Jello came rush into the upstairs room where the rest of them were sitting doing their best to make a hole in the bottle of Lennie’s second best, “Sorry I’s late. Bleedin’ cabby thought we was bein’ followed. Took the roundabout route. Bleedin’ paranoia if you’s asked me. Bleedin’ nonsense, huh.”
“That means havin’ unfounded or excessive fears,” whispered Roxy to Jerry. “I read that in a magazine once.”
“So,” continued Jello, “We’s all here to listen to Samantha, Samantha, niece of Henry C, owner of this public house, the one and only King’s Head, who’s doin’ a course in publicity at the South London College and needs some experience, and so has some advice to give us.”
“Cheez,” said Jerry, “Last time I advised someone, I had to break both their arms. Samantha don’t look that handy.”
“Nah, it ain’t that kind of advice. She’s gonna to tell us what name we’s gonna have. As we’s bein’ sayin’ for a while now, all decent firms has to have a name, a moniker, especially if we’s gonna to expand.
“I means, we’s got ambition as a firm, huh; we ain’t just gonna to do a bit of business here and there; we’s gotta have a strategy. And to have a strategy youse gotta have a name. And we needs a name that lets any other firm that’s thinkin’ of poachin’ on our manor that that ain’t gonna happen, that we’s too tough for that, huh. We wants a name that puts the fear of god into our enemies.
“So Samantha, let’s have it will ya. Let’s get started on this.” He took the tumbler of whiskey that Roxy was offering him and toasted, “To us, to all of us, a prosperous future, and remember to always wear gloves on a job.”
“To us, to all of us, a prosperous future,” echoed around the room as they all threw back their drinks.
“So, I’ve been doing a considerable amount of thinking,” said Samantha, “And my research has included me asking around about what names the other firms employ, and I think I have a solution that will convey to others that you are fully engaged at all times, simultaneously positioning you as being dangerous to fool with, and hence deserving of the respect of all.”
“What’s she sayin’?” asked Lennie and Jerry in unison.
“I’ll explain later,” whispered Roxy chewing hard on her gum.
“So first, your new name, a name that will resound around the parishes and manors of south and east London for years to come. A name to bring you respect, rewards and riches.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: The Busy Bees.”
The room went quiet. Jello lit one of his cigars. Lennie and Jerry looked confused. Roxy started a fit of coughing and stuffed her fist into her mouth.
Eventually Jello found his tongue, “So Samantha, that college of yours is funded by the taxpayer, huh. Now we ain’t taxpayers but we has an affinity for them. Some of my best friends pay taxes. I reckons the college is rippin’ us all off, huh. Whaddaya say, Lennie? Jerry?”
Lennie looked up, “Maybe the teacher needs some advice. Whaddaya think, boss? Shall we’se go around and have us a word?”
“Worth thinkin’ about. What’s you reckon, Roxy?”
Roxy poured herself another double, unwrapped a fresh piece of gum. “Nah, boss, I reckons Samantha should do a bit of learnin’ at the school of life, and we can be that school. She ain’t gonna learn nothin’ at that college. Ain’t she, boys?”
Lennie and Jerry nodded in agreement.
“So I reckons she gets some work experience with us. It ain’t gonna cost us nothin’ and we always says we’s short of a lookout on some of the jobs. What’s you reckon boss?”
Jello was thoughtful, being someone who rarely rushed things, who liked to get things right. He puffed hard on his Cuban, “’Busy Bees’! Bleedin’ hell. Talk about laughin’ stock. Those boys on Brick Lane would die laughin’, huh. Busy bleedin’ Bees.
“Ain’t a bad idea, Roxy, let’s try it out.
So Samanatha, you’se part of the team for now. Your first mission – down to the chippy and get us five fish and chips. Pronto!”