A Flash of Denim Blue
My name is James and I have a confession to make. Actually, make those two confessions. I work as a henchman for one of the biggest crime bosses in London and my boss, Charlie Jolson, is a bit of a nutter. He always goes way overboard with his plans to take over London and make his gang the territorial kings. He's been a bit paranoid lately due to the fact that the other gangs around London have getting stronger, mostly the Yardies and the Triads, but that still doesn't give him the right to go doing crazy stupid shit that could get us all caught or killed. Personally, I think he's lost his touch with being the boss for some time now, and it's high time his son Jake came in and took over being the head of the Jolson gang. I don't make the rules though, which is why I was currently standing in a warehouse walking around a bunch of pallets loaded with snacks and drinks looking out for any intruders who might enter to stop Charlie's latest scheme.
Charlie wasn't always this crazy though, in fact back when I had joined the Jolson gang five years ago things were definitely better than they were now. He wasn't paranoid for one thing, and there definitely was a sense among us henchmen that as a gang we would have taken over London by this point. I originally joined the Jolson gang because I knew a friend who worked inside of it, and he would often tell me about the jobs he would do and the money he made. I guess that's why I really joined, the money making part was just too good to pass up. At the time I was getting fed up with my job at Tesco. I was 26, had dropped out of university, and was tired of taking the piss from people all day who's debit cards declined and being yelled at by my fuckwit of a manager. While I was doing that, my friend was driving exotic cars, hanging out in exotic flats in SoHo, and making wads of bills in a single afternoon. I remember one afternoon he had told me he just got off a job and made four thousand pounds just driving a stolen Aston Marton from down near Crowley up to London for Charlie. I'll admit I kind of fantasized about gangster life and driving fast cars the more he told me about it, so I joined. The final straw was one particularly bad day at Tesco checkout where some lady had tried to nick a shopping cart full of kit kats and jammie dodgers out the store, and after chasing her and tackling her down in the parking lot she threatened to sue me for touching her inappropriately. Fuck that bitchy cunt, I was out.
My friend took me to see Charlie himself soon thereafter, and after having a rather lively chat with him about the weather he asked me what my purpose was for joining. I remember him asking in a very gruff voice "Why you joinin' son? What makes you want to join the Jolson's and get involved in our business?" I explained to him that I was tired of not having a purpose in life and that I personally felt London was being overtaken by foreigners who needed to be stopped. Whether I truly believed this to be true or not was irrelevant because that's exactly what my friend had told me to say to Charlie to get in. As I said before, he's definitely a bit of a nutter; however he seemed to enjoy my answer and told me that day to come 'round his flat to meet everyone. I remember leaving there after talking for about two hours with him and feeling elated. I was finally going to do something with my life! No more failing at school, no more long boring days at Tesco, and especially no more angry cunts who want to sue you I thought to myself.
Charlie's pad was incredible. It was in a wealthy part of London and as soon as you stepped into the main foyer you knew you were in the home of someone who had wealth and connections to the city. His pad had four main floors which consisted of a basement, a newly renovated kitchen, his own private balcony area, and all throughout the house luxurious furniture and rooms abounded. Oh yeah and the place was secured better then fucking Buckingham Palace. "Top class laser motion detection" Charlie bragged to me as I met him in his second floor study. He had seen me eyeing the little indents on the wall behind him which were a bit difficult to spot at first glance. "Just had 'em installed two weeks ago. Can't be too cautious anymore my boy. Never know who'll try to nick your goods or kill ya anymore." That night I formally met everyone we all had a rather raucous party out on Charlie's main balcony area, complete with beautiful women, a steak dinner, and the finest red wine I had ever tasted. I'll admit I was sold on my decision to join.
And indeed, life was good in those first three years after I joined. My friend and I would often go on missions together nicking fancy cars for Charlie and often have quite the laugh as we sped down English streets blasting the radio while "C'mon" by Junior Junior played. That song was on the radio a lot for some reason. It kind of became our getaway theme song as we fantasized about nabbing fit chicks in our hot new wheels.
Don't get me wrong though, it definitely wasn't all fun and games all the time like I've made it seem to be up until this point. The two riskiest things about my new life as a henchman were rival gangs attacking you on the street and the fuzz busting you. I must admit I handled both threats better than I thought I would initially, but nothing prepares you for your first gunfight. I remember mine quite vividly… I had gone in a car with three other guys to this restaurant in Chinatown where some gook hadn't paid Charlie his protection money for keeping the Collins boys away from their turf. Back then, the Triads and us respected each other and had formed a loose alliance against the Yardies and the Collins gang. The Collins gang were the Triad's biggest rivals, and they were always causing shit for them. Of course this alliance was very loose, and we all knew it wouldn't last forever, but at the time of my first shootout we got along. However this gook not paying was just not going to cut it for Charlie. Dumb fuck didn't know who he was paying protection for if he thought he could just suddenly stop paying. We arrived at the restaurant and demanded to see the owner. The owner comes back from the kitchen and tells us to get lost, brandishing a meat cleaver in our faces and threatening to kill us if we didn't leave immediately. Stupid gook, I thought angrily and told him to fucking pay Charlie or else we would stop giving him protection. He told us to tell Charlie that he didn't need his protection anymore and that if he ever saw us around again he would end our relationship with the Triads. We back out to our car to go deliver our message to our boss and that's when it happened:
The sound of rapid machine gun shots whizzed passed me and my partner's head, barely missing us by inches. Time seemed to slow down as I withdrew my pistol and scanned the crowded street for my attacker. In the far off distance I heard people scream and start to panic. I scanned the crowd quickly for my attacker and saw him up the street. There! A white bloke in a dark hooded jacket. I didn't recognize his gang affiliation straight away but none of that mattered to me at the moment. My partner and I fired back and that's when several other people came out from beside the building and started firing at the two of us as well. My partner and I quickly realized we were outnumbered and decided to book it out of there as fast as possible. Luckily for us we weren't hit, and the only casualties our car suffered was a few bullet holes and the back window glass being broken. "That gook set us up!" My partner declared angrily and we went back and told Charlie the news. The two of us never went back to the restaurant after that, but I have a feeling it didn't exist much longer after that anyway.
Dealing with the fuzz was a whole other issue. Most of the time we didn't get caught up with them, and I preferred it that way. According to Charlie however, there was this one cop who had it bent for him and was determined to take him down no matter the cost. "Frank Carter of the flying squad" he told me one day. "Piece of shit thinks he can mess with me, the great Charlie Jolson? Fucking filth. I'd kill 'em meself given the opportunity!" I had only heard stories about Frank and his flying squad, and they weren't good ones. According to other henchmen, no one who got in a gunfight with DC Carter survived. Apparently flying squad training is no fucking joke, and they teach you top of the line survival and gun tactics. The few stories people shared about Frank Carter were just that, stories – and made up ones possibly at that. No one from our gang had ever faced him in a gun fight and survived. He was ruthless and seemed to be almost immune to bullets. To face him meant certain death. I had seen newspaper articles about him and to be honest I didn't get what the big deal about him was. He seemed like an average guy with a stocky face and black hair, nothing exceptional. The one thing that did stick out to me and others though was his denim blue vest and pants that he wore. It was his trademark, and some even theorized it might be his lucky clothes or some bullshit like that. It kind of became a nervous joke that if you saw the denim blue devil out on the streets you'd be dead before you know it. I definitely hoped I never met Frank Carter myself.
If I had to guess what drove Charlie Jolson mad, the tipping point would probably be when one of his personal best friends and top ranking members in our gang, Brutus, betrayed him. For the past year Brutus had apparently been playing both us and the Collins boys like an elaborate game of chess. He knew how much we hated each other and used our anger to his advantage. I heard he started playing both sides when he had been in a shootout at a car park over in the Collins gang territory. I forget the exact details of his of why he was there, but according to Charlie later he had been cornered by Collins' boys and had begged for them not to kill them. What a bitch. Then for the past few months he had been going back and forth, doing jobs for both sides. Charlie became suspicious of Brutus when one day he sent him and several others on a black market gun acquiring mission. Recently an influx of guns had come over from America on a cargo ship, and Jolson wanted those guns. He had sent them to retrieve the guns as well as steal their cash supply as well. All of the men except Brutus hauled the guns away in separate cars while Brutus stole the cash from the dock yard. Everything had gone off without a hitch, except when Brutus delivered the cash to Charlie he noticed that half of the bills were real and half were fake. Mind you, they were probably very convincing fake bills no doubt, however Charlie claimed that on the fake ones you could see that the Queen had a slightly lazy eye or something like that. As soon as Charlie knew he had been duped, he became enraged and sent men to find Brutus and bring him in. Brutus confessed to everything and Charlie shot him dead right then and there. After that Charlie swore revenge on the Collins' gang and vowed to personally frame them for every crime committed in London. I suppose after your best friend betrays you your circle of true friends seems vastly smaller, but none of us were prepared for what happened next.
Charlie kidnapped one of the Collins' henchman's kids. I couldn't believe it when I heard the news. "Nabbed his kid? Has he gone mental?" Alex was his name, and he was the son of Mark Hammond. I wasn't there for the actual kidnapping but according to stories his wife was killed as Alex was trying to get away. Despite all of that the kidnapping was a success and Jolson had him kept up in his pad while he sent Hammond on all of these absolutely crazy missions. Shooting up restaurants, breaking a gang member out of prison, heck he even killed a police chief at one point! The crazy part was that he succeeded in all of these missions. I'll admit that despite me hating that a Collins' henchman was doing most of our important missions now I did admire the lengths he was going to save his kid. He must really care for him to go on all of Charlie's fucking crazy suicide missions. There was one thing Hammond didn't plan for though, and that was that Charlie was planning on delivering him personally to all the gang members in London for them to get revenge on Hammond for wrecking their properties. The genius part in Charlie's plan was that despite Charlie ordering all of these hits against the rival gangs, it was Hammond who was seen at the crimes and thus he (and I guess to some extent old man Collins himself) was being blamed for tearing half of London apart.
That brings us back to why I was standing in a warehouse walking among pallets. The warehouse was one of Charlie's properties, and it was one of his "legitimate" business dealings. The warehouse was supposed to be a holding place for all major brands of candy and soda, however personally I think Charlie just had an insatiable sweet tooth because despite the pallets being shifted around day in and day out none of the candy actually left the warehouse. None of the major corporate brands ever came and picked up their pallets, so who knows why the fuck the sweets were even there. It would at least explain why Charlie's face was more wrinkly than a badly cooked turkey.
Regardless of the reason, I was at the warehouse keeping guard with a few other friends for any intruders or fuzz that might come through. If a bystander had somehow got into the room I was in, he'd be forgiven for thinking we were just hired guards to keep watch over the candy but that wasn't the reason we were here. The warehouse had a secret basement cellar and in that cellar currently was Mark Hammond. He had foolishly come to this warehouse on a tip that he heard that his kid might be being held captive here. When he arrived here he also had bought Yasmin along for help. Yasmin was this chick who used to work for us, however she joined forces with Hammond against Charlie and betrayed him after Hammond went and killed the police chief. Both her and Hammond had nearly gotten killed on that mission together, and I guess Yasmin has a soft spot for kids (never hire a woman to do a man's dirty work) so they teamed up against Jolson and had come here to get the kid back. The thing was though, despite the both of them successfully sneaking around the warehouse without being noticed by us Charlie had been waiting for them in the cellar. He had tied them up and was torturing them as I stood guard above. Thankfully I didn't hear their cries as they were getting beaten.
We were on extra high alert now. Charlie told us not to let anyone else through the warehouse and I think what saved us all from being executed in the warehouse on the spot was the fact that Charlie finally was exacting his revenge on the Collins' gang he so desperately wanted after Brutus had played him. I guess this was the Collins' gang's day of reckoning. I mused all of this over in my head as I walked around the pallets, becoming honestly bored to tears as I walked in the same square formation. I was on the back left side of the warehouse, and there was a door behind me that I kept checking every so often. To me, this seemed like the most logical way someone would break in if they could. After about an hour of walking around and around the same two pallets I stopped and briefly rested my head to rub my eyes as they had started to slightly itch. When I looked up that's when I noticed something odd.
A flash of blue denim.
I stopped and blinked, but just like that it was gone. What was that? Quietly I snuck around the pallets and stared as I saw a figure in blue denim sneak around the next set of pallets ahead of me.
Fear struck me swiftly and I felt my body electrify. It was him!
The black hair, the denim blue vest and jeans, he was here.
The blue devil.
Frank Carter of the flying squad.
I was going to die today.
I opened my mouth to scream but no words came out.
As soon as I opened my mouth the world froze, my vision went fuzzy, and the loudest flute I'd ever heard blared in my head, assaulting my ear drums.
I'm dying I thought as I heard a click and the world faded to black.