Another extract from a much longer story I’m working on…
So, a new family has moved into the street, just four doors up. The Donovans. I know them for two reasons. Firstly, by reputation and secondly…well, I’ll tell you about that a bit later.
Joe Donovan has a haulage firm and his two boys work with him. I hear they’re a bit of a handful, all of them, even Mrs Donovan. She bit a chunk out of her neighbours ear during a fight over a garden fence panel. When I first heard the story I didn’t think much of it. Woman fight, so what? But then I discovered that her neighbour was Jack Williams, a six foot five scaffolder. Respect…
Now everyone around here knows about my rules. Leave us alone and you’ll be fine. Mess with us and you’ll be in a world of trouble. Simple, easy to follow. Over the years some people have broken those rules and they’ve paid the consequences. Their fault, not mine.
I’m sure the Donovans know all about us, just as we know of them. But, just to make sure there’s no misunderstanding I’ve arranged a “Sit down” tonight with Joe at the Royal Oak pub. Best to get things straight from the outset. We don’t want another “Chandler” situation!
Oh you don’t know about the Chandlers?
Well they were another “Big” family that moved onto the Estate a couple of years ago. Came with a reputation for being a bit handy. I didn’t explain the rules to them, just assumed they knew.
Bob Chandler sold cars. My boy hadn’t long passed his test and wanted a run around. Nothing flash, just reliable. Bob sold him a Ford Focus. A few months later and it needs an MOT. My boy takes it into a garage, the mechanic looks it over and tells him that it’s a cut and shunt. That’s two cars that have been welded together. An accident waiting to happen. A death trap.
My boy goes back to Bob and asks for his money back. Bob tells him to fuck off. He didn’t think the rules applied to him. He was wrong.
Apart from selling cars, Bob Chandler was a keen Pigeon fancier. Had a massive loft at the end of his garden. He raced them, bred them and showed them. Some were champions worth thousands of pounds.
I was in Majorca on holiday when his loft caught fire. People tell me the smell was like burnt barbeque chicken and hung in the air for days.
The Police asked him if he could think of anyone that had a grudge against him. Bob gave them my name and told them there’d been a dispute over a car. Fair play to the Old Bill, they suggested Bob gave me my money back. He declined.
The Chandlers moved away after Bob was involved in a freak accident. He was under one of his cars one day checking the exhaust. The jack slipped and poor Bob got a bit mangled.
They live in Kent now. I know the address because he still hasn’t paid my boy his money back. I’ll wait for him to start walking again before I take it any further.
So you understand my reasoning about the “Sit down” tonight with Joe Donovan.
Oh, and the second reason I know the Donovans? My daughter has just started going out with Joes youngest son.