They were waiting at Joe’s house. The Big Bastard and the man with tattoos- his head shaved to show off the scales that wrapped around the skull. “Oh fuck.” Joe muttered.
“Who are they?” Rachel asked as she rounded the car.
“Probably the people who torched my studio.”
“I’ll call the Police.”
The tattooed man’s jacket flapped open. There was a gun tucked into the waistband of his trousers. Joe stopped Rachel’s hand as she went for her phone. “Not just yet.”
They stood their ground by the Smart car. After a moment’s hesitation Big Bastard and Tattoos walked over.
“You have our money.” Tattoos, with a heavy accent, possibly Eastern European.
“You have our money.” Tattoos.
“One million Euros.” Big Bastard.
“You are holding for Hill.” Tattoos.
“He says you are tight.” Bastard.
“He asked. I refused. I’m holding nothing for Hill.” Tattoos and big bastard exchanged glances. “Hill is dead. But you know that, don’t you?” Their expressions said they didn’t.
“You have our money.” Bastard.
“The outhouse was a warning.” Tattoos.
Joe enunciated his answer slowly, as he was just thinking it through himself. “You think I have a million of your Euros. So you burnt down one of the places I might keep it?”
Tattoos and Big Bastard exchanged one of those looks. If they had been that stupid they were going to suffer. “You were not holding for Hill?” Tattoos asked eventually.
“No. I’d bet whoever killed him has the money.”
They thought about this for a while, conversed in a language Joe couldn’t hope to place. He thought of sliding his mobile out and dialling 999 whilst they were preoccupied, but they kept casting glances his way. After a minute or so they seemed to have reached an agreement. “Makes sense, what you say. You know who killed Hill?”
“Of course I don’t.”
“We think it was customers. The goods arrive today. If they get money and drugs they win both ways.” Tattoos.
“You should go and see them then.” Joe was beginning to hope he’d talked his way out of a dangerous situation.
“Yes. You come with us. Not good for you to be phoning Police tell them about us.” Big Bastard.
“We are honourable. We let you go when we know the truth.” Tattoos.
“How do we know that?”
“I suppose you do not. But we are the ones with the guns. You come with us because we say so.” Tattoos answered.
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