Lady Sump's Bentley

Written by: Ant Gavin Smits

I got out my cigs as I walked into The Camel’s Back. I needed one.

“Ferg!” I called out as soon as I saw his broad nose – broken twice that I know about – looming through the smoke.

He pulled the pint and pushed it over to me. “Evening Sparky.”

”Just what I needed,” I said, raising the glass. It had been one of those weeks. “I swear, if Lady Sump sends me any more work, I’ll ‘ang out the closed sign.”

His brown eyes widened. “Last week you complained you never got Sump’s cars.”

“Haven’t til now.” I took a long drink. “You know the story. I fell out with Sir Alec Sump years ago – back then I called ‘im Smart Alec. He caught me pinching apples off the estate when we were nippers and I beat him up. Hell of a stink.” I chuckled at the memory. “But he’s gone now, bless ‘is soul. And on Monday, surprise, surprise, Lady Sump sends in ‘er Bentley, to ‘ave a dent beaten out of the wing.”

“Don’t tell me you scratched it?”

“Comedy of bloody errors. Most of 'em your son's fault.” I pointed a grease-stained finger at the barman.

“Tanner?” Ferguson’s thunderous guffaw was quickly cut short as he sucked too much smoke and wheezed for some seconds before he could speak again. “You let him work on a Bentley?”

“He’s the apprentice,” I said dryly. “who I’m training because you twisted my arm. He does a bit of everything. I wish it were a lot more of everything, mind.”

Ferg scowled. “Isn’t he pulling his weight? He’s moved out now. Livin’ with that Thomson girl. I’ll set him straight.”

I scratched my stubble. Tanner’s youthful cockiness often tripped him up – and cost me. But his Dad had a short wick and his intervention wouldn’t help. “He’s all right,” I said. “Lady Sump is a right piece of work, I discovered.”

The barman nodded briefly and moved away. A trio of twenty-somethings were slapping the wide wooden counter to get his attention.

I lifted my beer again and glanced over at a group playing darts. “You winning, Fletch?”

Twenty feet away, the man turned his head and yelled back. ”Of course! You finished my Beamer?”

I shook my head. “Waiting for parts,” I said loudly, over the hubbub.

As Fletch turned back to his game, I thought about the shop. Tanner wasn’t my only challenge. White-haired Doyle had been misdiagnosing things for weeks. But he was nearing retirement age. I couldn’t just tip him out on the street.

As the night wore on, I had a couple more drinks – or was it three? I couldn’t get Lady Sump out of my mind.

“Drunk enough?” asked Ferg, breaking into my fog as his bar emptied. He dragged up a stool. “Time for a sit-down.”

“She rang every day, sometimes twice,” I said, looking up at him.

“Really?” Ferguson leaned in. “Tell me more.”

I shrugged. “You asked for it,” I said.


This is a serial that Ant Smits and Ray Stone will be writing jointly. Lighthearted and enjoyable.
Thanks Suraya. Should be a bit of fun, and I wouldn't be surprised if there's a body in it somewhere. Ray's writing leaves some people cold.
Some of the dialogue is cockney. We will interoperate here as the story progresses.
This is quite a different genre for Ant to write and I think he has caught the dialogue really well. It is one thing to write the occasional line in say, someone from London, but quite another to write like that for a whole story. There is a little backstory as well as foreshadowing things to come and I particularly liked the way we are introduced to one of the main characters, Tanner, a lad who looks like trouble. A nice idea, Ant, and a starter that is well written.
Thank you Ray. I cannot imagine what Tanner will get up to, but I'm sure you'll have a hand in it.
Ha ha...Ray's writing leaves some people cold. Like cold and stiff/cold and frigid/cold but still breathng.
Sometimes not even breathing.
Often not breathing (: