Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-Two

Phillip saw his sons’ faces, and stifled the urge to laugh. They were both white-faced with shock and horror at what they had walked into. They were diamonds the pair of them, twenty-four carat gold. He looked at Jonnie Piper, who was smiling triumphantly. Jonnie was standing there like he owned the fucking gaff, short-arsed and full of bravado. Phillip acted shocked, worried, but he wasn’t – the man hadn’t been born yet who could scare him.

‘What’s going on, Jonnie? What the fuck are you doing?’

Jonnie Piper laughed, the relief now it was actually happening was almost overwhelming; once he had outed this ponce he was home and dry.

‘What’s it look like?’ He was all loose limbed and, thanks to the expensive whisky his host had kindly provided for them, he was almost in a party mood.

Suddenly Timmy took a run at Jonnie and, using his sheer size, knocked him off his feet. Then Philly was on him as well. Phillip watched, proud of his sons’ bravery and, pulling them off the man, he said loudly, ‘All right, you lads, relax. These two are with us.’

Jonnie Piper lay on the floor, felt the cold of the concrete even through his good suit. He glanced at the two men he believed he could trust and felt the sick sweat of dread as it drenched his body.

Jerome laughed before saying, ‘You know your trouble, don’t you, Jonnie? You’re a fucking cheapskate.’

Jonnie knew when he was beaten. He had cut his face on his whisky glass when Timmy had taken him down. He was bleeding heavily, but he knew that was the least of his problems. Philly and Timmy now realised that it had all been set up by their father, and they were relieved as well as vexed.

Phillip hugged his boys to him. ‘You were fucking great, but lesson number one, my sons, never believe what you’re told, no matter who is doing the telling, right?’ They nodded in unison like little boys in front of a teacher. ‘You never walk into any situation like this without a weapon, or back-up, such as these two nice gentlemen here. But for all that, you’ve got heart, and that’s ninety per cent of our game. I’m fucking proud of you, at least you would have gone down fighting.’ He looked at Jonnie Piper and said, ‘They did good, Jonnie, don’t you think?’

Jonnie nodded his agreement, but he didn’t really give a fuck – all he could think about was what Phillip had in store for him. He wouldn’t put anything past Phillip Murphy. After all, he wouldn’t be too happy about anyone trying to take out his lads, no one would.

‘Can we get this over with, Phillip?’ Jonnie’s voice was low, and Phillip had to admire the fact he wasn’t begging like many other men would be.

‘Do it.’

Colin and Jerome each shot Jonnie Piper three times, and the two young lads watched, fascinated, as he bled out on the concrete floor. Afterwards, Colin lit a cigarette while Phillip poured them drinks from the bar he’d had put in for events such as this. All the time he kept a close eye on his sons’ reactions.

Philly had already shrugged it off, it was over and done with, but Timmy, he could see, wasn’t in the least bit calm yet. He was breathing heavily as Phillip saw him walk over to Jonnie’s body. Lifting his foot, he crashed it into the man’s face with every bit of his considerable strength. Even Jerome and Colin winced at the sound of crunching bone and sinew.

‘Fucking piece of shit! Thought he was gonna fucking take us out.’

Philly pulled his little brother away and, putting his arm protectively around his shoulder, he said quietly, ‘Calm down, will you? Dad wouldn’t let anything happen to us.’

Phillip Murphy knew then, that out of the two, Timmy would eventually be the brains of the outfit. Unlike Philly, who was a good kid, Timmy would never trust anyone again. Not after this. He would use it as his yardstick for the future. It had been a good learning curve for them both. It was really only Breda’s outrage at him wanting them to be blooded that had made him change his plans to have the boys kill Jonnie. Now he was glad he had because it had given him a valuable insight into his sons, and the differences between them. Philly was weaker – not physically, but mentally. Timmy took onboard everything, and he would use the knowledge to his advantage. Philly would be a good leader, but Timmy had the potential to be a great one.

‘Come on, boys, drink up and let’s get this ponce into the furnace. Then you two can scrub and bleach the floor. Remember, industrial bleach removes everything a forensic will be looking for. So pour a whole drum down the drains, all right?’

They both nodded.

‘Right then, young Colin and young Jerome, your poke is waiting for you in that cupboard over there. Separate bags, and used notes as requested.’

Phillip waited until they had removed their money, checked it, and put their weapons inside the bags he had provided, before he opened another cupboard and brought out a large pump- action shotgun. He shot the two men one after the other, the sound deafening, even over the roar of the furnace. Then, looking at his sons’ stunned faces, he said jovially, ‘Lesson number two, never leave a fucking witness, it only causes you worry. People talk and, with the best will in the world, you never know when, where or to whom they’ll do that talking. Now the only people who know what really happened in here are us. And we’re family, so that don’t count.’ He waited till they had digested that bit of information before clapping his hands and saying loudly, ‘Come on then, chop chop, this lot won’t get up and jump into the incinerator themselves!’

He left them clearing up and walked back towards his house slowly, well satisfied with the night’s events. He heard cars pulling up, and knew that the rest of the family had arrived. He was in the mood for a party now. He had everything he wanted and, more importantly, he had everything Jonnie Piper had wanted. His boys were both going places, and he would work hard at winning back his wife’s affection; he would be successful, he was sure of it. He would get his family back proper, because at the end of the day, family was all you really had, all you could really rely on. And he had a family to be proud of, a family that most men could only dream of having.

Phillip Murphy was a very happy man.