A bad hand

 

‘It is one thirty this Saturday afternoon on the 3rd March 1973. The headlines this lunchtime. Terry Lamont the Camden Wanderers and England International footballer has been arrested by Metropolitan Police over allegations of handling counterfeit money.’ Crackled the radio as the desk sergeant nonchalant chomped on his corn beef sandwich. He was still reeling from the shock of having to lock up one of his footballing heroes that Terry’s pleas to be let out fell on deaf ears.

‘Calm down will you,’ Chris snapped.

‘I’ve got a game to get to,’ Terry shouted.

‘Face facts your not going anywhere apart from Holloway.’

‘That’s not bleeding funny!’

‘Oi!’ Don snarled as he slapped back the grill. ‘Keep the noise down. We’ll let you know when your brief arrives.’

‘Come on you’ve charged me.’ Terry shouted. ‘At least let me go the game and I’ll come straight back after the match.’

Don laughed loudly as he slammed the grill shut but not before telling Terry that he had a match to go to.

‘I don’t need a brief!’ Terry yelled. ‘I’ve watched Z cars so I know what happens. Let’s get it out of the way.’

‘Relax Terry,’ Chris sighed. ‘The club will bail you out as they always do. Me and the rest of the lads could be facing a stretch.’

‘You don’t understand,’ Terry snapped. ‘The boss will be going off his rocker if I don’t show.’

‘I think your way past being in the shit,’ Chris said as Terry continued to kick the door. ‘So stop kicking that bleeding door because your starting to do my bloody head in.’

Terry gave it one last smack before throwing himself on the nearby bed. It wasn’t so much the trouble that he was going to be in with his boss and wife but that heavy lead feeling at being forced to miss playing football. All he wanted was to just hear that loud thud of a leather boot hitting the ball and pitting his wits against the defender. Out there on the pitch Terry was free from all the hassle of life. Nothing beat the sensation of playing football and the sense of belonging that came with being part of the team pitting their wits against the opposition. It was even better when it was worthy foes like Liverpool or Leeds to test yourself against the best.

Plus with a North London derby against Spurs was a added spice which made missing the match even more that he just wanted to scream and take out his frustration on the wall as though he had been dealt a shit hand at poker.

‘Ignore them,’ Chris said as another copper taunted Terry that Camden were getting beat by Tottenham.

‘Your brief Terry,’ the Sergeant sighed.

‘About bleeding time,’ Terry said as he jumped off his bed to be taken to one of the interview rooms.

‘First things first Terry, what have you said to the Police?’

‘I haven’t had a chance to say anything,’ Terry replied. ‘They’ve come up with some shit about me laundering Mickey Mouse money but I don’t know nothing about that.’

‘So you haven’t said anything?’

‘I haven’t had a bleeding chance,’ Terry sighed. ‘I wouldn’t mind but the Rozzer’s nicked us yesterday and banged me up without charging me until today. They only did it because that pig Don wanted me to miss the match against Spurs!’

‘Terry the Police just can’t hole you up for that long without charging you. They said that they only arrested you this morning.’

‘Bullshit,’ Terry snapped. ‘Ask Chris. They dragged us in claiming they needed to search the flat but that pig Don told me he was doing it so I couldn’t play today.’

‘Forget about missing the match,’ Rory said. ‘Let’s get down to business and just tell me the truth because if you don’t it will only mean I can’t do my job properly. What have you got to do with this counterfeit money?’

‘I swear to God and on Sarah’s life that I don’t know anything about any funny money,’ Terry cried earnestly. ‘I was at Chris’s playing cards and for once I was about to walk away with the winnings when the filth came knocking and arrested us.’

‘Only this could happen to you,’ Rory sighed.

‘Tell me about it,’ Terry nodded at the harshness of it. ‘To rub it in that Don even took my money off me.’

‘You do realise you are in serious trouble?’

‘I know the boss is going to have my balls on a plate.’ Terry said. ‘How’s Sarah?’

‘Worried out of her mind that you had been beaten up but she’s okay.’ Rory replied. ‘These charges are serious and don’t lie to me but I do know you have money problems so it’s best if you tell me now if there is any substance in this.’

‘Jesus fucking Christ!’ Terry swore. ‘Don’t be swallowing that pony from the filth. I am telling the truth Rory they only nicked me so that I couldn’t play today. If anyone should be nicked is the filth that kidnapped me.’

‘The Police say that this is a undercover operation and that your a suspect in helping launder this counterfeit money.’

‘As if!’ Terry scoffed as he folded his arms defiantly.

‘You are looking at a long jail sentence if the Police make this stick.’

‘Bloody hell Rory if your not going to believe me then what chance have I got?’ Terry snapped. ‘The only readies I handle are the real McCoy. Although I did use Monopoly notes once if that counts until the boss put a stop to it.’

‘Why would he do that?’ Rory asked regretting it instantly.

‘We were using it as chips for real money,’ Terry said as though he was explaining to a thick kid. ‘I was doing all right until I landed on Hatchet’s Mayfair.’

Rory shook his head. ‘Back to business. So you knew nothing about this money until the Police raid and they held you without charging you until later today?’

Terry nodded as though he was glad that the penny dropped.

‘Well I’m sure if that’s the case then they can’t have much of a case against you. So just take me through the timeline so that I’ve got a picture of what happened.’

It was much later after Terry had given Rory a detailed account of what had happened before Don turned up with Owen ready to question Terry and his mates.

‘Missed a great game Terry,’ Don cackled. ‘We beat your boy’s two-nil. It’s nice to say that I helped Spurs win a game.’

‘Yeah?’ Terry sneered. ‘It’s normally the ref’s that normally help them win.’

‘Still full of lip then I see.’

‘Well it is a bit fat after that punch you gave me.’

‘Terry,’ Rory warned. ‘Can we start the interview please.’

‘Certainly. How do you know Chris Marsh?’

‘He’s a mate,’ Terry replied. ‘I just popped over for a friendly game of cards. That ain’t against the law is it?’

‘What about the counterfeit money what we found on you?’

‘I didn’t have any counterfeit money apart…’

Rory quickly interjected. ‘I don’t recall of being informed that Mr Lamont had any money on his person.’

‘We know you’ve been involved in laundering this counterfeit money.’ Don smirked. ‘Chris has told us everything. How your heavily in debt and you ended up getting involved with this caper. Best to tell the truth.’

Terry’s eyeballs glared furiously as the sudden surge of rage hit him like a naked flame hitting the fuel. ‘You cheeky bastard! The truth? What about you lot kidnapping me so that I couldn’t play today? ‘

‘Terry keep calm,’ Rory said. ‘What proof have you got that Mr Lamont has any involvement with this counterfeit money?’

‘We’ve got witness statements.’

‘Jackanory!’ Terry hit back. ‘Chris ain’t a grass and I bet if there are any witness statements it will be written in crayon.’

‘Well we would like to see these witness statements DI Green,’ Rory replied. ‘I would say that Terry just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. For your sake I would drop these ludicrous charges or start providing strong evidence that Mr Lamont has got some involvement.’

Don though continued to persist although he wasn’t used to being put in his place by one of the best briefs of the country. The evidence was badly flawed that even at that point Rory was confident that they charge would be beaten as Terry was granted bail.

Feeling tired and relieved Terry stepped outside only to be confronted by the bright lights of the flashing cameras of the photographers who had been waiting outside for him.

‘Terry is it true that your part of some major firm laundering counterfeit money?’

‘Can you tell us if you’ve been charged Terry?’

‘Mr Lamont will not be answering any questions,’ Rory said as he helped bundle a hapless Terry into a car like a fugitive. ‘We will be releasing a press statement in the morning.’

‘Bloody hell,’ Terry said as the driver threw a blanket over his head to evade any pictures being taken of him. ‘Anyone would think I robbed the bank of England.’

Due to the press being camped outside of Terry’s the club had quickly arranged a safe house for their star player. By now the tiredness had engulfed Terry’s brain like a fog that he could feel himself nodding off despite the heavy aches of his bruises.

‘Best to get some shuteye,’ Rory said just before Terry left the car. ‘We’ll have a chat on Monday although it will probably be a bit later on in the week when we will have a better idea of what we are up against.’

Terry was too weary to protest his innocence and just about managed a nod. He just hoped that Sarah wasn’t going to give him a hard time.

‘Well look what the cat has just dragged in?’ Sarah shouted as soon the front door was shut.

‘Not now Sarah,’ Terry sighed. ‘I’m cheese crackered.’

‘Oh I’m so sorry,’ Sarah said mockingly with her hands on her hips. ‘You go missing and then I find out that you got nicked by the filth for handling counterfeit money. I was out of my bloody mind last night thinking that you had got duffed up.’

‘I’m sorry but it wasn’t as if the filth would let me go.’ Terry replied rubbing his head. ‘Can we talk about this tomorrow?’

‘No we can’t,’ Sarah snapped. ‘What the hell have you done now? You best not have got involved in any stupid scams.’

‘I have done nothing wrong apart from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.’ Terry hit back. ‘All I was doing was playing cards at Chris’s…’

Sarah’s eyes bulged in complete fury as Terry winced at dropping his guard. ‘You were gambling? After what you told me? You’ve got yourself into hock and got yourself involved in this caper. You soft bastard!’

‘The filth kidnapped me so that I couldn’t play in the game against Spurs.’ Terry yelled. ‘I would not get involved in anything like that.’

‘Liar!’ Sarah cried as she stormed off slamming doors before coming back with a blanket and a pillow. ‘You’re kipping on the sofa!’

Terry sighed although he was secretly relieved when he heard Sarah storming upstairs as it least it meant he could have some peace.

End of part two. Next week Terry has to face the wrath of his boss.

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