Bring it Back Home

Free Bring it Back Home by Niall Griffiths

Book: Bring it Back Home by Niall Griffiths Read Free Book Online
Authors: Niall Griffiths
Bring It Back Home
    Chapter One
    Lewis sat at the bar of the empty pub, a shot of Bell's whisky in front of him and a bulging rucksack at his feet. A cigarette burned in an ashtray, he stared at it for some time, at the fiery red tip and the blue smoke rising towards the ceiling, before taking a last drag on it, mashing it out in the ashtray and gulping the raw whisky which burned his throat. He coughed and looked around him, at the empty pub where he'd worked for nearly three years. At the beer-pumps he'd pulled, at the optics he'd emptied and replaced a thousand times. At the cigarette machine, the fourth since he'd started working there – the first three having been damaged beyond repair by kicks or crowbars worked up inside them to get at their contents. At the sticky carpets and yellowed walls bearing pictures of the Queen.
    Time to say goodbye to it all. Time to let it go.
    He got off the stool, leaned down and hoisted the rucksack onto his back, grunting at its weight. Who'd've thought that money could be so heavy? It's just paper. As he turned to go he saw the pub door reflected in the mirror behind the bar swing inwards and a stocky baseball-capped figure come in.
    'Closed,'Lewis said. ‘Sorry. Don't open till eleven,’
    â€˜Oh what a shame,' said the figure and Lewis, with a heavy heart, recognized the voice. ‘A man can't even get a drink in his own fucking pub. Terrible state of affairs, that. Something should be done.'
    'Cakes,'Lewis said with surprise. ‘Today's only Tuesday. Wasn't expecting you til tomorrow.'
    â€˜Need some money, don't I? Got a bit of business needs sorting out. The none-of- your kind of business, before you ask. What's in the rucksack?'
    Jonathan'Cakes' Cunningham; so called because, as well as the Queen's Head pub they were standing in, he owned a bakery and that's how he moved his drugs around London, hidden in confectionery. Couriers would drive cream sponges across the city, hollowed out inside and filled with powder. Or boxes of éclairs concealing clingfilm-wrapped bundles of pills. Shaking, skinny, spotty people would come into the bakery and purchase doughnuts at ten or twenty pounds each, a small envelope hidden where the jam should be. And as well as the bakery and the pub and the drug dealership, Cakes also owned a group of men loyal to him and the wages he paid them. All of them would happily use knives, even guns, on anyone Cakes told them to. And as well as the bakery and the pub and the gang of vicious men, Cakes also owned a terrible temper, a black rage that made him famous around King's Cross. People would whisper that he knew where bodies were buried. That he'd put them there. There was a rumour that Cakes once used his bakery's mincing machine to dispose of a victim, and the sausage rolls and pasties from there tasted very strange for a month or so. An old granny, enjoying her meat-and-potato pie lunch, had chipped her tooth on a wedding ring. Such were the stories that were attached to Jonathan 'Cakes' Cunningham.
    'I said, what's in the rucksack?'
    Lewis's mouth had dried up. His hands were shaking slightly.
    'Just some washing,’ he said. 'Machine's on the blink. Need to go to the laundrette.'
    Cakes ducked under the bar flap and disappeared. Lewis knew what he was doing; he was opening the safe which was set in the floor behind the bar. Except he wouldn't, at the moment, need the combination.
    'Ah well,'Cakes's voice came up from behind the bar. ‘Make sure you're back for opening time. On the fucking dot. I heard that you were late opening yesterday and – '
    There was a half-empty bottle of Bells on the bar. Lewis reached for it and held it by the neck like a weapon.
    '– and that means I lost money. And if there's one thing I hate it's losing money. It'll come out of your wages. I…Why's this safe open? Where's the fucking money gone?'
    Cakes rose up from behind the bar and as soon as Lewis saw his baseball cap he

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