He throws himself on to the sofa and grabs for the remote. Sam has seriously pissed him off. She’s always doing that, taking the piss out of him and making him feel like an idiot. Normally he lets her get away with it, he loves her too much to stay mad at her. But today it’s different. He knows what he wants to do now, who he wants to be and it no longer involves hanging out with Terry and Bill. Then there Sam is, taking the piss out of friends who he already knows are complete idiots. She wasn’t even worried that he almost got arrested or got the crap beaten out of him. Some girlfriend she is.
He turns on the TV, slamming his finger down on the button harshly. He expects the screen to just come on and show him whatever channel Sam left it on last night. But it doesn’t, instead it just shows a loading screen, something that he doesn’t see, ever. He stares at the screen and then, when a channel guide comes up, he’s even more surprised.
“Sam!” he shouts, “What’s up with the TV?”
“What do you mean?” Sam shouts back, her voice harsh. “There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s been fine.”
“What the fuck’s up with the channel guide?” he shouts back. He scrolls through the list of channels, “Half these channels cost a shit load of money. How the hell have we got them? What the fuck did you buy now?”
“Nothing!” she shouts back.
Emmet stares at the TV some more. Then he spots something unusual on top of it. It’s a small box, smaller than a shoe box. It’s plain, black with a tiny flashing red light on the top.
“What the fuck is that?!” he shouts.
Sam sighs and comes into the room. She looks at him, waiting for a clue.
“What the fuck’s what?” she asks when he just glares at her. “I’m not a fucking mind reader.”
“What’s that?!” he asks, pointing at the box, “Where the fuck did it come from?”
“Oh a guy brought it round last night and hooked it up,” Sam says nonchalantly. “It’s a box that gets you all the channels without needing to buy a subscription or anything. Pretty cool. All the channels for free.”
“What’s it going to cost us?” he asks. “How much did you pay for this thing?”
“Nothing,” she says. “The guy brought it round last night, hooked it up and he said he’d come back in a few days. If we don’t want it then he’ll take it back. If we like it though we’ve only gotta pay him £50 for the thing and it’s ours for good. He said he’d even come and sort out any problems we might have with it at a later date.”
Emmet nods and turns back to stare at the box. Sam waits for a few minutes for him to say something else. When he doesn’t she huffs and heads back into the kitchen. Emmet barely notices her go. Instead he crawls across the floor and picks up the box. He sits with it, turning it around in his hands, examining each and every inch. It’s the real deal, well made and even though it’s clearly a bashed box it doesn’t look like it. He stares at it, feeling the weight of it in his hands. Has he just found the perfect opportunity to make a decent living? Has it fallen in his lap without him even trying?
He carefully pops the top on the box and looks at all of the wires inside. He wonders for a moment, examining it as closely as he can get. The more he looks, the more that he realises that he can knock these out, a large amount of them as well, for only £200. It would be no problem, easy to do. Even the supplies to make them would be cheap and easy to find.
“Hey Sam,” he shouts as he keeps looking at the box and puts it back together.
“What?!” she snaps, stomping back in to the living room. “You better not have broken that box.”
“No,” he says, eyes still locked on the box. “Did you get the details of the bloke who gave it to you?”
“Of course,” she says, like it should be obvious. “I’m not an idiot you know.” She disappears into the kitchen for a moment and then returns with a small white card in her hand. “Here, he left this so we could let him know what we think.”
Emmet reaches out and takes it. He carefully puts the box back on top of the TV and turns the card over and over in his hand. It’s pretty cheap looking, like the guy knocked it up in a few minutes and printed it at a photocopying shop or something. The name on it says Johnny Boy. It rings a bell in Emmet’s mind. He knows a Johnny Boy, only vaguely of course. He’s one of those guys always trying to make some quick and easy money. A real Del boy type. He’d never been interested in the drug dealing game though, despite the massive profit margins. He’d said time and again that it was a mug’s game. And he was right too. Emmet had never really spoken to him about anything else.
Emmet doesn’t think, he picks up the phone and dials the number on the card.
“Johnny Boy,” the man on the other end says when he picks up. The phone barely rang. “What can I do for you?”
“Johnny Boy,” Emmet says happily, “Great to hear you. Listen, my name’s Emmet, you left a box with my girlfriend, Sam, last night. I was wondering if you could tell me some more about these boxes of yours. Think you can come around to fill me in?”
“Sure thing fellah,” Johnny Boy says happily. “Is tonight alright? I’m free for a few hours.”
“Yeah,” Emmet says happily. “Yeah, tonight is fine.”
“Cool,” Johnny Boy says. “I’ll see you then.”
Johnny Boy hangs up without waiting for Emmet to respond. Emmet stares at the phone for a moment, startled. Then he puts the handset down and leans back against the sofa. A smile spreads across his face, only small at first but it quickly grows bigger and bigger. He’s taken that step, acted on his instincts and he might actually be in luck. He chuckles to himself.
The words of the CD ring in his mind. He has his vision, now he just needs a plan.
Emmet sits at the kitchen table, a blank piece of paper in front of him and a pen in his hand. The ideas are swirling around in his mind, not giving him time to put them in order. One keeps coming back though, time and time again. It won’t rest, won’t leave him alone. Every time the words come in to his mind he gets an excited tingle in the pit of his stomach, a shiver of anticipation. It’s one of those ideas that is motivating and all the other things that the CD said a goal should be. He shakes his hand, pulls the paper closer and quickly writes at the top.
EMMET’S TV EMPORIUM
He sits back and smiles. He’s had a vision of owning his own business, doing something that he loves with machines and wiring. He’s always loved that crap, loved fiddling with machines and seeing how they work. He used to love building machines when he was a kid, cobbling together different machines to get something that does more than just one thing.
Now he has the vision that he will sell enough of these boxes to do it. He needs enough capital to start his own, legitimate TV and DVD and VHS shop. He could make a lot of money with it and he will love it. He’s always been interested in anything to do with TV, those were what he loved to pull apart and put back together the most out of all the electrical equipment he could get his hands on. More importantly, all of the people that Emmet has sold pills to are avid TV watchers. Most of them like to take the pills and then watch children’s cartoons. They’d tell him that they liked the colours and that it made the jokes funnier somehow. Some like to watch the TV when they’re coming down, saying it helps keep them calm and steady.
So he knows his customers and what they want and like, he knows where to sell the boxes and who to sell them to. It’s really, when he thinks about it, a natural progression to go from pill dealer to TV retailer. After all, his customers from the pill game know him, trust him and they’d never expect him to be selling them dodgy crap. He’d be able to sell them the boxes straight out, a whole bunch of customers just ready and waiting for him to take their money in exchange for something awesome.
His vision is starting to become a plan. He does the calculations he needs; how much to get the boxes sold, how much to buy them, how much to buy the gear to make them, how much to sell them for and how many he will need to sell. Pretty soon there’s a mass of numbers and sums on his piece of paper. His head hurts slightly but he feels accomplished. He’s always been good at maths, putting things together and finding the number he needed at the end. He’s been working so quickly though, so many numbers going through his head, he feels like he’s on information overload.
But there’s still one more thing he doesn’t know, one more figure that he’s missing. He doesn’t know the premium that he needs to pay for a shop lease. He knows that will be the biggest cost, that will affect all of his other calculations. He’s been working roughly so far, using an idea of how much he’d like to make to complete his calculations. He needs a more concrete number to make sure that he’s going to be able to afford it.
There’s a paper sitting on the table that wasn’t there earlier. Sam must have brought it in and put it down without Emmet even noticing, he was so wrapped up in his calculations. He grabs the paper, flicks through the pages as quickly as he can to try and find the property pages. He scans each advert closely, looking at location and size of each potential retail space that’s on offer. Some look right, but they’re in the wrong place, too far from everything to make any decent profit. Others are in the perfect places for him to reach as many customers as he can but the floor space is tiny, the facilities nearby nowhere near what he needs.
That’s when he sees it. The perfect shop. It’s just outside of the shopping mall, close to one of his potential competitors but not so close that they’ll ruin each other. It’s the perfect size with store rooms included and two doors to get in and out of. He’d be easily able to secure the doors, keep his merchandise safe. It’s for let immediately but there’s no actual price on the advert. There’s only a phone number to call for a company called AHJ Lettings. Emmet takes one last look through the paper, just in case there’s anything else but there isn’t. He comes back to the advert, staring at it and tapping his pen on the table as he reads it again and again. He circles it with his pen so that he can see it without scanning through all of the adds.
He gives a sigh, grumbles at himself. He needs the price and he really likes the shop, what little he can see from the pictures. Of course actually calling up makes it real and he’s not sure if he wants to make his plan more real. He reads the title on the top of his paper again. That is his vision. That is his plan. He’s the only one stopping it from coming through. He rushes to get the phone. He carefully taps in each number and waits.
“AHJ Lettings,” a voice says, rough and casual. “What can we do for you?”
“I’ve seen an advert in the paper for a shop space,” Emmet says. “I was wondering if it’s still available.”
He reads out the reference number on the advert. He can hear a keyboard clacking in the background.
“Yes bruv,” the guy says, “We’ve still got it up for let. It’s earmarked for sale in two weeks though so if you want it you’re gonna have to be quick.”
“Can I come and view it?” Emmet asks quickly, his heart sinking a little.
“You got the funds bruv?” the guys asked.
“How much do I need?” Emmet asks. He holds his breath while he waits for the answer.
“£7,500 mate,” the guy says. Emmet’s heart sinks even further when he hears the number. “We need it within two weeks otherwise the boss man is going to sell it.”
“Yeah,” Emmet says, nodding even though the guy can’t see him. He starts to lie through his teeth, the desperation for the shop taking over. “I’ve got that much.”
“Come to the office then bruv,” the guy says happily. “Can you make it in today?”
“Yeah, no problem,” Emmet says. “I’ll see you in fifteen minutes.”
“Nice one bruv,” the guy says even happier. “See you in a few.”
Emmet hangs up the phone, sits back and smiles broadly. He gives a chuckle, gets up and heads to the bedroom. He can make this work; he’ll figure something out when he’s there. He always thinks better on his feet, not planning too much beforehand. If he’s going to blag this and get a good look at the shop, then he’s going to need to dress the part.