Alvarez v Golovkin ( 2)

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Five years ago today I wrote about a fight. Mayweather v Alvarez.

https://www.abctales.com/blog/jolono/mayweather-v-alvarez

Alvarez was just 23 back then and very much “the new kid on the block”.  The young Mexican was unbeaten, talented, quick hands and was fast becoming a superstar. Mayweather was already a superstar. At 36 he was the biggest thing in Boxing.

That fight saw Mayweather give young Canelo Alvarez a lesson in Boxing. How to hit and not be hit back.

Fast forward four years. Mayweather has retired and Canelo has had 7 more fights and won them all. Surely now he is the master of his weight division and the best there is?

Not quite. During those four years another fighter has come along, had ten fights and won them all. He seems indestructible, throws punches from every angle, hard, accurate punches that wears his opponents down until they can take no more. He has a chin of solid granite. Hit him as hard as you can and this guy does not go down. Some pundits are saying that “pound for pound” he’s the best fighter on the planet. He’s from Kazakhstan and his name is Gennady Gennagyevich Golovkin nickname “Triple G.”

So, the Boxing world held its breath. Surely these two great fighters had to meet to find out who was the best Middleweight in the world today.

A deal was done and a date was set. Golovkin v Alvarez would take place in Las Vegas on 16th September 2017. I booked it on Pay Per View at a cost of £15, my son went one better. He managed to get a ticket and flew to Vegas to watch it live.

Surely now we’d find out who was the best? No we didn’t. After 12 rounds of great boxing it was declared a draw. A very, very controversial draw.

Most people who watched the fight that night (me included) thought that Golovkin had won the fight by three or four rounds. It was close, some rounds could have gone either way, but overall it was expected that Golovkin would get the decision.  One judge scored the fight to Golovkin, one judge scored it as a draw and the third judge ( obviously taking some mind altering drug) thought that Alvarez had won almost every round and gave him the decision by a wide margin.

So once again we had no outright answer. A rematch just had to happen. It was announced that it would take place in May 2018.

But in March 2018 it was discovered that Alvarez had tested positive for a banned substance called Clenbuterol  and would be disciplined by Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Alvarez defence was that Clenbuterol is widely used in Mexico by farmers to fatten up their cattle before slaughter. As a fighter he has to eat lots of Meat for protein and that’s how the substance was able to get into his system. The NSAC was lenient. Alvarez was given a six month ban, backdated to February  17th (The date of his first positive drug test). The May fight with Golovkin was cancelled and rescheduled for September 15th 2018.

Now, at last, finally we’d get to see who was the best. Once again it would be in Las Vegas and once again I paid my £17 for Pay Per View.

The fight was a classic. Rarely these days do you see two fighters stand in the middle of the ring, toe to toe for 12 rounds, each taking and throwing hard, accurate punches. Alvarez was cut early on just above his left eye. Golovkins face began to puff, swell and turn purple from the middle rounds onwards. When the final bell sounded both men lifted their arms in triumph.

The UK commentators gave the verdict to Golovkin, they also said this was the opinion of their American colleagues. I thought it was close but had Golovkin winning it by two rounds. A mate of mine, Caleb Traux (former Super Middleweight Champion) was convinced that Alvarez had won it by four rounds. That’s how close each round was.

When the judges scores were announced, two gave it as a draw and one gave it by two rounds to Alvarez. He was now the undisputed Champion. Or was he?

The official stats came out yesterday. Golovkin threw 879 punches and landed with 234. Alvarez threw 622 punches and landed with 202. If you break it down round by round, in eight of the twelve rounds Golovkin threw more and landed more punches than Alvarez. So surely the judges should have given the verdict to Golovkin?

But…the more powerful, eye catching punches were thrown by Alvarez. He was the fighter that was always on the front foot pressing the action, which made it look like he was winning.

My conclusion…is that I have no conclusion.

I am just certain of two things. One, both are great fighters that would hold their own in any era, whether it was with Hearn, Hagler and Duran, or Benn, Watson and Eubanks. And secondly, there with definitely be a third Golovkin v Alvarez fight. And once again I will pay my money and watch with anticipation…

 

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Hello Mum.

A story told through four letters…

 

Hello Mum,

Happy Birthday for last month. Sorry I didn’t send a card, but you know what it’s like, we’re all so very busy these days.  Anyway, happy 70th.

I was going to get you some flowers delivered, but couldn’t remember what ones you liked. I seem to recall you hated Roses or was it Daffodils? Not to worry, I’ll bring some round next time we visit.

How’s Dad? I heard he’d had a fall, something to do with his knee? I’m sure you’re doting on him hand and foot, making him endless cups of tea like you always do.

I keep meaning to give you a ring but there’s a problem with our phone at home and the mobile’s always playing up. Something to do with network connection in our area or so the man from Vodaphone keeps saying. So I thought I’d send you a nice letter. Much better than nattering away on a bloody telephone for hours.

Your Grandson Stevie is 18 next week and wants a new car! They grow up so fast and want the world these days. They just don’t seem to understand the value of money at that age.

The car he’s seen is seven thousand pounds. Where on earth does he think we’re going to get that kind of money from?

So I was just wondering, as it’s his 18th, whether you’d like to contribute. He’d really love it!

We can put in a maximum of two thousand and maybe you could put up the rest?

Thanks Mum. You’ve got our Bank details haven’t you?

Anyway, got to fly, got a yoga lesson in half an hour.

Shame you don’t live closer or we’d always be round to see you, but it’s a good 15 minutes by car, and the new traffic light system by Tesco’s can be a nightmare in rush hour.

Thanks Mum.

Joan.

 

The reply.

 

Hi Sweetheart,

Got your letter yesterday, been trying to call you ever since but keep getting voicemail or answer machine, but then again I do know how busy you are these days.

Don’t worry about the flowers, they were Lillys by the way, they always make me think of funerals!

Dad’s knee’s got a lot worse. He now has to use a stick all the time, even around the house. But he’s being brave and keeps saying that you have to expect these things as you get older.

I do wish you and Dad would sort out your differences and get along better. It seems so silly to fall out over money. I know you’ll pay us back what we lent you for the kitchen extension but I also understand that these things take time and it was only 6 years ago. But you know your Father, he’s always been impatient.

Little Stevie popped over this morning, what a surprise. He’s such a good boy and so handsome, he’s going to break hearts is that one. Can’t believe he’s 18 next week. He said he is going out with his mates to celebrate on his birthday but wanted me and Dad to come over for Sunday lunch the week after. I said I’d have to run it past you first to just to make sure, as I know how busy you are.

By the way, I spoke to him about the car he wants. You got it wrong, silly. The car he wants is only three thousand five hundred pounds! So I remember in your letter you said you were putting two thousand towards it, so I gave him a cheque for fifteen hundred. I made the cheque out in his name so that if he changes his mind he can spend it on whatever he wants.

Hope that’s okay.

I paid the invoice for your Yoga lessons this morning. I notice there’s an extra charge now for Pilates twice a week. You really are keeping fit!

Love you.

Mum xxxxxxx

 

And the reply

 

Hello Mum,

Hope you’re well. Just a quick note to let you know that Stevie got his car. It wasn’t the one he had his eye on, that turned out to be too expensive, but he’s really pleased with this one. It’s made him realise now just how much things cost, what with insurance, MOT, petrol etc, but I know you’ll help out from time to time. He does so love his Nan and Grandad.

I saw you in Asda on Monday. You and Dad were at the checkout putting your shopping in the trolley. I was going to come over and say hello but I had Pilates booked and was already running late. Besides, you looked as though you were having a bit of a row, hope everything’s okay?

Got to cancel Sunday lunch unfortunately. This week has been manic. What with Pilates, Yoga and now Tennis lessons, I just haven’t had the time to do any housework. I know we have young Katia from Poland in for a few days a week to help out, but I seem to be exhausted. Us woman heh? Always on the go. The men don’t know they’re born do they?

Speaking of men, Brian has just got a promotion at work. He’s now Sales Director ( or something like that) for Europe. It means he’ll be away quite a lot, so the time we can all spend together as a family is going to be even more important now. But god knows how we’re going to afford a proper holiday this year. We’ve seen a fabulous apartment in Barbados that we could rent for a fortnight but not sure we’ll have the funds available. Don’t suppose you could have a word with Dad for me…please.

If we could add it on to the money we owe you for the kitchen extension then we could work out some kind of repayment plan.

Love you mum.

Joan.

P.S. Stevie may pop round tommorow to show off his new car. If you could give him a few pounds for petrol etc, that would really help.

 

And the reply

 

Hello Joan,

Got your letter this morning, by coincidence I was writing this as the post arrived.

Bad news I’m afraid, Mum had a massive stroke on Monday and has been in Hospital ever since. I’ve tried to call you over the past few days but just get machines, and you know me, I won’t talk to machines.

She’s in a bad way, can’t move or talk. Her eyes are open but there’s a kind of vacant look. To be honest I don’t think she knows who I am or even if I’m there.

Doctors say that she could remain like this for a long time. I’ve been at the Hospital every day to be with her, bit of a nightmare journey, two buses and then I get a cab for the last bit. Because of my dodgey leg I gave up driving some time ago, Mum’s done all the driving for the past six months.

We saw you in Asda. Mum insisted we go even though she wasn’t feeling all that well. You know what she’s like, didn’t want to turn up for Sunday lunch empty handed. Thought you might have come over and said hello, but Mum said you were probably too busy and in the end we had a bit of a row about it. She had the stroke in Asda car park. Doctors said that it may have been the strain of carrying the heavy bags to the car. I can’t carry a thing these days because of my damn leg.

Anyway, doesn’t matter about Sunday lunch now, although she was looking forward to it so much. She’d been going on and on about it for days. Even made a Trifle, she knows how much Stevie loves her Trifle.

Don’t worry about the money you owe us for the Kitchen, let’s call it quits and move on. But as far as anything else is concerned I think all our money now will be going on Mum. She’s going to need round the clock care and these things cost a fortune. But only the best for your Mum. Even if I have to sell the house and all our possessions. I made her a promise that she’ll have the very best.

Call me when you can and I’ll give you the Hospital details. If you’re not too busy maybe you could pop in and see her.

Goodbye Joan.

Dad.

 

Leave The Light On

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Sad tale. Get the tissues ready!

Two letters.

Hi Jenny,

It’s me. Please keep reading and don’t tear this letter up. I beg you.

Twelve years is a long time and I’m sorry. Sorry for so many things.

Sorry for leaving you the way I did. No note, no explanation, I just left. But I was in a bad way back then and I knew eventually that I’d drag you down with me. The signs were there. I used every day and you were starting to do the same, and you with our boy on the way it wasn’t a good thing. It wasn’t your fault, it was me that encouraged it and I thought that without me you’d stop. If I stayed I was certain we’d lose everything and I just couldn’t bear that.

Sorry for missing our boys entry into this world and not being there when things were hard for both of you.

Sorry for missing his birthdays, his first day at nursery and school. His first steps and first words.

Sorry for making you cry. You were the one that cried at every soppy film we ever watched together, so I can imagine how many tears you wept in those weeks and months after I left.

Sorry for not getting in touch during these past years. I just couldn’t, not until I was sure that all the scars had healed. It’s taken a long time for me to get myself straight and now, eventually, I think I have. I’m clean. Have been for the past two years. The journey’s been a strange one. I’ve lived on the streets, in squats, shelters and prison. I’ve begged, stolen and mugged. I found god once and then lost him again somewhere on the A13 near Whitechapel ( long story).

Sorry for taking the money out of the tin. I left with nothing but the clothes I had on. I had no idea where I was going or how I’d get there. The tin in the food cupboard had exactly seven pounds and thirty six pence in it. I took it for bus fare. Two pounds of it got me as far as Canning Town. I spent the rest on half a bottle of scotch. The next day I hitch hiked all the way to Hammersmith. I slept under the flyover for more than a year.
Sorry for all the shit you must have taken from your family. I knew they didn’t like me, that was obvious. They must have seen us as we really were back then. A couple of fucked up junkies. Me, the instigator of everything and you being pulled along with blinkers on. I can only imagine how many times your Mum and Dad said “You’re better off without him.” That must have been hell for you.

There are a million other things that I’m sorry for and I’d like to tell you face to face.
I’m close Jen. Real close.

By the time you read this letter I’ll be almost there. You may hate me and that’s fine. But if there’s a chance…even a slim one. Then I’ll take it.
Even if it’s just to say hello and give my boy a hug. Then that’s also fine.
Jen, remember when we first met and I would go out with the lads and say I’d be home late?
Remember what you always said to me? About leaving the lights on?
So, give me a clue. Leave the light on in the front room. If it’s on. I’ll knock. If not I’ll just walk away. Either way, I’ll understand.
Only one thing has kept me going through these twelve years. The thought of one day getting back to you and our boy.
Please Jen, leave the light on.

Rob.

And here’s the reply…

 

Dear Robert,

Your letter was forwarded onto me by the new tenants of Jenny’s old flat.
I have read it and notice that you say “sorry” eleven times. Thank you for that.
Jenny’s father and I are also sorry.
Sorry that we had to watch her fall apart after you left, just six weeks before the baby was due.

Sorry that we had to console her night after night because of her panic attacks and the relentless paranoia that she suffered. You were right about the crying. She never stopped.
Sorry that we had to call for an ambulance when she tried to take her own life by overdosing on the stuff you left behind.
Sorry that our beautiful grandson was called a “crack baby” and only survived three days after the birth. We called him Steven. The name Robert was never even up for discussion.
Sorry that you had such a hard time living rough. Jenny also had a bit of a rough time. After Steven died she became withdrawn and had to receive professional help. She spent a year in a Psychiatric Hospital and was forever dependant on medication. We visited her every day.
We’re also sorry that you couldn’t find the time to write or call her just to let her know that you were okay. She would have loved that. In the end she was convinced that you were dead and when that happened she just couldn’t bear to carry on.
Jenny passed away eleven months ago. We thought she was over it, but she hid her illness well. The Police contacted us early one Sunday morning. I won’t go into detail, but the Thames can be very cold in February.
You mention us in your letter and you are right. We always thought she could do better than you.

But you were her choice and we would have done what we could to see you both through your addiction. In fact on the day you left we were coming over to try to convince you to get help. We would have paid for any treatment you needed, but I suppose you had better ideas.
On the plus side, the letter you sent has answered one question that always troubled us. For ten years her electricity bill at the flat was enormous. Now we know why she kept every light on in the house twenty four hours a day.

Goodbye Robert.

 

 

 

Payback. 14 (Final)

pay-back

Two years earlier Frank McGinley attended an Islington Chamber Of Commerce dinner. It was there that he met the leader of Hackney Council, Ian Morgan. They soon discovered they had something in common, Paul Fletcher.

Ian Morgan confided in McGinley that he and Fletcher had an “Altercation” during a card game a few years previous. He never went into detail but implied that he had a deep dislike of Paul Fletcher.

This was music to McGinleys ears, especially when he found out that Councillor Morgan was the cousin of the Shadow Home Secretary.

For the next twelve months they met weekly for lunch and became firm friends. Morgan was ambitious and new that he would need the support of local business men if he was to stand for MP at the next election. McGinley promised to support him both publically and financially but he needed something in return.

He told Morgan about Terry Murphy and what Fletcher had done to him. Morgan agreed to speak with his cousin and see if an early release could be arranged.

McGinley also knew that Tom Marks controlled Fletchers finances. He had him followed and hey presto found out that Marks and Fletchers wife met once a week at a Hotel in Ilford where they took a room under the name of Venables.

McGinley paid Tom a visit one afternoon and told him he knew about the affair. It didn’t take Tom Marks long to switch sides. Not just because he didn’t want the affair to be exposed but because secretly he hated being bullied by Fletcher. McGinley was a business man not a bully. He’d worked hard to build his empire, Fletcher had just taken his from Murphy.

Tom told McGinley about DCI Cornwell, he gave Frank McGinley evidence that Cornwell was on the take, payment details into a secret Bank Account that Cornwell had.

Cornwell was paid a visit by McGinley and his sons. His choice was clear. Work for the Irish or face ruin. Again it was an easy choice. Cornwell disliked Fletcher with every ounce of his being, he was tired of being spoken to like a piece of shit, tired also of having to jump whenever Fletcher rang, tired of having to answer to his every whim.

McGinley told them all to act normal until he called them. He said it may take a while, maybe even a year.

Fourteen months later Terry Murphy was released from prison and the plan went into action.

————————————————————————————————————————————

 Tom Marks received a call from Frank McGinley. The call was short just two words.

“It’s done.”

Tom excitedly made a call to Paul Fletcher’s wife Jenny, in Portugal. She answered the phone.

“Hi babe, it’s me.”

“Any news yet?”

“Yes, it’s done. Frank McGinley  just called and confirmed, it’s over Jen.”

There was a silence, then Jenny spoke quietly.

“Is everything in place, you know, sorted?”

“Yep, Paul unknowingly  signed the will along with a load of other documents a week ago, he leaves everything to you, the deal is that you sell all the businesses to McGinley at a fair price, but you keep all the properties that Paul owned.”

“What about me and you?”

“We’ll have to wait a while babe till everything settles down, then we can move on.”

“So what happens now?”

“Well, in a short while, you’ll get a call from Cornwell telling you about the sad demise of Paul, he’ll say that it looks like Paul had too much to drink and fell into the large hole that was being dug for the swimming pool, he smashed his head on the hard-core at the bottom, you’ll be all upset and fly home, there’ll be an inquest of course but I’m assured by everyone concerned that it will come out as accidental death.”

“I love you Tom Marks.”

“Love you too Jen.”

Tom Marks smiled, he suddenly realised that he had finally got rid of that bullying prat Paul Fletcher, no more having to kiss his arse every time he called, no longer having to bite his lip every time he called him a cunt. In a years’ time he would leave his wife and kids and move in with Jenny. He’d strike a deal with his wife and she and the kids would want for nothing. He was also confident that Jenny would take on board Paul’s son Billy. She’d always known about Pauls other women, especially Kathy, oh yes, she knew all about Kathy.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

 It actually took eighteen months for everything to be sorted.

Paul Fletcher’s death was accidental. The coroner determined that Paul Fletcher had been upset by the death of his lover Kathy Jenkins. He’d was driven home from the hospital by one of his employees who confirmed that he had been distraught and was acting in a confused way. He had returned to an empty house where he had then drank approximately 40 cls of alcohol, more than half a bottle of whiskey, he had wandered into the garden and fallen into the large hole being dug for the swimming pool, the drop was twelve feet and he had landed head first onto the hard-core causing massive head injuries. Two of his employees who were sitting outside confirmed that no one had entered or left the building at this time. There was no CCTV footage as for some unknown reason the system wasn’t working that day.

It was thought that Ross King, a well-known drug dealer, was the victim of a contract killing, another dealer had recently been released from prison and many eye witnesses had confirmed that the two of them had had an argument in the Oporto Public house in East London just days before. Terry Murphy was the main suspect and it was thought that he had fled the country and was now living abroad.

Jenny Fletcher sold all Paul’s business interests to Mr Frank McGinley, a well- known and respected business man from North London. He made her a very generous offer of £2.4m, which she gratefully accepted. Mister McGinley also agreed to keep on all of Paul Fletcher’s employees, they were extremely grateful for his gesture. Jenny kept all of Paul’s property portfolio.

Tom Marks left his wife and two children and moved in with Paul’s widow, Jenny Fletcher, she had relied on him heavily during the inquest and a relationship blossomed, they planned to live six months in England and six months in Portugal. Jenny was distraught when she found out that Paul had a love child called Billy, but after finding out that his mother had been killed in a vicious attack and that Billy was now an orphan, she decided the most decent thing to do was for him to live with her and Tom, they adopted Billy.

DCI Cornwell was promoted to Detective Superintendent twelve months after Paul Fletcher’s death. The promotion was gained due to his relentless work in fighting organised crime in Central London. One of his biggest supporters in gaining promotion was Councillor Ian Morgan.

Councillor Morgan became Labour’s representative for Hackney in the recent by-election after the mysterious death of the previous representative. Councillor Morgan won the election and became Member of Parliament for Hackney; one of his biggest donations came from businessman Mr Frank McGinley.

Mr Ian Morgan M.P. never forgot the day he played cards with Paul Fletcher all those years ago when he was just a lowly surveyor on the council.

Payback. 13

pay-back

Tom Marks was in his office. He dialled a number on his mobile. A woman answered.

“Tom?”

He repeated the same two words that he’d just received from a previous call.

“It’s happening.”

There was a short silence before the woman spoke again.

“When?”

Tom knew he needed to be careful. Things could still go wrong and the consequences for them both would not be catastrophic.

“Today.”

Again there was a silence. Then the woman whispered.

“Love you.”

Tom hung up the phone. Years of planning were about to pay off.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Paul Fletcher was in a state of shock. The only woman he had ever really loved was gone. He desperately needed to talk to Ross but he wasn’t answering his phone. He had to get home, clear his head, think, organise, plan the next move. He needed fucking Ross! He dialled the number again. It just rang and rang.

He called Tony, one of the boys in the Range Rover outside the house. Tony answered.

“Yes boss?”

“I’m at Queens, main entrance, come and get me.”

“What about the house?”

“Fuck the house, just come and get me!”

“Okay, I’ll leave John here, I’m on my way.”

Within ten minutes Tony pulled up outside the hospital, he could see Paul Fletcher clearly, sitting on a bench, he pushed down hard on the horn, everyone looked at him except Paul, he was still looking down at the floor. He beeped the horn again, still no reaction. He got out of the cab and walked over to Paul.

“Boss, it’s me, Tony, let’s go.”

Paul looked up at him with an almost vacant look.

“Tony?”

“Yes boss, come on let’s go.”

Paul stood up and walked slowly to the Range Rover, Tony opened the door for him and he slipped slowly onto the back seat.

“You okay boss?”

“Yeh just take me home.”

Paul rang Ross’s number again. This time it was answered. He didn’t wait to hear a voice, he was just relieved to speak with Ross. Immediately he slipped back into character.

“Where the fuck have you been you cunt, been trying to get hold of you for ages.”

“It’s not Ross Paul, it’s me, Cornwell.”

“Where’s Ross, been arrested or something, I’ll kill that cunt when I get hold of him.”

“Someone’s beaten you to it Paul, he’s dead, Ross is dead.”

Only one word came out of Paul Fletchers mouth.

“Cuuuuuuuuuuunts!”

He screamed the word over and over again at the top of his voice. Tony almost jumped out of his seat at the front of the Range Rover. He pulled over, switched the engine off and turned to see Paul still saying the same word over and over again.  Paul had tears streaming down his face, a face that was now a strange shade of purple. His eyes were bulging and staring at nothing. Still the words kept coming until suddenly he was just mouthing them with no sound.

“Boss, boss, calm down, what’s the matter, what’s happened?”

Paul said nothing, just slumped back in his seat. Tony could see something was wrong, he’d seen Paul in many moods before but this was different, he was worried.

“Right I’m getting you home, I’ll call Ross, he’ll know what to do, he’ll sort out whatever’s wrong Boss, don’t you worry.”

Paul didn’t move, he simply stared into space.

Tony started up the Range Rover and sped away. He dialled Ross, it rang for ages but no answer. He then called John who was at the house. John answered after one ring.

“Yes mate?”

Tony whispered into the phone.

“Look, I’ve got the Boss in the car, he’s acting fucking weird mate, I’m bringing him home, I think you should clear the place, get rid of the workmen, no one should see him in this state.”

“Have you called Ross?”

“I’ve tried but no answer, can you try for me, I’ll be with you in ten minutes.”

“Okay.”

John did as he was told, the workmen were given their orders to fuck off for the rest of the day and by the time that Tony and Paul arrived at the house the place was deserted apart from John sitting outside as usual. Tony flashed his lights and John flashed back, all was as it should be.

Tony parked the car in the drive at the front of the house. Paul hadn’t moved or said anything all the way back. Tony got out of his car and walked over to John.

“What’s going on?”

Tony ignored the question.

“Did you get hold of Ross?”

“No, his phone just rings and rings. What the fuck’s going on?”

Tony shook his head.

“I’m not sure. The boss has had some kind of attack or something,  he’s completely out of it, we need to get him into the house.”

The two men returned to the Range Rover and Tony opened the back door. He was expecting to see Paul still slumped in his seat. Instead Paul was sitting upright, still flushed in the face but looking as mad as hell. Once again Paul Fletcher was back in character.

“Who the fuck you looking at? Wanker.”

“Err no one Boss, just helping you out of the car.”

“What am I some sort of cripple or something, get out of the fucking way”

He barged  past Tony and headed to the back of the house towards the garden. He turned the key in the large glass double doors and went into the snooker room. He went straight to the cabinet took out a bottle of malt and poured until the glass was full. He downed it in one, he shook his head, he needed to think, get things clear in his mind. He paced up and down the room talking aloud.

“Okay, Murphy has been out less than 72 hours, Danny is dead, Ross is dead, and Kathy is dead. How the fuck can he be responsible for all of that, he’s been away for six fucking years, yet somehow he comes out and starts to destroy my firm, impossible, he needs help, powerful help, he has to be teamed up with someone.”

He poured himself another glass full of scotch and drank it straight down.

“So it has to be that he’s teamed up with the Irish. They’re the ones he ran to when he came out, they’re the ones that have looked after him, it has to be them. But why now, why would Frank McGinley want to take over now, he did nothing when I got rid of Tony Conlan, he knew it was me but did nothing. So why now and why with Murphy. And…where the fuck is Murphy?”

He stopped talking and stared straight ahead. Maybe it was the Scotch kicking in but it was as though someone had suddenly turned a light bulb on in his head.

“Fuck!”

He dialled a number on his phone. A gruff voice answered.

“Yeh?”

“I’ve dealt with you for a long time, yeh?”

“Yeh?”

“I’ve always been true to my word, always given you what you’ve asked for, yeh?”

“Yeh?”

“So why you treating me like a cunt?”

“Woooah, no way Paul, we’ve always have a good business relationship.”

“So when I asked you to do a job for me and at first you said you would, then later you tell me that you couldn’t because of the Irish, that was true, yeh?”

“Err Yeh.”

“But that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t do the same job FOR the Irish, it just meant you couldn’t do the job for me, right?”

There was a silence. Paul continued.

“I’ll make it easy for you, okay, for ten grand, just say yes or no, the job that you couldn’t do for me involving a certain person who has just returned after helping out her Majesty’s Government in the mailbag sowing department, you COULD have done for the Irish a few hours ago?”

There was a long pause.

“Yes.”

“You’ll have the money by noon tomorrow, we never had this conversation, okay?”

“Okay.”

Paul hung up. At long last things began to make sense. He poured out another scotch and once again spoke aloud to himself.

“So Frank McGinley plays the long game. He waits for Terry Murphy to be released from prison before he makes his move. He knows that I’ll be watching Murphy closely so takes him under his wing, this way he can control his every move.  When Danny gets taken out, I obviously think it’s Murphy. Then the attack on Kathy, once again I think Murphy’s behind it.  Then Murphy goes missing and within hours Ross is dead. Once again I’m supposed to think it’s Murphy. But now I know the truth. Murphy was killed early this morning so it can’t be him. It has to be the Irish.”

He took a deep breath, and poured himself another drink. He stared at the green baize of the snooker table almost trance like. He was deep in thought. He needed to act quickly, get to McGinley as fast as possible, difficult without Ross, but he still had a number of good boys who could handle the situation.

Outside, a Black Range Rover with the same licence plates as Ross’s was flashing its lights once to John and Tony. Tony sighed in relief.

“Thank fuck, Ross is here.”

They flashed their lights back and opened the large electronic gates. The Range Rover pulled into the driveway. A large man got out and headed for the back garden. Maybe it was the Scotch or maybe Paul Fletcher was so consumed with grief, anger and revenge that he wasn’t aware of the CCTV screens showing the gates opening and the car parking in the driveway.

 He never saw his killer. He felt an impact on the back of his head, it pushed him down hard into the chair, he tried to stand but his legs wouldn’t move, his vision became blurred, he tried to speak but the words seemed to jumble in his head. He was aware of being dragged by his arms through the double doors, it felt cold, all he could see was the clear blue sky. Then he was falling, he was aware of landing but felt nothing. It was quiet, tranquil, slowly his eyes closed and the dark took over.

Two minutes later the Black Range Rover pulled out of the driveway.

 

Payback. 12

pay-back

Before Paul Fletcher made his way to the Intensive Care ward he stopped to get a coffee from Costa’s in the main reception area. He was standing in line waiting to place his order when his phone rang. He looked at the name that came up. It was “Jenny” his wife. He answered it.

“Yeh?”

“Oh that’s nice, haven’t heard from you in four days and all you can say is Yeh!”

“What do you want me to fucking say?”

“How about, how are you? How are the girls? What’s the weather like? That would be a start.”

“Okay, how are you? How are the girls? What’s the weather like?”

“Fuck you.”

She hung up, even quicker than he could.

He took the lift up to the third floor and then pushed the buzzer to get into the ward. He put sanitizing gel on his hands and made his way along the corridor towards where Kathy’s room was. He could see a lot of commotion, people seemed to be running in all directions, he could sense urgency even panic. He started to walk faster until he was running. Something was wrong, very wrong. He heard a voice.

“Mister Fletcher, Mister Fletcher, you can’t go in there.”

Paul stood frozen facing Kathy’s door, as much as he wanted to go inside, something deep inside him told him not to. He turned to face the voice.

“Mister Fletcher, Kathy condition has worsened. They’re doing all they can.”

He stood still, for the first time in his life, he didn’t know what to do. He sat down on a seat outside the room. He looked up at the Doctor.

“She can’t die, I’m Paul Fletcher.”

“As I said sir, they’re doing all they can.”

The Doctor returned to Kathy’s room. Paul sat there with his head in his hands, a thousand thoughts going through his head, none of them making any sense, he couldn’t seem to put anything in order, he couldn’t prioritise what he needed to do next. He should call Ross, yeh, Ross would know what to do. Before he could dial the number, he noticed there was a man in a white coat standing in front of him, he seemed to be saying something, but Paul couldn’t make sense of it. He closed his eyes and shook his head as though he was clearing his brain of all thoughts and confusion. That was better, he could hear the man now. Then he heard the words.

“I’m so sorry Mister Fletcher, we did all we could but…”

He didn’t hear anymore, he just put his head back in his hands and started to cry.

He stood up, he needed to get out of there, he needed to be somewhere else, he needed to escape.

He wiped his face with his hands.

“Mister Fletcher are you okay?”

The man in the white coat was still there.

“Err yes, just need to get some air”

“I understand sir, take your time, can I call anyone for you?”

Paul was already at the end of the corridor as the Doctor’s last words were spoken. He pressed the buzzer and headed towards the lift. There were a crowd of people outside the lift, he couldn’t wait so he headed for the stairs, he raced down the four flights and entered the main reception, from there he ran out into the car park. He gasped and drank in the fresh air trying to catch his breath. Ross, he had to call Ross. He dialled the number, but for the first time ever, Ross never answered.

 

Forty five minutes earlier Ross had dropped off Paul at Queens. As he drove away  he was completely unaware of the motorbike that was parked just a few yards away in one of the Ambulance Only bays outside the hospital. His mind was on other things. He congratulated himself on his new promotion. It wouldn’t be long before he too had his luxury house in Emerson Park and his family wanted for absolutely nothing.

Two people mounted the bike, both wearing full motorcycle leathers and black helmets. It started up and followed Ross through the barriers and onto the main Road.

 After driving along the road for ten minutes, Ross took a right turn into a quiet tree lined street. He was now only a few minutes from home. He looked in the rear view mirror and saw the motorbike just about to overtake him. He swore out loud.

“Slow down you wankers, we’re going past a fucking school.”

The motorbike drew alongside and as it did so Ross turned to give them some abuse. The passenger on the bike seemed to be pointing something at him, for the first time in his life Ross was slow to react. He saw the side window smash and then felt his face sting and burn, then everything in Ross’s world went silent and seemed to happen in slow motion. He was hit with three shots, one full in the face the other two in his neck. The car swerved to the left, hitting three parked cars and then finally coming to a stop as it hit a tree. The driver’s door opened.

Ross, still alive, released his seat belt and crashed onto the pavement. He crawled a full ten metres before life left him. His phone started to ring. It was Paul Fletcher.

The Motorbike roared away, back along the quiet street and then onto the busy main road.

Frank McGinley was sitting in a Kilburn bar having coffee with two of his sons when his mobile rang. He took the call, listened and smiled. Before he put the phone back in his pocket he made two calls. Both were short. The first was answered on the first ring. McGinley spoke slowly and precicesly.

“It’s done. Get his phone and answer only to Fletcher. Ignore all other calls.”

The second was even shorter. McGinley said only two words.

“It’s happening.”

He called over to the barman.

“A bottle of your finest Champagne please sir.”

He then turned to his two sons.

“I know it’s a bit early boys, but let’s leave the coffee and have a drop of something cold and fizzy. A  celebration is called for, things are finally coming together.”

 

Payback. 11

pay-back

Paul Fletcher paced up and down the long snooker room like a caged animal in a third world Zoo. Ross was busy organising the teams of men to go to the Morgue in East Ham and Murphy’s family home in Poplar. The message to them was clear and simple, find Murphy and bring him in.

Paul needed to rant at someone so he called Tom Marks his Solicitor. Tom answered the call on its first ring.

“Morning Paul, you’re early, what’s up?”

“Fuck me Tom, where do you want me start, once again it seems no one can do their fucking job properly, including you!”

Tom went silent for a second then spoke softly. The last thing he wanted at this time was a row with Paul Fletcher.

“Hold on a minute Paul, what’s happened now? I’m representing Craig, that should all be okay, he’ll get bail once he’s out of hospital, I heard about Murphy’s brother and spoken to Cornwell about it, that’s also sorted, some drugged up scumbag did it and then overdosed on the proceeds, that case will be closed in a few days, so now I’m just waiting for Murphy’s brief to call and set up a meet for you two.”

“What you obviously don’t know you soppy cunt, is that Terry Murphy has disappeared off the face of the fucking earth.”

There was another pause. Tom sounded surprised.

“What? When? I thought he was with McGinley.”

“Last night. I just spoke with McGinley and his guys lost Murphy sometime during the night and now no one knows where the cunt is, so I need you to call his brief and find out where he is so we can sort this out.”

Tom changed the subject.

“I heard about Kathy, terrible thing to happen, is Cornwell on the case?”

“He’s about as useful as a fucking chocolate tea pot.”

“Look, I’ll talk to Cornwell and see if he needs any help and then call Murphy’s brief and find out if he knows anything, okay?”

Paul had already hung up.

The workmen had begun to arrive at the house and the diggers were being started up. Every single one of them had to produce their I.D cards to John and Tony outside in the Range Rover before they were allowed onto the grounds.

Paul looked over at Ross.

“Make fucking sure John and Tony are on the ball today, there’s gonna be a lot of workmen on site finishing the dig.”

Ross looked surprised.

“Whooah, just a minute. I only do the gear. John and Tony take instructions from you, remember?

Paul smiled.

“Not any more. You’ve proved yourself in the past few days so I’m moving you up. When this is all over and we’ve taken North London, I want you to run it for me. The boys respect you and you’re loyal. So let’s get Murphy first, then we’ll sort out the Irish. You’ll be earning more money than you’ll know what to do with it. Deal?”

Paul stuck out his hand for Ross to shake. Ross did so enthusiastically.

“Cheers Paul. Right, I’ll get things organised.”

Ross made a call to the two men at the front of the house, then looked over at Paul.

“Okay, they know the drill, what now?”

“Take me back to the Hospital.”

Ross looked surprised, he wasn’t sure that was such a good idea.

“Why don’t you stay here Paul, just until we find Murphy, the Hospital will call you if there’s any change in Kathy, if there is, I’ll come and get you and then we can both go there, it’ll be safer here.”

Paul exploded with rage.

“Safe? there is no way that fucking Murphy is gonna keep me hiding indoors like some frightened kid whose afraid of the school bully, he’s the one who should be fucking worried, not me, I’ve shit bigger turds than him, so no, there is no fucking way that I’m gonna be staying cooped up like some fucking chicken.”

Ross shrugged his shoulders.

“Okay, okay, it’s your call, but you pay me for advice and that would be my advice, that’s all.”

Paul picked up mobile phone and keys  and stood there ready to leave.

“Let’s go!”

They left the snooker room by the big sliding doors that led into the gardens, then went round to the front of the house where Paul’s many cars were parked. Ross got into his Range Rover and Paul sat in the back.

Meanwhile, a tall, slim, get haired man in a white Doctors coat made his way into Queens Hospital from the Ambulance arrival area. His white coat was unbuttoned and underneath he wore a dark blue three piece suit with collar and tie. He looked every inch a senior consultant.

He walked along various corridors smiling at Nurses and junior doctors as he did so. One Nurse said good morning to him and he replied in his soft Irish accent.  He found the service lift and took it to the second floor. He followed the signs to the Intensive care ward. He waited outside for just a few seconds before one of the cleaning staff opened the security door that led to the ward. She smiled at him and even held the door open for him to enter. The ward was busy with Nurses going about their business. No one took any notice of him as he entered Room G2, the room with Kathy Martin inside.

Minutes later he re-appeared and made his way out of the building by the same route that he had entered. As he did so he took off his white coat and threw it into a large basket on wheels marked LAUNDRY. He walked along the pathway that led down to the main road where a silver Mercedes was waiting. He opened the back door and got in. There were two men sitting in the front of the car. They said nothing. The only words spoken were by the grey haired man. Who simply said.

“Job done.”

The car drove away.

Fifteen minutes later Ross pulled up outside Queens Hospital in Romford. Paul got out at the main entrance and walked through the doors and into the busy reception. He and Ross hadn’t spoken all the way there.

Ross sat there for a few moments deciding whether to go and meet some of the other guys or go home and control things from there. He decided it would be best to go home, if Paul needed him he would only be twenty minutes away.

 

Payback. 10

pay-back

Ross picked up Paul from the hospital at 7.30am. He’d spent the night asleep in a chair beside Kathy. She’d had a peaceful night and was no worse, but the Doctor had warned him that her situation was still critical and the next few days would be crucial. She was in an induced coma so that her body could relax and help the healing process. But there were risks associated with it and things could change very quickly. Paul didn’t listen to what those risks could be, he didn’t want to think about losing her. He had business to attend to. Ross took him back to the house so he could shower and change.

The two boys were outside in the Range Rover as usual, Ross flashed his lights once, they flashed back, everything was okay.

Paul was silent all the way back, Ross knew not to make conversation with him when he was in this kind of mood.

He waited in the snooker room while Paul got changed, he picked up the battered old mobile that was in pieces on the floor, recovered the SIM card, then went to the cupboard below the scoreboard and took out another handset. He placed the SIM in the new phone. Almost immediately it rang. It was Cornwell.

“Paul, is that you?”

“No it’s Ross, what’s up?”

Cornwell hesitated before speaking.

“Terry Murphy’s gone, disappeared. No one knows where he is.”

“Slow down, slow down, what do you mean disappeared?”

Cornwell continued.

“I had a car with two men watching the Radisson, half an hour ago the McGinley boys left but without Murphy, my guys asked at reception if the room was still occupied and they said that the room was now vacant and that the bill had been settled.”

Ross was confused.

“So where the fuck’s Murphy?”

“I don’t know Ross, that’s what I’m saying, he’s gone.”

Ross shouted down the phone.

“You stupid cunt, Paul’s gonna go apeshit. You were supposed to be keeping an eye on him, now go away, do your job and fucking find him.”

Cornwells voice was shaky.

“I will, I will, I’m on it.”

Paul walked into the room just as Ross hung up.

“Who was that?”

Ross told him straight out.

“Cornwell, Murphy’s gone missing.”

Ross told Paul word for word what Cornwell had said, he could see the anger beginning to build in Pauls face.

“I told him not to fuck up, I told him if he fucked up I’d fuck him up and what’s he done? He’s fucked up!”

Ross tried to calm the situation down.

“Okay, let’s think about it Paul, he won’t come here, too much security, he’d be committing suicide if he took a step anywhere near here, he’s on his own now don’t forget, no brother and it looks like no Frank McGinley .”

Paul sat down and stared out at the garden deep in thought. A few seconds later he dialled a number on the old mobile. Frank McGinley answered.

“Good morning Paul, I was about to ring you but thought it might still be a bit early and you may be at the Hospital. My condolences by the way, terrible thing to happen to the lass. I’ve sent some flowers over and I sincerely hope she soon makes a complete recovery. It goes without saying Paul that I will do everything I can to help find the bastards that did it.”

Paul bit his lip, he knew how McGinley worked, all smiles and kindness but it was all front, he knew he hated his guts.

“Thanks Frank, what’s happening with Terry Murphy?”

“Well that was the main reason I wanted to call you, apparently my boys woke up this morning and he’d gone, left during the night it seems. He kept on about wanting to see his dead brother at the morgue and wanting to be with his parents at this time. Obviously my boys tried to talk him out of it but when they got up this morning he was gone.”

Paul didn’t believe a word.

“Okay Frank, if you hear anything you’ll let me know yeh?”

“Of course I will Paul, sooner we get this mess cleared up the better.”

McGinley only got half of his last sentence spoken before Paul hung up. He paced up and down the room for a good two minutes before he sat back down.

“Something’s not right Ross. Frank McGinley looks after Terry Murphy as soon as he’s released from prison. He says it’s because they’re old friends and Murphy feels as though he needs protection. He wants to protect him so much that he takes him away from his family and puts him up in a nice Hotel in Docklands, where he has men guarding him night and day. Good men, loyal men, one of them his own fucking son. So why would they take their eye off him and let him walk out in the middle of the night? It makes no sense. There is no way that Frank McGinley would let Terry Murphy just walk away, not now, not with everything that’s going on.”

Ross agreed.

“So what, they’ve hidden him somewhere to make sure he’s really safe? I mean everyone knew he was at The Radisson so maybe they thought we would make a move on him there?”

Paul wasn’t convinced.

“No way.  He’s on the seventh floor. There’s bound to be at least one guy standing guard outside, then there’s another two inside with Murphy. Knowing McGinley he’d probably have some guys close by as well. Even I’m not stupid enough to take all that on just to get to Murphy and McGinley would know that. No, there’s something else, something we’re missing.”

They both sat in silence for a few seconds then Paul stood up.

“Right, let’s say that he has gone awol, we need to find him. Send someone to his Mums house and someone to the morgue at East Ham. I don’t want that cunt on the streets a minute longer than necessary.”

Twenty two miles away In Kilburn, Frank put down the phone. His son Malachi was with him. Frank looked over at his son.

“Did I ever tell you about Tony Conlan?”

“No Da.”

“Tony Conlan worked for me for years, he was a good man, loyal to the cause, raised a lot of money for me to send back home. One day he went missing, last seen in Hackney. Now as you know Hackney is where East meets North. Seems Tony had strayed into East without realising and was taking a few coppers from a snooker club there. Now this could have been settled quite easily between me and Mister Fletcher. I would have apologised for Tony’s ignorance and paid him anything he thought he was owed. But no, Tony went missing, body never found. Mister Fletcher said he had nothing to do with it but he’s not a man of honour so I never believed him.”

“When was this Da?”

Frank thought for a few seconds then continued.

“Four, maybe five years ago, I was in no rush then to have my day, but now I think it’s time.”

“So what’s going to happen now Da?”

Frank smiled.

“There is a plan at work here son. A very intricate plan that involves many parties. So far that plan has gone very, very well.  Paul Fletcher is about to experience real pain for the first time in his miserable life. “

He paused in mid sentence before continuing.

“Time to make an important call.”

He picked up his phone and dialled a number.

“Hello Councillor Morgan, how are you today?”

“Very well Mister McGinley, how is your latest business acquisition coming along, well I hope?”

“Very well indeed, there have been a few developments in the past few hours and I’m happy to report that the other things we discussed will be happening very soon. All things are pointing to a successful conclusion.”

“I am very pleased to hear that, and as always thank you for your continued support.”

Councillor Morgan put down the phone. He smiled and stroked his chin, he had come a long way in the past few years. From a humble Council Surveyor to leader of Hackney Council and if things went to plan, he would be in line to stand for Labour at the next general election. And with  McGinleys support and influence he would soon have the position he craved.

Payback. 9

pay-back

The car park at Asda was busy at seven oclock, but not by the re-cycling bins. They were situated  as far away as possible from the main entrance, so no one parked there.

Ross and Paul were parked up in the Range Rover waiting for DCI Cornwell. Ross looked at Pauls bandaged right hand and thought this would be a good time to find out EXACTLY what Paul was thinking.

“So what’s our next move? What do you want with Cornwell?”

Pauls answer was swift and to the point.

“I worry about his loyalty. I think sometimes he just pays lip service but secretly he’s got his own agenda. If we’re about to make a move for North London then I need to know he’s on our side. And…he needs to understand the consequences if he’s not.”

The seven oclock news started on the radio. Paul shook his head.

“He’s late, I pay the cunt a fortune and he’s late.”

Ross looked at his watch.

“Relax, It’s only just seven , give him a break.”

Paul was having none of it.

“I’ll give him a break alright; I’ll break his fucking nose if he doesn’t hurry up.”

A black Mondeo pulled up alongside. Cornwell got out and opened the back door of the Range Rover and made himself comfortable on the back seat.

“So Paul, what’s the plan, why the meet?”

Paul said nothing, just stared straight ahead. Ross did the talking.

“Did you find the scag head?”

“Yeh, he was brown bread, overdosed but had all the evidence on him, so the case will be closed within a day or so, no need to look any further, job done.”

Ross nodded.

“Good. Now what about Murphy?”

Cornwell tried to crack a joke.

“What the dead one or the other one?”

 Paul turned round slowly and glared at Cornwell.

“Don’t be smart you cunt, Terry Murphy, what’s happening with him?”

Cornwell felt as though his bowels were about to explode, he knew the look, he’d seen it before with Fletcher, normally just before he went berserk.

“No, Paul, I meant nothing by it, just wondered what Murphy you were talking about, anyway, Terry is in the Radisson on the island, Frank’s son Malachi is looking after him, they’re keeping him safe just in case.”

Paul frowned.

“In case of what?”

Again Cornwell wasn’t sure what to say.

“Err I suppose in case someone tries to get at him?”

Again Paul frowned.

“Like me?”

There was a silence. Ross broke it.

“Make sure we know everything that happens with Terry Murphy, as soon as he’s on the move, you let us know, okay?”

“Yeh sure Ross, we’ve got two guys watching the hotel, so as soon as we know, you’ll know.”

Paul leaned over to Cornwell, his face now only inches away.

“And keep your eyes on Frank McGinley, he’s planning something, so I need to be kept up to date on his every move. You call me if you think something is going down. You understand me?”

Cornwell swallowed hard.

“Yes Paul.”

Ross pressed a button on the dashboard and the door next to Cornwell opened. Paul had the last word.

“ Don’t fuck this up Cornwell, if you do, I’ll fuck you up, badly. Now fuck off.”

Cornwell got out of the car. Ross and Paul drove away.

Paul looked at Ross.

“He is such a cunt.”

“Yeh but he’s a useful cunt sometimes!”

The two of them laughed.

Paul went back to the Hospital, Kathy was still no better but also no worse. He stayed the night and fell asleep in the waiting room. Ross went home to his house in Upminster to see his wife and Kathy’s son Billy.

At five thirty the next morning Terry Murphy made his way down the back stairs of the Radisson Hotel and into a waiting car, beside him was Malachi McGinley.

“Soon have this sorted out Mister Murphy, then we can all get back to normal, but just in case.”

He handed Terry a gun and smiled.

“Take this. Best to be prepared.”

Terry Murphy felt relieved to be holding the hand gun.

“Thanks Mal, we all know what a slippery cunt that Fletcher is, where we meeting him?”

“At the old Spillers Building in Silvertown, it’ll be empty at this time of the morning and we’ve slipped the night security a few bob so there’s no one about, but it’s just the two of you that was the deal, we’ll drop you and wait.”

“What about your Dad, will he be there?”

Malachi reassured him.

“Yes Mister Murphy, he’ll be on the sidelines, but he won’t get involved, it’s between you and Fletcher, don’t worry, Dad won’t allow it to get out of hand.”

Terry felt comfortable. He knew that no one fucked with Frank McGinley, not even Paul Fletcher.

The car pulled into the old Spillers yard at the disused dockyard in Silvertown. Terry Murphy got out of the car and walked towards the old Warehouse.

A single shot hit him in the face, his cheekbone tore apart and the whole left side of his face collapsed. He was dead before he hit the ground.

 A white Transit Van pulled out of the old Spillers Warehouse. Two men got out, opened up the back doors, lifted up Terry Murphy’s lifeless body and bundled it into the Van. The Transit drove away from the deserted waste ground and headed towards North London.

Three hundred yards away a small middle aged man put a rifle into the boot of his car and drove away.

 

 

Payback. 8

pay-back

Paul sat outside the intensive care room, he wasn’t allowed in due to Kathy’s serious condition. He looked up and saw Ross walking towards him.

“It’s okay Paul, the baby’s fine, he’s at my house with the missus. How’s Kathy doing?”

Paul put his head in his hands and took a deep breath, he sat up.

“Not good, they say the next few hours are crucial, the cunts raped her then beat her with a fucking baseball bat, left it at the flat, can you believe that, a fucking baseball bat.”

Ross sat down beside him.

“Paul, we both know what this is about. Terry’s brother gets done at 2am and within four hours Kathy’s in intensive care. That’s no coincidence, we should leave it now, wipe our mouths and move on.”

Paul stood up, grabbed his chair and launched it down the corridor. His temper had erupted.

“Leave it, move on? Are you out of your fucking mind, my Kathy’s in there fighting for her life cos of Murphy and that Irish cunt and you want me to let it go? Fuck off this is just the start!”

He walked off towards the coffee machine. Ross went after him.

“Paul, just think about it, take some time, stay with Kathy, make sure she’s okay, then decide, that’s all I’m saying.”

Paul pushed the buttons on the machine, nothing happened, then he kicked it, nothing happened. His fist smashed into the glass frontage over and over again until it smashed. Ross decided it was better just to watch rather than get involved. Paul turned round to face Ross, his hand was a mess. Then true to form, just like all psychopaths, he switched from mad to normal.

“Okay, I’ll stay here for a while, you contact Cornwell, set up a meet for tonight somewhere safe, just the three of us. I’ll call Tom Marks.”

Ross turned to leave, as he walked towards the lifts he shouted back at Paul.

“Do yourself a favour, get that hand looked at while you’re waiting.”

Ross took the lift down to the ground floor and walked out of the main entrance. There were just two public telephones outside. They were both being used. He grabbed a guy by his shoulders and pulled him out of the booth.

“Sorry mate, emergency.”

He dialled a number.

“DCI Cornwell, how can I help?”

“I have some information for you, call me back on this number.”

Cornwell recognised Ross’s voice straightaway, he took down the number he was given, left his office and ran to the nearest public call box. He rang the number.

“It’s me, what’s happening. How is she?”

“She’s in a bad way, next couple of hours are crucial, I’ve persuaded Paul to stay with her for now, but he wants a meet tonight. Just the three of us. Asda car park in Limehouse at seven, by the re-cycling bins?”

“Okay, you know this is all because of Murphy’s brother don’t you, what the fuck was he thinking of? I’ll do my best to keep everyone out of it Ross, but fuck me it won’t be easy.”

Ross gave him some good news.

“Listen, go to 46 Bambridge Street in Poplar, you’ll find a scag head there, he’s got Murphy’s brothers watch, wallet and rings, that should take the heat away from the firm.”

Cornwell was surprised and relieved by this information.

“This scag head, is he dangerous?”

Ross laughed.

“Not any more, you don’t need back up, just a hearse.”

Ross hung up.

Upstairs on the fourth floor, Paul Fletcher was calling Tom Marks.

“Sorry to hear about Kathy, anything I can do?”

Paul ignored the comment.

“Did you speak to Murphy’s brief?”

“Yeh, just came off the phone to him, Murphy’s being looked after by Frank McGinley, apparently McGinley wants it settled without any bloodshed.”

Paul paused for a moment before answering. He decided against telling Tom Marks the truth. Instead he kept his temper hidden and remained calm.

“That’s what I want as well Tom, Murphy’s brother was nothing to do with me but I can understand that it doesn’t look good and I’m willing to accept that Kathy was just the subject of a vicious attack. So call him again and set up a meet for tomorrow, just the three of us. Me, Murphy and McGinley, somewhere neutral.”

Paul hung up. Looked at his hand and smiled. Ross was right, he needed to get it looked at, he was a fucking useless shot with his left hand.

Terry Murphy was in his suite at the Radisson Hotel in Canary Wharf, Frank’s son Malachi was with him. It was just after three o’clock in the afternoon.

“I’m so sorry for your loss Mister Murphy, your brother’s body has been taken to the morgue at East Ham, I,ve just heard that the Police have also found the body of a young man, a known drug offender with a history of violent crime, he had your brother’s watch and wallet on him.”

Terry Murphy didn’t say a word. He loved his younger brother more than anything in the world, now he was gone, killed for no reason, this fight was nothing to do with him. He sat quietly staring out of the sixth floor window that overlooked the Thames and the O2 centre. Malachi was sitting on a sofa behind him.

“I should go and see him.”

“Not possible Mister Murphy, dad wants you to stay here, it’s still too dangerous out there, but Dad’s working on something right now, then we can all go home.”

“I don’t care what the Police say, we all know it was Fletcher, I’m gonna take my time but I swear I am gonna kill him, slowly, I want him to look in my eyes and know it was me, I want to be the last person on this earth that he sees, I want it to be painful as well, I want him to know pain, just like I did when he shot me and left me for dead.”

Malachi nodded.

“All in good time Mister Murphy, Dad will sort everything out and then you can go see your brother.”

Malachi stood up and poured Terry a large scotch.

“Here, drink this, drop of the hard stuff to calm the nerves.”

Terry took the drink and drank it down in one. Then poured himself another.

Malachi’s mobile rang. The conversation was short. Just ten words spoken in a gruff voice.

“I’ll do it early tomorrow, get him at The Spillers site for six.”

Malachi looked over at Terry and smiled.

“Good news Mister Murphy, a meeting has been set up, we have to leave early in the morning.”

Terry Murphy took a deep breath and smiled. He was completely unaware of the beating that Kathy Martin had taken.