57. Smooth Gloss Criminal

“I were in a card game with these lads, real villains. Couple of them are into armed robbery, one of them kills for money. Serious people…”
This was Scarface.
He fancied himself as a gangster.
He wasn’t.
Far from it.
He was an electrician.
A shit electrician, I might add.
He once took a whole day to put a light fitting up in his own bedroom.
This was after two years of nagging from his wife.
Two years.
He finished the fitting, called his wife upstairs. She opened the door…
And smashed the bulb.
He’d put the light fitting at just the right length and position for the opening door to smash it.
Every time.
His answer?
He nicked a box of bulbs from work, and put them behind the door.
Every time a bulb smashed, he put in a new one.
Job well done.
Scarface was in his fifties.
He liked his gold, liked his designer labels, liked his suntan.
He had a big scar on his face.
He told women he got it in a fight.
He really got it because the lengthy sunbed sessions made something evil grow on his face and a doctor had to cut it out.
It turned septic.
Because of the amount of sunbed hours he was still racking up while his face was trying to heal.
“…and this guy comes into our club, selling jewelry. I turned this gold bracelet over and there was dried blood on it. I asked him where it came from. He says, ‘Don’t ask.’ Serious blokes…”
He jumped out of his leathery skin.
Bear was shouting for him.
Bear was Scarface’s boss.
He scurried into Bear’s office.
“What you want, Bear?”
“I want you to a job, but I don’t want you to fuck it up.”
“What do you mean? I always do my best…”
Bear rummaged in a drawer.
He pulled out a screwdriver.
It looked like a normal screwdriver, except the business end resembled molten lava.
“Your best is shit, Scarface. I want you to do better than your best. I want you to try really hard, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll manage to do a shoddy job of it. You might even get it right.”
Bear waggled the melted screwdriver.
“Two days we were down, Scarface. The explosion almost turned you white, as impossible as that might seem. I don’t want a repeat performance.”
Scarface grunted. He was already sulking.
Bear continued.
“You’re re-wiring the board room. You’ve got two days.”
Scarface perked up. Two days, working on his own. He’d be able to create all kinds of complications and excuses. It translated to at least a week of tossing it off. Maybe even Saturday morning, double time.
“Ok, Bear. I’ll get my tools…”
“Oh, and one more thing. You’ll be working with Flint and Hugs.”
“No! For fuck’s sake, Bear, anyone but them!”
Flint and Hugs were machine minders, their job being to load paper and ink into the print presses, but they were the sort of blokes who could turn their hand to anything; joinery, decorating, plumbing, violent sexual molestation of petty thieves and the viscious killing of hundreds of defenseless creatures.
They were psychopaths, and Scarface was terrified of them.
Bear wouldn’t budge.
He was going to have to work with them.
With a feeling of dread Scarface packed his tools and trudged to the boardroom.
Flint was fabricating a partition wall.
Hugs was glossing some woodwork.
“Alreet, Scarface!” they grinned simultaneously.
They grinned like doberman pinschers.
Scarface swallowed hard.
“Reet, lads,” he mumbled, and began to set out his tools
As he worked, he had an idea.
To make Flint and Hugs give him some respect, he decided to tell them some stories about how hard his gangster mates were. That way they might not do anything horrible to him.
He started fiddling about with a wall socket.
“Do you lads play cards?”
Flint and Hugs looked at each other, shaking there heads.
“I do. I’ve got a game going down York Road at the moment. Big stakes. Some real villains involved.”
Scarface got onto his knees by the skirting board and drilled into the wall. It was a long room, he was at one end, Flint and Hugs were at the other.
“Yeah, we’re playing poker for big money, but I can hold my own with them lads. Known ’em all my life. Lot of folk shit themselves just looking at these guys, but they’d do owt for me. We’re really tight.”
“Here, Flint,” whispered Hugs.
“What’s this stupid orange cunt on about?”
“Dunno, Hugs. Seems like he’s talking shit to me.”
“Too right. What we gonna do about it?”
“Hmmm… tricky one that. I know. Why don’t you see if you can hit him with that tin of white gloss?”
“Good idea…”

Knock knock
“Come in.”
Flint and Hugs shuffled into Bear’s office.
He was on the phone.
They patiently waited for him to finish the call.
“Yes, yes, I’ll book the machine in for routine maintenance on the fifteenth. Don’t schedule any jobs for it until the seventeenth. Ok, cheers, bye.”
He hung up.
“Hi Bear.”
“How you doing Bear?”
“What are you two cunts after? I don’t trust you.”
“Erm.. that job Scarface was doing…”
“…was it very urgent?”
“Yes. Everything is fucking urgent in this place. Why? Where’s Scarface?”
“He’s in the boardroom…”
“…on the floor…”
“…we think we might have…”
“…killed him.”
“Oh shit!”

Scarface blinked slowly.
Everything was blurred, his mind and his vision.
He was in bed.
In a white room.
In white sheets.
He lifted his hand.
It was pure white.
Oh fuck, he thought.
I’ve died.
Then he heard giggling.
He slowly turned his head.
Flint and Hugs were sat by his side.
Scarface cringed away from them.
“Wakey wakey sleepy head!” said Flint.
“Rise and shine!” said Hugs.
“Stay away from me!” said Scarface.
They both started giggling again.
“Bear sent us…”
“… to say we’re sorry for nearly killing you.”
Scarface lifted his hand again.
“What the fuck is wrong with my skin?”
Hugs couldn’t speak. His shoulders were going and tears ran down his face.
“It’s the tin we threw,” spluttered Flint.
“…lid came off…”
“…you want to see your face…”
“…you look like…”
“…a fat…”
They shuffled to the door, howling with laughter.
“A fat? A fat what? What do I look like? Flint? Hugs?”
“…Michael Jackson!”
“You’re gonna need some thinners…”
“…thinners night…”
“You’re fighting for your life inside a..”

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