Merseycide (Short Story)

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This is a short story I wrote a long time ago, it’s the only short story I’ve ever written…

I must stress though that this is a work of pure fiction and has to my knowledge never actually ever happened to anyone, anywhere ever…

I’ve had a few people think it might be semi-autobiographical… I promise you, it isn’t. lol…

What it is though is a very graphic story about the exploits of Liverpool gangsters which should definitely not be read by children or anyone who might be offended by bad language and graphical content…

So yeah anyway, for better or for worse, this is “Merseycide”.



Paul Gleave.

If ya kill a man, they call it Homicide, if ya kill a lot of men, they call it Genocide. Where I come from, we just call it… Merseycide.

My real name’s Mark, but only my mam calls me that now, everyone else calls me Steps -On account of what I did to that knobhead, Ricky fuckin’ Bond, all those years back, shithouse he was, but that’s a different story. I live on Crown Street in the centre of Edge Hill in Liverpool now; I’ve lived in and around Liverpool all my life. Ya could even say I’m one of them “Proud to be Scouse” type Liverpudlians. I’ve got the accent, I support the team and I know all the words to “Ferry cross the Mersey”. I am, I’m proud of Liverpool, but Liverpool isn’t very proud of me.

I wanna start by sayin’ though, I’m not trying to come across all biggie biggie and I am not trying to justify anything I’ve done. This story is as true as I lived it and I’ll hold nothin’ back. Right, first off, I don’t wanna stand here and start blamin’ society for creatin’ the demon’s in my head, but it never really presented me with the same opportunities as some more fortunate people in the world, now did it? But fuck it, who you gonna complain to, right? I realised at a very early age that life was shit and I had to look after number 1. So that’s what I did. I sold drugs, no actually that’s not right, I sold fuckin’ load’s of drugs, I’ve even killed people, I mean lets get it straight from the kick off, I’m no fuckin’ hero here OK? I’m not even a very nice guy and I’ve done some really… really sick things in my life, but, I only did what I had to do to survive.

Now, I don’t go much for stereotypes, but yes, I am “slightly” overweight, yes, I do have a shaved head and yes, I do drive a black BMW Convertible with my name on the plate. S1 EPS (Bling or what?). So I suppose, if ya think of ya typical villain then ya thinkin’ of me. But I can live with that, and I’m a lot happier now, so fuck it!

So, where do I start? Well, I grew up near the racecourse in Aintree. Me, my mam and my little brother Steven. My old man fucked off years ago and good fuckin’ riddance too, dirty, drunken old fuckin’ pervert he was… It sounds like a really tough childhood dunnit’ and I suppose, in a way, it was. But I was OK, I found refuge outside the house, with my mates. I was good friends with this guy who lived about three doors down from us. He was quite a bit older than me and everyone called him “Jimi The Skunkman”, according to the Police and the DSS he was Mr James Brackenall, but to us, The Skunkman suited him just fine. Now, to be a black guy with a Manc accent in Liverpool ya’ve gotta be a hard man just to get through ya day but this brother was a fuckin’ maniac. He was notorious for carryin’ a huge fuckin’ machete under his coat. If ya asked for it, he’d show it to ya but ya’ll never ask again, that sort of thing, ya know. Anyway, this cunt never worked a day in his life, but he knew just about everythin’ there was to know about weed. Growin’ weed, preparin’ weed, smokin’ weed and most of all, sellin’ weed. Jimi was the man everybody came to see in our street and cuz of that, this guy had cash all over the place. Now, bein’ a 13 year old skinny white muppet, I knew I wasn’t gonna achieve much on my own. So I started “runnin’” for Jimi, just small at first, ya know, someone would phone Jimi and order whatever they need, I’d get on my little BMX bike, fuck off, make the delivery, collect the cash and take it back to Jimi, everyone’s ‘appy. In return I’d have all the Skunk I could smoke, plus a little bit of extra cash for myself, and this was cool, for a while…

Things then progressed and I became very close mates with Jimi, he taught me everythin’ he knew and eventually we became 50/50 partners, in business and life. If ya fucked with one then ya get fucked by two, ya know worra mean, and for a long time things were good. It all went kinda shit-shaped though in 1994 when I was about 21 years old. I’d already been involved with some pretty fuckin’ nasty shite by then, but nothing compared to what I was about to do. At this time I was growin’ and preparin’ the weed as well as handlin’ the money, we’d also branched out into much stronger drugs (sellin’ and usin’). Every weekend I was in Cream and other clubs in Liverpool sellin’ Weed, Whiz, Charlie, H, E’s, Uppers, Downers, Lefters, Righters, any fuckin’ way ya wanna go, I had somethin’ in my pocket chemistry set that was gonna take ya there. I had more money comin’ at me than I could spend and everyone knew me. Life was pretty fuckin’ top, mate… and I thought it would last forever. What a dick!!!

I’d been carryin’ a blade for years but I’d just recently graduated to a 9mm Berretta handgun. I bought it for 500 quid off a Jamaican mate of Jimi’s. I thought it was fuckin’ beautiful, man. I kept it tucked in my belt, no really I did! Only cuz I’d seen the Yanks do it on TV and I thought it was the cool cunts way to carry it. I was no stranger to gun’s though, The Skunkman had kept a gun ever since he broke his machete on that Chink who owed him nearly a grand for smack, and I’d seen him shoot people with it (like I said, he was a fuckin’ nutter)… This was my life back then and even though I’d always tried to avoid labels like “Gangster”, I suppose it’s the only one that really fitted me. Well, that’s if you can call what we had a “Gang”… It was really just me and Jimi sorting out business and a few friends and muppets keepin’ everythin’ else together. I mean, the only real “turf” we controlled was our home ground of Aintree which had a club or two and some weekends we’d take our lives in our hands and venture into the city centre but that’s it… Small and sweet… I liked it that way… But, if ya gonna insist that this is a gangster story, then every good gangster story has a “rival gang” and mine is no exception.

They were much more organised than we were. Shit, they even had a name. “The Rise”. Stupid fuckin’ name I know but I didn’t choose it did I? They came from Bootle, but controlled most of central Liverpool. The main man at The Rise was a geezer by the name of Scythe. A proper wealthy guy, I didn’t know too much about him at that time, just what I’d heard. He was basically a sick fuck who tortured people for sexual pleasure…  I remember hearin’ about him killin’ a guy called Donny Harris. Apparently, he tortured the poor cunt for around 3 to 4 days before he finally killed him, then he kept the corpse for a week after, wankin’ over it, I heard. He’s always fancied himself as a bit of a cult leader, like that David Koresh guy in Waco. He never refered to the people around him as gang members, employees or even friends, they were “followers”… Yeah nice but the only thing these guys worshiped was guns, drugs and money… Ok, so they were probably my kind of people in another life, but in this one, up until now, they had stayed on their side of the tracks and we had stayed on ours. This all changed on August 17th 1994, the day my phone rang… A voice on the other end simply said “Prepare, there is going to be an Uprising” and then hung up. I knew straight away we were in proper shit; I’d heard rumours about a few other people getting these calls before mysteriously disappearing. What I didn’t know was, Why us?

I found out later on from Jimi. One of our runners (some 15 year old kid called Lloyd Thompson) had been caught by The Rise in the centre of Liverpool and they accused the lad of sellin’ on their market, which to be fair, he probably was. Anyway, after they had beaten this poor little shit half fuckin’ senseless for a few hours he decided that his only option was to tell Scythe and his “followers” all about Jimi and me. Now, one of my main problems with Jimi has always been that, if he likes someone, he places too much trust in them and tells them anythin’, and he must have really liked this kid a lot, cuz he knew fuckin’ everythin’, and he told ‘em, fuckin’ everythin’. Where we were, where the plants were, where we sold, where we bought, how much we made, where we kept it, I mean fuckin’ everythin’, and now they wanted it. I don’t blame the kid, he’s just a kid, but Jimi, he’s a pain in the fuckin’ arse man.

My phone rang again some time later, it was my brother Steven, he was usually a very calm person our Steve, it took a lot to phase him, even when that twat Andy Yeoman put a shotgun to his head, he was calm. Ended up he nearly choked the living shit out of the guy, but he was calm. He was close to panic though when he spoke to me that day. “Steps, it wasn’t my fuckin’ fault man, I didn’t see ’em comin’, I only just got outta there fuckin’ alive mate, honest to god”. I asked him what the fuck he was talkin’ about, “It was those crazy cunt’s from Bootle Steps, The fuckin’ Rise or whatever they’re called, it was them Steps, it wasn’t my fault”. I said “Steven will you please tell me what the fuck you are goin’ on about?”. He went on “We were lookin’ after the plant’s in the lock-up, yeah, when all of a sudden, man, all fuckin’ hell broke loose. There was fuckin’ loads of ’em mate, I’m sorry Steps but I just ran, I got the fuck out, they were fuckin’ everywhere, there was no way we could stop ‘em, I’m sorry Steps, honest, there was fuck all I could do, It wasn’t my fault”. I told Steve not to worry; he wasn’t to blame and then hung up the phone. This was now a major fuckin’ scary problem. I had one word repeatin’ and repeatin’ and repeatin’ inside my head “Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit”

I knew we had two choices, we could just sit back and let them take all we’d worked for, in which case, we were dead (they wouldn’t want us hangin’ around would they) or we could fight them, in which case, we were dead (we didn’t have the numbers to take on a gang war), in fact every which way I looked at it, we were fuckin’ dead. That night we all got together at Jimi’s house, it was fuckin’ chaos. Everyone was shittin’ themselves and if I’m truly honest, I was one of them. We all knew how fuckin’ serious this shit was, I had not seen Jimi skin up for about 3 hours -which for a man who never had a spliff out of his mouth, well, it told ya somethin’. It told ya that these people were the real fuckin’ deal -kill ya family and go back for ya fuckin’ dog, ya know worra mean, don’t get me wrong like, we were no pussy’s but these cunts were sick and fanatical. They were comin’ to take everythin’ away, includin’ us. We couldn’t run, we couldn’t hide.

But then the more I thought about it though; the more I thought that maybe we could run. Maybe if we hit them, hit them fast and hit them hard, maybe, if we could somehow get to Scythe and take him out of the picture, it would leave The Rise in such a fuckin’ world of shite they wouldn’t recover for weeks, by then we could pack up, move on and start again somewhere else. It wouldn’t save our enterprise in Aintree but it could save our live’s, and besides, it’d worked in that gangster film I’d seen. But then, the $64,000 question is -How the fuck do ya get to a man with such fanatical support, in next to no time? Looking back on it now, if we’d have had more time to think about it and plan what we were goin’ to do, maybe we’d have realised that this was a fuckin’ suicide mission from the start. Our plan was stupid but simple… We knew that Scythe and The Rise had a lot of legitimate businesses around the Liverpool area and that one of them was The Inspiration Café at the Albert Docks. We had heard that this was the place where Scythe spent most of his time and ran his operation. So, in theory, the chances were, we reckoned, that if we went there all tooled up like bad-asses, Scythe would be there, we could kill him and then get the fuck out of Dodge… Ya see?… “Stupid but simple”.

I remember sittin’ in the car, travellin’ across Scouseland, holdin’ my shiny new 9mm Berretta in my hand and tryin’ to look bad and in control. I mean ya have to understand at this point in my life, killing a man was not a new experience for me. But, still, sittin’ in that car, all I could think of was a little yellow Tonka Truck I had when I was a kid. My dad got it for me – one of the few decent things the bastard ever did. I thought about; when I used to sit in the garden and fill the back of the truck with soil and then just empty it out again. It kept me amused for fuckin’ hours, that did. Cuz that’s all I needed back then, life was simpler. It seemed like fuckin’ yesterday, but look at me now; here I am, headin’ for the Albert Dock with a loaded gun in my hand ready to take another man’s life. I mean what the fuck was that all about? I thought I was going to be sick, I felt like jumping from the car, hitting the ground running and not stopping till I dropped. Damn, I was so scared.

I realise now with hindsight that if we had left Jimi’s house just 5 minute’s earlier than we did, I wouldn’t be tellin’ ya this story now, I would have probably copped it in the ensuing bloodbath or been banged up for the rest of my natural… but as we reached Bath Street where the café is, we were just in time to see Scythe getting into the back of one of his regulation black Bentley limo’s and driving away. Now panic was starting to set in, what do we do now? Do we stay with him and hope we get an opportunity to kill this mad fuck? Or do we turn around and take our chances when they finally catch up with us? Well ok, I guess it wasn’t much of a choice, he had to die. But how? We did play with the idea of just stoppin’ the limo in the street and blastin’ the fuck out of it, but with those Bentley’s it would probably have steel plate and bulletproof windows and all that shit, so that fucked that idea. No, all we could realistically do is follow them and wait for the right time to move. We drove around Liverpool for about 20 minutes, although it seemed a lot fuckin’ longer, finally the limo stopped in a small Cul-de-sac in the centre of Anfield.

We all sat in the car, just on the corner of the road where we could see to the bottom of the Cul-de-sac. The silence was fuckin unbearable, we all just sat watching the limo. This was almost too good to be true. Nobody said it but we all knew, if we were ever gonna to do this, this was the perfect opportunity. Scythe, the leader of The Rise, trapped in a fuckin’ Cul-de-sac, of all places, it was fuckin’ beautiful man. He only had 3 of his “followers” with him and they were some of his closest people. If we could get them too it would create fuckin’ havoc within his organisation and give us more time to fuck off very far away. I had a gun in one hand and a door handle in the other when it suddenly dawned on me. Exactly what the fuck was Scythe, the leader of The Rise doin’ in a fuckin’ Cul-de-sac in the middle of Anfield? Why would he put himself at risk like this? I told everyone to stop where they were. Jimi kindly enquired about the state of my “bottle”. But I needed to know what the fuck he was doin’ here.

Then the strangest thing happened, I’d expected maybe it was an ambush or somethin’, that maybe he had known we were there all along, but I was wrong. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. A small boy, no older than 6 or 7 came out of one of the houses at the bottom end of the road and ran to the limo. We were too far away to hear what was said between Scythe and the boy, as he got out of the car. But judgin’ by the hugs, the laughter and the body language, it was safe to say that they were pretty fuckin’ close. Everyone in the car sat totally fuckin’ stunned as we watched this fearsome psychopath “playin’ tag” with this small boy and apparently enjoyin’ every fuckin’ minute of it. The sight bordered on the sur-real, we watched with our mouths open. After a couple of minutes Scythe and the boy eventually went inside the house and his “followers” stayed outside near the limo. We slowly drove away and parked around the corner. “What the fuck did I just see?” I said to no one in particular, which was just as well, cuz no one answered.

I’d like to say that it wasn’t all my idea, I’d like to say that Jimi or one of the other guys in the car dreamt up the whole harebrained scheme and I just went along with it, I’d like to but I can’t. It was me, it was all me. Whether or not the others had thought about it before I suggested it, I guess we will probably never know. But I saw the potential in this situation. If ya have somethin’ that is precious to your oppressor, ya then gain power over them. Simple, and not quite as stupid as gettin’ ya arse shot off in a gunfight, right?. All we had to do was grab the gaffer tape out of the back of the car, kidnap the kid and hope to fuck that he and Scythe were as close as they looked. We wouldn’t hurt the boy you understand. Nah, my mate Spokey, his wife used to be a registered child minder, before she got sent to prison. He’d fuckin’ love it with her for a while and I’m sure she would love havin’ a kid around again. We watched the Cul-de-sac for about an hour; finally the limo emerged and drove off back in the direction of the docks.

I’ve never been in the Army, I’ve never been a Marine or had any kind of military trainin’, but for some reason I decided that that this operation required a Commando style approach, our main weapon would be stealth. Sneak in, grab the boy and sneak out again. Clockwork! So we sat in the car for about 6 fuckin’ hours watching the house and waiting for the cover of darkness. Around 12.30, when we were sure that everyone was asleep, we stumbled out of the car, bad backs and stiff joints for everyone. Strange groanin’ noises were made almost every time one of us moved. I am not sure about Commando’s, we were more like Dad’s fuckin’ Army, we were basically a fuckin’ mess, stumblin’ around in the dark. But “feint heart never won fair maid” and all that bollocks, plus the fact, we had just cocked up our only chance of killin’ Scythe, so we had no fuckin’ choice in the matter, we pressed on.

The house was a typical suburban semi-detached (actually quite a nice gaff, if you like that sort of thing). We made our way down the side of the house and into the back garden. When Jimi lived in Manchester his speciality was burglary and house breaking, so it didn’t take us too long to get through the back door and into the kitchen. The house was in complete darkness; the only sounds were the tickin’ of a mantle piece clock and the creakin’ of our brittle bones. Me and Jimi crept up the stairs. Now, let me explain this! I know I keep gushin’ about what a bad ass Jimi is and how he’s got no morals or remorse, but you have to understand, I know it’s a cliché but that was the life we lived. We did things most decent people would never even consider in their wildest fantasies. So when I say that Jimi took a pillow and placed it over the boy’s mother’s face until she stopped movin’, ya might appreciate, that to us, she was merely an obstacle to be overcome and it was never given a second thought.

We then went into the boy’s room, it was dark but we could still make out the shape of the kid as he lay asleep in his bed. I put my hand over the boy’s mouth so he wouldn’t start screamin’ and wake up the whole fuckin’ street. Then Jimi put the tape around the boy’s hand’s, feet, eye’s and mouth and wrapped him up in his blanket. Less than 5 minutes later we were on our way back to Spokey’s place in Norris Green, not a word was spoken for the whole journey.

I don’t know what time it was when we got to Spokey’s but it was late, we had to knock the lazy cunt up out of bed. That’s when we hit our first snag. You see, Spokey was a good mate and all, but sometimes in life, things take over and you don’t spend as much time with people as you would like to. Actually it had been about 12 months since I’d seen Spokey, and in that time the “little missus” had fucked off with a Bingo caller from Warrington and Spokey himself had concentrated his efforts on buildin’ himself a comfortable little heroin dependency. Now I was fucked, I had a little boy wrapped in gaffer tape, nowhere to hide him and no registered child minder to look after him. I also had the minor niggle of Scythe’s reaction to us kidnappin’ this kid and the impendin’ death that that could cause. What else could I do? I mean what would you have done in my position? Well, right or wrong, I did the only thing I felt I could do. I gave Spokey money to look after the boy.

I am not tryin’ to make any excuses for what happened but ya must see what a gamble this was. I mean I didn’t even know who this kid was and what he meant to Scythe. It was quite possible that he would just send some crazy crack-head “followers” down to just kill the fuckin’ lot of us. So the next job was to let Scythe know we had the boy and convince him we were not goin’ to be fucked with. Of the events that followed I am proud of none of them. They will always be etched in my mind as the worst thing I have ever been party to…

By pure coincidence I remembered readin’ in the paper about a 8-year-old boy that had been run over and killed on the main road in Aintree, his funeral was today. An insane idea crept from the darkest corner of my mind. Ya see, I had to convince Scythe that we were deadly serious about harming or even killing the boy and I had to make the point as gruesome and as shockin’ as possible. But although I am an evil man, I’m not a monster; I didn’t want to really hurt the child. So, that night, me and two other guys (who I won’t name, for obvious reasons) broke into the cemetery where this poor kid was buried. Fortunately, for us at least, in 1994 nobody really thought about security for the dead so we were able to work undisturbed for the rest of the night. We found the freshly filled grave and started to dig. We dug and dug until eventually we were able to remove the small coffin from its restin’ place. I remember it was white with brass handles and a brass cross on the lid. I nearly cried when I looked at that small wooden box. I wanted to stand up, run away, just get out of there, be somewhere else, not have to do what I felt I had to do, but I couldn’t.

The hardest work I did that night was removin’ the lid from the coffin. I don’t know why (considerin’ what I was there for) but I didn’t want to damage the coffin in any way, so I undid it slowly and carefully. Once I had the lid removed I couldn’t look at his face, I didn’t want to see him. I reached into my holdall and took out the 9-inch butchers knife I had taken from Spokey’s earlier. After undoin’ the dead boys trousers, I did the unthinkable, the unspeakable. I took the blade and cut off the boy’s scrotum, placed it in a Warburtons Toastie loaf wrapper and put it in my holdall. We then replaced everythin’, the coffin, the soil, the flowers even a little plastic angel holdin’ the word “Tom”, everythin’  just as it was. Then we went back to Spokey’s. I must point out that to my knowledge this crime has never been detected and I have never spoke about this to anyone before, so if you’re the family of this boy, and you’re hearin’ this for the first time. I apologise, I apologise for everythin’ and I know I will burn for what I have done.    I’m sorry!

On the way back to Spokey’s we stopped off at my house to pick up my Instamatic camera. I needed some photographs to convince Scythe that we were who we said we were and that we meant fuckin’ business. I had to go shoppin’ too; I mean what was the chances of a smack head like Spokey having anythin’ he might need to care for a 7-year-old boy. I also took the chance to go to the joke shop on the main road and bought some theatrical blood… Ya see, it’s easy, when ya looking back at a situation, to see the points that you made obvious mistakes. But when it’s happenin’, when you have no time to think, and events are movin’ so fast, the pitfalls aren’t so easy to see. I mean lookin’ at it now, when we got back to Spokey’s and that fuckin’ prick was lyin’ on the toilet floor with his pants round his ankles, smacked out of his tiny fuckin’ mind, I should have realised that leavin’ the boy with him and givin’ him money was not a work of fuckin’ genius. But, like I say, I was under so much pressure, I honestly never really thought about it at the time. The most important thing to me was staying alive, and all other problems could wait. The boy was in the bedroom lyin’ on the bed, still taped up, scared half to fuckin’ death, shakin’ and cryin’. Any normal self-respectin’ person would have released him, but I couldn’t. If I had, I would not have lived through the day, I promise ya.

When I touched the boy, to remove the blanket he was wrapped up in, he froze. His cryin’ became a muffled whimper, and I felt nothing but remorse for the predicament I had placed this poor kid in. I undid the button and the fly on the boy’s trousers so they were open but you couldn’t actually see his private parts (I shudder to think what was going through that poor boy’s head as I was doing this, I just kept thinkin’ of my dad). I took the theatrical blood, removed the lid and poured it over the boy’s genital area. It had to look as real as possible, Scythe had to believe that the body parts I would send him actually came from the boy, or this would never work and we were all fuckin’ dead. I removed some of the tape from around the boy’s head so you could make out his face and positioned him properly on the bed. I took out my camera and took 4 pictures of the boy, looking for all the world like he had recently been castrated. I replaced the blanket softly over him and left the room. I could feel the repulsion of my actions swellin’ up inside me, but all I could do was swallow hard and carry on.

It was time to let Scythe know who he was fuckin’ with…

I took everythin’ out of the holdall, except the Toastie bag and wrote on the back of one of the photographs “The boy is still alive, We will contact you.”. I then placed the photographs into the bag and zipped it up. Now this was our biggest problem, giving the bag to Scythe and living through it, we needed a volunteer… He wasn’t happy about it, but then, who the fuck would be? But if there’s one good thing about a smack head, it’s that there isn’t much they wont do for a bag of brown and a wad of cash. So shortly after Spokey was, shittin’ himself, sittin’ on a bus, with a small black holdall, headin’ for the Albert Dock. All we could do was sit and wait for the call to say, “the package had been delivered”.

When you live your life day to day, you seldom stop to think about how quickly or slowly time passes by. Even with the life that I have led where there are so many people who want to take that time away from ya, and any day could be ya last, I never really thought about it. But that hour or so that it took for that phone to finally ring was possibly the longest time period I have ever endured. I had never known fear and trepidation like I felt in that hour. The worst part was not knowin’. What was Scythe’s reaction to the fact, he thought, that we had just fuckin’ maimed this poor kid? Was Spokey dead or alive? Were they on their way here to get us now? How badly had we fucked this up? Questions with no answers raced round my head so fast I thought I was gonna be sick. I had a knot in my gut like a fuckin’ basketball. The tension showed on all of us, Jimi just sat quietly in the corner of the room, starin’ blankly at his hands and not a word was said by anyone. In fact, the only sound was the almost inaudible whimperin’ of a small boy, bound and gagged in the next room.

You have to remember, we could have (maybe we should have) just got out of the car and blasted fuck out of Scythe and his disciples in that Cul-de-sac, and then ran like fuck for the hill’s. But we didn’t, we didn’t because I said so, everythin’ that we had done up to that point was basically down to me, so this was now my responsibility. All the people around me were followin’ me on blind faith alone, and if this did go “tit’s up” it’d be all my fault, and lot of blood would be spilt. I know I should have been stronger, I know I should have been more in control. But still, deep down… I just wanted my Tonka Truck back.

I almost jumped out of my fuckin’ skin when the phone finally rang. Jimi picked it up and put the receiver to his ear. Spokey said that he had bottled it at the last minute and just threw the bag through the café door, then ran away. He said he didn’t know what Scythe’s reaction was and he didn’t want to wait to find out. He went on to point out that the package had still been delivered so he still wanted his smack and his money, fuckin’ junkie muppets, I hate ’em… So, anyway, it was now up to me to phone the café and speak to Scythe one to one and discuss this situation we had found ourselves in. My hands were sweatin’ and shakin’ so much I could barley hold the fuckin’ phone never mind dial the number, but somehow I got through it. The phone only rang in me ear once or twice before it was picked up at the other end and a voice said “hello”. I could hear somebody cryin’ in the background, I took a deep breath to calm myself and said “Get Scythe”.

After a few moment’s the phone changed hands and it became obvious who was doin’ the cryin’. “Where the fuck is my boy?”, “What the fuck have you done to my boy?” he wept down the phone at me. I know this may sound sick but as soon as heard the sorrow and defeat in his voice, I smiled the first smile I had smiled in a very long time. I knew I had him, I had found the monsters Achilles Heel… “Shut up and listen,” I said, doing my best badass impression “Your boy is hurt but it is nothin’ that won’t heal. Do exactly as I say and maybe you and him will play tag again, ok? If you do anythin’ that I don’t tell you to do, you will receive more and more body parts until he is dead. Is that understood?” I heard Scythe physically compose himself and he replied, “What do you want?” Then I realised, I hadn’t given much thought to it. I just wanted him to leave us the fuck alone and let us get on with what we were doing, but I knew things had gone too far for that now, that was no longer possible. So what the fuck did I want? I had to think on my feet “I want everythin’, I want you to hand over all your legitimate businesses and I want all addresses, all paperwork and all details of all of your illegal ventures, basically, I want everythin’ you were goin’ to take from me. Then you and your boy can get the fuck out of Liverpool, live happily ever after and never come back. You’ve got 24 hours to get it sorted, and I will phone you again”. With that I hung up the phone and just stared at Jimi who said supportively “I hope you know what you’re doing.”…

It reminded me of the lion tamer at the Circus, he stands there in front of the beast in a position of power but everyone (especially the lion tamer) knows that it’s a false sense of security. At any point in time the lion could think, “fuck this”, jump off his stool and chew the lion tamer a new arsehole. Scythe and The Rise were the same as the lion, they could call my bluff at any time and to be honest, if they had of done, then just like the lion tamer I would have been seriously fucked. I knew I couldn’t return home, if Scythe was to attack us that was the first place he would go. No, Spokey’s gaff was the best option for now, and besides, I could keep an eye on the boy while I was there. The next 24 hours were pretty uneventful, we had Spokey watchin’ the comin’s and goin’s at the café, and we were watching the kid, everythin’ appeared to be goin’ accordin’ to plan. Now came the really difficult part, the change over. I’d be lyin’ if I said that I thought everyone had 100% faith in what I was doin’. I’d be lyin’ if I said that I had a 100% faith in what I was doin’. But what choices did I have? I couldn’t back down now; it was too far down the line, way past the point of no return. I lifted the receiver from its cradle and dialled the number for the café once again; only this time it was Scythe himself who answered.

“Have you done as I asked?” I enquired. There was a short pause and he replied, “How is my boy?”… “Fine for now, have you done as I asked” I repeated… “My lawyer’s have drawn up the paperwork for my legitimate property’s, I have signed them and they just require your signature to make them official. The other property’s and venture’s will take a little longer”. Exploitin’ my “lion tamer” position of power over this psycho, I demanded, “What the fuck is it goin’ to take to make you realise how fuckin’ short your time is, an ear, a leg, or maybe his fuckin’ head. Stop wastin’ my fuckin’ time and get it fuckin’ sorted, now!” There were a few moment’s of silence and then a very meek “Sorry, please don’t hurt my boy”. “Right” I said, “This is what is goin’ to happen. The paperwork you’ve already got there with you, get one of your “followers” to take it the swimmin’ baths in Speke town centre. Leave it in locker 217 in the men’s changin’ room and then put the key in the rubbish bin directly outside the main doors of the buildin’. Do it right fuckin’ now”. “If there is anyone around when the key is picked up, the boy dies. If there is any problem with the paperwork, the boy dies. In fact you better hope to fuck that this goes without a single fuckin’ hitch, because if it doesn’t, I will fuckin’ kill him personally. Do you understand?” Silence… I repeated, “Do you fuckin’ understand?” He replied, “I understand”. “Good, once this transaction is complete I will phone you again to discuss the handing over of the other property’s. Is that understood?” He replied “yes” and I hung up the phone.

I told you earlier that I wasn’t a very nice man, didn’t I? But bein’ the kind of person I am, I’ve always had certain kinds of hero’s in my life. Now, most people would be influenced by maybe a movie star or a rock star, but not me, I was always inspired by the bad people in the world. The Krays, John Paul Gotti, Al Capone, you know the type. Well, with this in mind, I’ll be truthful and confess that I was actually beginnin’ to enjoy my newfound power over this guy, even if it was just a lion tamer’s power. I even considered sending another body part, for maximum effect but rememberin’ the night spent in the cemetery, I dismissed the idea as soon as it formed. But my plan was workin’, I was on top, I felt euphoric, I felt like ten-men, I felt invincible… These feelin’s, however, faded pretty fuckin’ sharpish as I pulled into the car park at the baths.

Jimi and me had decided we were in this together so we would go to the pick-up together. We had called Spokey back to the house and left him watchin’ the kid. We drove down to Speke and went into the baths. I parked the car as close to bin as I possibly could, I didn’t fancy a long walk across an open car park. In fact, I was so close that Jimi was able to stay in his seat and still see in the bin. The key was there, “Fuckin’ Bingo” Jimi said and I could visibly see the relief in his face. Ever the pessimist, I replied, “We ain’t finished yet”. We got out of the car, two very fuckin nervous guy’s hangin’ around a bin in broad fuckin’ daylight. I would have probably pissed myself laughin’, if I wasn’t shittin’ myself with fear. I kept watch while Jimi got the key; we went into the buildin’ and found the changin’ rooms. It took us a good few minutes to find locker 217, those lockers can be fuckin’ confusin’ when you are of limited intelligence. We eventually found the locker and opened it with the key. I pulled the door open and sure enough there were several large brown envelopes inside, Jimi and I looked at the envelopes and then we looked at each other. Then I grabbed them, put them under my arm, and headed for the exit like a walker trainin’ for the fuckin’ Olympics… Back in the car as I was drivin’ off as quickly as I fuckin’ could, Jimi opened one of the envelopes and took out the document’s inside. After a few moment’s studyin’ them he looked up and said “Steps man, This is fuckin spot on mate, we fuckin’ did it man”. We had just taken well over £1,000,000 worth of real estate and businesses off one of the nastiest people in the world, and it felt fuckin’ great. We both started whoopin’ and punchin’ the roof of the car in absolute fuckin’ ecstasy, we fuckin’ did it, we were on top again…  That’s when the phone rang… I hate that fuckin’ phone…

I was still fuckin’ ecstatic as I answered it. “Hello!” It was our Steve again, as soon as I heard his voice I knew somethin’ was very fuckin’ wrong. His calm exterior was once again in tatters and there was anger in his tone. All he said was “I’m at Spokey’s. Ya need to get here right now”. I asked what the problem was as the smile drained from my face, but he just said “Steps, get here right fuckin’ now man, Ya need to deal with this shit.” and with that he hung up. I floored it, dodgin’ speed-cameras and Bizzies all the way back to Spokey’s gaff and legged it inside. Steve and a few of the others were there, one of them was cryin’, one of them was bein’ sick and another was just sat starin’ into space. Over in the corner there was, what at first looked like a pile of clothes, but when I looked closer I realised it was Spokey, half beaten to death and bleedin’ like the fuckin’ Amityville town fountain. “What the fuckin’ hell has gone on here?” I asked… “It’s that sick twisted fuckin’ bastard over there” said Steve as he ran over and gave the guy a proper fuckin’ hefty boot in the face. Blood splattered up the wall and Spokey slumped even further into his heap. Then it hit me, the boy, the fuckin’ boy. I ran into the bedroom where the boy had been held and stopped in my tracks at the sight that greeted me. It looked like the poor little bastard had been attacked by wild dogs, blood was everywhere. On the bed, on the floor, on the walls, on the fuckin’ curtains even on the damn ceiling, there were huge puddles of the stuff fuckin’ everywhere. In the middle of all of this carnage (which was worse than anything I had ever seen Hollywood conjure up) lay the small, lifeless body of a young boy. The boy had been stabbed so many time’s that his intestines were strewn all over the mattress; he was naked and badly beaten. I should have felt sick, I should have felt remorse, I should have fell to my knees and wept for what I had let happen to this innocent little boy. But strangely only one emotion rose inside me. Pure, unadulterated anger. I walked back into the front room, took out my Berretta and fired all 16 shots into Spokey’s head and torso.

I don’t want to appear selfish, I was fuckin’ devastated by what happened to that little boy and I still am to this day. But, I had to look at the bigger picture. I had one of the most ruthless and evil gangsters in Liverpool by the balls because he loved this boy so much. And now, all of a sudden I didn’t have the him anymore, no, worse than that, I had let him die in probably the most horrible way that anyone could die, at the hands of a sick and twisted pervert. Although I was truly fuckin’ gutted about what happened, I couldn’t imagine Scythe bein’ very sympathetic to my plight. In short I was fucked… Jimi came out of the bedroom where the boy’s body lay. “What the fuck are we gonna do now Steps?” he asked, like I had all the answers. I turned around, walked away and sat on an old washin’ machine in the garden. I had to think…

This had gone too far, it wasn’t a game anymore, and it had to stop, but how? The only thing I could do to stay alive now was to keep Scythe convinced that the boy was still alive, so it couldn’t stop. This whole situation was completely fucked up. I have never felt the pain of guilt like that in my fuckin’ life. Don’t get me wrong I had no pity for Scythe, fuck him, he was just as sick and twisted as that dirty fuckin perverted smack-head, and the amount of son’s he had taken from other people, it was poetic justice more than anythin’. It was the boy, the poor fuckin’ boy. What had he done to deserve the fate I had brought him to? I mean deep down, if I’m truthful, I knew that piece of shit had a history of messing with kids. but I never thought for a minute he was capable of this. But where does it end though?, even if I did carry on with this charade, once I had the details of all Scythe’s illegal dealings, he would want this kid returned safe and sound. And when that didn’t happen I’d be fuckin’ dead. Jimi always said “In this life there are two types of chance’s, fat chance’s and slim chance’s” and right now I couldn’t see how I had either of them. But I had rolled the dice, so I had to play the game.

I phoned The Inspiration Café for the last time and spoke to Scythe, it took all of my efforts to sound in control and not let the obvious fear I was feelin’ leak out in my voice. I was a lion tamer again. I knew there was goin’ to be a lot of paperwork and computer disc’s to be collected at the next drop off, it certainly couldn’t be left in a swimmin’ pool locker. So earlier I had left Jimi and the others to clean up the mess at the house and took a drive around the local area, firstly to clear my mind and secondly to find a convenient drop off point. As I passed Fazakerly Hospital I noticed a skip at the far end of the buildin’, covered by a makeshift lean-to, it was perfect. When Scythe came on the phone his first obvious question was on the welfare of the boy. “The boy’s fine, his wounds are healin’,” I said trying with all my might not to crack up and slam the phone down. “We need to discuss the next transaction first and then maybe you can see your boy again”. “Tell me what you want me to do” Scythe replied with no small amount of defeat in his voice. I told him about the skip at the hospital, I told him to place everythin’ in that skip and then leave the area and when this was done I would contact him with the whereabouts of the child.

I drove to hospital knowin’ I could get there much quicker than any of Scythe’s “followers”. I parked in the McDonalds restaurant across the street from the hospital and waited. I stayed there motionless barely darin’ to take my eyes from the skip for what seemed like an eternity. Finally after about 40 minutes a blue Ford Transit van turned into the car park and backed up to the skip. I sat and watched as two of the men I had seen a few days before in the Cul-de-sac with Scythe, took box after box out of the van and dumped them in the skip. I waited for the men to finish their work and drive away, then I waited some more just in case.

I was going to leave. I was going to just drive away, I really didn’t want to walk across that street, but I had to see inside those boxes, I had to be sure. After about 10 or 15 minutes I nervously got out of my car and walked as casually and as cautiously as I could over to the skip. I looked inside the first box I came to. It was full of papers, computer hard drives and binders. I started to look through some of the paperwork. It was all there, everything that The Rise were makin’ their millions on, and it was all mine.

I had to admit it, I couldn’t fault Scythe really. He must have loved that boy so much, because he had done everythin’ I had asked without question, he had given everythin’ he had worked for, millions of pounds worth of property’s and investment’s, just to see that boy safe and maybe that was his downfall. It’s like the old stories where love is the only thing that can destroy the beast. For a moment I almost pitied him. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not naive, I knew the whole fucked up episode was all for nothing anyway, even if I was able to hand back the boy, I would’ve been dead in under 24 hours and Scythe would’ve taken everythin’ back, I knew this. But for a brief moment, the plan had worked, I had defeated the demon, I had won, but it was a hollow victory.

I hung up the phone and sat and stared at the skip from the comfort of my car. I knew we would have to leave for a long while, until things calmed down. Jimi still had family in Manchester, which would do for the time being. Things were goin’ to be pretty fuckin’ mad in Liverpool for a while, probably best if we weren’t there to see it. We could return later, after the dust had settled, after events had taken their course and other people had started to forget, we could come back then. It wasn’t very long before the first of the white vans pulled up to the skip and two burly lookin’ policemen got out and started to rummage through the boxes. This was goin’ to blow The Rise to fuckin’ pieces. They had enough evidence in that skip to lock up half of fuckin’ Liverpool, gun running, drug smuggling, prostitution, you fuckin’ name it. Scythe would be a fuckin’ pensioner before he see’s another sunrise. I know that one day I’ll probably have to deal with that particular demon again and that I’ll be watchin’ over my shoulder every day until then, but for now, at least, I had over a million quid’s worth of legitimate businesses in my glove compartment and more than enough fuel to get me, Steve and Jimi far away from this fuckin’ mess and off to pastures new. Somewhere we can rebuild, reorganize and regroup, come back bigger, better, stronger. Nobody’s gonna fuck with us again, I swear… Nobody…

I pulled away from the car park and left the Police to their business, it was out of my hands now, things would have to find their own way and all any of us can do is roll with it. As for me, I can’t say what my future holds. Maybe one day I’ll achieve my goals or maybe one day I’ll achieve my salvation, who knows? Only time will tell.

Well, I suppose that’s it, there’s nothing more to say, that’s my story; there were no heroes, only villains and there were no winners, only losers. Nobody got out unscathed and nobody involved will ever forget, especially me… Every night I fall asleep with that same single thought piercin’ my mind like a knife:

“I killed that poor kid and I didn’t even know his name”.

The End.

Paul Gleave.

Thank you for reading. 🙂

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