Butcher Boy ( Part 16, Gun Fight)
Roy disappeared one day and came back 2 hours later with a Transit full of dresses. There was nothing unusual about this of course, he was always turning up with something!
He’d been over to the Island to see The Cousins and while he was there one of their boys had turned up with some dresses.
We unloaded and put them onto hanging rails in the garage at the back of the shop. “ Lovely gear” said Roy “ Designer, by the look of it!”
It certainly was designer, it was on its way to a fashion show in Manchester, and was pinched from a service station somewhere on the M6.
About an hour later we were listening to the Radio when the news came on, they mentioned that a vehicle had been stolen containing the “entire collection” for a fashion show in Manchester. This meant that the show couldn’t go ahead unless the items were found as they were all unique.
“ Fuck” was all Roy could say! He realised that this lot may be hard to shift as everyone would be looking for it.
Problem was, Roy had spent the last hour phoning everyone and telling them that he had loads of designer gear, he,d even given the name of some of the designers!
Roy called Danny “ Have you heard the news about the dresses?” Danny was obviously laughing cos Roy then said “ Fuck me Dan, everyones looking for the stuff and its all in my fucking garage and I’ve just spent the last hour telling everyone I’ve got it! ”
They decided to keep the stuff in the garage for a while, until the heat died down, not make any more calls. If anyone mentioned it, Roy was to say that it had all been gotten rid of, hopefully this would put people off the scent and no one would come looking for it.
Later that day, 2 big guys walked into the shop and asked for Roy, I’d never seen these guys before and hearing a northern accent, I was a bit nervous about what to say! Luckily I didn’t have to say a word, Roy came out and introduced himself, it was all smiles and handshakes, then Roy walked out the back of the shop and into the flat with the two big guys closely behind.
About 15 minutes later I was at the back of the shop washing my hands next to the door that leads to the flat. The door opened and Roys voice whispered “ call the police” and then the door shut again.
I was stunned, those were three words that I thought Roy would never say, was it a wind up? Probably not. I stood still for a full 5 minutes not sure what to do. Then Roy appeared, his face was white and he looked in shock.
“ Did you call them?”
“ No Mate, I wasn’t sure what to do” I replied.
“Thank Fuck for that!” said Roy.
“Whats going on Roy?”
“Those two blokes, are fucking heavies from up North, they’ve come for the dresses, I told them I didn’t have them, then they pulled out guns and threatened to come back and shoot Sue and the Kids if I don’t give them the stuff back by 09.00 tommorow”
“Fuck, should we call the police?”
“No way, this is a job for the Cousins!”
Roy made some calls to Teddy and Danny , they were at the shop within half an hour. A plan was made.
Roy told Sue when she came home, that she would have to stay at her mums that night as there was going to be major roadworks outside the shop, starting at 9pm that night. He told her that the council had been in touch and recommended that if possible, they should stay somewhere else that night as it would be noisy all through the night. Roy said he would stay at the flat as he would have to be up early the next day to go down Smithfield Market. She believed him and went off to her mums.
Teddy and Danny would stay the night at the shop with Roy, ready for when these guys turned up early the next morning.
I was still at the shop later when the cousins came back. They had 2 hand guns and 2 shot guns! They also had a another guy with them. To this day, he’s the biggest man I have ever seen. They called him Max. He was about 6ft 6in tall and built like a brick. I had never seen anyone with arms that big before. He never spoke and his expression never changed all the time he was there. I left the shop at 9.00 that night. Roy asked me to come in early the next day and open the shop at 06.00. If it all turned ugly, I was to call the old bill. ( he never told Teddy and Danny that bit!).
So off I went home, I don’t think I got any sleep that night and got back to the shop at quarter to six the next morning. My heart was pounding!
I opened the shop, and began to work as usual. Everything was quiet from the flat, at about 07.00 Roy came out in his white coat and just said “Everything Ok?”.
“Yep all quiet” I said.
If they come in the front of the shop, just act normal and call for me, I,ll come out and take them out the back into the flat. Danny will be hiding in the Kitchen and Teddy and Max are waiting on the stairs.
Roy then went back in the flat. Now you have to remember, I was only 18 and it was now likely that I was about to witness a proper shoot out where people were going to either be beaten up or die. But I just carried on as normal. Its amazing how much my life had changed in just 4 years with Roy!
An hour later, the 2 guys from up north came into the shop, they smiled and asked for Roy, just before I called out for him one of them said
“So you’re the Butcher Boy? heard a lot about you!”
I smiled and said “ all good things I hope?”.
The bigger one just said “ So far”
I called for Roy, he came out, they shook hands and walked out into the flat and closed the door.
Then there was a lot of noise, shouting, swearing then all went quiet. I was waiting for a loud bang, but it never happened.
I continued to put the window display on!
Roy came out first, about 45 minutes later.
“ Jesus Christ” he said. And then let out a laugh, but it was a very nervous laugh.
“WELL?” was all I could think to say! “ Where is everyone?”
“Teddy and Danny have loaded up the Van with the dresses, the two heavies are taking them back to Manchester. Turns out there’s a reward for their return of £25,000 we’ve agreed to split it 5 ways! I’ve just made £5,000!”
Then very quickly he said “ Well less a grand for you!” then we both started laughing.
Roy desperately needed a drink. He was shaking for the rest of the day. At about 2 o’clock, Roy and I disappeared to the local pub, leaving the shop to be run by the other two. He then told me the full story.
When he had walked into the flat with the 2 heavies, Max jumped from the stairs and grabbed one by the neck. Danny pounced on the other one, then Teddy came out of the kitchen with his shot gun pointed at them. They gave up their guns and they all sat down in Roys front room. It was all very calm. The bigger one of the guys said that they had been hired by a Security firm to get the clothes back. If they got them back within 48 hours they would get £25 grand. The clothes were priceless as they were “one off,s” Without them the fashion show couldn’t go ahead and people were flying in from all over the world to be at this important fashion event.
The bigger guy then went on to say that as soon as they were hired their first stop was always going to be “ The Butcher”, if he didn't have them there was a good chance that he would know who did. It seemed that even up North, Roy had a reputation!
The two northerners also knew of the Cousins, their reputation was well known everywhere, so they knew they could be in trouble if they didn’t strike a deal.
So a deal was struck, every one was happy. The reward would be split 5 ways. Roy and the Cousins would get 5 grand each.
True to their word, £5 grand arrived 4 days later by Motorcycle courier. Roy gave me £1000 cash. We went to the dogs that night!
All ended well. But Roy was never quite the same after this incident. I think it was finally dawning on him just how dangerous this lifestyle could be. But there was no way out, was there?