The door was being knocked. No one knocked on the door in that way. Leon knew it was the knock of Ned. He looked around his building site of a house and reached out for the dark glasses on top of a pile of bricks. He put them on and then slid into his leather jacket before answering the door. God forbid anyone should see him under-dressed. The idea of being seen without his ‘cool’ worried him a great deal.

Once the tall, thin, clean-shaven man had his eighties-cop style dark glasses on and ‘very cool’ leather jacket, he ruffled his hair to make sure people knew that he ‘didn’t care’ how he looked.

Ned was bored with waiting and banged on the door again. Ned always tried to knock on a door in the style of a police officer looking for criminals. He assumed it would make people answer faster. A strange assumption given the people he associated with.

The door opened slowly…

“Yes, Neil, how can I help you?”

Ned looked up and down and after a few moments of silence, he could not help but ask the obvious question. “Why are you showing me your willy?”

Leon muttered some profanity, then darted off to find his trousers. Ned strolled in. He had known Leon, who liked to be suffixed with the title ‘The-one-and-only’ (because he wrongly assumed it made girls think he sounded cool) for a few years now. For this entire time, his ‘fixer-upper’ home had been in a state of ‘knocker-down first.’ In fact, the bricks were gathering dust. The large hill of cement with a shovel sticking out of it, that lived in the kitchen, had been solid for longer than Ned could remember.

Before he could get a proper look at the ‘work,’ Leon emerged from a half-walled room wearing his signature leather trousers, which complimented his leather jacket and shades rather well and, at the same time, made him look totally ridiculous.

“So? Nedrick!” Leon liked to talk. “What do you require from me, The-one-and-only, today?” Leon asked while spreading his arms, to seem like a source of wisdom. Before Ned could speak, Leon talked again. “Because I don’t have your tenner yet.”

Ned had forgotten about the tenner but appreciated the reminder.

“Have you seen Viking?”

Leon thoughtfully rubbed his brow as he ventured into the kitchen.

The kitchen had a wall made of a wooden frame and little more.

“Yeah, he’s a tall bloke with a monotone voice. Dresses like it’s the nineties.”

“That’s not what I meant. Have you seen Viking recently?”

Leon put the kettle on. ‘The kettle’ being the affectionate nickname for a pan of water and a mouldy electric hob.

“No, not today. By the way, Ned, I have to ask. Why are you slightly blue?”

“It’s a long story and I can’t remember most of it,” replied Ned as he made himself at home using the dry mound of concrete as a chair. “Something about aliens, and frogs… I think.”

“Have you tried calling him?” asked Leon, as he poured instant coffee into some cups straight from the jar.

Ned observed this ritual and wondered why spoons were not involved.

“I’m not convinced he would hear me.”

Leon filled both cups with way more sugar than was needed and without looking up, added, “No, I mean, on the phone.”

Ned took his phone out and took some crafty snaps of the dusty brick pile.

“No, I messaged him­.”

Leon muttered something about that being no surprise and tossed Ned the cordless telephone that had been, until that point, hidden under some semi-pornographic magazines that looked suspiciously eighties.

Ned carefully typed Viking’s number into the telephone. He always typed numbers carefully. A few months ago, he had been trying to contact a well-known games company to complain about his father’s addiction and he inadvertently got connected to a nice girl named Sally who wanted to talk dirty and take his credit card number. The experience might have been more fun, but Ned didn’t have a credit card.

The phone was pressed tight to Ned’s ear. He could feel the dust on it invading his hair. How was it possible that everything in Leon’s house was covered in building dust, given that Leon had never actually done any building?

“It’s ringing!” exclaimed Ned.

After a short time, the ringing stopped and the unmistakable monotone voice of Viking said, “Hello, Viking’s phone.”

Ned stood up as if standing was a prerequisite for talking on a phone.

“I know it’s Viking. I just called Viking’s number. Anyway, where are you dude?” He could hear a low rumble and voices in the background.

“On a train” replied Viking.

“Why?” asked Ned.

“I don’t know.”

Ned didn’t want Leon to feel left out of the conversation, so he called across the kitchen a lot louder than he needed to. “He’s on a train! He doesn’t know why he’s on the train.”

“What train?” Leon asked.

Ned walked away muttering, “Dude, I’m on the phone!”

Viking continued his story.

“I’m on an accidental holiday! I think.”

Ned felt pressed to interrupt before the story got any more confusing. “What’s an accidental holiday?”

He could hear Viking telling another passenger that his friend didn’t know what an accidental holiday was, the other passenger asked Viking to stop talking to her.

“I was on my way to Leon, The-one-and-only’s house when I thought getting a train might be less hassle. There’s this place in Scotland called ‘Leon’ that this train goes to. I thought it sounded close to Leon’s house, so I got a ticket and here I am, on a train. Or, at least, that’s what I think happened.” There was a considered tone in Viking’s voice, which was unusual, given now monotone he was.

Even Ned could see the flaw in this plan.

“Scotland is, like, seventy hundred million miles away, or something. Leon lives next to the shop. That’s not even as far as the train station!”

Ned could hear Viking getting annoyed with the ‘daft’ questions.

“Yes, but, oh wise and holy Ned, the one part of this that you’re not accounting for is that last night when I got on the train, I was proper hammered. Now I’m sober and I can see that my plan was not as foolproof as I thought it was… And there were all the aliens to think about.”

Ned enjoyed being referred to as ‘Wise and holy’ even if it was said as sarcasm. “Okay, I’m coming to save you. Get off the train the next time it stops and let us know how far you got. The mighty Nedrick and ‘The-one-and-only’ are on the way to liberate you from the fascism of the Scott’s.” With that righteous outburst, Ned slammed the phone down. This was not the best hyperbolic action, because it was a cordless phone. Instead of slamming it down, he had actually just thrown it at the floor.

Leon was leaning against the stove in the kitchen and thankfully hadn’t seen the phone destruction incident.

Leon was uninterested in the phone call but felt that it would be rude not to ask, and he heard enough of it to know that there was about to be a stupid outcome.

“Are you going to Scotland then?” he called.

Ned strolled into the kitchen with a menacing grin on his face.

“Oh yes, we are!” he said, as if were an announcement.

Leon looked back blankly and took a swig of his coffee. It wasn’t very nice coffee; the dust made it grainy.

After a relatively long conversation about ‘not wanting to go,’ Leon eventually decided that it would be better if he did join Ned on his ‘holy mission.’ He wasn’t entirely sure why; Ned could be very persuasive.


Monday was getting bored with being crucified now. He was glad to have tried it; from the point of view of ‘doing something different,’ but the tape was making his wrists sweat, and he needed to use a toilet quite badly. Also, he was getting worried about the time in the sun, even though it was winter. He was sure that long-term exposure to solar rays was not good for his delicate skin.

At this point, he saw the silhouette of Ned and Leon walking towards his lamppost. It reminded him of all those movies where the heroes stroll into town to kill all the bad guys and save everyone, just in the nick of time. Then he thought he may watch too many movies.

Monday grinned to himself, thinking that soon he could release the pressure in his bladder.

Ned and Leon strolled past.

“Hey, guys?” he called.

Ned and Leon briskly walked backwards towards him.

“Sorry! Totally forgot about you, mate,” Ned apologised.

Leon looked up with a grin, took a photo with his phone and started messaging it to everyone he knew.

“It’s like a combination of a school nativity and modern art,” Leon observed.

Within half an hour or so, the three friends sat in Ned’s father’s living room. Leon had made Monday a rather nasty cup of coffee while they waited for Ned to converse with his father.

Monday didn’t care how bad the coffee was, it was warm, and he was not taped to a lamppost anymore. He was still dressed in a Knight Rider toga. Michael Knight’s face was looking oddly suspicious of the exposed nipple he was adjacent to. - For the younger members of the readership, Micheal Knight was the main character in the TV show Knight Rider. Which was about a talking car and being cool.

Ned’s dad was sitting on his chair with his game on pause looking at the three idiots, wishing they would go away so he could carry on ‘saving the world’ via the medium of video-games.

“Dad, can we borrow your car?” he asked.

“If I say no, will you all go away?” he asked, eyeballing Micheal Knight, uncomfortably.

Leon was the first to think of a witty reply. “Not unless you have three train tickets to Scotland, Mr Curious.”

Ned’s dad had no idea what that was supposed to mean.

“And if I say yes? Then will you all go away?” he asked.

Ned was not as hurt by the comment as he was about to pretend to be. “You know what dad, your sons are here spending time with you, and you’re not interested! Do you know how that can affect young men?”

His father was thinking faster today than Ned had hoped. “You’re my only son. The other two just turn up and eat my food regularly. I don’t even know their names.”

Leon leaned forward and a business card almost magically appeared in his hand.

“Leon ‘The-one-and-only’ Jones. Construction Manager. At your service, sir.”

Ned’s dad took the card. It wasn’t cut straight, and he was fairly sure that ‘Manaygar’ was not how ‘Manager’ was spelled.

“You really a construction manager, lad?” he asked.

Leon laughed and looked around nervously. Monday and Ned looked at him expectantly.

“Of course not, I just say that because it sounds cool. Come on, construction manager? Have you seen my house?”

Monday and Ned nodded in agreement at each other.

“You can take the car. Just make sure wherever you go, you don’t bring the ‘one and bloody only’ back, please.”

Ned was satisfied with the terms of the agreement and grabbed the keys from the top of the television as he left the room. The other two followed.

They took a quick stop at Monday’s house so he could argue with his mum about her boyfriend being a wanker, and so he could get some clothes.

Ned and Leon waited outside but could hear the argument along with the haunting tones of ‘disco classics’ belting out from the kitchen through an open window.


They walked the short distance to the car park at the back of the housing estate.

“So, what complete piece of shit are we driving today, then?” asked Leon.

Monday noticed a burnt out classic mini at the far end of the car park. “Is it that one?” he asked as he pointed.

“No!” Ned proclaimed. “That’s my Nan’s.”

Monday and Leon looked at each other with concern..

“I don’t see it,” Ned mumbled as he disappeared behind the big blue plastic monstrosity marked as a ‘recycling bank’ with a painted on council stencil.

“We should just go to the pub,” Monday complained.

“No! The pub does not complement my lifestyle,” Leon said.

He turned to show Monday his ‘perfect arse’ and rubbed it proudly. “You don’t get one of these by sitting in the pub all day, you know!”

Monday paid more attention than expected. “That is a very nice arse, to be fair,” he said. “Can I touch it?”

Leon slapped him with an open hand. “No! No one touches it! No one!”

The arse talk was broken up by the roar of a mighty engine. They jogged towards the recycling bank with great interest.

Behind it was a silver, hyper-masculine beast of a vehicle.

Neither of them knew much about car’s but they both knew that this car was a masterwork of engineering and the sort of thing that would cost more money than either of them had ever seen. It was a beautiful and huge car that looked like it should contain secret agents or politicians.

The tinted black window rolled down with an elegant hum in a smooth motion to reveal the face of Ned.

“Get in then guys, we have a lot of miles to do!”

“What the fuck?” proclaimed Monday, expressing Leon’s open-mouthed sentiment.

Ned made the engine roar again. “This is my dad’s car.”

Monday and Leon were not expecting this. Not something good!

Monday and Leon were expecting something at the exact opposite end of the spectrum. They were expecting less ‘wow’ and more ‘ew.’

Within seconds, the three friends were cruising the open road that was the dual carriageway outside the car park.

“Dude,” began Monday, who was sitting in the passenger seat. “This feels like the sort of car that could drive you to space! How does your dad own a sexy, sexy, sexy car like this?”

Ned turned his head a little in that way all experienced drivers do; just enough tilt to make you feel like they are talking to you, not the windscreen, but not enough to take their eyes off the road.

“My dad’s a crypto currency billionaire.”

“No fucking way!” exclaimed Leon, who was playing with the now last-generation games console that was mounted in the back of the rear head rest.

Ned thought he should clear up this matter before it became a pointless, but epic, lie.

“Don’t be stupid guys, my dad’s not rich! He got the car in the divorce settlement. It’s my mum that’s loaded.”

Monday felt he should say something to make Ned feel better. Talking about his mother always upset him. “Dude, I’m sorry we don’t get to talk about your mom more.”

Ned was surprised at the touching comment and was about to thank Monday for being so thoughtful, when he added, “Yeah, I mean, I don’t care or anything, but if she’s rich, we should get in with her!”

“Fuck off! Also, I got no cash left, so you guys had better shell out for some petrol because we only got like ten miles left in the tank.”

Leon checked his jacket pocket. There was nothing more than a few pence in it. “I didn’t bring my wallet.”

He then looked back at the screen in front of him and felt something turn inside his stomach.

“Apparently, games and driving gives me motion sickness.” He had barely got the last word out when he proved his point by leaning towards the front and spilling his breakfast as well as the rest of his stomach contents over Monday’s shoulder and straight down the front of his t-shirt.

Ned was horrified at the sight and swerved the car wildly; Monday was screaming. “Not cool dude! Not cool” and that was the last thing that he remembered doing for a while.

Chapter 4