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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32. 32

This was the woman for him he thought and no matter what his parents thought of her he was going to be with her forever. He reached over and turned out the light and closed his eyes.

Shirley was unpacking the cases and sorting out the washing when Gary came up behind her. He slipped his arms around her and kissed the softness of her neck. “You could have done that tomorrow you know he whispered.’ I mean, technically we are still on our honeymoon.

“Shirley turned towards her new husband placing her arms around his neck. “What had you in mind she said then kissed him tantalisingly.’

Gary swept her up off her feet then carried her into the bedroom and lay her on the bed then turned out the light.

 

 

Jimmy Stephenson Was in Aspers, he’d been there since eleven o’clock. he  was losing a lot of money on the roulette tables. He was down to his last fifty pounds after losing two thousand pounds that evening.

“32 Black said Jimmy, placing the chips on the number and he waited for the wheel to be spun whilst sipping on a gin and tonic. The drinks were free so Jimmy took full advantage of the bar. He’d already drank six doubles and ordered another whilst he waited for the wheel to be spun.

“No more bets said the croupier as the wheel was spun and the white marble went in and it bounced around the numbers until the wheel began to slow and then it moved down and around the wheel and jumped two then another number to the gasps from those who’d laid vast sums down and landed on Jimmy’s number and he grinned like a Cheshire cat. The bunny girl brought him another drink.

“32 Black wins.

A large stack of chips was pushed his way and he then stacked them then went two thousand pounds on 7 Red. Again, the wheel went around and the marble spun in the opposite direction. Jimmy did not look as the marble bounced. He knew he’d won again when the crowd all cheered.

He’d won twenty thousand pounds on the spin of a wheel. Young gold diggers hovered around him they were good looking, tall, elegant, well- dressed girls who wore expensive jewellery and knew how to play the game alright. They chose their victims wisely. The middle- aged men all fell for the charms of these women. Fair enough they would end up in some hotel with them and get them into bed but it would inevitably cost them in the end. Some were lucky enough to get a holiday to St Tropez on some yacht worth several million pounds where they were wined and dined until they slept with some rich and even famous men. But then they were dumped. They were given some expensive gift which they later sold for several thousands of pounds building up a good bank balance so they could enjoy a rich lifestyle. The bunny girls were the easiest target for Jimmy and tonight was no exception. He got talking to one girl in particular. Sophia was her name but Jimmy knew that wasn’t her real name. They all had glamourous names but hid behind some seedy past. A lot of them were involved in the gangster fraternity where drugs were easy to get hold of.’

Sophia had agreed to meet him when she finished at two in the morning. She lived on the quayside in a flat owned by Mike Quatrini a local business man and racketeer.

Jimmy found out that her real name was June Patterson. Even though he’d had eight double gins he drove cautiously back to her flat in a flash Hyundai sport car where they spent the night together. The twenty-four-year-old slim busty blonde was the type Jimmy went for. After snorting a few lines of cocaine Jimmy was now sober as a judge and was able to have some fantastic sex. Jimmy was like his father in a lot of ways when he had been young, he had little respect for women who were just there for his sexual gratification. June had come from a bad home life. Her father was a drunk and beat up her mother after a booze filled night out. The house in Daisy hill was a war zone most nights with her parents at each other’s throats. She couldn’t wait to be old enough to leave the house where seven other siblings lived. When she was seventeen she lied about her age to get a job on board a cruise ship that sailed from Newcastle quayside to Stavanger in Norway. For two years she stuck that out until she was spotted by Mike Quatrini a local businessman who offered her a better paid job in his floating nightclub The Tuxedo Junction. She accepted and carried on working for him until she heard about Aspers the new casino that he was opening. They were looking for pretty girls to dress up in pink costume showing a nice pair of legs and a bit of cleavage and to serve drinks to the high rollers. The game was to keep them playing as long as possible. She made sure they had a good supply of food and drinks. Some of them were crude slimy people who thought that they had licence to grope all the girls who worked at Aspers casino. She once slapped a Chinese multi- millionaire after he squeezed her bosom. She was taken into the office and given a dressing down by the manager. However, June stood her ground and told her boss that she was not just there to be manhandled by smelly Chinese men who reeked of cigar smoke and whisky.

Kevin Arthur the manager assured her that they dealt with awkward customers diplomatically and that what had happened to her would never happen again. The problem was some of the girls flirted with the punters so they thought all of them were fair game. He took June home to her fancy apartment where they made love.

The next morning Jimmy left and told June that he’d see her later that evening.’ He drove home to change after showering and eating breakfast June had made for him.

“He left her a hundred pounds and told her to buy herself something nice with it.’

As much as she hated taking money from customers which made her feel as if she was prostituting herself. June had bills to pay just like everyone else. Her job paid her £250 pounds per week and she had clothes and food to buy as well as rent for the apartment which was expensive and all her utility bills. A hundred pounds was a lot of money to her. She thanked Jimmy before he left, driving away at top speed like some formula one racing driver.

Jimmy found himself going more regularly to Aspers. Some nights he won big but sometimes he lost too. June was at hand to try and make him feel better when he lost. One -night Jimmy was up by 50.000 pounds. She wasn’t meant to but she tried to get him to leave before he lost everything. He gave her thirty grand and told her to keep it safe for him.

She was terrified in case it was stolen from her apartment as Mike Quatrini had keys to all of the apartments and could just let himself in.

After they had been seeing each other for nearly a year Jimmy opened an account in her name where he began to deposit large sums of money. She never questioned where the money came from, she just kept putting it in.

 

 Jimmy Stephenson began knocking around with known gangsters in the town, he’d stay out late playing poker until the early hours and he’d be snorting coke and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. He was driving back to her apartment one night when the police pulled him over. He was breathalysed and found to be over three times the driving limit. He refused to give them a urine sample or a blood sample until he saw his solicitor.  Richard Charnock told him not to give them anything until he arrived. He went to the toilet several times during the course of the night so the next morning at ten o’clock the drugs he’d taken were virtually out of his system.  At Newcastle Crown Court. He pleaded guilty to drink driving and lost his driving licence for a year and was fined £500 pounds and costs of £100. This was nothing to Jimmy who now had three quarters of a million pounds in Junes account.  Matters got out of hand when Jimmy started to ask her to keep packages in her apartment for him. She knew he was selling cocaine and they argued over it. Jimmy just reassured her that everything was fine and that soon he’d have enough money for them to go away for a long time and not have to worry about money ever again. He bought her an expensive engagement ring and told her that they’d be married once he’d got enough money. But there was never enough money.

She was banking £30.000 pounds every week for him then he was getting her to transfer the money into an off-shore account to avoid paying tax on it. June carried on working at the Casino so no-one would suspect her.

It was on the Friday night in October 1986 that Jimmy Stephenson and three others were set up by the police. The under -cover coppers posed as a drug gang from London looking to make a big score. Jimmy and his three henchmen, who were working for him met the gang under the three bridges in Newcastle. They pulled up in a car where the exchange was to take place. They asked Jimmy to supply them with 10 kilos of cocaine with a street value of over £500.000.

Jimmy opened the boot of the car and took out the packages after the gang showed him the cash all in small denominations. As soon as Jimmy passed them the drugs the police swooped and he was arrested. Richard Charnock tried to get him out on bail but failed so he was remanded in custody to await trial. Jimmy saw June and told her to say nothing and to keep her head down. She provided cash for him so he would be looked after once he was convicted. Again, he was to appear at Newcastle Crown Court. The trial lasted over a week and he and his three henchmen were jailed. He got three years and the others eighteen months each. Viv Graham the local hard man was in Durham himself after an altercation inside a night club where Viv set about a gang of men and a few of them ended up in hospital after being beaten to a pulp. He was paid to look after Jimmy Stephenson whilst he was incarcerated.  Jimmy served just over eighteen months and was released on the 3rd of January 1989.

His mother was waiting for him when he got out and told him if he ever got involved with drugs again that they’d be finished. Little did she know that now he was working for one of the top drug dealers in Britain, once you got involved you couldn’t break free of their clutches unless you had enough money to disappear and not come back.

Soon, Jimmy was back to his old ways gambling and drinking. Late night poker games and drug fuelled parties. June tried to break away but she was in too deep. She loved Jimmy who was so kind and gentle with her even in his drunken state; he was never violent towards her. Yes, they argued but it never came to blows. 

On the 10th of March 1989, they found Jimmy Stephenson’s body in a back alley in the “Big Market” in Newcastle. He’d been stabbed to death in a violent attack. Nobody knew why it had happened; there where only rumours flying around. Some were saying that he’d fallen out with Viv Graham who was anti- drugs and that he’d been warned not to sell gear on his patch. Some were saying that he’d fell out with John Henry Sayers another renown hard case from the West End of Newcastle. At his funeral June Patterson placed a single red rose on his coffin as his mother, daughter Margaret, and Shirley’s sister Kate wept as the curtains closed and his body was cremated. Gary supported them all as they left the church. Bob Stephenson, Paula his new wife, Jimmy Stephenson his father and Betty Bumface were there sitting on the other side of the Church. Other family members gathered inside the church. James Stephenson was only twenty- three years old. Outside Bob went over to his ex-wife he hadn’t seen her since the day she’d left three years ago and was quite surprised at how well she looked.

“You will come to the wake at the Rugby club in Whitley Bay, won’t you?’ The club was another place that her son frequented.  Bob thanked Shirley for the offer but refused saying he had to get back.’

He led Paula to her car and they got in with his father and Betty Bumface, Paula drove slowly up to the to the gates then away down the road towards home.

“Are you alright Bob asked Paula?’

“I never thought I’d be going to my son’s funeral before my own.’

“He lived his life the way he wanted Bob.’

“He always was a dreamer though, even when he was a little boy.’

“Just try and think of the good times you had together.’

He was a right little bugger you know even when he was at school. I remember when he stole a famed painting from the headmaster’s office at school and sold it for £5.00 pounds just so he could go to the pictures with his mates. It was only when another member of staff went into the junk shop after recognising the picture from the outside window that the man in the shop told him it was a school boy who had sold him the picture. The headmaster got the picture back and the shop owner went around every class until Jimmy was pointed out. He was given the hiding of his life off his mother and me when we found out. And then there was the time when he sneaked into the woodwork room and pinched the teachers brown coat and hat and put them on to go to Hogarth’s bookies where he proceeded to spend his dinner money on the horses that I’d picked out that morning. He’d copy them down and the meetings they were running at and then go and put them on. The next day he’d go back to collect his winnings after asking me if my horses had won.

“Eeh, the little bugger; how did you find out?’

“He told me when he was old enough to go himself.’

“You’re going to miss him, aren’t you?’

 “Yes, for all of his faults he was a harmless kid you know. “He certainly didn’t deserve to die the way he did.’

 

When Paula got back to the bungalow after dropping off his father and Betty, Bob walked up to the path he opened the door and went into the house. He went to his bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed and began to weep unashamedly. He had lost the line to his family, his blood. Paula heard him crying and left him alone to grieve on his own. He needed to cry because he hadn’t let his emotions get the better of him until now. Bob remained in the house for several days and did not even venture out to the book makers or even the club. After a week Paula suggested that he go to the doctors for something for his depression.

“I’ll be fine love I just need a bit of time that’s all.’ He told her.’

Paula had never seen him this low before, he seemed as if he was blaming himself for his son’s death.

Every day he rang the police station in Newcastle to ask if they had caught anyone for his son’s murder.’

The female officer on the other end of the line was very sympathetic but couldn’t give him any news. All she could say was, that investigations were continuing.

 

 

When several boxes arrived at the house on Ilfracombe Garden on the Saturday Morning. Gary picked up the phone and rand Margaret to tell her that his computer had arrived. The desk was self-assembly so he took out the instructions and read them then set to work fixing the parts together with the help of Shirley when she came back from “Crowds” after having her hair done. Margaret drove up to Newton park to pick up Keith who was waiting for her. He came straight out when he saw the car. He was wearing a blue coloured shirt and another V-necked sweater with brown coloured corduroy trousers and light tanned shoes and beige coloured socks. He put on his beige Jacket that Margaret had bought him he looked a lot smarter than he did the last time that his mother saw him. She told him to ditch the tie and to just have an open necked collar.

Margaret had taken Keith for a haircut. He looked more like Gilbert O’Sullivan with his mop of curly hair but now that it was cut he looked more respectable. She had also had taken him to the opticians, where upon she got him some contact lenses so he didn’t look so old fashioned in those glasses that he wore all the time. He got into the car and Margaret looked at him.

“What a difference Keith, you look amazing.’

“Thank you, said Keith with a smile, these contact lens are taking some getting used to but I like them better than my glasses.

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