London Calling


“You’re not cool with this?”

“Do I look fucking cool with it?”

Don curls his lip, bites down. A pained look. “Beer?

“Fuck off.”

Frowns. “Good stuff . . . Stella.”

I raise myself from the cowhide chair, cross the floor. The first thing that comes to hand is the purple lava lamp. It smashes like the One O’clock Gun as I take it over Don’s head.

“Need a truckload of Stella for me to be cool with you fucking my girlfriend.”

London Calling blares out the Bosch speakers. I think, bollocks, Jonny Ladd isn’t going to like this.


* * * *


First I see of the bloke is Don knocking seven-bells out him in Deacon Broadie’s shitter. A suit. Banker-type or something, I’d say ad-man, but like I’d know an ad-man . . . I sell Bob Hope for Don. Need a new line.

“What’s this?”

Don looks up, still kicking fuck out the guy, spots blood on his  Kickers, removes one, slaps the fella about the head with it.

“Seen my shoes y’prick!”

“Sorry . . . sorry.” He raises his hands, waves them in a girlie manner. Makes Don laugh, he slaps my shoulder; I fall into a cubicle as the main door swings open.

“Jonny!” says Don.

I ease onto the toilet seat, make myself invisible. Dealing for Don’s one thing, mixing with Jonny Ladd is another.

Jonny speaks, “This the cunt?”

“Yeah,” says Don, “Clocked him with the blonde bit.”

Jonny Ladd says nothing. I see him in the mirror, face crumpled. He gives banker-guy the once over, walks round, motions a thumb, “Get him the fuck out.”


“Your gaff, there’s a brasser on the way . . . Make sure you’ve got your fucking camera!”


* * * *


“You got hold?”

Don drops his end, banker-guy slumps into the wall. Blood from a nasty nosebleed leaves a streak on the plaster.

“Fucksake, Don . . . I said this would happen.”

Over the banister comes a female voice, Oriental, “Hello, is suck-suck, yes?” It’s the pro. Thai or something, anxious to get going.

Don shouts, “Yeah . . . Minute, eh.” He bends, slaps the banker. Mumbles. Don jumps the steps, turns, fishes keys from his pocket, says, “Drag him. I’ll get opened up . . .”

I raise the guy, balance his arm around my neck. “You have to help me . . .” he says.


“I know what this is about.”

“You pissed off Jonny Ladd.” No-brainer.

“No . . . It’s my girlfriend.”

I’m lost, feel my mouth droop, then Don opens the door, hollers, “Get a shift on down there.”

The guy passes out again.


* * * *


“So, he owe Jonny?”

Don eyeballs me, scrunches brows, “Fuck no … bit fun.”

“Come again?”

“The blonde, y’know, one with the big tits . . . Jonny’s got a bone for her.”

“I’m not with you.”

“Idea is, we get some photos, a pro noshing him off . . . blondie has a change of heart.”

“That’s low.”

“Oh, yeah . . .”

For a while I’ve been thinking there’s better ways to make a living than dealing for Don. Ange said it . . . there’s more to life, change is good.

“What’s with the head shakes?” says Don.


“Nah, you don’t approve . . .”

“It’s not that.”

The brasser points to the banker who’s coming round again. She goes over to him, starts to loosen his tie.

“No, fuck no . . . his pants, here . . .” Don directs her to the belt buckle, walks back to me, starts to play with his camera-phone. He says loosen up, get over Ange leaving, and . . . “You cool with me putting a move on her?”

Fuck no.

He offers a beer, Stella . . . Funny, Ange never liked beer, but lately she’d been big on Stella.

I feel a rush of blood to my head.


* * * *


Miss Suck-Suck screams as the lava lamp explodes. She jumps when Don hits the floor.

I raise a hand, “It’s cool . . . we’re all cool.”

She goes back to work. “No,” I say, “change of plan.”

“Explain, please?”

“This fella here,” I turn Don over, start to undo his belt, “get your gums round him.”


She goes down; I take Don’s camera-phone.

The banker’s coming round as I snap away, “Don’t worry mate, on our way in no time.”

He keels over again.

“Wise. Get your head down.”

“Okay-dokey,” says Miss Suck-Suck.

The Clash get me moving; London Calling sets the mood as I fire off the shots. I’m thinking, now here’s maybe my new job. Fuck knows I need one now.

Would Ange approve? I wonder, as I locate her number on Don’s phone, press, ‘Send’.

~ fin ~

Tony Black is the author of 12 books, most recently The Last Tiger, nominated for the CWA Dagger and Not the Booker Prize. The Tasmanian-set novel tells the story of the demise of the Tasmanian tiger.