12 May 2016



Everything Gordon McLaughlin touched turned to shit; which is why some wag had long ago dubbed him ‘Lucky’. He had a habit that he’d acquired in his teens which was why in his late twenties he was already a middle aged man. Tonight he was dressed up in his best finery and he still looked homeless. He blended with the seething nightclub dandies the way vinegar blends with milk. He wasn’t there for pleasure; he never frequented night clubs, but tonight he was on a mission – tonight was all about business. He’d scored a hundred E’s from Buddha and reckoned he could double his money if he could flog them to the poseurs in the clubs up town. That’s why he was in The Americana collaring likely looking punters with his pharmaceutical hustle.

“...two for a score – three for a pony. Cannae sae fairer than that; ye’ll no get a deal like that anywhere else. These are bona fide MDMA – nane o’ that disco biscuit shite. See the dove? Badge of quality that...”

Johnny spotted Lucky from across the room and wondered just who the fuck let that prick in. He had a strict no scruffs, no junkies policy. When Johnny got close enough to witness Gordon’s hustle his fate was sealed. No-one else sold drugs on Johnny’s patch and that rule was etched in blood.

“You’re a long way from home wee man” sneered Johnny.

“I’m just – you know – clubbin” stammered Lucky.

“You’re selling’ drugs in my club.”

“Naw ahm just...”

“You’re just leaving – so fuck off - get out and don’t ever come back.”

“C’mon man it’s nice to be nice an that.”

“Aye, you can discuss the niceties with my colleagues – outside.”

Johnny nodded to the two tuxedoed gorillas now flanking Lucky and as they dragged him off he said;

“Make sure he gets the message.”

They did. Poor Lucky’s attempts to defend himself were pathetic, but he created enough of a commotion to attract a crowd which meant he only got a cursory hiding. Instead the two bouncers relieved him of his cash and the remaining ecstasy tablets. He staggered homeward cursing his misfortune; nothing ever went his way. He wished that just once he could come out ahead and he wished those bouncers had left him with a fiver so he could get a hit to kill his pain.


Elsie the barmaid collected the empty glasses as noisily as she could while she cast a jaded eye over Belle and Angel. They were nice boys – regulars, but they were throwing their lives away on that junk. She had implored them on many occasions not to come to the Bon Accord when they were under the influence, but her entreaties had fallen on deaf ears.

“Here you wake up! No gouching in my pub – either get it together or get off home!”

“Just resting our eyes Elsie - it’s been a long day” replied Angel.

“Well you can just get aff hame for a nice kip boys”

“Can we finish our drinks Elsie?”

“Aye, but try to stay awake – you’re making the place look untidy”

Elsie was alright – she wasn’t going to throw them out; half her clientele was into drugs in one form or another – there was a great deal of laissez faire at the Bon Accord as long as you didn’t attract too much attention to yourself. The boys sipped their pints and pulled themselves together. Belle was looking past Angel’s shoulder at something which made him smile.

“Don’t look now, but we’ve picked up a bit of trade.”

Angel twisted around in his chair and saw a handsome young blonde guy smiling across at them. He shrugged and returned to his pint.

“I’m not interested Belle. All I want to do now is go home, have a hit and go to bed.”

“You’re no fun. Look at him – he’s a doll. How can you turn him away?”

The handsome young blonde rose from his table and joined the boys – he seemed more than a little nervous.

“Can I buy you a pint lads?”

“No thanks, we were just leaving” replied Angel.

“Cheers mine’s a lager” chimed Belle.

Angel rolled his eyes and nodded his reluctant assent mumbling “Same here”. Belle checked out the handsome young blonde’s arse as he made his way to the bar. Angel just glared at him. He was convinced Belle just did these things to piss him off.

“He’s cute” remarked Belle.

“He could be riddled with the pox for all you know.” replied Angel.

“So could you” scoffed Belle, “for all I know.”

Blondie – as Belle had dubbed him – returned with three pints of lager and introduced himself.

“I’m Mike. I just moved into the area and thought I’d try out the local.”

Belle made the introductions, Angel was less cordial. He and Belle had argued for months about picking up trade. Things being the way they were it wasn’t safe to bring home strangers. Casual sex was like Russian roulette, but Belle wouldn’t listen. The next few minutes passed in stilted conversation and awkward silences. Finally Mike just came out with what was on his mind. It was not, as Belle had supposed, casual sex.

“I was wondering if you guys could help me out. Like I say I’m new to the area and haven’t established any contacts. I was wondering if you could get me any gear.”

“Gear?” inquired Belle “What do you mean by gear?”

“You know - skag, smack, kit” replied Mike helpfully.

“I don’t know what you mean officer.” Belle’s bonhomie had turned to hostility.

“I’m not a policeman. I’m just a punter looking to score.”

Blondie was new to the neighbourhood – that much was true. He’d been seconded from Stirling’s serious crime unit to Lothian drug squad. Since his was a new face in town his superiors had planted him in a notorious drug den with a wad of notes and a flimsy cover story to see who he could hook. The boys started talking in raised voices. “No officer Dibble we don’t know anybody with any drugs!”

Blondie sloped off back to his table red faced while he thought out his next move. His first undercover operation had proved a wash out. He had just decided to call it a night and join his sergeant in his unmarked car when Lucky walked in.


“That cunt you’re drinking with is a fed” said Belle.

“Naw, he’s new tae the neighbourhood is a” replied Lucky.

“He’s DS for sure numb nuts – he was at us tae score fur him”.

“I know – he telt me, but he’s okay. I was in the jail wi him. He’s brand new”

Belle walked away shaking his head. You just can’t tell some people, they have to learn for themselves. He and Angel decided to split as they were both carrying dime bags. They did not see events unfold – despite being curious about the outcome. They would know soon enough – everyone would know.

Lucky thought his bad fortune had changed for once. He went to the Bonny hoping to scrounge a drink from somewhere and had bumped into Mike. Nice guy Mike, he’d bought him a couple of pints and now he was on a promise of a piece of the two grams they were about to score from Raymond. That we faggot Belle and his paranoia; Mike was a regular guy – just out of jail and needing a hit. Lucky knew what that was like – out of jail wi nae cunt talking tae ye. He dialled Ray’s number and waited on the pips.

“....Aye, he’s brand new – I knew him in the jail. He’s looking fur a couple of gram. Aye, ah know him – sound cunt – just got out and looking tae score. He says it would be a regular thing coz ‘es goat a couple of mates...”

As soon as Ray clocked Blondie he knew that he was no jailbird. He looked more like he was fresh out of seminary school than jail. Ray smelled bacon but was too slow in calling to Moira to close the door; a scrum of police officers piled in ordering everyone to stay where they were.

“Where’s your search warrant?” demanded Ray.

“We don’t need one” answered Sergeant Holden, “Moira here let us in and the drugs are in plain sight – so you are nicked sunshine.”

Once in the police station Ray bottled it. His brief informed him the bust was legal because they had in fact invited a police officer into their home. He was told he was looking at ten years for possession and intent to supply. Ray did the only thing he could do – he blamed it on his wife. It was Moira who ran the operation and he was a passive agent who went along with the situation because it was her house. He gave the details of her supplier and every other dealer he could think of which resulted in half a dozen more successful busts. He even went Queen’s evidence and stood in the dock denouncing Moira, mother of his children, as a heroin dealer while painting himself as a hapless victim. Moira got six years and Ray got relocation under the witness protection program.

Gordon had tried to make a deal, but the cops just laughed at him. He was small fry who knew too little about anything to be of any use to them. He got eighteen months for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance – his lawyer told him he was lucky.