CHAPTER: 12345, 6789101112131415161718192021222324252627, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32EPILOGUE

But she doesn’t join the other students at the chairs and desks. Instead she walks towards the table at the front of the room and puts down the pile of books that she’s holding in her arms. She lifts the trolley that she was pulling up and on to the table. As the students settle down she digs out a sheaf of papers and hands them to someone at the front. Then she turns to the assembled students, claps her hands and smiles.

“Hello everyone,” she says, “My name is Connie and I will be your tutor for this course. I have a history in law. I will admit that while I might not have much experience actually practicing law, I know it inside and out. After all, you know what they say, those who can, do and those who can’t teach”

The class bursts into laughter. Judd laughs along too, mechanically. Inside though his mind is racing. He doesn’t hear another word even as Connie continues to explain a bit more about herself. Instead he is just thinking over and over about what he has done, running through the incident in the car park in his mind like it is on a loop. His tutor is the same woman that cut him off, the one that he raged at. He groans quietly and wants to sink down in his seat. Clearly he hasn’t made the best first impression and there is a really big chance that she will take his anger out on him as revenge. He wouldn’t blame her, it’s what he would do after all. Then he sighs and shrugs in his mind. If he’s made a bad impression who cares. The marking is all done anonymously and she can’t and shouldn’t penalise him for something he didn’t know. Then again, he thinks to himself, women and people in general carry grudges for longer than you could ever imagine. She could very well be one of those people.

“Can anyone define Justice for me?” Connie said.

Judd jolted as he realised that Connie had stopped talking about herself and was now talking to the class as a whole. There was a tap on his shoulder and he realised that someone was handing him a collection of papers. Judd takes the papers from the person behind him and takes one from the top. Then he takes another one to make notes on before handing the rest forward. He looks at Connie and sees her looking around.

“Come on people,” she says, “Anyone at all, take a shot. Would any one like to define Justice for me and the rest of the class?”

Judd looks around and sees no other hands up. He spots other students looking around, checking each other out and figures that they’re trying to suss out their classmates, just like he is. Connie is looking stressed and a little deflated. He realises that this may be the chance to make a better second impression and thinks ‘what the heck’ he knows what Justice is in his mind so he may as well have a go. It’s not like he can make things much worse after all. He puts his hand up. Connie smiles, looking relieved, and points at him.

“Yes, you in the back,” she says, “What’s your definition of justice?”

“Revenge.” Judd says with a shrug, “Those who do wrong are punished by the one that they wronged.”

“Hmmm…” Connie says. She starts to pace back and forth in front of the white board. “That is certainly an interesting view point. And I do agree, the purest, simplest and oldest form of Justice is revenge. In the past, before we were quite as civilised as we are now, when there were no judges, or police men, justice would be carried out as revenge. An eye for an eye as it were. In Viking society for example the wronged would pick the punishment of the wrong doer and their leader, usually a Lord, would see that it was carried out. Often the victim would in fact carry out the punishment. And if a victim was unable to get to their Lord, for instance if their home was attacked or someone attempted to force themselves on the victim, the victim would be well within their rights to fight back and carry out their own justice. If one family were wronged by another they would receive the chance to carry out their revenge. However there were some flaws to that attitude and this way of thinking often lead to feuds that could last generations unless a Lord stepped in to sort things out.”

Connie looks around, Judd glances up from his notes and he sees that everyone around him is taking notes, just like he is. He decides that he may need to look into this Viking attitude to revenge and justice for himself. It certainly sounds interesting enough.

“But Justice,” Connie continues, “Justice as it stands now is defined, formally, as this;”

She clicks a button on the remote in her hand and words appear on the whiteboard, projected there by a machine at the back of the room. She reads them aloud.

“Justice attempts to punish the wrongdoer for the benefit of the wronged AND society as a whole.”

The entire class furiously writes down the words on the board and Connie’s speech as she goes on to explain it further. Judd does the same although his mind is only half on the woman speaking. Her definition of Justice is, in his book, the definition of revenge. In the world in which he lived his life, his business is built on revenge. Deals were built upon deals successfully because they lay on a foundation of revenge. If anyone tried to stiff him or cut him out of a deal he would seek revenge and so benefited him as well as others of his like. It keeps him safe because people know that if they try to short change him or go after him in any way he would bring it back down onto them, tenfold.

In Judd’s business wrongdoers have to be punished. It is the only way that they will learn not to try and do that to Judd’s business. More importantly it sends a message to the wider community that trying to wrong Judd will bring justice down on your head and it will happen swiftly and furiously. People understand this, they respect it and as a result they respect Judd.  They all had the same attitude to justice, they all carry out their own justice when the wider world’s law just doesn’t get the results that are needed and wanted. The community have their own brand of justice and they work together to ensure that it is enforced.

In the world that Judd lives in, understanding that revenge and retribution are key defensive tools make the difference between being a memory or making it. His business isn’t an easy one, for anyone to break into. Few last longer than 3 months or so. Some last more before they get cocky and forget the key rules of justice and revenge, some last far less because they refuse to change their way of thinking to embrace revenge as a tool. Revenge and justice are not just business tools for Judd and his people, they are a way of live, the key to survival in a world that will chew you up and spit you out faster than you can blink. Judd has lasted longer than anyone expected. He’s been doing what he does for going on 4 years and he’s rarely had any problems that he couldn’t deal with because of his form of justice.

Judd knows that there are dodgy suppliers trying to sell you products that are cut down to barely anything usable, opportunists who will leap at the first chance to rob you or blackmail you, staff members who will siphon the stock up their nose or trickle it away to start their own business and customers who will try to pickpocket you on drop offs. There are dozens of dangers out there in his world and being able and willing to carry out revenge sends the message that he is not to be fucked with. People tried at the beginning but soon learnt the right way of doing business and all because Judd knows justice and he knows revenge and he isn’t afraid to carry out either.

Judd glances up from his notes from time to time, checking the time or just jotting down anything that Connie has written up on to the white board. Every time he looks up he notices Connie looking at him, glancing away whenever he catches her gaze before looking again. Judd wonders why she’s looking at him, maybe because he had the balls to be the first to speak up in class, maybe because he gave a clear and definite answer that allowed her to get started with an interesting subject. Judd shakes it off, trying to ignore the feeling of her eyes on him and carries on taking notes as Connie goes into more and more detail about justice and how it works.

Time passes slowly and Judd’s pages soon fill up with line after line of notes. Connie’s speaking at top speed, animated and articulate about her topic. It’s all that he can do to keep up with her words and he considers asking the guy in front for a copy of the recording that he’s making. Judd can see the recorder on the desk in front of him, the little red light flashing as it works. Connie briefly takes a break from speaking to swig some water and Judd takes the opportunity to shake his hand. He has never realised that law and justice can be so interesting and he’s starting to think that this conversion course may be just the thing that he needs to get his mind going again.

Connie’s still looking at him, staring for a little longer now, even as she starts talking again. Judd catches her eye and she doesn’t falter. She just keeps talking but holds his gaze for a moment before she looks away. Judd smirks to himself. Perhaps she’s decided that she fancies him a little. It certainly looks that way. Perhaps it was the altercation in the car park, the way he had spoken to her. Perhaps that’s the sort of thing that gets her hot, turns her on. Judd knows he’s good looking and there’s no doubt in his mind that Connie is too but he had not thought that she would go for a guy like him. She seems too prim and proper, even for an Essex girl, and although he dresses nicely, he is still a guy from the wrong side of New Town, raised in a corner shop. But then again he has come a long way from his roots, going further than anyone in his family has ever done before. Maybe that luck isn’t just restricted to business but to ladies too.

Judd shakes his head and returns to making notes. He needs to buckle down, to finish this course as quick as he can so he can become a lawyer. His dad is relying on him to get him out of prison, to help over turn the court case of assault when all Asif was doing was carrying out justice for himself and his property. There’s no time in Judd’s life for more complications like women. Business keeps him busy enough.

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