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I’m Just a Villain

by Will Gray

You name it, I’ve done it. The next big job I am going to pull is one that is going to do a lot of good. Yes, for me. I need a few more bob in the Sherman because the next time I get nicked, I am likely to get a lot of porridge. Whatever it is, it has to be worth risking my neck for.

Would you believe it? I am even creating some concern to my villain friends. The reason, so they say, is that I’ve gone straight. You see, at this moment I am genuinely employed as a Claims Inspector for a large security firm.

How did I get a job like that, especially with my form? Well, the boss is an old friend of mine. He is also married to my sister. I knew him before he met my sister, because we did a couple years of porridge in the Ville. That’s how we became acquainted and in turn, good friends.

My maxim about porridge is to do it easy and knuckle down. Learn to say, “Yes, sir,” “No, sir” and “Three bags full” to the prison warders. I know it hurts, and it made me cringe to be subservient to some of the screws. Still if it makes life a little easier, why not?

My brother-in-law took it hard, being banged up with a load of nutters; and on his release he swore he would top himself before serving any more porridge.

After our release from prison we worked together for years and had a lot of good tickles, which amounted to a lot of dough. He saved his and invested the dough and eventually became a rich man. I just blew mine away on wine, women and the gee-gees.

We screwed countless firms’ safes. In fact we were making a crust with the cash and jewelry that came our way. It was during this period we screwed a security firm’s safe, got a lot of cash and jewelry. Some time later, my brother-in-law discovered that a security firm was up for sale. It was said they were having too many claims made against them.

With the cash he’d stolen and his savings, my brother-in-law was able to buy the firm. Two or three days later he employed me as his claims inspector. I don’t think he really trusted me, but he needed my expertise to make his firm secure against too many claims.

I used to be in the one-armed bandit business, and this life was tough going. With my experience I made a lot of contacts and, most of all, I met a few heavies who were my friends. I could call upon them in case of difficulties.

The firm was now a thriving business and I was being paid good money. However, over the years my tastes and zest for good living were far beyond the norm of any man earning the same amount of cash as I was.

Why didn’t my boss give me the sack? He didn’t dare, because I was his biggest asset; thanks to me, claims were very few. Some of them I engineered for myself just to keep a few bob in the tank.

Not many villains would screw any of the firms where I had control of the alarms. Woe betide any villain who stepped out of line. Through the grapevine I would soon discover who it was, and then I would put things to rights by a discreet phone call to one of my friends on the “Flying Squad.” That would suffice; they were always on the lookout for a few nicks, and within days, the villain would be having his collar felt.

One night I was in a local pub to meet Detective Inspector Mike Read. He was a difficult man, a good villain-catcher but a right greedy bastard. He had it in his bloody head that somehow I could pluck a couple of good arrests for him nearly every week.

Good villains are not fools, and it would soon come a-tumble if too many collars were being felt because they had screwed some of the firms under my control. If it was common knowledge that I was the informer, I would have to watch my back.

Read wouldn’t give a toss if someone blew me away. To him, the geezer who did it would just be an extra body for the back of his diary. To the villains I generally describe him as a sleazebag of the first order. That’s how I felt about him; and, to tell you the truth, I wish I had never met him. I try my best to give him a few bodies every now and then. The more he gets, the more he wants. If it keeps him and others off my back, I do my best to satisfy him.

I was to meet him in the pub at seven tonight. I ordered myself a whisky and a double brandy as he breezed up to me at the bar. I knew that he was known by his mates at the Yard to be one hell of a flashy dresser. and that night he looked a million dollars. He had to be. He was wearing a five and a half hundred-guinea suit with all the accoutrements. He was like me, living beyond his means.

“A large brandy for me, JoJo.”

There were no short measures with him. To his mates he was known to have short pockets and was never known to put his hand in them. He was what I would call a real ponce.

As he lifted his large brandy up to my nose he asked, “What have you got for me, JoJo?”

“Nack all.”

“What’s all this balls you’re giving me? You told me you had a nice earner in the pipeline.”

“So I have, but you’ll have to wait. Another drink?”

“Yeah, why not? I hear you’re earning a right crust working at your brother-in-law’s security firm.”

“Yeah and that’s the reason you get the clobber you’re wearing. You went in a bit strong when you stuck that lot on my account; I know I told you to, but for Chrissake don’t go rocking the boat. And I heard that someone has been rabbiting about me on your firm; the rumour going around is that I am marking your cards.”

“Well aren’t you?”

“Up to a point. I know how you buggers up at the Yard like to play one against the other, and you’re no bloody different. If it happens that I hear you’re trying to stick me up for something where I can get nicked, that, my friend, would be the last straw. And you believe me, I will take you down with me. So if you want to earn a few bob, just hold your horses and keep your effing mouth shut.”

Read, after hearing what I said, looked rather uncomfortable and after having made a supposed call to the toilets, he returned and gave the pub the once-over again.

“Who have you got waiting for you outside with the wheels?” I asked.

“My regular wheel man.”

“Tell him to take a powder. I want to show you something.”

“Dwell the box then. I’ll tell him to meet me up West.”

On his return, the D.I. accompanied me to my car and I drove him to a parade of shops in Hornchurch, Essex. I pointed out a tobacconist. “A effing bleeding fag shop. I smoke more in a month than what we can get out of that bleeding dump.”

“You don’t smoke them, you eat them. Anyhow, it’s just been opened as a tobacconist’s a few weeks ago.”

“So we are going to nick a few fags then?.”

“Mike, your brains must be in your bollocks. You know the type of firm I work for.”

“Yeah so?”

“Just feast your bleeding eyes on the shop next door.”

“The jeweller’s? You have to be joking. That joint will be belled up to the hilt.”

“Yeah, I know. My firm put them in when we took over the business and they were on our books. The owner is a right turkey, and I want some of his gear, say something like a hundred grand’s worth.”

Read laughed. “You’re going over the top a bit, aren’t you?

“No not really. If I was in with the firm that’s going to screw it, I would have no reason to touch the alarm.”

“Who the hell do you think you are? Houdini?”

“I’m better than him because I’m going to conjure up a few bodies for your firm. Maybe if you nick the villains, I am certain a few quid will filter through into your pocket.”

“Who’s looking after the shop?”

“As far as they’re concerned, they’re a genuine couple. They won’t know anything. I genuinely don’t know who is going to do the screwing. All I know is that the job has been propped. I am told they’re on with it now.”

“You are a lying bastard, JoJo.”

“That I might be. All I know is that they’re tunneling in through a wall of a sealed room at the rear of the shop.”

“You’re pulling my pisser, JoJo.”

“Alright Mike, when the break-through is imminent, a friend of mind has been pulled in and he will cut the GPO cable in that junction box. This is to stop the alarm banging off at the Yard.”

“So how does that geezer come into the act?”

“I worked with him and believe he’s brilliant. That’s how I found out that these five villains were going to screw the jeweller’s. They heard my brother in law’s firm was being sold, and the owner of the jeweller’s has given our firm the elbow.”

“Yeah now it looks as if we getting down to the nitty gritty. So when do you expect this to happen?”

“It’ll be early Sunday morning.”

“I think this is a load of bollocks you’re giving me. Anyhow, I will wait for you to bell me on the trombone to confirm it. Hey wait a minute, how are you going to get your three pennorth out of it?”

“I have no chance now.”

A few minutes later I drove the Detective Inspector a few hundred yards and dropped him outside the local nick. I saw him enter. I knew a few tricks but Read had a complete box of them. I was friendly with many coppers, but I never fully trusted them. They were like scorpions and will turn you over at the first opportunity.

I parked in a street not far away from the station and kept watch from there. As I thought, his driver had been tailing us. I laughed because I had already got the SP from another Detective Chief Inspector that a certain Detective Inspector Read was getting greedy and wanted him off his hands, because his team was getting a bad name. I had also heard through the grapevine that he was under suspicion for some irregularities.

Now as it happens and invariably does at times, there was another informant who had supposedly got wind of the same job. In fact, the dirty bastard — namely me — had blown it over to him. By now and because of two squads from the Yard, the job was likely to be complicated.

My brother-in-law knew that the jeweler’s was about to be screwed and having sold the business the week before, decided that the best move was to get out of the country. He had bought a couple of villas in Spain and he was already there. I knew Saturday was the last day his firm would be responsible for the jeweller’s. He could not care less what happened, because on the morning the jeweller’s was screwed, he would be safely living it up in his villa in Alicante.

* * *

I met Read on Saturday night, and we both watched as the jeweler’s shop was closing. With Read I visited a local hostelry. I bought him a large brandy. Then I let rip at him and snarled, “You’ve been shouting your big mouth again. I told you if it happened again I would blow you out. Look mate, just between you and me, the job is definitely on tonight. So it is all yours now, you can nick who you like, because I’m out of it.”

I bought him another drink and slipped him fifty quid. With a shake of hands, I hurriedly left the pub. I was aware Read was a bit of an alcoholic and having money in his pocket, he would never leave until he had a few more.

I sat back in the car laughing my head off as Read left the pub. I am sure he was well pissed as he scurried away around the corner to pick up his wheels. Come eight that night, my pal Tony arrived with his London Electricity Board Van. I watched as he erected his small tent over main’s cover. After some minutes with his head deep inside, he was actually sorting out the wires by their colour and picking the ones he had to cut. He looked across the road and gave me the thumbs-up sign. I then watched him carry his gear back to his van.

Later, with my duplicate keys I opened the door of the jeweller’s and stood a short time to ensure that the alarm had been disarmed before entering the shop. Inside we had no intention of opening the safe, because that would take time. It was not necessary to do so because there were many thousands of pounds of expensive jewelry lying around in trays.

Tony took his time in the selection of the jewelry and after an hour and by the weight of my hold-all, I believed we had something like a hundred thousand pounds worth or more. It was now well past midnight and I could hear the tapping noises being made by the villains who were going to break into the shop that night.

I smiled. The villains who had been selected were nearly through the wall, but it would be another hour or more before they broke through. It was clear that Read was not as informed as he usually was, because he did not know that I had my bags packed.

After a short meet with Tony, I paid him off with his share of the jewelry. I then had it on my toes to pick up my bird and with her I went up to the West End, where I booked into a top-notch hotel as my alibi, if I needed one. I had already stashed my lot from the jeweller’s in a West End depository. The deposit key was now attached to my car keys.

I was up early that morning and on reading the papers, I saw that a jeweller’s shop had been burgled and that the thieves had got away with a million pounds’ worth of jewelry. In the press stop column I read that several burglars had been arrested.

My car contained all the gear we needed and now we were driving to Alicante in Spain, where I had bought a villa next door to my brother-in-law. Some time ago we had decided that we’d had enough of plying our wits against the Squad. Anyhow I was retiring with a nice few quid to tide me over till the heat was off.

What happened at the jeweller’s? Through the grapevine I heard that two Detective Inspectors were seen fighting over the job. It actually did come off, and four good villains were nicked.

According to the jeweller’s, there were still two million’s worth of diamonds and jewelry missing. It was improbable that there was, but the villains involved were out of luck; they got nicked with a load of jewelry in their motor. For some reason, two men, who were probably informants, had escaped. Supposedly with most of the proceeds. Who said ‘crime does not pay’? The papers described it as a classic hole-in-the wall job.

Not a bad night’s work, just for cutting a couple of wires. My wire man was paid twenty thousand pounds worth of jewelry. I don’t know how long my current amount of dough plus the stashed jewelry will last. However, my bird and I are going to enjoy it. But I don’t know if I’m going to settle down. Without the cut and thrust between me and a few coppers in the Met, it’s going to be hard.

Copyright © 2009 by Will Gray

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