This is part twelve of a fiction serial, in 1260 words.
Maurice opened the bag, and dipped his finger into the powder. Tasting it on the tip of his tongue, he nodded. He had been around this life for long enough to know the very best gear when he saw it, and this could be broken down into hundreds of small twenty-pound bags, earning big money. “How much of this do you have, young lady?” His voice was sonorous, hypnotic, and reminded Candy of the snake in the Jungle Book cartoon. “Nineteen, no eighteen bags now, less the one I gave you.” The man nodded, just a slight smile appearing on his lips. “And it is all here, in your bag?” Candy cursed herself for bringing it all along, but no way was she going to chance leaving it at Uncle Brian’s. She sat up straight, and patted the bag. “All here, Mr Maurice. Ty told me you were someone I could trust”. He blinked slowly, the lids seeming to roll across his bulging eyes. “I couldn’t go more than two-forty a bag, young lady. Shall we say four thousand three hundred for cash?” Candy held her nerve. She would have happily taken fifteen hundred for the lot, and had no idea he would offer that much. Best not to seem too keen. “I was hoping for six grand, Mr Maurice. This is the best stuff you will have seen for a while”.
Koz and Niki found Gay Terry on the second floor. He was walking back down, after drawing a blank. No sign of Gregor, or any of the others for that matter. Terry didn’t even try to run, as he could see Koz holding a mean-looking gun in his left hand. Stuffed in his tight briefs, Terry had almost four-hundred quid, the proceeds of last night’s jobs, and his morning at the Oasis. “I ain’t got much, Koz. My punter was a no-show. Here, take this, it’s all I’ve got”. He slipped off one of his trainers, and reached down for the twenty quid he left in there for just such an occasion. Koz was only with one other guy, so he might leave it at that for now. But Koz wrapped a strong arm around his neck, and placed the barrel of the pistol under Terry’s chin. “I don’t think so, Terry. This time I want it all”. He slipped off the safety, making sure Terry saw him do it. “Niki, why not see where our little friend has hidden his cash?” Niki walked up the stairs, shaking his head, and grinning at the terrified boy.
Toby stood up, realising he needed to vomit. But he didn’t get far before a fountain of spew flew out of his mouth, splashing all over one of his four-grand sofas. He staggered back to avoid the mess, and trod on the discarded cognac bottle. That caused him to fall backwards, striking the corner of the huge TV with the back of his head, before continuing down to where his neck made contact with the black metal of the designer unit it was standing on. He tried to get up, but everything suddenly went black.
The noise of the gun firing sounded like an explosion in the concrete stairwell. The left hand side of Terry’s face was all over the wall, and Koz was spluttering with the blood in his mouth, and covering his head. Pavel hadn’t mentioned the light trigger, and Koz hadn’t meant to shoot him. His mind was all over the place, and the gunshot had deafened him too. He had a random thought. Like they said in the films, ‘it had just gone off’. Niki fell backwards down the six stairs, surprised by the sound. He got to his feet, and started to run like the wind in the direction of the exit.
Outside, the sound made Jack jump. He knew instinctively that it was a gun, and Koz was his only suspect as the shooter. Shepherd Market was busy at that time. Lots of restaurants, bars, and cafes. People sitting at outside tables, or walking through the pedestrianised section. And modern life dictated that dozens of them were soon on their phones, calling the Police, or preparing to video what was happening. Many started to scream and run around in panic, suspecting some sort of terrorist attack. Jack wasn’t about to hang around either, so tagged onto a group running north, in the direction of Curzon Street. He was overtaken by the familiar figure of Koz’s sidekick, running fast enough to win an Olympic Gold.
Maurice chuckled softly, changing his opinion of the girl as he played for time. “Well, I might go to five of course, as you bargain so well. Or I could just take the stuff, give you nothing, and throw you out on the street. That might be one option for me, don’t you agree?” Candy had guessed that something like this might happen, and had already prepared her speech. Nodding at Ty, she held Maurice’s gaze, and replied in a reasonable and respectful tone. “He told me you were a man to respect, Mr Maurice. Said you would treat me fairly, pay me for the stuff with a good price. He reckons your word can be counted on, round here. But you could do as you say, and just take it all. I don’t think that would be the best option for you though. For one thing, you wouldn’t be able to get anymore, and I know people with unlimited supplies of stuff that good. And do you honestly think that I am working alone? The people who sent me out selling this stuff wouldn’t take too kindly to me being stiffed, and coming back with no money, and no gear too”. So, maybe best to think about those options”. Maurice sat back, and clapped his hands together gently, as if applauding. “You should take up Poker, young lady. You have a flair for such things. He turned to the big fat guy, speaking very quietly. “Edward, bring me five thousand.”
Koz hadn’t moved. The mess that used to be Gay Terry had slipped though his arm and down the wall. Leaving a huge stain as it went, his tiny body was now crumpled on the landing, folded over almost in half. Koz used his free hand to wipe the blood and goo from his face and neck. He still couldn’t hear anything, and stood up in a daze, staring at the gun in his left hand. In no apparent hurry, he started down the stairs to the exit. The street outside was empty and silent as he opened the door. He looked from side to side, wondering where Niki was, and where all the people had gone to. Shaking his head violently to try to return his hearing, he didn’t hear the warning. “ARMED POLICE. PUT DOWN THE GUN AND GET ON YOUR KNEES”. He turned to his right, flicking his left hand to get the thick blood off of it. A man was directly ahead of him, dressed like a soldier. His mouth was open wide, and moving, but Koz never heard the repeated command.
Police Sergeant Clive Taylor had shot two men before in his career. He kept his cool, followed procedure, and issued both warnings as loud as he could shout. When the big man didn’t drop the automatic, Clive fired two aimed shots from his assault rifle, both striking the man in the centre of his chest. Koz was dead before his body hit the street.
To be continued…