It was one of those flaccid non descript mornings when the birds don’t even sing; here at the end of the world the birds have long ago realised the futility of song. Toots was thinking too loud to register the eerie silence, or notice the milky white sky that hung low over the rooftops. He was on a mission and had fallen behind schedule. It was imperative that he made it to Uncle Frank’s before Maimie showed up. It was the same routine every morning; ever since the wife’s Uncle Frank had been diagnosed Toots was over there every morning with his milk, rolls and newspapers. He was the epitome of the Good Samaritan – everyone said so.
Frank’s door was locked which meant Maimie had yet to show. Toots raised his eyes heavenward and gave silent thanks to his guardian angel. He let himself in using the key Frank had entrusted to him. The old man was fast asleep in his room so Toots tiptoed to the bathroom and opened the medicine cabinet. There were two bottles of morphine linctus left, but they were both sealed. The third bottle was obviously in the room with the old man. He dared not open one of the new bottles for fear of discovery, so he tiptoed back to the bedroom with larceny in his heart.
The room was darkened but for the glow from the muted television at the end of Frank’s bed; the fifty five inch Sony Bravia Frank had bought with his insurance money dominated the room in its gigantic splendour. Toots coveted that television – how good would the football look on that ultra high definition screen, not to mention the movies? All the old man watched was news; it was a shameful waste of technology.
Toots spied the morphine linctus from the doorway. He made his way around the bed and picked up the bottle and checked to see if any smart bastard had marked the level in an effort to catch him out – safe. Toots had just begun to pour some of the precious liquid into an empty pop bottle when the old man woke up.
“You thieving wee bastard!” he rasped.
“No Frank it’s no what it looks like” stammered Toots.
“Ya dirty thieving junkie – get oot o’ here” the old man was finding his voice.
“But Frank – I can explain...”
“No need to explain” exclaimed Frank “I can see what’s been goin’ on.”
“I’ve been sick Frank – I just need a wee drop – fur ma nerves.”
“Get out of ma hoose!”
The old man was shouting now and Toots was sure the neighbours would hear and with Maimie due to arrive at any moment Toots was in a serious bind. He’d worked his arse off for this old bastard for the last six months with the tacit understanding he’d be in the old man’s will; all that was now flushed down the lavvy pan. The old man was getting louder and louder – Toots picked up a pillow from the bed and attempted to muffle Frank’s voice. He muffled him long and hard.
When Maimie arrived Toots was standing over the old man crying. He hadn’t meant to kill him he told himself – just shut him up. It was his own fault for being so bloody minded; the ungrateful old bastard. Maimie took Toot’s arm and lead him away from the bed.
“When did it happen?” she asked him.
“When did he pass away?”
“Just there the noo.” replied Toots numbly “We were talking and he just stopped.”
“What did he say?”
“What were his last words?”
“Oh aye, he said I was to have his telly...”