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The Limit: Chapter 21

…"It's now up to the Dysons," Maudie said. "Of course, they may just leave us alone." He sipped the tea. "But if we want to stay healthy, we have to work on the assumption that they'll hit back. If they do, it won’t be a punch-up in the club. It will be major.’’…

Maudie readies the staff of Rossetti enterprises for a fight-back against the bullying Dysons who are trying to muscle in on a thriving business in England’s leading holiday town.

To read earlier chapters of Peter Lacey’s engrossing crime novel please click on The Limit in the menu on this page.

They headed back into town and the traffic got heavier. The clouds had thickened.

"Traffic is worse than normal because of the weather," she said. "If they can't sit on the beach, they take to their cars."

When they reached the Winter Gardens, hordes of aim¬less pedestrians added to the hazard.

At the club, Toni parked out front at his direction. They pushed open the door and disturbed a tousle-haired bouncer who looked like a retired prize fighter. He had the racing page of a tabloid open on the reception desk.

"Hello, Clancy."

"Morning, Miss Rossetti. The Doc's upstairs."

Jimmy Doc was pouring boiling water into a teapot when they went into the office. He wore co-ordinated slacks, shirt and sweater in canary yellow and grey. Maudie thought he looked like he had escaped from an aviary.

"Clancy buzzed. Told me you'd arrived," he said.

He put the kettle down and Toni introduced them. Maudie liked his handshake and his eyes. The look wasn't devious. It was strong and enquiring.

"Do I pass?" Maudie said.

"I don't know. You're a wee bit old, maybe."

Maudie laughed.

"He's a professional, Jimmy," Toni said.

The Scot looked at her, nodded, and looked back at Maudie.


They drank tea and Toni and the Doc talked business and then the Doc told Maudie that his security suggestions had been implemented. Extra male staff, careful vetting at the door and all-night security after the club had closed.

"It's now up to the Dysons," Maudie said. "Of course, they may just leave us alone." He sipped the tea. "But if we want to stay healthy, we have to work on the assumption that they'll hit back. If they do, it won’t be a punch-up in the club. It will be major.

"If they still hope to take over the business, they'll leave the property alone. That means main targets will be you two, top management. Mario's too public. But if all they want to do is make an example then anything could be hit, property as well as people. Just stay careful."

He looked at Jimmy Doc.

"I'll be staying close to Toni. You make sure you don't put yourself in a position where you could have an accident."

"That had occurred to me," Jimmy said. "My brother and cousin are coming down from Glasgow for a holiday. They arrive this afternoon." He smiled. "They're not professionals, but they are hardmen. And they're young."

Maudie allowed him his smile.


Fat Gerard sweated a lot. He was overweight and the office was stuffy, but Maudie recognised that a percentage of the sweat was fear.

He was the third and last of the bingo hall managers they had seen and Maudie did not think it would be politic to stress the dangers in the same terms as he had with the Doc.

"Nothing might happen," he told him. "If it does, it's more likely to be at the club than here or one of the other halls. Just be careful. First sign of trouble get on the blower to the old bill."

"Don't worry. I will."

"Have you arranged night security?

"Yes. There'll be someone in the hall every night."

"Good. Tell them no heroics. If anyone tries to get in, they get on the phone." Gerard nodded and licked his lips. "And watch out yourself. Have a few early nights. Go straight home by taxi."

"What about Toni?"

"Toni will be all right. I'll be with Toni."

He nodded again as if reassured, but he still looked ner¬vous.

Toni exhaled tobacco smoke into the pause.

"Will you be all right, Gerard?" she asked.

"Don't be daft, you silly bitch. Course I will. I'll be careful. You look after yourself." He cast a glance at Maudie. "Make sure grandad takes his Phyllosan. You don't want him falling asleep when the trouble starts."

Maudie laughed. The remark reminded him that he still hadn't had the opportunity to visit a chemist.

Toni said, "Just take care, Gerard."

"Don't sodding worry. Any bother and I'll be legging it up to Montague Street nick. Olympic time, no starting blocks. It'll be a red-hot poker up the arse job."

The sun was breaking through when they left the bingo hall.

"The weather's the wrong way round," Toni said as they got in the car.

"What do you mean? The sun's out. That has to be good news."

"Not for traders. They want the sun early in the morning to get the trippers here and on the beach, then a good cloudburst about eleven o'clock to drive them into the cafes and arcades."

"The sort of summers we have, it's no wonder there are still fortunes to be made."

"Blackpool is the only resort geared to the Great British
Summer. It can rain every day of your holiday and there's always something to do."

"At a price."

"Of course at a price. Everything has a price."


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