Butcher Boy ( Part 9, Corned Beef)
In 1975 we started to get a few "faces" popping into the shop. By this I mean local villains! Word had obviously got round that Roy had moved up a gear and was someone to be associated with.
One such "face" was Gaz. Gaz lived in Dagenham and suffered from curvature of the spine. Because of this he walked with a kind of shuffle, all hunched up. He had the strangest of hair, it wasn't ginger, it wasn't brown, but a sort of orangey colour! It was very thin and wispy, he always looked like he'd just walked in from a storm! He spoke in a very low gutteral voice like he'd smoked 200 cigarretes a day all his life. He ended every sentence with the words " you know what I mean?" He was mid thirties.
But Gaz, no matter how strange he was, was a local face. He had a similar reputation as Roy, he could get things! He didn't have a real job, didn't claim any benefits, lived in a small council house and drove an old beaten up Ford MK1 Cortina. He was under the radar, and thats just how Gaz liked it. No one paid him any attention.
Gaz liked Roy, and I am sure that Roy had a liking for Gaz. He became a regular in the shop. he would often be in the shop when I turned up at 06.45. He and Roy would be having a cup of tea and talking about what gear they had or what was coming up. So far it was just talk and they hadn't actualy done any deals together. That was soon to change and would catapult Roy into a different league. We also saw a different side to Gaz early one morning. A Van Driver came in and gave us the usual spiel " I've just laid some carpet for a massive company just up the road and have got a nice piece left over, interested?" Now of course we knew this was a load of bollocks. Basically he had gone to a wharehouse and bought an off cut cheap. It would have a small flaw in it or a hole in the middle. He would hope that he didn't have to roll it out and normally he didn't have to. He would make a small profit on it. But if he did that a few times everyday he would earn himself a few quid. Roy and I saw these guys every few weeks and would just say " No thanks mate" and that would be the end of it.
But this day Gaz was with us. he looked at the guy selling the carpet and then picked up one of our boning knives. He walked up to the guy, looked him in the eyes and said " What do you take us for, a bunch of cunts? Now take your carpet and fuck off before I cut your eyes out!"
The guy fucked off, he was terrified, and, I have to say both Roy and I were also a bit nervous!
Gaz came in the shop one morning to see Roy. He asked him if he needed any corned beef. Roy of course just laughed and said of course, as much as you can get! Gaz explained that in the next couple of days he would have a "load" of corned beef, around 1000 tins. Once again Roy said no problem he would have the lot, he could shift it easily with all the grocer contacts he had. No big deal. The price was agreed. Roy told Gaz he would buy it for a quarter of the price that it sold for in the shops.
Two days later Roy got the call from Gaz, the corned beef was on its way. Roy told Gaz to bring it round to the service road at the back of the shop.
About an hour later Gaz walked into the shop with a huge grin on his face " Its here Roy, but not quite what we were expecting!"
Roy was intrigued, Gaz, Roy and me walked round to the service road at the back of the shop. There in front of us, blocking the whole of the road was a 40ft container on the back of a huge rig.
" What the fuck" said Roy. "Don't tell me thats full of fucking corned beef?"
"Absolutely jammed packed" laughed Gaz.
I walked forward to open the door with Gaz laughing behind me. "Be careful son!" he said " Don't want you to get trampled!" I of course though he was talking about the corned beef but was about to get the shock of my life.
As I opened the doors of the container, I could hear a noise, it sounded like muffled speech. Then something large fell out onto the road and made me jump out of my skin! It was a mans body. A cloth bag over his head and hands tied behind his back. He was laying in the middle of the road and kept saying "Please don't kill me, please don't kill me!"
Gaz thought this was hilarious, but Roy and I were in shock. Only then did it start to sink in. Gaz and his mate had hi-jacked this lorry and bundled the driver into the back. Roy and I led the man into Roys garage, told him to be quiet and everything would be ok. The poor guy actualy wet himself! We both felt sorry for him, but had to act as though we were used to this sort of thing.
"Ok we need to shift this lot asap" said Gaz. "Joe get on the back and start unloading, everyone else start getting this lot into the garage."
It was only then that we realised what we had. This wasn't 1000 little tins of corned beef. This was 250 cases of catering tins of corned beef. Each case has 6, 6lb tins in it. Thats over 8 tonne of the stuff.
How the fuck was Roy going to get rid of this lot?