The Gang (AKA: Smithy’s Bold Move)

Disclaimer: Any resemblances to actual persons living or dead is purely intentional.


He hated the gang. The Troys. A long time member of the outfit himself, he knew only too well what a writhing, spitting viper’s nest it was. Soon though, he would show them how a real snake strikes. Precisely, without warning. He had been the leader of the gang at one time, though admittedly, it had been during the Big Slump when they had held next to no power in The Territories. That all seemed so long ago now, when he’d managed to nab the head honcho spot. That useless northern gob-shite, Little Willy had stepped down see, creating a power vacuum, and  he, Smithy had maneuvered himself,  just right, like. Then he’d taken control. Not that it did him any good.

During his short, unremarkable reign, Smithy had known full well that the other gang members hadn’t taken him that seriously, hadn’t properly respected him. Oh, sure they’d gone through the motions,  Whatever you say Smithy, you got it. No problem, big dog, we’re on it. You the man.  All that crap.. But they hadn’t fooled him, he’d caught their non-committal, blank expressions belying tiny hints of smirks, slight flickers around eyes and mouths, that surely became fully formed grins, accompanied by crafty winks too, he imagined, once their backs were fully turned. Sometimes, as they’d set off into the neighborhood to do some gang related stuff, he’d catch one of them shooting a furtive backward glance, over their shoulder at him.  He’d watched them, into the distance, thinking about about what he would to do to them, to them all, if they ever tried to fuck him over.

Truth be told, during that difficult era, the majority of the gang had been happy to let Smithy play at being headboy. It had been common knowledge back then, that the Troys had little of the considerable clout they’d once took for granted, back in their glory days when all the old legendary faces were still around. All but gone now, of course, they had either retired, died, or god forbid, had gone straight. To be fair, whoever had come after, accepted the poisoned chalice of leadership at that juncture, would have had their work cut out. That had been a terrible time for The Troys, when all and sundry, every stupid motherfucker and their aunties thought the crew were weak,  a pushover and would fuck with them, try to muscle in on their territory, and, it has to be said, were usually successful in that regard, especially when it came to their main rivals, The O’ Brauls, who’d  ended up monopolizing virtually all business in the Territories. Back when that smarmy fuckface, War Boy was in charge of the fuckers. Indeed, The Troys really had become a laughing stock for a while, in what turned out to be one of the worst periods in the gang’s entire history. Not perhaps the best time to put oneself up for boss then, but, at the time, Smithy had figured that it may be now or never. He knew he was thought of as a competent enough journeyman, (albeit a bit of a loony one) but what if he could put the gang back on the map? He’d have it all, kudos – and respect. The majority of the gang had given him the nod. Not all of them, but enough to allow his big chance to come to pass. Not because they’d thought him that capable mind, not a bit of it. Let the mad cunt can take the flak and the fall, they’d murmured over drinks in their private hidey-holes. Yeah, if some other cunt from some other gang makes us look like pussies, just blame it on Smithy, the silly wanker. The once mighty Troys had had nothing to lose. So it was, that Smithy had stepped up, conceitedly convinced that he had the moxie, and could earn the trust and the loyalty of the gang. If so, he would to do great things, he was sure of it. To that effect, he’d decided that he would have to become more quietly assertive,  none of his infamous outbursts, nothing crazy, (although he was crazy, as a shithouse rat), but there’s a time and a place for that stuff, he always reckoned. He may have been mad, but he wasn’t stupid. But it didn’t play out the way he’d hoped.

When thinking it all over, in retrospect,  trying to work out the reasons for his lack of success as leader, he sometimes thought back to the days when they had all been kids, know-nothing brats, kicking around The Territories. Smithy had fallen easily into the role of  ‘the easy to manipulate one’, the nutter of the group. Hey, go and eat that bit of dog-shit, Smithy! If you do, I’ll lend you my bike for an hour. Yeah, do it Smithy! Go Smithy Go!, egging him on, like. And so he’d eaten the shit. Afterwards, their disbelieving, repulsed laughter and finger pointing had not bothered him for an instant. The shitty taste had been forgotten as soon as he’d gotten one foot on the bike’s pedal. Then he’d felt all-powerful, and he’d liked that. A couple of years later, the story had gone around that Smithy had  thrown a lame cat into a chip-shop fryer for a dare. He’d never confirmed nor denied the rumour, but had never understood what all the fuss was about anyway, who cares whether it was true or not. It’s only a shitting cat, for fucksake. It was that detached, couldn’t give a toss, nutjob mind-set, that had got him on in the world, but maybe it had also held him back. The other kids had been more scared and wary of him, than respectful, so he’d had to settle for that. And so it had been in his adult life, too.

Smithy’s shot at glory soon fizzled out, unceremoniously. He made a better henchman than a frontman, everyone eventually agreed. So he’d reluctantly stepped down, in a bloodless coup, before things turned nasty. Though it pained him greatly when, that wily old cockbreath, The Night, became boss. Some small compensation for Smithy’s considerable loss of face, and a source of solace to which he clung, was the fact that the gang’s fortunes did not improve under The Night’s leadership either. That only happened later, after Hambone became boss. No-one saw that one coming, the sneaky-arsed little pip-squeak, now But by then, Smithy had sunk low down in the ranks again, bottom rung, like, so he’d kept schtum.

However, courtesy of his willingness to act the reliably mad, ruthless-cunt, who would do all the evil stuff, the perverse jobs and weird shit that no-one else fancied, at the drop of a hat, Smithy quickly worked his way into the new leader’s good books, much to the chagrin of some of the other gang members, who’d thought he was deadwood, some even thought he should have ‘gone’. Hambone however, had plans for him, and so, whenever his boss, or the second in command, that jumped up little shitehawk, Giddy, told Smithy they wanted someone offing, or some other horrible bit of business taking care of out, then Smithy would be the one they gave it to, because they knew that he would, a.Never complain, and b. Not give a toss what anyone else thought of him. His position in the gang seemed secure, but still, he always felt a nagging restlessness, was plagued by the notion that he was thought of by  them all as ‘the failed leader who would now do anything he was told’. Gobbling up the metaphorical dog muck at the behest of his betters, when it should have been him in charge, giving orders to them.

He’d made a lot of money along the way of course, and had his blood-lust catered for on a regular basis, but he’d never managed to gain the respect he so craved and thought he deserved. Was he destined to be forever remembered as the the mad-kid, turned nearly-man?  These insecurities began more and more to occupy his thoughts, bothering away at him, distracting him from his work, which he’d always prided himself on being meticulous at. Sure they were all nice to his face, never openly dissed him, but he saw through the pantomimic mock-gravitas in their voices when they praised his efforts. Awesome mate, you are really showing everyone how it’s done. Ooh, such a legend, you are. Ain’t he a legend?  But they never thought him to be a great man. He knew that. That’s why he now hated them. Hambone, Giddy, fucking all of em. His night-thoughts in the dark of his bedroom, were always the same troubled ones, about how they should have kept him on as leader a little longer, because he could have gotten the gang back up to scratch eventually. Given the chance, yes, he coulda..

However, no-one would deny that things had all gone the Troys way these last few years, the comeback kings, they’d ruled their corner of the world like never before, more cold-blooded even than when The Magi had been boss. Yes, that coldblooded. The Magi, the gang’s only ever female gaffer. God rest her soul. Not since her heyday had the Troys wielded such fearsome power. To his credit, Hambone had steered them back to this state of supremacy in The Territories, with great elan. They’d seen off all the mugs, shitheels and, ragbag posses, the laughably disorganized crews, for miles around, including The O’Brauls who’d  gotten distracted, bogged down by some stupid internal power struggle, family stuff between two brothers. Fuckin kid’s stuff. They had no credible opposition at all, it had seemed.The Troys had even tactically merged with a rival gang,  The Liberators, for a while. That had been Hambone’s idea. Shrewd move, Smithy had to admit, since those dumb suckers, always a pitiful bleedin excuse for a  crew, were now all but wiped out.  So the Troys had gotten back all their operations and some, whilst Hambone and Giddy, basked in the glory, whilst he, Smithy, playing uncle-cunt as per usual, was left to do the wetwork, the thankless, messy stuff. But Smithy had been watching and waiting, plotting something, a plan hatched during all those tossing and turning hours, in his silk pajamas, when the tormenting thoughts had kept returning, to poke him like sharp sticks. Nothing else had ever kept him awake like that. Not the images of his victims’ dead bodies, not the idea of crying, hungry kids, and definitely not deep-fried fuckin cats, neither. None of those things haunted him one bit, but the suspicion that the rest of the gang were whispering about him, He was leader once you know, he was rubbish though, tell me about it, soft twat, that was the stuff that really messed with his head, inhabited his half-asleep visions. To calm himself, he’d swear muffled vengeance into the pillow.

He’d noticed their glorious leader had gotten somewhat complacent and taken his eye off the ball, of late. The word was out that Hambone was ready to relinquish his post and everyone knew that Giddy fancied the job. Smithy didn’t much like the way things were going in the outfit these days. Some were even talking about trying to appear more legit, aim to look a little less thuggish, and Smithy felt he was being stepped over, might even be in danger. He never did understand those chickenshits with their mellowed-out moralities about not hurting children or women, or the very old, the chronically sick or disabled. Fuck that malarkey. To be honest, Smithy had never particularly liked nor disliked his vicious-bastard status,  never cared too much about  all that shit. But he did care about respect.

He didn’t have to stay in the gang, he told himself. He had enough blood-money stashed away after all, and he’d long harbored many other ambitions, had lots of ideas on the back-burner, maybe he could write a book one day, an expose, or a novel. Do some things for himself, for a change. After all, he was smart and brilliant.  And besides, he could see the Troys were once again, starting to lose respect in the The Territories. They had had a good run, but some cracks were beginning to show. There was that recent business  with one of the other gang members, that absolute tit, The Hunter, pissing off all the wrong people, added to which, their European connections, were becoming a very big problem. Then of course, there were their great rivals, The O’ Brauls, who’d lately seemed to have found a renewed energy, taken on a shitload of fresh  and eager, young recruits,  not to mention a new boss, some ancient old fuck or other, who Hambone and Giddy snickered about, said he was pissweak, and wore shit clothes. Hambone and this new old boy had squared up the other week, slagging off each other’s mothers, or some such  noncey-bollocks, but Smithy didn’t really care about all that. He could smell change in the air, could easily envisage another big dip in the Troys’ fortunes, and sensed there was some general bad mojo around the gang recently. So he would make his move. Distance himself. He smiled thinly, humorlessly, and tapped the side of his smooth, bald head.

It would be a bold move though, not without risk. But deliciously satisfying, if he could pull it off. He would put the word out on the street that he was unhappy with the gang’s direction and methods, pretend to have, had a big fuckin epiphany like, and was sick of doing the vile, heavy stuff. This would reflect badly on Hambone and Giddy of course, implying they couldn’t keep their ranks in order, and he’d enjoy that. It would be bound to cause them image and reputation problems, at the very least, might even fuck up Giddy’s pretense to the throne, too he hoped. It’s that little spunkbubble’s turn to eat some dogshit  for a change,  and let Hambone take the rap for chucking-kitty-in-the-hotfat, see how that sits with him, the soft cunt..   He was thinking ahead to when Hambone retired, when Smithy  would see what the lie of the gangland looked like then, have a shufty around, like, see what alliances were around to be made, and exploited. There were a few other unhappy crew members knocking about too, he reckoned, so maybe he could get together with them. Maybe. But first it was time to let loose his inner stealth-viper. He smiled again, imagining the looks on the faces of Hambone and Giddy,  What the fuck is wrong with Smithy? they’d say. Maybe he’s not just a madfuck cut-throat, after all. Maybe he actually does have the moxie. I wish we hadn’t treated him so shoddily now. Wish we’d shown him more respect..

They had been his gang, his people, for a long long time. But he felt nothing for them and felt he owed them nothing. He hated them all. He hated everyone, everything..

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