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by Charlie Wade

Ricky Brownstone was coughing blood when I arrived. Two mushy pulps that used to be eyes looked every way but at me. He mumbled something but I was concentrating too hard on his blood splattered mouth.

“Shit, what happened to you, man?” Don’t know why I said man, I don’t normally talk like that. Guess the occasion demanded it.

He mumbled something which included the word, “Spacey.”

“Spacey? His lot do this? Oh man, what you doing with them?” Again, the word man. Even Ricky winced as I said it. “Anything broken? Shall I call an ambulance?”

He shook his head then coughed for half a minute. More blood, maybe a tooth or two as well. Ambulance meant cops and that meant questions. He’d given some kickings before, he knew what was terminal as opposed to bad.

I gave him some vodka and soaked up blood with bath towels. He told me he’d been holding a kilo for Spacey. Problem was, when Spacey picked it up, the kilo weighed twenty grams more than when he’d left it. “What, is it fucking mutating or giving birth to itself?” Spacey had apparently said. But Spacey, along with his heavies, had known the reason for the increase.

“Haven’t you got scales?” I asked him. Ricky shrugged, said he’d never needed to weigh it before. I wondered aloud if Spacey was struggling to make a profit, and set Ricky up for cutting it. Ricky nodded, said Spacey wanted two gees by Friday.

“Shit, man, you won’t be walking by Friday let alone find two grand.”

Ricky screwed up his eyes. “Why I rang you.”

I thought it over, poured more vodka. Couple of grand’s easy to get hold of in a hurry. Ricky’s different, always has been. Always on the bottom rung of any ladder you got. Couple of big ones is the world to him. Too concerned with getting off his face to see the bigger picture. I looked again; blood and mush. I had to help.

“I’ll sort it, but you owe me big time.”

***

I got some cash, then rang Spacey. He suggested we met at a multi-storey car park. I reckoned that was some metaphor that only he understood.

When his Beamer pulled up, two lads who could have been Olympic weightlifters if they didn’t test for drugs nodded for me to get in the back.

“Don’t know what he was thinking,” Spacey mused. “Trying to cut my gear.”

I grinned, reckoned the plan had worked fine. Fine for all of us. “Here’s five hundred, should cover any damage to your lads’ knuckles.”

Spacey nodded. “Sure you want him working for you? He’s a liability.”

“Sure. He owes me big time and the job I got planned is suicide, no one else would do it for five hundred.”

Spacey counted the five hundred. “Guess we’ve both got what we want.”

I left his car, got in mine. Rung Ricky. “All sorted. Now, about this favour …”


Charlie Wade is a forty-year-old finance manager. Born in Oxfordshire, he’s lived on the edge of the Peak District in Derbyshire for the past eleven years. He spends his spare time either reading, writing or at the allotment. He’s written three novels and many short stories. His debut novel, Seven Daze, was published by Caffeine Nights in 2013. www.charlie-wade.com.

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