“Royals Flushed” by Howard Gimple
Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.
This week, Howard Gimple sends a message in Mullaghmore, Ireland.
Kelleher piloted the small motorboat out of Mullaghmore’s famous stone harbor to establish an alibi. McMahon and McGirl, the IRA men, sat stiffly in the back.
Several hours later, he guided it back to harbor.
“Bad luck!” He punched McMahon hard in the stomach.
“Back so soon?” the harbormaster said, walking past them.
“My friend got seasick.”
“Will he be all right?”
“Fine, now he’s on dry land. We’ll try again tomorrow.”
“That’s the angler’s spirit!”
“That was quick thinking,” McGirl said.
“Quick thinking my arse!” McMahon shot back, his ever-present scowl now more intense. “Why the hell did you hit me so hard?”
“The situation called for it. We needed him to believe you were sick. I’d expect you to do the same to me.” He held out his hand. “No hard feelings.” McMahon shook it hesitantly.
They were back at three the next morning. The damp night sky was bereft of stars. McMahon stood watch on the dock as Kelleher and McGirl rowed a small boat out to Shadow V, the luxury yacht. A shaky McGirl scampered aboard. Kelleher handed him a small knapsack.
“I’m not sure I can do it.”
“Take a deep breath. Remember, nobody’s getting killed.”
The kid steadied himself, walked to the twin Johnson engines, and wedged the knapsack between them. They were back in five minutes.
The next morning, the two IRA men were fidgety. Kelleher calmed them. “Remember: we’re soldiers, not terrorists. We’re here to deliver a message, not a massacre.”
“You’ve said it a hundred times,” McMahon grumbled. “If we kill innocent people we’ll inspire fear and hate, but never trust or respect.”
“Damn right! You gotta give the world a reason to believe in your cause. And the Brits a reason to believe what you say.”
“You want us to tattoo it on our fuckin’ arses?”
Kelleher glared at him, then turned to McGirl. “Tell me the plan again.”
“We wait for the royal arseholes to get three-quarters of the way to their fancy yacht, then we blow it to kingdom come.”
For over an hour, the grizzled McMahon chain-smoked. McGirl, looking younger than his twenty-three years, trembled, his head buried in his hands.
Kelleher calmly fished.
At eleven, a Jaguar limousine pulled up to the pier. Six people took two motorized dinghies out to the yacht.
“Who’s doing the honors?”
“Let my man do it,” McMahon said. “Maybe it’ll give him some guts.”
“Piss off, Thomas.”
“Knock it off. We’re almost done here.”
Kelleher handed the transmitter to McGirl.
McMahon, who was sitting behind Kelleher, lifted a crescent wrench out of his fishing box and slammed it across the back of his head.
“The situation fuckin’ called for it, ya bastard,” he hissed as Kelleher slumped to the bottom of the boat.
McMahon took a pair of binoculars from his kit bag. “I’ll give you the word when every last one of them is aboard. Then we blow it to kingdom come.”
McGirl held the detonator like it was a small, fragile bird.
“Right, boy-o. Send ’em to hell.”
“Mother of Christ forgive us.” He crossed himself and flicked the switch.
They watched in awe as the Shadow V blasted apart in a flaming fireball. Boat parts and body parts rained on the water. A few boats raced to help. Others sped away in fear.
Lord Louis Mountbatten, uncle of the Prince of Wales, was still breathing when a fisherman pulled his legless torso out of the water. He died a few minutes later. Also dead were his fourteen-year-old grandson Nicholas, and Gerry Martin, a local kid from Sligo and Mountbatten’s boat boy for the summer.
Mountbatten’s daughter Lady Brabourne, her son Timothy, and her mother-in-law, the Dowager Lady Brabourne, survived and were rushed to the hospital.
No one noticed McMahon slip the detonator into Kelleher’s pocket and shove him over the side. The water revived Kelleher enough to enable him to thrash around in the surf until he was fished out. He regained consciousness on a blanket on the wharf.
A policeman stood over him. One hand held Kelleher’s drenched wallet; the other clutched the waterlogged detonator. “James Kelleher?”
“I am placing you under arrest for murder, conspiracy, and attempted overthrow of the British government.”
Thomas McMahon watched Kelleher’s capture through his binoculars from the front seat of the van. Frank McGirl sat silently next to him. “We fucked the bastards good, we did.” They headed back to Belfast.
HOWARD GIMPLE recently left his position as senior writer for the Stony Brook University alumni magazine and website to pursue writing fiction full time. While at Stony Brook, he taught two freshman seminars: “Rock & Relevance,” about the political influence of ’60s rock ‘n’ roll, and “Filthy Shakespeare,” exploring the dramatic use of sexual puns and innuendos in the plays of William Shakespeare. Prior to that, he was a writer at Newsday and an advertising copywriter. Born in Flatbush, the heart of Brooklyn, Howard now lives on the north shore of Long Island with his wife Chris and his two goldendoodles, Brinkley and Mia.
Posted: Dec 28, 2015
Category: Mondays Are Murder | Tags: Mondays Are Murder, Noir Series, Ireland, flash fiction, Murder, short fiction, Howard Gimple, County Sligo, IRA, Mullaghmore, harbor, conspiracy, Royals Flushed, Sligo
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