BIG JOHN.

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“You…are…having…a…fucking…laugh.”

That’s how Big John started every sentence. He would wait for you to speak then with a roar that only Brian Blessed could match. He would say the magic words.

“You…are…having…a…fucking…laugh.”

Then he would go on to completely demolish any theory you had on life or politics.

Okay, I hear you saying. The guy was a moron. A complete wanker.

But, that’s where you’re wrong. Big John was one of the most intelligent men I’ve ever met.

He seemed to know everything about every subject imaginable.

For example, we were in the pub one day and discussing the last time any of us “bought” music. Steve Roberts made an off the cuff remark about how no one buys Vinyl anymore.

That was it. Big John was off on one.

“You…are…having…a…fucking…laugh.”

We waited for a second knowing that a stream of facts and figures would follow. We weren’t disappointed.

“Vinyl sales are now bigger that they were in the late eighties. They went up by 32% last year whilst CD sales went down by 17%. In 2015 over two million albums were sold and it’s estimated that in 2016 they’ll sell over three million.”

Then there was the time someone mentioned that Japanese cars were the best sellers. Big mistake.

Big John had to put them right.

“You…are…having…a…fucking…laugh. The best selling car in this country by a long way is the Ford Fiesta, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa, then the Ford focus. Nissan comes in at number five. Way down the list.”

People tried to catch him out. They’d pop into the toilets and Google something obscure and then mention it later in conversation. Big John always knew the answer.

He was in his mid forties, six foot two inches tall and about nineteen stone. Big John was a BIG man.

He walked with a limp and had to use a stick. Industrial accident he said from when he worked for a big factory on the other side of town. Apparently he was just twenty when it happened. Someone spilt some fluid on the floor and Big John took a tumble. His back was injured at the base of his spine which caused certain nerves to trap and made his left leg numb from the thigh down to his ankle.

He never worked again. His days were filled with having a few beers with his mates and absorbing as much information as was humanly possible.

Then one day, when it was just the two of us having our usual chat in the pub, he told me something that make me change my opinion of him.

I brought up the subject of his injury.

“Bloody shame about the leg John. Just think of what you might have achieved if it hadn’t have happened.”

He’d had a few beers by then and looked at me and began to laugh.

“You’re…having…a…fucking…laugh. It was the BEST thing that ever happened to me.”

I was a bit confused and had to ask the question.

“Why’s that John?”

He leaned in close and looked to both sides to see if anyone was listening. Then he began.

“Look, I left school at 18 with a handful of qualifications. I could have gone to University but I had other plans. I started at the Factory and after my probation period signed up for their Healthcare and Pension scheme. I also took out my own separate life cover and various insurance policies with an Independent Company. I waited two years. Then BANG, one day IT happened. I slipped up and hurt my back. The company were negligent because they had failed to clear up a spillage of cooking oil on the warehouse floor that had SOMEHOW leaked from one of the tins.”

The penny was beginning to drop.

“So you claimed?”

Once again Big John smiled.

“You…are…having…a…fucking…laugh. Too right I claimed! The company settled out of court for the big claim, but all the other policies kicked in and have been paying me ever since and will until the day I die. I’ve got more money coming in than I know what to do with. Why the fuck would I want to do a full day’s work when I can sit in the pub all day and get paid at the same time?”

When he left the pub that day a bit worse for wear. I could swear he was limping on his right leg and not his left.

I now think Big John is a complete wanker. But a very clever and intelligent wanker…

 

 

 

SEVEN YEARS.

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I pleaded not guilty. Said it was a crime of passion. But the judge and jury were having none of it and I got life. That was ten years ago and I’m still here in Bedford Prison. A place I now call home.

I killed her. No question about it. I lost my temper and hit her with a paperweight from my desk. She fell backwards and hit her head hard on the granite floor. But she was still alive. I should have called 999, but I didn’t. I hit her again and finished her off. She’d just told me about Michael. He was the nerd in the IT department where she worked. She said she was in love with him and was leaving me.

It was a moment of madness and I’m now paying the consequences.

I did a year in Wandsworth, then three in Colchester and then on to Bedford.

In nick you have a choice of three things to pass the time. Fitness, Religion or Education. I was never one for going down the gym and pumping iron and I’ve always been an atheist so I chose education.

Two years ago I started a Science Degree. I love it and it began my appeal procedure.

At first my Lawyer laughed when I told him that I was going to appeal the conviction. But after months and months of dedicated research, all done by me, he know thinks we may have a chance.

It started when I read a paper written by Dr Hans Zeiber. He started the theory that body cells replace themselves every seven years. This started me on a whole new journey of discovery.

You see, most cultures and religions talk about a seven year cycle. It’s even mentioned in the Bible. And of course, we’ve all heard about “The seven year itch”, meaning that after seven years in a relationship we change and start to look for something or someone else.

But scientists have now proven this to be true. Our entire body is made up of cells. These cells come together to form organs and tissue, in fact everything that makes us who we are. But every cell in our body changes, dies and replaces itself every seven years.

So that’s my new defence. It wasn’t ME who killed my wife. How could it be? I was a different person back then…

 

WASTE.

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It’s difficult to say how it happens. It just does. You work hard, have a successful business, earn good money and suddenly you get a reputation. I call myself a no nonsense business man. Other people call me something else.

When I was growing up back in the eighties, my Dad worked in Demolition. He was foreman at one of the big firms and was in charge of his own gang. Every night he would come home covered in dust and muck, he didn’t care, he’d just laugh and say “There’s good money to be made in waste.”

I always remembered his words, so when I was eighteen, with a little help from the family, I bought my first skip lorry. Dad made sure that my skip was on every site he was in charge of and was never empty. On a good day I would take that skip away five times and empty it somewhere. I could earn as much as £100 per load.

I didn’t go out and get pissed like my other mates. I worked seven days a week. It wasn’t long before I had enough to buy another skip lorry. By the time I was 25 I had twelve.

BLUNDELL Skips were well known in the area. I had Lorries running up and down the A13 from dawn till dusk.

It didn’t take me long to work out that collecting waste was easy. Getting rid of it was the problem and THAT was where the real money was.

There were landfill sites all over Essex but their fees were expensive. They were also slightly too far away from where I was picking up in Central London. My drivers were wasting too much time travelling between loads. So I decided to look for land. Somewhere on the borders of London and Essex.

It wasn’t long before I heard about a fishing lake for sale out near Chigwell. The business was losing money and the owner was in serious debt due to a nasty gambling habit. It was green belt land so no chance of development. He couldn’t afford to re-stock the lake because he was skint so people stopped fishing there. It was 5 acres of useless land. I did him a deal. I paid off his gambling debt in exchange for the lake. It cost me thirty five grand.

No prizes for guessing what I did with it. Yep I filled it up with waste. I figured I’d just keep dumping waste there until someone told me to stop. No one did, well not for 5 years, but by that time it was too late. Not only did I tip my waste there. I charged other companies a fee to dump theirs too.

In 5 years that thirty five grand had made me over three million.

I didn’t care what people dumped there as long as they paid me. If they dumped it and didn’t pay then I tracked them down and made sure I got my money.

I remember one little firm dumping ten loads a day for a whole month, then giving me a cheque that bounced. I found out where the owner lived and one Sunday morning drove a skip lorry down his driveway writing off both his nice flash cars and demolishing his kids newly built Wendy house. The next day I escorted him to the bank and he paid the bill in cash.

We never had any trouble with payment from anyone after that.

I never did go to Court because of the “Lake Business”.  The local Council threatened me with all sorts of things but my defence was that no one ever told us we couldn’t dump waste there and why did it take the Council 5 years to discover it. They knew that if we went to Court they would come out looking negligent.

So we struck a deal. I’m going to flatten the ground down, cover it in topsoil and then grass it over. They’ll pay for it of course, but it’s still my land. We have a “Gentleman’s” agreement that it will eventually become a Country Park. But, guess what? I’m no Gentleman. As I said earlier, I’m a no nonsense business man. I’m gonna turn it into a Golf Course.

People pay a fortune to play Golf In Chigwell…

 

 

The Takeover.

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It was Steve Wilson’s first day with the Flowfast Corporation.

His small, but successful company Watershoot ,had been taken over by the American giant for a very nice £4.5 million pound.

He and his mate Terry had started the company straight from School with £500 each. Basically they unblocked things. Toilets and drains mainly. Slowly they built up a reputation for speed and quality. They won contracts with local councils and pub chains. After ten years they had a annual turnover of £12 million and employed fifty staff.

Terry dealt with the operational side of the business and Steve went out and got the contracts. They had an accountant that looked after the books and Steves wife did the invoices and wages.

It was a simple operation that worked well. There was no middle management, no sales reps, or accounts department.  Just Terry and Steve and 15 Vans that went out everyday each with a small team that unblocked toilets and drains.

The deal with Flowfast was straightforward. They both got £1m each up front. The rest they got over the next two years, paid every six months. Steve would be instrumental in keeping the clients they had during the takeover. Today he was to meet the key people within the Flowfast Corporation.

Their swish Head Office was in strict contrast to the three portacabins that he and Terry were used to.

He walked in to an impressive looking boardroom.

Sat around a massive egg shaped table were ten sharply dressed men and woman. All eyes were on him. He took a seat beside the CEO. After a few seconds of paper shuffling and laptops being set up, the CEO stood up.

“Thank you everyone for coming in this morning. As you know we recently aquired Watershoot Ltd and I’d like to introduce Steve Wilson the co-owner and the person who is going to be crucial in keeping clients satisfaction during this transition period.”

To Steves suprise everyone started to clap. He felt like a celebrity. But also slightly embarrased.He smiled and nodded. The CEO continued.

“ So if you could all stand up one by one and introduce yourself that would be great.”

A man in a dark blue suit sitting on Steve’s right stood up.

“Hi, I’m John. I’m Global for B&D.”

Steve was a bit confused.

“Global for B&D?”

John smiled.

“Sorry for the jargon. I’m Global Business Development Manager for the company.”

Steve was impressed. Wow, GLOBAL!

The guy next to John was smiling. He stood up as John sat down.

“Hi, I’m Mike. I’m also Global for B&D.”

Steve was confused and had to ask the question.

“Okay, just so that I’m clear on this. You’re both Global Business Development? So responsible for Worldwide Sales?”

Mike and John began to laugh like stupid schoolboys. Mike stopped first and continued.

“No Steve. We’re responsible for developing the business. Me, for the Southern hemisphere and John for the North. Global Sales is the responsibility of Dave and Brad.”

He pointed to two big strapping men in their mid thirties. They looked like American football players and could have been twins. The both stood up. Big cheesy grins on their faces. Dave took the lead.

“You see Steve. Me and Brad are also GLOBAL but are responsible for sourcing the business and getting the deal done. But then we move on and leave the DEVELOPMENT of that account to Mike and John.”

Steve nodded but his brain was already starting to ask “ What the fuck”.

Next, it was the turn of two woman to stand up. Both in smart business suits. The one with ginger hair and freckles spoke in a broad American accent.

“Hi. I’m Stephanie and this is my colleague Jayne. We’re Global Strategy Managers. Once the sales and development has been done we work out a strategy for the account and focus on taking everything forward.”

They sat down.

Steve kept thinking about chiefs and Indians.

A tall guy at the end of the table stood up.

“I’m Gareth. John, Mike, Dave, Brad, Stephanie and Jayne all report to me. I’m Global Team Leader or GTL for short. I make sure that when the Sale is done and the development of the account is in progress and the strategy has been worked out we all meet up and ensure that no one drops the ball and lets in a field goal.”

Steve wanted to ask a question but decided against it as it would have started with “Are you fucking serious?”

It was now the turn of the last guy at the table to stand up. Steve was guessing that as this guy was last he’d be someone VERY important.

Hi Steve, I’m Gerry. I’m…”

Steve couldn’t help himself. He butted in sarcastically.

“Intergalactic?”

Gerry smiled and shook his head.

“No I’m Vice President for the group. But I like you’re thinking Steve.”

He looked at his secretary.

“Mary, see if we can get the word INTERGALACTIC somewhere on my business card. I love it!”

 

 

 

Saturday Night / Sunday Morning.

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It’s Saturday night and everyone’s on my case.

Tanya wants nine hundred quid to get the car fixed. I wanted a Ford but, oh no not her, she wanted a fucking Mercedes. Just so she could look good in front of her mates. I told her if it went wrong it would be expensive.

But does she listen? Does she fuck.

Then she tells me Ryan needs money for the school trip to New York. Fucking New York? When I was fourteen I was lucky to go to my aunts’ caravan at Clacton. She comes out with crap like “It will make him grow as a person.” He’s fourteen and already nearly six feet fucking tall, how much more can he grow?

All this before I saw the credit card bill this morning. Okay, so some it’s mine but Jesus, she bought two pairs of shoes that came to almost a grand. For shoes! That’s without the new gym membership and her “must have” dental work.

Then I got the phone call from Mum. Dad’s getting worse.  Yesterday he went into the kitchen and put his dinner plate in the washing machine instead of the dishwasher. Then he forgot her name. He kept pointing at her trying to say it but he couldn’t.  Full time care is gonna be expensive. But I’ll have to sort it.

Money’s coming but not yet.

Billy Reed owes me big time. We did a bit of business up west last week. Those Chelsea boys really know how to party. Three kilos they bought. All cash. Then wanted another two the next day. Billy collected the money and now he’s gone all quiet on me. I’ve known the low life since we were kids so I trust him. He’s probably off his face celebrating somewhere with a couple of birds.

We aint even paid for the gear yet and if we’re late…well, best not think about that.

I saw Stevie Smith in the pub yesterday. He blanked me. That’s cos he owes me six hundred quid. He’s overdue. That’ll cost him another ton. Need to get that soon before it gets out of hand.

I could call Razor Reynolds. He’d get it for me. He’d pick up Stevie by his ankles and wave him about like a tree in a hurricane. And if that didn’t work he’d cut him for me. Oh yeh. He’d get it allright. But then I’d have to pay for his services. No fuck it. I’ll wait. I’ll give Stevie another day.

My phones ringing. Great it’s Billy Reed.

“Hi mate. Where you been? Shagging some brass?”

“I was out of it man. Real wasted. But now I’m back. “

“Got the dosh?”

“Yeh man. Come round in the morning and pick it up.”

“Shit. Can’t do.”

“Why man? You need the money..right?”

“Yeh but…I got Church in the morning!”

 

 

Dads Advice.

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A fathers letter to his son, giving words of wisdom.

Dear Son,

Congratulations on your forthcoming marriage. Sorry I can’t be there, but thought I would send this letter and give you some words of advice. It’s the same advice my old dad gave me just before my special day with your mum.

The first thing is honesty. You must never be honest with her. Tell her exactly what she wants to hear. She will love you for this.

Let me give you a few examples;

If she’s getting ready and asks you how she looks, you must never say she looks “Nice”.

Women hate “Nice”, nice means ordinary. The word to use is “Stunning”. Now she might think you’re taking the piss. Hold your nerve here son, keep a straight face and repeat the word “Stunning”. Then say the words slowly “Honestly darling. You look absolutely stunning.”  She’ll melt.

If she’s dyed her hair and it has come out orange, remember, you don’t just “like” orange, you absolutely “love” orange! Say something like “Wow, who’d have thought orange could look so good.” Remember at all time to keep a straight face.

Woman love this form of “Honesty”

Always go out on a Friday night, never stay indoors. It’s important that you keep the routine, even if you have nowhere to go, still go out. Even if it means you have to walk the streets for a few hours, go out!  Once you stay indoors on a Friday night, you will never be allowed out again.

If you think you’ll be home by eleven o’clock, tell her that it’s likely to be around midnight. This way when you do eventually get home about half eleven, she will thank you for being early.

Always buy flowers. I repeat, always buy flowers! She will complain about them being too expensive and that you shouldn’t waste your money, but the minute you stop, she’ll never forgive you.

Call her every day, but not at the exact same time. This is very important, if you always call at  2 o’clock in the afternoon, if you haven’t called by 2.15, she will get annoyed or worried. So always vary the time, but always call.

She will never like your best friend, we don’t know why, but it’s just a fact of life. But she will like your sad, lonely friends, she’ll feel sorry for them, you know the one’s, the one’s that can’t get girlfriends.

You must never, ever, dislike her friends. That’s her job! You must keep quiet when she complains about one of them, just nod in agreement, don’t get dragged into anything, because in a few days they’ll be best friends again and you will be the one that she thinks hates them and she’ll never forget it!

Your life will now be about hair and nails. It’s an obsession of theirs.  Women are either doing their nails or just about to do them or talking about getting them done. Same with hair, only this is much more complex. They’ll talk for ages about length, colour and style. They’ll even know everything about their hairdresser. Usually a gay man. Even if he’s married they’ll say he’s probably gay and hasn’t come out yet. This is in total contrast to our barbers. We have no idea who he or she is or if they’re married or not. They’re just people who cut our hair.

When hair and nails come up just nod and smile, you don’t have to listen, just catch the odd word in case she asks for your opinion. In which case try to remember what she said and then just repeat it back to her word for word.

And finally, when she gets broody and starts talking about kids and you don’t think you’re ready. Get a dog! She’ll love it. It will also help if you’re out late down the pub. She’ll have company so won’t mind so much.

Well son, got to go now, the ward sister is about to turn the lights out. It’s good news by the way. They say I’m lucky. The knife missed my heart by just a few millimetres. Still can’t understand why my fourth wife gets so upset.

Good Luck Son.

Dad.

Playing Dead Like Rex.

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From the moment he entered the room and closed the door behind him his life, as he knew it, was over.  There was no going back. Not now.

He surveyed the room, saw the mass of blood, the bodies, the man with the gun. It took just a few seconds for his mind to compute the whole thing. But when it did. He froze. Natural reaction. Fear.

The man with the gun hadn’t seen him. He was facing towards the wall wiping the blood from his glasses with a piece of kitchen towel. Jim silently dropped to his knees and lay flat on the floor. He would play dead. Like he’d taught his old dog Rex.

He pressed his face hard to the floor. Tried not to breath. The blood from the person next to him was slowly running into his face and scalp. He closed his eyes and waited.

He was aware of the man standing over him. Admiring his work. He heard him laugh. A phone rang. He heard the man answer it. He was shouting and talking with a slur.

“Billy? Yeh, it’s done. All of them. All gone. Just cleaning up. I’ll be out in a minute.”

Jim recognised the speech pattern. His father had spoken in exactly the same way. The man was deaf.

He lay there. He could taste the blood that was trickling onto his lips. It was warm, thick and sticky. He told himself it was just strawberry jam. He needed to believe it or else he’d heave.

There was silence for a few moments. Just the sound of the man’s breathing. It had a slight wheeze to it, like a distant whistle. Jim heard footsteps, then the sound of a door opening, then slamming shut.

Still he waited. Too afraid to open his eyes. He didn’t want to see what he knew was there. When he did he saw the distorted face of the woman lying beside him. It was her blood that now covered his face. He stood up slowly, counting the bodies that he could see. There were eleven.

He wanted to run, get away as far as possible. But then he heard the deaf man’s voice again. From outside.

“I’m going back in. I’ve forgotten something!”

Again Jim dropped down beside the woman, trying to replicate the position he’d been in before. He heard the door open and the man’s footsteps as he stepped over him. Jim’s eyes were closed shut, but his other senses were kicking in like a hurricane. He could smell petrol and a splashing sound. The man with the gun was laughing and talking to himself.

“You’re all gonna burn. Cremation for the lot of you. Say your prayers you dead fucks.”

He heard a scratching noise. It was the sound of a match striking and igniting. He heard another sound. The sound of fire. Then footsteps and the door closing. Jim stood up, the next room was engulfed in flame.

He heard a car drive off at speed, the wheels screeching. Smoke filled the room quickly and he turned to face the front door. He fumbled for the handle, found it and pulled hard. The fresh air hit the smoke and flame behind him and he heard a roar. He was suddenly aware of being thrown through the air. He landed on dirt. Parts of his clothing were on fire. He rolled over and over in the dirt, killing the flames as he did so. Exhausted he lay still. He could hear the fire raging behind him. He sat up and looked round. What was a house just minutes before was now a raging ball of flame.

He was sure of one thing and one thing only. He had to find the deaf man.

 

 

Something’s Wrong.

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She’d woken at 2am feeling scared and apprehensive. She lay there just staring at the ceiling almost too terrified to move. An hour later and she felt like crying but didn’t know why. Something deep inside her was afraid. But of what? She had no idea.  It was a feeling that overwhelmed her. For some unexplained reason all she wanted to do was scream.

Something was wrong. Something was terribly wrong. She just knew it. She sat up and reached for the phone.

She called her mum just in case.

“Mum? You okay?”

“Jenny? It’s three in the morning!”

“I know Mum. But I just had this feeling something was wrong.”

“Everything’s fine love. Now go back to sleep.”

“What about Dad?”

“He’s sound asleep beside me. Now go to sleep. Maybe you just had a bad dream.”

She tried but her mind was racing. A feeling of dread consumed every cell in her body.

She called her brother Ian. A confused voice answered.

“Yeh?”

“Ian, it’s me Jenny. You okay?”

“Yeh. Why wouldn’t I be?”

There was a long pause and she suddenly felt stupid.

“It’s okay. I just had this feeling, that’s all. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

She hung up.  Her hands trembling.

She got up and went downstairs. The house was silent. Even her dog was asleep and cuddled up on his bed in the kitchen. She checked all the doors. They were all locked up tight.

Pulling back the curtains of the front room window, she peered into the darkness of the narrow street outside. It was empty apart from an urban fox in next doors garden looking for food. She went back to the kitchen and made herself a cup of tea. It was impossible to drink as her shaking hands spilt most of it on the floor.

Whatever was about to happen was close. She just knew it!

At 4.30am, and with her heart rate at its most extreme, she took two Kalms tablets from her handbag and swallowed them without water. Maybe they would help. She took three deep breaths then sat down in front of the television and switched it on.

And that’s when she realised what was happening. She heard the words being spoken.

“Trump has won Florida. It’s now certain he will become the next President Of The United States”

The scream she’d held in for the past two hours suddenly erupted!

 

 

The Gift?

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Brian Reynolds had a gift. A rare gift that only special people have. A gift that doesn’t even have a name. Some might call it charisma or personality but those words don’t even come close to what he had.

It’s difficult to explain. But I’ll try…

I first met Brian at school. He wasn’t the brightest kid in class or the best looking or the best at any particular sport, but he was the most popular. Not just in our class or year, but in the whole school! Everyone wanted to be Brian Reynolds mate. It was bizarre and there was no real reason for it. It just happened.

And it continued as he grew older. He had this kind of “Aura”.

He was instantly likeable. If you spent ten minutes in his company you felt as though you’d known him all your life. In half an hour you’d be confiding in him about your deepest feelings, you’d also want him to come round for Christmas dinner and you’d probably have given him your pin number. I’m being flippant, but you get the picture. He was THAT type of person. You trusted him from the second you met him.

It wasn’t that he was the “life and soul of the party” either. He wasn’t an extrovert or a great joke teller. But he was a good listener and seemed genuinely interested in what you had to say. He had a fantastic memory for names, facts and figures. He NEVER forgot anyone.

Wherever he went he would have a crowd around him in minutes. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE wanted to be friends with Brian Reynolds.

He wasn’t married which was strange as he could have had his pick of any girl in town. And before you jump to conclusions, he wasn’t gay either. He was just…Brian Reynolds!

If you could bottle what Brian had, you’d be a billionaire many times over.

I remember once when I came back from University and hadn’t seen Brian for almost a year, I called him and said we should meet up for lunch. I remember his words clearly.

“Let’s go somewhere quiet mate where we can have a proper catch up.”

I knew exactly what he meant.

We met in a rural pub about twenty miles outside of town. We’d never been to the pub before. I met him in the car park and we walked in together. I went to the bar to order the drinks and Brian went to find us a table. By the time I got back, Brian had three people talking to him. He just looked at me with a stupid grin on his face. We never did get to have our “proper catch up.”

I used to tease him about it. “You and that bloody gift of yours.”

Whenever I said it he always did the same. Just smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

So it came as a great shock to everyone when Brian Reynolds committed suicide at the age of 34.

His funeral was attended by thousands. The local Church couldn’t accommodate the enormous amount of people that turned up. It had to be broadcast over a loud speaker for the hundreds outside.

After the funeral his dad took me to one side and gave me an envelope.

“He left this for you. We found it in his bedside cabinet. It was sealed and had your name on it. We haven’t opened it.”

He walked away with tears streaming down his face.

I waited till I got back home. Poured myself a large scotch, sat down and began to read the letter inside the envelope.

“Hi Mate. Sorry to leave you this way, but I couldn’t bear it any longer.  For years my mind has been full of other people’s problems. I can’t go out because everyone wants a piece of me. If I stay in my phone rings constantly and the door bell does the same. I haven’t slept properly in years. It’s not a gift mate. It’s a fucking curse.”

The Granada Scorpio Mystery.

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I have no idea what happened to him. I told the Police exactly that. One day he was there and the next day he was gone.

There were lots of theories. But nothing conclusive. The police searched the whole of the estate and the surrounding area. House to house calls. But nothing. In 1998 the case was closed.

Jason Roberts was gone. God knows where and to be honest no one really cared. Especially the Police. They actually had a party at their local pub to celebrate.

He was a nasty piece of work was Jason. Mind like a switch. Say something wrong and he would turn…nasty. I once saw him cut an old man just because he commented on his new haircut.

Jason came in to the pub one day straight from the barbers. His hair was cut shorter than usual, and he looked like a convict. An old regular asked, in jest, if the council had done it. Jason turned and in a split second pulled a Stanley knife from his pocket and slashed the old man’s face from his cheek to his mouth.  No one said a word, they were too scared. So was I. I was just a kid.

Within a few years he ran the estate. Anything dodgy going down had to be run past him. He always wanted a cut of the proceeds of course, but if he gave the green light then you could do what you wanted.

Something came up. A big job. People were needed. People Jason knew and could trust. I was one of those young men.

I was promised £2000 for two hours work. It seemed like easy money to me. But then again the money was never really important.

I had to sit in a car and wait. Four men would arrive at exactly 3pm. From where I never knew. They would get in the car and I was to drive quickly, but within the law, all the way up to Birmingham. They would give my £2000 and then I’d leave the car somewhere and get a train home.

The timing was perfect. I got the car at 2.30 from a stranger. A nice big, jet black, Granada Scorpio. At 3pm they arrived looking pleased with themselves. Jason was one of them.

“Drive” was all he said.

I took the A1 through London and then the M1 up to the M6 and then straight to Birmingham. I dropped one of the men off at Walsall and the other two at Solihull.  That just left me and Jason.

“Right, Change of plan, let’s go home. Drop me at Woodford. There’s a club there where the owner will swear I was there all day. Then take the car somewhere and torch it.”

He laughed as he said it and passed me a Marks and Spencer carrier bag.

“There’s two grand in there. Don’t spunk it all at once.”

He leaned back in his chair and fell asleep.

The car was never found and neither was Jason. The only person that turned up at the Woodford club that night was me. With a lot more than £2000.

I now run the estate. Oh and did I mention…that old boy that Jason cut? He was my dad.