually, when we’ve been cycling for about ten minutes, I put my feet down to stop myself. Rabbit does the same. We look around at the forest. We’re quite near this abandoned building in the woods that we used to call the Old House, where we used to play when we were younger. This would be a good place. You hardly ever see anyone round here; no dog walkers or runners. No one will find the gun here.

I look over at Rabbit. ‘What about here?’

He takes another look around us and then nods. ‘Yeah,’ he says.

‘Let’s walk into the trees a bit, though,’ I say, ‘away from the path.’

We wheel our bikes over to the right, off the path and into the trees and the undergrowth. I let my bike fall among the ferns, so it’s hidden from view. Rabbit does the same. We start walking, dodging in and out of the trees, walking deeper and deeper into the wood, having to pick our way through brambles, bushes, long grass, ferns and fallen branches.

After a bit, it feels like we’re far enough in, further than anyone else would ever think to walk. So I stop. And I notice something on a tree. My tag.
Layzee Eyez
. I did it years ago, when we used to spend all our time in the Old House. I scratched it into the tree with a penknife. It looks pretty crap. Carving things into tree trunks isn’t easy.

I turn to Rabbit. ‘How about here?’

He nods.

I bend down and start getting rid of the weeds and ferns and stuff, so that there’s a patch of earth to dig in. When there’s a clear patch of earth, I plunge the trowel into the soil. It sinks in fairly easily. It’s easy to dig and soon the hole’s twenty or thirty centimetres deep and there’s a growing pile of soil beside it. I stop and look up at Rabbit. He’s holding the bag in his hand, staring down at me and the hole.

‘How deep do you think we should make it?’

Rabbit looks at the hole and then at the bag, his face twisted into a look of concentration. ‘Deeper,’ he says. ‘We need to make sure no one ever digs it up.’

BOOK: In the Bag
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