The Jolly Boys

Shirley Stephenson is a bored housewife who never stops day in day out, its the same humdrum existence. Bob her husband is a lazy good for nothing. who lost his leg in an industrial accident and is claiming benefit fraudulently. he keeps her short and moans because she goes to the bingo. Shirley finds the courage to file for a divorce and free herself. her life is suddenly transformed after she finds all of the compensation that Bob has been hiding from her. she orders a taxi she takes £30.000 and takes a box with some things that her gran had left her.

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10. 10

Bob could have just hung up or got into some verbal’s with the ill- mannered ignoramus on the other end of the line but Bob had been told by his boss that he should always be polite.

"Where is the taxi going Mr Ferry?'

"Wherever I tell him.'

"I will send a taxi down as soon as we have one available. the man on the other end began to threaten Bob so Bob just hung up.'

Bob then pressed the radio control button. "Anyone on Wallsend High Street I have a pick up from the Queens Head.'

The radio crackled and then came a voice I'm near there I'll do it Bob over.'

It was John Guthrie a young lad who hadn't been with the firm very long.

"Don't ask questions John just take this guy anywhere he wants to go.'

"On my way, who is it like?'

"Colin Ferry.'

"Shit; anyone but him.'

Colin Ferry was a notorious gangster who lived over South Shields but frequented many pubs and clubs. He had a reputation for using guns and wasn't afraid to use them if need be.

John had just dropped a bloke off at the Coach and Horses so he drove steadily up the high street to pick up his fare.

He pulled outside and waited and shortly after three big men got in one was carrying a bag, one sat in the front seat and told John to drive to the Raby in Byker. John didn't speak he kept his eye on the road and took no notice of the other two men in the back. The two men were snorting coke in the back of his cab and laughing. John was wondering if he was going to get paid as he drove past Walker then up towards the Byker PTE Club. he stopped at the junction then turned left. Once John reached the Raby he thought that that would be the end of it. The three men then entered the pub and all hell let loose. inside the bag was a shot gun and two baseball bats. A man known to them was sitting with two friends when Colin Ferry and his associates walked in they looked around the bar until they found who they were looking for. Calmly Colin took the shot gun out and trained it on his intended victim. The room fell silent as others tried to make for the exits but were stopped by the other two big men. There was a bit of bravado from man who told Ferry. "You haven't got the bottle.'

"Do you think so.'

"There was a loud boom as Ferry fired the gun then there was screams as the man held onto his leg where it had been shot. The blood began to seep out of his leg onto the floor as Ferry turned then said "Alright carry on" he shoved the gun back into the bag and calmly walked out of the pub and got into the taxi.

"Right take us to the casino.'

"John was shitting himself because he knew that they’d just shot someone. The men began to relay the story and how one of the men at the table had pissed his pants as Ferry had shot his intended victim in the leg. "We'll have no more bother from that bastard said one of the men.

"If we do I'll blow a hole in his chest next time.' That'll teach the twat to sell gear on my patch.'

"Well he's had his warning.'

"I think his foot was just hanging on by a thread you know.'

"He'll be no good in an arse kicking contest then said Ferry.' and the men fell about laughing again on the back seat. 'John drove the car nervously to "Aspers Casino in Newgate Street. He thought that any moment the police would swoop and that the three men would be arrested. It never happened. He saw a police car and an ambulance go flying past on the other side of the road but just carried on driving to the Casino. Once outside the men got out.

"Wait here until we come out ordered Colin Ferry.'

The glass fronted building and extensive decor was certainly a welcoming sight for those who could afford it.' The minimum bet was five pounds. Girls graced the stage like they did in Las Vegas with skimpy costumes and plumes. The lights from the slot machines beckoned you to play.

The roulette tables with large Chinese lantern like light lit up the place. and black jack room had gold pillars and had a plush red pattered carpet throughout. There was a lounge and bar area as well as Freyas restaurant where you could eat top cuisine. the croupiers were all well dressed in black and a red and black waist coat. The croupiers were changed if there were any discrepancies.

Colin Ferry played the blackjack table and was quickly up by two hundred pounds. He then went to the roulette table and laid of some spread bets which won him five hundred pounds. He then spent two hours playing poker before walking out with nearly five grand. The other lads hadn't done too bad either. Ferry got into the car and asked John to take him back home through the Tyne tunnel. Once he'd dropped them all off. Ferry gave him £100 pounds then disappeared inside the house. John let out a huge sigh of relief as he drove away. he'd made enough to cover his shift and a little more. Out of his earnings he had to pay the owner for the licence. and the use of his GPS system and for getting him work plus he had to pay to fix the car at the garage. It meant that each week he had to earn over £80.00 before he could make money for himself then he had to put petrol in the car. On a good week, he could make £80 in one night then the rest of the week whatever he earned was his. he could take home a few hundred quid on a good week. depending on how long he worked and how many days he did. through the week it was relatively quiet but the weekend was hectic; it is non -stop.  no sooner did he drop someone off then he was off to pick up someone else. Right up to two thirty in the morning when it tailed off. he usually got in at three a.m. and then sometimes had to collect someone from the airport at seven o'clock that morning. It didn't leave him much of a social life so much so that he now lived on his own after his wife divorced him.

 

 

 Shirley Stephenson had a shower then changed for the bingo Joyce Marti usually called for her around six thirty. The years had been kind to Shirley she had dyed her hair to impress her husband but he never even noticed. There were no lines under her eyes and she still turned heads she thought. The make- up hid a multitude of sins she grinned as she applied mascara with an eye brush and then some eyeshadow. Shirley still had a slim figure though for her age. Joyce was platinum blonde, she wore a pair of black trousers and a white box jacket and a red blouse. Joyce wore glasses; she 'd worn them since she got myopia. she was as blind as a bat without them on.

 "Are you ready then Joyce asked as she stood at the door whilst Shirley hunted for her door keys. She locked the door then the two women crossed the road to get the bus into Wallsend.

I hope you're feeling lucky tonight Shirl' said Joyce as they boarded the bus.'

"I always feel lucky me.'

"Well play your cards right pet and you never know said the driver with a smile.'

Promises, promises answered Shirley flashing a smile at the handsome looking driver.'

"Where you girls headed then?' 

"We're going to the Empress.'

"And afterword’s I get off here after this run if you fancy a drink.'

"Hey what about me said Joyce.' and I thought we were going to the bingo.'

Look I’ll be in Chadwick’s if you fancy coming in after the bingo and my mate Ritchie will be with me.'

The two women got on and sat down on the left-hand side of the bus so Shirley could look at the driver.

"What the hell are you doing Shirl' you’re a married woman.'

"Come on Joyce it's just a drink, and besides isn't a woman entitled to a bit of fun, I forget the last time I had any.'

"What if Bob finds out?'

"He won't.'

"Are you and Bob not getting on like?'

Joyce all he does is moan about his meals, have you seen the belly on him.'

"He's put on a  stone since his accident hasn't he.'

"A few you mean, Joyce he never pays me a compliment no matter how I make the effort and I’m sick of him slobbering over me when he's had a few down the club.

"What are you going to do then Shirley?'

I called into Paul Dodd’s solicitors on Wednesday and I got a free consultation on how to go about getting a divorce.'

"Are you serious?'

"Yes,' I’m not happy Joyce, Bob and I have run our course, we're just going through the motion's now. I'm only thirty- seven Joyce, I’m young enough to start again. I just want some fun in my life Joyce. Is that too much to ask?'

"No but what will happen to Bob and what about Jimmy and Margaret?'

"Bob will be alright, he can keep the council house and Jimmy is old enough to get a place of his own and so is Margaret or they can stay with their dad, I’ve already put my name down for a flat anyway.'

"Seems like you've already decided, haven't you?'

"Yes, Joyce I’ve had it with this marriage, it's a bloody sham.'

The bus stopped outside the Co-op and the driver said "I might see you later then.' as Shirley got off.

"You might, said Shirley.'

"What’s your name anyway?'

"Shirley and this is Joyce.'

"Hi Joyce, I'm Gary, I hope to see you both later, be lucky. Gary pulled away from the kerb and drove down towards the metro station.'

"He's definitely keen on you isn't he said Joyce as they walked along the high street to the bingo hall.'

The old man at the door checked their members card as they went in and then went to buy their books.' Inside the bingo hall the blue coloured carpet and seating was a hive of activity as people tried to get a seat. Joyce found them a table as Shirley went to the bar and got them a half of Lager and lime. Joyce had arranged her books on her bingo board that she kept in her bag.'

When Shirley brought the drinks over she smoothed her dress then sat down.'

"Cheers, here's to a new beginning.'

"Yeah cheers Shirl.'

"So, what about Roger the lodger, are you still seeing him or what?'

"Well he rings me up when he gets back off the rigs and we go out you know, but he's away a month at a time Shirl.'

“How can you conduct a relationship like that.'

"Let's see what tonight brings eh. he might be tall dark and handsome.'

"He might be fat and bald an aal.' both girls laughed as the bingo caller who was called Alan took to the stage.

"He's a smooth-talking bugger isn't he said Joyce.'

"Another one who thinks he's God’s gift to women.' Prick.'

"Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the Empress bingo tonight.' we have your early flyer which will be played for a full house and we will be playing for no less than ONE HUNDRED POUNDS.' then we will carry on with your books and the first page in your book should be blue. if it is not please see a member of staff and they will change it for you.' Your first six games will be for ten pounds for a line and fifty pounds for your house.' If you are all ready, then we will begin. Good luck and remember the Empress is where you can win big money in our National Flyer which will be played for at around nine forty- five.' so on we go with your first flyer ticket - Eyes down your first number.'

The hall fell silent as the caller rattled off the numbers in quick succession. The line was called in thirteen numbers and Joyce looked at Shirley.

"I wanted two what about you?'

"I wanted three.'

The line was checked and Alan carried on for the full house. Using a green marker Joyce crossed off the numbers.  Shirley was using red.

"House a woman shouted in the far-right hand corner.'

"Lucky bugger said Shirley.'

"Aye, I bet her husband doesn't see that.'

Neither would Bob if I had won it either. It would only be spent at the bookies or on beer.'

"True.'

The next game got underway and again the girls couldn't win.'

"I wish that bugger would shake his balls up.'

"He'd talk with a squeaky voice then laughed Joyce.'

"A good kick in the nuts would be an improvement I tell yer.'

"He must have heard you Shirl,' I want just one number.'

"Come on pull it whispered Joyce.'

"Five and nine fifty- nine, three and two thirty -two.'

“It's not going to come out now.’

"All the seven's seventy- seven.'

"Here shouted Joyce.'

"Well done said Shirley.'

The book was checked and Alan confirmed the win.

"That's twenty- five quid each Shirl.'

 "Are you sure, I mean I don't mind if you have bills to pay and that you know.'

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