In the darkest corner of the deserted fifth-storey car park at the Rosemount Shopping Centre, there stood four men. Well, three stood. One was being dangled from the edge by his ankles. The danglee was Tez Jenkins, a nice enough guy, but one for whom the label ‘a bit of a fuck-up’ might well have been invented. As moments go, this was not one of Tez’s finest. Being indebted to Griff Spitz for the princely sum of four grand was not an enviable position. Nor was being held upside-down from the edge of a five-storey car park for that matter. “You may not realise it – clearly you’re new to all this – but I’m the kind of man who could set fire to your children without thinking twice,” says Griff in a voice made up of malevolence and malt. Out of breath and purple-faced, Tez replies, “No, I didn’t realise that, Griff. Erm, I don’t actually have kids though.” “Really? I thought you did.” “No. Not me.” Griff shoots a look to Doug, the man tasked with the responsibility of holding Tez’s left ankle. “You told me he had kids.” “No I didn’t,” Doug replied. “You calling me a fucking liar?” “No, Griff. Course not. I just, I don’t think I told you he had kids, that’s all.” “Well who did?” Sensing the situation was becoming more tense, and therefore worse for him, Tez tries to find a solution. “Sorry I don’t have any kids for you to set fire to, Griff. I have a dog. You could set fire to him.” Griff is unimpressed. “You heartless bastard. I like dogs.” “Oh. Right. Umm. How do you feel about gerbils?” “You sure you don’t have kids?” “Not that I know of, Griff. Might have a few I don’t know about of course! You know me!” Forgetting that Griff can’t see his face, Tez winks a wasted wink into the night sky. “Well clearly I fucking don’t know you.” Griff exhales sharply. “Well if he doesn’t have kids what am I going to burn?” Dev, the man holding Tez’s right ankle, thinks he has the answer. “His mum?” “Jesus Christ, Dev. His mum? Seems a bit much doesn’t it?” Dev shrugs. “Does seem a bit harsh, Griff, yeh.” Tez feels that weighing in with an opinion is the right thing to do. “Well you’re not exactly leaving me much choice, Tez. If your shrivelled-up testicles worked then I could threaten to burn your offspring.” “My testicles probably do work, Griff.” “Maybe you’re thinking of Joey Deeks, boss? With the kids I mean?” Doug enquires. “I just always use protection, you know?” Tez is having a conversation with himself at this point. “Who’s Joey Deeks?” asks Griff. “Can’t be too careful. Especially with the girls around here.” “Joey Deeks. We threw him off the Bellgrew Bridge two weeks ago. He has kids.” “Crabs, gonorrhoea, chlamydia. My mate lost a ball to herpes once.” “Ah, yeh. It is Joey Deeks that I’m thinking of. Did we burn his kids?” “No, he paid us the forty-seven quid in the end.” “Oh good,” says Griff, quietly satisfied. “Well, let that be a lesson to you, Tez! Pay up, and we won’t have to set fire to your kids!” “His mum,” says Dev helpfully. “Oh yeh. Your mum.” Griff corrects himself. “Shit, that still seems harsh. Has he not got a dad we could set fire to?” “Yeh but he’s alright my dad. You won’t want to burn him.” “Who’s your dad?” “George Jenkins. He owns the Giggling Goose on Pennykit Lane.” “What’s the Giggling Goose?” “It’s a little cafe down near the market,” Dev explains. “Does ‘croysants’ and cupcakes and that.” “And omelettes,” Tez adds. “Oh yeh, and omelettes. Nice too. And they do these little ham and camambrie tarts with onions. Really tasty. Although they didn’t have any last time I was there.” “Go on a Thursday or a Sunday. That’s when my dad makes a fresh batch.” “Oh right, thanks. What day is it today?” “Wednesday,” says Doug. “Oh sweet! I’ll go tomorrow then.” “Are you fucking finished?!” Griff shouts in a voice more high-pitched than he would have liked. Tez and his two ankle-holders go quiet. Griff orders ‘The Deadly Ds’ to pull Tez up to his feet then presses his nose into Tez’s eye-socket. “Listen Tez, you little cock-arse, I want my money by Saturday. If I do not have my money by Saturday, I will do some serious damage to your life and the lives of those you love. Do you understand me?” “Yes, Griff.” “Good. Right boys, punch him twice in the belly and once in the face.” Dev and Doug strike a blow each to the gut before Rock-Paper-Scissoring for the right to finish proceedings. Dev wins and lands a swinger on Tez’s forehead, sending him to the floor with a dizzy glare and the taste of blood.