“What’s all that bloody noise?” An angry voice shouted from behind a door that led off the room. The door swung open to reveal a well built man, wearing nothing except for a hastily pulled on pair of trousers. He was tall, with jet black hair and tanned skin, he was also clutching a sawn-off shot gun; the preferred weapon of the London underworld. His looks were unmistakable and I knew without doubt, that I was staring at Vic Cassidy.
“Alfie Noakes, as I live and breathe,” Vic said, feigning pleasure, “I’m honoured, I didn’t think I was good enough for the likes of you. What brings an old married man like yourself to a place like this I wonder? Surely ya can’t be bored of that lovely wife of yours after all these years? Mind you, she must be gettin’ on a bit now. S’pose you fancy somethin’ a bit more lively.”
Alfie could feel his hackles rising, “Shut up, Vic!” He snapped.
“Come on, Alfie. There’s no need to be like that, no need for animosity – see, I’ll even put the gun down – sort of a good will gesture shall we say?” Cassidy leant the shotgun against the wall closest to him.
In the room that Vic had just appeared from, Alfie could see a young girl, not much older than twelve or thirteen. She was sitting up in the grubby bed that her pimp had just vacated.
“Still up to your old tricks, I see,” Alfie said with disgust as he nodded toward the young prostitute in the adjoining room.
“Well, y’know how it is Alfie,” Cassidy smiled leerily, “Fresh meat’s always the best.”
Alfie ignored the remark and continued as if Vic had not spoken. “I’ve heard that you’ve been learning some new tricks, Vic. Tricks which Vinnie don’t like the sound of.”
“Ah yes, Vinnie.” Said Vic thoughtfully, “How is poor old Vinnie? Not too good I shouldn’t think, if he’s reduced to hiring snot nose kids still wet behind the ears,” Vic gestured in Joe’s direction, who was standing behind Alfie.
Joe lunged forward, but I grabbed his arm to restrain him and Alfie put his hand up, a signal for him to stay calm. Joe shrugged off my grip and stood down.
“I see your having about as much luck taming him as I did,” Vic laughed.
“Cut the crap Vic,” Alfie said, nearing boiling point, “You’re finished here. Get your stuff and piss off – but before you go I’ll take what you owe Vinnie.”
“You’re wrong Alfie, this is my place and I ain’t going nowhere,” Vic replied.
“And as for the money, I figure it’s only what I’m due for all the hard work I’ve put in over the years – so I’m keeping it – and that’s final.”
“The only thing that’s final around ‘ere Vic, is you messin’ us about and it ends now,” Alfie snarled.
“Oh, I don’t think so, Alfie. You can’t do nothing cos I’ve got my boys to look after me.”
“Looks like your boys have got their own problems,” Alfie nodded to the men in the chairs.
“Not those boys, but those boys,” Vic pointed in the direction of the street.
Outside a group of about seven men, all armed with bats, knives, chains and the like, had gathered just beyond the front door. They had obviously been waiting in one of the adjoining houses, primed for an attack and somehow Vic had raised the alarm. Seven men outside, six inside. Thirteen against eight.
Long odds but I was betting on us.
“You slimy piece of shit!” Alfie shouted as he charged toward Vic, “I’m gonna fuckin’ kill ya!”
Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here