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Joe Spivey's picture
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It might surprise certain people to learn that Joe Spivey owns a variety of bona-fide legitimate businesses. The ammunition factory, for example, is totally, well almost totally… ok, pretty much totally legitimate. Other legitimate business Joe either owns or is heavily invested in, he became involved in due to either necessity or convenience. Or, in the case of the cold store, by dint of a good poker hand.

Examples of such on the level enterprises are his part owned printing business ‘Party-Print’, which will happily provide you with advertising for your upcoming social event, or invites for your kid’s birthday or even those lost pet posters you find festooned on lamp-posts in the restaurant district. In a similar vein, Party-Print also has the contract to provide the missing person posters for the NFPD… which is kind of ironic if you think too hard about it. But, for a price, Party-Print will also provide things like; fake IDs, professional qualifications and even complete sets of accounts and paperwork for businesses that exist in name only.

Or take ‘Kleen Masheen’, currently involved in the refurbishment of Aunt Lucy’s ex-brothel. Created and owned by Joe, Kleen Masheen offers a complete home cleaning and decorating service, ideal for getting rid of that embarrassing wine stain on the new carpet. For an extra fee, Kleen Masheen will also get rid of that incriminating body next to the wine stain as well as carry out a full forensic clean to make sure no traces of blood, DNA, or poisoned wine are left behind.

As for the cold store. ‘Meat & Two Veg’, Joe was unsure what to do with it. At the moment it was turning a small but steady profit, but it was under used. Joe hated not being able to wring all the chips out of it that he knew he could. True, it came in handy when Joe was unexpectedly presented with a bargain load of beef or cabbages, it became even handier when Kleen Machine needed somewhere to stash a body for a while, but… it could do more. What to do with the cold store niggled away at Joe like an itchy arsehole in polite company.

Anyway, legitimate businesses sometimes with less than legitimate side-lines. Born from necessity but mainly turning a nice profit too. Joe has collected a fair few of these kinds of businesses over the years… but he is also always on the lookout for wholly legitimate businesses run not by him but by the (fairly) honest members of the New Flagstaff commercial community. Joe’s current dilemma is a good of example of why.

He has just taken delivery of a dozen cases of knocked off assault rifles. The rifles will sit in Joe’s lockup until nightfall when a small convey of cars will silently appear on Verde Street to take the weapons to the waiting customer. In return Joe will receive a large quantity of cash.

There are ways and means of transferring such cash into the financial mainstream but to do so takes time and in the meantime Joe, and others like him, have to sit on considerable piles of dirty money until it can be cleaned through the books of legitimate businesses and put into the banking system from where it can be used in legitimate transactions. In the meantime such hoards are dead money and have a negative effect on cash flow. Hence Joe’s need for ever more businesses he can launder his money through.

When, then, Silja’s boyfriend Hoover – Over – Loofa or whatever his name was (bloody Germans), happened to mention that his parents owned a grocery business, Joe was immediately interested.

Sooooooo, Joe had bided his time, waited until the lad was by himself and ‘invited’ him to a quick liquid lunch at The Tap. Once the distinctly nervous looking teen was sitting across the table from him with a pint of the good stuff, Joe was on his best behaviour. He kept his smile turned down and the beer flowing.

From his pre-prepared list of things teenagers are supposed to be interested in Joe haltingly worked his way through music (vaguely remembering some of the names of the rubbish Silja listened to). Fashion… ‘flares will make a come-back, you mark my words lad.’ And finally, drugs. ‘If I catch you with drugs I’ll break yer bleedin’ fingers… So fair warning.’ With the niceties out of the way, Joe got down to business…

“So then. Your parents have a grocery do they? You know Oover… Drink up lad, I’ve always been very interested in the grocery business.”

An hour later, a rather wobbly Uwe was helped out of the back seat onto the hot sidewalk outside the family shop’ He was left watching Joe’s car disappear down the street while clutching to his chest a beer-stained business plan for his parent’s to, ‘Give it a once-over an’ get back to me’.


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In fact, the mist had started to form shortly before the end of the second pint, Joe had been talking about flares and Uwe had been trying to figure out what ‘flares’ were when pint three was pushed under his nose. Clarity did return for a moment when Joe seemed to be warning him off drugs, which confused him. Uwe didn’t do, didn’t want to and never had even any intention of using drugs, so what was Joe banging on about?


At pint 3.15 Uwe excused himself and made his way to the toilet almost taking two chairs with him.

As he squinted down at the unending waggling jet, Uwe tried to put in order this unusual lunch-break. Then gave up. He only accepted the invitation because of Silja, and to be polite to Joe. Right now all he wanted was to be with Silja. And sober.


Uwe zipped up and swayed his way back to Joe’s crocodile smile.


“’Ere ‘ee is. Sit down son. I got sum more in while you was away.”


Uwe closed his eyes, when he opened them the one full and one almost full glasses on the tabletop were there, forcing him to rejoin Joe when all he wanted was not to be there. But Uwe was a polite lad. Sadly.


So. Some time later Uwe was plonked onto the pavement outside his father’s shop with a piece of paper in is hand. Uwe tried to steady himself. But four pints was four pints, and four pints in the afternoon also. He elected to head down the side-street and throw up. It seemed a far better course than to join his father at the counter and bluff sobriety. Uwe used the ‘business plan’ to wipe the puke off his shirt.


Some time later…


With a regiment of soldiers marching around in his head. Uwe pushed the cold potato around his plate. All through dinner he had avoided his father’s gaze which was firmly zero’ed on him. It was only when Mutti took the plates to the kitchen that Uwe’s father finally spoke.


Was ist das?” Franz Wittmann’s meaty fist pushed a beer and puked stained piece of paper in front of Uwe.


Inside Uwe’s head the regiment was pushed out by an invasion of unwelcome memories supported by a whole bunch of dread.


Mutti hat das in deinen Kleidern gefunden.”


The meaty fist banged hard down on the table and it all started. Uwe sat up straight in his chair, as ordered, and listened.


And it was not good.





Why not?”


That’s not a reason, so why don’t you come?” Silja concentrated on her phone, Her throat was tightening and she fought to keep it out of her voice. Was she being dumped?

Because…” Uwe sighed audibly. “Because Poppa said I can’t see you anymore.”

Am I not good enough, is that it?” Silja’s voice cracked. The tightness in her throat failed to stop the surge of anger on her voice bursting through but not before modifying the sound into a frustrated squeak. Her eyes decided to get into the game also and rolled out a few tears just for added effect.


No… yes… No!” At the other end Uwe was also struggling with his emotions. He ‘d never been in love before and had no idea how to deal with it when it all goes pear-shape. Least of all he did not know how to find the right words. How to announce something to Silja that he absolutely did not want to happen.


No.. it’s not you. It’s Joe.”

Joe!?!” Silja barked. “Hvað í helvíti þarf Joe að gera með þessu!?!”

Sil… what ?”

Sorry, I said What in hell does Joe have to do with it all.”


Uwe sighed and related all about the lunch with Joe. How he intended to get rid of the paper and ignore Joe’s plan. But how instead his father had got hold of the document.

“… So he made me promise not to go anywhere near Joe, Joe’s house, or you again. He’s proud, moral. He knows Joe is a sleaze and thinks you are involved. So..”


Back at Chez-Spivey, bit down hard on her lip. She was hurting. She had learned long ago how to cry in silence. Nevertheless, Uwe could sense her crying.


I gotta go Sil.. I hear Poppa.” In the long pause, Uwe searched in vain for the right words. “Sorry...” was the best he could manage.

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers

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