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“That post office,” Dom said.

“Yeah.” Andy turned suddenly serious, speaking quieter and looking around. Kids played and laughed, music rode the steamy evening air from somewhere. No one was paying them any attention.

“We should do it.” “Huh?”

“As you said, no one would suspect us.” Andyswigged his lemonade. He’d had three pints of cider beforehand, but Dom had rarely seen him drunk. Alcohol didn’t seem to affect his friend’s opinions or judgement. It barely seemed to touch him at all. “Yeah,” he agreed. “Me, an electrician. Primary school governor. I’ve even got a Labrador. Mr Average, Mr Boring.”

“You’re not boring.”
Dom looked at Andy. “I’m not the one who jets off to climb glaciers.” One of Andy’s recent trips had taken him to Iceland. He’d been gone for two weeks. Andy shrugged. He had a strange expression, similar to one Dom had seen at the Blue Door earlier that day. A blankness to his eyes, like he was suddenly someone else.

“And you,” Dom said. “Technical writer. Lots of cash. Bit of a cock, true, but never been in trouble.”
“Bury the cash for a while,” Andy said. “Carry on normally.”

“Just one job,” Dom said, chuckling at the cliché, then falling quiet again. It was a weird subject to be talking about in such a place of sunlight and laughter. So let’s plan!” Andy said. “It’ll be a laugh.”

It took on the air of a joke, and with that lightness came a rush of ideas from them both. It was a throwaway conversation, one they’d have both forgotten by the time they got home, just one of many conversations that filled the times they spent drinking together. Emma would often ask, “So what did you talk about all evening?” Dom’s response was invariably, “Can’t really remember.” Four hours with barely a pause for breath, and he often recalled none of it.

This was like that. Except their conversation had an air of danger about it, and a sense that they were discussing forbidden things, secrets that could never be shared. It was a private, almost intimate thing between them, and it made Dom feel good.

“We’d have to steal a car,” he said.
“Or just blank the number plates with mud. Use yours. Everyone’s got a Focus.”
“Right, thanks.”
“Just that stealing a car changes it from one job to two.”
“Fair point. So ... weapons?”
“Don’t need them,” Andy said.

Delivered: an exclusive extract from award- winning Welsh horror writer Tim Lebbon’s latest novel
The Family Man, T.J. Lebbon

“And we couldn’t get them even if we did,” Dom said. Andy didn’t really answer. “These postmasters don’t give a shit about the money in their safe, it’s not theirs, it’s insured, and they won’t lose a thing if it’s nicked.” “You’re sure about that?” Dom asked.

“Just guessing.” Andy drained his lemonade. “It’s afterwards that matters. The job takes ten minutes, but it’s the days and weeks afterwards when we could give ourselves away.”

“We’d still have to ride out that way!” Dom said. It was almost exciting. “Sit outside the Blue Door as usual.” “Everything as normal,” Andy agreed.

“Then we’d be seen on crime scene photos by the investigators, like perps returning to the scene of their crime.”

“What, Dom, you after infamy?”
“I’m after nothing,” Dom said. It sounded awkward, too serious. “Just buckets full of cold, hard cash.” “Probably won’t get buckets from a little provincial place like that.”

The Family Man, T.J. Lebbon

“Just buckets full of

cold, hard cash”

“How much do you reckon?”
“Dunno.” Andy shrugged. “Hit it at the right time, maybe forty grand?”
“Nice little nest egg.”

“Not bad for ten minutes’ work,” Andy agreed. He looked around and smiled. “Wonder what everyone would think if they knew what we were talking about.” Dom glanced around at the full pub garden and bustling riverbank. Men with sun-reddened torsos smiled wider than usual, alcohol soothing their worries. Women sported summer hats and sleeveless dresses. Kids darted here and there, a few people in canoes fought against the river’s flow, and a couple of hundred metres along the bank, youths were jumping ten feet into the water from an old wooden mooring. A boy and girl crouched near the bank with phones, trying to get the best shots.

“No one would believe us,” Dom said. Andy grasped his arm and leaned in close.
“That’s why we really should do it.”

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