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They’ve been waiting a good ten minutes so far. The entire time Chris has been taking shots at them for being bad dealers and general idiots, his smirk grows wider with each laugh he gets from the two bouncers that are still in the room with them.

“Look at them,” Chris says, nodding his head towards the television screen showing images of his club. “So coked and pilled up that they don’t even realise how much they’re spending. Oi look at those two!”

He points at the screen where two people are getting off with each other, their arms wrapped around each other, desperately kissing and pawing at each other’s body.

“Bet he’s going to regret that in the morning,” he says with a chuckle, “He’s going to wake up and want to run as soon as he sees her face.”

He looks at Emmet and Terry. Neither of them are smiling. Terry is looking around the office, trying to fake casual boredom. Chris’ smile drops away and he frowns. He gets up and starts to walk towards Emmet.

“Come on lads,” he says, getting in Emmet’s face, “Give us a smile. Or have you finally realised how much of a complete fuck up you are? Thinking you can sell in my place, without asking me. I don’t know how you do it in Afghanistan but here in England we actually ask permission before we do that shit.”

“My family’s from Turkey,” Emmet spits out. “And I’m from Essex.”

“Not with that tan you’re not,” Chris says, looking Emmet up and down. “We’d lose you in a dark room.”

“I’d rather be brown than bright orange,” Emmet says. He glances at one of the bouncers, the massive one, who is the unmistakable shade of orange associated with too much fake tan.

Chris follows his gaze and looks his bouncer up and down.

“True,” he says with a grimace. “Larry what were you thinking?”

“The missus likes it,” Larry the bouncer says shrugging. “Can’t keep her off me when I’m tanned up.”

“Fair enough,” Chris says with another grin. He looks at Terry. “You wouldn’t know anything about that would you, scrawny shit. Bet you don’t even know what a girl looks like naked.”

Terry glares at the club boss. The bouncers laugh again. Chris chuckles as well and walks back towards the chair behind his desk. He stops and stares at the TV screen again. There’s the image of brawling bodies on the screen, two blokes beating the crap out of each other and their friends egging them on. Chris groans.

“Larry, Marky, go and sort that out,” he commands. The two bouncers look at each other then at Chris. “Oh for God’s sake. What are these two divs gonna do to me? I can take them easily. Go on. Go sort it. Before the coppers get here will you.”

The bouncers nod and head out of the room. Terry and Emmet are left standing in the middle of the office.

Chris looks at Terry and Emmet and glares.

“It better not be your shit making them fight,” he says angrily. “If I find out they’ve been on your shit and it’s made them beat the crap out of each other you’re gonna be in serious shit. And I’ll make sure my copper mate sends you down.”

Emmet’s eyes widened. He’s not even given a thought to whether the pills would cause that crap again. Yet another fuck up on his part. Chris goes behind his desk and collapses into his chair with a heavy sigh. His fingers tap on the desk. Emmet can’t help but fidget at he stares at them both.

“Well,” Chris says, “Looks like it’s just the three of us lads. What shall we do?”

He stares at the fight on the screen, completely ignoring the other two. His bouncers have waded in and the flashing lights are bouncing off the guys’ bald heads. Emmet glances at Terry. Terry looks right back. Terry looks at the pills on the desk, nods his head a little and flicks his eyes towards Chris. Emmet knows exactly what Terry’s getting at doing, or at least he hopes he does. It’s not a good plan. If Terry does what Emmet thinks he’s going to do it’s not going to end well for either of them. Chris will hunt them down and never let them rest until he’s got his retribution. Emmet knows that he’d rather face prison than deal with anything that Chris can think up. He shakes his head slightly at Terry. His eyes widen and he shakes it more when a smile starts to break across Terry’s face.

“Oi Chris,” Terry says.

Chris looks up. Terry darts forwards before Emmet can grab him. He reaches out, hand wrapping around the pill bag. With the other hand he grabs the edge of the desk and shoves it up and towards Chris.

“Catch!” Terry shouts.

There’s a massive bang and Chris goes down, the desk on top of him. He starts to yell and shout, trying to get out from under the heavy chunk of wood. Things are falling everywhere and the filing cabinets are taking a beating. The fallen lamp is throwing strange shadows on the walls. The TV screens shake when Chris knocks against them.

“Come on,” Terry shouts. “Run!”

He turns and races out the door. Emmet is frozen for a moment, staring at Chris fighting to get free. Another yell from Terry gets him moving and he turns tail and races after his friend. Their feet pound as they run down the corridor. The door swings open ahead of them, two bouncers coming through. There’s no time to stop, the bouncers’ eyes are still trying to adjust to the change from dark to light. The two boys shove past the men, racing in to the heat and darkness and pounding sound of the club itself. They don’t stop though, don’t hang around or try to disappear into the crowd.

Emmet can see the brawl near the bar still going on. Bouncers are in the middle of it, trying to break it apart, the two groups of friends now joining in and beating the crap out of each other. The sprawling mess of fighters is in between him and the door. He takes his chance when he spots a gap in the melee and shoves through. A hand grabs at his top, trying to pull him into the fight. He shakes it off and darts for the door.

Then he’s outside. The cold night air and quietness shock his senses for a moment and his body wants him to stop and figure out what’s going on. He doesn’t let that stop him. He can already hear the bouncers shouting behind him and he can see Terry up ahead. Everything’s a blur as he runs after Terry, leaving the club and the clubland area of town behind him as he keeps running. All he focuses on is breathing, the thudding of his feet one in front of the other, Terry’s back racing ahead of him. They both just keep running.

 

They finally stop on the edge of town, quiet houses all around them with no lights on. It’s two in the morning, anyone who’s smart is already in bed. They collapse near the wall of a park. Emmet leans against the wall, panting and gasping for breath. He’s hot but he knows that he won’t be for long. There’s too much sweat on him, running wet down his back and sticking his shirt to his chest. Beside him Terry is coughing and gagging, fighting to get his breath back. They stand there, leaning on the wall for support as they gasp. Then Terry starts to laugh.

“Can you imagine his face?!” he says through his laughter. “The prick didn’t know what hit him. I bet the fat fuck’s still under there, trying to get out.”

He keeps laughing. Emmet just stares at him. Slowly Terry stops laughing. Just when it seems like he’s calmed down he starts to laugh again, uncontrollable, tears running down his face.

“He’s gonna have so much to clean up,” he cried, “He’s going to be tidying for a week. I bet those pills spilled everywhere. Dumb shit.”

“It’s not funny Terry,” Emmet says. His face is stony and his heart is still pounding too quickly in his chest. “We’re in serious shit now.”

“Oh lighten up mate,” Terry says, “We’ve got away, we’re in the clear. The cops aren’t gonna be able to find us, Chris didn’t even find out our full names.”

“He’s got our faces on his CCTV though!” Emmet cries out. “And we’ve made a fool of him. He’s not going to let this lie, he’s going to want revenge. He knows that we deal, it’s not going to be hard for him to find us with that information.”

“Give over,” Terry said, still laughing. “He’s the one who made a fool of himself. He told his lads he could take us on and now look, we’re far away and he’s stuck under that desk. What do you think they’re going to think of their big bad boss man if he can’t keep himself safe without them?”

Emmet says nothing. He wraps his arms around himself and steps away from the wall. He looks up and down the street. There’s no one around, not even a cat walking around searching for something to eat. Terry starts to laugh again.

“Can you imagine DC Walker’s face?!” he says, gasping for his breath again, “He’s gonna come in and see Chris with his office in a mess, desk upside down. And then Chris is gonna have to tell him we got away. He’s such a div!”

“They’re both going to be after us.” Emmet says, rounding on Terry and getting in his face. “Chris is going to be after us for making an arse of him AND for trying to deal in his club. DC Walker’s going to be after us for the pills and for embarrassing his mate. That copper’s dirty, he’s on the take and if Chris asks for a favour he’s going to get it. We’re fucked.”

“We just need to lay low,” Terry says, “They don’t know who we are, not really. It’ll take them ages to find out who we are and even longer to figure out where we’re gonna be. They’ve got no hope.”

“What if they’re not as thick as you think?” Emmet says, shoving Terry, “What if they know who we are already, they just haven’t let on? Did you think of that?! No I bet you didn’t. For all we know they could already be waiting for us at home. What are we gonna do then?”

“We’ll hide somewhere,” Terry says with a shrug. “It’s not like we’ve not got mates. I bet a ton of people will let us crash at theirs till we’re good to go home.”

“Where?!” Emmet cries out, swinging his arms out to his sides. “Where are we going to go? It’s fucking nearly three in the morning. No one’s going to be awake.”

Terry’s smile drops away and he frowns as he thinks. Emmet stares at his friend, pounding heart starting to slow down at last. He can still hear his pulse in his ears though.

“Bill’s,” Terry says. “We can go to Bills.”

“Seriously?” Emmet asks. “You want to go to that dipshit’s?”

“Can you think of somewhere else?” Terry asks.

Emmet thinks for a moment. He runs through the names and faces of all of their friends, anyone who might be willing to let them crash for the night. None of them would. Emmet groans and shakes his head.

“Fine,” he says, feeling almost physical pain at the idea of Bill’s place. “We’ll go to Bill’s place.”

“Sweet,” Terry says with a grin.

He turns and starts to walk. Emmet trudges along behind him.

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