My boys will pay a visit - Excerpt from A KIND OF DROWNING
The boat was moored in the Poolbeg Marina, near the bustling docks of Dublin. Getting cleaned down. Removing his smatterings of blood and vomit. Outside his penthouse, they had been waiting for him. Hasbeens who still draped themselves in the street, topped off by identical black NYC peaked caps.
One had blocked him at the entrance to the foyer, saying he recognised him from the news. The one from behind blindsided him with a rabbit punch. Then he had been punched in the face by the pair of them on a deserted pavement. Buckled to his knees and frog-marched across the car park to the waiting car, he was unceremoniously tossed onto the back seat. On the journey, with his head tilted back trying to staunch the flow of blood down his tailored shirt, he could hear them debating their next music project: A ‘Mad Dub Irish K-Pop vibe’. The heavy set rings and chains glinted. Seemed to be the only way he could tell them apart was one had tattoos on the knuckles (now laced with his blood) and one had not. They sparked up their spliffs with an 18 carat gold Boucheron lighter. Funny the details you remember.
“T.T., TakeTwo?” said the one who had punched him.
“That’s shite,” replied the other one, “What about T.M.? Twin mix?”
“Sounds like a Twix, bro,” replied the other one.
Sounds like a whole lot of wank, he thought. He envied the driver, screened off from the haze and the incoherent chatter. Blood mixed with the heavy noxious smoke at the back of his throat and he thought he was going to vomit. On and on through the drive they yammered until they settled on ‘NDSF’ as the title for the album.
They fist bumped across him with solemn nods.
And then found himself on board the boat. Well, ‘Boat’ didn’t even begin to do it justice. A boat suggested something small with oars or possibly a sail. This was a sleek white luxury motor yacht underway, cutting out to sea like a machete running on serious horsepower.
“Try not to get any blood on my sofa, yeah?” said the big man. His life vest over his weatherproof jacket made him look like a spinning top. They were sitting aft on the deck.
“That suit of yours needs to go back to the bloody tailor, mate,” he said.
His suit? wondering if something was out of place, untidy, a loose button?
“No...” he started,
“…What about them?”
“Your fingers can’t reach the bottom…” intoned the man, “…can’t reach the change.”
He and the two assailants got the gag and laughed.
But the big guy wasn’t laughing.
“You’ve an outstanding invoice, the old T’s and C’s, t’s, and c’s, I’m afraid” he continued.
The tattooed hand one found this even funnier. A row of teeth flashed, they looked almost too big for the mouth. The giggle sounded girlish. Girlish like a chainsaw.
With an old tissue tamped up nostril it dawned on him. Invoice. Unpaid bills.
The big man facing him had a lilt, the way the vowels got stretched, Australian at times, Dublin inner city next. Beyond the lights of the overhead canopy. Blackness lay beyond. Blackness and the unforgiving depths of The Irish Sea.
“My people will look after that,”
“No. You. Will.” The big man sighed.
“I don’t have the cash to hand – how did you find me anyway?”
“You’re on Facebook, you moron. €125k all in. Your 90 days is up, now we’re into penalties, a grand per week from tomorrow, sport,”
The big man mashed his hands together as if in prayer.
He found his voice now, “You can fuck off,”
“I’m not the one sitting here with a face like a butcher’s block,” said the big man whose patience was rapidly wearing thin,
“Don’t have it. Simple as.”
“What part of ‘Fuck off’ do you not understand?” he croaked. Air seemed to evaporate out of his lungs.
“You have a safety deposit box in Adelaide Road. Private and exclusive.”
He had two safety deposit boxes at two separate locations in Dublin city, supposed to be confidential. He stared at the unblinking mass of flesh.
“Yes, I have,” he said.
“In that safety deposit box, you have a collection of Rolexes. I’ll take two. Early birthday presents for my two associates here. Nothing like that crappy timepiece on your wrist.”
For his size, the big guy was whip-snap fast. He leapt up and lunched across the table, spilling beer bottles and glasses. A left arm was wrenched up and the cuff pulled down.
“Nice – Omega?”
“It’s a Seamaster,”
“It’s a piece of shit. A bit like you, a shiny bit of fucking tat,”
A severe headache from the beating was slowly spreading across his skull from the motion of the boat and the tendons popping in the compressed wrist. His bowels were beginning to churn. The cold was biting into him. He dry-heaved up some spittle. He spat it onto the deck, carefully avoiding the expensive looking rug.
His three tormentors stared in disgust. He tried to bundle himself deeper into the expensive Italian fabric.
The big man, unwrapping his grip, held the two palms face up.
“You’re a gurrier like me; simple as. We’re playing by Dublin rules, as in, there are none, sport. No-holds-barred MMA. Small print, t’s and c’s apply,”
The boat slowed gradually, bumping along the swells towards an aged stone jetty. Waves buffeted the yacht. One of the men leapt onto the jetty and bounded toward the moorings.
“Now, you’re going to give me a guided tour. It has potential I can see that,” said the big man staring at the moonlit horizon.
“Your lawyer is one of my clients and being a moron like you had forgotten about the t’s and c’s,” the big man continued, “He gave this gig up after my boys paid a visit. Come to think of it, I want a share of this. Silent partner, sport, yeah?”
Then he found his guts. He spewed them heartily over the side.
“And if you try to fuck me over. We’ll pay that pretty little gal of yours a visit. Film it, upload it to Porn Hub. Dark Net shit. Be a gas.”
The trio hoisted him up onto the concrete and then the trio marched up the ancient worn stone. His legs gave out and he collapsed onto the jetty. Staring up before the next round of beating, he thought the lights of Dublin blinked as far away as the distant constellations above.
But then other things would come late at night, worming their way into his psyche that left him waking up in a cold sweat and screaming at the top of his lungs.