All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Karaoke At The Pincher’s Arms by Hugh Cron – Warning Adult Content

Jimmy’s knees were indented where his elbows dug into them.

He gently moved to and fro on the swing. He could hear his father singing some old song that he’d heard too many times. He looked across the road and saw Charlie The Paedo staring at him. Jimmy knew if he told his dad, he’d end up in jail again.

He heard the pub door open, “Here you go son. Is your mum not back from the bogs?”

The boy shook his head. He accepted the crisps and can of Coke.

“Once your mum comes back I’ll get us another drink and we’ll head home. Could you manage a Sweet And Sour?”

The boy nodded.

His dad drained the last of his pint.

“Get yourself to fuck!!!”

Jimmy jumped. His dad launched his glass towards Charlie. He legged it.

He looked at Jimmy, “Was that cunt anywhere near you?”

“No dad, I only saw him just before you came out.”

“What’s the shouting?”

“That fucking beast bastard was across the road staring at Jimmy.”

Linda knelt down beside the boy, “Was he anywhere near you?”

“No mum, I was sitting here as you told me, I only saw him a minute ago.”

“Where were you?”

“She spun around at her husband, “I met Jean in the toilet. I thought you were out here.”

“I went to get us a drink and Jimmy some crisps.”

“And a shot at the Karaoke, I heard your fucking singing…Come on, I’m starving.”

…And that was a very interesting version of ‘When Dove’s Cry’, I’m quite sure that Prince wanted it fucked with and sang out of tune!

Soooo next up we have Sheila singing ‘Love Games’ – I didn’t even know we had this. And now that I do I wonder fucking why!!!

Here we have the lovely Sheila trying to remind us why we forgot about ‘Belle And The Devotions’ ‘We Were Only Playing Love Games’ I don’t know about you guys, but I reckon she will succeed!

Tom handed the mic over to her and went to his jacket to get a fag.

He though he heard a glass smash.

The music started up as Sheila did an introductory boogie.

He decided to give it a minute in case there was any trouble outside.

He got to the door and looked around the play area. There was no glass but there were two adults and a kid walking away from the pub holding hands.

He squinted into the sun and thought that the guy was maybe the one who had just sang ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ and did not a bad version.

He stuck his head back into the pub and smiled as the girl was as out of tune as he thought she’d be.

He took another few draws and nicked the cig. He should have went on for another half hour but decided he was hungry.

Tom went up to the bar, ‘Kelly, order us a plate of nachos and a lager with a treble Black Label, as quick as you can. I’ll set up one more and then I’m on my break.”

The girl smiled and nodded.

Tom shimmied over towards the terrible singer, he was pleased when he got a cheer.

She finished up her song with a dramatic fist clench.

“Come on guys, we know she was shite, but give her a clap…What’s that love? Oh, don’t bother guys, she’s got that already.”

How many times had he used that line? And here it came from the random funny cunt,

…’Well it was no me that gave you it!’

But he did laugh when the girl turned round and shouted, “Shut the fuck up dad!!”

Okay ladies and what you brought with you, I need to thank you for turning out on a Sunday afternoon. We all know that Karaoke’s dying and I’m not sure if I’ll even get another year out of this, but I can honestly say that out of all the pubs I work in, ‘The Pincher’s Arms’ is my favourite by not just a mile…By a fucking mile!!!”

The crowd roared as he wondered how many times he had said that. He realised that his patter was repetitive shite. But the daft fuckers ate it up.

“So to keep the party going, we have the regular of regulars…’

...‘Aye as regular as a Sunday morning hang-over shite. And he smells just as fucking bad!’

“Cheeky cunt!”

Calm down Len.

Come on folks, let me do the introduction.”

He waited until they settled down.

…“No Karaoke would be the same without Len’s rendition of ‘Mack The Knife’. Come on Len, let’s see if you can hit that last note.”

The old boy began to loosen his tie and undo his shirt. He thought he looked cool.

Tom didn’t see that as cool, just a release of even more B.O.

He saw Kelly pointing to a corner table, his Nachos and drinks were waiting for him. He gave her a thumbs up and blew her a kiss.

Tom sat his tablet in front of him. That way if anyone tried to annoy him, he just said that he was working on the next half of the playlist. They normally left him alone. He always enjoyed the Nachos, he knew that they were just ding-ding cuisine but for whatever reason, they were always tasty. He tried to ignore Len’s singing and regretted setting up another song, he knew the old bastard couldn’t put the mic down so he had decided to piss everyone off.

He drank his beer whilst trying to decide what colour Len’s face was as he lined himself up for the last note. Purple to begin with and then darker. Len was still gasping when Honey’ began to play.

…“Oh for fuck sake!”

…“Len put that fucking mic down, you’ve had your turn!”

…“Who the fuck wanted to sing that shite?”

Len ignored them and opened another button as he began to sing.

Kelly brought Tom more drinks.

“Thanks sweetheart but I haven’t even touched this one.”

She smiled, “And there’ll be another. That prick Paul fucked me over for an hour cause I was five minutes late, it wasn’t even my fault, the bus was diverted. He’s at a Christening so I’m giving out as many freebies as I can. I reckon I’ve cost the prick seventy quid so far. Makes my seven fifty seem like a drop in the ocean!”

“Fuck me Kelly! Mind me never to get on your bad side!”

“When you’re heading home, I’ve got a slab of cheescake for the kids.”

She laughed, “There will be enough for you and Hazel as well!”

…“You’re fucking dire Len!”

Tom hurried through his last few Nachos. He tanned the whiskys and took his pint with him. He knew that fun was fun but this was getting dangerous.

The punters began to chant:

…’Get to fuck!

Get to fuck

You can’t sing for toffee

So get to fucking fuck!!!’

Len had just finished when Tom took the mic from him. He toasted the crowd.

“Thanks for being a brilliant audience and not killing him!”

Kelly brought him over the whisky she’d promised. He grabbed her and began to waltz. The crowd cheered as she slipped her hand onto his arse. He mouthed thanks to Kelly.

“Okay folks, a round of applause for Len ‘The Voice’ McDuggan!”

…“You should have started at the end McDuggan you tone deaf bastard!!”

…“Aye, fucking boo!!”

Len took his bows.

Tom saw Ian coming into the pub. He was just himself which was unusual.

“Tom, give us the mic for a minute.”

He’d known Ian for years and knew what he could get away with, “Fuck off. If you want to sing you should have put your name down. But since it’s you, your usual? ‘The Night Chicago Died’? ‘The Killing Of Georgie’ where you play the part of Georgie?”

Ian laughed, “No it’s not that…The Police’ll be here.”

“What’s happened?”

Tom gave him the mic.


Haw!! Guys!

…Shut the fuck up!!!”

The place began to quieten down.

“Just a heads up folks.

…That fucking beast cunt Charlie The Paedo has taken a hoor of a kicking, the paramedics are still working on him. I’m sure the Police’ll be here any minute so maybe some of you better make yourself scarce.

…And if any cunt tells the Police what I’ve just said, or that I’ve even been here, I’ll fucking find you.”

Two youngsters got up and left.

“I’ll see you later you wee pricks!!

…Cheers Tom. It looks bad, I think he’s fucked, so all in all a good Sunday.”

He slammed his hands down on the a table, “I’d strongly advise anyone who has just came in in the last hour to fuck off home. If you can all account for each other, there won’t be a problem.”

Another few couples got up and left.

“Fuck me Ian, your taking away my crowd!”

“Karaoke is dead anyway…Mind you not as dead as that kiddie fiddler!”

He handed him back the mic.

“Okay folks, back to some singing who’s next”

“Me but I don’t want to sing ‘Two Little Boys’!”

…“That’s fucking sick that!”

Ian walked over to the bar.

“Kelly give me a bottle of wine for Maisie.”

The girl nodded and took out a bottle of rose from the fridge.

He handed her five twenties.

“Fuck me Ian! It’s no that dear, not even in this dump! And anyway, it’s on the house.”

“The money’s for you. I’ve not been here, if you can do something about the cameras, I’d appreciate it.”

She nodded. He took the wine over to the window seat where Maisie was and sat down.

“I can’t say I’m sorry Maisie.”

She nodded, “I know. I hope he’s fucking dead. It’ll make my life a lot easier.”

“No-one blames you.”

She laughed, “Tell that to the wee cunts that keep panning in my windows.”

“You shouldn’t have had him there, I told you that.”

“I know. But what could I do?”

He opened the bottle of wine and poured her a glass.

“If he’s dead, I’ll make sure you’re not bothered again.”

She smiled and took a long gulp, “I’d appreciate that.”

“Are you heading home?”

“Fuck that. They can come and get me. It’s been a long time since I’ve been taxied by the CID.

…Might even get a Chinkey out them.”

Hugh Cron

10 thoughts on “Karaoke At The Pincher’s Arms by Hugh Cron – Warning Adult Content”

  1. Everybody knows, even the police know who did it. Ian has effectively announced it to everyone in the bar because he needs to assert his reputation and confirm he has the right to melt out justice. He believes that the courts are soft, well he has been there, and justice lets down those it claims to protect. Not strictly true, it protects and safeguards the perpetrator from the anger of their victims.
    A well written piece about social life where real people struggle to make sense of their community.


    1. Hi James,
      Thanks as always my fine friend.
      I really enjoyed writing this one as I had mixed two pubs I have fond memories of and the story went from there.
      Both ‘The Newton Arms’ and ‘The Boathouse aren’t there anymore.
      Between twats wanting to take their kids for a bar lunch and the way things are now-a-days, the adult-only environment of a local pub is nearly dead.
      And that is a real shame.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This one is utterly immersive. I felt as though I were there, ears perked, sneaking glances and stealing little moments from the characters. Jesus, and Mack the Knife–there must be a cosmic law which makes it illegal for Karaoke Night to go on without some asshole singing tht old saw or “Desperado.”
    McEwan was right. No matter what kind of people are around, any group of three or more develops a social disorder.


    1. Hi Leila,
      I was more a Mr Bojangles man – Actually that is one I wish I could have made a fist of but it isn’t the easiest to sing even if you are a singer which I’m not!! I need to stick to ‘Daydream Believer’ or ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ as some audience participation drowns out my woeful singing!!
      Thanks as always!


    1. I don’t really get Phil Kay but Mark McManus makes me think of his half brother, Brian Connolly – I loved ‘The Sweet’ Most Glam Rock I have a guilty pleasure for but let’s not comment on Mr Gadd!
      Cheers Stefan, much appreciated


    1. Hi Dave,
      It’s always a pleasure to read your comments and thanks for the kind words.
      This was one of those that was a lot of fun to write.
      All the very best my friend.


  3. I liked the insults and off colour jokes Tom the host threw at the Karaoke singers, and the portrait of the older singer, Len. A rough bunch, for sure. The Pedo must’ve been suicidal to hang around that neighbourhood. Charles Bronson’s character in “Death Wish” probably took a few lessons from Ian. Pretty interesting slice of life, with all the vernacular.


    1. Hi Harrison,
      There are a lot of beasts re-located in Ayrshire. I know that isn’t very PC but I do think there are some crimes that come with the result of no sympathy. Paedophiles, rapists and granny bashers are all in the same boat. Whenever you worked with anyone released from jail, most of them wore their crime like a badge of honour, except those three, they said nothing.
      Thanks as always my friend.


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