“And we’d have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for that meddling old tramp and his flea ridden dog!”
The cop shoved the last of the kids, stupid ghost miner costume and all, into the back of the police catch van. Slamming the door, the cop raised a bushy eyebrow, shook his head and turned back to the old man and his dog.
“Thank you, Mr Dodgers. Without you and your dog we’d never have cracked the smuggling ring. Those tunnels stretch right to the other side of the border. That elaborate ghost miner routine of theirs to scare people away was quite believable.” The cop coughed, a vain attempt to hide this embarrassing admission. “To a point, I mean.”
The old man nodded, rheumy eyes darting back and forth between the police van, engine coughing into life, and the rust afflicted colliery buildings they called home.
The cop, taking the hint, left.
They watched until the police van disappeared out of sight.
“Zoinks, Doob. What a bunch of weirdos.”
“Reah! Reirdos,” said the dog. “Ramburgers?”
“Good call. You know what, old buddy old pal?”
The dog remained silent; he didn’t always speak. The old man couldn’t remember when his friend had first spoken, but living out here, he was glad of any conversation he could get.
“Boy oh boy, so close. If they’d found that tunnel…” the old man didn’t dare finish.
Taking the lift, they descended into darkness, their solitary torch emitting a sickly yellow light. Left, right, tunnels long abandoned, they came to the coalface.
The fuzzy circle of light from the torch illuminated a row of naked human bodies, hung to ripen the meat.
“I’ll cut, you mince,” said the old man, pulling out a butcher’s knife.
“Rooby, dooby, doo!” said the dog.