This is really doing my fucking head in. I was on my way back from the Black Cap last night, about half past eleven, say, and suddenly I feel someone grab the collar of my jacket and he shoves me down into this little alleyway and he slams me up against a wall. I’m shitting myself. I’m thinking it’s a mugger or something and any second now there’s going to be a knife blade between my ribs. But there isn’t a knife. He just holds me there, with my face up against that fucking wall and one arm held flat against my side and the other arm pulled behind my back, up somewhere between my shoulder blades, and he tells me not to turn around which, given the position I’m in, is really not an option. And he whispers at me, keeps calling me “pretty boy” or “you pretty fucker”. And I say, what d’you want, I ain’t got much money, but what I got you can take but he says he don’t want my fucking money, so I say, well, what is it you want then...?
“We just want to have a friendly word with you is all,” he says - and I’m thinking “There’s that ‘we’ again” - it’s all ‘we’ and ‘us’ these days, never just ‘me’ and ‘I’.
“OK,” I tell him, “OK, I’m listening. What’s up? Just tell me.”
He says, “We been watching you. We know exactly what you’re up to, pretty boy.”
And I’m thinking, who the fuck is ‘we’, and I’m also thinking I bet it’s that bastard Baldie again, he’s got one of his fucking heavies on me, though God knows what for, ‘cos I fucking don’t.
And he says, “If you say anything, anything you didn’t ought to say to anyone you didn’t ought to be saying it to, we’ll know. And we’ll make sure it’s the last time you get to try on anything like that. You understand what I’m saying?”
And I’m thinking, “No, I don’t bloody understand, I don’t understand what you think I’m going to say or who you think I’m going to say it to.” But what I say is, “Yeah, yeah, ok, I understand.”
“’Cos I wouldn’t like that. And Mr King wouldn’t like that. You understand?”
“Yeah, yeah, I understand,” I say.
“You better fucking understand, pretty boy. We don’t want to spoil your good looks now, do we?”
And then he says, Don’t fucking turn around and I tell him I won’t. And then he slams me a good one around the side of the head just to give me something to remember him by and while I’m watching the stars spin around inside my skull, I hear his footsteps clattering off down the alleyway. And even when he’s gone I still stay standing with my face up against the wall because he told me not to turn around so I’m not turning around. But after a while, when I reckon he must be long gone and far away, I decide I’m going to have to turn around some time. So I turn around. And sure enough, there’s no one there but me. So I go home. Just as if nothing had happened.
And then I start thinking, why did he say Mr King wouldn’t like it? I mean, what the Hell has Mr King got to do with anything, anyway? I’ve heard of Mr King before, ‘course I have. In this business - the business I was in before, I mean - they always said that’s where the stuff comes from, the stuff I used to deliver. But I was never sure if he was a real person. I didn’t think he was, really. To tell you the truth, I always thought that when people said, “It’s from Mr King”, it was just another way of saying, “Ask no questions and you’ll get told no lies” or “Where’d it come from? Fell of the back of a lorry, didn’t it?”
Fuck. This is really doing my head in. I don’t know who they think I am or what they think I’m up to. I just hope this is the end of it, that’s all. I just hope they leave me alone...