Nick Quantrill

Bang Bang You're Dead

Fresh out of prison, Sam is back home, determined to lead a better life and be the man his family needs him to be. But going straight isn’t so easy when you’re friends with Jonno. Drawn into a drug deal involving petty local gangs, things quickly take a turn for the worse when he discovers the notorious Nolan brothers are involved. With simmering rivalries coming to the fore, Sam has to decide between old and new loyalties. And with old sores over his brother’s death being picked at, it’s not so simple. Especially when you have a gun in your pocket…

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An excerpt from BANG BANG YOU’RE DEAD (published by Byker Books)

A bad decision (i)…

I watched as the car swept into the lay-by and pulled up next to us. I turned to Jonno. He didn’t move. Didn’t acknowledge it. I looked out at the black nothingness. Fields and more fields. The light from the moon illuminated small patches of them. To the other side of us, the A165 ran between Hull and Brid. In the summer the road was packed with slow moving traffic escaping the city for the seaside. At this time of night, it was desolate. The car next to us flashed its headlights twice.

Jonno did the same in return before turning to me. ‘Don’t reckon they’re doggers, do you?’

He’d always fancied himself as a funny fucker. I shook my head and watched.

Weasel was sat in the back. We waited for his nod. He eventually gave it. ‘Shall we go to work, then?’

I was still less than 24 hours the right side of prison. Sentenced to four years, I’d served half. It was obvious that I shouldn’t be here, but I needed money in my pocket to make a fresh start. I should have said no when Jonno first put the idea to me. I should have thought of a Plan B. But it was too late now. We got out of the car. I zipped my coat up and buried my hands in its pockets. I hoped it would stop my hands from shaking. I couldn’t run now, even if I wanted to. Weasel limped across to us. Two men got out of the other car.

The one in charge smiled. Roberto Tardelli’s men. I felt sick and turned to Jonno. They were local drug dealers and loan sharks. Proper criminals. Jonno had turned away from me. I knew one of the men, Franko. A right bad bastard. Roberto’s brother.

‘Got the money?’ he said.

Weasel said he had the money.

Franko spoke. ‘I need to see it.’

That was my cue. I turned and walked to the boot of our car.

‘Slowly, Sam,’ Franko said. ‘Don’t be doing anything stupid. Not again.’

‘Do what the man says,’ Weasel said. ‘Not a problem.’

I waited to be told it was alright to open the boot. When the confirmation came, I carefully lifted the bag out, walked back to where Jonno and Weasel stood and opened it. Franko’s sidekick inspected the cash. ‘It’s good.’

‘The bag,’ Weasel said to Jonno.

‘I’ve brought one,’ Jonno said, holding it out. Franko beckoned Jonno to the boot of his car. Jonno followed, filled his bag and walked back to us.

‘We’re done?’ Franko said.

Weasel nodded.

‘OK.’ He turned away from us and headed back to his car. They pulled away, leaving the three of us standing there.

Jonno threw the bag into the boot and reappeared, holding out a cigarette. ‘Piece of piss.’

I grabbed it off him and took a long drag. My hands were still shaking, especially now we had a bag of cocaine in our boot. I turned away and took a last drag before throwing the cigarette on to the floor.

Jonno opened the back door for Weasel. ‘Shall we go and see Vinnie, then?’

If you wanted something on Bilton Grange, Vinnie was the man you went to. He was the local pawnbroker. He was also Weasel’s dad. Greenwich shops were just off Holderness Road. It was a square with a car park in the middle. Bilton Grange was one of many council estates in the city. The place was made up of them – Great Thornton Street, Fountain Road, Orchard Park, Greatfield, Longhill and the biggest of the lot, Bransholme. It was like a great big Russian Doll.

Half of Greenwich stood empty. Not much had changed since I’d last seen them. Vinnie’s shop was crammed full of PSPs, Wiis, Xboxs, iPods, televisions and DVDs. Each item an individual tale of misery of someone getting in over their heads with him. He could also be relied upon for cheap booze and knock-off DVDs. Anything and everything. Vinnie was small time, but a right nasty bastard you didn’t want to get on the wrong side of.

Jonno locked the car up and opened the boot. Weasel went to pick the bag up, but Jonno told him it was alright, he’d take it in. It was all part of the service. That was what he was paying us for.

Vinnie opened the door to the shop and stared at us. He’d clearly been waiting for us.

‘About fucking time.’ He told us to follow him into the office. We walked through the shop. The room was dark and had no windows. On the desk there was a small television showing CCTV images from the shop.

Vinnie turned to me first. ‘Enjoying your freedom, then?’

‘I’m not planning on going back inside again anytime soon.’

‘Pleased to hear it.’ Vinnie turned back to Weasel. ‘How did it go with Franko?’

‘They were late.’

‘Any problems?’

‘None at all.’

‘Do as they were told?’

‘No bother.’

‘Good. I wouldn’t trust them cunts further than I could throw them.’

I spoke. ‘I handed the money over and Jonno got the bag from them. They barely said a word.’

‘Unfinished business for you, I suppose?’

I didn’t reply.

Vinnie turned his attention back to the bag. ‘Let the dog see the rabbit, then.’

Jonno handed it to Weasel. He took the package out and handed it over. Vinnie carefully sliced it open and leaned down to inspect the contents, dabbing like he knew what he was doing. He straightened back up and said it was fine. Vinnie opened his drawer and took out a well taped up brown envelope. Our money. He threw it across to Jonno.

Jonno looked down at it. ‘We’re done?’

Vinnie stared at him. ‘We’re done.’

Nick Quantrill

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