A Big Payoff

Variety may be the spice of life,

but Indian food still doesn't agree with me ...

A Big Payoff by Paul D. Brazill

The trouble with me is
that I’d cut off my face to spite my nose. I’m my own worst enemy, no doubt about it. I just don’t think enough about the consequences of my actions and wind up on Shit Street, more often than not.

Which is why, on a sweltering summer night, when most people are out getting pissed or stuffing sausages down their gobs at barbecues, well, I’m stood in a shit and piss stinking lock-up nailing a bloke’s turban to his head when, really, honestly, we probably could have sorted things out over a pie and a pint.

Now, before you go jumping the gun and thinking that this is a racially motivated attack, I’ll put you straight. Race, religion, creed—whatever that is—are not even a slight factor in this little kerfuffle. It’s all about revenge. Impure and simple. Same as it ever was.

The turban idea came to me after I saw a documentary on The History Channel about Vlad The Impaler. You know him? He’s the bloke that they say Dracula was based on? Anyway, he was a right nasty cunt and that was one his ways of showing everyone who was boss. And I was inspired, what with me being a right nasty cunt myself.

Harjit Singh’s not saying anything now, of course. Despite the screaming and wailing before he croaked, Harjit was never much of a talker. More of the strong silent type. Except when he grassed me up to filth, of course. And that was the loose lip that sank his ship, alright.

I start up the chainsaw and start to slice off Harjit’s head. It’s not as easy as it looks on horror the films, I can tell you. The fuckin chainsaw jams a couple of times but that’s globalisation for you. Manufacturing standards these days have slipped drastically.

I mean, it’s all computers now, isn’t it? Same with the cars. Once upon a time, if your car was knackered you took it a mechanic. Now you send an email to some IT boffin in Bombay and abracadabra you’re back on the road again. Luckily, I’ve had my Audi serviced recently and I know it’s in good nick. Wouldn’t want it going kaput when I’m transporting Harjit’s bit and bobs out and about.

I take a swig of Red Bull and get to work on the rest of the body, slicing it up into pieces. Right knackerising it is too. Harjit is built like a brick shithouse and I’m certainly not as fit as I used to be. Aging takes its toll, alright. Not that the alternative is any more attractive.

Once I’ve finished, I wrap all of the pieces in Clingfilm and put them into the car boot. I click the boot shut then take the head and put it in a Marks & Sparks carrier bag.

That’s a bit of an in joke, like, as Harjit hated that shop ever since Balbir, his missus, was made redundant as manager of lingerie department. After grafting there for more than twenty years, the firms payoff was cobblers due to the fact that Balbir had only worked part-time. Well, that was what she was contracted to work, although she worked all hours under the sun in reality. Anyway, Harjit went loop the loop one night and tried to torch the place but only ended up burning off his eyebrows and stinking of petrol for days after.

I eventually need to wrap Harjit’s head in five carrier bags because the blood soaks through so much. Then, I do a quick clean up, hose the place down basically, and put the head on the passenger seat of the car.

I can hear the sounds of raucous revelry outside, so I decide to get into the back of the car and have a nap.

‘Night night, Harjit,’ I say, and fall asleep chuckling.


It’s just after midnight when I leave the lock up and I’m pissed off because the streets are still busy. I drive around a bit and out of town where I  have a eureka moment.

On a piece of waste ground near The Royal Oak pub, which has been boarded up for ages after an arson attack, a bunch of guttersnipes have started a bonfire. They’re  guzzling White Lightning and barbecuing knocky off sausages, using an upturned Tesco shopping trolley.

I drive over to them and park up. Stick my head out of the window.

‘Ere, lads. Wanna buy some scran?’ I say.

A lanky ginger haired youth who could be either fifteen or fifty staggers over to me.

‘What sort of scran?’ He wipes his snotty nose with the back of a grimy hand.

‘Meat,’ I say. ‘Pork.’


He licks his lips.

‘The lot,’ I say. ‘Take a gander.’

I get out of the car and click the boot open.

The guttersnipe peers inside. Picks up a package of meat.

‘How much?’ he says.

‘Twenty quid the lot,’ I say. ‘I need to shift it sharpish.’

He looks over at the baying pack staggering around near the campfire.

‘That lot’ll polish it of in no time, mate,’ he says. ‘They’ve got the munchies.’

I hold out my hand as he fishes in his back pocket. Plucks out a couple of notes and a handful of change.

‘That’s all I’ve got,’ he says.

I sift through the crap in his hands. There just over a tenner. I pretend to think about it for a bit.

‘Alright,’ I say.

He whistles loudly and a couple of saggy ratboys head over. After they’ve unloaded the meat, I get back in the car and head off back into the centre of the city. Relax. I should be at Harjit’s gaff in good time to plonk his head on one of the spiked railings outside the house before Balbir and the kids wake up.

Never one to do things by half, me.

Paul D. Brazill is the author of A Case Of Noir, Guns Of Brixton and Roman Dalton - Werewolf PI. He was born in England and lives in Poland. He has had writing published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Books of Best British Crime 8,10 and 11. He has curated a few anthologies, including the best-selling True Brit Grit – with Luca Veste. His blog is here.