“A journey begins with a single step”
Looking into the security camera I leant over to the microphone on the wall and said as clearly as I could.
“Hello I’m Mike Taylor, Jim Marshall’s mate. I’ve come about the Doorman job”.
The voice in the microphone grill abruptly demands.
“You’d better come on up then mate”.
The stairs were narrow and not well lit the stale smell of cigarettes and damp carpet made me wonder if I had already made a mistake in turning up at all. I didn’t really want to touch the damp walls which were poorly disguised with a covering of fake pine wall panels.
At the top of the stairs was a short corridor with a waiting area at its end.
Four doors led off from the badly arranged area. The two sofas available were in a blue commercial fabric; oddly they faced each other in a lounge style setting.
The bizarre scene seemed to be a poor attempt to show some level of thought was considered when developing this interior design disaster. I couldn’t understand why someone would bother when the setting was so mismatched; the design attempt was finished off with a stained coffee table which sadly sat between the two sofas.
The only other furniture was an old chest freezer with tea and coffee containers on top, the type you always see at car boot sales, white painted metal with clear plastic viewing windows edged in a silver polished trim.
Five garage giveaway mugs of various sorts were tipped upside down in a perfect line with the handles all pointing in the same direction.
This almost ridiculous regimented detail, reminded me of a visit I made once to a friend’s house who had really fallen on difficult times.
On entering his flat I was immediately struck by the sparse emptiness of his living space.
However, what he did have left was clean and all in a regimented line, labels were in perfect alignment. I realised then as I did now, when you have lost everything or you simply don’t have much in the way of possessions, what you have left becomes the most important possessions you will ever have, and this place looked very down; but not quite out.
Next to the free garage mugs was a single carton of milk sat on top of a tray with a tea stained bowl of sugar. I scanned the room for any clues as to what I should do next; I decided to take a seat facing the arc of doors. Sitting back and crossing my right leg over my left knee I remembered my shoes were new!
“Shit! The fucking price is still on the sole” I cursed to myself.
I made a quick decision to remove the price labels and began picking the sticky tag off. Starting on the left shoe, my timing could have been better.
I was hunched over picking and tearing away at my shoe, when I heard a door handle turn and a creak of a door hinge.
looking up at an angle I saw the second door to the right open, a slightly built grey haired man walked through, using his head as a signal he nodded me inside as if I were being allowed into a criminal den or a comic underworld hide out.
It was difficult not to smile the wrong type of smile as I walked into the back room office.
What I could not have known was this was the first day of an adventure that would last ten years, completely changing my life and my own view of me as a person, husband and father.
The inner office was void of any natural daylight, but could boast a five foot yellowish florescent strip light.
The tables and chairs were a strange mix of 70’s and 80’s typical office furniture, the walls were clad with the same cheap panels as the corridors and stairs.
The grey haired man spoke first.
“Hi I’m Terry Cornwall office manager”.
Terry held out his hand in a loose fingered attempt to make a hand shake with me.
I was confused for a second, Terry’s hand was trembling and I mean visibly shaking, then I smelt his stale beer breath, all became clear I thought, he’s a fucking Alcoholic.
We briefly shook hands, Terry awkwardly pulled his hand away it seemed as if he was uncomfortable with the skin to skin contact.
Pointing away to his right with a bent arm and crooked index finger Terry announced.
“This is Gary Newark, he owns the company”.
Gary was a big bloke, hands like shovels and his forearms were bigger than Popeye’s. He began to stand and offered his hand to shake. This time it was a man’s hand shake, his bear like paws almost engulfed my hand, what followed was a vice like grip; it was obvious this guy was indeed the boss.
I met him as he stood at half mast we shook hands and he sat back down in an uncontrolled fall.
After the hand crushing I stepped a few paces back and found myself up against the now closed office door.
The atmosphere was menacing but not unfriendly, so long as you were the confident type.
Once stood comfortably against the door I spotted another man out of the corner of my eye, I couldn’t see him very well his face was in shadow due to him being reclined behind his desk.
Terry must have noticed me clocking the bloke lurking in the corner. Terry began to move uncomfortably from his left foot to his right, acting as if he was someone who had forgotten to introduce their wife to a new acquaintance; it all began to look a little theatrical to me.
Terry turned and with a waft of his outstretched hand immediately said.
“Mike. May I also introduce Pete Tyson partner in the company”.
Mr Tyson nodded, making it obvious he was not up for niceties, so I nodded and left it at that.
Gary looking at Terry winks and makes a gestured for him to make a drink.
“Do you want one, Slice?” Gary asks Pete Tyson.
Again all we got was a nod, it seemed evident to me that it was a considered attempt by Pete Tyson to set a code of encounter between him and me.
With a nickname like “slice” I wasn’t about to argue. Terry opened the office door asked me if I wanted a coffee.
I politely answered.
“Thank you three sugars and white please”.
Gary leaning back on his creaking leather chair, putting his formidable arms behind his head starts to stumble through his badly rehearsed interview technique.
“Tell me about yourself Mike, but don’t bore me to fucking tears alright”.
I laughed at the early swearing which gave away his true character from the off.
Thinking about my response I simply said.
“35 years old, married, two boys at school. I am an instructor of Ju-Jitsu and a store manager by day. I’m looking to do the door at weekends to help pay the bills”.
Gary looked at Pete gave a wry smile, looked back at me and blurted out.
“You’re in sunshine, welcome to the firm. I’ve got an easy job for you on Saturday; have you got a tuxedo?”
I did have one but my mate Jim said.
“If they ask if you have a tux, say no and they will give you one”.
After we finished coffee, Terry took me off to the store and we sorted out some kit, Black tuxedo, two white security shirts, the obligatory bow tie, one red and one black, and a set of security epaulettes embroidered with company logo; A fist holding a feather and the words;
“METRO, keeping you safe”
Pete Tyson had sprung into action, with various forms for me to complete, including a list of the security clothes.
“If you lose this stuff then you will have to replace it, Ok Mike?” Pete barked.
Returning the earlier positioning ploy I just nodded once.
Pete smiled and joked.
“Smart ass, we are going to get on fine”.
Gary getting out from behind his desk decides to let me in on the secrets of being a successful doorman.
“Listen Mike; don’t let the punters fuck you about, cos they fucking will if you let them. The world is full of wankers”.
Not exactly the words of a scholar, but then again, I hadn’t lived the life of these blokes.
They had a view based on years of dealing with the public at their worst, when they are drunk or drugged off their faces.
We did our fond farewells and I made my way out of the office, down the stairs and out into the bright sun light, pulling out my mobile phone, which was the size of a fucking house brick, I think it was a Motorola 800, was a lump of shit that thing was, but I have to say cutting edge at the time; I called my mate Jim Marshall.
“Alright mate, I’m in. I start Saturday”.
We had a chat and arranged to meet for a pint later.
Now the difficult job of telling her in doors, I didn’t think she’d mind as we weren’t getting on too well recently, the seven year itch was a fact not just a saying in our house.
Getting ready to go to work on my first Saturday was a mixture of excitement and apprehension.
Plus the inevitable row with the Mrs,
Her opening shout was the obvious,
“I bet you’ll be fucking some slag later then?”
When an argument starts like that, then there’s nothing else to say, so I was out of the door.
The strange thing is that you have to dress as if you are going to the opera. From the point of view of my wife it was probably the best I had looked since our wedding.
She was justified in her stand to be unhappy about the new job, like she pointed out on many occasions leading up to this first day.
“You will be either fighting or chatting up birds or being chatted up, so why should I be happy”.
This was not an opera where we all knew the outcome; I just hoped it wouldn’t be a Greek tragedy.
My journey to the Dragon club threw up a strange interaction between me and the public. Stopping at the garage I filled up with petrol and walked towards the forecourt shop, it is true that I had run the clippers over my head before leaving home and with the “Tux” and bow tie; I fitted the stereo typical photo fit of a doorman, five foot ten inches and sixteen stone of new found attitude.
I suppose I should have expected the reaction I got from women, they were not really staring but the eye contact seemed to be longer than normal.
The girls with confidence were the ones who were all smiles.
The very odd side effect of looking like you can handle yourself is the reaction of men who strike up meaningless conversations.
I can only imagine the hope for them is they can be seen to not only know you, but can talk to you to as well letting everyone else see you interacting with them?
The biggest surprise to me was my own reaction; I changed from Mr Chatty who would talk to anyone to Mr Few words and a demeanour of better than you?
I found it was either be like that or else I would have to listen to the crap a taxi driver hears every day which pretends to be conversation.
I knew that I would be working with two other doormen; I was told by Pete they were both good at the job. Kevin North was the head doorman six foot two inches of nutcase.
Kevin was a bit old for the door; this was his 22nd year on the door and his fifth year at the Dragon club. Kevin worked with a different set of door staff every week.
He later told me,
“They send me all the new blokes, which is alright; I’ve met some fucking good boy’s”.
I could tell from his opening statement he had said this several times before, probably every week when the new doorman turned up.
Without looking in my direction Kevin continued,
“I get the shit bouncers too, just before Gary gives them a slap and fucks them off the job, but only if they are taking the piss”.
I decided to find out what constitutes taking the piss so I asked Kevin’s latest sidekick Martin.
This was Martin’s second year with Metro he seemed a little quiet and young I think he was 21 years old and more into the social side of the job.
I could easily understand why a young man would like the kudos associated with being a bouncer. I just hoped he wouldn’t be like a magician and disappear if it all goes tits up.
I watched how Kevin worked, there are subtle nuances which unless you needed to know them you would never notice, and this stuff is gold dust when you are trying to stay ahead of the game.
Kevin challenged several young looking punters; it became clear from early in the conversation they were not coming in.
Leaning slightly forward Kevin listened to their plea in support of their argument to be allowed in.
I noted Kevin rarely made eye contact; instead he looked up and down the street for who was on the way to the queue or directly to the front door.
The reason for the way Kevin acted and didn’t look at the paying public wasn’t immediately clear until it became time for the final.
“You’re not coming in”.
Matched by a stare into the punters eyes reinforcing the message they were NOT coming in.
By looking up and down the road Kevin knew who was coming how many and if they were in a large group.
It was on that first night I realised there is a craft to this door work especially if you are head doorman responsible for who comes in and why they go out.
Martin tapped me on the shoulder, and says
“Let’s do a circuit”.
A circuit simply requires a show of strength walking around picking up hazards like empty bottles and smiling at punters who smile first “usually girls!”
I quickly realised there are male punters who make it their business to keep you informed on who is doing what and where, in an effort to be known to you and faint hope to be your friend.
Drugs are a problem; spotting them on a walk about is virtually impossible, although the effects drugs have on people are obvious.
Falling around and dancing in itself is not a problem unless someone complains then it’s time to warn, this is usually met by a barrage of pleading from their friends in an attempt to stop their misbehaving friends from being thrown out.
The biggest mistake in the job is to think it is all quiet, that’s when it kicks off.
Martin hit the throttle and is off across the dance floor and I am in hot pursuit.
The adrenaline is a high all of its own, two blokes are going at it, throwing punches and shouting threats although the truth is, its handbags at ten paces, you know that straight arm swinging open hand, slapping more than punching.
At this stage you don’t know why they are fighting and really we don’t care.
If you take out the person who is being attacked, then you have saved him.
If you take out the trouble maker then it was a lucky correct grab.
Either way it has to be clinical, with force and using superior skills. Remember we are there because we can have a row, and can deal with 90% of the public with one hand behind our backs; plus we are sober.
The upper hand is ours and the element of surprise is with us. The fact is we know that apart from completely mental punters, most people who engage in fighting know we are there and so it won’t be more than a quick couple of punches, and then we break it up.
Kevin stands clear of the door and allows me to help one of the fighting duo out of the club, and onto the pavement.
Martin is on hand to take care of the more aggressive of the two men who by now is wearing a shirt that looks like he’s just been saved from a desert island, there was more shirt hanging down ripped and torn than he actually had on.
Kevin looked at the irate punter and sarcastically remarked.
“Castaway night is next week”.
Kevin laughed out loud at his own joke, and the idiots were out. I thought the first night had gone well and hoped for some feedback on how I had done, then i realised this is not a back slapping sort of a job it’s more like get on with it or fuck off.
Chucking out time is a funny time of night, most people need to be told once, drink up, go home, the nice ones thank you for a great night and go home.
Then there are the drunks who couldn’t make their way out even with a map of the club, so you rely on their friends to sort them out.
Then there’s the loved up toilet shaggers, to busy fucking to notice the nights over or that there is another unconscious drunk in the cubical next door.
Usually the only way to get the unconscious punter out of a WC cubical, is to climb over the top and stand them up, so your mate can get the door open and help you get them out.
The real problem begins if they have their trousers down or worst still if they have been sick or shit themselves.
We still have to help them up and out of the building before we can lock up and go home.
If it is a female then the problems are doubled. The thing that most people don’t know is that the woman’s toilet is a complete shit pit in comparison to the men’s.
I don’t know what they get up to but the mess is like animals have used it. Once the place is clear and checked then it is ties off and a free drink on the bar manager.
Normally off duty doormen go into town, and onto a club or to a restaurant mainly full of off duty doormen. After my first night finished as a doorman, we went to The Portman Club, it was a surprise to me how the doormen from different clubs interacted with each other.
I had been to night clubs many times as a paying customer, but I can honestly say I never noticed any off duty bouncers in any club I had ever been in.
At The Portman Club, the place was full of hard looking blokes who all greeted each other like brothers, all smiles and shaking hands. When we arrived, I asked how much would it cost to get in and Martin just laughed.
“We don’t pay to get in anywhere, we are doormen”.
He was right from that first night on the door; I never paid to get in any club again.
I quickly began to understand it made sense to work somewhere where doormen liked to congregate after their night was over.
You might be the one doorman in the building being paid but if it kicks off, doormen like nothing more than showing off to each other, how to batter some twat whilst off duty.
I would be guilty of that myself later down the line and all I can say about it is.
“It was funny as fuck when it happened”.
The second job was the following Sunday night, I was put into a pub with live music, this was to be a regular part of door work; I was quick to learn that we were not there to deal with fighting punters or to control drugs.
It was mainly because of the money which was taken for entry at the door. Any problem with local idiots was quickly dealt with by the bikers or some of the Hells Angels who used the pub as their base.
“The drinks are on the house”
My whole working life changed in the weeks that followed by what appeared to be a simple meeting with Terry from the office and a bloke called Bob Richards. Terry brought Bob to my house on the following Wednesday, Terry, said.
“This is Bob we are putting him into the Silver Star Tavern in Prince Hill”.
Bob looked like a normal bloke but with broad shoulders and stocky. I would say he was about six foot tall and seventeen stone with no fat, to be honest he looked as if he had done some weights but not for a while.
I was a little confused why they were putting him into the Silver Star; it was a country foody pub.
“Friday night the manager and his wife left the pub at midnight, some travellers allegedly raped a local girl on the snooker table!”
“Did the landlord call the police?”
Well, it seemed an obvious question to me.
Bob raised his eyes and taking a drag of his rolled up cigarette, sucked in the smoke, then exhaled the quick drag made him choke on the smoke. Coughing he explained.
“No one came? It must have scared them shitless, all out there in the sticks, with no back up”.
Terry standing up in my lounge, announced.
“We want you two to look after the empty pub on a 24hour live-in, you understand it’s to make sure no one breaks in or squats”.
We both agreed and I told Bob I would call for him that night. When I arrived at Bob’s gaff I rang the door and waited. The door opened and a fifty something women answered the door. Like a complete twat I returned to my standard phrase I used to use when I was knocking-on for a mate when I was twelve.
“Is Bob in Mrs Richards?”
Without a bye or leave she shouted up the stairs.
“Bob it’s your fucking idiot mate he thinks I’m your mum?”
Bob ran down the stairs and half closing the front door he said in a quiet voice.
“That’s the missus you prick!”
How the fuck could I have known she looked like his Nan.
Bob told me,
“Living with an older woman was like living at home with your mum except you can fuck her as well?”
He is a “Sick bastard.”
When Terry left my house he said he would deliver .a guard dog for us at the pub that night.
He did, and we could not believe our eyes.
We arrived at the Silver Star; Bob went on in, and began to familiarise himself with the pub, I locked up the car park compound.
The pub was massive three large downstairs rooms, a Snooker room and two bars.
I went round the ground floor turning on lights, Bob decided to see what the layout was like, I told him to make a mental note of fire exits and extinguishers.
It was odd being in an empty boozer;
Bob came down from up stairs and said.
“Come have a look at this”.
We both went up stairs it was like a maze of rooms which led to an open area fitted out like a dormitory.
The truth is that the upper living area was bigger than my own house, with a large kitchen, three bedrooms and large lounge. From up stairs we could hear that someone was knocking on the window down stairs.
We just looked at each other and I told Bob, this is just the start, let’s do our job. However, it was a false alarm, Terry had arrived with Hilda, a 16stone Rottweiler bitch and when I say bitch I mean it.
She walked into the pub and walked around looking in every doorway and corner growling, once she was happy the area was safe and clear she flopped down in the middle of the main bar and farted.
In more ways than one it was a taste of things to come. Terry just said can’t stop, I am working in town myself tonight, one of our blokes rang in sick Gary is doing his fucking nut.
Once Terry had gone we started to scout around for any goodies; within a few minutes Bob found that the Cider taps were working. That was a nice surprise along with the huge freezer full of every kind of pub food you could think of.
I started up the gas hob and selected two T bone steaks, mushrooms tomatoes and frozen chips.
Bob came up with a great idea for keeping the public at bay, Clipping Hilda’s collar on he put on his security jacket and went out for a walk around the block.
Like Bob said.
“Once everyone knows there is a 16 stone guard dog in the pub with a couple of big security guards, they should be less likely to fuck us about”.
Bob smiled and disappeared out of the door with fatty Hilda growling as usual.
Whilst he was out I found a set of keys all of which were clearly marked, CD machine, Pool table, cellar and spirits.
All that I could think was this is just like it must be in fucking heaven, I had the front off of the CD duke box in about two seconds and Billy Idol, White Wedding blaring out followed by bat out of Hell and anything else that was loud.
Cider in hand I checked on the steaks and they were doing fine, Bob came back and stated.
“Mission accomplished Hilda just went mental at four Gypsy’s stood out the back”.
I thought nice one, a quiet few day’s on 24hour pay equals £800 and free nosh up whilst getting pissed; all we needed now was a couple of dirty nineteen year olds and we are in business.
After stuffing our faces and throwing the T bone left over’s to Hilda with a couple of packets of pork scratching for good measure, we were sorted.
I said to Bob.
“Let her have it after all it is all free.”
We settled down to a few games of pool and heavy drinking, by 3 in the morning we were both pissed as farts.
What we had failed to notice was Hilda was an out-door dog and therefore was not house trained.
The mess was everywhere and because of her poor diet and her obvious weight problem; she made a terrible mess.
The next day I rang Terry, I told him,
“She has got to go.”
However, the office was being paid for a dog so we had to have one on site, we agreed she would have to stay in the compound, and she did for five days.
Bob knew a couple of sorts from mid-summer Norton, Jackie and her mate Liz.
Jackie was married, Bob met her in a club some months earlier, and he was regularly fucking her brains out.
When he said they were arriving on the second night I must admit I nearly shit it.
I was married at the time and had never strayed, on the other hand according to Bob this Liz bird was right up for a laugh and she might not go for it all the way.
I decided in my own mind that no harm would be done if I behaved myself.
The girls arrived and we all sat around chatting and laughing the mood was easy going and as the free drink flowed I started to see a different side to the dark haired busty Liz.
Bob and Jackie were all over each other and so I got up and asked Liz if she wanted another drink?
“Yes please, and then you can show me around the pub”.
I half filled two brandy glasses and off we went to look around this massive pub. I thought I knew people! What I didn’t know was how naive I was, especially when it came to women who got off with men they considered as a bit dangerous.
Liz started to probe,
“Bob told me you are a Bouncer, where do you work?”
I began to talk like I had been doing the job for years; it is amazing how much bollocks comes out of your mouth when you are out to get laid.
I almost finished my yarn when Liz pushed herself against me and we were off. The change in her was immediate. Rampant would be an understatement. Unzipping my fly, Liz wobbled about slurring her words eyes half open and whispering in my ear.
Liz began to kiss and tongue my neck.
I thought I am not going to be able to last long at this rate; I am going to blow my load too early.
I decided to take the lead, undoing her blouse buttons I expertly snapped the clip on her front loaded bra and the boys were out! And fuck me they were huge.
I was all over them like a rash, I notice she was thrashing around in her bag and quickly produced a silver condom packet.
I knew at that point I had to bail out.
“Sorry love I am married, the drink has got the best of both of us”.
I stood up, put Percy away and zipped up. Holding out my hand I helped Liz up to her feet gave her a little kiss.
“Don’t feel bad I think you’re fucking gorgeous, I just don’t feel right doing this OK?”
Liz nodded in simple agreement.
Her voice quivered.
“I would have regretted it in the morning, thanks Mike I feel really pissed.”
We made our way down to the main bar and had a coffee. Bob and Jackie were howling like banshees in the other room.
We decided to go up to the living room and watch a film, Liz fell asleep in no time.
Following the narrow escape with Liz, I felt I could easily deal with the guilt and get on with some serious drinking and looking after the pub. We waved the girls goodbye and I was personally relieved they had gone.
I was delighted when the contract ended, I was pissed for the whole five days, and no-one can keep up that level of consumption.
On the final morning once again both of us had been up all night drinking when at 8:30am we heard a knock at the window.
I pulled back the curtains and almost had a thrombo; there were four men in suits it, was immediately obvious it was the brewery mangers.
I delayed opening the door whilst Bob ran around trying to tidy up as best he could, all in the short space of time available.
I let them in and began to answer any questions they threw at me; you know the type of questions all the usual.
“Is everything OK?”Have you had any problems?”
Which of course we told them it had been a running battle almost every night including fighting at the door to stop the locals and Gypsy’s from coming in.
They thanked us and then introduced the new landlord who was starting that night. That was the last time we ever went into that Pub.
I never heard of any complaints about our work from our office or by any other means. Which when you think about it, we had all of the CD’s away, most of the frozen food from the freezers, we must have had 40 bags of King Prawns which we sold.
On top of the wages for the job we made approximately another £500 in meat sales alone.
I don’t know what they must thought when they opened the Spirit cupboard and it was empty!
We had 70 bottles of everything you could think of including the really big bottles you see on optics which we sold to a local pub landlord we know.
All in all we made enough money to pay for a holiday in Portugal for me the wife and two kids for two weeks including a £1000 spending money, proper job!
“Wish you were here”
Once we had successfully dealt with the pub job, Bob and me became a team the office realised we could almost carry out any role, from dealing with the public to talking directly to the client.
It was a ridiculous scenario to have found ourselves in a position of trust based on our interpretation of what happened during a spell at a country pub. What was clear we were is a bullshit based environment.
We gave the information to the office, they relayed the info to the client; the client then fed that information to their MD or board of directors.
It was a line of intelligence which was based on the fact that the client does not have the bollocks to do the job themselves.
Make the job sound scary and they are only too pleased to pay, to make the scary stuff go away. As soon as we worked that out, we booked ourselves all the work we wanted and helped make Metro a fortune.
By now it was September 1992 the big security headache of the year was upon us, it was the annual road races at Bromfield-on-sea a local seaside town.
Each year over 100,000 race fans would turn up to watch professionals and amateur driver’s race around the cliff roads finishing on the sea front.
The problem for us as security was the fact that it was an open air three day event which required an entry fee of £20.00. The local council arranged miles of fencing which kept out the freeloaders; to a point.
There were two main entry points which were covered by the fence one was the local golf course and the other an ancient public right of way, which stretched across a field and on to the beach.
From which an easy route allowed the user to gain access to the event. And so there was our problem anyone who knew the bylaws would know you have a legal right of way through that public footpath.
The council tried to give notice of the closure, however they knew it was not enforceable, and if someone refused to stop we could not force them.
We were asked on those occasions to follow the member of the public and if they attempted to gain access to the event then we had to ask them for the entry fee, if they refused then we could evict them for non payment.
Metro decided it would be best for Bob and myself to do this as we had already proved ourselves as good with the public and people at all levels what a fucking laugh that is.
We were delighted, all that we could see was a nice day out and an opportunity to take the piss out of the nerdy race goer’s.
Within ten minutes of getting into position we had our first client, Bob stood at the entrance which had a rambler’s sty which led onto the footpath.
Two men decided to push their way through the footpath route to the beach? I took it upon myself to explain that there was an official entrance to event further down the road.
The first gentleman smiled and simply said.
To which I nodded to Bob and we started to follow them, we walked uncomfortably close to them asking all the time if they were planning to go into the racing event? They refused to answer, which was a clear indication that they were trying to gain free access.
As we walked to the higher ground of the grass covered sand dunes the chap nearest to Bob stopped a thought it might be a good idea to throw a fake punch!
Which is fair to say missed by a country mile, the man followed the punch with a warning.
” If you two don’t fuck off now, you are going to get hurt”.
I decided at that point I wanted them to attempt illegal entry, that way we could throw them out.
My wishes came to fruition, as the two men started down the other side of the dune one of them shouted to his friend.
From memory I think he took two steps as Bob jumped on him from half way up the sand dune, it was hysterical you don’t go far with a 17stone doorman jumping on you from 10foot up a sand dune.
The other bloke realising he was on his own, came back to help his mate who by now was having his face pushed into the soft wet sand, whilst Bob told him to behave.
Taking his friend by the hand, he quickly changed his mind from any thoughts of inflicting violence on anyone! Well you tend too when a big bloke like me who specialises in arm locks and pressure points grabs your hand, it’s not exactly the last word in romance.
Whenever anyone asked me about my martial art training, I always described as the art of changing people’s minds, let me explain. I didn’t like the thought of hurting anyone; however when someone tries to punch you or grab you, by using simple wrist locks or pressure points the pain you inflict changes their minds.
I just did my job in the case of our first two clients at the races we gave them to the interior stewards and they let them out.
Later on in the event we were asked to help out at the golf course, when we got there we could see why.
The golf club members were playing a round of golf while freeloading race enthusiasts were hiding in the coppice near the main coast road and when they saw their opportunity they legged it across the fairway and into the event.
I am here to tell you we are not talking one or two people every now and again, when we arrived there were whole families it was like a check point on the Mexican border.
What this did is it forced Bob, me and five other security guards to run around like fools, within 20 minutes we were blowing out of our asses.
I thought my lungs were going to come out of my fucking ears.
Everyone was fucked all that is except Big Don he must have been 6foot 5inches and 18stone with full security jacket, boots and jumper. Don ran around like it was a walk in the park.
Bob was talking to him for a while, whilst I wanted to curl up and die with exhaustion.
After a few minutes Bob came over and holding out his hand he had two cigarette papers which had been twisted into what can only be described as white paper versions of the old salt bags we used to have in crisp bags when we were kids.
Naively I said what is it? Bob replied.
“Speed, that’s how that big fat fuck is running around like a two year old”.
Neither Bob nor I had ever done any drugs, I said.
“I don’t know about this mate it’s not my thing”.
Bob agreed and put the two twists into his pocket we went back and forth for about an hour trying to decide if we should have a go.
Eventually we did and what a difference within 30minutes were running as fast backwards as the punters could run forwards and chat we were talking nonstop.
The real problem was being aware of how we dealt with the public, although the amount of speed was only a small taster if you have never done it before it has a profound effect.
One man I stopped on the golf course stabbed me in the leg with his umbrella, without a thought for the man’s safety I swung him around by his arm so hard I ripped his sleeve off of his coat and shirt all in one go.
At the end of the day we all went into the main bar for the prize giving part of the event. I stood at the bar speeding my tits off, the bar manager asked me to intervene in a developing incident.
To this day I am not completely certain if my interaction made things worse or if the situation was going bad anyhow. If I tell it how I remember it then you can make up your own mind.
Some of the doormen had to go as they were working on the door in town leaving Me, Bob Terry from the office, an Asian security guard whose name escapes me, all I know is that he normally worked on building sites and car lots as a site security guard, and we still had Big Don.
Anyway I went over to two race driver who appeared to be harassing an elderly chap; who I later discovered was the event organiser.
The old guy had a small amount of blood coming from his nose; I asked if he was Ok and he said.
“No I’m frightened”.
That was good enough for me so I gave the nod to Don and Bob and asked them to escort the two gentleman out which they did. Once they were safely outside I went out and asked them what the problem was, as I asked the one to my right tried to head butt me in the face.
Big fucking mistake on his part Don grabbed his mate and Bob grabbed him and together Bob and I managed to get Mr Fucking head butt around the corner and away from prying eyes.
Bob held his head up at a good angle and I gave him a good hard punch in the head knocking the prick clean out cold.
This unfortunately was the start of the longest and most vicious fight I had ever been involved in. Don still holding the other bloke squeezed his neck a bit too hard and blood spurted out of his ears, as soon as the big dopey fuck let him go Don shouted.
“Oh fuck me I’ve killed him”.
Which of course he hadn’t! What we had not counted on was the bar was full of racers; all that they had seen were three blokes beating up their fellow racers.
The door flew open and all the bar empted into the outside patio area, Don was on one knee seeing if the bloke he throttled was dead, when an overzealous idiot kicked Don in the face and knocking him out too.
Now it was Bob, me Terry and a security guard just about to fight 15 to 20 racing drivers and their friends, fucking great and I am speeding like a fucking loon.
The best thing about a “Wild west” type fight is that there are so many people involved it is difficult to be hit by everyone at once, half the time they are punching and kicking each other as much as they are doing any damage to you.
Terry was attacked first along with the Asian guard; looking back it was obvious they would be the first target neither of them looked like they could have a fight to save their lives.
It helped Bob and me because it meant we could go in and pick off four of five blokes quickly.
Bob hit two blokes in two punches and knocked them both to the floor and out of the fight.
I didn’t really think I just went all “Vulcan” on their asses, pressure points can be used as a form of acupressure to heal or as a weapon to attack.
The best thing about this sort of attack on the nervous system, it renders the person unconscious as soon as you apply the pressure.
You could see the shock on the faces of the rest of the group literally 45seconds into the fight and five of them are unable to continue.
The group were showing signs already of who was up for it and who didn’t want to know Bob spotting this walked forward and using both hands struck out three times at the biggest guy there.
I have never seen as much damage in my life the blokes face exploded as he hit the floor both of his eyes had already closed up into slits and his nose was flat to his face and covered in blood.
I thought that will do then, as is often in gang fights it happens in waves of violence Terry shouted I am calling the police as he ran into the bar with the Asian lad. The group were now around us in an arc, one of then stepped forward and looking directly at me said.
“Just me and you then”
I am not proud of what happened next but it was a do or die situation or at least that’s how it felt, I was covered in blood from the early thumping and I was certain my nose was broken from a head butt someone managed to get in.
Bob was looking knackered after fighting for what seemed ages, we later found out we had both broken our right hands too.
The bloke who offered me out one on one looked like he had only just turned up like a substitute in a football match he was spotless and without a fucking mark on him, Bob looked at me and said.
“I don’t think you’ve got much choice mate”.
Without any warning I turned sideways on, to the spotless bloke and said come on then, as soon as he twitched I lifted my knee and shot out a low side kick just as he lunged in to hit me.
Striking his left leg just below the knee cap, a stamping kick to the knee is a basic technique taught to beginners I have been practising this kick and teaching it to my classes for over twenty five years, to me it was as automatic as blinking is to someone when a ball flies towards their face.
Over the guys screaming head I saw the best sight in the world the police arriving and just as the group went for us once again.
The boys in blue turned up like a cavalry saving the wagon train from an Indian attack. I immediately pointed out the main trouble makers and they were duly arrested.
Months later I won compensation of a couple of hundred pounds for damages. Don was Ok after a few days; his pride was hurt more than his head.
We were held up once again as great bouncers, the organiser wrote a letter to the council and as a result Metro got all of the security work from the town hall to the annual flower shows.
Raves were big in the capital from the early eighties, but the West Country took a while to catch up. We were very keen to get involved, that is Bob and me.
Everyone at the town council, police HQ and Metro security were not as keen shall we say. I knew from raves I had been to that the real scene was based around a rumour that something was going to happen somewhere, so loads of people would try to find the illegal event.
This idea was different; we would be using the biggest indoor arena in the town, sending out flyers weeks in advance. Once we had dealt with all of the worries thrown up by the town officials a date was set and a door limit of 2000 was agreed.
Metro would have the entire contract for security set at 28 door staff including exterior security, dogs and patrol vans.
The bar would be licensed by the town and police until mid-night and then it would be soft drinks only, supplied by Metro.
Gary and Pete were over the moon once they realised the raver’s on the whole don’t drink alcohol. It is bottles of water at ridiculous prices and large amounts of mind altering drugs they are after.
Bob and I ran the door and controlled the ticket collection, once past us then they were searched and stamped if the punter left the event they could not come back in.
Both of us used clickers to count in and more importantly for us counted out the party goers.
As soon as we were within the quota Bob went outside with tickets and knocked them out at £10.00 a piece, we were taking money all night.
We had more problems with the hired help than we did with the punters. The main problem with an event like this, is it’s ran on a Saturday night so all of the usual door staff were working on their usual doors, therefore we had to bring in local hard cases, football hooligans and bouncer job hopefuls.
This is a dangerous combination at any time, but when there is booze and drugs around then it takes all of your efforts to keep them under control.
Without any directive from me two of the security staff took it upon themselves to take off the security ID sweatshirts they had been given, then decided to go undercover in the pursuit of drug dealers and dealings.
Naive to say the least, it was an unspoken rule that the security just didn’t come down heavy on the raver’s.
It was a big part of the scene at that time.
Anyone who knows about this sort of event would tell you, it is the freedom to drop “E’s” at will, makes the music sound fantastic and the lighting out of this world, and therefore worth paying £25.00 for an advanced entry ticket.
If on the other hand some fucking bully muscle head get’s you in a headlock, pinches your drugs and throws you out. Then you might think twice about ever going to an event ran by that team again.
I had to take action so I paid the problem security guards off early and sent them home; Ok, they got a full nights pay for half a night’s work, in the long run it saved a lot of aggro for later.
Bob spent a good part of the night hanging about outside looking like an ugly rent boy hiding in the shadows, his real job was selling the entry tickets over and over again, at one point I recon we had 3000 people inside and at least another 1500 that had come and gone throughout the night.
Once the event was over I got all of the security guards together and gave them all an extra £50.00 each for a good nights work.
Me and Bob left the cleaners to it and shot off for a breakfast in town, we were pulling £10 and £20 notes out of every pocket it got to the point of embarrassing we had managed to clear a massive amount of money.
We worked out 2500 extra punters in and out over the 24hour event at £10 each became £12K or just over and that was after we had given away over £2000 in extra pay to the door staff.
I could not believe how much money we had cleared in one night. The next day I had a call from Metro asking me to come to the office, I though oh fuck they have rumbled, or some thick twat have opened their big mouth.
When I got there Gary and Pete were all smiles?
“What a fucking good night that was Mike, we made a fucking fortune. Well done, this is yours”.
Gary excitedly announced throwing a fat wage packet across the table, on the front it had two numbers £220 wages £100 bonus all I could think was small potatoes.
Terry told me a few days later that the office picked up a cheque for £5000.00 for the security and another £1500.00 from the drinks sales.
I knew from that point on Bob and me had to keep things close to our chest, tell no one what you are up to and you can’t get caught. It’s only when you involve idiots that people get to know what you’re up to and then you spend all of your time trying to cover your tracks or explaining what you are doing.
“The hippy, hippies shake”
In town a group of new age travellers had decided to squat in an abandoned Edwardian building, Terry called me to see if I would meet him and the client from the council to work out a course of action to evict the squatters.
When we arrived at the site it was like a fortress, windows boarded up and the only entry point was the main front doors which were massive and about a foot thick.
I started to survey the area with the client; I had to admit to him we would need the Police to break through the door or total authority to get in how I saw fit.
The client said do what you have to, just get in and get them out. It was clear from the off the doors had to be either broken inward or hooked and pulled out.
We set a day and time for the raid and agreed a Sunday two weeks hence at 6am. The police were on hand for arrests and we brought a large hired digger and chains the doors were coming outward.
The day could not have gone better, most of the squatters were at a music festival and the ones that were left in the building; were daft enough to open the door when I knocked, what a fucking turn up, we were in like a plague.
Within an hour the squatters were out and I was the new squatter with Bob. Once again on 24hour security watch and scouting around for any goodies to be found.
The first point of our attention was a cola machine which was full. I thought it must be full because the squatters had put a sign across the machine,
“Do not drink the capitalist poison”.
The first week was fairly uneventful although the press were there almost daily.
It was my chance to build my part up as a TV anti squatting pundit; luckily for me the squatters had some odd ideas when it came to what would be considered Art.
The press had a field day with dolls with fake blood and painting of clouds using human waste.
“That’s shit if you ask me”. Bob the art critic announced.
The exposure gave me my promised 15 minutes of fame; Andy Warhol said I could have.
Once we had the whole area secured; it was a matter of how long could we hold onto the contract. The old tactics had to be re-used writing endless bollocks in the security log. The mad thing is this very quickly began to become a chore, once we had it sorted it was time to move on and leave the contract to site security personnel.
“If you think you’re hard enough”
I had a word back at the office, I told them I had earned my stripes and it was time I ran my own door. I knew it was time to step up which would mean I would have to turn a door around.
I had learnt that at first it would be one of the hardest jobs I had ever had, however the rewards were worth it.
Once established as a top doorman you would be asked to work at the most prestigious clubs and events. The pay was good and the entire door is yours.
All other doormen would have to acknowledge the fact that you were a top boy, a hand full who could hold your own in any situation.
The doormen from Back seat security a rival firm at the Portman Club were not performing, Slice won the contract for us and we were in.
It’s never is as easy as just taking over; the original door security company would not take this lying down. The usual form is that on the first Saturday we would be visited by the old door staff they would be given the night off to cause us a few problems, with some bullyboy bullshit.
In our case it was easier to deal with as they were “pussies” which helps. Bob knocked them back at the door, at first they were giving it plenty of attitude on the pavement outside, but a few slaps later and the door was ours for good.
Two big problems with this particular door, the first big fucking headache was it had a pub next door with an adjoining fire door.
Secondly the pub was the HQ of the local football hooligans.
Before we took over the usual Friday night occurrence was, at closing time for the pub, one or two football nut cases would push past the old doormen, walk through the club, kick open the fire doors and let their mates in.
The first night they tried this old nonsense, they were met at the door by Bob me and Stevie Truman, Stevie was and is a complete mental case from London.
Inside the club was another five paid staff including Joey and Jason Walters. Joey was five foot fuck all, and full of muscle and did not give two monkeys about anybody or anything. His brother Jason a curly haired bag of bones and covered with tattoos made his brother look weak in a fight.
The so called football hard men came up to the door. I could not believe my eyes. They were talking to each other and without an upward look or a single fucking bye or leave; they attempted to walk past between Stevie and Bob.
I was stood just behind in the middle position; once they were through the frontal guard I stopped them both by placing my hands on their chests and simply said.
“Yes lads, can I help”?
The one who was knocked out first said.
“Get out of the fucking way prick”.
Bob side swiped him with a clanger of a shot
The twats head went so far left his ear hit his own shoulder, Stevie grabbed his mate and blasted him in the face with a “Jiffy lemon” full of ammonia, he went down like a bag of shit the fumes were unbelievable.
I called all of the on duty and off duty doormen outside. To me it was obviously going to go up big time as soon as the main boys found out we had fucked up their scouts. Stevie shouted let’s fucking have’em and disappeared into the pub followed by the rest of us.
The pub was practically empty except 10 or so semi drunken louts sat in the corner, Bob stepped forward and threw the scout covered in ammonia onto the table coughing and spluttering.
Within what seemed seconds we were all outside fighting like cavemen, Stevie ran around with his Jiffy blasting everyone he could catch.
Bob just walked around calmly knocking people out and for me, well let’s just say I was proud of the team and the workman like way the boy’s taught the hooligans a lesson.
I could see the football crew now knew what fighting proper men was like, as opposed to running around in massive gangs pretending to have a fight. Once it was over, I took the apparent leader off to one side and told him.
“Do not take the piss, and you and your friends are welcome in the club, in fact it would be useful in case it goes off and we don’t have the man power. But take the piss and you are barred”.
We shook hands I never saw him again.
On the Monday I met up with Terry from the office and Bob in a coffee bar in town, I told Terry to let the office know the door was sorted and we were going to run it on our own, just Bob and me.
The way I saw it was, if you treat people the right way on the way in. Then they behave themselves, a club like this one needed to be full of nice respectable people who want a fun safe night out.
From then on and for four years we ran a safe club, we had some incidences a few office wankers falling about and upsetting the young ladies, you get that everywhere. One night I had a shout from a regular to say, some idiot was upstairs causing a few problems.
When I got to the top floor a bloke was trying to start a fight with a regular who was a nice quiet lad about 18 or 19 years old, the idiot was in his late twenties and on his own (Billy no mates) The bar manager was left on the front door and Bob watched my back from the DJ balcony a few feet away.
I began to calmly escort the trouble maker out when he turned and tried to punch me, without thinking I lifted my right arm and struck him in his left cheek bone with my elbow, it was a reflex reaction in close quarters you can’t swing and you certainly don’t want to be seen punching or head butting it’s not the done thing.
My elbow made full contact; he was unconscious immediately and sadly bleeding from an open wound to his cheek, I thought oh fuck! And put him over my shoulder in a fireman’s lift to get him away from the crowd and into some clear air.
I walked down the first flight of stairs and turned on the bottom landing when his head swung around and hit the brickwork archway at the side of the stairs.
I took him across the floor and straight outside when I sat him down and saw his face, I nearly had a fucking heart attck! He had a cut across his cheek about two or three inches long and a lump on the front of his head, just above his eye the size of a tennis ball.
I sent Bob back in to get Sophie from behind the bar; she was the resident first aider. Sophie cleaned the bloke up who by now he was conscious. I filled in the incident book and continued to work the club and door until we locked up at 2 AM.
Sunday morning 7.45AM the next day bang, bang on my front door at home, I opened the door to find about 10 police officers in full riot gear shield and batten standing on my drive.
“Mr Mike Taylor” said the front Officer.
I replied yes he then said the most bizarre thing in the world.
“I am arresting you on suspicion of murder; you do not have to say anything, blah blah blah! You know how it goes.
I was put into hand cuffs and escorted to the waiting police car.
The rest of the police team got into a van and with sirens akimbo we were off, now here’s the thing I knew I hadn’t killed anyone or accidentally knock someone down, in fact I could not think of any single incident, so I enjoyed the fast police car ride it was like an episode of Z cars, or The Bill for anyone too young to know who or what Z cars was.
I sat in an interview room, and two officers came in they were not in uniform so to me it was obvious they were CID, a uniformed officer stood by the door.
“Would you like a coffee?” Said the older of the two officers I laughed and said.
“Oh yeah! Good cop bad cop”.
I only said it for a laugh; however they did not seem to be up for jokery. The younger one leant forward and took a couple of tapes out of their plastic covers and put them into a machine, he then began to introduce himself and everyone else in the room he mentioned the day time etc...
He then started to tell me how a man was found outside a local City centre park with some head injuries and a broken neck, he was found dead.
They went on to say he was last seen alive by his friend. They both approached The Portman club where his friend was refused entry by a doorman called Mike and fitting your description.
The dead man was allowed in, we have checked with the manager of the Portman club and we looked in the incident book, now do you have anything to say? I went hot and cold sweaty and of course shitting myself.
The officer then began to show me photos of people one of which clearly showed a dead man who I had never seen before in my life, I thought thank fuck for that it’s not the bloke I threw out and knocked his head against the wall!
I explained in detail what happened and that I did not recognise anyone in the photos.
Whilst we were in the interview room another officer came and said that a man had come forward owning up to knocking someone down the night before and could not live with not knowing if the victim was OK.
Apparently he had rung all of the hospitals within a fifty mile area trying to find out if he was alright. I would have kissed him if I had met him for being a stand up bloke, sad about the dead guy, and his poor family I hope they are able to forgive.
I was taken home and no more action was required, I decided from that day on I would take a different line in future with out of order punters and talk them out, no more macho bullshit.
The club was doing well; for the first time the public had a safe weekend venue for the discerning over 25’s. The queue was 100 people by 5 deep and not a hint of trouble. We were well known even the old door staff who lost the contract months before would come along with their wives and or girlfriends.
I am not going to tell you it was not an ego boost because it clearly was. I had a new problem, I had packed in my day job and I needed a regular full income. It was easy to see there was a large amount of money to be had in this industry, but you couldn’t earn it stood on a door working two or three nights per week.
I called a meeting with Gary and Slice, they knew I had a strong retail and sales management background and a good sales record; they knew it because I fucking made certain I told them.
We agreed I was still vitally important as the Portman clubs head doorman. Now I wanted “in” I wanted to be part of the firm. The way in as I saw it was to help grow the business, there was the area of gaining new contracts; I could get involved with that without breaking a sweat.
Gary and Slice were over the moon, now they had a real sales professional they just needed to be able to control the team and arrange the cover, I would be the front man, it was the easiest sale I had ever made.
We started our negotiations with a company car a new title of regional security manager, an annual salary and expenses.
I first hit the University and arranged a meeting with the Entertainment manager. They had a full year of events from top line acts to a local battle of the bands.
All of which needed external and internal security, I explained in detail how I understood the problems they had due to the fact that it was a place of learning and the buildings had never been designed as an events or music venue.
The negotiations were swift and the contract was ours, I thanked them and we took on the contract for the following three years.
What I knew was we were about to put hardened “bouncers” into a place of learning with degree standard students, Oopps! Oil and water!
The main clincher was that I would head up the team and be on site for all main events, the client was well versed in matters of University life but had no clue about the types of problems we could have as a security team; I needed to keep it that way.
I began to build a list of who I wanted with me for the new University term starting in September. After listing 7 or 8 good boys I needed to recruit new blood so the word went out across the grape vine. I no time we had a team of 17men and 6 girls all well respected and well trained.
The external patrol security would be staffed by the usual suspects from Metro security part timers and old timer’s lists.
Things were beginning to happen at a pace I could really begin to get my teeth into the role at last. Looking back I now realise this was about the time I began to change.
My presents was felt by the whole industry, the blokes who had been doing the job for years began to show me real respect, like one said in my company but to someone else loud enough so I could hear.
“Mike, fuck me he’s a hand full you don’t mess with him”.
This sort of comment is common in the circle of doorman, I wondered, how the fuck does he know what I can or can’t do. I have never met him before, spoken to him or dealt with a problem in his presents. It is that sort of comment I began to feed off of, I knew I had began to believe my own press.
Reputations are built by others about you; if I could make certain everyone I met got the same Idea then the sky would be no limit. Like I said before it is a bullshit environment, let the people around you see that you mean what you say and most of all, say what you mean.
When someone decides to “big you up” fucking let them. If someone puts you down fuck them up in front of whoever is there.
When I say “fuck them up” I don’t necessarily mean physically, It is much worst for a man to have to back down and apologise, that situation is far better than rolling around stripped to waste and fighting like sailors in the dance hall.
The best thing is once the apology comes then you can reinforce your alpha status by making certain everyone who listens knows you are a top bloke by exclaiming to one and all that it takes a real man to say he is wrong. Then come up with some old crap with reference to anyone fuck with him and they will have you to deal with, I know its bollocks but they seem to go for it every time.
When that fails beat the shit out of them, and then get the apology!
They should keep their fucking views to themselves.
Jim Marshall, Bob and me were the main security for the first months at the University I always made certain we had the plumb jobs. I reckon we must have had ten thousand decibels clanging in our ears five nights a week for what seemed like forever.
One of the music events was a girl band from the states, not well known but moving up the rock charts, I made sure me and the boys took care of their personal security. We were stood outside of the changing room when the lead singer came out and asked.
“How can you boys protect us from out there?”
We did not need to be asked twice, I didn’t even get into the room properly before her robe was off and we could see all five of them were bare assed naked and getting off with each other.
“Dive in the waters lovely”.
Strange but it reminded me of the encounter with Liz at the pub months before, when I did the right thing. Since the pub things had changed now that I was an established member of the.
“Fuck anyone who will let you doorman’s club.”
I was in like Flynn, the truth is that after a few weeks as a doorman you get so many offers it almost seems rude to say no, so you don’t. I think I must have shagged half of the regulars at the club and the rest were either blokes or pig ugly munters, either way they can stay un-shagged.
The best thing about working at Uni is the girls, we may have been older than most of the teaching staff, but they didn’t seem to care. That fact was not a problem to the girls, all I can say is they were fed up with the feeble groping efforts of the boys. Once they knew your name and decided to start to regularly talk to you, it was just a matter of time before the flood of propositions began to flow. There were strict rules over 18’s only no fresher’s or staff. I must say the idea of free love is not lost on the modern hippy type.
“Be careful what you wish for”
Although things were going well I knew I still had other responsibilities, some good like my two sons and some shit like my wife. It was time to take back control and not think I could keep fucking about with my mates all day.
The main thing that struck me was the way that I made every effort to be there when the boys needed support, you know the sort of thing home work, parents evenings driving them to their friends and back again. I knew that as far as the boys were concerned I was always there, I went to work when they went to bed and I was there to get them up for school, whilst the wife spent her time getting herself ready to go out.
Her work seemed to have longer and longer hours, don’t get me wrong I could see by our bank account money was going in from her account and this took some of the financial pressure off of me, (or so I thought).
How fucking wrong can a person be? It all started when I was sat watching the TV with the boy’s
Bigfoot and the Henderson’s it was a first showing on TV I think it was Good Friday. She was her usual moaning self centred self! Once again complaining, this time it was having to go to the local shops; the shops were at the end of our road, 100mtrs at most. Then she started on about change,
“There is never any change in this house” she exclaimed
I simply pointed at the shelf above the fireplace and replied,
“What are you talking about, there must be £300 in cash up there, are you blind?”
Grabbing an indiscriminate amount of dosh she was out of the door and gone. After a few seconds my mind began to wander. Why change? Why not just take cash she knew it was there? Thoughts floated aimlessly for a while then WHAM!!!
It was like a kick in the head.
I said out loud “PHONE”. Both of the boys looked at me like I had gone nuts. Sorry boys I forgot to ask Mum to get something watch TV and I’ll be back in a few minutes.
I pulled on my leather jacket and made my way down to the corner, on the way I began to run ideas through my head.
She needs money for the phone box? Why not use the one at home? Could it be a surprise? Is it an anniversary? One by one I dismissed the internal suggestions.
Stopping at the corner I looked across the open grass area towards the shop and open fronted phone box and there she was hunched over and gripping the phone with both hands, her back was to me and I knew for the first time she was having an affair.
I turned and ran back up to the house, at first I thought I will wait until the kids were in bed then tease the information out of her and make her squirm.
This would almost certainly lead to a massive argument which I didn’t want the boys to witness. The thought that they were just about to have their entire world turned upside down was devastating.
I made another quick excuse to the boys and decided to head her off at the shops and confront her in the street, this way she would be less likely to shout and ball like a mental case.
I arrived at the shop door just as she came out, looking a little startled she said in a quiver,
I smiled and relished in my reply,
“Nothing’s wrong if you don’t count having an affair”
For a split second I thought she was going to deny the whole thing, instead she said the weirdest sentence I think I will ever hear.
“Yeah I am, and you know who it is. He has been in training and he’s ready to fight you.”
My reply was the crowning glory,
“Fight? I wouldn’t fight for you, I would shake his hand, I’m keeping custody of the boys, when can you get out? How soon can you be gone?”
She said again in the hope I would be emotionally wounded in some way,
“You know him, you know who he is”
I just said “Poor sod, send him my condolences”
Turning around I went back into the house, stopping at the door I turned around to face her for the last time and said,
“Do not discuss this with the boys, you have done enough damage to them already, we can deal with this in a way they will learn to accept.”
The bitch just nodded.
As we walked back into the room the film had just finished so I said right you two upstairs and shower.
I thought the extra time alone with the shammed one would help set some ground rules before she was alone with the kids.
I still had to go to work.
My only concern was if she told the boys too much, it would confuse and upset them.
I rang my parents and arranged for the kids to go and stay for the night. Once out of the way I began to lay down the law,
“Do not introduce your boyfriend to the kids until I say you can and only once I have spoken to him.”
“It’s Billy” She bleats
“Billy? Billy? Fucking goofy big eared 5 foot fuck all Billy, I am going to slap him just for taking the piss. Cheeky little bastard, I bought him a fucking pint last week!” I was more annoyed about the fact he was a little prick who I had drank with, than the fact she was having it off with him.
“What the fuck do you see in that little twat?”
Well I had to ask.
Now don’t make me laugh, but what is it with women they really don’t know when they are being played for a sucker, her reply was exactly what I would expect a girl to say about any bloke trying to get in her pants.
“Billy is gentle and understanding, he makes me laugh”
When any woman tells her friends that their new bloke understands them or makes them laugh they are being played. It is the same as a female who during the early stages of a relationship wears stockings and insists she prefers them to tights. Some go as far as to trap us men with endless blowjobs, shagging and anal delights as if it would last forever, it fucking won’t.
Now the real fun begins Monday morning first thing I am in the solicitors filing for divorce on grounds of adultery. What a fucking hypocrite I am, never mind though I found her out before she caught me.
Either way we could not go on pretending to be a couple, it was not fair on the kids and I had plans for my boys the eldest wanted to go to university when he finished school and would need constant support and encouragement to do so. The younger of the two boys dreamed of seeing the world and joining an acting school or a career in music.
I promised myself whatever they wanted to do I would help make it happen. I had to make certain I won custody of the boys and to this end we set a court date.
In the time leading up to the court hearing I made certain I was the model parent, interacting with the school, picking the boys up and ensuring they had regular contact with their Mother, who had already moved in with lover boy.
The court hearing lasted about an hour; I had full family support and a letter from the school supporting my claim for custody. After 45mins the ex decided life with Billy would be better without the children and withdrew her custody claim.
The big bomb shell was when I produced the bank statements and mortgage account; I mentioned earlier how her extra long hours were helping to put money into our account.
The truth was she had made an arrangement with the mortgage lender to pay monthly in cash and not direct debit. The money hitting the account wasn’t extra earnings for overtime the fucking bitch was only paying the mortgage every other month or so and putting the money we should have paid to the mortgage back in to her account and then paying it back into our account in a transfer.
I thought it was new money from her work; she was with him on those occasions and pretending to earn extra, the fucking lying adulterous slag.
I had full custodial responsibility and an agreement from her that she would not oppose my claim. I was over the moon; the boys could continue in their school and stay in contact with their friends.
I knew the road ahead would be rocky and I would have to learn a whole new set of skills.
I was up for the challenge and so were the boys.
I had often dreamt about a life where I didn’t have to throw my hat into the room before entering just to see if the atmosphere was friendly. Well now I had what I had dreamt of, it was time to step up to the plate and make things work.
Divorce followed and the boys settled into their new life style and I made certain they saw their Mum every other weekend unless the boys didn’t want to go. The boys began to make excuses when their Mum rang, usually saying they had a party to attend or they wanted a friend to stay at ours for the weekend, which they did, often.
I made sure I worked mostly day time and my parents filled in where and when needed, the whole situation was perfect.
On the odd occasion I did work at the Portman club
I made an effort for the boys to stay at their Mothers. I always felt this was important, they needed to see her even if they didn’t realise it themselves.
“If it looks too good to be true”
It must have been several months since I received my decree nisi and I must admit life was good. I found I could be honest with myself about what went wrong with the marriage and to be honest it was my fault as much as hers.
Well if you’re never at home when your partner needs you, after a while they are bound to make a new life for themselves which does not include you.
Anyway that was then and this is now, I worked four days as manager of the office and one night at the Portman club, any events at the University I made quick visits with Bob in the car strutted about a bit just to show my face and deal with any problems.
At the Portman Club the clientele were of a higher social standing than most any other club in town. And so we were not particularly shocked when a limo pulled up the driver opened the back door and a good looking blonde with a Sauvé looking dude in tow got out. The door on the far side opened, the biggest fucking bloke poured out and stood up he must have been six foot six if he was an inch and about 20 stone of solid muscle.
It turned out his name was Ross, he would play a large part in my life over the next twelve months. The two people with Ross were William H Rice and his significant other Alexandra.
Once inside the club Ross returned to the door and introduced himself as William and Alexandra’s Bodyguard and security manager. We started talking and it became obvious he had seen some military action mainly Falkland’s and Ireland he didn’t boast or parade his life story he just joined in the banter between Bob and me.
Bob asked him why he didn’t go in to the club and enjoy himself. Ross explained this was work and tonight was purely so his employers could have him around whilst they enjoyed themselves.
After an hour or so Ross offered to introduce me to his bosses, I accepted and leaving Bob on the door went inside. I have to be honest I could already hear the “ching ching” of money in my ears, I thought there has to be a way of earning a few quid out of this lot.
Good for his word Ross introduced me and followed his introduction with a kind statement aimed at me,
“This is a top bloke in this town we could really do with a man like this in our Bristol operation.”
You could see my head swell from across the dance floor.
Mr Rice stood up reached into his pocket and pulled a business card,
“Here’s my card call me Sunday and we can meet up for a chat, if Ross says your right for us then you are.”
Mr Rice smiled, sat down and without a second glance carried on his in-depth conversation with the very lovely Alexandra.
Ross placed his hand on my back and led me away from the impressive pair.
“Call him ok, it will be in your interest.”
Back on the door I took the card out of my pocket and without looking at it I gave it to Bob whilst explaining what had just been said.
Bob piped up with “Fuck me they are rolling in dough.”
The card simply said
“W. H. R
Looking at Bob I frowned and quizzed.
“They are a designer jewellery company; I wonder what they want me to do?”
I called the next day Ross answered the phone and put me through to Mr Rice,
“Shall we meet at the lake restaurant? Let’s agree 12:30 we can have lunch.” Mr Rice suggests.
I happily agreed and promptly ran around getting ready, I decided to wear casual smart after all this was a meeting not an interview, I hadn’t heard anything I could consider or turn down.
We met at the bar seating area and went through to the restaurant the commissionaire was ass licking like you’ve never seen before, clicking his fingers and making his staff run around like frightened children.
I noticed that once we were seated the front of house manager stood slightly back from our table as if waiting to be summoned, expectantly coiled ready to spring forth from a respectable distance.
“Thank you for inviting me to lunch Mr Rice. How do you see me helping your business?” I asked.
I knew this may be a little premature a question, the way I saw it if they needed me for a particular reason I needed to hear it.
“Please call me William” Was the friendly reply
I agreed and asked for an overview of his plans, it took William several minutes to get around to the bones of his business, he seemed like he wanted to fill me in on the back drop to his life story. Stating the obvious this man had built up a designer jewellery company who sold directly into the high street.
We had lunch and when we were finished William asked if he could have the evening to finalise his thought on what he would like to offer me and what package he could come up with to entice me into the company.
We shook hands and I left him in the restaurant, I still had no idea what my part would be in this unfolding drama. I couldn’t wait to find out Monday was still 24hours away.
Monday came, along with the phone call at around 10:15am this time it was William himself,
“Mike can you come along to 301 Loxton place, in the city, we are here now?”
It took me approximately half an hour to get there,
Once inside the reception area I could tell this was an empty space and available to let.
Ross called down from upstairs for me to come on up. The main office was plush, well lit and very trendy.
William stood up with a grin from ear to ear,
“meet the team” William proudly announced and with a waft of his hand Alexandra was the first person to make my formal acquaintance, just as I would have expected Alexandra stayed seated and simply held out her immaculately manicured hand for me to lightly shake and confirm with a bowing nod.
It didn’t weird at the time but no words were exchanged between us, before I could speak William directed my gaze towards a young twenty something male stood near the window, to be fair all I could think was “Nerd” he seemed to be nervous and awkward,
“This is John our IT whizz kid” William beckons to the young man to come and meet me, I decided to stand my ground and let the lad come to me.
Ross appeared from the rear office area; he walked past and simply placed his hand on my shoulder with a light tap and carried on his journey to the facing open doorway.
At last I heard Alexandra speak, “Ignore Ross he’s just scouting around making certain this place is secure enough to run our Bristol office from.”
Two other older men came in said hello to the room and set about measuring up walls door etc..
“I suppose you are wondering what the devil is going on” William correctly suggests.
I smiled and admitted I was perplexed, it was beginning to annoy me to be truthful.
William asked if I had ever run teams of people as their manager I confirmed I had, he continued we need someone to run our Bristol business and to develop a strategy to sell our designer collection directly to the public. We believe you are that person, here is our offer. William gave me a sealed envelope I slid it into my inside jacket pocket and replied, “I will be in touch.”
I heard Ross laugh from the other room in response to my underwhelmed repartee. I thought I don’t want to give off the wrong signal when I open the offer letter, either too eager or too negative so I will open it in the car.
I think William was shocked his face said it all,
“Ok mike, as you will, I’ll speak to you later.”
I made my excuses and left the room down the stairs and out of the building in double quick time, the fact is I couldn’t wait to see what the letter said. I knew without looking they would be watching me so I slowly walked away and around the corner out of view.
Ripping off the top of the off white envelop of handmade paper, I pulled out the matching handwritten letter. It was a kind of scroll you would need an hour to reproduce or an education which included calligraphy.
Reading from the top the letter was beautifully set out.
We are delighted to have found in you someone we feel we can trust to join our family business.
We realise this has all been a whirlwind of intrigue and unsolicited in our approach.
Alexandra and I have always maintained we work best when we include our first impressions in our decision making processes.
We therefore are overjoyed to be able to offer you the full time position of Bristol and Southwest area executive manager.
I was knocked out by the title and when I read the part about the salary £35,000 with a company car paid holiday and pension, all with a full expenses account. I thought I have landed on my big fat feet and if I am picking my own staff Bobs in straight away.
Needless to say I accepted the offer and set about organising accounts with various office supplies companies and placing adverts for sales staff in every news paper and agency in the town.
Ross arranged for the strong room to be built and security cameras were installed everywhere, we even had a room where the two older men worked on benches with strange brackets with tiny vice like clamps, the sort a fly fisherman might use for making his flies.
Within a few weeks the office was set up and I had come up with a sales strategy which could only be described as brilliant.
Each sales person would be given a high quality ring presentation box capable of holding up to 15 dummy gold metal designer rings.
The idea for the sales tactic would be the rings would be presented as if they were chocolates, once shown to the client they would be enticed into selecting their favourite ring and asked to try it on.
We would explain to the client this was a survey to find out which of the designer rings they liked. Once they had selected one we would ask them to price the ring. The sale takes place by offering them an original 9ct gold Alexandra designer ring at trade price and less than they’re guess, with no strings attached seven day trail.
Take the details of the client safe in the knowledge that once they have the ring they will not send it back and we charge the card or account in full, SOLD.
The Dummy rings arrived and the sales team by now was 40 strong all on a commission only status, each day we held two team meeting set targets and played them off against each other. When I say we I mean me! William, Alexandra, Ross and John all stayed well out of the way. Peter and Joseph the old guys simply worked in the strong room and were strangely kept themselves to themselves.
I could see the sales coming in thick and fast each day the top seller would receive a bonus of £50 cash, some days the teams came back with 300 rings sold. I began to worry when Bob found an invoice sheet for various 9ct gold rings from a supplier in the capital. On average they were £12 each obviously a low quality gold mass produced piece of shit.
Bob said “We are being set up, this is a scam and you are the front man as far as all of the staff are concerned.”
The only problem with this sticky situation was Ross, nice bloke now big hard mental fucker if it all goes up later. I decided to confront William and Alexandra to see what the crack was. I must admit I could have been more tactful instead I went into Williams back office behind the strong room, an area everyone was banned from. I didn’t shout I just waved the paperwork Bob had found.
It was at that point all came clear the office was set up like a bedsit; they were living there in fucking squalor. I nearly made a fool of myself by declaring I thought you were staying at the Hilton, I could have bit my tongue off, Hilton they were a bunch of grifters, con men, a long firm and I was the idiot who got sucked in, fuck I was mad angry.
Ross was stood next to Bob in the corridor that linked William’s office to the strong room. Ross looked at me and said “Can I have a word.” I nodded and told Bob don’t let these cunts out of your sight.
Ross visibly reduced in stature his face reddened and his eyes wee watering.
“Please don’t hurt me” he pleaded,
I told him to tell me everything,
“I didn’t know they were not going to let you in on the whole story, I told them to square with you from the start.” Ross continued.
I thought for a second,
“How close are you lot, I mean you and the two fuck pigs?”
I guessed right Ross decided to do what all scammers do, take opportunity to fuck off and drop his fellow dupers in the crap.
I told him to fuck off out of the building and don’t come back, he was gone in a shot. Ross may have been a big bloke and he did act as if he could have fight, however in fact he was a pussy.
Bob gathered up all of the rings in the plastic bags strewn across the floor and threw them into the back pack lent against the door.
The day’s sales team wage bill usually came to £2200 or there about, which was paid every day at 6pm.
Ripping off the team each day was not the scam that was small compared to what they were up to, the way it works is on building up trust with suppliers, office supplies, bullion traders, cars, bank loans, anyone who might have something they could keep for free.
From furniture to computers once you gain trust you hit each supplier for the biggest order you can get credit for, then you fuck off overnight leaving a Klutz like me to face the music.
I instructed Bob to go to the bank to get the final wages for the staff; William signed the cashing check and Bob took off with Alexandra as collateral.
When they returned Bob had managed to clear the account of £6,870.00 which was nice.
I gave William an option fuck off and we will close everything down end of story. Or I call the Police and we do things their way.
You know the answer!
They left Bristol and the last I heard they set up again in Liverpool and was rumbled early in the scam; William got four years I don’t know about the rest.
I have to say we were lucky I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my friend Bob, all of the staff were paid off and let go, we arranged for most of the companies to collect their belongings.
I kept a set of keys and continued to collect returned rings for a few months, the bank account continued to accept payments for retained rings for almost three months which we collected with regular cash withdraws.
Saddest of all my car had to be repossessed, it was a beautiful seven series BMW; it is true what the legend says.
“If something seems too good to be true then it probably is.”
Tim Lacey was an old mate of mine who I’d worked with years ago when we all had a go at working on the stock market trading floor. The job was stressful but the rewards were fan-fucking-tastic, there is nothing more fun than spending all day gambling with other people’s money. If they lose then you apologise and if they win you get a massive bonus, fucking great!
We were Ok right up until black Monday, then everybody lost either money or their job, both Tim and me were out on our collective ears.
He went his way and I went mine, recently however we have reacquainted and he thinks we could earn a few quid together since I no longer work with the fucking shithouse Rice and his Con-men.
The trouble was he was up to no good with a strangely mystical looking bloke from a little village near where he lived.
I was introduced to the wonderful world of Morgan the Mystic, Tim’s mate. He struck me as a man who was not afraid of his mission to look like a complete fuck nut or as you may wish to call him a druid.
His hair reminded me of Catweazel from a when I was a kid. He whore robes instead of clothes and a strange hat a bit like a buff coloured witch’s hat which was too big for his head.
My first impression was if we are pulled by the Police they will clock him and search the fuck out of all of us. I made certain I was not carrying anything I shouldn’t.
Once the intros were done Morgan announced he had free entry to a huge open air music event called,
The event was in a field just outside of the main town where we lived, 35,000 loved up floor shakers were expected. I didn’t practice my big box little box dance moves I just tagged along. Tim, Morgan and some other bloke called Neil who was fucked out of his face picked me up in a motor I can only describe as a WWII ambulance or desert rat type vehicle from around 1940.
I must admit it was in immaculate condition and inside the layout was a full on customisation job, to the MAX.
They had a bar, TV and Video, full length sun roof all set up with a banging music system. I spotted the bed above the cab I thought that’ll do me nicely and two benches which were fully upholstered.
The front seats could swivel 360 degrees, the whole thing really was the bollocks.
Tim shouted above the bass of the tune, look in the drawer under you feet. I strained to hear but got the gist as he pointed frantically at my feet.
I opened the slider that was the excuse for a drawer and pulled out one of those plastic containers people use for putting stuff away in the attic never to be seen again.
Morgan shouted sort me out Mikey mate, on opening the box the fucking smell of skunk weed filled my entire head. The box was crammed, there must have been a kilo at least and all prime bud, sticky as fuck, what was the best though was it was all totally F.O.C happy days.
It was time for the maestro to show the world how to build a flawless TEN skin biffter, the emphasis was on wrinkle free tugging. To keep everyone happy in the meantime I quickly made four three skinners, all weed without the dreaded tobacco.
Whilst I toiled away over a hot rolling mat Tim stuck on some ageless tunes from yesteryear.
We are talking classic Hendrix and not the thump and grind of some here today gone tomorrow pop tart.
The van filled with the aroma of a Dutch coffee house, without the stink of coffee.
“Open some fucking windows you mental bastards.” Gurned Neil.
Up till that point I thought he was dead, he passed out as soon as we pulled away from my house and lay on the floor of the van motionless.
Neil’s total conversation for the next ten minutes was total bollocks, trying to convince Tim he was not tripping his tits off.
Tim swivelled round on his seat and laughed,
“We’ll all be like that in a few hours.”
I thought you might! I fucking wont he is mashed I like keeping some whits about me, you know just in case, (famous last words).
Stoned? Fuck me I was monged that skunk is lethal, I’d only smoked a small one, we hadn’t even touched the big joint, and I was already spinning.
The weird thing for me is that when I am pissed the room spins around me in a horizontal waltz. When I’m stoned it rolls over my head and under my feet in a vertical suicidal death roll, it is horrible so I don’t normally indulge.
If I’m smoking usually it is solid pot, however this stuff is free so I will try my best to be a complete imbecile and smoke myself stupid.
Morgan calls out, “Pub break” and we pull into the car park. I had to get myself together and Tim jumped out of his front seat, as he hit the ground he just kept going I thought for a second he had fell down a hole?
He hadn’t his legs gave way, I have never laughed so much in my life and with the ganja on board anything was funny. By the time we got into the pub we were all at the cracking up stage every time we thought of Tim’s crumpled exit from the van.
Neil was in no fit state to order so it fell to me, what I didn’t realise was that my eyes by now were like piss holes and bloodshot, I must have looked mental. I ordered drinks and I set off to call my boys who were at their mums for the week as part of the annual holiday arrangement.
I told myself this is my time so long as they are OK I can enjoy myself with a bit of R & R.
Tim and Morgan were deep in conversation when I returned, so I quipped.
“What’s with the huddled chat?”
Tim replied, “We are just working out what to take into the event and what to eat beforehand.”
I knew we were not talking food, “What do you have in mind?” I asked
Morgan mouthed the words, “Pills.”
I decided to leave them to their chat, on my way to the bar I asked. “You lot having anything to eat? I’m starving.”
A few beers and ploughman’s later we were back in the van and off to the event.
Parking in the field designated as the car park we made our way towards the main entrance.
The queue was ridiculous it must have been 500 yards long and ten people wide,
Tim said “Fuck that lets get up the front.”
About half way to the front main entrance I saw a black dude pulling a young lad about, as we neared the pair I could clearly hear the lad say,
“I don’t want anything, leave us alone.”
What was clear the dude was trying to go through the boys pockets, I stepped up between the two and pretended to know the youngster, When I turned around to speak to the black dude he sucked his teeth and looked me up and down, and barked.
That was all that he said, just as I head butted him straight in the face, Morgan helped Tim empty the bully’s pockets and pulled his top over his head, frog marching him to the front of the queue we were followed by a round of applause and cheers from most of the waiting party goers.
I walked up to the frontline security guard and introduced myself as a fellow doorman. I explained who the dude was and why he was prisoner in his own clothes. We handed him over and were quickly shown through to the event, we didn’t even have to show our tickets, no search, stamped hand and it was hello party central.
Morgan put his hand on me and said,
“Thank fuck for that we are stacked with gear, if they would have searched us they would have taken the fucking lot.”
I had to ask, “How much have you brought in?”
Tim leant over, and quietly spilt the beans, “250 pills, a couple of ounces of blow, bag of Billy whizz and a hundred LSD tabs.”
All I could say was “Fuck me, are you mental?”
Morgan piped up “And I’ve got...” then laughed,
“No that’s it.” He joked
We went to the beer tent and Tim slipped off to the bogs and returned bearing party biscuits for each of us. I can remember bits and pieces from the next three days but that is about all, I do remember at one point sitting on a table with a blanket around me telling a group of spaced out party freaks the music came from me, or some old bollocks.
When we got back to town Tim told us his grandparents were due to arrive from Eastern Europe later that week. He went on to ask if they could leave their camper van at my house as it was too big to park on the street.
True to form they arrived and the van stayed in my drive until they went on with their journey a few days later. Tim spoke to his granddad in some foreign dialect and his granddad took his wallet.
Looking at me the old man put his hand into his open wallet and said in quite good English,
Before I could speak Tim held up his hand with his fingers spread as if to show FIVE. I thought nice one a fifty would be handy. I nearly fell over when the old fuck started counting out fifty pound notes in to my greedy hands,
“Three fifty”, Tim counts
“Four, Four fifty, Five hundred.” Tim smiled and winked at me.
I thought what the fuck was in the motor home?
The old couple got into the motor home and was off the drive and gone.
I didn’t need to ask they were obviously not his fucking grandparents, and either it was carrying drugs or guns or it was a stolen van; either way I was not impressed with his inability to tell me the whole story.
I told him once and for all,
“If you fucking stitch me up like that again I will kick you’re fucking head in.”
Tim agreed he should have explained, although as he said.
“It was bloody obvious what the deal was. I thought you knew I don’t have any living grandparents,” We both laughed.
Sick really laughing about his dead grandparents.
Now we understood each other we could start to work well together.
I knew I had to be careful, drugs are prison and I don’t want any part of that fucked up scene. I saw me more as a security expert an advisor if you like a planner of future business dealings and events rather than a drug dealer.
It’s odd really how a person can balance information and twist the detail enough to reach a boundary that allows you to do what’s wrong and make it sound somehow right.
That is exactly what I did purely to suit my twisted idea of being involved enough to earn money the easy way, whilst being far enough away from the crime scene not to be involved.
You might remember me saying the weed was free on the way to the party in the field. What I couldn’t know is that it was in fact free or so Tim and Morgan had convinced themselves it was?
However, the suppliers thought differently and had rung Tim to arrange a meet to sort out what to do about the three grand they owed.
After the call from the weed dealers, Morgan asked me to get Bob Richards involved, coming with us and making certain the London boys didn’t bring an interfering heavy.
“They are about eighteen years old and look like public school wankers.” Scoffs Morgan.
I have to admit I didn’t give the whole matter much thought, Bob said he would be there and so I picked him up on the day and off we went to get Morgan and Tim. Looking back I can remember everyone was joking around smoking the last of the free bud and listening to Morgan and Tim working out a plan to settle the problem with the dealers.
By the time we got to the pub where we arranged to meet, the lads had come up with a compromise get the dealers to give them another lot of weed, pills etc... So that Tim and Morgan could knock it out and by not taking a profit pay back the original money and cover the cost of the new.
The Pub was miles out in the middle of nowhere, once inside Tim and Morgan went over to greet the two dealers. They were sat chatting when a few minutes later Bob and me walked into the bar ignoring the drug summit taking place in the corner.
“Hello Love, a bit empty tonight.” An over friendly Bob asks the bar maid.
What was obvious there were no other heavies in the bar, only an old git with his two quid dog, a scabby mutt who looked in worst condition than it’s vintage owner.
And a young couple who from where I was stood looked lucky they had been served at all.
Morgan stood up came over to the bar, a few steps away from me he said, “Alright lads?”
Bob just nodded and carried on sipping his cider, I decided to see if I could find out what was going down.
With our backs to the dealers I whispered,
Morgan vaguely grinned and quietly said,
“Bob follow me outside when I cough.”
Morgan ordered his three pints and returned to the Table holding the three pints in between his interlinked hands; and skilfully carrying three packs of nuts under his chin.
Bob and I were playing darts when everyone at the table stood up and Morgan coughed whilst following the taller of the two suited young men. I have to say they looked immaculate the clothes were not your usual off the peg shit and the shoes were probably handmade too.
The shorter lad stayed with Tim, Bob threw his last dart and said,
“I’m off for a piss; get them in. Your round.”
After a few minutes Tim and the other young lad, went outside too. When I say young I think he must have been 22 years old at most.
I put down my pint and followed them, once outside Bob was stood by the wall smoking, I joined him and said, “What’s happening?”
Without looking at me he took a huge drag on his roll up and flicked it into the air,
“It is going to go bad, watch.”
The tall guy looked around as if to see who was watching, we were in shadow and almost clear around the corner there was no chance they could see us even though we were only 20 feet away.
“Take what you need from the boot.” was the offer from the tall lad.
The boot lid popped up and the tiny interior light came on, we couldn’t see what was in the boot what was obvious, Morgan and Tim could. As Morgan bent over Tim was grabbed by the bloke nearest to him.
Bob was off like a shot it had all gone tit’s up I headed straight for Tim and Bob was in direst line with Morgan.
The tall geezer pulled out a screw driver and began to jab and stab at Morgan’s back pushing it in as deep as possible in the short time he had between the first plunge and Bob smashing into him at full pelt. Morgan dropped to his knees, his head cracked against the edge of the open boot lid as he slumped forward finally finishing with his forehead heavily weighted into the gravel of the pub car park.
The last sound we heard from Morgan was shrill and with an unbelievable volume, his cries were animal like in their intensity, air whistled from the holes in his back, an eerie silent’s followed which can only be found in the country at night. I had one of the boys and Bob had the other,
“Do not fucking move; not a twitch or I’ll snap your fucking neck.” Bob warned both of the dealers.
The tall bloke dropped the screwdriver and Tim tried to get some sign of life from the hunched ball bleeding at the rear of the car.
I decided we were all going to be fucked if we didn’t keep a clear head.
“Tim and you” I pointed to the tall jerk.
“Get him into Tim’s car.”
Tim stated the fucking obvious “He’s dead, you’ve killed him.”
All through this scene from a gangster movie the two dealers never made a sound, no response at all. It was either shock held their tongues or they could not give a fuck, making them proper hard core.
Bob grabbing hold of the shorter of the two, purely because he seemed somehow cooler than the other bloke, and a little more measured.
“This is how it is your mate is a fucking murderer right? We are all now square no debts; all the gear in your motor is ours; and you two can fuck off. End of story, Ok?”
A blink and nod sealed the deal the car was emptied and then span off into the dark, it was quite a while before they turned on their head lights which glowed above hedgerow and into the distance. Tim fell into the back seat and emotionally fell apart, his mate had been stabbed to death right in front of him.
I know it was a hard thing to come to terms with but I still to this day can’t understand why Bob and me didn’t react in the way you might expect, for a starter we had a dead body in the boot and loads of drugs, it was about 11.30 pm and we were miles from home.
I for one was as cool as a cucumber.
Bob was quiet for ages all that we could hear was the rumble of the diesel engine, the crack and bangs of grit and gravel bouncing off of the underside of the car accompanied with the snivels from the back seat. The silence had to be broken we had stuff to sort out, Morgan to be exact.
“What are we going to do with Morgan?” I enquired.
“HOSPITAL!” shouted Tim.
I began to formulate a reasonable plan, drop off the drugs at Tim’s lock up, and then off to the hospital ASAP. I relayed the plan and we all agreed we will say everything that happened right up to the part we can’t repeat.
We all went out for a drink; Bob and I were playing darts when we heard an argument outside. We went to see what it was and Morgan was on the floor; a car with its lights off span off into the distance, Tim was in the toilet.
We thought Morgan was injured by the car, and had no idea of other injuries. Tim and Morgan didn’t know the two young guns only that they were interested in starting up a Business and were looking for financial backers, Morgan had arranged the meeting and we don’t know where he first met them, although we think it might have been at “The gathering.”
If we stick to that exact story, with no extra frills we will be fine.
The journey took about fifty minutes from pub to hospital Bob lifted Morgan out of the car and ran into the hospital shouting.
“Help! My mates been hit by a car and won’t wake up.”
We all sat in the corridor outside of A&E; we were there for what seemed hours. Eventually a doctor came over and asked who next of kin is. Without thinking I said “I am kind of.”
“Can you come with me to my office?”
I followed on recounting the planned narrative in my mind.
The doctor said “We don’t think he has been knocked over, what happened?”
Sticking to the planned story I relayed what happened.
The doctor agreed from what I had seen would have made me think that was the scenario,
“However” he said “We think he’s been stabbed, you were absolutely right to bring him straight in he’s lost a lot of blood and we are monitoring him, the good news is he’s stable.”
I was elated although my first reaction was to drop my face into my hands; I felt faint and had to have oxygen to help. What I also knew was the Police can only be involved if we asked them to be; the Hospital cannot call them on our behalf.
I made certain I stayed as far away from Tim and Morgan as possible as soon as the Mystic Pratt was in the clear and out of hospital. Tim didn’t like the fact me and Bob took all of the gear we nicked off of the young guns. It’s like I explained to Tim,
” You fell apart and were useless when it all went wrong, if it wasn’t for us you would have been stabbed up too.
Bob reminded him in quite an aggressive manner,
“You owed nearly three big ones, now you owe fuck all. Mike and my quick thinking sorted it out. Do you think for one fucking second you’re gonna slip me a few quid for saving your life, you stupid cunt. Fuck off out of my sight before I slap you.”
It was the last time I had any dealings with Tim, last I heard he went on the run from the Police following a drug raid at his lock up. I think he’s with his dad in Canada I’m not sure.
It only took a few phone calls and we had a buyer from up west who had everything we had to sell in one hit. We didn’t get rid of everything we kept a nice lump for personal usage.
It was time to get back to normal, and I mean normal. I needed a proper job for a while; I had done so many drugs my weight was beginning to be noticeably low. I usually ran around at about 16stone.
While I was in the shitter at a motorway services I decided to weigh myself and fuck me I had lost almost three and a half stone. I can understand how some people lose sight of what is normal for them and their body shape; I had gone from heavy built bouncer to skeletal sunken eyed drug taker.
The motorway toilet revelation gave me the kick up the ass I needed; time to get real.
December brought a bad weather spell of ice and snow; taking refuge from the cold it seemed as if I had used up all of my lucky charms when out of the blue I overheard a sheepskin coat wearing moaner, arguing with what turned out to be his boss, as the scene unfolded, I began to feel it was the one time I was pleased to be in my greasy spoon local cafe, you wouldn’t be there for the food.
The part of the conversation I took notice of was the bit where the whinging moaner started on about the location of the sales yard and what the main problem was with the job.
When he announced he was leaving at the end of the week, I saw my opportunity, he would be leaving and I would slip stream in, like a fucking Ninja.
My main aim was to jump any queue and get the best result for me and my boys, I knew that if you see an opportunity and kept insider knowledge to yourself, you would be ahead of the game.
Then you can make your own luck and bollocks to everyone else.
I had really let my sons down, living a double life which could have so easily ended up with them not having a father. My secret life was a country mile away from them and I made sure they had no idea what I was up to. It was important to keep it that way, whilst I cleaned up my act.
Friday that week, I arrived at Cameo Commercial Truck and Van sales. I could not have timed it better; the owner was sat in the office with his head in his hands.
“Are you Ok, sir?” I asked.
The guy looked up at me and my god he looked tired. Rubbing his hands over his face in an attempt to freshen his look, he asked.
“I’m sorry, I was miles away. Have you come to pick up a van?”
I replied “Not quite, I am hoping you will excuse my forward approach, I’ve come to run your Bristol branch following your last manager leaving.”
I literally held my breath hoping I hadn’t misjudged any of his possible responses.
“What? How did you.......?”
Before he could finish I decided to come clean,
“I was in the cafe on Wednesday, I heard everything. I wanted to introduce myself then but I decided to wait until a respectful time had elapsed.”
Sitting taller in his chair the dark haired company owner started with,
“I am Leigh Marshal owner of CCTV sales Ltd, AKA Cameo Commercial Truck and Van sales limited. Welcome to your interview please, have a seat.”
We shook hands; Leigh offered to make us both a coffee. The job sounded perfect I would be left alone to run this commercial sales branch, Leigh would deal with all of the purchasing. My role was to deal with customers try to bring in fleet buyers and make it all gel.
Next to the rear of the yard was a four bay garage, fully fitted out with all the tools you would expect in a well equipped MOT centre and servicing station.
We even had a tyre bay; I was absolutely delighted this was at last a good straight opportunity; most of the vans were telecommunication vehicles immaculate and low mileage.
Each of the vans had any signs of livery removed but it was obvious where they had come from. The larger vans included Box vans and high sided panel vans. I could not understand what was wrong with the job or why the exiting manager would want to leave, so I asked.
“He didn’t believe in the business model.” Was the only reply Leigh offered?
I insisted on full autonomy; my first aim was to get the garage working, they would be able to work on our vans and the sales department would be billed as if it were a separate entity with staff that could run it as a fully functioning centre including 24hour emergency call out.
Leigh loved the idea, he only thought of the garage as an asset to fix our vans. I told Leigh I am an ideas man who makes things happen, I have a massive number of contacts leave it to me and I’ll be judged by my results.
It was a sealed deal; Leigh threw me a set of keys and said. “Your car is the SL320, Ok?” I looked into the car park, scanning from side to side I didn’t have a fucking clue what I was looking for, so I put the keys into my pocket and simply said. “Thanks.”
Standing from his plastic seat Leigh revealed his plan for the next few weeks.
“Dave Chambers is my right hand man;” Leigh put his hand on my shoulder and continued.
”He will come here and show you the ropes, then it will be up to you, I don’t mind how many people you take on, or who you employ you will be responsible for them and the profit or loss at the end of the day.”
I could not wait to get stuck in; this was right up my street; I just hope I can remember how to work for a living.
As I left the office on my way home, I stopped a bloke who was cleaning one of the smaller Escort vans and asked him “Where is the SL320?”
He didn’t say a word but looked puzzled, and turned on his heels pointing at a silver grey bad ass Mercedes convertible. I could hardly contain myself, pointing the fob at the car I pressed and fuck me it bleeped twice and the lights flashed in unison. I left my car in the road and I was off, what a day, it proved he who dares wins.
The weeks that followed were a real eye opener. Dave had all of the angles covered; it was a master class in how a proper business should be run. I really appreciated Dave’s input, but time was up and he had to go back to his own branch. I said my fond farewells to the excellent Dave Chambers, who had set me off on my way.
His simple approach to business was say yes to Leigh and get things done now, not tomorrow.
Each and every Monday the fax machine spewed out an endless list of available vans, I selected the vehicles I wanted and sent it back ready for the delivery on Thursday.
Punters came in and vans were sold and went out first time every time. At first!
The most vans the last manager had sold in a month was eleven. I made it my business to have eleven as my absolute minimum sales number, that way the boss could not complain.
If he didn’t sack the last bloke for poor sales then I would be safe with sales of above his best.
That was until the real way this company ran became the normal day to day pain in the neck. The vans became a sales nightmare, I made a decision to take on Bob my old doorman mate as an assistant manager, I knew that between us we might be able to make things work.
Leigh started to stress over the quality of the Vans arriving, it seemed the ex-parcel delivery larger vans were full of problems, brakes were fucked steering was a constant battle just to get the thing through an MOT. When you think about it a motor that has been bumped up and down curbs for eight hours a day is going to have problems.
Don’t ask me how but the sales just kept rolling in; first we hit thirty in a month then forty topping fifty five in just six months from me taking over. The garage was at full stretch with private customers and our vans which were taking more time than they were worth.
The difficulty was the vans began to take longer and longer to repair, also the garage costs were eating into the profits. At this point things had to change, either I was being taken for a mug by the boss, who was pushing all the crap on me or I would have to get involved with the selection process.
Leigh surprised me by asking if I would help him set up two new branches one in the south west and one in the Midlands. I would not only set up the branches, I would be the national manager covering all the branches throughout the UK, seven in total.
Of course I accepted and immediately made Bob manager of my old depot, with a nice big pay rise and a free choice of car or van. Bob being a down to earth sort of bloke chose the van, an almost new escort diesel in mint condition. Here is the down side over the next few weeks I ran around the country setting up interviews and putting the new managers through their paces.
Leigh carried on as usual buying any old crap to put on the forecourt of each pitch; then shouting the odds insisting they were all saleable. The real problem was happening back at my old yard Bob had the boys in every day sat around the office smoking endless joints.
Throwing any faxes into the bin without reading them first and turning the yard into a Frankenstein laboratory; by taking parts from a donor van until it was stripped and un-saleable. It took me a while to find out that this was taking place, Bob had really let me down, or more to the point I had let him down, by leaving him to run a business with no help from any of the management team.
I decided to change Bob’s role from manager to my assistant, driving me around and generally sorting out the security for each yard both electronic and security guards patrolling the sites.
Leigh announced he had a few problems with a local idiot who owed him several hundred pounds from a van deal.
I asked if Bob might be able to help, it seemed the type of job Bob could do stood on his head. I couldn’t let him go on his own so we got suited and booted once again just like the old days. Bob had a mate who was up for the ruck, so off we went to have a little word with the forgetful borrower.
I knew it could go tits up when we turned into the pub car park to meet Leigh. It was one of those inner city estate pubs, where everyone knew each other. I told Bob we were going to be spotted as soon as we went in, it would have to be fast and direct.
Bob just smiled and got out of the car; I walked over to Leigh and asked him to point the bloke out through the window. The target was a thirty year old Chav sat on a long bench seat with five or six mates sat along the same wall. In front of him was a gap formed by two wooden tables covered in pint glasses.
In we went.
I walked in and so did Dave, Bob’s mate. We both stood either side of the door scanning the room, making it obvious we were looking for someone. I held the door open and Bob walked through I didn’t say a word I just pointed straight at the Chav and said.
“There he is.”
The barman chirped up with.
“We don’t want any trouble here.”
I just told him to stick to serving his beer and mind his own fucking business. Bob walked up to the bloke and said.
“Can I have a word in private?”
Instead of being sensible the idiot said.
“Are you supposed to be scary, I’m not afraid of you or your fucking mates.”
Bob looked up and down the line of the locals, looking finally back at the mouthy twat in the middle; putting his right hand into his own jacket Bob quietly commented.
“You might not be scared of me or my mates, but you’ll shit yourself when you meet SAM.”
Chav asked the six million dollar question.
“Who the fuck is Sam?”
I couldn’t help wonder the same thing, whilst thinking he was being led down a dark tunnel at the same time.
The answer came as a surprise to everyone in the pub, including me.
“Sam the Sword.”
Bob stood to his full height opened his already broad shoulders and smoothly pulled a full length Samurai Sword from his buttoned Crombie overcoat. All of the friends of the target slid as far away from him as they could.
I walked forward and stood slightly behind Bob, Dave covered the door.
Bob placed the point of the Sword onto the right thigh of the now very quiet show off. Looking straight into his watery eyes Bob’s cold voice asked.
“Now, are you fucking scared?”
And drove the sharpened katana straight through the flesh of the now shitting it chav’s leg, so hard it plunged into the wooden floor impaling the victim. Oddly apart from a squeak he hardly made a sound that was until the sword was twisted by Bob forcing the blade edge to scrape against his femur.
Then the screams were chilling, his friends scattered, and the entire pub emptied in seconds leaving Bob to send the message.
”Pay what you owe or we will be back, next time we get ugly.”
Bob pulled the sword out and cleaned it on the blokes trouser leg, put it back into his coat and we all walked out.
The car park was lined with loads of people all waiting to see what was going to happen next.
“Shows over, go home.”
We got into our car and disappeared into the night, what never ceases to amaze me is the fact that no-one called the Police it is an un-written council estate law not to grass up anyone, just in case you are found out and labelled a GRASS.
He could have saved himself a lot of pain if he would have paid up in the first place. What was obvious by the fact the debt was settled within twenty four hours he didn’t want another visit from SAM.