The beating he gave me this morning was simply a reminder, not a punishment. A punishment normally involves broken bones and broken skin. Sometimes a bit of branding so you never forget. If he’s really angry, it’ll be internal damage – organs and that sort of thing. And then it’s up to the relatives – yer mum, yer bruv – to make things good. To cough up.
The system works and the big boys – and girls – think Little Sarah in Benton Towers – all get paid in the end and the money goes round and the money goes round. Which is simply good economics. John Maynard would have been dead proud of some of the players on this patch.
This time it was all superficial. Bruising, yes. Some blood, yes. Fear, yes. A lot. But no real damage. Simply a reminder. These things pass.
I guess that in this world, this underworld, in which some of us live, this is the norm – you miss out on a payment or you rob somebody’s stash, there is retribution. A jury made up from twelve people from this street wouldn’t say otherwise. Unanimous, yer honour.
I was late with my payments. Not my fault, but then not his either. I have to have the readies by tomorrow morning. Otherwise bones will be broken, blood will spill. Mine. It’s the unwritten law, the law of the lost.
He wants cash, I need a fix. And I need to avoid getting hurt. So tonight it’ll be the filling-station at the edge of town. I hope the geezer behind the counter is sensible. I hope there’s a decent amount of cash in the till. I hope I’m not caught.
I hate this life. No reminder necessary.