Dapper: A short story

The first line prompt was submitted once again by Paul Tingey (@paultingey on Twitter). 

This story took awhile to write as it was such a random first line. I trundled through and wrote a story that shows you should never judge a book by its cover. 


The handlebars had been greased. The moustache pointed at the tips with a slight curl for emphasis and beard straightened. His grey and white checkered three piece suit ironed, crisp and sharp; brown shoes polished and gleaming and hair gelled to perfection. His shirt cuffs were pulled through so the silver cuff links were showing, his tie neat in a windsor knot and collar positioned just right. Denton ‘DJ’ Jones was dressed to the nines.

DJ stood admiring himself in the mirror and was satisfied. On his way out of his second storey flat, he fed the tropical fish with a sprinkle of food, sprayed cologne on his neck and wrists, a light spray of deodorant over his clothing and hooked his arm underneath the curve of his Derby cane. He was ready for the evening ahead.

The Greyhound and Red Rabbit pub was on the outskirts of the Kentish Town which was a ten minute walk for DJ. The sun was setting but the summer evening was far from over. The air was warm so DJ took a calm steady walk to avoid perspiring. The cane was just an accessory but DJ maximised its usage wherever he walked. 

The pub was a stand alone three storey new build. The red brick was prominent as was the wooden white slates that made up the top half. The car park was concealed around the back and a few benches placed out the front for evenings like that. A trio of young men, inebriated and loud, stood over a couple of pretty young girls on a bench like vultures. DJ took a peek from the corner of his eyes as he walked past them and up the steps into the entrance.

No matter how long the smoking ban had been in place, pubs and taverns still had an aroma of cigarettes. It brought back memories each time DJ took a step in the place, of long nights drinking and smoking, playing pool and engaging in conversations varying from the bizarre to the unbelievable. 

The pub was quiet that evening with a few people scattered about the tables or playing the fruit machines. DJ headed to the bar where a couple of older gentlemen sat drinking and ignoring the presence of each other. Behind the bar was Dean, a young looking forty year old who had been working at the pub as long DJ could remember.

“Is Sammie around?” DJ asked slapping his hands against the counter. 

“Out the back, just tidying up,” Dean replied. 

“I’ll wait out the front, just let her know, please.”

Dean nodded in agreement and DJ headed back towards the way he had entered. Sammie was always running late but that came with the job and DJ could easily waste the time enjoying a cigarette. He stopped in the porch at the entrance, rested his cane against the wooden panelled walls, removed a cigarette from the packet in his pocket and froze. The cigarette hung out of his mouth unlit.

“Come on, girls. Ya know ya want to,” a deep voice boomed.

DJ picked up his cane, took a stride forward so he was on the top step outside of the pub and looked towards the three guys who had been surrounding the two girls earlier. They continued their pursuit of the young females but there was more menace and urgency in their voice. 

The taller, broader man who stood over powering the girls was obviously the ring leader. His two friends, short, stocky and looked like they were a sandwich short of a picnic both stood giggling behind, only offering filthy quips. The young ladies refused to comment and instead waved their hands as sign of disinterest. 

The leader of the trio did not take no for an answer and caught the wrist of the nearest girl.

“Come on, come back to ours. We can drink and have some fun,” the brute said through gritted teeth.

The girl flinched and tried to yank her arm away to no avail.

“Leave us alone,” the other girl squealed.

The two friends moved around the table and mumbled encouragement to their friend.

DJ had seen enough, placing his cigarette back into his pocket and approached the fiasco. 

“I do not mean to sound rude but do you mind me interjecting myself here?”

The brute turned relinquishing his grip on the girl to face him. He was a good several inches taller than DJ and had a domineering presence, but this did not put him off. DJ flicked an eye towards his two goons, then to the young ladies who were consoling each other.

“Who are you?” The brute shouted looking him up and down, “some sorta freak?”

“Just a concerned citizen,” DJ said with a smile.

“Walk on by weirdo, or end up in a world of pain.”

The brute turned his attention back to the girls who were now cowering away. DJ shook his head.

“Excuse me,” he said tapping the brute on his shoulder.

The brute turned. “What?”

DJ lifted the cane and stubbed the ferrule part of the aid into the brutes foot and the handle into the chin knocking him back a step. His two friends stood in shock not quite sure what had happened but by the time they realised it was too late. DJ struck the cane across their heads in succession and they fell to the ground in a groan. The bigger brute went on the offensive but was caught by a fist to the nose, his wrist grabbed and twisted behind his back as he was pushed over the table the girls were sitting. Blood poured from the nose of the brute as the girls sat eyes wide open. 

“Now if you would like to do the honourable thing and apologise to the ladies,” DJ demanded applying extra pressure on his wrist.

“Okay, okay. I’m sorry,” the brute blubbered. 

DJ leant down to him and whispered in his ear, “Don’t you dare think you can get me done for assault. The security video will disappear, the girls would have not seen a thing and I will put you in more pain than you are now. Got it?”

DJ pulled him off the table and three him onto his groaning friends and they land in a heap on the floor.

“They won’t bother you again.”

DJ smiled, stepped over the fallen trio, pulled the cigarette out, lit it with his lighter and sat at the vacant bench opposite. 

He checked his watch. Sammie wouldn’t be too long now.


2 thoughts on “Dapper: A short story

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