Scunthorpe, June 2011.
Kazzy: Hey gorgeous.
Jasmine: Fuck off
Kazzy: I miss you
Jasmine: Fuck off.
Kazzy: I really want you.
Jasmine: you and your mates had me and you hurt me.
Kazzy: I needed to see if you were serious about us.
Jasmine: I loved you.
Kazzy: I am sorry, but now I know that you love me and I want you for me.
Jasmine: I had stitches in my bum. It hurt me so bad.
Kazzy: that’s how much I hurt not seeing you or having you in my world.
Jasmine: You said you respected me.
Kazzy: I do you showed me that the other day.
Jasmine: What do you want?
Kazzy: I just want you.
Kazzy: I miss you. It was just a test to see if you respected me.
Jasmine: Do you want to see me?
Kazzy: Just me and you?
Jasmine: That would be nice.
Kazzy: I won’t let you down.
Kharon turned to Tariq, “I reckon we are on, Uncle”.
“I know this was short notice and not the girl that you had wanted to send, but she will be ok.” Tariq had received the call at quite short notice. He knew how important it was not to let the customer down. If he did they would simply go somewhere else.
“I have had a word with Mr Quereshi, you can take her to his restaurant, his guys will treat you well and there will be no bill.” Tariq wanted to increase Kharon’s credibility amongst the Asian community and also instil some confidence in him to perform a little higher.
“Thank you, Uncle, I will take her out tonight and then tomorrow we will take her across”.
“Will you need to have her knocked out to take her?” Tariq didn’t like the idea of having to drive across the country with an unconscious teenage girl in his car.
“No, Uncle, I will tell her we are running an important delivery for you. She will think it will be something to do with your other business and keep her mouth shut. She will do anything to belong to something”.
“When she comes back give her crack to smoke, tell her it will numb the pain. Let her have it for free for a couple of days, then offer her the streets.”
“Yes Uncle, of course I will.” Kharon wanted to assure his uncle he would follow his directions and his normal was of doing business.
Kazzy: I want to take you to dinner.
Kazzy: Have you got a nice dress?
Jasmine: No, I don’t have many clothes.
Kazzy: It’s ok I can get you something that I will like.
Jasmine: Thank you.
Kazzy: What size are you?
Jasmine: size 8
Jasmine: size 4
Jasmine: are you getting me shoes too?
Kazzy: Nothing is too much for you.
(As he typed this he showed the phone to Tariq, the men both laughed.)
Jasmine: Where shall we meet?
Kazzy: come to the youth centre, we can get ready in the rooms upstairs. I will get you everything. Come at seven I want to spend some time with you.
Jasmine: I can’t wait xxx.
Kharon spoke to the older man, “Ok, sorted. I will send out some grafters to pick up the gear for her to wear.”
“Well done Kazzy, you are learning well.” Tariq’s use of Kharon’s nickname was intentional and planned. It would give the lad a feeling that he was starting to achieve some recognition in the eyes of the older man.
It would be a shame the video couldn’t be released yet. But in a week or so no one would remember her face.
Just before seven that evening Jasmine arrived in the alleyway behind the youth centre. She had never been taken out to dinner before and she was excited. No one had ever bought her a dress before. She didn’t own any feminine shoes. She opened the gate from the alleyway and went to the bottom of the steel steps that led up to the flat above the youth centre. As she stood at the base of the stairs nervous about what to do the door at the top of the stairs opened. Kazzy’s uncle Abdul was at the top of the stairs. She didn’t know whether he was actually an uncle or not. Kazzy respected all of the elder men in his community and referred to them all as uncle. She was a little nervous of Abdul. He dressed traditionally most of the time and he had a long beard. She thought it looked a little funny as he had shaved his moustache away.
“Hello,” she said nervously and stuttering.
“Come up, Jasmine. Kharon is waiting here for you”. He made his way down the stairs and left the door open for her.
As he passed her she said “Thank you, Uncle.”
He looked at her and laughed as he turned towards West Street and the town centre.
Jasmine walked up the stairs and into the flat. Kazzy was waiting for her in the kitchen. As she walked in he kissed her on the lips. “Hello, my princess.” He said.
“Hello,” she was still nervous, “are we on our own today?”
“Yes we are. Just you and me.”
He was wearing a silk robe. She had seen him in his street clothes and naked before but not like this. He seemed self-assured and confident to her.
“I don’t have anything to wear”. She was embarrassed by her tracksuit and trainers.
“I have everything for you, nothing is too much.” He said to her.
“Can I look?” She could not contain the excitement.
“Let’s shower together first shall we?”
He took her by the hand and led her through the flat to the bathroom. The shower in the bathroom was already running. The large double sized cubicle was full of steam.
“I have done my hair and make-up.” She said.
“It’s ok, some of my people have brought makeup and hair things”
“I don’t want to use someone else’s stuff on my face”
“No, it is all new. It is all yours now.”
He turned to her and as he kissed her he pulled her shirt over her head. They took a long and slow shower together.
Kazzy gave her the clothes that had been stolen for her to his order. The black mini dress didn’t quite hang properly on her boyish frame. Her hips had not really widened to fill the shape. The stockings he had given her would not stay up on her too skinny legs. Fortunately a pair of tights had also been collected and they would stay up. Kazzy told her he preferred her in stockings but tights were just as nice, she blushed at the compliment. Whilst she dressed he stood behind her and watched. “You look lovely”, he said to her, “All you need is some shoes,” From behind his back he produced a pair of very high stiletto healed ladies shoes. “How about these?” He asked.
“OMG!” She exclaimed, “They are lovely!” He passed the shoes to her and she put them on. She stood in front of the mirror and she thought she looked glamorous and sophisticated. Whilst she put on her make-up he went into the other room and got dressed. He wore a pair of smart black leather shoes, black slack trousers and a traditional kurta top. The kurta was a long shirt with embroidered front and a three buttons on the chest. The kurta was black. He combed and spiked his short black hair and he looked at himself. He looked smart, he knew he did, but this was not a look he would normally go for.
When he walked back into the bedroom Jasmin was ready.
“Let’s go” he said.
Together they left the flat and made their way to the Bengal Raj restaurant on Frodingham road. When they entered the restaurant they were immediately greeted and treated with respect and deference by the waiters. The waiters called Jasmin “Madam” and Kazzy “Sir”. She thought then that she really loved him.
Di walked through from the kitchen with two coffees. She liked it much better when she carried two coffees and not a beer and a coffee. “I liked your mate, Stu, he seemed like a nice bloke”.
“Yeah, he is a good guy. Like his Mrs as well. Bloody funny French name though. Fleur. What the fuck sort of name is that for a woman?” Stu Hicks replied.
“I don’t really know, anyway, why haven’t you ever told me about being called Sticks?”
“I hated it at the time. I quite like it now. It reminds me of the old days and the things we used to get up to.” Stu replied laughing.
“I am not sure I really want to know”.
“I can’t believe that he works here. I can’t believe we haven’t seen him before.” Stu picked up his coffee and sat quiet for a moment.
Winston, lying flat on his side on the floor stirred. He would often look up at the window if someone was passing by or if any stray dogs were in the garden. He lifted his head and cocked his ears towards the back garden.
“What’s up boy?” Asked Stu.
The dog let out a low rumbling growl and got to his feet. He held his head low and his hackles were erect. Slowly he made his way towards the back of the house.
“Let me see what daft lad here wants.” Stu said to Di as he made his way to the back door. Through the window he could see a group of lads stood in the back garden. He recognised them as local lads that hung around with young Kharon from the street. Stu had not invited them into the garden and was not too pleased that they had decided to congregate there. He was sure he had closed and bolted the gate. He opened the back door and stepped out into the garden in his slippers, T-shirt and shorts. He made sure that Winston was kept in the house. He didn’t want the dog to get out and go into the road.
“Alright guys”, he spoke to the lads.
Kharon was not with the boys but there was his mate Mohammed and the two younger Latvian or Lithuanian boys, he wasn’t sure which, and another tall lad. The tall lad looked like Mohammed, maybe Somali or another North African race. They were sitting down on the planters in which Stu grew herbs in. They were drinking from plastic bottles of cider and Mohammed was smoking a joint.
“Do me a favour guys, would you get off the plants please?” Stu was calm and relaxed with the boys. Everyone needed somewhere to be and he really didn’t mind them being there so long as they cleaned up after themselves and didn’t damage anything. The younger of the two Eastern European lads said something to his brother which Stu could not understand. The boys ignored Stu and just carried on sitting in his plant pots and drinking.
“Come on guys, be reasonable, I don’t mind you being here so long as you get out of my plants”.
The tall lad said to the others. “I think I just farted, did anyone hear anything?”
“Maybe it was a fart, maybe it was a white shit.” Mohammed said. He looked directly at Stu as he said it as he finished saying it he spat at Stu and the spittle landed on his leg.
“Ok boys, there is no need to be disrespectful. It is time for you to leave now”. Hicks had remained quiet and calm throughout this provocation.
“Fuck you, white trash”. Said the older of the Eastern Europeans.
“Look in the mirror some time, daft lad, you will see that you are white too”. Hicks replied. The hilarity of what the boy said made him laugh. As he did he noticed that the boys had got up and as Mohammed approached him the other black lad was starting to move round him. The two smaller boys knew what was going on. They had also spread out. He instantly knew they were looking for some trouble.
“Boys, please don’t do anything too stupid.” The tall lad mistook this for weakness. From his sleeve he pulled a knife. It was a small dagger shaped knife with a four inch blade.
“It’s not too late for you, just leave.” Said Hicks, quietly.
The boy lunged towards Hicks with the knife in his right hand. He was to Hicks’ right hand side. Hicks used his own right hand and parried the knife away. He hoped that he would not have to do anymore as the lad gathered himself and held the knife low and close to his stomach. Mohammed closed the gap to the left side of Hicks and aimed a punch to the back of Hicks’ head. The punch arced round in a hook. Hicks moved smoothly on his feet and deflected the blow upwards and grasped the boy’s wrist with his own left hand. He used the boys own momentum and twisted the arm into a straight arm lock and pushed Mohammed away.
“I haven’t hurt anyone yet but if you do not go now I am going to hurt you really bad”. Hicks said to the boys.
Ishan, the taller of the boys didn’t believe Hicks. He wanted to slash him. He needed to keep his reputation. If there was a problem in the Acheron Street Crew Ishan was the enforcer. Who did this old man think he was calling the odds and disrespecting them in their own street? He was going to pay, big time. He came forward again, no thrust this time. A short horizontal sweep towards the old white man’s gut. Before the knife really got moving he felt the crushing impact to his upper arm and the upward thrust into his outer thigh. Hicks had struck his brachial pressure point with his clenched fist and at the same time hit the femoral pressure point with a powerful knee strike. The knife dropped from his grip and landed on the ground. The boy remained standing but the leg and arm that Hicks had struck felt like jelly now. Mohammed came onto Hicks swinging both arms wildly. Hicks stepped forward and as he did so Mohammed passed him. Hicks jabbed him once in the side near the bottom of his rib cage. The connection was solid and winded Mohammed with impact and the pain of the broken rib.
The two Eastern boys were rooted to the spot with fear. They watched, transfixed, as Ishan now pulled a screwdriver from his trouser waistband with his left hand. He lunged wildly at Hicks. Hicks stepped towards Ishan and trapped his left arm, with the screwdriver between his right hip and elbow. He transferred the grip to hold the boys forearm with his own and struck with the heal of his left palm. The breaking of the elbow joint was audible. Ishan screamed. He clutched his arm and held it to himself. He shook and his face became ashen with the start of shock.
“Sit down, there.” Hicks sat him back on one of the tall planters.
“I am going to call an ambulance for you and give you first aid. If I don’t you might lose the use of your arm”. Hicks reassured the boy.
He untucked Ishan’s T-shirt and turned the bottom of it up over his forearm to make a sling.
The back door of the house opened and Di stood there she was aghast. She had never seen her husband in this light before.
“Di, please could you get the first aid box?”
“Yes Stu, no problem”
Mohammed lay curled up on the floor he was clutching his side. Hicks checked his breathing for any traces of blood and satisfied that there were none he reached into his pocket and called an ambulance.
Call taker: Hello, crime stoppers.
Call taker: Thank you for calling crime stoppers. Your call is anonymous unless you want to claim a community action reward.
07753390543: I don’t want a reward but I want to tell someone about what I heard yesterday after prayers.
Call taker: Ok, in your own time.
07753390543: I was at the central mosque when I heard two men talking about something very bad. I am a good Muslim and what these men was talking about was wrong. They were talking about taking a white girl to Sheffield for sex.
Call taker: Ok, what town are you in?
07753390543: Scunthorpe, they can’t know who I am or they will make my family’s life hell.
Call taker: Ok, that won’t happen. Who are the men?
07753390543: One was Ranjit Quereshi and the other was Tariq Hasni.
Call taker: Ok, do you know who the girl is?
07753390543: No, but Mr Quereshi is the mayor of the town and is really big mates with the
police. I am scared nothing will happen because he is so important. I have seen a white girl with some boys from the Acheron Street gang.
Call taker: I will pass it on. Sometimes the police do operations that you can’t see. It doesn’t mean that the police are not working on it.
07753390543: Yes, I know this. But the girl can’t be taken away. It is wrong. These men are no true Muslims if they do this. I hope they are caught.
Call taker: Can I take your name?
The call taker spun in his chair “Hey Mr Davies,” he shouted up to the manager.
“What’s up?” Replied Mr Davies.
“Can you listen to the call I have taken please?”
“Now? It’s nearly my break time.”
“Boss, it is urgent.”
Mr Davies listened to the call. He then listened to it again to check he had not missed anything from the call. He picked up his telephone and called Special Branch. Special branch did not let Scunthorpe Divisional Police know about the call.
Tariq received the SMS late in the evening. It was from Abdul.
Abdul: Hello brother.
Tariq: Hello mate, how are you?
Abdul: Alright, thank you. How are you?
Tariq: I am fine. Did the package arrive for our associates as we planned?
Abdul: Yes they are very pleased with what you have given them.
Tariq: Good. Is the boy acting properly?
Abdul: Ranji says he is doing well.
Tariq: Thank you for letting me know.
Tariq was delighted. It seemed that the customers were pleased. Business would continue with these men into the future. They paid good money for their entertainment and that money would be going straight into his pocket. He just needed to complete the circle and have her brought back by Kharon and given crack. Then she would be able to continue to make them money to pay for the dependency that they fed.
He called Kharon.
“Hi Kazzy, how did it go?” Tariq asked on the phone.
“Thank you for calling, Uncle” Kharon remembered his manners nicely. “It went very well thank you”
“She was ok, she performed pretty well. They liked it when she cried” Kharon reassured Tariq.
Pol Winchester sat in his office at the police station. He was checking through the incident logs that remained on his area. One of them caught his eye. It was a report of a girl missing from the children’s home in Ashby. He knew the girl’s name. This was the girl that he had loaded into the ambulance a week or so before. The incident was being handled by the duty inspector. It was not his boss, Mr Robinson, tonight. He read the text of the log.
Regular female misper. Missing from Cambridge house, Cambridge ave, Ashby. This is the third time she has been reported missing this week. No indication where she might be. Recently has had behavioural problems.
Pol picked up the phone and dialled the duty inspector.
“Hi Boss, it’s Pol up at North, how are you?”
“Alright, thanks mate.”
“Do you need any people to help with your search for that misper, I have got three cops and seven PCSOs on duty tonight. I can divert them to you if you need them?”
The inspector dismissed the idea straight away. “It’s ok Pol. I don’t want to waste your resources on this crap. She will be out with her boyfriend getting pissed or fucked in some alleyway”
“I saw her the other day with some of the boys from the Acheron Street Crew. I can get some of my guys to pop along there?”
“I don’t know about that Pol, I don’t know if the Acheron Crew even exist. But no, don’t worry about it she will turn up. She is a regular misper.”
“Guv, I suspect that she might be on my beat and with these boys”
“Yeah, maybe, anyway I have to go to the nick now. Catch you later mate”. The inspector added.
“Yeah cheers, boss.” Pol replied.
He put the phone down.
He was amazed by the apathy the inspector displayed, she was just a kid. She might be a regular missing person but should they just abandon her. If she was living with her parents in a nice middle class world she would not be treated like this. He had been foolish to make the call. He should have just deployed his people to do the checks. If he did now then the inspector would be able to claim that he has disobeyed his orders.
He picked up his radio and asked for all of the units on his beat to return to the station. Whilst he waited for them to return he made himself a cup of tea. By the time he walked back down stairs towards his office the constables and community support officers were all back in from the streets and sat around in their room.
“Ok troopers, give me a minute”. He logged onto the computer nearest the smart board and found a picture of Jasmine. He projected it onto the smart board.
“Right, this is Jasmine Peters. She is a fourteen year old missing girl. She’s in local authority care and I think she is pretty vulnerable”.
He looked around the room as he wandered about keeping their attention as he spoke to them. The constables were all experienced and time served officers. He could see them as they examined the girl’s face on the screen.
“Remember the girl I put into the ambulance with the injured fanny and arse? Well this is her. I can’t direct you to go and look for her. The duty inspector has told me that we can’t go out looking for her.”
“Why not?” Asked Rachel, she was a good cop, over twenty years of good service now.
“He says we are too busy.” Pol replied.
“Ok Sarge.” She replied.
Pol closed down the smartboard and took a large gulp of his tea.
He closed the briefing by saying. “Thanks everyone, please return to your normal duties. I have no further taskings for you”.
He knew they would go and look for her.
Pol put on his stab resistant vest and picked up his helmet. He had a couple more hours left on duty and headed out onto the beat to see if he could pick anything up on the missing girl.
Walking out onto Ferry Road Pol’s mind was buzzing with where he could look for the missing school girl. He planned his route to go down the alleyways behind Frodingham road. He would stop off at Acheron Street and have a brew with Sticks. Maybe check the Memorial Gardens and have a chat with the street drinkers. He had heard that one of them had received a really heavy beating from the Acheron gang. The description matched that of Kharon Khan. But as normal no witness would come forward. How could these people expect to get rid of this gang of no one was prepared to make a stand? They were happy enough to complain at police authority meetings and at forums and in the street. The gang were just a group of kids. They were nothing, this wasn’t LA or the tough East End of London; this was Scunthorpe.
He patrolled down the alleyway. He didn’t wear the fluorescent yellow jacket that he was issued. He wore his black issue T shirt and stab vest. He wanted to slide along the alley way like some sort of predator. Unobserved and quiet. This had been very effective for him in the past. The streets and alleys were less busy than normal. The groups of kids were not there tonight. He had hoped to bump into the Acheron Street crew and do a few searches and try to shake them up a little but they weren’t on the street. Of course Pol was not to know that Kharon and Nuelleh were in Sheffield trading in the currency that was Jasmine Peters.
Pol arrived at Acheron Street without event. The evening was hot and he was ready to have a tea with his old friend. He knocked at the back door of Sticks’ house.
“Hello Di, how are you?”
“Fine Pol, how are you?”
Di showed him into the house and through into the lounge. The huge dog grudgingly got off of the sofa and lay on the floor.
“He will be down in a few minutes, he is just in the shower. Can I make you a brew Pol?”
“Yes please, that would be really nice. Can I have tea?”
When Stu came down stairs he was looking well. He had lost a bit of weight in the last fortnight and there was a bit more definition to his shoulders and upper arms. It looked like he had been training hard.
“Evening mate.” Stu greeted his old friend.
“How are you doing?”
“I had a bit of a run in with some of them little fuckers from the gang this afternoon”. Stu understated what had happened earlier. He went on to explain what had happened in the back garden.
“Mate, they are little fuckers. They really need squaring up. They are making everyone’s lives hell around here.”
“Yeah well they won’t come back round here in a hurry. They know what welcome I have for them”.
“The thing is Sticks, they think that they are big fish but they are just low life thugs. The people are so scared of them they won’t say anything.” Pol aired his frustration.
“I don’t think the tall skinny one will be throwing his weight about anymore. Well not with his left arm he won’t be throwing anything around with it.”
“That lad sounds like Ishan Hussein, he is their bully boy. It’s a good thing it was him”.
“Do you have to report it Pol?”
“I don’t think so Sticks. It is a good thing. I certainly won’t be reporting it.”
“Ok mate, it’s a shame we can’t do them all over and get them out of the way”. Said Hicks. It felt to Pol like he was exploring the possibility.
“Well, misfortune befalls all sorts of people” Pol sipped his tea and looked out of the window at the failing light. A blackbird perched on the back of one of the benches on the street. Pol watched as the bird lowered its folded wings slightly and started to sing. It raised its head high and opened its beak to sing. The song of the bird penetrated the double glazing and seeped into the room. The song in his ears provided a contradiction to the urban squalor in his vision.
Pol didn’t know what he had just entered into.
Di woke in the night. She was not sure quite what woke her. Some feeling of insecurity made its way into the sleeping woman’s mind and woke her. She lay for a moment or two in the feeling of indecision between sleep and awake. The bright colours and lights danced across the ceiling of the room. Yellow and orange flowed and swirled across the smooth white ceiling. It was the nose that woke her. She dragged herself from the bed and walked naked across the room to the window, she pulled the curtain to one side and allowed her eyes to focus on the scene below her. Their shed was alight. Flames licked out of the window and the doorway. The shed was sectional concrete and was full of their personal property. When they lost the house they stored a lot of things in the shed. The new house was much smaller than the old and the surplus, that the receiver hadn’t taken, had to be stored somewhere. The shed was fully ablaze the flames grew every second she watched.
“Stu, Stu, wake up! The fucking shed is alight!” She shouted.
“Fuck, fuck!” He jumped up and was at the window with her.
“Bastards” he shouted at the shadows of figures that he could see in the alleyway.
“I am going to fucking get them”. He ran from the room and as she watched out of the window he appeared in the yard. She noticed he had now put a pair of training trousers on over his boxer shorts. The other people in the alley way had slid away,
Di picked up her mobile phone and called for the fire brigade. She knew that by the time they got there the fire would have burned out and all of their belongings and furniture in the shed would be gone.
Stu stood in the alleyway as the fire spread. The anger left him and he felt drained and desolate. The flames would have burned through all of his old pictures and souvenirs that he had accumulated over his years of service. The memories were encapsulated in the pictures for Stu. The lump in his throat grew as emotion welled up inside him. He fought back the tears.
One of the girls from West St walked up the alley way and stopped beside him. He turned to her and said hello. She greeted him in a strong Eastern European accent.
“What has happened here?” She asked him.
“I don’t know, I think some fuckers have burned my shed”. He replied.
“Well it has burned, for sure.” She replied.
“Who did it?” she continued.
He didn’t look back at her he was entranced by the destruction of his memories in the flames. “I don’t know, I think it was them little bastards in the gang that runs around here.” He said quietly.
“I fucking hate them.” She also was entranced by the fire.
“Yeah, I had some trouble with them earlier today.” He said.
“The bastards raped me”.
“Fuck, really? Did you go to the police?” He turned to face the young woman and saw the tears on her cheeks.
“It is a waste of time. I am Nadia” She said.
“I am Stu, I know the sergeant here. Do you want to see him?” Asked Stu.
“No, I can’t. They own me now”. She replied.
“I will talk to him, do you live here?”
“I work on the street”.
As Blue lights started to appear she pulled her jacket collar up high her face and turned away.