Tired yet baleful concrete tenements glowered down on deserted streets during the daytime and the place seemed as if it were long ago abandoned by man. It was only during the night that the scheme came to life; when troops of cocaine fuelled primates filled the air with tribal war cries and furtive indigent lepers went about their business on the sly.
“Get away from my door son. You’ve had enough for one night.”
“C’mon Doc – jist a fiver bag. I’ve goat the cash, see?”
“You’ll be needing a hit in the morning – come back then. I’ll no be held responsible if you have any more the night.”
“In the mornin’ then?”
“Aye, first thing – the usual time.”
Doc closed the door and let out a sigh. Greed was a symptom of the disease – no junkie could ever get enough and he was no exception. Still, it didn’t pay to have customers overdose on you and sometimes accidents brought policemen to your door. He didn’t often turn customers away, but when he did he had good reasons. Just this afternoon he had refused young Jimmy Lyons who was on a course of methadone and hadn’t had a hit for over a month. There was no way Doc was going to help him scupper his chances by turning him on again – there were plenty of other dealers he could turn to; he wanted no part of it. It was the ones like Jimmy with families he felt the most pity for – the kids suffered for the weaknesses of their parents.
Doc retired to the comfort of his armchair, he rarely went to bed, preferring instead to gouch in his chair until the sun came up. He prepared his final injection of the day and sighed once more as the precious medicine oozed through his body and he sloughed off the weight of countless decades. Tomorrow was a big day for him – pension day. He’d venture out to get some grub in and maybe take a wee trip to the library for a book or two. That would be a pleasant adventure – a wee recce around the Athens of the north to return victorious with the gift of literature in his hand.
When I heard that The Doctor was dead I naturally assumed that he had over done, but it transpired that Finney and his razor boys did for him. He was an evil wee bastard that Finney, as was his father before him. He had been exercising a vicious form of alchemy in an attempt to synthesise his old man, but had never borne comparison to that wicked auld cunt. In the eyes of most people he was still auld Finn’s laddie and a pale imitation of the original.
“They stuck him like a pig right outside the post office Johnny. Young Finney was screamin’ like a banshee and auld Doc was begging fur mercy like.”
Psycho Peter filled me in with all the gory details and they painted a sorry scene. Doc, the oldest junkie in the town, had gone to the post office to collect his pension where he was ambushed by Finney and his boys. They stabbed the poor old bastard multiple times before eventually cutting his throat and letting him bleed out halal style. Finney then proclaimed that this was the fate that awaited any junk dealers caught on his patch.
There was a hierarchy of drug usage out there in the schemes which placed cocaine at the top and heroin at the bottom. Everyone looked down on junkies – even the alkies looked down on junkies and no-one cared much what happened to them. Hell, even I looked down on junkies and they made me a comfortable living. The schemes were awash with smack and coke and I had my fingers in both pies; cannabis was everywhere – it was a staple – not a luxury, but there was no money in cannabis.
It was open season on junkies out there and they were being beaten in regular attacks which went largely unreported, not even the cops cared about junkies. This though was murder in broad daylight and would be sure to attract the full attentions of the local plod.
“What about the polis?”
“The usual – naebody saw nuthin’”
“Let’s keep it that way.”
“Everybody’s too scared of Finney tae grass, besides there’s a lot would pin a medal oan him fur what he done, folk say they are sick o finding needles everywhere and seeing junkies dossin oan the street.”
“Is it really that bad?”
“Naw, and I’ve been telt that Finney’s boys collect the needles fae shootin’ galleries an’ redistributes them in public places – like schools and parks – so as tae wind up the locals.”
“So that he can play the vigilante with the blessings of the plebeians no doubt.”
Peter cast me a funny look, but said nothing. It was obvious that Finney was out to consolidate his grip over his own neighbourhood at the expense of the hapless junkies, but he was miscalculating the impact he might have on the businesses of other interested parties.
“Have a word with Finney would you Peter?”
“Do you think he needs discouraging?”
“I think he needs enlightening. Killings are bad for business and will not be tolerated. Roughing up junkies is one thing, but hassling the wrong dealers will only bring him into conflict with the wrong people. He can play at gangsters ‘till his heart is content, but if it costs one penny from my pocket I’ll see he suffers, so he’d better make sure he only hassles the right dealers.”
We could use Finney’s predilections to our benefit – he could help rid us of the competition at grass roots level. We only had fifty percent saturation in some of the schemes – we could, ironically enough, use the hatred of junkies to sell more product. If we played our cards right by duplicating Finney’s efforts across the schemes we could corner the market for ourselves. I was saddened by the death of old Doc, but reflected that his untimely demise might not have been in vain. I made a note to send a wreath, just to pay my respects. He wasn’t such a bad auld cunt – for a junkie.