(This is a pre copy edited)
6 am, 21st May 2018
The heavily muscled young man spat blood and teeth onto the floor and looked up at the man sitting watching him. ‘Fuck you,’ he spat with hatred.
His captor leaned back in his chair staring at the young man lying on the floor. ‘I’ll ask you once more, politely. Then things get interesting. For me. Not necessarily for you matey. Where do I find Deano?’
‘Fuck you. I don’ know no Deano. And if I did, I wun’ tell you, you fuckin’ queer. Let me go, now. Might not go so bad for you. Don’ dis’ me any more man. You in deep shit now, know what I’m sayin’?’
His captor smiled at him. ‘Where did you learn to speak like that? Where are you from? Coalpool, Walsall, right? Not the Bronx. Not Los Angeles. Not Jamaica. You’re a young white man from a shitty English town in the Midlands. So why the affected accent? Does it make you feel hard? Cos from where I’m sitting, you don’t look hard, you look weak, and in a world of shit, matey. Or can I call you Carl? Carl Welch?’
‘How you know my name man? You don’ know me.’
‘Oh but I do. I know you, your piece of shit father and his father too.’
‘Bullshit. You know nuttin’. Nobody. You a nobody man. You dead when I get out of here.’
The captor sat forward til his face was inches away from the young man. ‘Carl Welch, son of Larry Welch, son of Richard Welch. All trash. None of you ever worked a day in your scavenging, thieving lives. You’re useless feeders. Trash. Parasites on the skin of society.’
‘Don’t you dis’ my family man! Dey’ll kill you! Fuckin’ untie me!’ He thrashed around, his heavily muscled arms straining at the cable ties that held his wrists and elbows behind his back and his hands splayed out next to the workbench supporting leg. He tried to get his feet under him, but the pain in his left leg was too much and he slumped back on the floor.
‘Now I’ve told you I know your name, I should introduce myself. But I won’t. I would say pleased to meet you, but,’ Dan shrugged, ‘you know.’
His captor turned around to the workbench behind him. On the immaculate surface of the bench were a few select items. Dan picked up the nearest.
‘Do you know where you are Carl?’
‘What? What you talkin’ ‘bout man? No, I don’ know.’ He eyed the tool Dan had just picked up. ‘What you gonna do with that? You full of shit man, you won’ do nuffin!’ he spat blood again. ‘You is a Nobody Man, dat’s all.’
‘That’s where you’re wrong Carl. A month ago, you may have been right. But now, sadly for you, you’re wrong. You see, as humans, supposedly civilised humans, we constantly weigh up actions and consequences.’ He kicked Carl squarely in the chest, knocking the air out of him. ‘Like that, for instance. My action will have no consequence. Because I am now beyond the reach of the law. You and your family, and your scumbag friends have always been beyond the reach of the law haven’t you? So your actions never had consequences. Unless they were actions against someone else who was also beyond the reach of the law. So you never took on that sort of opponent. On some subconscious level you know that actions against a person like that will have consequences for you, so you only choose law-abiding victims. It’s like picking a fight with someone half your size with their hands tied. That’s how your kind function in this country.’
‘What bullshit you talkin’ ‘bout?’ Carl wheezed, obviously confused by so many multi-syllabic words.
‘No, I suppose you wouldn’t really understand. Now,’ Dan knelt down next to Carl, ‘where do I find Deano? Last chance.’
‘Fuck you,’ Carl spat blood in Dan’s face.
The lump hammer in Dan’s hand came down with full force on Carl Welch’s right hand, instantly shattering carpals and metacarpals. Carl screamed, more in surprise than pain. The hammer came down again, on the left hand. This time Carl screamed in pain and terror. He knew then that this man was for real. No empty threats here. The sudden realisation that he was indeed in deep shit hit him as hard as the hammer that was shattering his bones.
‘In some so-called uncivilised countries, Arabs will cut off the hands of thieves. Did you know that Carl? It stops them thieving again. Of course they only get two chances, then they probably starve to death. No Welfare Benefits system there to keep them fed, housed and supplied with new cars. Stops them thieving though.’ He brought the hammer down again onto Carl’s right hand, completely shattering the complex group of carpals, rendering his hand useless. It would take many bouts of serious surgery to return even minor function to that hand. Carl slumped onto his side, apparently unconscious from the pain. Dan didn’t hesitate but slammed the hammer down onto Carl’s left hand. Instantly Carl screamed again, tears streaming down his face.
‘No more thieving for you matey. No more punching defenceless people. No more stabbing. I doubt you’ll even be able to hold your own limp dick.’ He put the hammer back on the workbench and picked up the next item on the bench. Turning round, he showed it to Carl. ‘Recognise this Carl?’ Carl’s eyes widened. He shook his head and cried.
‘No, man, no. I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you. Deano, he’s living with the crew. At the crib.’
Dan hefted the item in his hand. ‘I found this in your trouser pocket when I threw you in the car. Stun-gun, isn’t it? I heard that’s how you’re getting away with a lot of muggings. Zapping victims in nightclubs, then pretending to help them while telling other people they’re having a seizure, and that you’re their brother. Thieving their purses and wallets while they’re lying helpless on the floor.’ He switched the unit on. ‘So I thought I’d give you a message for Deano, isn’t that what you called him?’
‘Yeah, man, Deano. Andrew Dean. That’s him. It’s him you want. He lives in da crib man.’
‘The house Carl. He lives in the house. Not “da crib.” You are not American.’ Dan touched the tip of the stun-gun to Carl’s neck. Carl screamed, tears streaming down his face.
‘I haven’t done anything yet.’ Dan sat back. ‘So where is this house?’
Carl whimpered. ‘You can’t tell him, he’ll kill me. I’ll tell you, but don’t tell him it was me. Please?’
‘Strange how you caved in so easily. Not such a hard man are you when faced with your own level of brutality? What’s the address?’
‘Bedders Road. Number 10.’
Dan touched the stun-gun to Carl’s neck and gave him a half-second shot. Carl emitted a high pitched keening sound and his legs thrashed. The crotch of his tracksuit trousers grew dark as his bladder voided involuntarily.
‘That’s so much bullshit matey. Old man Wallace lives at number 10, has done for years. You trying to stitch me up, sending me to the wrong house? Thinking that I’ll walk in and get beaten up by the whole Wallace family? Think again.’ Dan leaned forward with the stun-gun.
‘Fuck, fuck, fuck,’ Carl snivelled, snot and tears mixing on his face. ‘Number 20. It’s 20. Got a black steel front door. Garage door is reinforced metal as well. It’s 20 man. 20. Dat’s the truth.’ He put his head on the floor and whimpered.
‘Thank you. Wasn’t so hard, was it matey?’ He leaned forward and zapped Carl again.
When he recovered, Carl sobbed, ‘What was that for? I told you didn’t I? What do you want from me?’
‘You stole a motorbike. Yesterday. An old bike. Remember?’
Carl looked up hopefully. ‘Yeah, man, I remember. I still got it, you can have it back. No probs man, it’s yours.’
Dan zapped him again, watching him thrash around after the two second burst.
‘More bullshit Carl. You see I watched your little funny social media video where you set it on fire.’
‘I’m sorry man. I didn’t know it was yours, I’m sorry, allright.’ Carl sobbed and tried to curl himself up into a foetal position, trying to hide his bloodied and swollen hands behind his back. His splinted left leg stuck out at a jaunty angle, and he tried to get it comfortable.
‘It wasn’t mine matey. It was my Dad’s. He owned that bike since 1968. He bought it with hard earned wages. You stole it without a second thought. Set fire to it. Left it on waste ground like a piece of litter.’
‘It’s just a bike man. I’ll get you the money for another if it means that much to your ol’ man.’
‘Unlikely matey. See, the shock of that, with other . . recent events . . was too much for the old man. He had a heart attack, never regained consciousness. You killed him.’
‘He died? Cos of an old fuckin’ bike? Dat ain’t my fault. He have dementia or sumfin?’
‘Wrong answer matey.’ Dan stood up. ‘You see, I’m looking for a shred of humanity in you but you couldn’t give a shit. You’ve never worked for anything, so nothing matters to you. If you want something, you steal it. Then it’s not important to you so you don’t want it. Well, I’ll never teach you anything, but you can give this message to Deano.’
‘Why you want Deano man? He’s hard, he’ll have you, no sweat.’
Dan looked down at Welchy. ‘Someone robbed and killed my wife over on the waste ground behind Ryecroft Cemetery. Someone on a stolen motorbike.’ He stared Welchy right in the eyes. ‘I reckon it was one of Deano’s little gang, and he’ll know who did it. I want him to tell me who it was, and I’ll leave you all alone after that.’
‘Yeah?’ Carl seemed to have regained some of his attitude. ‘He’ll fuckin chew you up man. He’ll make you disappear. He’ll fuck you up. Nobody Man.’
Dan knelt down next to him. ‘I’m already fucked up matey,’ he whispered, then held the stun-gun on Carl Welch and watched his body thrash around until the batteries died.