Vicious Circle

Danny Gibb had a U-bend scar on his face that his girl used to like. Said it gave him character. Made him look hard. But trouble attracts trouble and soon their relationship was in it. The end came the night he hit his girlfriend for the first and last time. Hard on the right side of her face which was the wrong side because it was her good side. He hit her after finding out about
Dr Hambell, who hadn’t always had letters and women after his name. Sitting in his Harley Street practice, sipping sherry because he’s got bad news for a man whose skin graft was hard work and failed to disguise the scars. Drinking because he knows that success and failure go hand in scalpeled hand. But what the hell? The man’s appointment isn’t until 10.30 tomorrow morning. Why let that spoil tonight? Enjoy yourself. Seek sanctuary at the club, talk women and cricket with

Gerry Spavins, who despised Australians but loved brandy. Shot a day keeps the doctor away. The season starts in April. The Windies are touring this year. Don’t fancy our chances, old boy. No slouch with the bat in his day was Gerald. Oxford vice-captain, averaged 43 as an opener. Career dreams ended by a back injury sustained delivering a stunning off-break to

George Wallace, wicket-keeper, teetotaller, Loughborough at the time. Would go on to excel as a botanist until his death at the hands of a driver drunk on eight pints of Australian lager. A driver who ploughed into him on a country road near Heathfield, East Sussex as George examined a species he mistakenly believed to be rare. The jury of eight men and four women found

Roger Baines guilty, quickly. He served his time and paid his fine, but never drove again. Caught cabs instead, to and from the pub where he downed the drinks the night it happened. He liked the place, no kids, no pool or pinball table. No quiz machine, duke box or women. Just old friends, pork scratchings and the landlord

David Vine, no relation. Expert pint-puller, glass-shiner, trouble-shooter. Tell Dave your problem, he’ll give you an answer and it might not be the one you want to hear. Boxed as a boy in the rings of East London, did Dave. Nearly made it as a pro until that fateful night against that dude from Up West. Never bet against the bigger man they said and they were right, because

Junior Wright had a right that decked people. It earned him local fame and small-time fortune. Childhood on the estates of Hounslow knocked him into shape, quick to get defences up and sharp to get the right out. Was destined to appear on Sportsnight until he fell for a girl who held up the square round number cards and walked round the ring with a smile, collecting stares and wolf-whistles. Short skirts and blonde she was. Strutting, some might say slutting her stuff. Good enough for page three as well as round three ding ding, seconds out. Too much, the beautiful temptress for

Warren C, ringside and wasted with his mates from Bethnal Green. Look at the tits on that. Give me fifty if I get me ‘ands on them? Nods and smiles and go ons and he made a grab for the prize. Lager had got him thinking he could have her. But little did he know that her father was near her. Sat in the same seat every fight, keeping two eyes on his luvly daughter. Before Warren got the chance to lay clammy hands and salivating lips on her

Charlie the father pounced and had him pinned to the ground, fist poised to hit face. F-words and C-words raining down like punches until the knockout blow. The pain came again, shooting up the left arm and across the chest, doubling old Charlie over, prompting calls for doctors in houses and screams of women and cries for help that

Julian Thorpe, city boy, fight lover, quick mover answered. He got to the pay phone first, before the days of mobiles. He did the free three nine business, and cool as a towel wafting a face in the corner did what needed to be done. He had money on the fight. Three-figure sum. Nine nine nine. Easy money, which he had to claim back when the fight was cancelled. Can’t say he felt disappointed. One of those things, old chap. He’d make more easy money in the City on the morrow, where he traded in tailored suits and all-pink or blue striped shirts he always brought from that first class tailor on Chancery Lane, the one that

Andy Brown tried to rob on another night when he needed money and knew of a bloke in Barking who was after some classy clothes like. Did he know anyone who could get hold of a nice drop of satin, bit posh like? Andy said yeah, course, like, smooth, but he really meant no. But not wanting to let a mate down, you know, and with a bit of experience in the breaking and the entering and the taking line of business, nudge nudge, he decided to do the job himself, and fings was going sweet-as like till he was disturbed by a

PC on patrol. City of London, quiet night, all the sirens coming from Up West along Holborn. Plodding the deadbeat as usual. Past the silver vaults, the high class off licences, the legal offices. Then just saw a trailing black trousered leg and bovver boot disappear through a window. On to the radio quick, calling for backup. ETA five. Be done and gone by then so it’s deep breath and in there alone. Torch on, 'stop police'. In the dark, a flash of silver and cutlass motion. The shadow runs with a handful of 16 and a half-inched collars, leaving a U-bend scar for life on the face of PC Danny Gibb.


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