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September 2000

 JJ entered Angie's bar to meet his potential new supplier, in an area of Brookbourne he'd never been to before, called Rippon. He was confident his connection to this guy was safe so he wasn't nervous about the person being an informer, or worse, undercover police.  As he sat in the trendy 'Pre-Bar' he attempted to scan the room to identify the person he'd spoken to some thirty minutes earlier. 

 There were groups of young men in various parts of the bar, all of similar ages.  JJ could see they were quite young and this guy sounded a little older than JJ.  Then he spotted another group, both men and women, all dancing, seemed pretty drunk, having a good time. He was pretty sure it weren't them, the guy he spoke to on the phone seemed pretty sober.  There in the corner, he spotted two men, and one girl. They were minding their own business, had a large bottle of wine on the table but didn't seem that drunk. 

 One guy was black, and the other Asian. The lady with them seemed pretty familiar to them both so JJ guessed she was just a friend. They were all dressed in smart casual clothes, denim jeans, trainers and trendy leather or nylon jackets, probably Hugo Boss by the looks of it. 

 JJ wore a grey hooded top, white T-shirt, blue Armani jeans and black boss trainers. He made a point of never wearing clothes where it showed their  'designer' name. 

 The Black guy looked over at him, nodded, showed a phone in his hand, and JJ picked up on the cue and called the number. From the distance he could see the screen light up and knew immediately that he got the correct guy. 

 Before he got up both the black guy whom he now knew to be Warren, and the Asian fella walked over to his table, leaving the lady by herself. She seemed pretty content to be left alone so maybe knew what was going on. 

 The music was very loud and he struggled to hear Warren talk. He was a little smaller than JJ, but had a compact build, but didn't look like he was the fighting type. To which he wasn't, he just made that name up so as to confuse the old bill should he ever get nicked. On this, JJ laughed, it was a smart, albeit, comical thing to do.  The Asian man with him was one of his friends. His name was Jazz, he had a very slim, slightly hooked nose, short black hair and dressed in blatant designer clothing, very bling, he thought. 

 JJ motioned for them to go outside to talk, and they both got up to follow him. At this stage he wasn't sure who was in charge, either Warren or Jazz, not that it mattered he thought. He was connected to Warren so would continue to talk to him, if Jazz had anything to say then he would no doubt butt in. 

 They spoke about generic stuff at first about whom Warren knew in Shortland, he dropped a few names but these were people JJ never heard of. Coming from Richstead was kind of funny, it was cut off from the rest of the city by a train line and a huge dual carriageway, an area sat all by itself. Not only that it was well known that 'lads' who lived on the other side of town often carried guns, did armed robbery, and loved doing 'bird' (prison time). He'd rather stay away from that. 

 Rather than sound like a complete amateur JJ chose just to say that he'd heard of these people but didn't know them personally. He didn't mention that he'd only been involved in crime for just over 2 years, a newbie to all intents and purposes, and quite late in getting into it at 26 years of age. This satisfied Warren enough. They spoke about training and for how long JJ boxed for and how long he'd been doing the new craze in martial art - Jiu Jitsu.

 Then they got to business, JJ told Warren he was getting through two 9 bars of charlie each week, in effect half a kilo. Immediately Warren asked him how much he was paying, JJ smiled and jokingly said "Are you the seller or buyer?" to which both of them burst out laughing. 

 The Thai boxer liked this lad, he was sharp, polite, and was no idiot. Warren told him it was £25k for uncut, and £17,500 for cut, to which it was still 80% purity. JJ wasn't sure if that latter bit was true or just salesman talk, but did say he'd like to test a sample. 

 On this Jazz stepped up from the chair, up to now he'd been polite, listening and not asking any questions. He motioned for JJ to follow him, and he assumed he was going to pick up a sample and then leave. Warren nodded his head towards Jazz, suggesting he also follow him too. 

 They walked back down towards the rear of the bar. Jazz seemed to know all the staff as they all said 'Hello' to him. He was headed towards the toilets, and JJ assumed he was going to give him a 'wrap' of cocaine to take back with him. 

 Suddenly he pulled open the disabled toilet, and waved JJ inside. 'Fuck me this lad doesn't give a shit' JJ thought, or he really does have a running of the place.  As soon as he was inside he asked Jason to close the door, and lock it.  He then watched him wipe the surface clean on top of the toilet roll holder. He put his right hand into his pocket and pulled out a bag of 'Charlie'. 

 JJ smiled, he was being tested. Despite knowing who Tim was, they wanted to know if JJ was an old bill or not. Getting him to do a line of cocaine was a sure way to figure out if was a criminal or a fed. Great way to build trust and open dialogue in this business, he thought.  At that point in time Jason was sure the police, undercover or not, were never allowed to take drugs whilst on duty.  It was a smart thing to do, it was something he would have done too.

 Jazz put out two lines. He smiled but his serious, borderline aggressive eyes told a different story. JJ put his hands in his pocket and pulled out his wallet 

 "Here mate, use this note instead if you?" 

 To which JJ shook his head and rolled out a fiver for himself. He rarely sniffed, it didn't do anything for him other than often make him feel quite aggressive. Lets hope I don't end up nutting the fuck out of Jazz he thought. He put the rolled £5 note to nose, hung it slightly above one line and sniffed, quite deeply so it all went up his nostril in one go. 


 "I'll let you know in 10 mins or so, but yeah seems alright".

 Right from when he first started selling charlie JJ was lucky to have come across some of the best stuff right from the outset. A friend of his, from his boxing contacts, supplied cocaine smuggled in from Jamaica. As the guy was just starting up he never cut what he supplied to JJ, and it was as close to pure as could be. It had a distinctive petroleum smell, and was slightly yellow. When JJ first tried that out he felt like his head was going to explode, such was its strength. But it was also a valuable lesson in knowing what 'pure' Charlie was. 

 What he experienced from Jazz wasn't the same but wasn't a bad hit. JJ was aware he was a big guy and sometimes drugs had different effects on different people, hence telling Jazz about the time difference. He knew it would be a while before he felt any kind of 'buzz'. 

 He watched Jazz have a line, and he even offered him another but he declined. He'd passed the test and this guy now seemed to relax, put his arm around JJ's big shoulders and said 'Come on let's have a drink, on me'. 

 After 15 minutes of being in the bar, talking some more to Warren, and now Jazz was even beginning to relax. The lady with them, Gilly, was a girl friend of Jazz. She seemed quite shy and was content to watch people.  She was tall for a girl, 5"10, and had lovely long legs, but a very small chest. She had white, short bobbed hair, and red lipstick. She was attractive but not JJ's cup of tea he thought. Still Jazz looked happy. 

  For his part Jazz spoke more to her when they came out of the toilet, leaving the business chat to Warren.  He now understood Warren was in charge.

 "Alright son,?" 

 was what Warren said to him when he came out, he simply nodded his head and sat down. He saw Jazz nodd at his friend, confirming that JJ had passed their little test. 

 Then they really started talking business, JJ mentioned about the amount of Hash he could get, and Warren did take a keen interest in this as they had a friend who was in another town that shifted loads all over the region. This was good. 

 Warren was keen to offload some Charlie to JJ, knowing Tim owed him some money and wanted to get rid of the bill so he could earn some more too. 

 At first they agreed JJ would take 2 ounces, and see if his people liked it and double up every time until he wanted to stop. This made sense as it would cut down on travel time between the cities. 

 On reflection Warren seemed like a good guy. He was a little older than JJ, around his late-thirties, and had one child. He said he got into this business because he was skint and had enough of working 'like a dog'.   Because he had a large family that lived all over the city, and were in rival gangs, he pretty much got to know all the criminals in the city. He never took sides and people often came to him with their issues to which he genuinely wanted to sort out. 

 JJ got the impression he was a peacemaker, could always see both sides of an issue and as a result was able to empathise well with people. Empathy, that was his gift. He understood people and used that to his advantage, very clever JJ thought. 

 It had been about 15 minutes since he had a line and now could see he was buzzing. His fists were clenching involuntarily and he had to make a concerted effort not to 'gurn' with his mouth. The 'Charlie' was good and hopefully his people would like it.  If he bought it from these guys he would save £1250 per bar, £2500 per half kilo, and £5,500 for a kilo. It made sense. 

 They agreed to meet on Monday day time, Warren said he would make some calls about the hash and would know by then who would want what. In turn JJ said he would shift all the remaining 'charlie' he had left and come back with an order then. 

 He shook hands with Warren, and then with Jazz, and waved goodbye at his girlfriend. JJ was sometimes a little conscious about how to say goodbye to another mans' girlfriend or wife. Did he kiss them, shake their hand, or wave at them. He didn't know and so opted for the easiest one - a wave. 

 All in all it was a good meeting, he smiled to himself as he left the bar. Another new door had just been opened and JJ happily stepped through it, knowing it would lead to more 'earners'. 

Bio:  As JJ immerses himself further into the criminal underworld his connection's reach outside his own city for the first time.


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