Join date: Jun 11, 2022


‘Aye, aye, I’ve got the message, Joe, he’s powerful. Well now, let’s sort this thing out, eh? He’s one of two things: he’s a man who likes a game or he’s a man who runs a game. We’ll leave the lasses out of it for the time being, eh? Now havin’ the kind of mind I have, Joe, I would say he’s a man who runs a game, and likely in that house, ’cos if he wanted to go some place else for a game he wouldn’t need you as a runner A man in his position would have a key to open any door, even the ones in Newcastle. And there’s some big games there, aren’t there, Joe? No pitch an’ toss, Joe, it’s Twenty-Ones, or Black Jack, whatever name they care to call it; isn’t it, Joe?’

He looked down on the little man, and although the twilight was bringing with it an icy blast Joe was sweating. He now said in some agitation, ‘Let’s get out of this crush.’

‘Anything you say, Joe. Where you makin’ for now?’

‘I’ve got to go up Mile End Road.’

‘Another message?’

‘No, no.’ The little man now turned on him and, his tone for the first time really nasty, he said, ‘An’ there’s one thing I’m gona tell you. Whatever comes of this you’d better not let on ’cos . . . an’ I’m not funnin’, Mr Connor, with what I’m about to say, but things could happen, aye, things could happen.’

‘I’ve no doubt of it, Joe.’

‘Don’t be funny, Mr Connor.’

‘I’m not being funny, Joe, believe you me. Things are happenin’ all the time along the waterfront an’ I should imagine in Plynlimmon Way an’ all. Now, you know me, Joe, I’m as good as me word. If I’ve owed you a couple of bob in the past you’ve got it, haven’t you, with a bit tacked on? And I’ve never had a win on a race but I’ve seen you all right, haven’t I? And I haven’t got a loose tongue either. So look, Joe.’ He stopped and bent down to the little man. ‘All I want from you is to get me set on in a decent school.’

‘They go in for big stakes, Mr Connor.’ The little fellow’s voice was quiet again.

‘That’s what I want, Joe.’

‘But you haven’t got that kind of ready. You couldn’t start in some of them under ten quid, an’ that’s so much hen grit.’



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