Grit: Takeaway

Grit was pissed – pissed as much about the need for him to be pissed as about the thing which got him there. Fucking people – the bastards always let you down. Whenever someone else let him down he actually felt more let down by himself – annoyed that he hadn’t seen how something was going to play out; fed up that he had not judged someone’s character right.
When you’re running different scams and you bring someone in to help out in the management of one of them you should be straight up and lay it out there who it is that a person is getting into bed with. Now he finds out, when he’s neck deep in the shit, that he’s dealing with the Triad and that his ex-partner, whose body is now scattered across numerous takeaway dinners, has left him with a debt that he can’t afford to pay.
Barney was a numb nuts and had saddled him with someone who seemed to have read the handbook on stereotypical inscrutable oriental gangster. Cho was still knee high to a grass-hopper but it was rumoured he had the legendary death-touch at his command and plenty of people could testify to the one inch punch. Cho was a name that, when it was dropped, stopped someone dead in their tracks. No one knew the real meaning but in the thesaurus of hard bastards it had pretty much come to stand for insanely dangerous motherfucker.
Grit was perturbed – what was it with him lately? Cursed? That didn’t even begin to touch it – if he’d opened a pyramid and stuck his cock in the Pharoah’s  favourite he couldn’t have been more cursed.
As soon as he saw that little bastard’s tattoos he knew he’d trod in the biggest pile of shit he’d ever been near in his life. He didn’t ever do too well in circles where sense of honour was a factor – business was the be all and end all for him and he knew that didn’t cut it with some people.
What he would normally do was to just off the problem, but that wasn’t an option here. So, how to take out a problem without appearing to be the one who is taking out the problem? It was a tried and tested method – he found someone else to do the job, and who better than another Triad?
He started to seed rumours that Cho was weakening and ripe for the picking, and then he also started to push rumours that he had been bad mouthing his contemporaries: a perfect recipe for causing anger at the man.
Some might think it was cowardice to operate in this way, but Grit thought it was smart to be an invisible component in this whole machine. He saw a low fire burning in the network of Triad gangs, so he put some tit for tat killings on the fire as fuel.
Weeks of low level fighting began to build, began to take on form. Grit knew what was coming next – the slow burning fuse had to eventually reach the charges and Cho’s world went up in flames.

Grit: Complications

‘Complications.’
‘Huh?’
‘You heard me. I know you did.’
‘Everything’s a complication.’
‘Grit, why do you have to be such a wiseacre all the fuckin’ time? It get’s boring, you know?’
‘No, I don’t. Keeps me amused; and as far as I’m concerned that’s the most important thing. So what’s the news? What has you wetting your draws?’
‘We were given bad info.’
‘And, what have we done?’
‘Killed someone on the wrong day.’
‘Early or late?’
‘Early. They didn’t get to sign something they needed to.’
‘And the repurcussions are?’
‘A contract on our heads.’
‘Fuck me; I knew this was amateur night the moment I stepped through the door and saw you were on the crew.’
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
‘It means, Colin, you dumb fuck, that I wouldn’t trust you adding one and one together.’
‘Fuck you, Grit.’
‘No, fuck you, you fucking liability.’
The gun was in hand and discharged the second the sentence had ended. Shit, he thought – might have paid to find out exactly who’s been sicced on us. Still, that wouldn’t be that complicated.
He picked up the phone and called his present employer.
‘Fred?’
‘Is that you, Grit, you cunt?’
‘Yes, Fred, it’s me – what is this bullshit? We carried out the job as per instructions and now we’re dodging bullets ourselves?’
‘You did it early.’
‘I was told a time and I did what I was asked to when I was asked to do it. Colin fucked up his part of it and he’s dead.’
‘You killed him?’
‘Yes, does that concern you?’
‘Course it doesn’t – I paid to have both of you put down.’
‘OK, look, if I take out the other person responsible for the fuck up are we square?’
‘Yeah, we’re square, but that doesn’t mean the guy who’s out to kill you is gonna stop.’
‘Why not?’
‘Because I wired him the money up front and he maintains radio silence up until he has a confirmed kill.’
‘If I put a bullet between his eyes is that going to be a problem?’
‘He’s just a hired hand, so no – not really.’
‘Can you give me a name?’
‘They call him Stack.’
‘OK, well you know who the other fucker I’m after is – don’t you? Bennett – the intel man.’
‘Grit, do you have to? He’s useful a lot of the time.’
‘Sorry, Fred, he has a debt to settle. Is this something you can live with?’
‘I don’t have much choice, do I?’
‘No, you don’t. I mean, I want to be cool with you, but this has to go down a certain way.’
‘OK. I’m sure we’ll speak soon, Grit, when you’ve done what you need to.’
‘I’m sure,’ he said and hung up.
Bennett was a cinch to find – well, at certain points in the day he was a cinch to find because he was trying to make some money by selling the information he had come by. When he went to ground to dig up intel he was the hardest fucker on earth to find. Grit knew his window of opportunity and he took it.
Bennett was a brown-nose, especially when he thought you wanted to buy what he had to sell, so getting him to go outside was the easiest thing ever. When Grit pulled the gun on him he wasn’t necessarily surprised; he wasn’t pleased but he wasn’t surprised. He must have known that the info he had provided last time had somehow got fucked up – usually it didn’t come to this, but if it was going to end the promise of it ending this way had always been there.
When they found him the police pretty much instantly gave up on any chance of finding the perpetrator of the crime – grasses and intel men were never short of enemies and they had better things to do than waste their time tracking down who it was that had finally grown tired and offed the bastard.
Grit wasn’t keeping a low profile at all, and if the person hunting him had any smarts at all he might have wondered at that; might have wondered at the perverse lengths Grit seemed to be going to to draw attention to himself. Stack seemed to miss the clues though – hadn’t spotted that he was walking into a bloody great trap.
The room was dark and Stack thought he was sneaking in – that was outfoxing someone.
‘How,’ said Grit ‘Did a dumb fuck like you ever get such a good reputation?’
‘Um.’
Um was not an answer that was going to impress Grit – his gun had a much more to the point remark to make. Stack died with a look of surprise on his face – for Grit that pretty much said it all.

Grit: Stupid Shit

‘Punch the cunt in the face – don’t pussyfoot around it; get in there and do some damage.’
‘If you don’t shut the fuck up I’m coming after you when I’ve finished with this mug.’
‘Shouldn’t have told his mum to go fuck herself.’
‘How was I supposed to know that old bag was his mum?’
‘Fucked if I know. I suppose if you’d seen him without his beard you might have seen the family resemblance.’
‘That old bitch has a thicker beard than he does.’
The drunken buffoon that was trying to teach Grit a lesson got a lucky punch in – landed it square on his jaw and he nearly bit his tongue off.
Grit had been going soft on him because he was sober and he knew he could take the idiot apart if he wanted to and, after all, he was defending his poor old mum’s honour. The hit to the jaw and the blood flooding into his mouth from biting his tongue changed all that though – a quick left-right combination and aan uppercut to the jaw and the bozo was on his back sparked out in less than thirty seconds.
‘Still got it, eh, you old bastard?’
‘Yeah, so watch out, numb nuts.’
‘Who you calling numb nuts?’
‘So, Berry, why am I up here in the land o’ the jocks?’
‘Because, my old china, some stupid kilt wearing cunt is trying to muscle in on Big Terence’s business.’
‘Which is?’
‘Why do you need to know? You never used to be so curious.’
‘True enough. How much am I being offered to carry out this little task?’
‘50% above your usual asking fee.’
‘Not bad. he must really want him out of the way.’
‘You’re a bright one sometimes, Grit, anyone ever tell you that?’
‘I don’t speak to many people.’
‘Funny.’
‘Anything special want doing with this one?’
‘We don’t come to you for special, Grit; we come to you to get the job done. We don’t like loose ends and you very rarely leave them.’
‘OK, so when?’
‘Go to the desk, ask for a key to your room. Find on the bed a laser-sighted rifle, and observe your target across the street having lunch.’
‘Really? All this done this quick and simple?’
‘You’d prefer it was complicated?’
‘No, course not.’
‘Then get to it, man. Neither of us have all day to sit around here flapping our lips, do we?’
‘No.’
Grit followed the instructions he was given and found the rifle exactly where he had been told he would find it. He lifted it, sighted the guy, and bang, dropped him.
Seconds later he was back downstairs. Seconds later he was asking himself exactly who it was that he had just offed – and that face kept rolling through his head. Shit – he had better get out of here as quick as he could. He’d just put a bullet in someone who he had been sworn off of; someone connected to his own crew; a personal friend of his boss. How fucking stupid could you be?
He swung the car round in the drive of Berry’s house, got out, walked up to the door, knocked on it, and when Berry opened the door smiling like a fucking idiot, he plugged him full of holes.
‘Fucking idiot,’ he said, and he meant himself as much as Berry.

Grit: Thinking

How often have you wanted to punch someone in the mouth? A lot? How many times have you wanted to shoot someone dead? Again you say a lot. Grit had wondered about those things all the time when he was younger, had stopped wondering and started doing when he was a certain age, and had spent just as long thinking about why he’d done them. Regrets? He had a few; but not as many as some might think. When you did what he did for a living that kind of thing would have you crying into your beer every goddamned second of the day if you let it.
He had never been much of a philosopher – that kind of thing could slow you down and make you indecisive. But he wasn’t averse to thinking – that kind of attitude would get you killed. Like most things in this life you had to try and strike a balance. He knew he held a role in his own life – he did not believe in fate; did not like the idea that some abstract pair of notions were resolving themselves through him. He did not want to be an avatar of good or evil – he was a man and he expected there to be plenty of both in his make up.
Gary liked to talk, but there wasn’t much thinking behind it, so Grit occasionally had to school him in the art of keeping his mouth shut and using his head a little more. Gary had a thick head so it often took a second to beat the idea into it. Grit didn’t exactly enjoy it but he didn’t exactly lose sleep over it either.
Gary’s relationship with discretion had gotten him in trouble before and it had got him into trouble now. If he weren’t universally known for the stupidity that was his stock in trade he would surely be dead by now – his well known idiocy got him a beating instead of a bullet in the head. Those who sponsored the beatings hoped and prayed that one day he would learn – they hoped and prayed that others would learn not to talk to him about anything.
Johnny was nursing a pair of broken legs and a wired jaw for his part in fucking up a multi-million pound deal. Grit’s knuckles were skinned thanks to the lesson he had given Johnny.
Thinking – seemed like it came natural for some, but for others it might always be out of reach.

Grit: Tricks 1

Forget the hooker with a heart of gold bullshit – that was the kind of crap that shitheads who championed the double-standard opted for; mealy-mouthed bullshit that they used to convince themselves that people who they hated the very idea of were worth bothering about. Grit hated that shit – fucking hypocrites bastards who’d get their dicks sucked for a twenty one minute then beat themselves up about it the next, then offload the blame onto the women they saw as loathsome whores out to taint their purity; out to corrupt their steadfast morality, or the appearance of it at least.

He’d been dealing with the kind of people who would smile at you while harbouring ideas of dispensing with you for as long as he could remember. You had to watch the fork-tongued bastards closely and if you even suspected that they were going to make a move on you you got rid of them quick smart.

He’d known Shirley for a long time and he had always had a soft spot for her. They never talked about what they each did for a living but they understood each other, and they talked when they needed to, knowing that there were no limits to what they might discuss: they were friends.

Eddie, her pimp, was not popular with Grit, but Grit left him alone per their agreement. Anyone else though – anyone who he got a problem with in regards to their treatment of her, they were fair game … at least on the understanding that it didn’t hurt business too much.

Grit: Vacuum 3

Marsh had a bit of a better poker game than Samson but he still came up woefully short – grit knew lots of people who would chew him up and spit him out in ten seconds. If these were the kind of monkeys who were making it into important positions these days then he had to wonder what the hell the rest of the crews were made up of.

Marsh had a suitcase of money that he flipped open and it looked full enough to satisfy Grit; looked full enough to fund a few different things which grit had been looking to do with his spare time.

Marsh didn’t speak much – none of his men did either. Grit could tell that they knew their words weren’t their strong point so they kept them to a minimum – no point advertising your weaknesses. Some people had to talk up a good fight before they ever landed a blow on their opponent, and some people just went for the knockdown in the first ten seconds. It was the difference, he supposed, between a street fighter and one of those pretty boys who stood in a ring fighting for a big glittery belt. Sure, Grit probably identified with Marsh more – didn’t mean he wouldn’t kill him, but it was reassuring to meet someone who he at least could stomach.

The transaction was smooth – the death would be smooth too. Grit was kind of suprised about how easy it was to play this game but he was damned well enjoying it.

So, he had two of the so-called big wigs lined up – time to draw in some of the next level players and get them suckered into the scheme as well. Just the promise of a leg up at the hands of someone like Grit would have them chomping at the bit. Grit allowed himself an uncharacteristic smile – he would enjoy delivering the punchline to this elaborate joke.

Grit: First Round 2

When the moment came to put the plan into action all that extra legwork which he had carried out started to come in useful. He’d found from experience that, when you want them to, things never run exactly per routine, and anything can cause a break in habits, but getting to know how someone is going to react to any given situation gives you the upper hand – means you can throw your hand in there too; you can make a play for the pot.

The guy’s other half, or one of them at least, was giving him some problems and he was having to run around after her, which was causing a delay in his arrival at the place which Grit had marked out for his execution.

It reached a time when it became obvious that the target just wasn’t going to play ball and arrive at the designated destination where Grit would be able to despatch him with no hassle. It reached an hour where Baker was calling him and expecting results and he had nothing whatsoever to report – and if he didn’t get something done soon someone else was going to swoop in and solve the problem for him; well, they would solve one problem and create a whole raft of others.

It served him well that he knew secrets about this man, and that certain secrets he had were not shared with anyone. He was sat across from one of those secrets right now. He had her on speaker phone and she was pulling in the fish he wanted to catch on an easy line that he could not resist.

His target was an expert at lying to one partner to get with another, so Grit had faith that he would not have to wait long at all to meet him in the flesh.

Half an hour later he was sat across from both of these people that he would be shortly killing, and he was wondering what this would do to him. He had no qualms about killing the shithead he had the folder on – that folder made a good case for this scumbag’s execution, but her? She was collateral damage, and that was something he didn’t like. That bullshit about how there were no innocents was a poor excuse for killing people and one he didn’t buy into. Still, he couldn’t afford loose ends – he was lucky that she was a hooker and there wouldn’t be too many people pushing to find her when she went missing.

Bang bang and a bath of hydrochloric acid later and all those loose ends were tied off.

Grit- Hangover

Fairweather friends were not something he was interested in any more – they left him with a sense that he had been fucked over and that there was a debt unsettled; it was something he was uneasy with. He knew people and that was as far as it went – as far as he was interested in allowing it to go.

Drinking got boring after a while – what was it they said? If the hangover seemed to last longer than the night of drinking then it was time to knock it on the head. Dopeheads were not people he wanted to hang out with either – who the hell wanted to talk about weed until the sun came up? He’d smoked some and sure it was pleasant but he couldn’t get into the attendant obsession with talking about it that all the users he knew had.

People told him that he was anti-social; that he needed to get a life – but if the bullshit he saw on display on a regular basis constituted getting a life then he was sure as hell not interested. He’d once thought of himself as a misanthrope but that took too much effort – he’d much rather avoid everyone; only interact when it was necessary. So, what was he doing here? He wasn’t sure that he could rightly say – sometimes you feel the need to dip your toe in the water again – this was that.

He sat there with the bottle of cheap red wine between his feet, the corkscrew in his hand, and he wondered what had been going through his own head to bring him to this particular train of thought. Was it the wine making him melancholy like it usually did? Or was it the slow dawning of a realisation?

This guy that was sitting next to him was annoying and he wondered exactly how long had he been yapping in his ear about nothing? A long time it seemed – too long. He was fed up. He turned to this verbose individual and stared at him – the kind of stare you would give to a lump of shit stuck to the bottom of your shoe. Most people understood that look and removed themselves from his vicinity – this one was obviously not quite that bright: he tried to stare Grit down.

Whether or not he was anti-social, it was most definitely true of Grit that he was a violent man. He was not without patience though – he characterised himself as having a slow-burning fuse; meaning in his own mind that he didn’t act rashly. He could think on his feet as well as the next man, but very rarely would he act off an impulse – that was the kind of thing that got you into trouble.

He hefted the corkscrew in his hand – tiny little thing capable of so much damage. He could stab this bastard and be out of there before anyone noticed. Would people know that it was him? No, why would they? There were enough violent people here for him to get away with hurting someone.

‘Please be quiet; I am trying to think,’ he said, barely turning his head to acknowledge the guy.

‘What? What the fuck’s your problem? Fuck you – I’ll speak where and when I want.’

Grit smiled to himself – oh well, he kind of knew that it was going to play out like that, just having listened to the guy for long enough. Some people you didn’t have to be a psychologist to understand – they wore their attitudes on their sleeve. This one was simply a prick and whatever was said to him would provoke a prickish response. Grit could have left it alone – could have – but didn’t want to. He wanted to needle the guy, push him, see what he would do. Ah, okay, so that wasn’t exactly true – Grit intended to get a reaction out of him so he could have an excuse to take him apart. He swallowed the smile.

‘I’m asking you nicely, but if you insist on being a prick about it we can do this some other way.’

‘Fuck you.’

‘One more polite request and then we’re done with the good manners.’

‘Fuck your polite request in the arse.’

Grit for a second thought how his violence was like a vampire – you had to invite it in. He didn’t like doing things like this that would not bring him some revenue, but sometimes he’d make exceptions; sometimes he went looking for it like every other predator. Although he had been thinking about the corkscrew he hadn’t actually intended to use it and when he pulled it back from punching the guy in the head and had pulled an eyeball with it he had been just as surprised as his victim. The guy started screaming as soon as the brief moment that shock gifted him with had worn off, but Grit was already at the door. Shit – what a stupid fucking thing to do. He looked down at his feet, looked at his hands – the left one covered up to the wrist in blood, and noticed that he still had the corkscrew with the eyeball on the end of it. He lobbed it over his shoulder back towards the house.

Damn – he was going to have to lay low for a while because of this. He was hoping the fact that he was at a party and everyone seemed either stoned or drunk would severely cut down on the number of reliable witnesses. He hoped that he looked as anonymous as he thought he did – that he blended into the background; not many people had talked to him, so that would of course limit the number of people likely to step forward and mention him.

Man, if he hadn’t got too far away – walking quicker than he realised – he would want to go back and do it all again – this was going to cost him. Laying low meant no money which meant hard times which meant when he resurfaced he was going to have take some shit job that he wouldn’t normally touch with a bargepole. Fucking stupid bastard. He was banking on the shock of losing an eye debilitating his main witness and if not he didn’t think it would be too hard to track him down and finish what he’d started.

He stopped off at the local off-licence and picked himself up some more booze – two bottles of Glenfiddich, some dark rum, and a six pack of cheap beer. Time to get wasted. If he was going to have a hangover in the morning he might as well make it a memorable one. Couldn’t be any worse than the one from that bloody party.

Grit: Allowance

He pressed the muzzle into the back of her neck – he was watching her face in the mirror and he saw her bite her lip because it was hot. He’d just shot it into the air to put the shits up her and he knew it had worked. Her eyes were liquid but he knew that she wouldn’t cry in front of him – he’d dealt with her before. They’d both been around the block and they had both worked for different people whose line of work had meant that their paths had crossed on more than one occassion. She’d generally been on the wrong end of a shafting and he had been the mouthpiece of whatever bastard it was that had her over a barrel. Part of him wondered if she ever learned from her mistakes; part of him didn’t care.
Sure, she moved around and got into bed with different business partners, but these people she gravitated towards were all the same at the end of the day — everyone else could see that they weren’t to be trusted, so why couldn’t she?
‘We’ve been here before, Sheila, haven’t we?’
‘Yes, Grit, you know we have.’
‘And every single time you have managed to worm your way out of being shot.’
‘Yep. Never did make much sense to me – I know you don’t like me like that, and I know you very rarely have any sympathy for anyone, so what is it? See something of yourself in me, maybe?’
‘Maybe.’
‘Recognise something of your mother in me, perhaps?’
‘Shit, Sheila, you knew that old bitch – if you reminded me of her I’d shoot you dead on the spot; might even get some kind of substitute sense of vengeance from it.’
‘So, can we work it out? We always do, don’t we?’
‘Not this time – I know you don’t have the money; I have a healthy balance in my bank account because I agreed to take you out, and Tommy Genoa is not Mick Spiner. Mick Spiner was a pussy and Tommy isn’t.’
‘Got you scared, huh? Never thought I’d see the day.’
‘Ah, well, then you don’t know much, Sheila. In this line of work I’m scared all the time – makes me sensible; gives me an edge too. Only fools aren’t scared or idiots that don’t have anything to lose – I like myself so I try to keep a hold.’
‘I have someone waiting to shoot you through the head, Grit. Soon as your finger tightens on the trigger.’
‘Didn’t we do this before as well? So this is what they call deja vu, eh? I hope it’s not the same muppet as last time. That dozy fucker couldn’t hit a blue whale from point blank range.’
‘No – he is no longer in my employ. This guy’s French – you may have heard of him – Difficile.’
‘No kidding? I am slightly impressed. But I bet he didn’t tell you about his drink problem, did he?’
‘What?’
‘Oh yeah, shakes like an epileptic under a strobe light when he’s dry and how long’s he been dry?’
‘Fuck.’
‘Fuck indeed, Sheila. Fuck indeed. You know that I don’t usually spend this long nattering? That I generally just blow someone’s brains out and leave?’
‘I enjoy the special treatment.’
‘Not this time.’
‘Come on, Grit, if you were going to do it it would have been done already. You know you don’t want to kill me – for whatever reason, and I think it may be that you actually see someone like you sat in front of you, you can’t do it. Give them the money back and walk away from it.’
He lifted the muzzle from the back of her neck. For a second she looked down and not directly at the mirror – he stepped back into the shadows and he was gone.

Grit: Sonshine 1

Twenty years ago he made a mistake – another mistake; some of them evaporate in an instance and the rest of them hang around to dog you ever after. Grit tried not to make too many mistakes because the ones he did make were fucking momentous. How the hell could he shake this one off? He never wanted a son; he never embarked on that path, and if the bitch had let him know he would have told her to get shot of it.
‘So, son, what exactly do you want from me?’
‘To get to know you.’
‘I’ll be honest, I don’t think that’s such a good idea. I mean I live, by most standards, a pretty fucked up life, and it’s just not safe to bring anyone else in on that.’
‘I know about you.’
‘Oh, and what do you think you know about me? What your mother told you? Son, I can tell you that whatever she thought she knew about me was pretty limited. I never spoke about my work to anyone; especially not someone that I was having a casual affair with. Why? Because it was dangerous for them and it would complicate things for me. I just don’t need the aggravation.’
‘That’s what you see me as?’
‘Yeah, it is. I don’t know what the hell you were expecting but this was never going to be some great touchy-feely reunion. Shit, from what little your mother did say she must have painted a picture of me that was in some way accurate? That I am, at heart, a cold heartless bastard who would sell his own mother out in an instant.’
‘She did say something along those lines, yeah.’
‘But you thought she might just be bitter about me leaving her high and dry, and you’d come and see for yourself, eh?’
‘Yeah, that’s about it.’
‘Well, she wasn’t being bitter – she was being honest. She never hunted me down in all these years and it isn’t that hard – look how easy you found me. Now, bearing that in mind you have to ask yourself why that was the case? The simple answer is because she knew that it was a bad idea to have kids around someone like me.’
‘But I’m not a kid anymore.’
‘Yes, son – you are. Juts because you have some hair on your balls it doesn’t make you a man, and most men are underqualified to exist in the world that I live in – you have to be a fucking monster everyday to survive. You don’t want that for yourself, and I don’t want to have worry about someone who I put in a place that they never belonged. What do you do with yourself most days?’
‘I paint. I’m studying art at college.’
‘Good – go back to it. Fuck off and never come back here again – this place is not for you.’
Grit got up and he left the cafe; walked away and did not look back once.