Denny walked out of Century Members Club and swaggered quickly down Shaftsbury Avenue. In each hand was an item formerly belonging to someone else; in his left hand a golden pocket watch and in his right were keys to a Porsche. It had been a good week of swindling for Denny…
He was in a fine mood and was excited to see his new flat (like the Porsche, formerly owned by a dim actress). This good cheer was momentarily broken when his phone rang. It was his old friend Charlie – once again calling about the pocket watch Denny had conned out of him. He screened the call and turned onto Wardour Street. Seeing the Porsche visible through the fog, he grinned and walked towards it. He suddenly stumbled forward and looked down quickly to see a homeless man beneath him.
The homeless man was Joe and had been sat on this particular street corner all morning. He looked up at Denny and knew he was as a con artist… the fake thin moustache was the first giveaway. True, he could have been a theatre actor (this was the West End after all) but actors didn’t have keys to Porsches… No this man was a crook and Joe knew this because he had once been a crook himself.
“Begging your pardon Sir, could you spare some change?”
“Sorry mate, I’m skint.”
He saw Denny go to leave when the phone he was holding started ringing again. He stopped and looked back at Joe; who at that moment saw a haughty grin fall over Denny’s face.
“Actually, I don’t need this anymore come to think of it. It could fetch a few hundred quid…”
“Thank you very much Sir”, Joe said, taking the phone.
“Keep you lot off my back for a few years eh?”
Denny stepped over Joe, climbed into the Porsche and sped away; coating Joe in street dust. Joe studied the ringing phone and saw that the person calling was called Charlie. Most people in this situation would have ignored this call and gratefully taken Denny’s advice and sold the phone. But not Joe…
For five years ago, Joe had been a crook and a sinner like Denny. He had realised the only way to right his own karma was to live on the streets for five years as penance. These five years were nearly up now and Joe now knew what he needed to do… he must right others’ karma too… Denny would be his first subject. He answered the ringing phone.
“Now look here Denny, where have you been?” said Charlie- sounding deeply agitated. “I’ve been calling for days! Never mind that anyway, look, the pocket watch I sold you, Father wants it back right now. Turns out it’s worth more than I thought… I’ll give you back the £300, hell I’ll give you £500. Please tell me you still have it?”
Joe did not answer.
“Silent treatment eh? Just like you screening my calls… I’m starting to think you aren’t such a straight shooter Denny, do you know that? Just like Father always said. You know what he called you? A con man! A swine he called you too! You’re not those things are you Denny?”
“Sorry Sir, but this is not Denny.”
There was a pause.
“Oh… who is it then?
“Who I am does not matter. What I can do… does. You see, in my former life I did many bad things. So I know what type of man your friend is. He’s a bad man. Perhaps not as bad as I was but bad nonetheless. And it’s time karma caught up with him.”
“Right… what are you saying?”
“I will find your man and get your watch back.”
“Oh, well, thanks… What do you want in return?”
Joe had already hung up and set off to collect his bounty…
Next Wednesday: Albert
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Part 1: Charlie Malbery
Part 2: Albert
Part 3: Ernest Malbery
Part 4: Ingrid
Part 5: Dalton
Part 6: Melody
Part 7: Marion
Part 1: Albert
Part 2: Melody
Part 4: Ingrid
Part 5: Dalton
Part 6: Charlie
Part 1: Denny Rogers