Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One by Paul D. Brazill

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One

Ginger Ronny had told Burkey about the murder towards the bitter end of one of their occasional raucous Tuesday night drinking sessions, as the dawn had desperately begun to grasp for life and Malcolm Duffy was grumpily getting ready to close up Le Duffy. But it wasn’t until the cusp of Wednesday evening – as Burkey struggled out of bed to start his night shift at the slaughterhouse – that the reality of the situation finally melted into his consciousness, like ice cubes in a glass of Jack Daniels.

‘Jude Walker,’ he groaned, as he sat on the stained and wobbly toilet. ‘Jude friggin’ Walker.’

He put his head in his hands as he pebble-dashed the inside of the toilet bowl with the residue of the previous night’s boozing session and tried to force a tear or two with the same passion that he’d shat. But he couldn’t. Despite all Jude had done for Burkey over the years, the man had been a nasty twat who’d had payback coming to him for donkeys.

Burkey showered, dressed and left his flat, a hovel that was above a closed down dirty book store and had been advertised as being a ‘loft-style apartment’. He started to have a nagging feeling tugging at him as he limped down the stairs, and it wasn’t just the need for a little eye opener before he started work.

As he shuffled into Le Duffy’s dimly lit bar, adjusting his eyes as he negotiated his way through the closely stacked tables, he realised what the problem was. Ronny had confided in him. Burkey. Or Gimpy, as he usually called him. Of all of Ronny’s dodgy cronies and neo-incestuous family members he’d confessed a murder to Burkey.

Although they occasionally got drunk together, Ronny and Burkey had never been friends, as such. Ronny had even regularly taken great pleasure in taking the piss out of Burkey’s limp. Even back in school he had been worse than most of the other kids when it came to cruel jibes. They were bound together by a love of the booze, though, which wasn’t everything but it was a lot.

Malcolm served Burkey his usual pre-work shot of peppermint schnapps. He hated the taste but it didn’t smell of booze, they said. He sat at the bar, knocked it back and ordered another. This Ronny situation was a quandary and a conundrum, as his old granddad used to say. What the hell was Ronny up to?

He ordered another drink and tried to piece together what Ronny had actually told him about killing Jude.

It went like this: Ronny was sat in his Ford Granada in the car park outside The Bongo Club getting a blow job from Skinny Minnie, one of the club’s barmaids, who gave extras when it came close to her rent day. She was dressed as a schoolgirl since, although she was forty if she was a day, she had the skinny, petit body of an anorexic teen which boosted her earning capacity.

After she eventually swallowed his load, Ronny loosened his grip and allowed her to come up for air. He pulled a wad of notes from his Wranglers and peeled a few off. Most of the cash he used to pay her was counterfeit but there was so much of it in the town these days that it was becoming accepted currency.

He sat and smoked a joint while Minnie cleaned him up with baby wipes and there was a knock on the window. Well, more of a bang. Ronny wound down the window to see the massive form of Jude Walker shouting and screaming about something or other. Ronny had no idea what he was on about. Not that it mattered since Jude had a tendency to completely lose the plot over any old thing when he was snorting the crap coke that was produced by the same Russians that made the fake cash.

Ronny knew that there was nothing he could do to placate Jude and began to wind up the window when Jude stuffed a massive hand through the gap and grabbed Minnie by the throat. Well, Ronny, ever the gentleman, couldn’t allow that to happen so he pushed open the car door sending Jude sprawling backwards until he crashed his head against the breeze-block wall that everyone used to piss against when then went outside the club for a cigarette. Ronny walked over and saw that Jude was out for the count. And then, before he could do anything about it, Minnie turned up with a brick and proceeded to smash the shite out of the unconscious Jude’s big fat head.

Ronny apparently grabbed the brick from Minnie and slapped her till she calmed down. Then he started to hyperventilate. They were so far in shit creek an outboard motor wouldn’t help, let alone a paddle. Jude Walker was an old school-friend, for sure, but he was also the off-white sheep in a very dark family. A very loyal family indeed.

Burkey looked up at the cracked triangular clock that hung behind the bar and realised that he was going to be late for work if he didn’t get a move on. Fuck it, he thought. This was serious stuff. He ordered another drink. A proper one this time. A double Jack D.

The bar had started to fill out without him realising it and he was in his pots, singing along to the Pina Colada song when someone tapped him on his shoulder. He could almost taste the sour breath.

‘Burkey, I need you,’ Ronny whispered in his ear. Burkey turned and saw Ginger Ronny, high as a kite, wearing a cagoule and covered in all sorts of mud and shit.

‘What do you … want?’ said Burkey.

‘I need you to help me bury him.’


‘Get a friggin’ move on Gimpy,’ said Ronny, as it started pissing down.

A big grin crawled across his flushed face like a caterpillar. Burkey assumed Ronny thought that using his old school nickname would motivate him. Far from it. He was starting to realise that Ronnie was just manipulating him. Using him to do his dirty work.

Burkey forced a smile. He was getting soaked to the skin in a vandalised cemetery, after spending the last half hour digging a grave and Ronnie was going on and on at him like fingers down a blackboard.

Burkey stopped, the pain in his bad knee getting worse and worse in the cold and wet weather.

‘Give me a minute or two,’ he said.

‘Oh, for fucks sake, Gimpy, I friggin’ told you …’

Burkey swung the shovel without thinking about it and it smacked Ronnie square on in the head. Ronnie just stood there, an unlit cigarette in his hand. A blank expression on his face that reminded Burkey of a cartoon character.

So Burkey twatted him again and he fell forward into the open grave. There was a flash of lightning, followed by a rumble of thunder as Burkey managed to drag himself out of the grave. He paused to catch his breath and got down to covering up the bodies with renewed enthusiasm, safe in the knowledge that he’d make it back to Le Duffy in time for last orders. But he’d keep himself to himself tonight, that was for sure.

Paul D Brazill was born in England and lives in Poland. His writing has been translated into Polish, Italian, German and Slovene. He has had writing published in various magazines and anthologies, including three editions of THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST BRITISH CRIME. 




I love Jeremy Brett as Sherlock as well having a soft spot for Richard Griffiths in Pie in the Sky. Growing up it was Not the Nine O’Clock News and Tiswas and Murphys Mob.

I have a realistic recollection of The Tube – most of it was pants with the occasional flash of fantastic-ness very much the same as The Whistle Test, Rock Goes to College, The Word etc.


I have a predilection towards detective and noir in general since reading the “Alfred Hitchcock’s Three Investigators” series by Robert Arthur Jr as a 10 year old kid from the north east of England attending an American school in Togo, West Africa. I read Block, Hiaasen, Doyle and Chandler.

I do enjoy Poe, Jules Verne and HP Lovecraft and I could bang on about Jean Paul Sartre however as with music I am a big fan of escapism and irrelevance.  I read a lot of Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.

Music writing is a bit hit and miss however, Julian Copes’ book Head On is excellent as is a book called Our Band Could be Your Life by Michael Azerrad. Lester Bangs writes about the best bands but mainly about himself sadly.


Withnail and I, Big Lebowski, Mullholland Drive, The Black Dahlia, Grosse Point Blank, Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush, Return of the Living Dead.


My first musical memory is Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep by Middle of the road and it still echoes today. After that my main memory as a child was Blondie and the specials!

I was brought up musically by some excellent people – mainly whilst loitering / helping out in my local second hand record emporium “The Other Record Shop”.

There is a fantastic Mini LP by The Unholy Trinity called “Rise to the occasion” made by half of the Sid Presley Experience (the other half formed The Godfathers) which I stumbled across aged 15 and still listen to today.

At school during the 80’s I found The Cramps, Rain Parade, Husker Du, Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Minor Threat, Robyn Hitchcock, The Jesus and Mary Chain, American Music Club, Thin White Rope, Loop and Spacemen 3 which I still listen to today and as fantastic as Bob Mould is I urge people to check out Grant Hart’s solo and Nova Mob stuff!

I love the “classics” the Velvets, Stooges, Can, Hawkwind, Dolls, Creedance, Elevators, Television, Clash, Wire, Yardbirds, Buzzcocks, Pop Group, Throbbing Gristle , Traffic

I managed to talk my way backstage aged 15 to interview Primal Scream and Pop Will Eat Itself for a fanzine I’d made up on the spot….

Thee Strawberry Mynde was born from a desire to try and get people into Billy Childish, Graham Day, The Fuzztones, Sonics, Elevators and the bands from the Pebbles Comps.

We have some world beaters in our area at the moment check out – Onlooker, Heel Turn, King Mojo, Fret, Mouses, Sleaze Queens, Milk Lizards, MT. Misery, GG Allen Partridge, Shakin Nightmares to name just a few

TRAVEL: Broadens the mind, lightens the wallet do it as often as you can!

FOOD: I have an intolerance to garlic!

DRINK: Love a good Single Malt, Rum or an ale.

ART: Big fan of Narbi Price and Slutmouth – Check them out great North East Based Talent.

OTHER: If you have friends who write, draw, paint, sculpt, strum, blow, sing, bang or drone give them a like and share their posts – it helps more than you can imagine x.

BIO:  Founder and main songwriter for Thee Strawberry Mynde a garage punk band from the North East of England – check out our Bandcamp page for releases – Many. many side projects on the go once I get round to them …