Friday, December 31, 2010

Issue #7: January, 2011

The Ballad of Jimmie Jazz
by Tony Deans

“The fucker cut off his ears then chopped off his head”. The words rang sharply through the ears of Jimmy Jazz. Jazz was a tall man, slowly riding the train of time to middle age. A dirty fighter, he had only ever lost one fight and that was when his father left the family when Jazz was twelve. So he grew up tough on the streets of Glasgow, dealing smack to his friends and fighting winos in the boxing ring for money. Eventually his father returned thinking that time would heal all wounds. As his son slowly choked the life out of him, he probably realised that coming back was a big mistake.

Jazz and his partner in crime Rudy Smith stood over the decapitated head of their coke supplier and both let out a sigh. Together they pretty much controlled the supply of drugs coming into their city. Jazz never touched any stuff himself, the power he held over the junkies begging him for a hit was sufficient enough. Rudy however would sample the product, claiming to do it in the name of ‘quality control’. The death of the coke supplier was bad news for multiple reasons. One reason was that it meant that they had lost someone they could rely on to bring in a steady supply of drugs for them to flood the streets with. Another was that they now had to find a different, more expensive supplier. Most importantly it meant that someone was trying to muscle in on their business.

“So who do you think done it?” asked Rudy. Jazz stayed silent, instead opting to concentrate on his driving. “Maybe Thompson or Davies?” Jazz decided to speak, if only to get some silence from his partner to allow him to think. “Probably both. If not someone new on the scene”. Silence then enveloped the car, with Rudy resting his head against the window and Jazz staring ahead, smirking, safe in the knowledge that the road he was driving on belonged to him. Rudy awoke to find himself outside a bar. He got up, loaded six bullets in his gun and got out of the car. As he closed the door behind him, the cold wind hit him in the face, shocking him. He looked at his watch and noted the time. 3 O’ Clock. He realised that Jazz wasn’t going to allow him to go home until they had settled the score with the killer of their coke supplier. He placed his head in his hands due to the knowledge that Jazz only accepted retribution in the form of one thing – Blood.

Rudy entered the bar; it was mainly empty apart from a boy and a girl playing pool and the bartender sitting on a stool flicking through the channels of the television. Rudy took a seat at the bar; this action caused the bartender to get up and ask Rudy what he wanted to drink. “A Manhattan” replied Rudy in a voice that sound cracked and hoarse, like someone had made him eat gravel. “On the house” said the Bartender as he handed Rudy the drink. “Huh? What makes me so special?” responded Rudy; “On account of my boss and your buddy becoming best friends” announced the Bartender. He then walked away and sat on his stool, picking up the remote control and flicking through the channels, pausing briefly for the reports of child prostitution rings found in London and the increasing amount of people on the dole. Rudy heard a door open. Jazz approached him clutching a brown paper bag which he placed next to Rudy. “Well this resolves the problem of finding a new supplier” laughed Jazz. “What you found someone new already?” replied Rudy despondently. “Yup”. “How you do that?” enquired Rudy. “That’s for me to know and for you to ponder” answered Jazz.

“Oy, you Hootie and the blowfish, you fancy being the first testers of an amazing new product, soon to be sought after by every cokehead, from Chalmers Crescent all the way to Glenconner Close?” shouted Jazz to the couple playing pool. “No thanks mate.” replied the boy, trying to cut the conversation short. “It’s one hundred percent free boyo” responded Jazz sharply. “No offense intended mate, but I wouldn’t go within a hundred miles of that shit” Jazz went silent upon hearing this. He opened the paper bag and placed the coke on the table; he tore open the plastic packaging covering the snow and stood up from his seat. He approached the boy who sensed danger and swung a pool cue in Jazz’s direction. Jazz caught it. The punch that followed winded the boy, allowing Jazz to grab him by his hair and drag him along to the bar. The girl screamed, tears streaming from her eyes as she saw her boyfriend’s face being forced in the white powder. The man then threw her boyfriend to the floor, and rubbed his right hand in the powder. The right hand stuck the coke up the 18-year-old’s nose before forcibly opening his mouth and rubbing the white particles on the boy’s gums. Jazz laughed. “Go wrong ‘em boyo”.

Rudy and Jazz left the bar and drove away in the car that needles and pound notes purchased. “Where we gonna go now?” enquired Rudy. “To get some information” answered Jazz. The duo arrived at Stephan Coyle’s apartment; they made their way up the stairs and knocked on his door. A young girl, no older than fifteen answered. Her left eye was black and her lips were pale. “We’re here to see Stephan”. The girl remained silent but opened the door as to allow the pair to enter. Inside, the dirty rooms were full of young girls and clouds of smoke filled the apartment. They entered the room where Coyle was. Coyle was a skinny, red-haired old man, with track marks on his left arm. Beside him sat a teenager, exposed for all to see. Her mind and will broken. “All right Jimmy?” asked Coyle sincerely. “Tom was killed last night, and I want you to tell me who done it.” “How should I know?” “Well they cut of his ears and chopped off his head, Stephan, a man of your experience should be able to tell me who would be capable of something like that”. A pursed expression developed on the old man’s face. “Well my memory’s a little hazy, it’s all these fumes you see” Jazz was not amused. “Well mine’s sparkling clear, and it remembers the fact that I supplied these fumes to you for a small price. And that I could make all these fumes disappear. Then all your employees wouldn’t be so out of it, and they would remember that there is a lot more of them than there is of you. You know what they’ll do? They’ll take one of your boys, then the other before taking your tiny wrinkled pecker and then make you eat the lot. And th-““Alright, fucking hell, Jazz, I knew you were a sick bastard, but geez. Davies likes to do them like you said. He’s the one who killed Tom, probably”. A smile spread on Jazz’s face.

On the way to Davies home, Rudy made Jazz stop at a McDonalds to get a Big Mac. Whilst Rudy was ordering, Jazz sat at a table. He looked outside, the rain starting to pour down. On the grass he saw two magpies; beside them in the road was a squirrel which had been run over and killed. Both birds walked into the road and started pecking at it. When a car came one bird walked back onto the grass whilst the other just stared before being run over. The other magpie paused for a second before flying off into the distance.

The pair arrived at Davies house with murder on their minds. They waited outside until the bedroom light finally went out. They briefly discussed their plan before getting out of the car. They knocked loudly on the wooden front door. “Shoot whoever answers” whispered Jazz. The door opened, prompting Rudy to fire a shot into the dark doorway. As they burst in they made their way into the living room, ready to ambush whoever came down the stairs. As Rudy looked around the room, he noticed children’s toys and DVDs spread across the floor. As his mind tried to decipher as to where the child was, he heard a woman scream. He made his way into the doorway only to find himself viewing a young blonde-haired woman cradling a small body. A Child. The trauma of this scene negated any sense of feeling within Rudy’s body. He never even felt Davies knife plunge into his abdomen. Rudy slumped to the ground.

“Is Jazz with you?” demanded Davies. Rudy didn’t answer. “Fuck it”. Davies entered the front room with caution and switched the light on, only to find the room empty. A loud gunshot engulfed his ears, his wife’s crying cut short like a scratched disk. Davies entered the doorway, only to be greeted by Jazz standing tall, brandishing a gun. “Why are you doing this?” asked Davies. “Cause you killed Tom” sputtered Rudy. “No I didn’t, why would I kill him for?”

“This conversation is over” declared Jazz, putting a bullet between Davies eyes. “I need help,” pleaded Rudy, unable to move. Jazz simply replied “I’ll get you some in a minute”. “I think we’ve made a mistake here Jimmy, I don’t think he killed Tom”. “Tell you a lie Rudy, I know for a fact he didn’t” announced Jazz crouching down to face Rudy. “Who did it then?” “I did”. Before Rudy could ask his partner for the reasons why, Jazz killed him.

Jazz stood up and wiped himself down before leaving the house. Only Thompson was left but he wouldn’t be a problem, once he was gone Coyle would be next and pretty soon he would have full control of the city’s underbelly - controlling who or what came in. On the drive home Jazz stopped at a park where he knew there would be drunks lying about, waiting for the pubs to open. He got out of his car and opened the park gate. He walked around for a while looking for any signs of life. “Damn it”, Jazz groaned. He would have to go home, however just as he was making his was back to the car he started to hear a faint sobbing. He followed this noise only to find much to his surprise the boy he had drugged earlier shaking uncontrollably and panting hysterically resting his head on his girlfriends lap. “Still tripping I see?” exclaimed Jazz. The girl turned around wide eyed and fearful. “Just leave us alone” pleaded the girl, the sheer desperation of the remark made Jazz laugh loudly. The girl broke down at Jazz’s reaction. “Well I hate to kick them when their down but I’m going to kill you”. “Why?” Jazz remained silent to this question. “Tell me why you son of a bitch, why are you doing this?” Jazz moved forward and stood over the girl. “Because I can”. These were the last words the girl heard. The boy just started whimpering once the blood of the girl dripped down into his face. “Well I can’t go to prison now can I boy?” The boy looked up at Jazz. “I’ve got a city to run, you’re going to have to take my place” The boy could only muster a stuttered no. Jazz wiped the knife down removing any fingerprints; then dropped it by the girl’s body and walked off back to his car, leaving the boy stammering and shivering, in the frame for the murder of his girlfriend.

Jazz arrived home about two hours later and walked up to his front door, before entering he looked around and withdrew a gun from his ankle holster and shot a bullet into the dark October sky. He made his way up to the bedroom and fell onto the bed. As he fell asleep he smiled and whispered “God, once I’m done with this world, I’m coming up there to destroy that one as well.”

Tony Deans is a young writer from London, UK. You can contact him and read more of his stories at


  1. Beut! That's pretty damned hardboiled. Although I'm loath to give praise to a 'Londoner', that is a cracking story!

  2. Now that was my kind of story-no happy ending, unless of course you are Jazz. Nice work there Tony!

  3. Damn that is some terrific hard-edged writing.

  4. Tony Deans has his own style. That's what I liked about this story. The Clash references didn't hurt, either!

  5. The first thing that struck me about the story, other than the grab- your- throat- slam- you- up- against- the- wall- and- listen- to- me- damn- it- approach (ahem) is the names you choose for your characters. Yhey are so perfect and almost poetic. Jazz, Davies, Rubies... I love them. Sometimes a characters name just throws me out of the story. even in novel length when you get used to it, but the author just has a complete control over his voice and style here. And what a kick ass story. I'd love to read a longer piece of this, and I'd really like to see Jazz meet his match. My hat off to Tony Deans in 'All Due Respect'.

  6. Just to say thanks all for the kind words.