The Men In The Shadows ( Part 21 )

Jake. pic

For three years Jake shared a cell in Wandsworth with Terry Wells. Terry was in his forties and had a son the same age as Jake. They became best mates and Jake in some way became the son that Terry missed so badly. Likewise, Jake came to think of Terry as a bit of a father figure.
Terry was a martial arts fanatic and had represented Great Britain in Judo at the 1992 Olympics. He studied everything from Judo to Taekwondoe and in those three years taught Jake how to handle himself. No one messed with Terry in Wandsworth and after a short space of time, no one messed with Jake Roberts either.
Terry was serving fifteen years for arson, he burned down his own chip shop in Lewisham for the insurance money, unfortunately the fire spread and burned down another five shops. Terry had a business partner, Colin Brown. They had both agreed to burn down the shop and claim the insurance money but when it came to actually doing it Colin was nowhere to be seen. Terry was arrested after an anonymous “tip off”. Terry was sure it was Colin. He never once visited Terry in prison and never wrote either. When Terry’s wife came to visit she’d tell him about Colin, how he was now driving a big flash car, had bought a new house out in Kent, had opened up a number of Fish and Chip shops around the South East and was doing very well for himself.
Terry was convinced that Colin had been ripping him off for years. Colin did all the accounts and was always complaining that there was no money, yet Terry thought the shop was always busy. Yes, a few factories had closed in the area but it always seemed to have a steady trade. But Colin was adamant that they were losing money. He would say that the overheads were killing them and the price of fish had gone through the roof, then there was the maintenance on all the equipment, there was always a reason why there was no money. Terry was no business man and had no head for figures so he never questioned Colin about the accounts.
He told Jake all about it. Jake made him a promise, if he was out first he would pay Colin a “visit”
After three years they were separated and Jake was transferred to Chelmsford. After a couple of years he heard through the prison grapevine that Terry had a “misunderstanding” with a screw in Wandsworth. The “misunderstanding” ended up with the screw being hospitalised. No remand for Terry, he would have to serve his full fifteen, plus another three for the attack on the Prison Officer.
Jake knew where to find Colin, this being a Friday. Terry said that Colin was a creature of habit, every Friday at 09.00am he played squash then went to his office in Streatham for 11.00am. He would spend a couple of hours there then head off home. Terry said that Colin’s office was above a hairdressers shop in the High Road. Jake was taking a chance, he was hoping that Colin still had the office in Streatham. If he didn’t perhaps whoever had it now would have a forwarding address.
Jake worked out his route, underground to London Bridge then the over ground to Streatham. At ten thirty he was standing in a small park opposite a rundown hairdresser shop in the High Road called “Curl Up and Dye”. Jake crossed the road and took a closer look. There was a door next to the entrance to the hairdressers. Jake saw a sign above the buzzer. CB Associates. “Bingo” thought Jake, “looks like he’s still here.”
Jake walked back across the road, bought himself a newspaper and took a seat on a bench in the park where he could easily see the Salon. He estimated he could get there in about twenty seconds. At 11.20 a short grey haired man slowed as he approached the door to CB Associates. He took a key from him pocket and then placed it in the lock. By the time Colin’s key was about to turn, Jake was standing beside him.
Colin looked surprised to see someone standing so close.
“Can I help you with something?”
Jake smiled at Colin.
“Yes you can Colin. We need to have a chat.”
Jake pushed Colin into the entrance then shut the door behind them. They were in a narrow corridor with a steep flight of stairs in front of them.
Colin looked terrified.
“I don’t have any money, nothing is kept here, my partner will be here in a moment and he’s a karate expert.”
Jake couldn’t help but laugh.
“Colin, none of that statement is true and you know it. You DO keep money here and you no longer have a business partner, cos he’s doing fifteen in Wandsworth. That’s the reason I’m here.”
Colin went quiet. Jake could almost hear the wheels going round in his head.
Jake pushed him up the stairs and into a small room filled with paperwork. There was a desk and chair, two filing cabinets and a table with a kettle and cups and saucers on it.
“Sit down Colin. Let’s see if we can do this the easy way.”
Colin did as he was told and sat down in his office chair behind his desk. Jake sat down opposite.
“Okay, here’s the deal Colin, you have something I need and you’re going to give it to me, then we can all go home.”
Colin didn’t say a word. He just listened.
“In this office Colin you have a safe, it’s over there.”
Jake pointed to what looked like a table with a table cloth on it that touched the floor, on it was a tray with a kettle, teapot and two cups.
“You’re probably wondering how I know all this Colin. Well, it was your old mate Terry that told me. He said you hated Banks and kept a fair amount of cash in the safe in your office and to disguise the safe you covered it with a large tablecloth with cups and saucers on it.”
Colin went white. He started to panic.
“Look, Terry’s got this all wrong, I’m just waiting for him to come home then we can sit down and sort everything out.”
Jakes face showed no signs of emotion. He just stared hard at the man in front of him.
“Look, we both know that’s bollocks. Terry wants what you owe him now, not in a few year’s time.”
Colin was desperate.
“No, honestly, I’ve put some aside for him. I was going to give it to him when he came out, you know, as a bit of a thank you for not involving me.”
Jake grabbed Colin by the throat and started to squeeze.
“You grassed him up. He’s doing time because of you, now he wants his money.”
He let go. Colin was coughing and trying to get his breath. Jake stood up.
“Open it!”
Colin crawled over to the safe, took off the tray and tablecloth and knelt down beside it. He turned the dial a few times and the door opened. He put his hand inside and pulled out a bundle of twenty pound notes.
“There, take it.”
Jake had no idea how much was there. But it didn’t look like enough for Terry’s fifteen years.
“Just this Colin, for all those years and your freedom? No way.”
Colin shook his head and started to whine.
“Look, I’m not a rich man, I just have a few bob put away that’s all. You can’t take everything.”
Jake knelt down beside Colin and whispered in his ear.
“Yes I can Colin. Now empty the safe or we really are going to have a massive problem.”
Colin reached back into the safe and pulled out another two large bundles of cash. He handed them to Jake.
“That’s it, that’s all I’ve got, beat me up if you want, but that’s all there is!”
Jake walked over to the waste paper basket and emptied it on the floor. He took out the white plastic bin liner and put the cash inside.
“Thank you Colin, now I need you to make me a promise or I’m coming back and if I have to come back I’m going to hurt you, understand?”
Colin nodded.
“Terry Wells will be out in about five years. By that time he’ll be sixty. He’ll be an ex-con, no chance of a job, no pension, no prospects. You Colin, will be very generous when he comes out, you will give him a small part of your business. I’m thinking maybe two of the chip shops?”
Colin just sort of shrugged. Jake wasn’t impressed. He threw out his right arm with a snap and caught Colin sharply in the fleshy part of his left shoulder. Colin had never experienced this sort of pain before, it was a numbness that went through his bicep and then down into his forearm and then his hand. He suddenly thought he was having a stroke! He fell to the floor.
“That Colin, was for showing no respect, the nerves that control your whole arm are now in shock, I hit a pressure point that will make your right arm useless for another twenty minutes. If you like I can do the same to the other one, then perhaps your legs…”
“No No, please, I’ll do it, he can have the shops!”
“Thank you Colin, now just to make sure you don’t let me down, tomorrow you will visit your Solicitor and start the transfer of the two shops into Terry’s name. The weekly profit from those shops will go directly to Mrs Wells, understand?”
Colin nodded his head in agreement.
“Don’t disappoint me Colin, in one week’s time I will speak with Mrs Wells, if she doesn’t tell me that your Solicitor has been in touch, I’m coming back, it might be here, it might be your nice new house in Kent, it might even be the Squash Club, but I’ll turn up somewhere Colin and things will get ugly not just for you but for ALL your family.”
With that Jake walked out of the room, down the stairs and into the busy High Street. He saw a black cab coming up the road and flagged him down. He gave the driver an address. Twenty minutes later he was outside a small terraced house in Tooting. He got out of the cab and told the cabbie to wait. He walked up the pathway of a very small but neat and tidy front garden. He rang the doorbell. A few seconds later a petite woman in her early fifties opened the door.
“Yes?”
“Hi, I’m Jake Roberts. I was with Terry in Wandsworth.”
The woman gave Jake a big warm welcoming smile.
“Jake, how lovely to meet you, Terry speaks about you all the time, come in.”
“No it’s okay Mrs Wells, I can’t stop I just need to give you something.”
Jake handed her the white plastic bin liner, with two bundles of cash in.
“This is a gift from Colin Brown. He said it’s what he owed Terry.”
Mrs Wells looked in the bag and put her hand to her mouth.
“How…?”
“It’s fine Mrs Wells. Just let Terry know from me that all debts have now been paid. I’ll visit him as soon as I can and give him a full update.”
Terry’s wife gave Jake a knowing smile.
“Will do, funnily enough I’ve just had Colin’s Solicitor on the phone asking me to call in and see him tomorrow. Any idea what that’s all about?”
Jake shrugged his shoulders and grinned.
“No idea Mrs Wells but I’m sure it’s all good news. Nice to meet you.”
Jake turned round, walked down the path and got back into the cab. Stuffed into every pocket he had were wads of twenty pound notes. He had no idea how much his bundle was worth but estimated a good few grand. Not a bad day after all. Now off to see Uncle Tom.
As he travelled in the cab on his way back to East London it suddenly dawned on him. Today he had done exactly what the three amigos had done to him ten years ago. He’d bullied someone into doing something against their will. Just for a second he felt guilty. But only for a second. He grinned, perhaps if he was to achieve his objective he had to become just like them.

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