Jake's first three years in prison were spent at Wandsworth, a dark, damp, overcrowded Victorian prison. That’s where he met Terry Smith. They shared a cell.
Terry was in his forties and had a son the same age as Jake, he missed his son and very quickly took Jake under his wing. He practically adopted him in Wandsworth, likewise Jake came to think of Terry as a bit of a father figure. They became very close. Terry was a martial arts fanatic, studied everything from Judo to Kung Fu and in those three years taught Jake how to handle himself. No one messed with Terry in Wandsworth and after a short space of time, no one messed with Jake Roberts either!
Terry was serving fifteen years for arson, he burned down his own chip shop in Lewisham for the insurance money, unfortunately the fire spread and burned down another five shops. Terry had a business partner, Colin. They had both agreed to burn down the shop and claim the insurance money but when it came to actually doing it Colin was nowhere to be seen. Terry was arrested after an anonymous “tip off”. Terry was sure it was Colin. He never once visited Terry in prison and never wrote either. When Terry’s wife came to visit she’d tell him about Colin, how he was now driving a flash car, had bought a new house out in Kent, had opened up a number of Fish and Chip shops around the South East and was doing very well for himself!
Terry was convinced that Colin had been ripping him off for years; Colin did all the accounts and was always complaining that there was no money, yet Terry knew the shop was always busy; it had a good trade, queues out the door most nights. But Colin would say that the overheads were killing them and the price of fish had gone through the roof, then there was the maintenance on all the equipment, there was always a reason why there was no money.
He told Jake all about it; Jake made him a promise, if he was out first he would pay Colin a “visit”
After three years they were separated and Jake was transferred to Littlehey in Peterborough, after a couple of years there he heard through the prison grapevine that Terry had a “misunderstanding” with a screw in Wandsworth. The “misunderstanding” ended up with the screw being hospitalised. No remand for Terry, he would have to serve his full fifteen and maybe two more for the attack on the prison officer!
Jake knew where to find Colin. Terry said that Colin was a creature of habit, every Friday at 09.00am he played squash then went to his office in Streatham for 11.00am. He would spend a couple of hours there then head off home. Terry said that Colin’s office was above a hairdressers shop in the High Road. Jake was taking a chance, he was hoping that Colin still had the office in Streatham; if he didn’t perhaps whoever had it now would have a forwarding address.
Jake worked out his route, underground to London Bridge then the over ground to Streatham. At ten thirty he was standing in a small park opposite a rundown hairdresser shop in the High Road called “Curl Up and Dye”. Jake crossed the road and took a closer look. There was a door next to the entrance to the hairdressers; Jake saw a sign above the buzzer. CB Associates. “Bingo” thought Jake, “looks like he’s still here”
Terry’s ex-partner was Colin Brown. Jake walked back across the road, bought himself a newspaper and took a seat on a bench in the park where he could easily see the Salon. He estimated he could get there in about twenty seconds. At 11.20 a short grey haired man slowed as he approached the door to CB Associates. By the time Colin’s key was about to turn in its lock Jake was standing beside him.
Colin looked surprised to see someone standing so close.
“Can I help you with something?”
Jake smiled at Colin.
“Yes you can Colin; we need to have a chat!”
Jake pushed Colin into the entrance then shut the door behind them. They were in a narrow corridor with a steep flight of stairs.
“I don’t have any money, nothing is kept here, my partner will be here in a moment and he’s a karate expert”
Jake couldn’t help but laugh.
“Colin, none of that statement is true and you know it, you DO keep money here, you no longer have a business partner, cos he’s doing fifteen in Wandsworth, that’s the whole reason I’m here!”
Colin went quiet; he seemed to be assessing the situation.
Jake pushed him up the stairs and into a small room filled with paperwork. There was a desk and chair, two filing cabinets and a table with a kettle and cups and saucers on it.
“Sit down Colin; let’s do this the easy way”
Colin sat down in his office chair behind his desk; Jake sat on the desk beside him. Colin still didn’t speak.
“Ok, here’s the deal Colin, you have something I need and you’re going to give it to me, then we can all go home”
Colin still kept quiet.
“In this office Colin you have a safe, it’s over there”
Jake pointed to what looked like a table with a table cloth on it that touched the floor, on it was a tray with a kettle, teapot and two cups.
“You’re probably wondering how I know this Colin aren’t you, well it was your old mate Terry that told me, he said you hated Banks and kept a fair amount of cash in the safe in your office and to disguise the safe you covered it with a large tablecloth with tea cups on it”
Colin went white.
“Look, Terry’s got this all wrong, I’m just waiting for him to get out then I can sort everything out with him”
“Colin, Colin, Colin, we both know that’s bollocks, Terry wants what’s owed now, not in a few years time”
“No, honestly, I’ve put some aside for him and was going to give it to him when he came out, you know, as a bit of a thank you for not involving me”
Jake grabbed Colin by the throat and started to squeeze.
“You grassed him up; he’s doing time because of you, now he wants his money”
He let go. Colin was coughing and trying to get his breath. Jake stood up.
Colin went over to the safe, took off the tray and tablecloth and knelt down beside it. He turned the dial a few times and the door opened. He put his hand inside.
“There, take it”
Colin handed Jake a large bundle of notes.
Jake had no idea how much was there, but went for broke.
“Just this Colin, for all those years and your freedom? No way”
Colin shook his head and started to whine.
“Look, I’m not a rich man, I just have a few bob put away that’s all, you can’t take it all”
“More Colin, much more, or we really will have a massive problem”
Colin reached into the safe, this time he came out with another two bundles of cash, he gave them to Jake.
“That’s it, that’s all I’ve got, beat me up if you want, but that’s all there is!”
Jake walked over to the waste paper basket and emptied it on the floor. He took out the white plastic bin liner and put the cash inside.
“Thank you Colin, now I need you to make me a promise or I’m coming back and if I have to come back I’m going to hurt you, understand?”
“Terry Smith will be out in about five years, by that time he’ll be over sixty, he’ll be an ex con, no chance of a job, no pension, no prospects. You Colin, will be very generous when he comes out, you will give him a small part of your business, I’m thinking maybe two of the chip shops?”
Colin just sort of shrugged. Jake wasn’t impressed. He threw out his right arm with a snap and caught Colin sharply in the fleshy part of his left shoulder, Colin had never experienced this sort of pain before, it was a numbness that went through his bicep and then down into his forearm and then his hand. He suddenly thought he was having a stroke! He fell to the floor.
“That Colin was for showing no respect, the nerves that control your whole arm are now in shock, I hit a pressure point that will make your right arm useless for another twenty minutes, if you like I can do the same to the other one,then perhaps your legs…”
“No No, please, I’ll do it, he can have the shops!”
“Thank you Colin, now just to make sure you don't let me down, tommorow you will visit your Solicitor and start the transfer of the two shops into Terry's name. The weekly profit from those shops will go directly to Mrs Smith, understand?"
Colin nodded his head in agreement.
"Don't dissapoint me Colin, in one weeks time I will speak with Mrs Smith, if she doesn't tell me that your Solicitor has been in touch, I'm coming back, it might be here, it might be your nice new house in Kent, it might even be the Squash Club, but I'll turn up somewhere Colin and things will get ugly!"
With that Jake walked out of the room, down the stairs and into the busy High Street. He saw a black cab coming up the road and flagged him down. He gave the driver an address. Twenty minutes later he was outside a small terraced house in Tooting. He got out of the cab and told the cabbie to wait. He walked up the pathway of a very small but neat and tidy front garden. He rang the doorbell. A few seconds later a petite woman in her early fifties opened the door.
“Hi, I’m Jake Roberts; I was with Terry in Wandsworth”
The woman gave Jake a big warm welcoming smile.
“ Jake, how lovely to meet you, Terry speaks about you all the time, come in”
“No it’s ok Mrs Smith, I can’t stop I just need to give you something!”
Jake handed her the white plastic bin liner, with two bundles of cash in.
“This is a gift from Colin Brown; he said it’s what he owed Terry!”
Mrs Smith looked in the bag and put her hand to her mouth.
“It’s fine Mrs Smith, let Terry know from me that all bets have now been paid, I’ll visit him as soon as I can and give him a full update”
“Will do, funnily enough I've just had Colin's Solicitor on the phone asking me to call in and see him tommorow, not sure what that's all about"
Jake smiled at her, then turned round and walked down the path and got back into the cab. Stuffed in every pocket he had were wads of paper notes. He had no idea how much his bundle was worth but estimated a good few grand. Not a bad day after all. Now off to see Uncle Tom.
It suddenly dawned on him, that today he had done exactly what the three amigo's had done to him ten years ago, just for a second he felt guilty. But only for a second, then he smiled to himself, perhaps in order to beat them he had to become just like them!