Waterlow Park Chapter 2

  
I had such an underwhelming response to my posting of the first chapter of ‘WATERLOW PARK’ that I’ve decided to post chapter two on the basis that things can only get better.

Only joking, folks. Hope you enjoy it as much I enjoyed cooking a Christmas dinner for six people the other day. Totally stress free.
Chapter 02
“I’m definitely against this! I’m really most definitely against this!”
Sofia is definitely against my plan. She tells me this several times in her favourite whiny voice but I think I manage to get her down off her high horse a bit. 
“Firstly, they mustn’t know because it could get them into trouble,” I explain.
I don’t for a moment think that my finding a big bag of money in the park could get mum and dad into trouble but I must admit it sounds plausible. Especially when I lie and tell Sofia about something I saw on the BBC web site about what happened to somebody else’s parents who also found some money. “…And they got sent to prison for four years,” I say. “It’s called ‘money laundrying’ or something. It’s a terrible crime.”
Sofia looks at me suspiciously for a moment and mumbles some words, asking for names so that she can Google them later. But then I see tears begin to well up in her eyes. She’s only nine is Sofia. It’s easy to forget sometimes when she comes out with the big words and all that but she’s only a little girl. She’s still at junior school. I get all big brotherly and put my arm around her. “Don’t cry Sophie,” I say, knowing that she hates it when I call her that. “I ain’t not going to let that happen.”
“That’s a double negative, Stevie,” she sniffs through the tears.
‘Don’t call me that!” I say.
Sofia laughs. She can do that can Sofia – one minute she’s crying and the next she’s laughing.
 Back to the plan: “Secondly, we have to find a way of hiding the money until we decide what to do with it.”
“Why don’t we just tell the police?” she asks.
“Well… Yes… We could do that…” I say. “And we probably will do – definitely will do – in the end. But first let’s try and find out if somebody’s lost the money. You never know there might be a reward.”
“That’s true.”
“So where are we gonna put it then, Sofia?”
She thinks long and hard. “Well we can’t put it under the bed. There’s too much money and mum would notice it sooner or later.”
“True,” say I.
“And I can’t think of any cupboards that we could use to store it in… Except… Except…”
“Except?”
“Well there’s the barbecue…”
The barbecue! She’s brilliant is my sister. Sometimes she’s brilliant.
***
In our house we have a small garden at the back with a few plants and a green pond. The pond has exactly thirteen goldfish in it. Last week there were exactly fourteen goldfish but one died and dad had to fish it out with his bare hands and put it somewhere. He wouldn’t tell me where. Next to the pond is a brick barbecue that the person we bought the house from must have built. We’ve only used this barbecue three times in all the years we’ve been here. Mum and dad never invite friends around. On either side of the barbecue is a cupboard. One of the cupboards is used to store coal for the winter. The other is empty apart from a carton of fish food which dad won’t use because he says it encourages algae to grow in the pond. (This is probably why our fish keep dying of starvation.) That’s where we can store the money!
We move fast: give or take delays on the Northern Line we have exactly one-hour-and twelve minutes before mum and dad get home. Sofia and me get some plastic shopping bags from the kitchen and stuff as much money as we can into them. We carry the bags money downstairs into the garden. Paper can be a lot heavier than it looks and we are soon sweaty. I flick through some of the stacks of money and notice that there’s nothing there but £50 notes. I’ve never seen a £50 note before. Whoever this money belongs to has separated the notes into equal sized bundles and fastened it with gummed paper strips. I think about counting the notes in one of the bundles but decide against it. The clock is ticking.
I stack the money neatly inside the cupboard while Sofia goes upstairs for some more. It takes about fifteen minutes for her to bring down the rest of the money and she’s panting like a dog by the time she’s finished. By some strange coincidence the money fits into the cupboard exactly. There isn’t an inch to spare. “It’s like the cupboard was built to hold our money,” I say. Sofia and I look at each other knowingly, both of us realising that it’s taken only a matter of hours for ‘the money’ to become ‘our money’. We don’t mention my slip of the tongue. 
I get some sticky tape and the dog shitty black plastic sack. I carefully tear the sack open and spread it wide so that I can use it to totally cover the money. Then I stick it firmly in place with the sticky tape. Soon it looks like a solid block of black plastic. Finally, I close the cupboard door. From my pocket I pull out a padlock that I found earlier in dad’s kitchen drawer full of batteries and screwdrivers and super-glue. I lock the padlock and hide the key upstairs in the back of my underpants drawer. 
It’s done. The money is gone. Nobody will ever find it. 
I think. 
All we’ve got to do now is decide what to do with it.

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