Dominoes

“My mum says that you’re the god of thunder.”

Taranis looked up from his game of dominoes at the skinny lad staring at him. Across the table, Cerne, god of the hunt, grinned. Taranis ignored the grin. “I was, lad, I was. I’m retired now, though, and don’t really get involved. You must be Dawn’s youngest.”

“She sends a pork joint to regular, but I think you’re a con artist and a fake,” the lad continued. “And I think you should stop taking advantage.”

Cerne placed his domino down. “Your move.”

Taranis looked at the lad. “It’s Owen, isn’t it? You drive that weird yellow Corsa and your mum told me that you were working with a plumber.”

“You see, that’s it!” Owen said. “Mum gets stuff like that wrong all the time. I’m apprenticed. It’s all legal and properly set out. Mr Barker looks after me and I try and do him proud. I work hard for my money, and so does my mum, and I don’t see why elderly scammers like you should have any of it.” He glared at Taranis. “And it isn’t a weird yellow. It’s a custom wrap. That car is better than anything you’ve ever had or ever will have!”

Taranis grunted, laid down his domino and took a drink from his pint. There weren’t many people in the old-fashioned pub, and they were all carefully ignoring the lad and his demands. “Are you sure that I’m a scammer. I got rid of that problem Josie had.”

“I think it would have gone on its own,” Owen said angrily. He turned to the distant rumble of thunder outside the door. “And don’t try and fake that was you. I saw the weather forecast. Just leave us alone.” Owen turned on his heel and stalked over to his friends waiting at the bar.

Cerne looked thoughtfully down at the dominoes, ignoring the sharp crack of thunder outside. “Of course, a lightning strike on the electrics would just be coincidence,” he remarked. “But it’s obvious that the car is his pride and joy. I’m going to have to knock.”

Taranis nodded as he perused the dominoes. “There’s one thing about lightning that everyone forgets,” he said. “It’s hot.” He lay down a double six.

Cerne narrowed his eyes. “I’m going to have to pass again. So, lightning’s hot. I thought it just started fires.”

“I’ve got a good view of the car park from here,” Taranis nodded at the angled mirror behind the bar that, to the right seat, showed the half dozen cars spaced out in front of the pub. “And I’ve still got decent aim.” He put down another domino with a smug grin.

Cerne pursed his lips and then managed to lay down a tile before standing and peering out of the window. “There’s a lot of smoke out there.”

Taranis nodded thoughtfully as he lay down his last piece. “I’m out. And it’s hard to explain all four tyres spot welded to the tarmac as coincidence, especially with nothing else touched.” Taranis drained his beer glass. “That’s three games all and it’s your round.”

Cerne watched the shocked murmur run through the few patrons before they all rushed out to see for themselves. “I bet you get an extra offering next time,” he grinned. “Same again?”

Taranis nodded contentedly as he watched the confusion outside. “Yep, same again.”

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