Edgar had a genuine penchant for the product; which is why he could not resist a wee snort before his guests were due to arrive. The charley did nothing to steady his nerves. If anything it actually made matters worse. Edgar was shaking when he opened the door and felt like he might actually cry for the first time since he was a boy. He’d expected a couple of gorillas, but found a little woman in a charcoal grey business suit. He was about to shoo her away when she said;
“Good morning Edgar, my name is Nancy – I’m your collections agent.”
Nancy was a diminutive forty something red head who toted a small black attaché case. She affected a breezy but business like demeanour and looked for all the world like an insurance agent – she was not what Edgar had been expecting. He breathed an inward sigh of relief; he would not have his legs broken today. Nevertheless as he led her into the living room he began to anxiously intone the various excuses he had prepared for the occasion.
“I laid a lot of gear out and I’m just waiting on the returns. I should be...”
“I’m not interested in your business Edgar” Nancy interrupted, “I’m simply here to arrange the repayment of your debt.” She pointed at a chair and said, “Sit down.”
She sat opposite Edgar and opened her attaché case. Edgar had expected, rather optimistically, that she would produce some papers for him to sign. Instead she retrieved a small toffee hammer.
“You will not struggle, or in any way impede me Edgar. Do you understand? Under no circumstances will you touch me, or I can have a couple of burly lads come over to hold you down while we do this the hard way. Do you understand?”
Edgar simply nodded numbly. His surprise turned to agonised shock when in one sweeping movement Nancy leapt to her feet and struck his left knee with the tiny hammer; he writhed in pain and nearly left his chair.
“Stay still” she ordered and as soon as he had regained some of his composure she struck the right knee. The pain was searing and Edgar thought he might pass out – he was not to be that lucky. After each practised stroke Nancy gave him time to straighten out before delivering another blow. She struck each knee six times eventually leaving Edgar a crippled heap on the living room floor. Then she returned her toffee hammer to the case and laid out the conditions of their payment schedule.
“I will call by each Monday at this time. You will have one thousand pounds cash ready for me – please do not disappoint me Edgar – things could get nasty. This arrangement will continue for forty weeks – or until you have paid of the balance completely.”
“Forty?” gasped Edgar.
“That is the sum owed” replied Nancy.
“But, but, I only...” he stammered.
“Forty” said Nancy with an air of finality.
“Tell Johnny I...”
“I told you Edgar – I don’t need to know your business. I’m only here to arrange the repayment of a debt.”
“Where will I find forty grand?” he moaned.
“That’s not my problem, but I suggest you do.” answered Nancy in a matter of fact tone. “Don’t get up – I’ll see myself out.”
Edgar lay on the floor nursing his shattered kneecaps and reflecting on the fact that it was he who had turned Johnny on to the cocaine business in the first place. His protégée had become a monster and Edgar one of his victims. It took an age to drag himself to the bedroom where he had a couple of big lines before calling Psycho Peter – it was time to call in his markers and Peter was just the man to apply the necessary pressure. There would be no more mister nice guy – he had seven days to raise a grand – he’d worry about the other thirty nine later. One day he would pay Johnny back in kind – he’d revenge himself on that ungrateful fuck, but right now he was running low on coke and getting sorted was his first priority.