Butcher Boy ( Part 18, Changes)
That Monday was the most hectic of days. Calls were coming in fast and furious as the word got round about Roy. Colin was on the phone about 5 times that day. They’d decided to stop the printing of the Luncheon Vouchers for a while. Colin, like me, had got rid of everything that was in his house. Roy’s older brother Ronny came in the shop and asked if there was anything I needed. We decided that it should be business as usual and try not to let too many people know about Roys arrest.
I ended up having to tell the guys in the shop the truth, they had guessed as much. I made them promise not to mention it to any of the customers.
I closed up at 1.00pm as usual. I didn’t go straight home. I went to the pub and had a couple of beers. I was still convinced that I would be taken away by the Police. Even if I wasn’t arrested, surely they would want to question me?
I started to think a bit clearer, what exactly did they have? So far, they would have about 50 cases of stolen wine. That’s all, as far as I could remember that’s all that was in the garage. So they would charge Roy with handling stolen goods, and if it was only the wine that they were charging him with, it was his first offence, so maybe he’d get a suspended sentence?
By the time I got home, I had convinced myself that it wasn’t too bad. I suddenly realised why the Cousins and Gaz kept saying we should all keep our mouths shut. If no one said anything then they didn’t have much on Roy. Just the wine.
I slept a bit more comfortable that night.
Up and in work by 6.30am the next day. There was no one in the flat; Sue had obviously spent the night at her parents. Gaz came in about 6.45am.
“Morning mate, how you doing, any news?”
“Nothing yet Gaz, no ones been able to see him yet, Sue might know something a bit later”
“Ok, here’s the deal, if they come for you, you know nothing, ok, nothing. You are just the boy here. You just cut up meat, you know nothing about any deals and you don’t know anything about me”
There was a slight menace in his voice; his words came across as a bit of a threat. Roy had taught me well, he always said when threatened always come back strong.
“What do you think I am Gaz, some kind of cunt? Of course I know nothing, I just cut up fucking meat. I’m just a Butcher for fucks sake!”
“Good Boy”. Gaz gave me a smile and left.
I was quite proud of myself. I had stood up strong. I went back to work.
About 9.30am a stranger came in, tall slim guy in his late thirties. Dark hair, hadn’t shaved for a couple of days so had a bit of a scruffy look about him. I went to serve him.
“Morning Guv, what you after?”
“A mate of mine told me you had a few cases of wine going cheap!”
“Wine? This is a Butchers shop mate; you need the off licence up the road”
“No, Wine! you know, cheap, I could do with a couple of cases, he said you got things like that from time to time”
“Look mate, no idea what you’re talking about, we just sell meat here. Whoever your mate is, he’s winding you up”
The guy shrugged and left. He crossed the road and got into a silver car, there was another guy in the car. Definitely old bill. What were they playing at?
Mr Patel called. “How’s Roy doing? I’ve just heard the news”
“Not sure, no ones been allowed to see him yet, but you know what he’s like, he’ll be Ok, how about you?”
“Yeh, everything’s Ok, business as usual, if you need anything just let me know”
So it looked like it was only Roy that had been captured. This should be ok, as long as Roy said nothing, this could all be fine. Roy pleads not guilty to the wine, say’s he bought it cheap from a driver he’s never met before. Didn’t know it was knocked off. It’s for a large family party that’s coming up. This could even be just a big fine.
I saw Sue later that day, she said that she had been allowed to speak with Roy and he was being held at St Albans Police Station. He was being charged for handling stolen goods and had a good Solicitor. He said to tell the Cousins thanks for their offer but he’s Ok with the Solicitor he’s got. She said he sounded calm and in control. Although he’d had almost no sleep for over 36 hours. He was to appear before magistrates in the morning. She said he was going to plead not guilty.
I told her this was all good news, he’d be charged, appear before magistrates, get bail and be home before the day was out. She started crying again. This was a mixture of emotions, sadness because Roy wasn’t there but also a sense of relief that it could all be over soon.
I called Gaz and told him the news. “ Brilliant news, he pleads not guilty, gets bail, comes home and then we work out his story with a good brief, then we all go down the pub and get pissed!, I’ll tell the Cousins. Well done mate, you did well!”
Yep, it was looking like it would soon be over.
Roy appeared before magistrates the next day, he pleaded not guilty to handling stolen goods. But for some reason Bail was refused, Roy was taken to Bedford Prison on remand.
We were all in shock. Sue had driven to the magistrate’s court thinking she would be bringing Roy home. When she got back to the shop she was in bits. I think she must have cried all the way back.
“They refused bail on the grounds that they think he may offend again before it goes to trial; they’re treating him like he’s some kind of Mr Big!”
This wasn’t good news; perhaps they had more on Roy than we thought.
I had to give Gaz and the Cousins the bad news. They were now not so confident either.
I remember Gaz's reaction. He kept saying “That’s not right, that’s not right. There has to be something else, something we don’t know about”
Sue went back to her Mums and I got on with running the shop. I was now doing all the ordering, paying all the wages. It was like it was my business. Roy had taught me well, it all came easily.
After a week, Sue was told she could see Roy in Bedford Prison; she didn’t want to go on her own. I couldn’t go as I was running the shop. So my Dad took her.
Sue and Roy had an hour together. Dad said it was all a bit emotional.
Roy was held on remand for another 3 weeks. Then out of the blue, Roy was granted bail and was coming home. Once again this all happened very quickly. One minute he was in prison, the next he was on his way home. Sue said it was because his Solicitor had worked hard for his release and convinced the old bill that Roy wasn’t a threat.
Roy came home on a Friday night. I saw him for the first time when I got into the shop on the Saturday morning. You’d have thought I only saw him the day before.
“Morning mate, you ok? Thanks for looking after everything while I was away”
“No problem Roy, looks like you’ve lost weight, mind you, you were getting to be a fat fucker!”
I never saw the first egg as it hit me or the second! Yep Roy was back.
But things would never be the same again.